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S.L Ireland "Shanna" (Ireland)

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I Will Marry George Clooney (By Christmas)
I Will Marry George Clooney (By Christmas)
Price: £4.49

3.0 out of 5 stars Way to go, Tracy. Way to go!, 1 Jan. 2015
36 year old Michelle is Mum to 15 year old Josie. In order to stop Josie from throwing her life away by not going to University and sleeping with her horrible boyfriend Sean, Michelle makes a deal with Josie - if Michelle asks George Clooney to marry her, Josie will not sleep with Sean on her 16th birthday and she will go to University. Josie agrees, and so begins Michelle's quest to find George.

Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? When I was a few chapters in I thought it was just silly, Michelle had told everyone she was going to marry George. Josie was a complete and utter cow, and Michelle's supposed best friend Gina was second only to her mother in how horrible she was. Both repeatedly told Michelle, someone they should have cared about, how she wasn't George's type because she was too fat/ugly/frumpy (delete where applicable).

However. With the reappearance of Rob, ex-boyfriend of Michelle's deceased sister Jane, things picked up a bit. While I still didn't like Gina, I liked Michelle's other friend Daz a lot, and Rob was likeable. Rather than look at it as "I will marry George Clooney", it started to be "I will show my daughter that when you follow your dreams, anything is possible". The "Chickens for Charity" event was funny, and I loved how they went to the hotel afterwards. I thought the Italy thing was silly, in particular when the other person showed up - who DOES that?!

Altogether it wasn't a taxing read, it was funnier and more heartwarming than I thought it would be. The ending was sweet, I was hoping that would feature somewhere in the story.

Copy provided by Netgalley, thank you to the publisher.

The Boy in the Cemetery
The Boy in the Cemetery
Price: £2.25

4.0 out of 5 stars The Boy Who Lived..........Sorta, 30 Dec. 2014
The story of a girl who lived but was not alive....and a boy who was dead but could not die. Boy has witnessed both his parents die - his beloved mother from the consumption, and his not-so-treasured father after an incident in the Cemetery. Finding himself alone in the world, Boy seeks solace in the Cemetery but gets more than he bargained for, ending up unable to live but unable to die.

Carrie Anne has endured horrific abuse at the hands of those who supposedly love her. When her family move to a new town for a new start, Carrie Anne feels like an outcast, burdened with keeping family secrets and bullied for trying to involve herself at school. She is instantly drawn to the Cemetery where she meets Boy - a meeting that will change the course of events forever.

This is on the more mature end of the YA scale, because of some of the subject matter - particularly some of the things that happen Carrie Anne. There's no profanity as such, but there is quite a graphic description of self harm and strong allusions to sexual abuse by a family member. This was uncomfortable to read and I found myself wishing Carrie Anne's story was different, and that's why I've docked this one star. Her mother infuriated me, and it made me so sad to think that this does happen in reality. I could have done without the school bullies - Carrie Anne's story was scary enough without that being added. They were terrifying and completely unhinged.

This is my second Sebastian Gregory story, and I definitely think he has found his own voice in this genre. It's Gaiman-esque, but in some ways it's even more sinister because the biggest horrors are human ones.In the way that Gaiman brings the reality into the fairytale, Gregory brings the fairytale into the reality. I would have liked the book to be a little longer, but I did enjoy it insofar as one could given the subject matter.

I liked the ending a lot, though it was a bit rushed. I liked Boy the best of all the characters. I thought the Detective had great potential and would have liked more of her.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a review copy.

Getting Over the X
Getting Over the X
Price: £1.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Read, 18 Dec. 2014
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In 2004, Steve Brookstein won the first series of the Xfactor. He had a number one single, successful debut album, then seemed to disappear amidst a plethora of "he's difficult to work with" articles. In this book, Steve doesn't mince words, but he doesn't put a spin on the events before and after the Xfactor.

It's very clear that he was branded with the "Pub Singer" image from the get-go - in fact, he had turned down a job supporting Lionel Richie to appear on the Xfactor and had just finished supporting Dionne Warwick. From his first audition when Sharon Osbourne yelled "stay out of the pub, p*sshead" to the live final in which she tore strips off him on live TV, Steve bit his tongue and remained cool for the duration of the pantomime.

This is such a good read - I finished it in two days despite having a list of stuff to do - I couldn't put it down. It's an honest, well written account of what really happened behind the scenes, and the awful way that Steve was treated because he didn't always tow the party line or walk around with his head up Simon Cowell's bum. If in any doubt of Steve's claims - take a look at the careers of Matt Cardle, Shayne Ward, Leon Jackson, and Joe McElderry. All were winners, all were dropped relatively soon after winning this supposed "dream prize".

Read it, it's excellent.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 4, 2015 12:41 PM GMT

A Christmas Horror Story
A Christmas Horror Story
Price: £1.89

4.0 out of 5 stars 'Twas the Fright Before Christmas...., 17 Dec. 2014
The story opens in Bern in 1514, where little Greta is waiting excitedly for Santa Claus. Unfortunately for Greta, it's not Santa who is on his way - it's a terrifying Child-Eating creature who will not rest until he has filled his sack.

Fast forward to 2014, where three children are at home waiting for their mother to return from work. 16 year old Katie is responsible for her younger brother and sister - but what will she do when all three begin to have similar dreams about a dark, horrific shadow who snatches children.....and what will she do when he arrives......

For a long time I've thought that todays children are robbed of decent horror stories. I'm not talking about gory, blood-filled zombie/vampire stuff. I'm talking about the good old-fashioned Point Horror stories where they build up, burst with tension and reach an exciting climax. This brought me right back to those books - it's written in a way that it almost could happen, with the exception of the villain himself there's nothing ridiculously over-the-top here. I will definitely be introducing my pre-teen to the world of Sebastian Gregory in a year or two, this is exactly the sort of book that 13 year old me would have curled up with on Christmas Day.

Thanks to Carina UK and Netgalley for providing me with a copy in exchange for review.

Station Eleven
Station Eleven
Price: £3.59

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Post-apocalyptic Shakespeare, anyone?, 1 Oct. 2014
This review is from: Station Eleven (Kindle Edition)
"Good Night", NBC said an hour later, "and good luck."

During a stage performance of King Lear, lead actor Arthur Leander drops dead on stage. What follows is the tale of a Georgia Flu pandemic that wipes out 90% of the population.

15 years later, Kristen, who was an 8 year old child actor with the production when the flu hit, is now a member of a Travelling Symphony. They travel in beat-up caravans between various small towns to perform Shakespeare for those who have survived the flu.

The story links Arthur, the man who tried to save his life, the little girl who acted with him, Arthur's first ex-wife, a mysterious "prophet", and Arthur's oldest friend. It's a post-apocalyptic novel that goes back & forth over their lives.

I really, really enjoyed this a lot. While I am a fan of Shakespeare, I would never have picked up a novel about a Travelling Symphony were this not a book club choice. It's really worth reading, one of the best and most unique books of the year.

It was wrapped up well, and I found the ending hopeful.

A solid 4/5.

Thanks to Pan Macmillan & Netgalley for providing me with a digital copy.

The Killing of Karen Silkwood: The Story Behind the Kerr-McGee Plutonium Case
The Killing of Karen Silkwood: The Story Behind the Kerr-McGee Plutonium Case
Price: £9.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing and still very relevant today., 8 Sept. 2014
The story of Karen Gay Silkwood is still one of the most intriguing and shocking. A fan of the movie 'Silkwood' starring Meryl Streep and Cher, I was eager to read this real-life account of Karen and the Kerr-McGee Plutonium Case that ultimately cost Karen her life.

The author draws parallels with the recent whistleblowing from Edward Snowden - showing that Karen's story is still every bit as relevant today.

Karen worked at the Cimarron plutonium Plant in Oklahoma owned by Kerr-McGee. This book is the product of a mind-blowing amount of research into Karen and the plant. Suspicious of deliberate contamination, breached safety procedures, lax quality control and broken machines (among other things), Karen began to keep notes of every little thing she saw going wrong. Workers at the plant were unaware of the dangers, and unaware of the carcinogenic properties of plutonium. She collected documents and testimonials from workers and with the help of a select few trusted people, she was ready to take it to the New York Times. On her way to the meeting, her car crossed the road, travelled 240ft along the grass shoulder, flew for 24ft over one wingwall and smashed into the other wall. Karen Silkwood was dead. If it were an accident, as was claimed, where did her documents go? And why was there a large dent on the side of her car, as if she were rammed off the road?

This book starts right at the beginning, and covers the entire Silkwood story from her time at the plant right up to the investigations and court cases after her death. It's incredibly detailed and in-depth. It took me a long time to finish it, because some of the information was hard to absorb. There was so much going on at the plant - leaving aside the Silkwood case, there was also the matter of 40lbs of plutonium that is still, to this present day, unaccounted for. To put that into perspective, plutonium is 20,000 times more deadly than the potassium used in Auschwitz chambers. 40lbs is enough to make 3 atomic bombs.

A hard read, but very worthwhile.

Thanks to Open Road Media & Netgalley for providing me with a digital copy in exchange for honest review.

Everything I Never Told You
Everything I Never Told You
Price: £3.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A sad, stunning debut., 6 Sept. 2014
"Lydia is dead. But they don't know this yet. 1977, May 3, six thirty in the morning..."

So begins the tale of Lydia Lee, eldest daughter of Marilyn and James Lee. This is a devastating read about the pressures on interracial couples in the 70s, about what happens when a parent gives up a dream for their children, and about what can happen when we so desperately try to prevent history from repeating itself.

James is the son of Chinese immigrant parents. He and Marilyn met with great prejudice when they married, none so great as that of her mother, who had her heart set on Marilyn marrying a Harvard doctor. Marilyn harboured dreams of becoming a doctor - she worked so hard to make that dream come true, then had to put it on hold for her family. In Lydia, moreso than her other children (son Nath and youngest child Hannah), she sees herself. She also sees great potential - the potential to succeed where she couldn't.

When Lydia is found dead, everyone is shocked. She was happy, wasn't she? She had friends, didn't she? She wanted to be a Doctor, didn't she?

Didn't she?

A beautiful book and a stunning debut. Thanks to Little, Brown Book Group UK and Netgalley for providing me with a digital copy.

Hopelessly Devoted to You
Hopelessly Devoted to You
Price: £3.79

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful cover but mediocre content., 2 Sept. 2014
Ruby and Finn have been dating for ten years and are due to get married in a few months. However - Ruby has fallen out of love with Finn and doesn't want to marry him. When she tells him, he storms out and trips - he suffers a bad fall and ends up in a coma.

When he wakes, he can't remember anything about the conversation they had. He has also undergone some personality changes - which Ruby seems to find attractive. Guilt-ridden about his accident, Ruby sticks by him as he recovers - and learns that a change is as good as a rest.

I'm not going to insult the author but I didn't enjoy this book and would definitely not rate it 5 stars. I'll leave it at that.

Thanks to Carina UK for providing a digital copy via Netgalley in exchange for honest review.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 4, 2015 1:53 PM GMT

Miss Spelled
Miss Spelled
Price: £3.20

4.0 out of 5 stars A sweet little read, 2 Sept. 2014
This review is from: Miss Spelled (Kindle Edition)
Lou and Aiden are made for each other - it's their one-year anniversary and Lou is hoping that Aiden will propose. When he does, she is overjoyed - until she hears that he is about to try and strike a work deal with someone from Lou's past. Hunter Wincott is the epitome of horrible. He and Lou had a relationship years ago - but he's also got a past with Aiden, having tormented him at boarding school when they were younger. Aiden's family already think Lou isn't good enough for their son, so she is terrified of losing him if he realises that she and Hunter were once an item. In a moment of desperation (and stupidity), and with the help of her friend Mel, the girls go online in search of a magic spell to help erase Lou from Hunter's memory. They get a spell from internet witch Majique, but when Lou casts it under a black moon, the spell goes horribly wrong and she manages to erase much, much more.

This book was so cute, and laugh-out-loud funny in parts (Sergeant Walnut and the lactose intolerance in particular had me giggling). At just under 2 hours, it's a lovely snuggly read. Perfect to read in between heavier material, and a lovely little read coming into Autumn. Sweet!

To All the Boys I've Loved Before
To All the Boys I've Loved Before
Price: £2.84

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring., 28 Aug. 2014
I thought the premise of this book was brilliant - teenage girl writes letters to all her crushes, telling them how she feels - somehow, they end up receiving the letters and teenage girl has to deal with the after effects.

Only - it's woefully boring. If Lara Jean didn't intend to send the letters, why did she put them in sealed, addressed envelopes? When Peter receives his letter and thinks it would be a great idea to use Lara Jean to make his ex jealous, she jumps at the opportunity. What kind of lesson is that for teenage girls?! Also, the blurb fails to mention that one of the boys is her sister's boyfriend. They were apparently so in love, but the minute Margot is out of the picture, Josh starts to see Lara Jean differently and thinks it's perfectly okay to crush on his girlfriend's sister? I can't tell you how it ended, because I didn't finish it. I thought the main character was juvenile and childish, and would have put her at 13, not 16. Boring.

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