Book Review- The Lie of the Land

34349197Title- The Lie of the Land
Author- Amanda Craig
Published-  June 15th 2017
Genre- Contemporary, mystery
Length- 432 pages
Rating- 2.75/5
Synopsis (Goodreads)- Quentin and Lottie Bredin, like many modern couples, can’t afford to divorce. Having lost their jobs in the recession, they can’t afford to go on living in London; instead, they must downsize and move their three children to a house in a remote part of Devon. Arrogant and adulterous, Quentin can’t understand why Lottie is so angry; devastated and humiliated, Lottie feels herself to have been intolerably wounded.

Mud, mice, and quarrels are one thing – but why is their rent so low? What is the mystery surrounding their unappealing new home? The beauty of the landscape is ravishing, yet it conceals a dark side involving poverty, revenge, abuse and violence which will rise up to threaten them.

Sally Verity, happily married but unhappily childless knows a different side to country life, as both a Health Visitor and a sheep farmer’s wife; and when Lottie’s innocent teenage son Xan gets a zero-hours contract at a local pie factory, he sees yet another. At the end of their year, the lives of all will be changed for ever.

A suspenseful black comedy, this is a rich, compassionate and enthralling novel in its depiction of the English countryside and the potentially lethal interplay between money and marriage.

Review- I received an ARC of this from the publisher so thank you to them.

I expected a lot more mystery/thriller elements to this story and was left disappointed. This book basically has you following a bunch of characters as they go about their pretty mundane lives. If these characters were real, and you stalked them, the information in this book is exactly what you would come away with. Read More »

Book Review- Hidden Figures

25953369Title- Hidden Figures
Author- Margot Lee Shetterly
Published-  December 2016
Genre- Non-fiction, History, Science
Length- 349 pages
Rating- 3/5
Synopsis (Goodreads)- Before John Glenn orbited the Earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules, and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets and astronauts into space.

Among these problem solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation. Originally relegated to teaching math in the South’s segregated public schools, they were called into service during the labor shortages of World War II, when America’s aeronautics industry was in dire need of anyone who had the right stuff. Suddenly these overlooked math whizzes had shots at jobs worthy of their skills, and they answered Uncle Sam’s call, moving to Hampton, Virginia, and the fascinating, high-energy world of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory.

Even as Virginia’s Jim Crow laws required them to be segregated from their white counterparts, the women of Langley’s all-black West Computing group helped America achieve one of the things it desired most: a decisive victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War and complete domination of the heavens.

Starting in World War II and moving through to the Cold War, the civil rights movement, and the space race, Hidden Figures follows the interwoven accounts of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden, four African American women who participated in some of NASA’s greatest successes. It chronicles their careers over nearly three decades as they faced challenges, forged alliances, and used their intellects to change their own lives – and their country’s future.

Review- I think how much you enjoy this book will depend on how many sittings you read it in. I think most people would struggle to read it in one sitting, but three or four would be ideal.

The book covers parts of history that most people know nothing about, despite the entire world knowing about the moon landing. The story itself is interesting, and eye opening in terms of the extent of segregation, and particularly the behaviour of the Virginia school system. Personally I wouldn’t have dealt with things as well as these women! There is a lot of discrimination where I work and it makes me incredibly angry but these women just got on with it and managed to change things!Read More »

Why do so many adults read YA?

12232938Personally I usually don’t really like YA (young adult), but I know a lot of adults do, why?

Now generally a book is considered YA if the main characters are adolescents, so in the book they are doing things that adolescents do. So, why do adults like reading about what kids are doing? Is it a nostalgia thing? Is it an escape from “adulting?”

The language in YA is usually very simple, so they are generally pretty easy reads. If you are reading for enjoyment you likely don’t want to slog through difficult text so it’s understandable to want something simple. Simple language also often makes things a quicker read which I guess could be another appeal. Adult books can be pretty easy reads too though so that can’t be the only reason some people choose YA?Read More »

Book Review- Final Girls

33391515Title- Final Girls
Author- Riley Sager
Published-  July 13th 2017
Genre- Thriller, mystery
Length- 352 pages
Rating- 4.25/5
Synopsis (Goodreads)-  Each girl survived an unthinkable horror. Now someone wants them dead…

They were the victims of separate massacres. Grouped together by the press, and dubbed the Final Girls, they are treated like something fresh out of a slasher movie.

When something terrible happens to Lisa, put-together Quincy and volatile Sam finally meet. Each one influences the other. Each one has dark secrets. And after the bloodstained fingers of the past reach into the present, each one will never be the same.

Review- I received an ARC of this from the publisher so thank you to them.

This is a pretty standard thriller I would say. It has the usual plot twist at the end and in this case I guessed half of it very early on. It is written in a way that makes you guess it, there were a lot of clues. Yes some of those clues tried to misdirect you in terms of the other half of the twist, but I think they gave away too much too soon.Read More »

Book Review- All the Good Things

32792758Title- All the Good Things
Author- Clare Fisher
Published-  June 1st 2017
Genre- Contemporary, literary fiction
Length- 240 pages
Rating- 4/5
Synopsis (Goodreads)- Twenty-one year old Beth is in prison. The thing she did is so bad she doesn’t deserve to ever feel good again.

But her counsellor, Erika, won’t give up on her. She asks Beth to make a list of all the good things in her life. So Beth starts to write down her story, from sharing silences with Foster Dad No. 1, to flirting in the Odeon on Orange Wednesdays, to the very first time she sniffed her baby’s head.

But at the end of her story, Beth must confront the bad thing. What is the truth hiding behind her crime? And does anyone-even a 100% bad person-deserve a chance to be good?

Review- I received an ARC of this from the publisher so thank you to them.

This story is told from Beth’s perspective, mostly as if she is talking to her child. The majority of it is told in the past tense but that is interspersed with present day therapy sessions and time in prison. It is well done and easy to follow.Read More »

Book Review- Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, and Everything in Between

30253864Title- Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, and Everything in Between
Author- Lauren Graham
Published-  2016
Genre- Biography
Length- 205 pages
Rating- 5/5
Synopsis (Goodreads)- In this collection of personal essays, the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood reveals stories about life, love, and working as a woman in Hollywood—along with behind-the-scenes dispatches from the set of the new Gilmore Girls, where she plays the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore once again.

In Talking as Fast as I Can, Lauren Graham hits pause for a moment and looks back on her life, sharing laugh-out-loud stories about growing up, starting out as an actress, and, years later, sitting in her trailer on the Parenthood set and asking herself, “Did you, um, make it?” She opens up about the challenges of being single in Hollywood (“Strangers were worried about me; that’s how long I was single!”), the time she was asked to audition her butt for a role, and her experience being a judge on Project Runway (“It’s like I had a fashion-induced blackout”).

In “What It Was Like, Part One,” Graham sits down for an epic Gilmore Girls marathon and reflects on being cast as the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore. The essay “What It Was Like, Part Two” reveals how it felt to pick up the role again nine years later, and what doing so has meant to her.

Some more things you will learn about Lauren: She once tried to go vegan just to bond with Ellen DeGeneres, she’s aware that meeting guys at awards shows has its pitfalls (“If you’re meeting someone for the first time after three hours of hair, makeup, and styling, you’ve already set the bar too high”), and she’s a card-carrying REI shopper (“My bungee cords now earn points!”).

Including photos and excerpts from the diary Graham kept during the filming of the recent Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, this book is like a cozy night in, catching up with your best friend, laughing and swapping stories, and—of course—talking as fast as you can.

Review- I loved this book!

Whenever I consider reading the biography of an actor it is because I really like them in one particular role, so I basically ignore the fact that it’s the actor, and not the character writing the book. In this case I love Lauren Graham in Gilmore Girls obviously, because I’m not a weirdo. Who doesn’t love her? My fiancé that’s who! “Why do they talk so fast?” Err, because they’re amazin!! Anyway………although the stories in this are those of Lauren Graham, in terms of style, this book might as well have been written by Lorelai Gilmore! I guess Lauren and Lorelai are similar and that’s why the character is so great! Read More »

Book Review- The Leavers

30753987Title- The Leavers
Author- Lisa Ko
Published-  May 2nd 2017
Genre- Contemporary, literary fiction
Length- 352 pages
Rating- 3.75/5
Synopsis (Goodreads)- One morning, Deming Guo’s mother, an undocumented Chinese immigrant named Polly, goes to her job at the nail salon and never comes home. No one can find any trace of her.

With his mother gone, eleven-year-old Deming is left with no one to care for him. He is eventually adopted by two white college professors who move him from the Bronx to a small town upstate. They rename him Daniel Wilkinson in their efforts to make him over into their version of an “all-American boy.” But far away from all he’s ever known, Daniel struggles to reconcile his new life with his mother’s disappearance and the memories of the family and community he left behind.

Set in New York and China, The Leavers is a vivid and moving examination of borders and belonging. It’s the story of how one boy comes into his own when everything he’s loved has been taken away–and how a mother learns to live with the mistakes of her past.

Review- I received an ARC of this from the publisher so thank you to them.

Overall I did enjoy this book but it felt long and the end dragged a bit.

This isn’t an action packed book by any means, instead it focuses on description. It is told from two view points, that of Deming/Daniel, and his mother. It covers both past and present in the US and China. Mostly the switch between characters and times was well done but there was one chapter where for a few (kindle) pages I didn’t know who the narrator was supposed to be. The language however was always easy to understand and there was never too much information given at once, characters were introduced gradually etc so there was never any confusion about who was who.Read More »

Book Review- Bodies of Light

20329476Title- Bodies of Light
Author- Sarah Moss
Published-  2014
Genre- Historical fiction, literary fiction
Length- 309 pages
Rating- 5/5
Synopsis (Goodreads)- Bodies of Light is a deeply poignant tale of a psychologically tumultuous nineteenth century upbringing set in the atmospheric world of Pre-Raphaelitism and the early suffrage movement. Ally, is intelligent, studious and engaged in an eternal – and losing – battle to gain her mother’s approval and affection. Her mother, Elizabeth, is a religious zealot, keener on feeding the poor and saving prostitutes than on embracing the challenges of motherhood. Even when Ally wins a scholarship and is accepted as one of the first female students to read medicine in London, it still doesn’t seem good enough.

Review- I received this from my book subscription service The Willoughby Book Club as my May book.

I loved this book, really loved it, so much in fact that I have already looked up the author on Amazon and either bought or added all of her other books to my wish list.Read More »

Book Review- Emma

IMG_4164Title- Emma
Author- Jane Austen
Published-  1816
Genre- Classic
Length- 392 pages
Rating- 3.75/5
Synopsis (Goodreads)- Beautiful, clever, rich – and single – Emma Woodhouse is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage. Nothing, however, delights her more than interfering in the romantic lives of others. But when she ignores the warnings of her good friend Mr. Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her protegee Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never expected. With its imperfect but charming heroine and its witty and subtle exploration of relationships, Emma is often seen as Jane Austen’s most flawless work.

Review- I think with classics like this there isn’t really a lot to say. Overall I liked it. I thought it was better than Sense and Sensibility, but not as good as Pride and Prejudice. The movie Clueless is apparently based on this book. Knowing that going in I did see the similarities, but if I hadn’t been told beforehand I don’t think I would have picked up on it.Read More »