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mrsb2011

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Dear Daughter
Dear Daughter
Price: 7.59

3.0 out of 5 stars A little disappointed, 25 Aug 2014
This review is from: Dear Daughter (Kindle Edition)
Dear Daughter is a difficult book to review I feel as to begin with I found it a bit of a struggle to get into. I felt that I didn’t give myself enough time to get into it and this spoiled my enjoyment in the beginning. Saying this I loved the way the story was laid out.

Janie has just been released from prison for murder; murdering her mother. The thing is, she has no memory for ever killing her; the evidence was stacked against her and so it was a done deal. Janie used to be a socialite and always in the media. Now she has been set free, she is trying to dodge the paparazzi, the media and try to find out the truth about who killed her mother.

I love how throughout the book as a reader we learn more about Janie through the eyes of the media, via newspaper clippings, the internet, police reports and family trees. I thought this was really clever and kept the reader interested. It felt you were helping Janie along the way to discover the truth.

As I was reading this book, I kept thinking this should be a book that I cannot put down. It has everything in it that would make me want to read and sounds right up my street. Janie however is not a likable character and I cared for her very little, this also made it hard for me to get through the book and this disappointed me as I had such high hopes for it. Little is excellent at characterisation and I think intended Janie to not be likable.

This book is really hard to review without giving away too much and I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. If you like Gone Girl this should be a book you enjoy, there is a little crime and mystery; I doubt if you will see the ending coming. This is certainly a clever book and a very good debut novel.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.


My Sort-of, Kind-of Hero
My Sort-of, Kind-of Hero
Price: 1.83

5.0 out of 5 stars Chick Lit with a difference, 25 Aug 2014
When I was contacted by Emily offering me her book to review, I jumped at the chance, this sounded just up my street. Emily is a new author to me and since reading My Sort of Kind of Hero I would definitely want to read more from her.

This is a brilliant chick lit book, it is light and fun. I love the story line of this book, I could visually see it all coming together and the characters were brilliant. This is a story about Etty, she is a struggling writer who has been knocked back several times by publishers and every time she goes to a book signing she hopes there are more people there than just her parents.

The scene in the book store is actually one of my favourites in the book. I love it! I could see it all happening and I felt sorry for Etty waiting for customers to come and ask her to sign her book. I love the glimmer of hope she gets from a boy and later finds out it’s just her friend being kind and trying to support her. This is such an easy read; it was perfect, it had such a good balance of humour, romance and seriousness.

They way the story is written it is predictable but I didn’t mind that in the slightest, I enjoyed reading the story and was racing through the pages, I wanted to see Etty’s relationship develop and want to see her career become a success. I felt that I was able to connect well to Etty, she is my age and trying to create a career for herself of something she has always wanted to do and just needs a break.

Although this is a chick lit book, it is a chick lit with a difference, romance is evident in the book but not in the conventional way.

I would strongly recommend this book to slip into your suitcase this summer for on your holiday, its light, fun and a quick read. After reading this you are going to want to discover more from Harper. I am just sad that it has taken me this long to discover her and that this book is over!

I would like to thank Emily for supplying me with this copy, this has been exchange for an honest review.


Confessions
Confessions
by Kanae Minato
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

5.0 out of 5 stars A shocking read, 24 Aug 2014
This review is from: Confessions (Paperback)
When I spotted `Confessions' I thought this sounded brilliant. I love a good thriller and being set in/around a school I thought it appealed to me as it sounded a little different. Being just over 200 pages I knew this was going to be a quick read; I didn't anticipate just how quick of a read this was going to be. All I can say is wow! This book blew me away!

This is the first time I have ever read a Japanese translated book and I was unsure what to expect in relation to the translation; some books that have been translated that I have read; have not been that good. This was practically perfect and I would have struggled to realise it had been translated if it wasn't mentioned.

A middle school teacher Yuko Moriguchi decides on the last day of term to announce she is retiring and tells her students one of the reasons she has decided to retire is down to the tragic `accident' of the death of her four year old daughter at the school. Moriguchi, however knows it was not an accident and knows exactly who is responsible for the death; and it was a few students in her class.

This book is split into characters perspectives of what has happened during the time of the death and for the few months after. These form the chapters in the book; it makes the chapters rather long and not easy if you wish to stop reading, to visit the bathroom or make a cup of tea.

As I was reading the book I wondered how it was fitting into the `thriller' genre as we knew right from the beginning exactly what had happened to the four year old. Going further through the book I began to understand and how the story was being to develop. It is a very clever story that stayed with me for some time after I had stopped reading. I also did not see the ending coming and I actually gasped out loud. This is the first time I have been completely surprised by a book and it really did shock me.

The story itself is truly horrific and shocking at times; which made the reader want to continue and although at points I didn't want to continue reading I just could not put the book down. This is a very thought provoking book, it is addictive and will stay with you long after you have finished it.

It has made me want to shout from the streets what a brilliant book this is and encourage others to read it. This was a cracking read; I highly recommend it to anyone who loves psychological thrillers. This book was easily 5* from me and if I could have given it higher I would have, purely for the shock that I did not see coming!

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.


The Story Of Us
The Story Of Us
Price: 1.19

5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourite reads this year... Beautiful!, 24 Aug 2014
This review is from: The Story Of Us (Kindle Edition)
Dani Atkins is an author I have heard a lot about, I have ‘Fractured’ her debut novel on my bookshelf but have not yet got round to reading; however I had heard it is fantastic and its one that I must read and as soon as possible. So when I heard Atkins had a second book out ‘The Story of Us’ I couldn’t wait to read it. As this was the first book I have read by Atkins I didn’t really know what to expect, however I was excited to finally be able to discover this author.

The story starts with the end, Emma getting ready for a wedding; which I quickly began to think could be her own. You as a reader are then transported back to learn about ‘The Story of Us’ We are thrown into a fast paced scene which leads to a tragic accident and one that had me hooked right from the first few pages.

Although the accident includes Emma and her two friends Amy and Caroline and all is not well for them, I felt that I was able to really connect with the characters and got to know them well. The story was definitely an emotional one; one in which really makes you question decisions in your life and wonder what if… Reading the side story about Emma’s mum was one that got to me personally, I have experienced this first hand with another member of the family and know how distraught it can make you feel. (I don’t want to say too much as to spoil the book for you.)

I loved Jack in the story, he was such a hero and he comes across as someone genuine and completely different to Richard. Saying this I warmed to Richard towards the end; he managed to make me see a different side of him along with Emma. I feel that he too was truly sorry and perhaps not the same man as he once was. I also loved all the smaller characters in the story such as Monique, Emma’s boss at a bookstore. I love how we don’t come across her that much, but when we do, she lets us know exactly what she is like. Her personality is a big one and one that you instantly warm to.

I really enjoyed the way the story was written and the structure of it. I enjoyed at the end of the chapter a smaller section which brought me back to the present, before gradually slipping back into the past story, which leads us to the end. (I am probably not making much sense, but this is such a good story that I don’t want to give anything away. Trying to write a review for a book like this is truly difficult as I just want to scream from the rooftops how much I enjoyed it; and to tell the world about it, but I also do not want to include any spoilers!) I felt the coming together of the book was excellent, the writing was beautiful and everything was relevant, I read the book extremely quickly as I just had to know the story and how it ending. Looking back I wished I had savoured it for a little as it was a beautiful story and one that I am not going to miss. Saying this it is going to become one of my firm favourites on my bookshelf and one that I will be returning to again and again.

I now cannot wait to go back and read Atkins debut novel ‘Fractured’ and hope she writes quickly for her next book. Atkins is an author I feel that is going to be popular for a long time if she continues to write like this.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending me this in exchange for an honest review.


The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir who got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe
The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir who got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe
by Romain Puertolas
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 9.09

4.0 out of 5 stars A very funny read, 24 Aug 2014
Intriguing title and good front cover would have made me pick this up in a book shop however having been sent this from Harvill Secker as a proof to review I didn't have to buy it but after having read it I would have happily done so.

Written I guess in the same vein as the Hundred Year Old Man et al the author takes the reader on an incredibly silly and unlikely tale about a Fakir who having conned his village into raising enough funds for a ticket to Paris to buy a bed of nails from IKEA manages to get himself into all sorts of bother. He starts his journey by conning a Parisian taxi driver out of his fare to IKEA and once inside having requested the bed he wants he is told that it is not in stock but can be ordered for collection the next day. Not anticipating that he would have to spend the night in Paris he has no where to stay and decides to sleep in the store when it shuts. He successfully manages this but becomes trapped in a wardrobe that is being shipped out to Britain and thus his journey begins travelling from Britain to Spain, Italy, Libya and finally back to France. He meets all manner of characters along the way and his journey from country to country is as unplanned as his first journey to Britain.

A very unlikely tale but so funny that I became hooked and wanted to find out what happened to him next; each of his adventures are just as silly as the first, the main character Ajatashatru Oghash (pronounced A-jar-of-rat-stew-oh-gosh) was so endearing it was impossible not to like him. I loved the author giving pronunciations after each new long name he introduces to the reader - good comic touches.

There was an undercurrent in the book; although seemingly silly and lighthearted he crosses paths with some illegal immigrants and gives moving descriptions of the hardships they face and why they are so driven to get a new life in the 'good countries'. The author touches on human traffickers, hardship and immigration systems with a particularly derisive attack on the British and Italian immigration systems. Despite the feeling of being slightly manipulated to the authors way of thinking this serious element to the book for me added a new dimension making this seemingly silly and ridiculous tale far more poignant.

A very quick and easy read - the book took me just a day and a half from start to finish; it was entertaining, very funny in parts, completely bonkers in others but a great all round read. I would easily recommend this and happily give it 4.5 stars.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending me this copy in exchange for an honest review.


The Boys' School Girls: Tara's Sister Trouble
The Boys' School Girls: Tara's Sister Trouble
Price: 2.98

4.0 out of 5 stars A good beginning of a series, 14 Aug 2014
Tara has just been transferred to Hillcrest High Boys’ school which for this year are introducing girls to the school. The main reason is that she has a crush on a boy who attends and thought this would be the perfect way of him noticing her. On arriving at the school Tara finds out that she is one of 9 girls who are attending the school, one of which has also followed her from her old school and is her enemy.

Tara has a sister, one who is only 11 months older than her, but thankfully attends a different school. Tara’s world comes crashing down when it is revealed that Maxie (her sister) is going to be attending Hillcrest along with Tara as she has been expelled from her school for gifted children.

This story is about friendship and family. Throughout the story many issues are covered and at times I felt the girls have behaved very maturely as they are only 11 going on 12. I feel this is a good beginning of a series and will appeal to many, those who are feeling isolated and alone will also benefit from reading this. I remember falling out with friends when I was this age and felt the whole world was against me. This book would have helped me realise this is a normal thing, and many go through feeling this at some point.

As an older reader I was quite surprised, sometimes when reading a middle grade book I get a little annoyed or cross as the level of immaturity irritates me. I didn’t feel this while reading it. Tara came across as quite a feisty girl but one who cared about her family and friends. While Maxie was not likable at the beginning, however my opinion of her changed towards the end. The other characters are a little 1 dimensional; this I feel is because there are so many of them in the book and you as a reader never really get to know them well.

The book was read in one sitting, it is an easy read which passed the time well. There is not a lot of substance to it, so if you are looking for something meaty this may not be for you. However I believe this has captured the target audience and will do very well. The book does open your eyes to what is important in life and perhaps what the girls think is important to begin with actually isn’t. This is something though that I feel a lot of girls entering teenage years feel and at the age the girls are this is not uncommon.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.


Spare Brides
Spare Brides
Price: 2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant Historical Novel, 14 Aug 2014
This review is from: Spare Brides (Kindle Edition)
Spare Brides is essentially about four upper class ladies and their adjustment to life after WW1. Friends who have previously lead silly giddy lives where the most difficult decision they have had to make in a day is what dress or shoes they should wear suddenly are given responsibility, jobs and a purpose in life. In reality this is a book about awakening, friendship, the search for direction and happiness and Adele Parks takes us on a journey that changes each of these women's lives forever.

The characters are flawed before the war but these flaws are made all the more visible to themselves and those around them when the war ends and the heavy price that victory has cost them is painfully brought home to them with the loss of loved ones, and the realisation that nothing will ever be the same again.

With thousands of men lost, and damaged and crippled survivors coming home this means challenges for everyone. For the upper class women it means fewer husbands available forcing those who don't find marriage the turmoil of what they will do with their lives, they have no purpose and no direction. Beatrice falls into this unenviable category; sister to Sarah whose husband is killed in the war leaving her with two children to bring up alone, Bea was hoping to find happiness and marriage before the war but being less attractive than other girls her 'coming out' was a disaster due to the start of the war and dashed all her hopes of happiness. Her story is of loneliness and tragic acceptance to a life of emptiness. Then there's Sarah who loses the love of her life and spends every day mourning for him and trying to bring up two children alone. Sarah and Bea become the 'spare parts' and looked on with pity, being offered invitations to events as a courtesy.

We meet the beautiful Ava, enchanting, mesmerising, scandalous, vivacious, most of the men lust after her and most of the women secretly envy her. Seemingly a frivolous and self-centered flapper, Ava is a much more complex and fragile character than she first appears. War work has given these women some purpose in life and they are enjoying their new found freedom it's inconceivable that things can return to the way they were before the war and of course they can't. Ava doesn't just want to be a wife she wants to have a career or make a difference in this new world. She is absolutely determined not to end up like Bea just because she doesn't want to marry, she wants a career. She fights to find herself and surprisingly uses her new found courage to help her friends not least Bea to find strength within themselves to try something new.

Then there's Lydia; having made a successful marriage to Lord Chatfield and soon to become a Countess when her father-in-law dies, she is tormented by being unable to produce an heir although she is envied by others as she is spared the grief of losing a husband to war. When she is drawn to Edgar Trent it is difficult for those who know her to believe she would be willing to sacrifice a husband and grand lifestyle that the others most want for what they believe to be a silly infatuation. To her friends it seems equally unfair that she should have two men when some women have none. She embarks on a dangerous affair but learns a lot about herself along the way and what really is important in her life.

Beautifully written, Adele Parks does not disappoint in this novel. Passionate and at times poignant she takes the reader through the giddy, lavishness of pre war frivolous trophy women and pompess Victorian men to a very different country post WW1. Four friends each with their own secrets and desires, each facing their own demons and trying to adjust to a post war life that is trying to hold on to the old values while having to move forward into the new world where social boundaries were blurred and embracing change was frightening and exhilarating in equal measure.

Returning soldiers who managed to come back relatively intact had the pick of the 'spare brides' leaving no room for those less fortunate plain women. My heart ached for Bea the wallflower when the war ended, with no great looks or dowry to rely on she has to face the painful realisation that she'll be left on the shelf and die an old maid. Parks takes us from the eager intelligent puppy like girl to the resigned, often humiliated and wary woman that she becomes.

But this novel is not all doom and gloom; there are some unexpected twists and turns which I won't reveal that go on to make this a satisfying and happy read. Each of the four characters are well developed; it is easy to identify and sympathise with them all and each one brings something fragile and raw to the story to touch your heart. It seems that the war fought on the front was a prelude to the war that inevitably has to take place once the men return and the fighting is over. This war did change lives forever, it opened up opportunities, it broke down social barriers, it left families destroyed by the horror of war and the guilt of profiteering from it but it also meant new beginnings which comes across very well in this novel. It was awful, it was brutal, the struggles of both men and women during this time were monumental and Adele Parks deals with this brilliantly in her book.

I have to give this book a 5 star rating, it was beautifully written, brutally honest, heartbreakingly real but mostly it was a book that I would not have wanted to miss - it would make a great film. You have to read it.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.


Upside Down: Off the Map 1
Upside Down: Off the Map 1
Price: 2.48

3.0 out of 5 stars An O.K. read, 14 Aug 2014
I don’t read many New Adult titles, so when I was offered Upside Down by debut author Lia Riley I thought this would be a good one to get started with.

Talia is a twenty one year old exchange student on her way to Australia for six months. It’s not long that she is there and meets surfer hunk Bran.

I really enjoyed the beginning of the book, learning about the main character Talia, I enjoyed reading about her family and the issues she was trying to overcome. However little more than at the second chapter we were in Australia, this to me happened too quick; we were suddenly introduced to the love interest and I felt there was no time to just ‘enjoy’ the surroundings.

I thought I was really going to enjoy this story, having been to Australia myself I felt I would be able to connect to the surroundings and dream about being back there again. Unfortunately this didn’t happen, I didn’t feel like I was hooked in this story and I didn’t feel like I connected with any of the characters either. This made the book a little of a struggle for me to read as I felt I had to force myself.

The way the story is written is good, each chapter we come across one of the characters and what is going on through their point of view. I did like the way that this was set out, and it made it easy to follow.

Bran is the love interest in the story and I found him a little unlikable. He spent most of his time being a typical boy; however I felt he didn’t come across too well. During his chapters when I learnt more about him, my opinion of him never improved.

Both of the main characters have their own issues and problems that they are trying to overcome and find each other in the process. Bran tries to ignore his feelings but it is inevitable that they should be together.

The actual storyline was O.K, there were times when I felt the reason she was in Australia was missed...I wasn’t actually sure what she was studying until half way through the book. I would say this book relies heavily on the romance which is great if that is what you are looking for. This book is definitely a romantic emotional rollercoaster.

Overall the story was O.K, I didn’t think it grabbed me and at times I found it hard to want to read it as I couldn’t connect with any of the characters. The story has been written well and if you love New Adult Romance, I am sure you will love it. Personally it just wasn’t for me, which is a shame as I really wanted to like it.

I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with this copy in exchange for an honest review.


If I Stay
If I Stay
by Gayle Forman
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunningly Moving, A Must Read, 13 Aug 2014
This review is from: If I Stay (Paperback)
When I got sent this from the publishers to read and review I couldn’t wait; I heard that it was going to be made into a film and I was keen to read this before its release. Being just over 200 pages I knew it wasn’t going to take me long.

At the beginning we are introduced to Mia, a seventeen year old who has a typical teenager’s life. We can identify with her, her family relationship and the relationship she has with her boyfriend Adam. Although this story is a Young Adult’s novel, I feel there are adult themes in the book and adults can relate to aspects of Mia’s life. Looking back and reminiscing.

The opening chapter of this book we discover the close relationship Mia has with the rest of her family, I particularly loved Teddy, her younger brother. I have a younger brother myself so some of the feelings Mia have towards her brother I could relate too as I have felt myself. It doesn’t take long though for the tension and suspense in the book to shift and by page 11 or 12 we are thrown into a family tragedy.

Mia is awake and can see what is happening in front of her, she can hear, speak and see. She is unable to feel anything though and soon realises that something is wrong, she is not the same as she was, when she woke up this morning and where are her family. Mia has to make one of the most difficult decisions anyone would ever have to make over the next 24 hours or so and that is should she stay?

The book alternates from the past and to the present, along the way we discover more about Mia and her family. This is truly a touching story and one that has evoked many emotions. I rarely feel sad during books; this one however has really got to me. I have found myself sitting thinking about what I have read and questioning myself. This is a deeply touching story that will have a lasting effect on anyone who reads it.

Although the book is just over 200 pages I found that I thought it was a lot longer and this is because of how it has been written and how it makes you feel. It is truly moving and touching. I didn’t read this in one sitting; however it is completely possible to do so. I am so glad that I have been able to read this before the release of the film. This is a book that I urge everyone to read, it also makes you realise how short life is and that you should embrace it. You never know what is round the corner and should live life to the full.

I cannot wait to read Where She Went the sequel of If I Stay.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending me this in exchange for an honest review.


Little Lies
Little Lies
Price: 4.72

5.0 out of 5 stars Another brilliant read, 10 Aug 2014
This review is from: Little Lies (Kindle Edition)
After reading The Husband's Secret last year by Moriarty I couldn't wait for more. I loved her writing style and quickly got carried away in the book.

When I was sent a copy of Little Lies, I could not wait to begin it. At almost 500 pages, this is a large book; do not let this put you off though as I found I read it quicker than I thought I would, once I got into it.

This is a book I feel you need to give 100% on, I don't think that it would be possible to read alongside another as there are many characters in the book and it is important you know who is who, as they all have a relevant reason for being in the story. I can see that it could become quite confusing if you are juggling two books together. Also I would recommend allowing yourself to be immersed by this book and have a good few hours where you can get into it. For the same reason, at times I was a little confused as to who was who; once I got into it, it was a very smooth read and flowed very well.

Jane has moved into the area, she is young and is a single mother to Ziggy. It quickly becomes apparent that Jane is very different to the other women in the area and at the school that Ziggy attends. Very quickly on Jane meets Madeline and forms a firm friendship with her. Things begin to go wrong for Jane after an incident in the school playground with Ziggy and everyone begins to turn on her.

This is a story about developing tension, as you make your way through the book, you know something is going to happen but can't quite put your finger on what. Right from the beginning we know that whatever it is that is going to happen will feature around the school Trivia Night and we are just making our way towards it. It is such a cleverly written book, as you know there is something and you are trying to look out for what it could possibly be. Personally I had no idea what was going to happen in the story, we know that a murder has taken place but we don't know who is dead or why.

I loved the angle covered with the three main female characters and thought they complimented each other brilliantly. Each one of them has their own story going on and their story lines are well developed, just as the characters are. I loved how Moriarty bought all the characters together and that they seem to have a link in some way.

This is a gripping story, it has you hooked from the first few chapters and it engages you all the way to the end. This is a book that you just have to finish. I love the way Moriarty writes and from what I have now read she just seems to be getting better and better. There are many shocking revelations in the book that you will not be expecting and keep you wanting more.

I would love to read more of Moriarty; I cannot seem to get enough! This is definitely one to be adding to your reading list this year.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review


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