Sunday, 12 February 2017
'NEW NAME .
Annie's mother is a serial killer.
The only way she can make it stop is to hand her in to the police.
But out of sight is not out of mind.
As her mother's trial looms, the secrets of her past won't let Annie sleep, even with a new foster family and name - Milly.
A fresh start. Now, surely, she can be whoever she wants to be.
But Milly's mother is a serial killer. And blood is thicker than water.
Good me, bad me.
She is, after all, her mother's daughter...
This book wasn't what I was expecting and I did wonder if I would be able to carry on reading it when I realised that Annie's Mother is a serial killer of children. It is not something I would normally read, but there was enough of the physiological aspects of the books for me to carry on reading.
The book is mainly centered around Annie who now has a new identity as Milly and her efforts at rebuilding her life. As a new girl at school she falls prey to cyber bullying and develops a crush on a teacher. Lots of "mean girls"s type scenarios happen to her. She is also processed through the "system" and this also has effects on her.
I was shocked at the questioning of a minor in the court room scenes - would that really be allowed? It was almost as though she was on trial. Her temporary guardian Mike seemed like he was a little feckless and surely he wasn't that dim? Events happening around him and he is so oblivious to it all.
There are no chapters to the book. I found it easy to read (if not the subject matter at times) and so I read it in just over a day. The writing style was unusual but It was engrossing - what was going to happen? The ending was a real twist.
I'm giving this book 4 out of stars.
My thanks go to Netgalley for a free copy of the book for review.
Saturday, 11 February 2017
Until May 1987, fourteen-year-old Billy Marvin of Wetbridge, New Jersey, is a nerd, but a decidedly happy nerd.
Afternoons are spent with his buddies, watching copious amounts of television, gorging on Pop-Tarts, debating who would win in a brawl (Rocky Balboa or Freddy Krueger? Bruce Springsteen or Billy Joel? Magnum P.I. Or T.J. Hooker?), and programming video games on his Commodore 64 late into the night. Then Playboy magazine publishes photos of Wheel of Fortune hostess Vanna White, Billy meets expert programmer Mary Zelinsky, and everything changes.
A love letter to the 1980s, to the dawn of the computer age, and to adolescence--a time when anything feels possible--The Impossible Fortress will make you laugh, make you cry, and make you remember in exquisite detail what it feels like to love something--or someone--for the very first time.
I just loved this book! Back in the day I had a Spectrum ZX but never really did programming, just got as far as a "for next loop". I did play the type of games that Marvin and Billy write in the book though. This made the book really interesting to me, but I can imagine if you've never played computer games (old school!) or liked code, this may not be your kind of book.
The story all begins when Billy and his friends realise that Playboy magazine has a photo shoot of Vanna White (who hosted the American version of Wheel of Fortune). He and his friends cook up schemes to get a hold of the magazine, which obviously for a trio of 14 year olds is out of their reach.
The trio reminded me a little of The Goonies film - a band of friends who go through thick and thin together, with some really clever smart guy comments along the way. What they don't realise is that part of their major plan gets to involve Mary Zelinksy, and that she is a programmer. She knows way more than Billy and together they begin to write a computer game - getting him sidetracked from the acquisition of the Playboy magazine.
The magazine storyline takes a little bit of a back seat as other things develop - in more ways than one. It's a funny, evocative glimpse into 1987 and being a 14 year old boy.
The scene where they make their final attempt at getting the magazine was so funny, but also a little tense, as was their final journey to St Agatha's. Very atmospheric - I could really see this book as a film.
You can play the game they wrote at jasonrekulak.com! I even made it into the leader board - not many people have played yet! I realised I really needed a joystick to be able to recreate the experience and get a better score.
I'm giving this book 5 out of 5 stars. My thanks go to Netgalley and Simon and Schuster for an advance copy of the book for review.
Thursday, 26 January 2017
After six blissful years with scientist boyfriend Owen, Bella Beecham was convinced he was about to pop the question she’d been longing to hear. Instead, he accepted a prestigious job in California and left England without a backwards glance. Now, Owen’s back in the village of Saffron Sweeting, and appears to be more eligible than ever. Bella’s determined that the man of her dreams won’t slip through her fingers again.
But her plans to tone up, trim down, and tempt Owen back into her life prove bittersweet. Although Bella’s talent for baking wins her new friends, her tasty treats have a disconcerting tendency to sabotage her own intentions. And as her increasingly bold attempts to recapture Owen’s heart stumble, Bella must question whether she’s chasing a guy who wants to be caught.
A British romantic comedy featuring both familiar characters and fresh faces, Sweet Pursuits explores how a young woman seeking her soulmate must first learn to love herself.
Whilst the book can be read as a standalone it is one of the novels set in Saffron Sweeting. So as I had previously read both of those books "Saving Saffron Sweeting" and "Secrets in the Sky" I began to feel right at home, it felt like catching up with old friends as I recognised characters from previous books and also re visited the lovely Bakery.
When Bella realises that her man that got away (Owen) is returning to Saffron Sweeting she sets out to win him back with some hilarious consequences. I was really captivated when she tried some culinary magic - but would it get served to the right person?
One of Bella's plans to win back Owen is to lose weight and she joins the couch to 5k programme. This aspect of the book I found quite motivational - especially at this time of year - her coach Leo gives some good advice and I found I was thinking about this when i wasn't reading the book. However all that good work was undone when I was introduced through the book to Mocha with Baileys, I tried it and wow it's good!
Pauline writes with great social observation and humour, so it really doesn't feel like reading a book, but just recognising people we all know or characteristics we identify with as they go about their daily lives.
A lovely gentle read. I'm giving this book 5 out of 5 stars. My thanks to Pauline for an advance copy of the book to review.