The Shortest History of Germany ★★★½

The Shortest History of Germany ★★★½
James Hawes


Genre(s) | Nonfiction, Germany
Goodreads Rating | 3.86
Humpo Show Rating | 3.70
Published: 2017
Publisher: Old Street Publishing (2018 edition) 

Covering everything from Charlemagne, Martin Luther, Otto von Bismarck and Adolf Hitler, to the Reformation, Prussia, First World War and the Berlin Wall, The Shortest History of Germany is a breezy visit through German events, monarchies, politics and geography.  Continue reading

A Necessary Evil ★★★½

A Necessary Evil ★★★½
Abir Mukherjee


Genre(s) | Mystery, Historical Fiction, India
Goodreads Rating | 4.07
Humpo Show Rating | 3.55
Publisher: Vintage
Published: 2018 (Originally published in 2017 by Harvill Secker)

Captain Sam Wyndham and Sergeant Banerjee of Calcutta Police investigate the assassination of a Maharaja’s eldest son, and heir to the throne of Sambalpore. Their investigation takes them to the lavish kingdom, which contains the beautiful Palace of the Sun as well as observing the royalty that fund their lavish lifestyle with the fortunes brought to them by the diamond mines. Continue reading

Books I Think Students Should Read (Discussion Post)

discussion
This is not a plan, just a list of books that I think students should have read before they leave education. Let me know some books you would suggest that students should have read before leaving school.

Compulsory Reading

To Kill a Mockingbird | Harper Lee – deals with issues of racial inequality.

1984 | George Orwell – a timeless classic which seems that it will always be relevant.

Lord of the Flies | William Golding – a story of morals.

Frankenstein | Mary Shelley – what does it mean to be human?

Pygmalion | Thomas Bernard Shaw – a feminist critique of the Ovidian myth that a woman can be a man’s creation.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower | Stephen Chbosky – a coming-of-age story about a boy who has troubles at home.

The Kite Runner | Khaled Hosseini – a contemporary classic set with the backdrop of recent Afghanistan history. Continue reading

Book Review | The Spy Who Came in From the Cold

The Spy Who Came in From the Cold
John le Carré


Genre(s) | Espionage, Thriller, Mystery, Classic.
Goodreads Rating | 4.04
Humpo Show Rating | 5.0 wp_20161011_16_59_38_pro-2

An encounter with literary greatness

The course of this tale concerns a complex double-agent operation, which le Carré tells in an economical style that somehow displays the coldness of human relations as well as fiery interrogations. He reveals the cold-bloodedness of British Intelligence—and, by implication, of all intelligence systems—which will be unyielding in its pursuit of secrecy and success no matter if the innocent stand in their way. When the British Station Head operating from West Berlin loses his last agent operating in East Berlin, he returns to London to contemplate retirement. However, his superiors instead see an opportunity to give him one last assignment for him. They want him to “defect” and set up his nemesis in the end game of a plan that has been in the works for years.  Continue reading

Dr. No Book Review

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Dr. No
Ian Fleming

Genre(s) | Espionage, Thriller, Adventure, Mystery.
Goodreads Rating | 3.76
My Rating | 3.5 

James Bond is sent to Jamaica for some R&R, instead of rest and relaxation he gets a riotous and rip-roaring reception. He faces a calculating and menacing villain in the form of Dr. Julius No, who has acquired Crab Key island off the coast of Jamaica, and his intentions and actions are shrouded in secrecy. Bond, accompanied capably by the beautiful Honey and the fiercely loyal Quarrel, visit the private island where they encounter an abundance of obstacles in their attempts to bring the undoubtedly evil Dr No down.  Continue reading

The Ruby in the Smoke

The Ruby in the Smoke Book Review
Phillip Pullman
4 / 5

Genre | Young Adult Mystery
Published: 1985
Goodreads | 3.8 

This was a book I read when I was 12 or 13 and it was a book I remember enjoying immensely, yet I haven’t reread it…until now.

This Young-Adult mystery is centred around the suspicious death of Sally Lockhart’s father in the South China Sea which has left her a teenage orphan alone in the smoky fog of Victorian London. Her father’s death and dying note to her triggers a series of events that place her in terrible danger. The danger and mystery deepen, and at the heart of this fascinating tale lies the deadly secret of the ruby in the smoke..

The mystery begins when Sally endeavours to uncover the significance of her father’s last warning to her – ‘Beware the Seven Blessing.’ She intends to pursue this lead and find out the identity of his killer and bring the villain to justice. Shortly after her arrival at her father’s trading office, she becomes embroiled in another murder, the vagaries of the opium trade, and the mystery of the disappearance of the fabled Ruby of Agrapur. During her adventures in London, she encounters a few associates who become true friends, including a young errand boy named Jim, an amiable photographer by the name of Frederick Garland and his friendly actress of a sister Rosa. Before the game is played out, she will need her new-found friends in her race against the clock to make sense of her convoluted past and discover just who is behind the strange web of betrayal and deceit that has taken over her life.  Continue reading

The Prince of Mist Book Review

The Prince of Mist
Carlos Ruiz Zafon

3.5

A short and dark YA novel that captivates the reader through Zafon’s use of atmospheric descriptions, gothic themes and adventure that leaves the reader on tenterhooks. Max and his family have moved to a small village on the coast to escape their war-torn city life, however, as soon as they arrive, mystery, death and a sinister tale reawaken, and they have swapped the danger of war, for the unknowable danger that lurks in the mist. Prince of Mist Continue reading

Olympics Book Tag

Olympics Book Tag

I thought I would start an Olympics Book Tag as I haven’t seen any doing the rounds …or I just haven’t been nominated :/ Anyway, I’ve done 7 events/people, feel free to change/add/alter any to suit you best. I for one love the Olympics, and there have been some incredible moments already, so let’s spread the Olympic joy among us bloggers and see what we come up with!

Olympics Book Tag- The Humpo Show Continue reading

The Perks of Being a Wallflower Book Review

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Stephen Chboskyperks

4.5 / 5

I read this on the train to London and Haywards Heath, and the return journey back to Leicester. I got utterly engrossed in Charlie’s thoughts that he put to paper. I felt somewhat of a connection to Charlie, maybe there is a little part of me that is similar to him, or maybe Chbosky has just brought out thoughts in our heads which we keep to ourselves rather say aloud? The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deep, though-provoking and personal novel which introduces a myriad of issues, but at the centre of it all is a teenage boy who is trying his best to participate, be normal and to make friends despite his oddities and emotional issues. This is a book that teenagers should definitely read, and has become somewhat of a contemporary classic.  Continue reading

Glass Sword Review

Electrifyingly Brilliant

Glass Sword
by Victoria Aveyard

4.5 / 5

Mare is a sword, a sword made of glass, and she is showing signs that she may shatter. In this fantastic continuation, Mare and her Scarlet Guard comrades are attempting to track down and recruit the Newbloods (Red bloodied, but with abilities stronger than a Silver), to create a force that is capable of overthrowing the Silver Dynasty. Glass Sword is a pulsating read that has more twists and turns than a double helix which resides within the Reds, Silvers and Newbloods alike.  WP_20160217_14_19_48_Pro 

The one thing that everyone will talk about when discussing Glass Sword will undoubtedly be the ending. I could write endless amounts about the events that happened leading to this moment, as well as speculating about the events to come, but this review will be unspoilerery for those yet to read it. I can already feel an invisible force trying to make me write about the thrilling moments of unbridled action and suspense, perhaps its Queen Elara entering my mind. I will try my best to compose a review which is two-pronged in approach. Firstly, to persuade those yet to delve into Mare’s world of Red and Silver that they should discover these brilliantly written books which are sure to be the next big book series to be turned into a Hollywood blockbuster. But I will also try to write a review which does justice to Aveyard’s incredible work. She has created a world which I willingly fall into every time I pick up the book. The characters are interesting and three-dimensional, and there is never a moment where you can relax as the line that is now etched into the minds of her readers is that “anyone can betray anyone.” Both in Red Queen and Glass Sword this line is enacted by someone, which adds an unpredictability element to the proceedings. Unpredictability is the key theme that runs throughout the book, even with a Newblood with incredible seer abilities, and the unknown nature of what will happen next is idiosyncratic of Aveyard’s style, perfectly shown in the cliffhanger ending. Continue reading