Last year I read and absolutely loved A.L. Michael's novel If You Don't Know Me By Now. It was amazing, so I was absolutely STOKED to be invited to beLast year I read and absolutely loved A.L. Michael's novel If You Don't Know Me By Now. It was amazing, so I was absolutely STOKED to be invited to be part of the tour for her new book Goodbye Ruby Tuesday. I started and finished it pretty much in one sitting, only stopping to eat my tea, and even then it was a bit of a wrench to put it down, because I just enjoyed it so, so much. A.L. Michael is an amazing writer and I can't believe I haven't read her other books bar one (although I will now - believe me!).
First off, let me say that A.L Michael has GOT to write Ruby's story. The House on Camden Square is going to be a trilogy, which I assume with comprise of Evie's book (this one), Chelsea's book (the next one) and Mollie's book. But, I'm really sorry, Ruby Tuesday needs her story telling. It'll be hard - she lived quite the life, and died in the same vein that took a lot of those members of the 27 club, but I think it's a story that needs to be told. You can't tease us about Ruby and not give us her story. I want to hear it. I am clamouring for it, and we only see little bits of her, but man, is she a girl with a story that needs to be told.
But onto Goodbye Ruby Tuesday. I loved it. I really did. You know when you just click with a book and know you're going to enjoy it? That's how I felt about this book. I whizzed through it - the characters were so much fun to get to know, and there was no ridiculous, pointless drama near the end that messes everything up, instead the girls were kicking ass and taking names the whole novel, as Evie was determined to make Ruby's final wishes come true, to see the girls finally open up the arts studio they craved to open as teenagers, something they could have done with in their own lives. Yes, it took a bit of creative storytelling to get everyone on board, but I loved Evie's passion. After all, what was waiting for them? Not a lot, I can tell you, so why not give it a shot, ya know? If you don't try, you never know what might happen, and that very much encapsulates this whole story.
There was genuinely nothing wrong with this book, although I never, in a million years, would have allowed there two be three characters with a name beginning in E - Evie, Evelyn and Esme. And when they're all in a scene together, your eyes won't know which E character we're on about! Apart from that, this book was amazing. It had that amazing chemistry between four friends who, while they might not always see each other, have that deep friendship that lasts years, and I loved Evie's passion for getting this project off the ground, it's pretty amazing, actually and very selfless and I loved Chelsea and Mollie, although Esme was my favourite. I do love a precocious ten-year-old and Esme was so astute, so wise for her years.
I can't wait for the next Camden House book! I'm excited to know more about Chelsea, she seemed very different now than she was as a teenager and I'm interested into what made that change come around, and I LOVED Kit, so I hope he's here to stay. (And again, with the name thing - Kit and Killian (I LOVED KILLIAN! Hot man makes furniture, sigh, I wanted one of those cat bed things AND a window seat AND bookshelves), I MEAN COME ON, will Mollie's fella be called Kevin?!?!?!?!) But I want Ruby's book. I will start a petition to make this happen. I loved Goodbye Ruby Tuesday, and I'm kinda sad that Ruby is gone, although her presence is more than felt in this book, let me tell you. I loved Evie, Mollie and Chelsea. And Esme. Oh, Esme was AWESOME. I just loved everything about this book. So go and read it....more
This was an interesting read - I enjoyed it for the most part, and I'll add that bit to my review eventually, but first I want to talk about the way tThis was an interesting read - I enjoyed it for the most part, and I'll add that bit to my review eventually, but first I want to talk about the way the book changed from its original incarnation. You see, this was originally published as Gypsy Girl in the UK by Walker Books. I assume it's been edited to be released from Swoon Reads, but not only has it been edited, but it's been Americanised, now that would be fine, if it was just deleting the rogue Us in rumour, etc, but no. This book has been thoroughly Americanised, until it actually makes little sense, in the bits where it's changed.
For example, about 9-10% in, Sammy-Jo has a flashback to her first visit to Gregory's house. There, she sees money on the table and decides to take it. In the original book, she was taking £40 (pounds/quid) I can't say for sure because I only have the American version to go on. Here, in this incarnation, Sammy-Jo stole 40 dollars. Now, are you really telling me that American people are unaware that other countries use different currencies? Are they so afraid of their readers being utterly confused by the term "Pounds" that they decided to make that scene wildly inaccurate and make zero sense to anyone reading the book. Because, even if I was American, I would have already seen the bit where it says THIS IS SET IN ENGLAND, and I would be confused why she would be stealing dollars.
Then, Sammy-Jo is at a nail place getting her nails done, as are all her other sisters. She steps outside for a breath of fresh air, and in the middle of an English high street is all these shops: Walgreens, Barnes & Noble, Gap, Starbucks, McDonalds. LOL WHAT? WE DO NOT HAVE THESE SHOPS. Yes, we have Starbucks and McDonalds, and possibly the Gap (although I've never seen one) but we DO NOT HAVE WALGREENS OR BARNES AND NOBLE. It's like she stepped out of that nail place into ANOTHER DIMENSION. What, could she not have stepped out and seen Boots or WHSmith or Waterstones? Why, would Americans not look it up to see what those shops are if they were curious? Did that REALLY need changing? THEN on another page, someone walks into Hollister. Again, a quick Google will tell you the only Hollister is in London.
But the worst part? THE ABSOLUTE WORST CRIME OF AMERICANISATION of what should have been a gritty, English book? "I've called 911. The police will be here." Oh, eh, no, they won't. Because ringing 911 in the UK will get you NOWHERE and it certainly won't get you the emergency services or the police. Do you really have to change "I've called 999" to "I've called 911"? Do the publishers really want readers of this book to think that if they come to England, they can spend their dollars, go into Walgreens or Hollister, or call 911 if they're in an emergency?
It just genuinely frustrates me. Every time I read one of these inaccuracies (including Sammy-Jo throwing her sister Sabrina a bachelorette party - it's a HEN NIGHT) it just pulled me away from the story. While I can understand publishers might be frightened American readers might not "get" the British way, surely that's not the case for the money we spend, or the emergency services number we call? To change those, makes the book something entirely different, and pulls you out of the story, or it did me, so I could roll my eyes at how stupid it was.
And maybe me writing this is stupid, but I'm sorry, I read PLENTY of American-set books, written by American authors that haven't been changed so that they all drink tea and spend pounds. And I'm glad the UK publishers just publish books mostly as is. I WANT to learn about other cultures, and have to look something up if I don't understand it (like in the UK/America a thong is an item of clothing, underwear to be precise, but Aussie's call flip-flops thongs and I looked that up when it confused me). There's no need to butcher a book because you're worried your audience won't get it; they will, and if they don't, they'll look it up. You don't need to change something fundamentally British because it comes out awkward and wrong and it insults the intelligence of the readers.
Relativity was a book I wasn't 100% sure was my cup of tea, but I was more than willing to give it a read because the publicist for the book was so inRelativity was a book I wasn't 100% sure was my cup of tea, but I was more than willing to give it a read because the publicist for the book was so insistent that it was such a good read. But, I was nervous to get started. I needn't have been, mind because Relativity was an awesome read. It was so nuanced, so beautiful, so evocative, and as I always say with books about geniuses, especially genius kids, Ethan reminded me of a certain Sheldon Cooper, and I have The Big Bang Theory to thank for my knowledge of physics, and this book made way more sense since I do watch The Big Bang Theory.
Relativity is very much a novel about family, and what Claire does for Ethan is extraordinary, and more women should get credit for raising a kid by themselves, whether it's someone special like Ethan or just a regular kid. Even more so with what happened to Ethan as a baby, because it's unforgivable - isn't it? How can you forgive something like that, get past it, let that person back in to your life? I was genuinely shocked by what happened. I was very curious to know why Ethan's father Mark wasn't around, what would happen when he returned, and the book didn't disappoint. There's no silly dramas, either, which was an absolute bonus.
There's honestly not a lot I can say about the book. It was really, really good, but I just don't have a lot to say, review-wise. It's one of those understated stories that you enjoy for the pure pleasure of reading. I lost myself in the world of Claire, Ethan and Mark, because it's such a captivating story, the kind that usually leads to reading group questions in the back. Antonia Hayes is an extraordinary writer, and this is an extraordinary book, I really, really loved it. ...more
The Summer I Became A Nerd is one of the greatest books I will ever read. Oh yes, I said it. Sometimes you just pick the perfect book at the right timThe Summer I Became A Nerd is one of the greatest books I will ever read. Oh yes, I said it. Sometimes you just pick the perfect book at the right time, and The Summer I Became A Nerd was that book. I put down soooo many before I started this one, but I knew I wanted a cute Young Adult book, because I've been reading more serious books lately, and this one just ticked ALL THE BOXES. All of em. With ease. A cute guy? TICK. Comic books? TICK. An awesome nerd-like MC? TICK TICK TICK. Cool parents? TICK. The cute guys ass-kicking, name-taking best friend who gets his own book this month? TICK.
I cannot state enough how good The Summer I Became A Nerd is. Right from the opening chapter, when Maddie dresses like her favourite comic book character for school and gets roundly laughed out of the place, before transforming herself into someone completely opposite to the younger Maddie. Was I sad she hid her nerd-like tendencies? Sure, but it actually made for some HILARIOUS scenes. From her grappling to get hold of #400 of her favourite comic book, to meeting Logan, dressed up like she's hiding from the mafia, it just provided so much good. And I loved that Logan just went along with it, for the most part, and tried to encourage Maddie to just be Maddie, whatever version that was: be it the cheerleader version or the nerd version. I will never understand why you can't be both, but that's high school for ya.
I loved Maddie, I loved Logan, I loved Dan, I loved the comic books aspect, the LARP-ing (which actually sounds amazing), it was food for this nerdy girls soul. Although I'm more bookworm than nerd, because I'm not actually a big comic reader. I WATCH the comic TV shows - Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl, the Marvel movies, I just have NO IDEA where to start in the comic book world. Also, comic book shops are few and far between in the UK which is devastating. So if you're reading this, and you love comics, hit a girl up with where the heck she can start, would you?!?
The Summer I Became A Nerd is one of those great books you'll remember forever. Yes, Maddie makes some mistakes, but the way she puts it right is legit the best thing ever. And the instantaneous feels between Maddie and Logan was everything I wanted and more. It made my heart sing, and I had the biggest smile on my face when I finished reading the book. I like it when a book just makes you happy. This book made me happy. We need more books that make us smile and laugh, especially with so much badness in the real world. Thanks Leah, not only do you have an awesome name, you have mad writing skills....more
This was an interesting read. I kind of wanted more pace - more action, more thrills, just MORE. It lacked something, and it proves that once again, tThis was an interesting read. I kind of wanted more pace - more action, more thrills, just MORE. It lacked something, and it proves that once again, trying to bill a book as the "next Gone Girl" is just tying a noose round the neck of a book like this. This is nothing LIKE Gone Girl. Not in the slightest. Not in tone, not in writing, not in plot and it's getting to be a really old thing for publishers to wheel out for every single thriller published.
I never cared for any of the characters. I tried so hard to like Olivia, but she was too cold. Too unemotional. Jack I couldn't have cared less for. The daughter was the only one who actually jumped out at me, and I can't even remember her name and I only finished reading half an hour or so ago.
The ending would have been a surprise, if it hadn't taken so long to get there that I guessed it. ...more
Before you read this book, please be aware that it's a sequel! I went into the book not knowing that, but with all the subtext and hints to a previousBefore you read this book, please be aware that it's a sequel! I went into the book not knowing that, but with all the subtext and hints to a previous story concerning The Priest, I asked Winter if there was indeed a book prior to Born To Die and there is! Atonement! I'm kind of interested to read it, as well, because Nicola sounds so, so interesting. She certainly seems to have a story to tell (well, it's been told to be fair). However you can read this as a stand-alone, I just think there's a better reading experience for you if you read Atonement first, because you'll be able to understand a bit more (I assume) why Cassy is the way she is.
Born To Die was a great read. Cassy and Boyce were such intriguing characters, clearly both characters who had been hurt at some point in their past, but I liked their chemistry. I liked how they put aside whatever went on in Atonement and worked together (kind of) to try and solve the murders and robberies featured in Born To Die.
I whizzed through Born To Die. It was a really decent crime read, and I liked getting to know all of the characters, and the plot was intriguing - I was dying to know who was behind it all, and why. It had great characters, a great plot and the story skipped along at a really great pace. I really enjoyed the book, and I can't wait to go back and read Atonement and fill in any missing gaps! ...more
The Accidental Life of Greg Millar was not what I was expecting AT ALL. I imagined a fun story, about a girl who finds love after losing the person shThe Accidental Life of Greg Millar was not what I was expecting AT ALL. I imagined a fun story, about a girl who finds love after losing the person she thought was her soulmate, someone who makes her happy again, and see the world in a much better light. And while it is that, for the first bit of the novel, it soon takes a way more serious turn as Greg turns out to be quite erratic. It took a while to get my head around, because Lucy's and Greg's relationship went from being the most amazing thing ever, to something balanced precariously on an edge of a cliff.
What I liked about the book was Lucy. She was the narrator, and she goes through so much - before Greg, whilst she's with Greg. Her entire relationship with Greg is like one big whirlwind. They're engaged within two months of knowing each other, then they go to France, with his kids, and it's like WHOA SLOW DOWN, but they're both away in this mad little love bubble and nothing can penetrate it, until it all starts to go slightly pear-shaped. It's the little things at first - Greg's kids, Rachel in particular, can't stand Lucy and she's not even willing to give her a chance; Helena the nanny is like the wicked witch, stirring trouble every where she goes; Greg disappears for hours on end, and yet through it all, Lucy is level-headed. Even afterwards, through everything else, Lucy is level-headed. And that's amazing. She really was the one who kept everything ticking over throughout, when anyone else would have said see you later.
I actually loved Rachel and Toby, Greg's kids. Yes, Rachel was very prickly with Lucy, but that's kids for you isn't it? And it's never easy having someone come into your life the way Lucy does, although it was unfair because Lucy didn't do anything wrong. But Toby was so cute. Ahhh, I love little boys, they're so sweet and innocent, especially in books. Greg, for me, was the hardest character to like. It was so, so hard to get a hold on who the real Greg was. But it was his love for Lucy that made me like him the most, because again, despite everything, these two loved each, there was no petty falling out and breaking up over nothing, this was the old-fashioned, make it work no matter what, because you love each other stuff and that was so good to read.
I really enjoyed The Accidental Life of Greg Millar. Yes, it was way more serious than I expected, but it was no less enjoyable. It made it all worthwhile, in fact, and it was refreshing to see a book tackle such a serious subject, with ease, too. Aimee Alexander writes really, really well (and she writes really well, too, as Denise Deegan, her real name) and I look forward to reading more of her Aimee books, and any others she's published under any other names....more
Sarah Painter has been a favourite of mine since I read The Language of Spells, I like the way she writes fiction, with a hint of magic, similar to SaSarah Painter has been a favourite of mine since I read The Language of Spells, I like the way she writes fiction, with a hint of magic, similar to Sarah Addison Allen whom I LOVE. I've since read all of Sarah's books (Sarah Painter's, although I've also read all of Sarah Addison Allen) except for The Garden of Magic, which I really must buy and read soon, and I was super stoked about In The Light of What We See - and LOOK AT THAT FABULOUS COVER. It is simply gorgeous, which is a good thing, because the book inside that stunning cover, is also exquisite.
One of my favourite things ever about contemporary fiction is the dual plot line. And Sarah Painter uses it to fabulous effect in In The Light of What We See. Back in 1938, we have young Grace's tale, which is achingly sad in one regard because it's not as if she chooses to be a nurse, but really hopeful in another, because Grace was such a delightful character. She's the kind of girl you want to know more about, which is good, because her story is fantastic. She feels so real, that you can vividly imagine her swishing around the halls, tending to patients, in the sluice. Grace's story was so evocative.
As, too, was Mina's story, in the present. Now Mina's story made me physically ache, because the reader KNEW what had happened to Mina, so to see Mina so confused about her accident, when we knew the real story made me want to scream. Which makes Mina's story even sadder, really, because what's worse than not being able to remember something so life-changing? But I liked how Mina's memory loss changed Mina as a person. The glimpse we get of the pre-accident Mina is not the nicest of people, but the accident changes her, and makes her see people, and things, in a different light and that is priceless.
How the story intersected was fabulous, and just as magical as I've come to expect from Sarah Painter. She is honestly one of my favourite storytellers, because you can just lose herself in her books and forget the real world for a few hours. In The Light of What We See is a book that will stay with me for a long time, with two female characters who had such good stories to tell, in vastly different ways, but both were just as important and I never wanted to be done with Mina to get back to Grace, or vice versa. This was a delightful tale, and absolutely perfect for Sarah Addison Allen fans, you will not regret reading this book. ...more
My Map of You is one of those books I've been dying to read. First off - just look at that gorgeous cover. If that doesn't make you want to head to yoMy Map of You is one of those books I've been dying to read. First off - just look at that gorgeous cover. If that doesn't make you want to head to your nearest airport and head to Greece right this minute, then reading the book will certainly do that. I am ITCHING to go and visit Greece. To see everything Holly saw. So the next time I go on holiday, I'm heading to Greece. Thanks, Isabelle! I also wanted to read this because I am alarmingly jealous of Isabelle's day job. She edits Heat's book reviews page, which is literally the DREAM JOB for a book lover. It has also seen the past three editors of that page become authors - Paige Toon, Jo Carnegie, and Isabelle!
I really, really enjoyed My Map of You. There was very little wrong with this book - in fact, the only thing that made me roll my eyes was the inevitable arrival of Rupert into Greece. Apart from that teensy thing, this book was fabulous. I love books set in exotic locations, and Isabelle very much brings Greece to life through the pages. I could feel the warmth of the sun, feel the sand between my feet, picture the gorgeous, clear-blue sea, it was magical. I'm almost sure that reading a book about a gorgeous sunny island can improve your mood 100%, because reading about Greece made me literally happy.
Holly's story was an interesting one, she was a very closed off person, not helped by the third-person narrative, and I'm very curious as to whether that was purposeful - because in first person, you really need a warm character, someone you can take to, and Holly was very self-sufficient. It made it hard to like her, because you almost felt detached from her life, like she was recounting her emotions, without actually feeling them. At least in London, anyway. I felt like she opened up more in Greece, as she found out more about her family, and the life her mother had lead before her death. It was a fascinating story, and I liked the little letters we saw between Jenny and Sandra, from years gone by. It helped open us up to the story more. The addition of Aidan, helped to soften Holly a little bit, too. And suffice to say, I loved Aiden's dog, Phelan.
Overall this was such an amazing story. Isabelle Broom is such a good storyteller and My Map of You is such an amazing read. The ending in particular made my heart so happy. If you don't warm to Holly immediately, persevere, she's worth persevering for, and if you'd had the life she'd had, you'd be closed off, too. I feel like this is just the start of Isabelle's fantastic fiction writing career, and I can't wait to see what she writes next. I'll be buying it the day of release. ...more