Book Review: The Bunker Diary

The Bunker DiaryThe Bunker Diary

by Kevin Brooks

Published: March 2013 by Penguin 

Version: Paperback from library

Rating: 3 sofas

Room meets Lord of the Flies, The Bunker Diary is award-winning, young adult writer Kevin Brooks’s pulse-pounding exploration of what happens when your worst nightmare comes true – and how will you survive?
I can’t believe I fell for it.
It was still dark when I woke up this morning.
As soon as my eyes opened I knew where I was.
A low-ceilinged rectangular building made entirely of whitewashed concrete.
There are six little rooms along the main corridor.
There are no windows. No doors. The lift is the only way in or out.
What’s he going to do to me?
What am I going to do?
If I’m right, the lift will come down in five minutes.
It did. Only this time it wasn’t empty . . .

I knew this book was going to be strange as soon as I heard about it. Kevin Brooks was one of my favourite writers as a young teenager, as his writing is just so emotive. So I went into The Bunker Diary with nervous anticipation. And the cover and tagline are completely intriguing! 

Linus wakes up in a locked bunker-like building, with no exit; only a lift. It appears he has been abducted. But by who? And why? Why him, what for? SO MANY questions surround this story. In the beginning it was a definite page turner as I wanted to find out more about Linus and how he was going to get out of the bunker. I really felt Linus’ powerless feelings. The book is written in diary format from Linus’ point of view, and it helps to dig deep into his emotions.

All the characters are really well developed in the book. Each one is quite different, and trying to figure out the connection between them was difficult. They all responded to the situation in separate ways; Linus tries to think of ways to escape, while others are in denial. I enjoyed this aspect of the book, as it made me think about what it takes for people to survive these sorts of ordeals. To know that this could have been based on a true story made it feel very raw. 

Towards the end of the book I could sense we were coming towards the climax, and was eager to discover how it was going to wrap up. I wanted to know who the abducter was and why he had taken these (seemingly) random six people and kept them in a bunker. 

The ending was just unbelievable. It left me turning the blank pages at the end, and wondering where the rest was. I had to go back and read the last couple of pages to actually confirm that the book did actually end like that. It completely shocked me, and probably left me with my jaw hanging open for quite some time. Not really suited to a YA audience, it was actually quite sickening. 

Gripping and unique, the plotline sucked me in. I loved the emotive writing but I just felt the ending was entirely WRONG. For that reason, I have to give The Bunker Diary 3 sofas

Advertisements

Book Review: The Rosie Project

The Rosie Project The Rosie Project

by Graeme Simsion

Published: April 2013 by Penguin

Version: Ebook from Netgalley and Penguin (all reviews my own, honest opinion)

Rating: 4 sofas

Don Tillman, 39, a successful but odd genetics prof, designs a questionnaire for his Wife Project: punctual, non-drinker, non-smoker. Rosie, a spontaneous, outspoken barmaid, smokes, curses, and adjusts his clock when he complains about his schedule. Yet an unlikely partnership blooms when Don agrees to help Rosie find her biological father.

I must admit that the writing style does take some getting used to. At first, I dithered about putting the book aside, as it just didn’t seem to flow properly. But then I learnt that this is what makes this book SO special.

Don is a person who likes things done in a particular way. He has a weekly meal menu, and adheres to his schedule completely. In order to find a partner he creates The Wife Project; a questionnaire designed to find the perfect match. Because of Don’s ‘quirkiness’, he is a hard character to like in the beginning.

But then enters Rosie, fun and carefree, who messes up Don’s scheduling. This makes me smile, because I’m sure we have all experienced the frustration of having plans changed or dropped at the last minute. I know personally this infuriates me sometimes. I think this book kind of accepts that some people are different, and like things done in a certain way. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but in Rosie’s and Don’s relationship we can see that compromises can be made.

Their blossoming relationship as they learn to work together in life is just adorable, and is the reason why I just could not put this book down. What is even better is that Don is so oblivious to anything (not that it makes him different from many men!) that Rosie does, it creates some real comedy moments that made me smile and laugh in places. 

The Rosie Project is a book that starts off a bit bizarre but turns into a gem that will make you smile. Heartwarming and funny, I didn’t want it to end. Both characters are lovable in their own way, and I was definitely rooting for them by the end. 4 sofas! 

Waiting on Wednesday #30

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we’re eagerly anticipating.

The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life

An all-day scavenger hunt in the name of eternal small-town glory

With only a week until graduation, there’s one last thing Mary and her friends must do together: participate in the Oyster Point High Official Unofficial Senior Week Scavenger Hunt. And Mary is determined to win.

Mary lost her spot at Georgetown to self-professed “it” bully Jake Barbone, and she’s not about to lose again. But everyone is racing for the finish line with complicated motives, and the team’s all-night adventure becomes all-night drama as shifting alliances, flared tempers, and crushing crushes take over. As the items and points pile up, Mary and her team must reinvent their strategy–and themselves–in order to win.

I LOVE the picture in the font treatment. And what a title! The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life is about a pre-graduation party, and sounds like a really fun read.

Due to be (re)released by Penguin in July 2013.

 What are you looking forward to this week?  Please share your WoW in the comments!

Letterbox Love #20

Letterbox Love is a meme hosted by Lynsey of Narratively Speaking whereby book lovers can exhibit the books they received this week.

This is actualy a 4 week post. I didn’t have time before my holiday to post the haul, and I’ve been away for two weeks! Luckily I haven’t bought a lot of books. I did, however, have masses of books to pick up from my library. For such a small authority (only 16 libraries) they get really great teen books, and I am excited about lots of these. 

P1060264

First up is You Don’t Know Me by Sophia Bennett. This sounds like a really fun book AND it has blue edges. Win! Kite Spirit by Sita Brahmachari also looks like a good summer read.

There are lots of YA action/thrillers this week, which is something I’m really pleased about. I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga is about the son of a serial killer, and Bodyguard: Hostage by Chris Bradford features a 14-year-old professional bodyguard. 

Two books that sound quite sad are Heroic by Phil Earle and Black Heart Blue by Louisa Reid. Both these books have gotten good reviews from fellow bloggers, so I’m very excited to read these. 

Shadow Runners by Daniel Blythe looks very similar to Alex Scarrow’s Timeriders series, so it intrigued me as this is a series I love. A book that I’ve had on my ebook shelf for a while is Hysteria by Megan Miranda. I ordered the paperback from my library to push myself to read it! 

Lastly, two adult chick fic books, to lighten the mood from all that hard hitting YA. Both authors I have read before, Country Loving by Cathy Woodman and Happy Families by Janey Fraser are books I will save for when I need a laugh. 

P1060261 P1060263  I also got some books of my own. Shooting Stars by Allison Rushby was a book I ordered way back in Jan/Feb when Bloomsbury had a sale. Unfortunately the publication got delayed and I’ve only just received it! I couldn’t resist a trip to The Works where I snapped up Blood Red Road by Moira Young. I love this series and can’t wait till the third book comes out, which isn’t till 2014, so I will probably need to reread this nearer the release date. Even though I haven’t read Veronica Rossi’s first book yet, I decided to buy the second one, Through the Ever Night, as it is so cheap I didn’t want to miss out and I can always give it away if I don’t enjoy the first. I also picked up The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda as it sounded really cool. Having just looked on Goodreads, I think I may actually already have a copy of it but with a different cover. Damn those cover changes! 

I was lucky enough to win a giveaway for two signed Sarah Dessen books, What Happened to Goodbye and The Truth About Forever. I don’t think I have actually read any of her books, so this will be perfect in getting me started on her collection. Extra special thanks to Winterhaven Books for the giveaway, for signed books and for shipping it all this way for me! Thank you so much. 

 Now for those Ebooks:

Nowhere

The School for Good and Evil

I got an invitation to review Nowhere by Jon Robinson from Netgalley and Penguin. Described as a ‘fast-paced conspiracy thriller’ featuring teenagers locked inside a cube, I had to have it. Although the cover looks quite simple, I love the hands in the title! Its like the story is just seeping out the pages. Many thanks for the opportunity to read this 🙂

I love boarding school books, so The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani was a cert for me. Thanks to Netgalley and Harper Collins for this.

Unbreakable (Unravelling, #2)AcidA book that I have been waiting to come out for ages is Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris. I loved Unravelling (review here), so will try and fit this in soon! And I love the UK cover much more than the US 🙂 Thanks Netgalley and Harper Collins once more.

I couldn’t resist requesting a couple when I got back from holiday (I have no willpower, sue me). I adore the cover of Acid by Emma Pass, and I love action YA so I am really looking forward to this. Thanks for the speedy approval Random House!

Noble Conflict

Happy Birthday to Me (Birthday Trilogy, #1)It seemed like the whole world was getting proofs of Malorie Blackman’s Noble Conflict and I was itching to see what it was like. So when it popped up on Netgalley there was no hesitation before requesting! Many thanks Random House.

Happy Birthday To Me by Brian Rowe sounds like a funny and intriguing book about a boy who ages a year every day. Thanks to Brian for the Netgalley approval!

What did you receive this week? Have you read any of my books and do you think it should be at the top or the bottom of my to read pile?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Letterbox Love #18

Letterbox Love is a meme hosted by Lynsey of Narratively Speaking whereby book lovers can exhibit the books they received this week.

Welcome to my 2-week haul post! 

P1050186

Lots of library love this week! 5 books I had requested and one I picked up. The Accidental Naturalist by Ben Fogle and Choir by Gareth Malone are both autobiographies, and ordered because I love them both! I have been waiting for Gareth’s book since Christmas, so I am excited to finally be able to read it.

I adore Jodi Picout’s books. They just evoke such emotions, and always talk about issues, which I love in books. The Storyteller promises to be no different, and some people have said it is her best yet.

Lots of people have been receiving proofs of the new book by Tanya Byrne, and I still haven’t read her first! So I thought it was time I changed that. Hence the ordering of Heart-Shaped Bruise.

Last but not least, I picked up a copy of Keeping You a Secret by Julie Peters. This is for the LGBT readathon I am doing, hosted by Faye of A Daydreamer’s Thoughts. It’s a genre I am immensely interested in, but have hardly read anything for! Lookout for lots of LGBT themed posts and reviews in the first weekend of May.

 

P1050187I also made a few purchases! Faye did an amazing review of The Secret of Ella and Micha (check it out here) by Jessica Sorensen and so when I saw it in Tesco I snapped it up. I also got The Antenatal Group by Amy Bratley as it was on offer, and I will read anything about babies.

Yet another trip to The Works, yet another bargain book haul. I picked up Someone Else’s Life by Katie Dale as I had seen it about, so I thought it was worth getting. I was delighted to find Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi. I have never read her books, but I know they are talked about a lot by bloggers. I spent about ten minutes trying to decipher which was the first in the series, and thankfully came home with the right one! Before I Forget by Melissa Hill was thrown in to make up the offer, and sounds like a cute amnesia romance.

My last physical books was gifted from Daphne at Winged Reviews. Her and Faye have been raving about Julie Kagawa’s books to me. I managed to get The Immortal Rules in my last bookshop visit, and so she kindly offered to send me a copy of The Eternity Cure so I don’t have to wait to find out what happens! I am loving The Immortal Rules at the moment, so thanks very much for this 🙂

Ebooks:

The 5th Wave (The Fifth Wave, #1)

Ink (Paper Gods, #1)

 

 

Thank you to Penguin and Netgalley for The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey. I was quite surprised to be approved for this. It sounds like a really good action, dystopian post-apocalyptic kind of novel, which suits my current mood perfectly, so I may be reading this soon!

 

Ink by Amanda Sun has such a pretty cover. I was psyched to get this, as I’ve heard lots of good things so far! Thanks Harlequin and Netgalley.

 

Screwed

Submerged (Outbreak, #1)

 

 

Books about teenage pregnancy always pique my interest, and Screwed by Laurie Plissner is no different. Thanks to Adams Media and Netgalley for a copy of this.

 

I’m taking part in the blog tour with Itching for Books for Submerged by Nicola Sobon. The first in a dystopian duology, I can’t wait to read this. Check back on May 13th for my review!

 

Wait for You (Wait for You, #1)

The Forgotten Ones

 

 

Amy from Harper Collins kindly sent me access to Wait For You by Jennifer L Armentrout. It is my first book by her, but I have heard lots of talk about her Lux series, so I’m interested to see what this is like.

 

I’m also part of The Forgotten Ones blog tour by Laura Howard. I love the typography on the title.

 

Find Me

Make it Last (Friends & Lovers, #1)

 

The cover for Find Me by Romily Bernard is just so awesome. And the tagline too! HUGE thank you to Harper Collins and Edelweiss for this, it sounds amazing. I love YA thrillers, and I can’t wait to start this.

I won a copy of Bethany Lopez’s Make It Last from Neyra at Darkest Addictions. I think I have a copy of the second book, so I asked if I could have the first instead of the third, and they kindly obliged!

 

What did you receive this week? Have you read any of my books and do you think it should be at the top or the bottom of my to read pile? I’d love to hear from you! 

Book Review: A Working Theory of Love

A Working Theory of Love

A Working Theory of Love

by Scott Hutchins

Published by Viking Trade (Penguin)

Obtained: ARC via Waterstones

Challenges: Goodreads 2013 Challenge

Settled back into the San Francisco singles scene following the implosion of his young marriage just months after the honeymoon, Neill Bassett is going through the motions. When Neill’s father committed suicide ten years ago, he left behind thousands of pages of secret journals, journals that are stunning in their detail, and, it must be said, their complete banality. This was exactly what artificial intelligence company Amiante Systems was looking for. He has spent the last two years inputting the diaries into what everyone hopes will become the world’s first sentient computer. Essentially, he has been giving it language—using his father’s words. Alarming to Neill, the computer actually appears to be gaining awareness and, most disconcerting of all, has started asking questions about Neill’s childhood.

Amid this psychological turmoil, Neill meets Rachel. She was meant to be a one-night stand, but Neill is unexpectedly taken with her and the possibilities she holds. At the same time, he remains preoccupied by unresolved feelings for his ex-wife. When Neill discovers a missing year in the diaries—a year that must hold some secret to his parents’ marriage and perhaps even his father’s suicide—everything Neill thought he knew about his past comes into question, and every move forward feels impossible to make.

I received ‘The Working Theory of Love‘ by Scott Hutchins from Waterstones as a random reviewer,  so I didn’t know what book I was going to receive, if I got one. I do remember seeing the cover on the webiste and thinking it looked very cool. I love the black and white people,  and the orange background is very quirky.

Unfortunately this ARC doesn’t have a blurb on the back, so I didn’t really know what it was about. I just presumed romance, given the title. (NB- having just opened the first page to check the spelling of the lead character, there is a blurb just inside the book. Oops!).
Hence I found the book quite slow to start, as there is zero romance or action in the first 50 pages or so. But then the story gets interesting (thankfully). Neill is a computer geek, and his boss has developed a talking robot, in basic terms. He used Neill’s dead father’s diaries as a template for a computer voice. Neill’s job is to try and make it more human. I think it starts off as a funny character addition that really starts to develop when it figures out that Neill is actually his son.
Hence Neill explores his relationship with his dead father, what could have been and all the things left unsaid before he killed himself. Hence the title.
Neill is also trying to work through the idea of love in his personal life; recently divorced and his meetings with several girls. I just found the characters a bit strange in this book. I never really connected with Neill, but I’m not sure if this was the author’s intention. He seems to be drifiting since his divorce, not really making any ties or having any purpose in life. He doesn’t have any hobbies or pasttimes, or friends aside from a couple of work colleagues. So when he meets Rachel, young and full of life, he is drawn to her warmth. Their relationship is an odd one; Neill doesn’t want to commit, but he is jealous of her exciting life.

She is also part of a love cult thing on the side, which I thought was a bit of a strange plot. The only reason I can see for this is it sort of proves that Rachel isn’t a slut, and shows her vulnerability. There seems quite an apparent age gap between them, and at times it makes me feel a bit awkward. Even towards the end there isn’t anything that makes Neill appeal as a boyfriend, as he is just so dull! So their relationship didn’t make sense to me, as it isn’t one that I would imagine to occur in real life. Yes I know dull people do have girlfriends, but these aren’t the boys I want to read about!

That being said, I did feel like I enjoyed the book. It isn’t one I would read again, but I enjoyed the uniqueness of it. The concept of making a computer human is one that interests me. Thus I would recommend it to people who similarly are interested in AI and computer emotions. I thought the dialogue of the computer was witty, and it really made the book. I  am only disappointed that there was not more involvement of the computer. Perhaps if there is a sequel they can give it a partner? That would be a fun book. It is interesting to learn what makes a person human. By giving the computer his dad’s ‘thoughts’ from the journals, Neill refers to the computer as his father. But will he remain that way forever? Can computer personalities change?

Overall I would recommend this book to geeks who are interested in emotion and character development as well. This book was lacking action for me, but I know that’s not important for some. It is quirky and funny in places. I really dithered between 3.5 and 4 sofas, but I think I will settle on 3.5. While there is nothing wrong with this book and I would be interested in a sequel, this isn’t one I would considering reading again or keeping on my shelf.