These ‘about me’ sections, or even sections that inform you about blogs, have never been my forte. Much to my chagrin, I was never taught the unwritten rules of what you are supposed to say. The links at the side of the blog – Twitter and Goodreads, for example – are liable to tell you more than I could ever say in words.
Mostly, this will be a book blog. I read a lot, and I love to share my views on my most recent reads. I try to read a little bit of everything, but if you look closely you’ll notice I will occasionally become obsessed with one specific genre for a short period of time. Old books, new books, yet to be released books – I read them all. If you’re an author looking for advance readers or just wish for more reviews of a book you’ve already released, please feel free to contact me. There is a contact form at the side of my blog – if you scroll down below the Twitter and Goodreads sidebar you will find it – so drop me a message and I’ll be sure to get back to you in double time. After all, finding new authors is what makes the book world go around.
Thanks for taking your time to read this. With a little bit of luck, you will find my blog much more interesting than this mundane introductory section.
Wednesday, 28 September 2016
Review: From Helmand to Heywood
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I’d like to start by saying thank you to the author for sending me a copy in exchange for a review. Whilst I’ll admit that it did sound interesting, it is far from my normal read. Yes, I try everything, but like so many I have preferences. Recently my preference has been for fantasy, and due to that I had to take a step back before picking up this one to read. I also feel as though being stuck in this fantasy-only rut lessened my enjoyment somewhat.
This is a very British book, one of those whereby I fear people off our little island will be somewhat confused about what is going on. The references, at the very least, will go over the top of their head. I can contest to this, in fact, as I’ve seen such a thing myself. I’ve said things to friends from outside of Britain in the past and they’ve looked at me as though I’ve lost my head, only for me to try and explain… often with an explanation failing to help. So yeah, it’s a very British book. Settings. Ways of life. Humour. Not the clichéd British, either. The real Britain.
Very true to life, the story at first felt a little bit off too me. I felt as though the stories weren’t linked in any way at all. I felt as though I was jumping from one to the other, without much by way of connections. This changed later in the book, but for a while I felt put out by the way the connections seemed to be there and not there at the same time. It was an odd place to be, an odd way to feel, and I found it hard to get into at first. I was intrigued to see where things would go, and with the story being so short I quickly had answers, and yet it took me longer than I had hoped for to find myself really pulled into the story.
From the start, however, the story does manage to pull smiles from your lips. It’s not one of those laugh out loud hilarious books where you can see the author spent days sitting thinking about how many giggles they would pull from people, rather this one is a much simpler darker humour. Not all will enjoy it, not all will get it, but it is there. In fact, I didn’t find all of it funny myself. I know there were more aspects that would have been amusing to other people, but there were enough to bring some smiles from me. It really is a case of where on the dark line your humour falls.
Slowly the story develops, coming to life as we’re pulled into the lives of the characters. As someone who is a massive lover of character development, I would have liked a little bit more. I’m simply someone who obsessed over this, though. The deeper into the character I can fall the better. Whilst I was given enough to imagine them, for them to form in my mind, I would have liked for a little bit more. Especially with how some characters came more to life than others.
My main issue, though, wasn’t even to do with the story. It was to do with the layout. The footnotes reminded me far too much of academic papers. I’m one of those people who dislike such things outside of my academic reading, even when it is done for some kind of effect. Despite telling myself not to, I always end up looking. Usually to be disappointed. I’m just not a footnote fan, in any sense of the word, but that is just a personal opinion. Additionally, for some odd reason the colour of the font kept changing. It would go from black to various shades of grey and back again throughout the story and this really distracted me. More than it should have, mainly because the overactive part of my mind kept picking up on it and highlighting the shift to me.
Overall, though, it was a decent enough read. I would have liked a little bit more from it, but it was good for a quick read. Once again, I’d like to thank the author for sending me a copy to review.
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