Book Reviews

The Whistler by John Grisham

Lacy and a colleague receive information about a corrupt judge. They are sceptical about the details. However, when they start investigating, they soon realise there is a lot more going on. As more information comes their way and Lacy digs deeper things start heating up.

During the investigating it comes to light a casino is tangled up in this as well. Now a death has occurred, Lacy decides there is no turning back and the people involved including the judge, need to be brought to justice.

I felt for Lacy throughout the novel. This is a full of action, twists and turns and well worth a read.

4/5 Stars

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The Rooster Bar by John Grisham

This is the second book I have read by this author and I have to say it did not disappoint. The main characters Zola, Todd and Mark were great and you really felt for them.

After losing their friend Gordy, they can’t focus on finishing the last term of law school. They become more distant from their studies and friends on campus. While all this is going on Zola has to deal with her family being deported.

The three of them become closer and come up with a way of making money. At the same time, they use evidence from their good friend, Gordy in the hopes of get money back and paying off the large loans they have built up while at law school. Although, it doesn’t run as smoothly as they would like and they leave a trail of hidden identities and angry clients behind, all wanting money back.

This was an enjoyable read. Definitely recommended

4/5 Stars

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The Time Machine by H.G.Wells

I really wanted to read this book but I was disappointed. I was expecting so much from it but I found it hard to follow. However, I read it to the end and even though there were a few interesting parts with the Morlocks, this book wasn’t for me.

2/5 Stars

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18th Abduction by James Patterson

The book begins 5 years earlier. Lindsey has a new husband; Joe and he works for the FBI. Her partner Conklin, and Lindsey are looking into the abductions of 3 missing teachers.
Joe approaches a woman outside his FBI office as she is upset. Anna, says she has seen a war criminal from her home town in San Francisco, living only streets away from her.

Lindsey and Conklin, keep running into dead ends and are no closer to finding the teachers. A few days into the case, a body is found at a hotel. The body is soon identified as one of the missing teachers. Lindsey and her partner are now worried the other teachers maybe be dead but they still hold out hope they may be found alive.

Soon Joe is hunting this war criminal but he keeps coming up empty. When Anna goes missing, Joe steps things up in the hopes he finds Anna alive.  Lindsey and Conklin join forces with the FBI as it appears their cases are connected.

This book took a bit of getting used to as it was set 5 years previous. Having said that, I found it was a good read and fast pace and enjoyable.

3/5 Stars

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17th Suspect by James Patterson

Yuki is waiting to see if Brianna Hill will be on trial for sexual assault against an Marc Christopher an ex-boyfriend. While, Lindsey Boxer is looking into the deaths of the homeless.

The case goes to trial and after speaking with her client, Yuki gets a call from Marc to say he’s been shot. Who shot him? As he didn’t see the shooter. Meanwhile, Lindsey’s informant gets murdered but Boxer has a feeling that her informant was the intended target all along.

Yuki starts to suspect her client, Marc is lying and that Brianna who is on trial for rape, maybe innocent. Lindsey, gets closer to the murderer and when she catches up to them, the person doesn’t go quietly. Now the case is closed, Lindsey can no longer put off going to see the doctor and due to the illness is now on leave to give her time to recover.

This was a good instalment to ‘The Women’s Club’ and I enjoyed this book. Now I’m off to read the next one in the series.

4/5 Stars

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The Rooster Bar by John Grisham review coming soon

Fourth assignment for A363

For this assignment, I had to submit a plan. We could choose from either poetry, short story or the opening of a novel for our final exam-based assignment. I decided to submit a plan for the opening of a novel. The plan had to be submitted or you could not pass the module. The word count could not be more than 750 words.

When it was marked and returned, the tutor was reluctant for me to submit an opening of a novel, as this is not taught as part of the module. However, the proposal that I had submitted the tutor was intrigued to see where this might go. He admitted that a short story version of this would not do it justice. The genre of the proposal was fictional thriller. In addition, the three characters I presented who would appear in the story, the tutor liked. However, it was recommended two of the characters were similar and one may need to be altered for the story or dropped altogether. As the one male character offered more tension and suspense within the story.

In the feedback, it was suggested to read the opening of a few different thriller books. This was to see how the opening engaged the reader from the start. I would also need to consider the tone of the opening. Also, if I used first person, to remember to give the main character a strong and engaging voice. Although, I hadn’t decided the style of language to be used by the main character, I did have an idea that the main character would be polite in her daily life, compared to when she is angry.

When the tutor read the plan, he did like the idea for the opening but I had to remember to create tension and suspense with the possibility of another character finding out the main character’s secret.

Finally, I was pleased that the tutor liked my plan and it give me ideas that I hadn’t considered before. So, I will use the feedback to expand my story further.

Third assignment for A363

In this assignment, I had to critique a piece of work that had been put on the group forum and discuss the comments relating to the works that I had chosen. The one I had chosen was a ‘Possible idea.’

When discussing the work, I referred to group members as ‘commentator.’ Even though the tutor would know who commented on the work, I never mentioned the person’s name. However, the feedback I received revealed that I should have said the commentator’s name. Next, I went into a brief detail about the idea the student had shared. Again, it was advised there should have been a brief summary, so that the reader would have an idea of the work and its flavour. Furthermore, when I cited a comment in the bibliography, I cited the original student instead of the person who made the comment.

When reading at the original work and comments, I agreed with a commentator. There could have been more description of what the shop looked like. The feedback on this meant the tutor agreed this could be useful if the student planned to take the story further for a future assignment. In the same way, when I commented in the critique that the reader was left wanting more, the tutor also agreed with this. As the story was a good premise. In addition, when the student put more of the story on the forum, they mentioned things like ‘cassette tape’ giving us the reader, a certain feel to that period in time.

However, I did make silly mistakes, such as forgetting to indent the first line of the paragraph. I didn’t think this applied as it was a critique and not a story. Then, when I read the story again, I stated the student had swapped between past and present tense. Whereas, the tutor disagreed with my comment within my critique. Additionally, when I stated that working on the main character’s parents in which it had taken a darker tone. I had forgotten not only to give an example of the tone, but state whether it was an improvement or not. I also had forgotten to use terminology employed on the course.

As the story progressed and changes were made, the student had improved the story by creating tension which engaged the reader. And yet, when commenting how I felt for character’s mother as the tension grows, I didn’t elaborate on this by giving an example, which I should have done.

Finally, I found doing a critique of someone’s work very hard and the mark wasn’t as bad as it could have been. This is something I didn’t like doing as an assignment but I understand the reasoning behind it. So, if I had to do another critique, I would analyse it better and learn from the feedback given.

Second assignment for A363

In this assignment, I could either create a film, play or radio piece based on my first assignment. I looked over the options carefully but after mulling it over, I decided to go with the play. The stage play had to be 15 minutes in length, equal to 15 pages.

The way I tackled this was to gather all the speak from the story and put it into a document. Then, this gave me a total of 5 pages for my play. Considering, I had never written a play, this was very daunting.

So, I read through some plays to give me an idea on the layout, Also, the amount of description they use, so not only would it help the director and stage crew but allow the actors room to make the characters their own. Next, I read through the university material in what they expected in the script. I shared some of my work in the university forum in order to get feedback. This helped a great deal with shaping the play.

However, I found in writing this script that scenes were cut that were in the original story and some scenes were expanded on to give some characters a bigger role. More importantly, the story was able to keep most of the original essence without losing crucial storyline.

Consequently, when the tutor handed back the assignment, I received a better score than expected. Although, the feedback was mixed, it could have been worse. For example, I had a good description of the scene. This line was funny. Good use of a phone call to drop intriguing hints. On the other hand, there were comments like, the scene doesn’t move the action forward so you could have combined it with another scene. This direction is demanding but just about possible.

Finally, it was a demanding assignment but towards the end I found it enjoyable to do as I had attempted something, I never thought of doing. Having said that, would I do another play; well I’m still thinking on that.

First assignment for A363

Throughout the summer, I worked hard to improve my writing. So, when university started up again, I hoped that the hard work would pay off. The first assignment was either a total of 1500 words, in which we had to create a complete story or poetry. However, after attempting poetry last year, I chose prose, a complete story.

Next, the prompt which was chosen was ‘the hotel room’. It was up to us, as the writer, to choose the point of view, characters and so on. However, the word limit was a constraint at first but after many rewrites, the story was finished within the word limit.

In the first paragraph, it was suggested in the feedback, the street in which the character was on lacked description. ‘What did the street consist of?’, after re-reading the story, it was noticeable that there could have been more information on the street.

Also, the story had tension and given good detail to show the reader what period it was set. However, the hotel room had very vague detail. To elaborate, the room should’ve had a more distinctive feel to it. Perhaps, adding a sense of horror to it.

Furthermore, there was a part of the story which the character’s reaction was described when it should have been shown for the reader. Similarly, more detail could have been added to the reception in the hotel. Although, there were parts of the story that had unnecessary which could have been cut. If this had been noticed, then the other areas could have been expanded.

More importantly, the suspense could have carried on a little longer so that the reader wouldn’t know until the very end what was happening to the main character. Also, a story should not to end in a flashback but to bring it back to the present day so that the reader can see the resolution.

As a result, it has been shown by working on this assignment that there have been mistakes but also many improvements since the last module. This has meant an improved mark. Therefore, using the feedback given, this should improve the mark for the next assignment.