Posts Tagged ‘Reviewer- Faye’

#SchoolLibrarySanta

Are you passionate about sharing your love of reading?
Are you able to add another christmas gift to your festive shopping list?
Do you curate a school/class/ward library which could benefit for some new (to you) books?

After hearing about teachers and librarians funding their libraries with their own money, Caroline and Faye decided that we wanted to do something to help; making sure that every child has access to books. Inspired by the upcoming festive season and the many bookish Secret Santa’s going on which demonstrates the generosity of the book community, they have created a platform to connect libraries with potential Santas.

#SchoolLibrarySanta

Every library which signs up for the scheme will get an individual dedicated page which will list their wishlists. The Santas can then browse libraries by geographic location or specific titles by author. Once a Santa has selected a library, they can comment on the post with which book they would like to provide. #SchoolLibrarySanta will then contact the Santa and provide them with the library’s mailing address. Once a book has been pledged to the library, it will be removed from their wishlist to avoid duplicate copies being sent unnecessarily.

Books do not need to be new copies. Good quality second hand books from smoke free environments are also welcomed . Please no proof copies.

Visit www.schoollibrarysanta.wordpress.com for more information, to sign up a library or to gift a book or two.

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Two Ticks Tuesday; It Only Happens in the Movies

Holly Bourne
Audrey is over romance. Since her parents’ relationship imploded her mother’s been catatonic, so she takes a cinema job to get out of the house. But there she meets wannabe film-maker Harry. Nobody expects Audrey and Harry to fall in love as hard and fast as they do. But that doesn’t mean things are easy. Because real love isn’t like the movies…
The greatest love story ever told doesn’t feature kissing in the snow or racing to airports. It features pain and confusion and hope and wonder and a ban on cheesy clichés. Oh, and zombies… YA star Holly Bourne tackles real love in this hugely funny and poignant novel.

I would highly recommend this book! It was so, so good. Full of movie cliche’s, feminism, friendship, first loves, relationships, family life, etc. It was rich, raw and honest and I love how strong and vulnerable Holly made all of the characters. I especially loved Audrey’s support unit. This book is going on my favourites of the year shelf for sure!

Reviewed by Faye

Publisher: Usborne
Publication Date: October 2017
Format: Paperback
Pages: 384
Genre: Contemporary
Age: YA
Reviewer: Faye
Challenge: None

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Two Ticks Tuesday; Turtles All The Way Down

John Green
Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.
Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

A lot of people are praising this book and I can definitely see why. I really did like this book but it was probably a 3.5/4 star book for me as opposed to a big 5 star read.

I liked a lot of the things that happened but I also really disliked a few things too. A bit swings and roundabouts!

What was good about the book is that it made me THINK and you can find more of my thoughts here.

Reviewed by Faye

Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: October 2017
Format: Hardback
Pages: 304
Genre: Contemporary
Age: YA
Reviewer: Faye
Source:
Challenge: None
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Turtles All the Way Down

John Green
Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.
Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

*This is not a review so much as a reflection on the book*

I’ve been waiting for this book to be released for months, ever since I saw this video on youtube where John Green explains so well what having OCD is actually like. I knew that this book was going to be reflecting on his own experiences and would therefore be a good portrayal of this mental health illness – which I do also suffer with.

And it really, really was. I found myself taking photos of a lot of quotes in the book and just well and truly identifying with the main character. In this respect, this book was exactly what I had hoped it would be.

But it also really made me think. (The irony of this statement will not be lost on those who have read it.)

Everyone who suffers with OCD, suffers and deals with it in their own unique way. They have their own experiences, their own triggers, anxieties, routines, etc so it would be impossible for any one book on OCD to be the perfect OCD book for everyone who suffers with it. But what I found helpful with this book, and other books with OCD protagonists (listed below) is that I saw myself in some of the quotes, routines and actions of Aza, thus I was able to feel just a little less alone.

But on the flip side, it also made me question my own OCD. Yes, I did some of the things that Aza did but I also didn’t do other things or didn’t do things to such a bad extent and thus I felt like maybe I am just making a big deal of nothing. Maybe my OCD isn’t OCD at all, but just quirks. (I have been diagnosed by a health professional and even this line of thinking is part of my OCD at play) As you can see, I am aware that for me this is an irrational thought and not true. But I can’t help but wonder if, as a teenager, I would have felt the same way.

I have suffered with OCD – from my knowledge – ever since I was 14 years old. However at the time, I had no idea I had OCD. I barely even understood that I had anxieties. I just figured I was a teenager going through being a teenager – you know? So if I had read this and not felt that my actions were as bad then I may not have gone to a doctor. And I worry that this is also how some teenagers of today may feel about this book.

Obviously this is a difficult issue and I do not think Turtles All the Way Down is at fault here as it does show how serious and difficult OCD can be. But I feel that what I’m getting to is that we need more books which show OCD as manageable, hidden issues perhaps. Most of the OCD books I’ve read, the protagonists are aware of their health issue so I think I just want a book where someone is diagnosed as OCD.

SPOILER ADDITION
(Highlight to read)

On a similar note, while reading this book, I kept feeling like something wasn’t quite right. I could not figure out where this feeling was coming from but it was a niggling thought at the back of my mind. It was only upon reading a review of the book that I realised what my issue was; Aza does not seem to have any other personality trait. She has OCD and that is all she is. There is never mention to any films or books she loves, or any other activity that she really does except think. I do know that this may have been to show how all encompassing OCD can be but I also just feel that it made her character feel a little flat to me.

END OF SPOILER

What do you think? Have you read Turtles? Did you like it?

Other Books with OCD I highly recommend
Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne
The Unlikely Hero of Room 13b by Teresa Toten
Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
It’s All In Your Head by Rae Earl
(Non-Fiction)
Mad Girl by Bryony Gordon (Non-Fiction, Adult)

Reviewed by Faye

Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: October 2017
Format: Hardback
Pages: 286
Genre: Contemporary
Age: YA
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Gifted
Challenge: None
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The Red Thread

Dawn Farnham

Set against the backdrop of 1830s Singapore where piracy, crime, triads, and tigers are commonplace, this historical romance follows the struggle of two lovers Zhen, a Chinese coolie and triad member, and Charlotte, an 18-year-old Scots woman and sister of Singapores Head of Police. Two cultures bound together by the invisible threads of fate yet separated by cultural diversity.

What were your initial thoughts on the book?
I have to admit that I love reading books that are full of culture. Books that describe places that I have never visited and may never visit. So when I heard about The Red Thread, I was instantly curious. Normally I am not a big historical fan but the draw of the vibrant Singaporian landscape drew me into giving this book a try and I am so glad it did. This is a very fascinating and beautiful novel. Dawn Farnham has done a brilliant job at creating an atmosphere in this book with unique writing that truly describes everything for the reader. It is informative and entertaining all at the same time. While the book is slow due to the vivid descriptions, this just makes the book more beautiful and lyrical. I was truly mesmerized by this book and cannot wait to read the next books in this series.

Who was your favourite character and why?
There is a vast array of characters in this book which can seem a bit confusing at times. In one chapter near the beginning, Dawn describes just a small portion of the characters and it takes up a fair few pages. But the main characters are all very interesting and alluring to read about. My favourite character was probably Charlotte. She is new to Singapore, moving to be with her brother and I found her to be a spectacular character. She was curious and interesting to follow throughout the book. I won’t say too much more as I do not wish to spoil it!

Would you recommend this book?
I would and I wouldn’t. It honestly depends who I was talking to. I would recommend this to anyone who likes a slow burner, someone who is willing to put time into a book and allow the beautiful narration to sink over them. However if you’re looking for a book with a fast, exciting plot then I definitely would not recommend this book. The Red Thread is perfect for readers who like to be truly transported.

One Sentence Summary (Verdict)
A beautiful, exotic and wonderfully written novel that will capture your heart.

The Red Thread is currently free on Amazon. You can get a copy by clicking here.

Publisher: Monsoon Books
Publication Date: April 2015
Format: Paperback
Pages: 328
Genre: Historical
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Provided by Publisher
Challenge: None
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Fire Lines

Cara Thurlbourn

When your blood line awakens, how do you choose between family and freedom?
Émi’s father used to weave beautiful tales of life beyond the wall, but she never knew if they were true. Now, her father is gone and Émi has been banished to the Red Quarter, where she toils to support herself and her mother – obeying the rules, hiding secrets and suffering the cruelties of the council’s ruthless Cadets.
But when Émi turns seventeen, sparks fly – literally. Her blood line surges into life and she realises she has a talent for magick… a talent that could get her killed.
Émi makes her escape, beyond the wall and away from everything she’s ever known. In a world of watchers, elephant riders and sorcery, she must discover the truth about who she really is. But can the new Émi live up to her destiny?

What were your initial thoughts on the book?
It’s been a while since I last read a fantasy book but when I heard about this one, I was instantly intrigued. It sounded very interesting – and fortunately it was! From the very beginning I found myself quite addicted to this book and found it pretty difficult to move on. Fortunately this book was also an easy read, the descriptions were written so well that images of the world filled my brain. I connected with the characters and could not wait to find out what would happen and where the book would take us. It’s not a truly complex fantasy novel but that was absolutely perfect for me. This made it easier to imagine and read, it allowed the characters to take full control of the story, which is something I absolutely love in books.

Who was your favourite character and why?
This is actually a bit of a tough choice for me but I think my ultimate favourite character was Tsam. I can’t quite put my finger on why except that I was instantly drawn to him and his protective nature. He felt like a safety net in the book. It’s hard to describe but I just felt safe whenever he was there. Second to Tsam would obviously be Emi. She was such a strong, powerful character. She goes through so much in the book and has lived a hellish life but she takes it all in and doesn’t let her weaknesses or her history define her. She is definitely a very interesting and unique character.

Would you recommend this book?
Definitely. I am certain that this book might not be for everyone but if you love fantasy and YA, mystery and adventure then you should definitely make sure that you read this book. It’s vivid and vibrant, taking you on a truly exotic adventure. I loved the lay of the land that Cara has come up with in this book, I loved the different creatures and beings that we meet throughout the book too. So if you’re looking for a book with all of these elements, then don’t miss this one.

One Sentence Summary (Verdict)
A vivid, vibrant, easy and addictive read that will pull you in from the first sentence.

Publisher: Bewick Press
Publication Date: September 2017
Format: eBook
Pages: 300
Genre: Fantasy
Age: YA
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Provided by Author
Challenge: None
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My Digger is Bigger

Lou Kuenzler (Author), Dan Taylor (Illustrator)

Rex Rhino roars along in his digger, Charlie Cheetah zooms by in his super-fast motor, and Holly Hornet whizzes right up to the sky in her jet, as the animals compete to find out whose vehicle is best. But it is little Jack the Gerbil who really wows the crowd with his gravity-defying scooter tricks. A riotous rhyming picture book with a fantastic fold-out finale!

One of my favourite things about working in a library is being one of the first people to open up the boxes with the new books inside and getting a look at the books that have been sent to us. Then if anything grabs my eye, I get to have a quick peek through it. When I saw this book, I was instantly intrigued and found myself diving in. I was expecting it to be a little bit fun perhaps but I ended up thoroughly enjoying the book. It was full of fun and interesting characters, lots of rhyming words and I was absolutely sure that it would be an absolute smashing hit with the kids.

In this book, the animals all have different things that they use to compete with their friends. Rhino’s digger is bigger but the Cheetah’s car is faster. I thought this was wonderfully clever and brilliant. It showed that we’re all different and unique and have our own things and talents that make us the “best” and which make us who we are. It does this by using animals that are all different and I just found it so fascinating and I hope that it helps to show to children that everyone is different but that doesn’t make any one less worthy.

Alongside a fantastic rhyme that flows really well, this book is full of bright vibrant pictures and a lot of things happen on each page which is perfect for keeping the children entertained. I am positive that this is a book that would be read over and over again and one that would be quite fun to share with your little one as well. I feel that it is the perfect book to inspire both girls and boys and I am just absolutely positive that this book will be a big hit with the young children who can then go off and play with their toy trucks and cars – as I am sure my niece would!

Verdict: A fun, rhyming, interesting and fascinating picture book which will capture the children’s imagination and inspire them to be better and play together.

Reviewed by Faye

Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: August 2017
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
Genre: Picture Book
Age: Under 5s
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Library Copy
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The Lie

C. L. Taylor

I know your name’s not really Jane Hughes…
Jane Hughes has a loving partner, a job in an animal sanctuary and a tiny cottage in rural Wales. She’s happier than she’s ever been but her life is a lie. Jane Hughes does not really exist.
Five years earlier Jane and her then best friends went on holiday but what should have been the trip of a lifetime rapidly descended into a nightmare that claimed the lives of two of the women.
Jane has tried to put her past behind her but someone knows the truth about what happened. Someone who won’t stop until they’ve destroyed Jane and everything she loves.

What were your initial thoughts on the book?
Initially I loved it. This had me hooked from the very beginning. I listened to this on audiobook and I don’t know if this added to the atmosphere but what I do know is that the atmosphere of this book is so intense and incredible. The book jumps between past and present and always leaves one time era on a cliffhanger before jumping to the next time era. It was a very clever trick to keep the reader turning the page – both metaphorically and literally! I was also gutted when my car journey was over and the audiobook had to be paused for a short while, always eager to return to the story. This is a very well written thriller that has a very intriguing twist at the end. It is the first C. L. Taylor book that I have read but it will not be the last.

Who was your favourite character and why?
Sorry to be boring with you all guys but as usual my favourite character was our main protagonist; Jane. She was just such an interesting character and it was so fascinating to read about how she was five years and how she was now. I absolutely loved how protective she was of animals and how much she cared about the new people in her life as well. I did get a bit disgruntled that she didn’t talk to Will about everything but I also know that when you’re hiding something, it’s probably not easy to just bring it all out into the open. I loved how much she had grown between her past self and her future self but also how much she progressed throughout the book as well. She was definitely and strong and fascinating character to have at the forefront of this book.

Would you recommend this book?
Absolutely. It is an incredible read that will truly hook you from the beginning and will, hopefully, shock you to your core by the end of it too. It’s the type of book that drip feeds you information and leaves you guessing before the big reveal. But even then because we had past and present, there was still more to occur. It was truly wonderful and everything you could wish for with a twisty, heart-racing and addictive thriller. So if you’re looking for a book that is full of vibrant characters, has a dark heart and an ultimate reveal at the end, then you should definitely make sure you read this book.

One sentence summary (Verdict)
An addictive, fast-paced, heart-wrenching thriller read that will have you reaching for the tissues as well as feeling pure hope and happiness too. A whirlwind of a read that you really do not want to miss.
Verdict: A very entertaining, fun and quick read that celebrates diversity and being a little bit different.

Reviewed by Faye

Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: April 2015
Format: Audiobook
Pages: 461
Genre: Thriller
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Library Copy
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One Button Benny

Alan Windram (Author), Chloe Holwill-Hunter (Illustrator)

One Button Benny is a story about heroes and the unlikely places you find them. With strikingly beautiful retro-style illustrations by Chloe Holwill-Hunter. This colourful, fun tale for three-to six-year-olds, sees loveable robot Benny becoming a surprising hero when the hairy, scary collectors try to take over his planet.

Benny has always been different. An outcast. He can’t do the cool things that all of his robot friends can do. All he has is one button that he is not allowed to use except in an EMERGENCY. He doesn’t know what it does. But all of his friends can do amazing things with THEIR buttons. Thus they tease Benny a lot and treat him differently, often poking fun at how boring he is. I felt very sorry for Benny but I loved that he still tried to find ways of using his emergency only button within the book.

But then a REAL emergency happens and while all the other robots flee, Benny finally gets to press his button! And it is the coolest button of ALL the robots. Within moments the robots all apologise and all decide that they want to be Benny’s friend and Benny feels welcome and happy. He’s not just ordinary after all, he’s EXTRA-ordinary.

This book had a very “ugly duckling” feel to it but I did not mind this at all as I just really loved the book. I loved the way the words were easy to say out loud, I loved all of the amazing illustrations by the ever talented Chloe Holwill-Hunter and how they related so well to the story as well. I loved how all of the robots looked different from each other and were all really unique and yet how despite that it still managed to reflect our world really well.

Verdict: A very entertaining, fun and quick read that celebrates diversity and being a little bit different.

Reviewed by Faye

Publisher: Little Door Books
Publication Date: Jun 2017
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
Genre: Picture Book
Age: Under 5s
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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To Provence, With Love

T. A. Williams
Escape to the south of France with this perfect feel-good summer romance!
Anything is possible…
Struggling writer Faye Carter just can’t believe her luck. She’s off to Provence to write the autobiography of a famous film star and she’ll be staying in the stunning chateau!
So when she meets charming (and completely gorgeous) lavender farmer, Gavin, she knows that she’s made the right choice – even if glamourous, elderly Anabelle seems to be hiding something…
But when the sun is shining, the food is delicious and the air smells of honey, anything seems possible. Will the magic of Provence help Faye finally find a happy-ever-after of her own?.

Exclusive Excerpt
Faye went over and clinked her glass against Miss Beech’s, then Eddie’s, and took a mouthful. She watched as Miss Beech sipped her drink pensively before looking up. ‘Here’s something you can put in the book, Faye. They say alcohol slows the activity of the brain, but every time I drink champagne, my mind’s flooded with memories of so, so many good times.’ She stared down into the wineglass. ‘To be quite honest, I’ve never really liked the stuff that much. Those bubbles always seem to go up my nose, but it’s what it represents, I suppose.’
‘Well, I haven’t had the opportunity to drink enough champagne in my life to develop a special taste for it, but this is gorgeous. By the way, talking of wine, thank you so much for all the food and drink you’ve put in the flat. The fridge is absolutely packed.’ As Miss Beech made a dismissive gesture with her hand, Faye took another mouthful of champagne. It really was excellent. She pulled up an ornate wooden stool and sat down to one side of Miss Beech, directly in front of the fireplace. ‘So, go on then, what’s running through your mind at the moment? What memories has this sip of champagne awakened?’
There was a moment’s silence while Miss Beech reflected on the question and then, to Faye’s surprise, she started giggling like a schoolgirl once more. ‘To be totally honest, Faye, it reminds me of the night I tipped a bucket full of ice into my leading man’s lap in an Italian restaurant in Beverly Hills.’
Faye gasped, feeling a fit of the giggles rising up inside her as well. ‘You did what?’ She watched as Miss Beech dissolved into laughter, her whole face flushed with pleasure as the memory returned. ‘It was at the end of a day’s filming of Faded Heart.’ Faye knew this to be one of Miss Beech’s best-known films. ‘All that day we’d been riding around on horses. As I recall, I was trying to show him how the stunt boss had been teaching me to jump onto a moving horse.’ She looked up. ‘We did a lot of our own stunts in those days, not like today – and as I leapt to my feet and stretched out one leg to demonstrate, my foot hit the bucket and … splash!’
Faye was laughing by now. ‘Who was the leading man?’
‘Charlton Heston.’
‘Wow, and what was his reaction? Was he angry?’
Miss Beech shook her head. ‘Not at all. He laughed his head off. Said it cooled him down. He was a good, kind man, was Chuck. Not like some others I could mention.’

Reviewed by Faye

Publisher: HQ Digital
Publication Date: July 2017
Format: ebook
Pages: 384
Genre: Romance
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Provided by author
Challenge: None
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