Hogfather

Hello Everyone and Welcome Back to The Boss Book Club!

Today we will be reviewing the last book of four in the Death collection of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Series.

Hogfather is a delightful book that I recommend reading at Christmas time. The story centers around Hogswatch, the Discworld’s version of Christmas, where a jolly man in red visits the towns and delivers presents, sausages and assorted meats to the people, with his sleigh of wild, slobbering hogs. What happens though when the Hogfather goes mysteriously missing?

It is a fun adventure that brings together many of the characters from the three previous Death books. There is Death himself of course and his granddaughter Susan, who are both trying in their own way to restore order to the universe; there are our bumbling, wise but somewhat- lacking- common sense wizards, an assortment of new Gods that keep popping up out of nowhere, and a creepy introduction to some members of the assassin’s guild. Other mystical characters including the Tooth Fairy, Boogey-man and Jack Frost get featured as well.

As in his other books, Pratchett does an excellent job at parody and humour. In this book Christmas itself is pulled apart and rearranged in Pratchett’s imaginative image. Also, there is a hilarious interpretation of the computer that is created by the wizards.

The scope of this story is big, and there is a diverse array of subplots, characters and little stories that interweave beautifully to come together at the end. It is an epic tale that celebrates the joy of Christmas, in a weird but wonderful way.

 

This book would be wonderful to curl up with and read in the week leading up to Christmas.

 

Happy Reading and thanks for joining us at The Boss Book Club!

 

 

The 65- Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton

Hello Everyone and Welcome back to The Boss Book Club!

I hope you’re having a wonderful day. We’ve got a total change of pace today in the form of an excellent children’s book by Australian author Andy Griffiths and his best friend, illustrator Terry Denton! If you’re looking for a gift for anyone in the 8-12 year age group, or are a big kid yourself, then this may be the book for you!

This book  features Andy and Terry themselves as the main characters of the storey (get it, haha! Sorry.)

In this book they add thirteen storeys to their ever-expanding treehouse, and this time they’ve added: a pet grooming salon, a room of exploding eyeballs, a lollipop shop, a time machine, a birthday room and an ant farm.

Did I mention a time machine? Well this time machine (which is unfortunately concealed in a wheelie bin) leads to a tale of time travelling adventure. Together with their new friend Safety Inspector Bubblewrap the trio go to the prehistoric era to find out how the dinosaurs became extinct, visit some cavemen, escape mummies in Egypt, and enter a chariot race in Ancient Rome. They also travel into the future and see what is in store for humanity (warning: it involves angry crabs!)

This adventure packed book contains an average of 2- 10 lines of writing per page. The rest of the page is filled with Terry Denton’s cartoon scribbles. They are drawn in what looks like simple black pen, cartoon squiggles fill and surround the pages in a similar style to which kids doodle on their notepads or sketchbooks. These cartoons add a great sense of fun to the story and you’ll spend time poring over the detail in each cartoon, and reading all the miniature speech bubbles!

The Andy Griffiths website cites the books as being ideal for reluctant readers and this is certainly so. If your child isn’t interested in reading traditionally, or has a short attention span, then the cartoons help to break up the challenge.

The 65 Storey Treehouse is the latest book in a series by the duo. Others include: The 13- Storey Treehouse, The 26- Storey Treehouse, The 39- Storey Treehouse and The 52- Storey Treehouse. They add 13- Storeys for every book! You certainly don’t have to have read the others to enjoy this one.

I thoroughly recommend this book as a gift to read with a child, or for them to enjoy on their own. Cartoons, time travel, and the occasional gross exploding eyeball. And dinosaurs! What more could you want?

 

Happy Reading Bosses, and thanks for joining us!

 

Know of any other great children’s books? Let us know in the comments below!

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Hello Everyone and Welcome Back to the Boss Book Club!

Today I will be reviewing Gillian Flynn’s first novel, Sharp Objects. Gillian Flynn is the novelist behind the book/movie Gone Girl.

Before I go any further the first thing I will say is this book will not be for everyone. It is definitely an adult novel, which I would pitch at an 18+ age group. It is a thriller with dark content, including: child murder, self- harm, sexual assault and acts of violence. If you want a feel good story then please come back next time.

For those of you wanting to know if this thriller is for you, then read on…

This novel is told from first person view by our leading lady Camille Preaker, a reporter from Chicago who is sent to her home town of Wind Gap after a local girl is found murdered, and another is missing. She is given the task of covering the story of a small town under the threat of a potential serial killer. This will be the first time in eight years that Camille has returned home, and faced her mother Adora, and a stepsister Amma whom she barely knows.

This story can be read in two layers. The first is the mystery of what has happened to the girls and the suspense of finding out who the killer is.  The second layer is learning about our main character Camilla, a troubled woman who is struggling to connect with a family she had left behind.

I think this story has its weaknesses in the first layer: the mystery of what has happened to the girls. There are not many credible options as to who the killer could be, or attention paid to minor characters to pique the readers attention or keep them guessing. When the killer is revealed it makes a lot of sense, rather than leaves you surprised.

Where it has its great strength is the psychological depth of Camilla’s character and the others within her family. Adora the mother, Amma the step-sister and Alan, her step-father share a complex relationship that is thrilling, interesting and at times, disturbing. Camilla’s attitudes and thoughts on life are skewed and her sense of self is oddly affected by her upbringing, and the reader watches as Camilla slowly falters due to being back in the environment she grew up in, and tried to escape.

If you have read or watched Gone Girl then you will find some similarities here: psychologically disturbed characters and deeply flawed relationships between damaged people. If you enjoyed Gone Girl then you will likely enjoy this too.

I thought, three quarters of the way through the book, that in my review I would say I didn’t it. However, when I had reached the ending, I was satisfied. This is a thriller which did have me in suspense until the end, but it was a bit of a journey to get there. The closing chapters were great, and would make a wonderful finale… on the big screen! Which leads me to…

My overall recommendation is to wait for the movie. This is a thriller that thrills, but this can be achieved in three hours or less- I wouldn’t consider it worth spending 12+ hours reading. Apparently a TV movie has been announced so you probably won’t have to wait long! Also, because the book is written in the first person, the story fits tightly around Camilla, and her thoughts and perceptions on everything. The objectivity of a movie may give more focus to other characters, which will hopefully build the suspense of who the killer is a little better.

Thank you for joining us, next time we will be heading into lighter territory with a wonderful children’s book!

 

Please let me know what you think in the comments below.

 

Happy Reading Bosses!