Only the Ocean – Natasha Carthew

Only the Ocean by Natasha Carthew is a young adult book that focuses on a young girl who is trying to survive in a dark and scary world. You follow Kel who plans to kidnap a girl in order to fund her trip to America to receive help for her heart. Whilst doing this not everything goes to plan and they both end up stranded in the middle of the ocean with only the hope of surviving. Due to this time spent together they grow close and become friends which is unusual for someone from the ‘swamps’ and the other from the ‘towers’.

There are two main characters in this book, both young girls named Kel and Rose. They are from completely different world and you can see that throughout the book. The way that Kel talks in comparison to Rose show the difference in class and education alone. They are an unlikely friendship however as the book goes on and they learn more about one another you can see they begin to bond. I did like these characters and did feel as though they fit the story well even if it want my favourite book.

I did find it took a little while to get into the book as the dialogue takes some getting used to. The writer used a lot of slang and phonetic words. This can become confusing at times however the narration in between the dialogue cleared things up and you could follow the story.

I wasn’t a huge fan of this book, this is just a personal opinion however as many others do love it. I feel it lacked action for me and didn’t necessarily keep me engaged. It also seems unrealistic in a way. I know it is a fictional book however I find it hard that they did survive on the sea for so long when it was described as being so wild. I also felt that the baby being in the book was pointless. I didn’t feel it added to anything and that at times I felt the writer had forgotten about it. I know the premise was that Kel didn’t like the bay however I feel as though the baby wouldn’t have survived these events. At one point when they come across a ship that they went aboard to look for food the baby seemed to just disappear for a while.

 The characters went through a lot however everything went back to normal very quickly. For example, Rose suffered a bad injury on her leg after their raft capsized yet despite spending days with an open wound on an island then on the sea it seemed to just be fine.

Overall, I would say that this book wasn’t for me. I liked the characters and felt the fit the story however I personally didn’t enjoy it. I felt that it was long and drawn out with a few events along the way with a disappointing ending.

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please comment your opinion of this book if you have ever read it or if there are any other comments you want to make)

Unpublished Writing

Unpublished writing can be a variety of things. People who write stories and post them online, those who write dedicated to their favourite programmes or those who wish to be a published author and share their journey are all different kinds of unpublished writing. Even having a blog post can be classed as it.

The reason I am saying this is because not everyone likes to read novels or long stories however would be interested in unpublished writing. I think that reading can be something that when people hear it they automatically think about a physical book. If people are more open and aware of how much reading material is available online and often for free then more people may read. Short stories about your favourite programme may be something that would make you read and that’s good because any reading is good reading.

I think that it is also good for those who are writing these unpublished works as they are able to get there work out into the public without having the need to release a book. It can allow them to try different styles and genres and get real feedback to help them grow their writing skills and portfolio. This can help to build confidence in their writing and therefor the readers have more material to enjoy.

I just wanted to say that there are many ways that you can enjoy reading and become interested in reading as well as helping those who love to write.

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(Please comment if you have any unpublished writing you want to share or any you love to read)

New year book resolutions

Every new year everyone makes a list of all their resolutions such as eat healthy or go to the gym. I have never been someone to make new year resolutions however this year I have decided to make a list of book related ones and I thought I would share !

  1. Continue to read something each day. Whether that’s a sentence,page or chapter.
  2. Read more books from different genres. Explore genres I haven’t really read and give them a chance.
  3. To write more reviews on the books I read.
  4. Try to recommend more books to other people.
  5. Inspire people to read through this blog
  6. Enjoy taking the time to read

I hope these may even inspire some of your resolutions!

May thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please comment any of your new year resolutions)

THE CHALK MAN by CJ Tudor

The Chalk Man is a thriller novel that follows the life of a young boy and his friends as they use chalk to communicate which links to a series of tragic events. Now older we see how all characters have moved on (or not) from these events and how a letter received featuring a chalk man brings it all back. Will they ever know what really happened all those years ago?

I really enjoyed this book as it was much more focused on being psychological thriller than on the actual crimes committed which I liked. It showed a different dimension to the events and how everything unfolded. It did also feature the crimes and events that happened however it wasn’t focused on a police or investigative point of view and on the people that they effected. There are some slightly gruesome descriptions and scenes however I always feel as though this allows the reader to gauge how bad the event was and to understand what the characters have been through.

I thought that the characters were realistic and thought that the use of two different time periods helped as it showed how he was as a boy and who he is now after growing up and moving on. It also shows the realistic aspect of friendship at a young age, naturally friends drift as they grow older and that didn’t change for these characters despite what they had been through together. They all had been effected in different ways and I feel as though this also added realism.

I also really enjoyed the structure of the book and it helped me to grasp the story line much quicker. The use of two different time periods using separate chapters for ease made it much more simple to follow along. Each chapter was titled by the year the chapter is set in to also diffuse confusing. I did originally think that the story may be lost by readers trying to catch up on what part of the characters lives they are reading however CJ Tudor has written it in a seamless way. I enjoyed they way this was written as well as the structure as I felt as though I was really involved in what was happening and that I was reading a book written by a character rather than the office.

I would recommend this book to anyone as it is a good book if you want to get into psychological thrillers as it is a mix of both mental and physical events. I would also like to read more or this authors books in the future as her writing style is something that engaged me in the story. Considering this is her debut novel!

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please comment if you have ever read this book or have any psychological thriller recommendations)

Book Perceptions

I think those who do not read books often view them as hard work. I’m not saying that it isn’t time consuming but so is film and TV. I am under no illusion that reading is for everyone but I feel that books shouldn’t least be understood for what they are.

Detailed- I feel as though books are often much more detailed than films or TV programmes (depending on the genre) which often adds another dimension to a story.

Imagination- I know this is a typical one however it is true. Although you are often given a description of a character it’s up to you to to actually create that image. Some people are better than others at that and that’s ok but it’s personal to the person who is reading . On a screen this has already been done for you which may make you less invested in the characters.

Development- books are a good way to help develop your language and literacy skills. If you are reading new books and coming across new vocabulary then you are learning whilst reading.

Enjoyment– books are fun! They allow you to enter another world that is written but also lets you add your own spin on it by creating the scenes in your head.

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please comment on your perception of reading )

My Ideal Book

I have certain aspects of a book that I enjoy to read however I don’t think I could create just one. I think that my ideal book would change as I read new genres and authors aswell. However no matter whaoartind characterisation a really vital part of any book.

In my opinion, characterisation can make or break a book. There needs to be well developed characters that are realistic to the story being written. If the characters aren’t believable then neither is the book. The only way that the story can take engaging twists and turns is by having good characters to go alongside that. I also think that realistic reactions to these events are important. I often feel as though, especially in crime books, those who have dealt with tough circumstances or are a victim of something can often just be ok. They can move on with their lives after it. This is something I don’t like. There would be some effect on the character and I commend authors that show that. Good example of this can be found in the light between world’s by Laura Weymouth and ‘no safe house’ by Linwood Barclay.

I also think that an exciting, fast paced story is often good as it keeps you enaged and wanting to read on. However I don’t think this is necessary needed if the book is written well. For example, in ‘call me by your name’ there isn’t really an exciting storyline with the typical twists and turns but it is one of my favorites because of how well it is written. It is almost like poetry.

The ending of a book is very important to get right. I think cliffhangers are good howver I always want the next book to be out so I can find out what happens. Ihave found in the past that when books have a big build up to the final events that they can go either one of two ways; exciting or disappointing. If there is a big build up to a slow or unrealistic ending then it could completely change your view on the book. I found this whilst reading ‘the lost witch’ by Melvin Burgess. To me it had a disappointing ending however I did still enjoy it.

An ideal book is personal to the reader. Those who like romantic books over crime are going to have a different picture of what there ideal book would be and I like that. My ideal book is ever changing but always has core factors;. characterisation and good ending.

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please comment your ideal book or what core factors you love in a novel)

‘No Safe House’ by Linwood Barclay

No Safe House by Linwood Barclay is a thriller and crime novel that is the sequel to No Time for Goodbye. This picks up 7 years after the previous book and follows the same characters, Terry, Cynthia,Grace and Vince who are dealing with the trauma of what happened all those years ago.

It follows Terry as he tries to keep his family together after that night 7 years ago. Cynthia is dealing with her personal demons and Grace is becoming a rebellious teen, both of which are driving the family apart. Whilst trying to keep the family together they stumble back into the world of Vince, the infamous gangster. When grace foolishly follows her boyfriend into a stranger’s house, Terry’s mission changes from keeping the family together to keeping the family alive.

I really enjoyed this book and felt as though I was kept on the edge of my seat. I think it is a realistic character development from book 1 and that it all related to the previous book. The beginning of the story was more focused on how the family are doing since the events of that nights but we soon are brought into the mysteries and events of current day. I liked how in this book we were given a chance to learn more about the who the characters are now and how that effects the events in the rest of the book and gave us something tangible to link to them.

The story has lots of twists and turns which keep you wondering what is going to happen next. The book is fast paced and exciting which I enjoyed as it made me read quicker as I kept to the pace of the book. More times than not I didn’t want to put the book down and just wanted to know how it all ended. It shows both the psychological and physical effects of the characters and how they are dealing with such a huge amount of emotions. We are also given an insight into how Vince and Jane are doing since the previous book and how they have changed since that night.

I think that considering that there are more than one main character Linwood Barclay balances the amount on information of each character well. I feel as though I know loads about each character and why they are the way they are which I was impressed with considering, in my opinion, there are 5.

Overall, I would recommend this book but I would definitely read the first book, No Time for goodbye, first. I would say that I preferred the story of this book more however it often links to the previous book which without reading could cause confusion.

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please comment your opinion of these books or any other recommendations by Linwood Barclay)