Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Review: Underwater by Marisa Reichardt

Title: Underwater
Author: Marisa Reichardt
Publisher:  Macmillan
Pages: 288
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary

“Forgiving you will allow me to forgive myself.”

Morgan didn’t mean to do anything wrong that day. Actually, she meant to do something right. But her kind act inadvertently played a role in a deadly tragedy. In order to move on, Morgan must learn to forgive—first someone who did something that might be unforgivable, and then herself.

But Morgan can’t move on. She can’t even move beyond the front door of the apartment she shares with her mother and little brother. Morgan feels like she’s underwater, unable to surface. Unable to see her friends. Unable to go to school.

When it seems Morgan can’t hold her breath any longer, a new boy moves in next door. Evan reminds her of the salty ocean air and the rush she used to get from swimming. He might be just what she needs to help her reconnect with the world outside.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Title: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Series: Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #1
Author: Ransom Riggs
Publisher: Quirk Books
Pages: 352
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And a strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children who once lived here—one of whom was his own grandfather— were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Review: It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

Title: It Ends With Us
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Pages: 352
Genres: Romance, New Adult
SOMETIMES THE ONE WHO LOVES YOU IS THE ONE WHO HURTS YOU THE MOST.

Lily hasn't always had it easy, but that's never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She's come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up – she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily's life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He's also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily, but Ryle's complete aversion to relationships is disturbing.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan – her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened...

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Review: Sins & Needles by Karina Halle

Title: Sins & Needles
Series: The Artists Trilogy #1
Author: Karina Halle
Publisher: Headline Eternal
Pages: 338
Genres: Romance, Suspense

Ellie Watt is used to starting over. The daughter of a grifting team, Ellie spent her childhood being used as a pawn in her parents' latest scam. Now she's much older, wiser and ready to give her con artist life a rest. But returning to the dry desert town of Palm Valley, California means one more temptation than she bargained for - Camden McQueen.

Once known as the high school weirdo, Camden is bigger and badder than the boy he used to be and a talented tattoo artist with his own thriving business. Ellie's counting on Camden still being in love with her but what she's not counting on is how easily unrequited love can turn into obsession over time. When Camden discovers Ellie's plan to con him, he makes her a deal she doesn't dare refuse, but her freedom comes with a price and it's one that takes both Ellie and Camden down a dangerous road.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Review: Mariana by Monica Dickens

Title: Mariana
Author: Monica Dickens
Publisher: Persephone Books
Pages: 400
Genres: Classics

Mariana
Monica Dickens's first book, published in 1940, could easily have been called Mariana - an Englishwoman. For that is what it is: the story of a young English girl's growth towards maturity in the 1930s. We see Mary at school in Kensington and on holiday in Somerset; her attempt at drama school; her year in Paris learning dressmaking and getting engaged to the wrong man; her time as a secretary and companion; and her romance with Sam. We chose this book because we wanted to publish a novel like Dusty Answer, I Capture the Castle or The Pursuit of Love, about a girl encountering life and love, which is also funny, readable and perceptive; it is a 'hot-water bottle' novel, one to curl up with on the sofa on a wet Sunday afternoon.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Review: So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

Title: So You've Been Publicly Shamed
Author: Jon Ronson
Publisher: Picador
Pages: 306
Genres: Non-fiction

So You've Been Publicly Shamed

'It's about the terror, isn't it?'
'The terror of what?' I said.

'The terror of being found out.'


For the past three years, Jon Ronson has travelled the world meeting recipients of high-profile public shamings. The shamed are people like us – people who, say, made a joke on social media that came out badly, or made a mistake at work. Once their transgression is revealed, collective outrage circles with the force of a hurricane and the next thing they know they're being torn apart by an angry mob, jeered at, demonized, sometimes even fired from their job.

A great renaissance of public shaming is sweeping our land. Justice has been democratized. The silent majority are getting a voice. But what are we doing with our voice? We are mercilessly finding people's faults. We are defining the boundaries of normality by ruining the lives of those outside it. We are using shame as a form of social control.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Review: All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Byrn Greenwood

Title: All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
Author: Byrn Greenwood
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Pages: 352
Genres: Literary Fiction, Romance

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
A beautiful and provocative love story between two unlikely people and the hard-won relationship that elevates them above the Midwestern meth lab backdrop of their lives.

As the daughter of a drug dealer, Wavy knows not to trust people, not even her own parents. It's safer to keep her mouth shut and stay out of sight. Struggling to raise her little brother, Donal, eight-year-old Wavy is the only responsible adult around. Obsessed with the constellations, she finds peace in the starry night sky above the fields behind her house, until one night her star gazing causes an accident. After witnessing his motorcycle wreck, she forms an unusual friendship with one of her father's thugs, Kellen, a tattooed ex-con with a heart of gold.

By the time Wavy is a teenager, her relationship with Kellen is the only tender thing in a brutal world of addicts and debauchery. When tragedy rips Wavy's family apart, a well-meaning aunt steps in, and what is beautiful to Wavy looks ugly under the scrutiny of the outside world. A powerful novel you won t soon forget, Bryn Greenwood's All the Ugly and Wonderful Things challenges all we know and believe about love.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Review: I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella

Title: I've Got Your Number
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Publisher: Bantam
Pages: 381
Genres: Romance, Contemporary

I've Got Your Number
I've lost it. The only thing in the world I wasn't supposed to lose. My engagement ring. It's been in Magnus's family for three generations. And now, the very same day his parents are coming, I've lost it. The very same day. Do not hyperventilate Poppy. Stay positive!!

Poppy Wyatt has never felt luckier. She is about to marry the ideal man, Magnus Tavish, but in one afternoon her 'happy ever after' begins to fall apart. Not only has she lost her engagement ring but in the panic that followed, she has now lost her phone. As she paces shakily round the hotel foyer she spots an abandoned phone in a bin. Finders keepers! Now she can leave a number for the hotel to contact her when they find her ring. Perfect!

Well, perfect except the phone's owner, businessman Sam Roxton doesn't agree. He wants his phone back and doesn't appreciate Poppy reading all his messages and wading into his personal life.

What ensues is a hilarious and unpredictable turn of events as Poppy and Sam increasingly upend each other's lives through emails and text messages. As Poppy juggles wedding preparations, mysterious phone calls and hiding her left hand from Magnus and his parents... she soon realises that she is in for the biggest surprise of her life.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Review: The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim

Title: The Enchanted April
Author: Elizabeth Von Arnim
Publisher: Vintage Classics
Pages: 304
Genres: Classics

The Enchanted April
Mrs Wilkins and Mrs Arbuthnot, cowed and neglected by their respective husbands, make a daring plan: they will have a holiday. Leaving a drab and rainy London one April and arriving on the shores of the Mediterranean, they discover a flower-filled paradise of beauty, warmth and leisure. Joined by the beautiful Lady Caroline and domineering Mrs Fisher, also in flight from the burdens of their daily lives, the four women proceed to transform themselves and their prospects.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Review: Angel Killer by Deborah Blum

Title: Angel Killer
Author: Deborah Blum
Publisher: The Atavist
Pages: 39
Genres: Non-fiction, Narrative, True Crime

Angel Killer
In the mid-1920s, young children began to vanish from neighborhoods around New York City. It took the police a decade to find their abductor, an unassuming 64-year-old handyman named Albert Fish. Fish had committed crimes of unspeakable horror: He had not only abducted and murdered the children, but also tortured and, in some cases, eaten them. During Fish's trial, some of the country's most prominent psychiatrists debated the exact nature of Fish's crimes. Was he evil or insane? Who had the power to determine where one ended and the other began? At stake was not just the prospect of justice for Fish and his victims, but also the future of the new science of criminal behavior—the idea that society’s worst monsters needed to be both punished and understood. Award-winning journalist Deborah Blum tells the story of a notorious cannibal killer, the detective who brought him to justice, and the scientists who tried to make sense of his crimes.

Review: You by Caroline Kepnes

Title: You
Series: You #1
Author: Caroline Kepnes
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 432
Genres: Thriller, Suspense

You
When aspiring writer Guinevere Beck strides into the bookstore where Joe works he is instantly smitten. Beck is everything Joe has ever wanted: tough, razor-smart and sexier than his wildest dreams. He'd kill to have her.

Soon Beck can't resist her feelings for a guy who seems custom made for her. When a string of macabre incidents tears her world apart there is only one person she can turn to. But there's more to Joe than Beck realises and much more to Beck than her perfect facade. The obsessive relationship quickly spirals into a whirlwind of deadly consequences...

Monday, 5 September 2016

August 2016 - Reading Wrap Up

Review: Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Title: Rebecca
Author: Daphne Du Maurier
Publisher: Virago
Pages: 432
Genres: Classics

Rebecca
On a trip to the South of France, the shy heroine of Rebecca falls in love with Maxim de Winter, a handsome widower. Although his proposal comes as a surprise, she happily agrees to marry him. But as they arrive at her husband's home, Manderley, a change comes over Maxim, and the young bride is filled with dread. Friendless in the isolated mansion, she realises that she barely knows him. In every corner of every room is the phantom of his beautiful first wife, Rebecca, and the new Mrs de Winter walks in her shadow.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Review: Lover Awakened by J. R. Ward

Title: Lover Awakened
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #3
Author: J. R. Ward
Publisher: Piatkus
Pages: 544
Genres: Paranormal Romance

Lover Awakened

In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there's a deadly war raging between vampires and their slayers. And there exists a secret band of brothers like no other - six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Of these, Zsadist is the most terrifying member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

A former blood slave, the vampire Zsadist still bears the scars from a past filled with suffering and humiliation. Renowned for his unquenchable fury and sinister deeds, he is a savage feared by humans and vampires alike. Anger is his only companion, and terror is his only passion - until he rescues a beautiful aristocrat from the evil Lessening Society.

Bella is instantly entranced by the seething power Zsadist possesses. But even as their desire for one another begins to overtake them both, Zsadist's thirst for vengeance against Bella's tormentors drives him to the brink of madness. Now, Bella must help her lover overcome the wounds of his tortured past, and find a future with her.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Review: The Mauricewood Devils by Dorothy Alexander

Title: The Mauricewood Devils
Author: Dorothy Alexander
Publisher: Freight Books
Pages: 225
Genres: Historical Fiction

The Mauricewood Devils
The year is 1889. When a fire tears through the Mauricewood coal pit there is no escape. Of sixty-five men working, only two survive. Many of the bodies will not be recovered for months.

Martha and her sister have lived with their granny since their mother died, but she is not kind. The death of their father in the Disaster means an end to any chance of a better life. For Martha’s stepmother, Jess, the wait for a body to bury, and the struggle to deal with a loss that is both collective and private, is agonizing.

With many of the miners families left destitute, the women of Mauricewood undertake a campaign for compensation and justice against the criminally negligent pit owners.

Martha and Jess’s stories lie at the heart of this elegy to the closeknit communities of the pit villages in a gripping tribute to resilience and courage in the face of utter catastrophe, based on true events, original source material and Alexander’s own family history.