Book Review- The Cider House Rules

51mIqtmmJ6L._SX318_BO1,204,203,200_Title- The Cider House Rules
Author- John Irving
Published-  1986
Genre- Literary fiction, contemporary
Length- 684 pages
Rating- 5/5
Synopsis (Goodreads)- Raised from birth in the orphanage at St. Cloud’s, Maine, Homer Wells has become the protege of Dr. Wilbur Larch, its physician and director. There Dr. Larch cares for the troubled mothers who seek his help, either by delivering and taking in their unwanted babies or by performing illegal abortions. Meticulously trained by Dr. Larch, Homer assists in the former, but draws the line at the latter. Then a young man brings his beautiful fiancee to Dr. Larch for an abortion, and everything about the couple beckons Homer to the wide world outside the orphanage.

Review- After reading and loving A Prayer for Owen Meany I was a bit scared to read more John Irving in case I didn’t like it, I didn’t want John Irving to be ruined for me! Anyway eventually I gave in and picked this up, and I loved it. Read More »

Book Review- Sold

201114Title- Sold
Author- Patricia McCormick
Published-  2013
Genre- Literary fiction, YA
Length- 278 pages
Rating- 4/5
Synopsis (Amazon)- Thirteen-year-old Lakshmi lives with her family in a small hut on a mountain in Nepal. Though they are desperately poor, Lakshmi’s life is full of simple pleasures: playing hopscotch with her best friend, looking after her black-and-white speckled goat, having her mother brush her hair by the light of an oil lamp. But when Lakshmi’s family lose all that remains of their crops in a monsoon, her stepfather says she must leave home and take a job in the city. Lakshmi undertakes the long journey to India full of hope for her new life, proud to be able to earn, daring to hope that she will make enough money to make her mother proud too. Then she learns the unthinkable truth: for 10,000 rupees she has been sold into prostitution.

Review- Only after reading this did I realise it is considered YA. At first given the subject matter I was horrified, but actually, it is written in a fairly “tame” way. Provided you have no issue reading about the subject matter, the delivery won’t be a problem. This book isn’t graphic. It is very clear that forced prostitution is going on, it couldn’t be more clear, but there isn’t really a lot of description about it. Instead, how the main character feels about it all is the focus.Read More »

Book Review- Little Deaths

33911791Title- Little Deaths
Author- Emma Flint
Published-  January 2017
Genre- Crime, literary fiction
Length- 307 pages
Rating- 3.5/5
Synopsis (Goodreads)- It’s 1965 in a tight-knit working-class neighborhood in Queens, New York, and Ruth Malone–a single mother who works long hours as a cocktail waitress–wakes to discover her two small children, Frankie Jr. and Cindy, have gone missing. Later that day, Cindy’s body is found in a derelict lot a half mile from her home, strangled. Ten days later, Frankie Jr.’s decomposing body is found. Immediately, all fingers point to Ruth.

As police investigate the murders, the detritus of Ruth’s life is exposed. Seen through the eyes of the cops, the empty bourbon bottles and provocative clothing which litter her apartment, the piles of letters from countless men and Ruth’s little black book of phone numbers, make her a drunk, a loose woman–and therefore a bad mother. The lead detective, a strict Catholic who believes women belong in the home, leaps to the obvious conclusion: facing divorce and a custody battle, Malone took her children’s lives.

Pete Wonicke is a rookie tabloid reporter who finagles an assignment to cover the murders. Determined to make his name in the paper, he begins digging into the case. Pete’s interest in the story develops into an obsession with Ruth, and he comes to believe there’s something more to the woman whom prosecutors, the press, and the public have painted as a promiscuous femme fatale. Did Ruth Malone violently kill her own children, is she a victim of circumstance–or is there something more sinister at play?

Review – This book is, in many ways, deeply upsetting, and I don’t just mean because of the dead kids.Read More »

Book Review- Crazy Rich Asians

17027880Title- Crazy Rich Asians
Author- Kevin Kwan
Published-  2013
Genre- Contemporary
Length- 416 pages
Rating- 3.5/5
Synopsis (Goodreads)- Crazy Rich Asians is the outrageously funny debut novel about three super-rich, pedigreed Chinese families and the gossip, backbiting, and scheming that occurs when the heir to one of the most massive fortunes in Asia brings home his ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend to the wedding of the season.
When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home, long drives to explore the island, and quality time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn’t know is that Nick’s family home happens to look like a palace, that she’ll ride in more private planes than cars, and that with one of Asia’s most eligible bachelors on her arm, Rachel might as well have a target on her back. Initiated into a world of dynastic splendor beyond imagination, Rachel meets Astrid, the It Girl of Singapore society; Eddie, whose family practically lives in the pages of the Hong Kong socialite magazines; and Eleanor, Nick’s formidable mother, a woman who has very strong feelings about who her son should–and should not–marry. Uproarious, addictive, and filled with jaw-dropping opulence, Crazy Rich Asians is an insider’s look at the Asian JetSet; a perfect depiction of the clash between old money and new money; between Overseas Chinese and Mainland Chinese; and a fabulous novel about what it means to be young, in love, and gloriously, crazily rich.

Review- This book is ok, it has some funny moments and mildly surprising moments, but it’s nothing to go nuts over.Read More »

Book Review – Shiny Broken Pieces

27617333Title- Shiny Broken Pieces
Author- Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton
Published-  July 2016
Genre- YA
Length- 384 pages
Rating- 3.25/5
Synopsis (Goodreads)- June, Bette, and Gigi have given their all to dance at Manhattan’s most elite ballet school. Now they are competing one final time for a spot at the prestigious American Ballet Company. With the stakes higher than ever, these girls have everything to lose…and no one is playing nice.

June is starting to finally see herself as a prima ballerina. However, getting what she wants might cost her everything—including the only boy she’s ever loved. Legacy dancer Bette is determined to clear her name after she was suspended and accused of hurting her rival, Gigi. Even if she returns, though, will she ever regain the spotlight she craves? And Gigi is not going to let Bette—or the other dancers who bullied her—go unpunished. But as revenge consumes her, Gigi may be the one who pays the price.

After years of grueling auditions, torn ribbons, and broken hearts, it all comes down to this last dance. Who will make the cut? And who will lose her dream forever?

Review – So for those that don’t know, this is the second book in this series. I read the first one earlier in the year and quite liked it so thought I would pick this up. The first one, oddly enough (you will understand if you have read it), actually inspired me to take up adult ballet! I am, as it turns out, terrible at ballet, but I still enjoy it! I reviewed the first book here  for those that are interested.Read More »

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 »

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 »