When Duncan arrived for his senior year at the prestigious Irving School, he knew things would be different from his previous year. For a start the seWhen Duncan arrived for his senior year at the prestigious Irving School, he knew things would be different from his previous year. For a start the seniors got special privileges, with them having rooms of their own, though with a shared bathroom. There was also a special tradition which continued every year, where the previous occupier of the room left a ‘treasure’ for the new senior. This treasure could be anything from a slice of old pizza, to a double pass to the movies, or a voucher to a restaurant. But Duncan was given the room that no-one else wanted…it was at the end of the corridor and smaller than the others. And his treasure was a series of CDs which had been recorded by the previous tenant, 17 year old Tim Macbeth, who was an albino, and because of this, ostracised, and with very few friends.
The story that unfolded through Tim’s voice on the CDs told what happened the year before, of his crush on Vanessa, who was the girlfriend of the popular boy at school, who was also a bully, Patrick. It told of his problem with being an albino, how he had few friends, and always seemed to be on the outside looking in. But it also told of his love of literature, his English teacher, Mr Simon, and his required annual thesis from all the seniors, the Tragedy Paper.
Duncan in the current day, and Tim in the previous year are blended beautifully by the author, with the gut wrenching and totally engrossing story of lives entwining. Reliving in greater detail what happened the year before, through Tim’s voice, had Duncan questioning himself, and everything he thought he knew about himself…
This wonderful book is a must read for everyone, and I highly recommend it!
Many thanks to NetGalley for my copy to read and review!...more
Little Davey Warner was so keen on cricket he practised before school, during lunch and after school. So when the start of the school year found DaveyLittle Davey Warner was so keen on cricket he practised before school, during lunch and after school. So when the start of the school year found Davey and his friends with Mr Mudge as their Year 6 teacher, they were horrified. Mr Mudge HATED cricket, and would do anything to stop the boys playing.
Davey's cricket bat was his lucky bat - it had been a gift from his grandfather and he'd named it Kaboom. So when Davey and his friends received detention which meant no time to practise, their big match was looking in doubt. But Davey's friend Sunil had a plan - would it work?
A delightful story which is the first in The Kaboom Kid series for children aged 8-11 years. Very suitable for my eight year old grandson for Christmas......more
Little Davey Warner and his cricket loving friends played cricket whenever they could, but their year six teacher, Mr Mudge was always doing his bestLittle Davey Warner and his cricket loving friends played cricket whenever they could, but their year six teacher, Mr Mudge was always doing his best to steer them in another direction. His boring lessons meant the boys day-dreamed constantly; the day that Davey went too far and practised with Kaboom, his lucky bat, in the classroom was a day he wouldn't forget. For Mr Mudge caught Davey, and took Kaboom - there was no promise that he would return it either.
Davey felt lost - he couldn't play cricket without Kaboom. Steve, his big brother, told him to practise his bowling which he knew he needed to do. But with a selector coming to view Davey and his friends at practise, he knew he had no chance. What would he do? How could he possibly play his best without his lucky bat?
Book two in The Kaboom Kid series is as delightful as the first. A great set for kids written by Aussie cricket legend David Warner, he quite obviously remembers the fun he had as a kid. With the series directed at kids between 8-11 years, my 8 year old grandson will enjoy these....more
Seventeen-year-old Katherine Patterson was quietly absorbed in her school work, happy to be by herself. She wanted no-one, needed no-one, so when theSeventeen-year-old Katherine Patterson was quietly absorbed in her school work, happy to be by herself. She wanted no-one, needed no-one, so when the vivacious and friendly Alice bounced over to her, she was shocked with the invitation for Alice’s 18th birthday party in a few days. Katherine had only been at Drummond High for a short while, having moved from Melbourne to Sydney to try to forget her past. She thought if she told no-one it would go away. She would keep the past a secret forever, never telling a soul.
When Alice wouldn’t take no for an answer, Katherine found herself caught up in the excitement of preparing for the party. She thought that just this once she would have a good time; her life would return to its mundane existence soon enough. She was living with her Aunt Vivian and with her travelling for her work, Katherine found herself on her own most of the time. She enjoyed the solitude; but suddenly, and against her own silent advice, she found a friend in Alice.
Gradually drawn into Alice’s life like a magnet, Katherine found herself having fun; fun wasn’t something she thought she would ever have again. And when she met Alice’s on-again, off-again boyfriend Robbie, the three of them became best friends. But Alice was a moody, changeable person; bright, sparkly and flirty one minute, cruel and vindictive the next. Poor Robbie didn’t know where he stood with her.
As time moved forward, secrets were unleashed. Dark and sinister, secrets from the past which threatened to undo the partial peace Katherine told herself she had found. For it seemed the many secrets from the past were set to collide with the present day, with disastrous consequences.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Beautiful Malice is the first I’ve read by Rebecca James, sister to Wendy James whose writing I enjoy. This was a dark and intense tale with some extreme twists – the final twist I certainly didn’t see coming. It’s classed as YA, because of Katherine and Alice’s age I expect, but it most definitely can be read and enjoyed by everyone. Highly recommended. ...more
This book is fun, light and easy to read! The mixture of characters who all come together on an exclusive resort on an island off Queensland’s coast oThis book is fun, light and easy to read! The mixture of characters who all come together on an exclusive resort on an island off Queensland’s coast on the Great Barrier Reef, make for a great blend of humour, romance, intrigue and mayhem.
When Lucy decided to build a resort to house the famous, the elite, and the extremely wealthy, she went all out! The resulting ‘Dudes Down Under’ was born, and to be eligible to holiday there, the guests had to win a special lottery. The resort was staffed by Aussies well versed in the privacy of their guests, and they knew how to keep them happy. Also resident was Cyril, the tame and almost ‘human’ crocodile!
With the guests getting to know one another as they eased into their month long stay, some good and some bad experiences were bound to happen…with ex-spouses also on the island, anger flared. But when a cyclone headed for them, how much danger would they be in…would they be safe? Had Lucy built her resort to withstand the violence of a North Queensland cyclone?
I thought the interaction with Cyril throughout the book was slightly overdone, and the almost instant romances rather quick! But all in all, I enjoyed the book with a little bit of drama to add to the enjoyment! ...more
This story is told from Jack’s perspective, and the book opens on his 5th birthday. Jack and Ma live in Room, which has a locked door, only opened witThis story is told from Jack’s perspective, and the book opens on his 5th birthday. Jack and Ma live in Room, which has a locked door, only opened with a code, which neither of them know. It has Wardrobe, where Jack sleeps when Old Nick is coming. It also has TV, where Jack’s friends are, Dora who is his favourite friend, and many other cartoon characters. Jack knows the friends on TV aren’t real, the only real things are himself, Ma and everything in Room. Room is 11 feet x 11 feet, has a skylight, and during daylight hours, Jack and Ma play, they do PE where they walk around Table on their track, and many more imaginative things to keep themselves occupied.
Seven years prior to Jack’s 5th birthday, Ma was kidnapped as a teenage girl....now Jack fills her life with love and hope, he is her reason for living. Their love helps them survive the impossible, and as Jack knows nothing else, and no other way, his life is a simple and happy one. As long as Ma is by his side, he is content.
Until one day, Ma tells Jack there is Outside. That he has a Grandma, Grandpa and Uncle Paul beyond the walls of Room. There are many buildings, people, everything that Jack sees on TV, except for his cartoon characters, are in fact, real. Jack is incredibly confused....
Jack and Ma’s story is a devastating one, but it is uplifting, poignant and at times funny as well. I would recommend ‘Room’ to everyone....it is a novel unlike any other! ...more
Cassiel Carmichael was dragging herself up through the depths of depression, sure she would never be happy again. Five years previously she had lost hCassiel Carmichael was dragging herself up through the depths of depression, sure she would never be happy again. Five years previously she had lost her husband Mike and their four year old son Michael in a dreadful car crash. They were on their way home from the Adelaide show where they had had a wonderful day, but the weather was terrible, heavy rain and storms, but with only a short distance to go, Mike was sure he was fine to keep driving. When she woke in hospital, in unimaginable pain, little did she know her life would never be the same again.
Cass spent most of her days working in Woolworths as a check-out chick, and most of her nights walking, trying to keep the nightmares at bay. So when she saw what she was positive was a UFO hovering above her, she was stunned, startled but excited. In the months that followed she tried to find out all she could about the phenomenon, and she met some like-minded people. Rhys and Graham were two and night after night they watched the sky, without success.
But the night the UFO descended on them, the pain and heat in their bodies was intense; suddenly Rhys woke in an odd sort of room, strangers as his companions. The aliens who attended their needs did not speak, but communicated through thought processes. What had happened to them? Where were Cass and Graham?
The aliens informed them that the people in the space ship had been rescued as massive disasters destroyed the earth. They would be taken to a new world where they could start again, rebuild their lives and regain their futures. But things don’t add up. What was happening? What was wrong?
This book was amazing! I don’t usually like the whole alien/UFO/extra-terrestrial type of story, but this was so different! A wonderful concept, with a twist at the end which was so shocking! I loved the story, and would highly recommend it to all. ...more
This extremely well researched slice of history is an incredibly sad, yet poignant story of the events of 65 Australian nurses, who went to SingaporeThis extremely well researched slice of history is an incredibly sad, yet poignant story of the events of 65 Australian nurses, who went to Singapore in 1941 to help with the war effort. The story of their incredible courage, their compassion and love for their patients and each other, is one everyone should read.
When the first bomb hit Singapore on the 7th December, 1941, the request was put in to evacuate the nurses back to Australia. The wheels of authority turned slowly, but the final group of nurses, along with civilians and others, left on 12th February, 1942 on a coastal freighter called the Vyner Brooke.
While in the Banka Strait, they were attacked by Japanese bombers, and with the captain managing to dodge and weave, it caused the first wave of bombs to be off target, but once the Japanese worked out the strategy of the manoeuvres, the next wave of bombs were directly on target. After taking direct hits by three bombs, the uninjured captain sounded the alarms for abandon ship. With the bombers strafing the life boats and ship with bullets, the survivors tried their best to stay alive, with their bulky life jackets keeping them afloat.
Those who survived drifted on the make-shift rafts, at the mercy of the currents, for up to 3 days, before feeling the sand under their feet on one of the many beaches of Banka. Some drifted away, never to be seen again. And some, including 22 Australian nurses, washed up on Radji Beach. There were survivors from other shipwrecks on Radji Beach as well, some injured, some near death, and some uninjured. They voted to surrender to the Japanese, as they knew they would starve to death otherwise.
The absolute horror of what happened next, when the Japanese patrol wouldn’t accept their surrender, absolutely beggars belief! The murder of almost one hundred people, including the Australian nurses, soldiers, women and children is astounding. But amazingly, from the group of nurses, there was one survivor...Vivian Bullwinkel, or Bully as she was known by her friends.
The story of her survival of 13 days in the jungle with a bullet wound, then re-uniting with the remaining nurses from the Vyner Brooke at a POW camp on the island, their terrible situation with starvation and disease, the shunting between one internment camp to the other for the next three and a half years, makes compelling reading.
When the war ended, there were 24 nurses who made it home, from the initial 65. This is their story, researched from the diaries and papers of some of the survivors, and is a moving account of the fate of every single nurse who was aboard the Vyner Brooke when she left Singapore on that fateful day in February 1942.
Review of Black Art – launch sample – read 9.10.12
The delectable Helen Valentine was a very successful actress, and the television company she was worReview of Black Art – launch sample – read 9.10.12
The delectable Helen Valentine was a very successful actress, and the television company she was working with at the time, requested the expertise of Arty Shaw, a genealogist with the Heritage Service, incorporating the archives, museum and sites of historic interest, on the island of Jersey. They needed him to help trace Helen’s grandmother, who disappeared during the war when the Germans occupied the Island. The television crew, run by King, thought there was a good human interest story to be told, but he wanted the information quickly…
Helen’s grandmother, Katherine (Kay) Marett was a good looking young woman when she married Clarence LeSueur, but Clarey was killed during the Battle of Britain, and as the Germans invaded Jersey, in June of 1940, Kay was in the hospital, having just given birth to a daughter Clarey would never meet.
This information Helen could give Arty, but she knew very little more. Arty began his searching through the archives, and turned up very little. But he discovered Kay had been sentenced to 3 months imprisonment for distributing leaflets of a banned nature in August of 1942, but she seemed to disappear around that time, leaving her 2 year old daughter (Helen’s Mum) behind.
When Arty’s boss, Sloman, a brilliant historian, told Arty to discontinue the searching for Helen’s grandmother, the reason being a lack of money, Helen immediately put up the funds…she needed to know. But Arty was wary, there seemed to be more to this than met the eye. Was Helen being up front with him?
He continued searching, coming across a propaganda leaflet from 1941, and meeting up with an old neighbour of the Marett family, Flo, who had some memories of the time Kay went missing. She said the Germans took Kay in for questioning to the Albert College, but then she just disappeared. Arty spoke to Ph’lip Marett, who’s Dad, also Ph’lip, was Kay’s cousin, and he added a little more information. Slowly a picture was beginning to form. Arty wished he had met Kay, as she seemed to have been a very brave young woman.
But Arty was being followed, and when a note turned up at the archives, he felt extremely uneasy. Was it a warning? Was he in danger?
I thoroughly enjoyed this, the first 20 chapters of Black Art, and definitely want to read the rest! The author has a great way of describing each scene, so I could picture it all…I felt I was there. I want to find out what happened to Kay, and why Arty feels something isn’t quite right…… ...more
Abigail Fox was starting at the local Whateley High School as English teacher, in the town of Jungilla where she’d been born and raised. She loved theAbigail Fox was starting at the local Whateley High School as English teacher, in the town of Jungilla where she’d been born and raised. She loved the town, and returned to teach after studying and gaining her teaching qualifications. Mrs Fox (as the students called her) introduced herself to the administration office first thing…
Paul Beckett was seventeen, a rebel, called his father ‘The Chief’ as they didn’t get on, and knew, even though this was his final year at school, that he didn’t want to be there. His nemesis and local bully, ‘McFatty’, wanted to fight him, waited for him at the old skate park, and Paul tried to avoid him by hanging out with his best friend, Matt. But on that first morning he received a pleasant surprise when he and Matt joined the other students in the English classroom….
Abby took over the role of running coach not long into the term; running had long been a love of hers, a way of forgetting her troubles, a way of calming her unhappy thoughts about her husband Luke. Paul was on the running team, and he also loved running..he was very good at it, and with an event coming up in May, he was training hard. Running was one thing that seemed to make his life worthwhile.
This story is told in the alternating voices of Abby and Paul, and tells of the perceived differences between right and wrong, the lines that blur and the unexpected nature of life. I really enjoyed this very different novel, and with the nature of the topic being controversial, it was written beautifully, with much sensitivity. Recommended to all. ...more
Harry Clifton thought the world of his mother, Maisie – he knew she struggled as a single mother. His father had been killed in the Great War he had bHarry Clifton thought the world of his mother, Maisie – he knew she struggled as a single mother. His father had been killed in the Great War he had been told, and he and his mother lived together in a small house in Bristol with his Grandma, Grandpa and Uncle Stan. His Uncle Stan worked down at the docks and Harry would wag school on a daily basis to go to the shipyard and watch the shipping and all the activities that went on there. He wanted to work there too when he was old enough.
But Maisie dearly wanted Harry to get an education – he was smart enough, he just didn’t have the inclination. So with the help of Harry’s master, Mr Holcombe, they did their best to convince Harry that Merrywood Elementary wasn’t a waste of time. However, it wasn’t until Harry met up with Old Jack down at the docks, that slowly his opinion changed, until the realization that his Mum was right finally came to him. And when he was accepted into the choir his life changed in a remarkable way.
With Harry receiving a scholarship to attend St Bede’s he found many changes – some good, some bad. But the best was his friendship with Giles and Deakins. They would remain a constant in his life for many years to come. But trouble was on the horizon in the form of one Hugo Barrington – Harry had no idea why this man hated him so much, but would eventually find out.
As the years moved forward, Harry and his friends matured, passed subjects, got up to mischief and discovered the opposite sex – then the Second World War was on the horizon and their priorities changed in an instant. What would happen to Harry? Would he join the fight or continue on to Oxford University?
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, which is the first in the Clifton Chronicles. The mystery and suspense was chilling, and I had no trouble keeping the pages turning until the end. I found the intrigue extremely well done too, and enjoyed the setting in the early 20th century. Old Jack was certainly a character in his own right - he was wonderful. I have no hesitation in highly recommending this book, and will read more from author Jeffrey Archer.
With thanks to the Goodreads First Reads Giveaway program for my copy to read and review. ...more
This is a story that everyone knows well, but it never fails to delight. The Time Machine was built over a long period of time, and finally tested outThis is a story that everyone knows well, but it never fails to delight. The Time Machine was built over a long period of time, and finally tested out by the Time Traveller. He returned dishevelled, injured and not quite himself after an adventure that he set out to tell his friends after he’d eaten his fill, especially of meat.
It appeared he had ventured a long way into the future, and when he encountered the gentle, fruit-eating Eloi and the terrible darkness dwellers, the Morlocks, he also realized he was unable to return to his own time unless he overcame the Morlocks. The Eloi were fragile creatures, desperately afraid of the dark. During his time with them, the Time Traveller befriended one of them, a child-like creature named Weena.
The story of the Time Travellers adventures during his visit to the future are entrancing. It is well worth picking this one up, if you haven’t already, as H.G. Wells was brilliant, a writer never to be forgotten. ...more
Nina Bellamy lived with husband Tom, daughter Freddie and son Jamie in a narrow but tall dwelling in the London suburbs. Her daily trudge up and downNina Bellamy lived with husband Tom, daughter Freddie and son Jamie in a narrow but tall dwelling in the London suburbs. Her daily trudge up and down the five flights of stairs found her exhausted – in the long ago past, the servants would have occupied the attic rooms with the housekeeper and cook in the basement kitchen – now it was Nina who went from basement to attic several times a day – her relaxation in the evening over a glass of wine with Tom after he arrived home from work was much enjoyed.
Nina’s grandmother Violet had moved in with the family a year ago; at ninety years of age she was a lively addition to the family and Freddie and Jamie enjoyed listening to stories of Granny’s long ago past, and looking at her old photo album. With school holidays just beginning, they urged Granny to tell them more of her childhood days when she had lots of friends and loads of adventurous fun. The tales of her old home, Almbury Manor and the antics of Violet and her friends made Freddie and Jamie envious. But there was tragedy as well – as the family sat around together after dinner, Granny told the children of the sad events which changed the family fortune way back in the 1930s when Violet was eight years old.
On waking the following morning, Nina found herself in a strange room – her clothes were not her own; on the other side of the house, Tom woke to the same sensation. Freddie woke alone in a tent - on searching she found other children; she had never seen them before, and what on earth was she wearing? Jamie found himself with Percy and George – what was going on? Was it a dream? With Nina and Tom making their way separately to the breakfast room, meeting strangers, and feeling most perplexed, they came to the sudden realization that they had gone back in time. They were inexplicably entrenched in Almbury Manor; Nina’s granny Violet was now eight years old and it was the day before Midsummer’s Eve when the big party would take place which had changed lives. Were they somehow here to avert tragedy? Were they going to be able to change the course of the family history for a much happier outcome?
I absolutely loved this delightful and fun-filled tale of mystery and intrigue, of time travel and adventure. The wonderful Detective, Francois Renault was reminiscent of the great Hercule Poirot and had me chuckling at his antics and speech. A thoroughly entertaining story designed for children and adults alike. Aussie author Clare Havens has a rare gift, and I look forward to much more from her. Highly recommended to all.
With thanks to the author for my copy to read and review. ...more
Miles Away...Worlds Apart is about a lawyer who is thrown into the world of crime. It is a true account which goes into great detail about the inner wMiles Away...Worlds Apart is about a lawyer who is thrown into the world of crime. It is a true account which goes into great detail about the inner workings of a Ponzi scheme, and the involvement of the author who became a whistleblower to the scheme run by Scott Rothstein.
The book could easily be mistaken for a work of fiction, with the twists and turns of a gripping thriller. The involvement of the law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, the fear that there were people within those agencies who weren’t to be trusted, the fact that Alan felt immense danger for himself and his family, once he spoke to the FBI, made for suspenseful reading.
It was a great read and one I would recommend!...more
Detective DD Warren was bored! Being 7 months pregnant, she had just been relegated to desk duties, and she was itching to do some real police work. SDetective DD Warren was bored! Being 7 months pregnant, she had just been relegated to desk duties, and she was itching to do some real police work. So when a strange little man entered the Boston PD front office, requesting a police officer to help him, she was all ears.
Donnie Bilger was the director of a serial killer film which they were shooting at a cemetery in Boston, and he needed a police expert to advise on the correct protocol thoughout filming. Their former film consultant, Chaibongsai, who was an ex Boston cop, had disappeared, and they needed someone to fill his place immediately, for shooting that night.
So DD decided to fill the role, pulling an all nighter (filming had to be done at night in a cemetery, right?) with the approval of the Chief, and Alex, her partner.
But suddenly, the simple job of police expert becomes a very serious one, as the mutilated body of Chaibongsai is found, and DD discovers she has over 100 murder suspects in the middle of a graveyard! On the trail of a killer, she needs to keep her unborn baby safe, which is proving difficult as another cast member is attacked!
This is Lisa Gardner’s first ever short story, and even though the action takes place in the space of a day, it is still filled with the usual suspense, thrills, twists and turns that we are used to. I loved it! ...more
I was disappointed in this book, and struggled with it...put it down, read another, picked it up!!
Steven Kotler met up with Joy when he was 40 years oI was disappointed in this book, and struggled with it...put it down, read another, picked it up!!
Steven Kotler met up with Joy when he was 40 years old, and going through a mid life crisis! 'Love me, love my dogs' was her motto, and when she said they would open a sanctuary for special needs dogs, that's what they did.
They moved to rural New Mexico and bought a tiny farm in a tiny town, and started Rancho de Chihuahua. Their problem was Joy's incredibly soft spot for any dog, and she couldn't bear the thought of not being able to recue them, as it would mean the animal would be put down. So on their tiny farm, they ended up with a huge number of dogs, and not just chihuaha's either...
While working with an ever peculiar pack of dogs, Kotler learns exactly what it means to devote one's life to the furry and the four-legged.
The reason for the disappointment, and the low star rating, is the fact that there was too much deviation from the story, with the history of research into the neuroscience of canine companionship, and every aspect of canine-human relations explored along the way....more