Book Review – The Girls – Lisa Jewell

Book Review

This book was given to me by a friend after we had been talking about another Lisa Jewell book that we had both read.  I settled down and read it in my lunch break in work and at home in the evenings.  I finished it in just under a week.

The Girls – Lisa Jewell

You live on a picturesque communal garden square, an oasis in urban London where your children run free, in and out of other people’s houses.

You’ve known your neighbours for years and you trust them. Implicitly.

You think your children are safe.

But are they really?

Midsummer night: a thirteen-year-old girl is found unconscious in a dark corner of the garden square. What really happened to her? And who is responsible?

This book focuses on the lives of two sisters and their mother who have come to live in an area of London after actions their father made caused the family home to burn down.  The father is no longer on the scene and it is just the mother and her two daughters, living in a flat that shares a common green with their neighbours.  The girls make friends and the story follows them and the people they meet along the way.  One night something awful happens to one of the girls and we are taken down a path to discover who could have done this horrible thing.

I loved this book from the very first page.  It is written in such a way that all of the characters feel like they are hiding things and it compels you to keep reading until you find out what has happened.  The youngest daughter writes letters to her sick father which add extra information to the storyline and allow the reader to understand the thoughts that she has about the situations and people that she meets.

I am a huge fan of Lisa Jewell and really don’t want to say too much about the book and spoil it for any others who want to read it.  It really is a page-turner and hard to put down.

Have you read this book?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

 

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Book Review – Frozen Grave – Lee Weeks

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I picked up this Lee Weeks book from the book swap shelf in work a few weeks ago.  I was drawn to the book by the blurb on the back which said

Someone has a list of victims. And they’re crossing the names out one by one.

The first body is found in a dilapidated warehouse in London’s East End. Then another woman burns to death in her own home. She was alone but all signs point to murder. Two seemingly separate victims, but Detective Inspector Dan Carter and Detective Constable Ebony Willis are convinced they were killed by the same person.

And when a third body is found, the detectives start to suspect a serial killer is on the loose. But what connects the victims? And who will the killer go after next?

I love a good suspense, murder mystery book and this sounded right up my street.  This is the 3rd book in the DC Ebony Willis series, and though I have not read any of the other books in this series I didn’t feel that I had missed anything, it was a good, stand-alone book in its own right.

The book starts off fairly fast-paced and leaves you wanting to read more, I felt that if I was to have read this at home I could have easily read it in one go but, as I read it in my lunch break in work I had to make do with short bursts!

The book follows DC Ebony Willis and her colleagues as they try to track down the killer of women whose lives are entwined with a man, JJ Ellerman, who gives off the impression of being a successful, rich businessman, though reality is that he is struggling to make ends meet while juggling several relationships, a wife and other big life problems.

I really enjoyed reading this book, although I was left at times feeling pretty confused as to who was who.  The use of first names and then switching to surnames during the police dialogues was really hard to follow and I needed to re-read some parts of conversations to make sense of who was saying what.

I did think that the ending was a bit rushed and could have been stretched out a bit more but overall the storyline was well thought out and well-paced.

I’d really like to read some more of Lee Weeks DC Ebony Willis series just to get a better feel of all the characters.

Have you read anything by Lee Weeks?  What did you think?

 

Book Review – Me Being Me is Exactly as Insane as You Being You – Todd Hasak-Lowy

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I bought this book when visiting the William Morris Red House where there was a little outbuilding full of donated books that you could buy for as little as 30p, the proceeds going towards the upkeep of the house.  This book caught my eye with the bright yellow cover with bold black font and upon picking it up and reading the back of it, I decided to purchase it to read on my journey home even though I had another book in my bag to read.

The blurb on the back reads

Darren hasn’t had an easy year. His parents divorced, his brother left for college, and his best friend moved state. Also, he still doesn’t have a girlfriend.

Then his dad shows up at 6am with a glazed chocolate donut and a pretty world-shaking revelation. In full freak-out mode, Darren ditches school and jumps on a bus to visit his brother, Nate, at college. But someone weird / amazing comes along for the ride.

Told entirely in lists, this hilarious novel perfectly captures why having anything to do with anyone is:

1. painful

2. unavoidable

3. ridiculously complicated

4. possibly, hopefully, the right thing after all.

The book is part of the Young Adult category and is a meaty 646 pages long, though it was an easy read as the book, instead of being broken up into chapters was set out in a series of lists which flowed together to tell the story of Darren, a 15 going on 16-year-old boy, his life and family.

The book was really interesting, not only as it was set out as a series of lists, but because I felt that it covered the sort of life a teenage boy would live, covering worries about himself, his family and developing relationships with girls.  The way Todd Hasak-Lowy writes, it makes you feel like you are part of the story and that you are experiencing everything in an intimate way.

I started reading this book on Monday 17th June on my w2ay home from London, then continued to read in my lunch break of half an hour in work through the rest of the week and had finished it by Friday, so, despite its size you can see that it was a really easy read.  The list set up meant that you could pick it up and put it down with ease.

You can buy this book over at Amazon.

Have you read this book or any others by Todd Hasak-Lowy?  What were your thoughts?  Id love to hear in the comments!

Book Review – Checking Out – Nick Spalding

I downloaded the book Checking Out by Nick Spalding to my Kindle a few weeks ago as I wanted a new book to read at lunch time in work.  It is free to download for Kindle Unlimited readers.  I’ve read a few Nick Spalding books in the past and have really enjoyed them so I thought that I would give this one a try.

What do you do when the doctor says you could die at any moment? Well…after you’ve made a cup of tea, of course.

Nathan James is young, successful and has the world at his feet. Unfortunately, he’s also about to die—which ruins things somewhat. And now he’s staring imminent death in the face, Nathan is having to rethink some of his life choices very hard.

This means embarking on a hectic journey of self-discovery that includes, amongst other things, losing his dignity to an inescapable bean bag, suffering screaming nightmares about a monstrous potato, and getting up close and very personal with a bipolar donkey.

All of which is fine, but then Nathan falls in love with a charming girl called Alison, which is a really stupid thing to do. Because how can you give your heart to someone when it might be about to stop?

From Nick Spalding, the bestselling author of Fat Chance, Bricking It and Mad Love, comes a comedy about dying—which is easy—and living, which is most certainly not.

The blurb about the book sounded like something I was interested to read, though the subject seemed a bit sad so I wasn’t sure what to expect for the story’s end.

The book is about a man called Nathan who finds out that he has an inoperable brain tumour.  The book follows his life after he gets diagnosed, the band he is in and a girl he meets along the way.  There are several really funny parts to the book which made me laugh out loud, one where Nathan has a reaction to some herbal tea that he is given while on a date with Alison (the girl he is falling in love with) which has disastrous consequences.

The book is really easy to ready and is well written, guaranteed to raise a smile and, will remind you that life really isn’t so bad.

And, I’m pleased to say that the ending made me smile!

What have you been reading recently?  Do you have any book recommendations?  Let me know in the comments as I’m always on the lookout for new authors and books to check out!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review – An Orphan’s War – Molly Green

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This is the second book that I read from my purchase of A Box Of Stories box and I chose it because the description intrigued me.

“LIVERPOOL, 1940.  When her childhood sweetheart is killed in action, Maxine Grey loses more than her husband – she loses her best friend.  desperate to make a difference in this awful war, she takes a nursing job at London’s St Thomas’ Hospital.

A BROKEN HEART.  Maxine takes comfort in the attentions of a handsome surgeon, but Edwin Blake might not be all he seems.  As the Blitz descends on the capital, Maxine returns to Liverpool heartbroken and surrounded by the threat of scandal.

A BRAVE SPIRIT.  When offered a job at a Dr Barnardo’s orphanage, Maxine hopes this is the second chance she has been looking for.  And one little boy in particular helps her to realise that she needs the orphans just as much as they need her.”

I don’t usually read books that are set in the past and tend to skip past them on the shelf, preferring to reach for books that are set in the present day so this book isn’t one that I would usually reach for.  That said, the back of the book really made me want to sit and read it, regardless of the time period setting.

This book covers topics of love, loss, friendship, starting over and overcoming problems that were frowned upon in that time.  From the first page I was hooked and, snuggled up with my dog, Roxy, a blanket and a cafetière of coffee I read most of this book in one afternoon.  So many of the themes running through the book are relevant to the struggles we face today with family and the relationships within the family being first and foremost.

I really liked the way that Molly Green painted pictures with words, you could really imagine the scenes that Maxine, the main character, was confronted with, the way the relationships between Maxine and other characters developed through the book and the way the different characters individual stories were interwoven with each other.  The story itself was really beautifully written and I loved every minute of it.  The only down side, for me, was that the story seemed to finish a little abruptly, I would have liked to know more about what happens next…but maybe that is the best way to end a book?

Have you read this book or any others by Molly Green?  What did you think of the book?

Book Review – A Summer Scandal – Kat French

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A Summer Scandal – Kat French

This is the first book that I read from my purchase of A Box Of Stories box and I chose it because I really liked the sound of it from the back cover.  I also wanted something light and easy to read to ease myself back into reading books since I’ve been having difficulty concentrating and reading since starting to take medication for my mental health.

“When Violet inherits a Victorian pier on Swallow Beach from her mysterious grandparents, she falls in love immediately.  All she wants is to make it popular again, and when she meets hunky Calvin, inspiration strikes.  What if she turned the pier into an adult-themed arcade full of artisan shops?

But not everyone in Swallow Beach is happy with the idea.  As tensions worsen and the heat between her and Calvin begins to grow, Violet must make a choice – stay and fight, or turn and run.  Can she find her happy ending before the swallows fly North for the winter?”

This book was the perfect read for me.  It was not too deep, the story was easy to follow and it was light-hearted.  I found that I didn’t want to put this down until I had got to the end and finished it in 4 sittings.

The story follows a girl called Violet who inherits an apartment and a pier from her Grandfather, and though her mother knew of the place, and had lived there when she was a child, both her and Violet were unaware that the pier or flat were still in the families possession.  The story unfolds with Violet leaving the town she grew up in, her boyfriend and the life she knew and travelling to Swallow Beach (where the pier and apartment are) and setting up a life there.  Along the way she learns of her grandparents lives and the secret held by her deceased Grandmother through the discovery of her Grandmother’s diary.

This book is really well written and I loved that the book featured love, relationships, disaster and a plot twist too.  The only thing that I was disappointed with was that the book seemed to come to an abrupt conclusion.

Have you read this book?  What did you think of it?