Evan is a nurse, and he knows that he’s a good one – he really does care! However, in his new role, he isn’t saving lives – he’s helping to end them.
AEvan is a nurse, and he knows that he’s a good one – he really does care! However, in his new role, he isn’t saving lives – he’s helping to end them.
Assisted suicide is a huge moral, ethical and emotive subject, and not one that you would think could be the basis for an enjoyable, entertaining, often funny novel – but Steven Amsterdam manages it.
Evan is young, gay and single and has moved back into his mum’s place as her own health has been rapidly deteriorating. This involved finding a new job, hence becoming an ‘assistant’ to those that have chosen to legally end their lives.
With Evan narrating, the book covers legal and moral issues of assisted suicide, seeing it from both sides, but also gives an insight into the effects on relationships, and the different ways that people choose to die.
Understandably, once he has made a number of ‘assists’ and as he comes to terms with his own mother’s slow demise, Evan finds himself questioning his own beliefs taking us on a roller-coaster of emotions that he deals with in varying degrees.
Steven Amsterdam has managed to pen a story that is touching, funny, informative, raunchy (in one scene), heart-wrenching and definitely makes you question your own views around the subject. ...more
This is the cosiest of any cosy murder mysteries I have read - and that's not a good thing (for me).
Unfortunately, this gentle small Irish village felThis is the cosiest of any cosy murder mysteries I have read - and that's not a good thing (for me).
Unfortunately, this gentle small Irish village felt like a cliché full of clichéd characters. The murder is also an extremely old one, which conveniently subtracts the horror and immediacy of your usual murder investigation.
I had received an ARC of the book for an honest review, and to be honest, it's the only reason that I carried on reading.
If you like your murders to be just a way to introduce twee characters and allow you to pad softly around village life, then I am sure you'll love this. I, however, like some grit and impact from my dead people!...more
Alex is a thirty-something dad at a crossroads in his life. He's not where he thought he'd be, not particularly enjoying his job and his wife isn't paAlex is a thirty-something dad at a crossroads in his life. He's not where he thought he'd be, not particularly enjoying his job and his wife isn't particularly enjoying their marriage - so he's been thrown out and is currently living in his best mate's bachelor pad.
His son Sam is a high-functioning autistic eight year old, and being forced to spend more time with him brings its own issues for Alex, including facing the devastating event that has shaped so much of who he is now.
Can he find a way to break through to Sam, conquering his past and perhaps get his life back on track?
It's hard to read this without comparing it to Shtum by Jem Lester that I read earlier this year. It's about a young dad, having marriage problems whose son is autistic, written by a dad with an autistic son. Both dad's need to grow up, get to know their son better and pull their weight.
However, it is so far removed from Shtum - Sam in 'Blocks' is a high-functioning autistic eight year old - very different to the heart-breaking difficulties that severely autistic Jonah had in Shtum. But they both bring their own challenges, and generally 'Blocks' is far more light-hearted, although with a very serious message to convey - especially to those who have never interacted with autistic children before.
There's a lot of Minecraft in this - hence the blocks, and that part of it is definitely part of Keith Stuart's own experience with his son Zac.
Two very very different books, although with a seemingly similar premise. Give it a go if you worried about your mascara running with Shtum (mine certainly did!)...more
I love a detective thriller. However, this is what my mum would describe as "A thriller for readers who really like chick lit".
Edith Hind, a beautifuI love a detective thriller. However, this is what my mum would describe as "A thriller for readers who really like chick lit".
Edith Hind, a beautiful bright young Cambridge student goes missing from her home just before Christmas - her family is well-connected and DS Manon Bradshaw and her team can't afford any mistakes on the case.
As we delve further into the case, we find that Edith's life wasn't necessarily as perfect as it seemed and that there may be more to her disappearance than first suspected.
At it's heart, there was a really good plot. However, there were far too many voices to the narrative than were necessary. The switch of narrator didn't feel like it added anything to the story and actually had the detrimental effect of making it harder to connect with ANY of the characters. I assume Manon is supposed to be the main lead, as she had the most chapters, but being constantly pulled away from her and thrust into somebody else's head just weakened her personality.
Something about the whole thing just felt a little 'twee' - especially the final chapter which I could see coming a mile off. It was all nice neat little ribbons tying the threads. It was a shame because the rest of it would have made a good episode of a detective drama!...more
Nina really is not OK. We meet her when she has been thrown out of a nightclub by a bouncer for being shall we say ‘over-friendly’ with a guy she’s onNina really is not OK. We meet her when she has been thrown out of a nightclub by a bouncer for being shall we say ‘over-friendly’ with a guy she’s only just met. With the bouncer’s parting words “You should be ashamed of yourself”, ringing in her ears, Nina realises that she has no recollection of what has actually happened.
Nina likes a drink,(what 17 year old doesn’t) but she’s not an alcoholic, not like her dad was. She doesn’t have a problem – she’s just upset about splitting up with her beloved Jamie! However, she gradually comes to realise that her mum, friends and strangers alike may have a point – she’s spiralling out of control, and there’s only one place she’s going to land – rock bottom.
What could be the tipping point, to force her into action and stop her slide into oblivion? Is it too late? Will she have any support? Has she burned all her bridges? Will Nina ever be OK again?
Starkly frank and often dark, your heart breaks for Nina – she’s at an age where she knows everything and nothing. She’s independent and yet still a kid. Although Nina’s sexual exploits and teenage conversations are rather graphic, they are certainly realistic, and give an indication of where her head is during this tumultuous time.
There were parts that made me cry and want to hug her and help her get back on track – and hold my own 17 year old daughter even tighter! ...more
I've been wavering between 3 and 4 stars - it's a strong 3.5-3.75 so I'll give it the benefit of the doubt!
In 1980, one hot summer night, seventeen yeI've been wavering between 3 and 4 stars - it's a strong 3.5-3.75 so I'll give it the benefit of the doubt!
In 1980, one hot summer night, seventeen year old Kelly Lund shoots and kills Hollywood director John McFadden in his home. Her seeming lack of motive, emotion or inclination to talk about the night creates a media frenzy about her cold-heartedness, especially the on the night she's convicted when an enigmatic smile plays across her lips.
Thirty years later, Kelly has been out of prison for five year when her father-in-law, movie legend Sterling Marshall is found dead in suspiciously similar circumstances - and all the clues are pointing towards Kelly having struck again.
Is she a double-murderer, or has she perhaps never pulled a trigger and was wrongly convicted the first time?
The book is cleverly written, switching between the two timelines and drip drip feeding the backstory to both murders. Just as you're thinking "Oh, I see where this is going", suddenly another twist is thrown into the mix and you're left floundering again. The occasional delicious red herring is chucked in too.
The actual plot and story were well done, although there did seem to be a HUGE cast of suspects. I think that the only thing that let it down was that even in her own head, the main character, Kelly herself came across cold and emotionless. If I had cared about her a little more, then I think it would have been a strong 4-5 stars from me! I think it would make a good film, where the Kelly could be brought to life a little more....more