Posted in 5*, Adult Fiction, Seasonal

I Won’t Be Home for Christmas by Amanda Prowse

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While her free-spirited daughter travels the world, Vivienne prepares for a lonely Christmas in Bristol, with her best friend Ellen and her ancient dog Bob.

Then a letter arrives that changes everything. Vivienne’s daughter is getting married in New Zealand, and she wants her mum and Ellen by her side.

But out on the rugged coast of Tutukaka, the sea sparkles, romance beckons – and Vivienne falls under the spell of another life. Will she leave everything she holds dear for a chance at happiness? Or will her daughter be the only one to fall in love this Christmas?

My 5* Review

I love nothing more than snuggling down with a good read on the cold evenings and this book did not disappoint. As we are headed towards Christmas I thought I would get some festive reads in as I can’t read a Christmas book other than in the lead up to the big day.

This book captures your heart from the off with the fantastic friendship captured between Elle & Viv who have been best friends since childhood and the way in which Amanda Prowse has bought to life the characters of these ladies with feisty Elle & quieter Viv. The way in which the friendship is delivered makes you feel warm and fuzzy and fills you with laughter as they set off on their adventure to New Zealand.

Once I had snuggled down I was transported to their world and didn’t put the book down until I had finished as I was desperate to know the destiny of all these fantastic characters. I picked this up expecting it to be a Christmas book, however although it is based in the lead up to the festive holidays it is a story about love, friendship, tradition and how sometimes you just have to give life another chance.

Posted in Younger Readers Age 9-12

The Great Escape by Megan Rix

The Great Escape is a gripping and heartwarming story for 9+ readers about three pets who are separately from their beloved owners in Second World War London, fleeing to the countryside to survive.

Perfect for fans of Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse and Lauren St John.

BUSTER is a lively Jack Russell
TIGER is a feisty white and ginger tom
ROSE is a faithful Collie

Robert and Lucy Edwards love their pets more than anything; but the threat of the Second World War forces them to flee to Devon – leaving their animals behind. And as the air raid sirens sound over London, the frightened animals are sent to be put down.

Buster, Tiger and Rose make a daring escape but with danger at every turn, can the trio make it across the country as it prepares for battle – and cheat death for the second time?

Daisy’s 5* Review

This book is based on the story of Buster, Tiger & Rose who are left behind when the children are evacuated.
I found it really descriptive, I could imagine the animals and their journey. It made me feel sorry for those caught up in the war and it made me think about the animals back then and what would have happened to them. I enjoyed the whole book with no favourite part and would definitely recommend it.

Posted in Adult Fiction, Debut Book

The Law of Attraction by Roxie Cooper

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“Well, it’s fair to say your background isn’t conventional in terms of the average barrister…” Dolus points out. “Well that depends on your definition of conventional and who wants to be average anyway?”

Northern girl Amanda Bentley isn’t your average lawyer.

She spent her teenage years in the Working Men’s club and hanging out in the park to avoid going home. Fresh out of law school she lands pupillage at a top set of Chambers and is catapulted into a world completely alien to her own, fighting prejudice and snobbery at every turn.

Piling on the pressure, this year it is announced two candidates have been accepted but there’s only one job at the end of it. And her competition? Marty, her smarmy law school nemesis.

Throw into the mix an ill-advised romance with the staggeringly sexy Sid Ryder and Amanda quickly realises winning pupillage isn’t just about how good a lawyer you are.

But even if she does come out on top, all of it could be for nothing if her colleagues ever discover who she really is and one very dark secret.

My 4* Review

Amanda takes you on her unconventional journey as she enlists on her pupillage with a point to prove. She is sassy, feisty and doesn’t want to conform, I fell in love with her straight away as she is a girl after my own heart and she isn’t afraid to say what she thinks regardless of whether her actions help achieve her end goal.

I love nothing more than being able to curl up with a book and being compelled to keep turning the pages to find out what happens to the characters that have been bought to life. Roxie Cooper accomplished all of this in her 1st novel, I really enjoyed this book for all of those reasons. It was a lovely refreshing read and I was drawn in and wanted to find out what would be thrown Amanda’s way next and how she would deal with it.

 

Posted in 5*, Historical Fiction

The Tattooist of Auschwitz: based on the heart-breaking true story of love and survival by Heather Morris

Heart-breaking – a tale of love and survival amidst the horrors of Auschwitz
Human – the real story behind one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust – the blue numbers tattooed on prisoners’ arms
Inspirational – the very best of humanity in the very worst of circumstances
Unforgettable – a story untold for over seventy years is finally shared
Life-affirming – one man’s determination to survive and live a full life with the woman he loved
Fully verified – Lale Sokolov’s background and story has been fact-checked against all available documentary evidence

The Story

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is based on the true story of Lale and Gita Sokolov, two Slovakian Jews, who survived Auschwitz and eventually made their home in Australia. In that terrible place, Lale was given the job of tattooing the prisoners marked for survival – literally scratching numbers into his fellow victims’ arms in indelible ink to create what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust. Lale used the infinitesimal freedom of movement that this position awarded him to exchange jewels and money taken from murdered Jews for food to keep others alive. If he had been caught he would have been killed; many owed him their survival.

There have been many books about the Holocaust – and there will be many more. What makes this one so memorable is Lale Sokolov’s incredible zest for life. He understood exactly what was in store for him and his fellow prisoners and he was determined to survive – not just to survive, but to leave the camp with his dignity and integrity intact, to live his life to the full. Terrible though this story is, it is also a story of hope and of courage. It is also – almost unbelievably – a love story. Waiting in line to be tattooed, terrified and shaking, was a young girl. For Lale – a dandy, a jack-the-lad, a bit of a chancer – it was love at first sight and he determined not only to survive himself, but to ensure that Gita did, too. His story – their story – will make you weep, but you will also find it uplifting. It shows the very best of humanity in the very worst of circumstances.

Like many survivors, Lale and Gita told few people their story after the war. They eventually made their way to Australia, where they raised a son and had a successful life. But when Gita died, Lale felt he could no longer carry the burden of their past alone. He chose to tell his story.

 

My Review

I finished reading this yesterday after reading in 2 straight sittings, it is a powerful and compelling read. I had already read some amazing reviews about this book and they piqued my interest and the book did not disappoint.

Based on a true account of the amazingly courageous Lale and his time in the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. This book is thought provoking, it draws you in as you get to know Lale and how he adapts to survive and the relationships he develops with those around him. It reflects on love, loss and the horrors experienced first hand for those in the Concentration Camps during this time. The style in which it is written allows you to understand Lale and see how and why he made the decision to survive and undertake the task of tattooing the numbers onto those arriving to the Auschwitz Camp.

This honest reflection shows how despite horrendous living conditions and malnutrition people of different nationalities and religions developed relationships trying to hold on to their humanity in the hope that they may walk again outside the confines of the electric fences.

This has been one of my top reads for 2017 and I hope it gains the recognition it deserves as it has been written with the utmost respect to the memory of Lale and Gita.

Posted in Adult Fiction

How Hard Can It Be by Allison Pearson

Allison Pearson’s brilliant debut novel, I Don’t Know How She Does It, was a New York Times bestseller with four million copies sold around the world. Called “the definitive social comedy of working motherhood” (The Washington Post) and “a hysterical look–in both the laughing and crying senses of the world–at the life of Supermom” (The New York Times), I Don’t Know How She Does It introduced Kate Reddy, a woman as sharp as she was funny. As Oprah Winfrey put it, Kate’s story became “the national anthem for working mothers.”

Seven years later, Kate Reddy is facing her 50th birthday. Her children have turned into impossible teenagers; her mother and in-laws are in precarious health; and her husband is having a midlife crisis that leaves her desperate to restart her career after years away from the workplace. Once again, Kate is scrambling to keep all the balls in the air in a juggling act that an early review from the U.K. Express hailed as “sparkling, funny, and poignant…a triumphant return for Pearson.”

Will Kate reclaim her rightful place at the very hedge fund she founded, or will she strangle in her new “shaping” underwear? Will she rekindle an old flame, or will her house burn to the ground when a rowdy mob shows up for her daughter’s surprise (to her parents) Christmas party? Surely it will all work out in the end. After all, how hard can it be?

My Review

I have just had the pleasure of finishing this book, it came highly recommended and I can see why. This book was a strike of comedy genius, it tackles the lovely Kate and her trials and tribulations of being a premenopausal working mum, it made me laugh throughout and it will strike a chord with any working mum as we have all been her at some point. Praise for Allison Pearson on being able to capture all of this so well and create a book full of pure comedy moments but also touching on the trials and tribulations of being both a working mum and a teenager girl in todays society.

Posted in Younger Readers Age 9-12

Bad Dad by David Walliams

The new heart-warming and hilariously brilliant story from number one bestselling author David Walliams. Beautifully illustrated by artistic genius, Tony Ross.

Dads come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.

There are fat ones and thin ones, tall ones and short ones.
There are young ones and old ones, clever ones and stupid ones.
There are silly ones and serious ones, loud ones and quiet ones.
Of course, there are good dads, and bad dads . . .

A high-speed cops and robbers adventure with heart and soul about a father and son taking on the villainous Mr Big – and winning!

This riches-to-rags story will have you on the edge of your seat and howling with laughter!

5* Review

I pre ordered the latest David Walliams book – Bad Dad for my daughter so that it arrived to her very excited hands on release day. She has loved all of the David Walliams books to date and this book did not disappoint.

I lost her to the book almost as soon as it arrived and she thoroughly enjoyed his latest release.

Here is her review from earlier this week when she finished reading it:

This was a really funny book, which made me laugh throughout the book. I felt sorry for Frank as the story went on as his Dad did a bad thing and got into trouble. The story is based around Frank and how his Dad made some bad decisions, it made me laugh a lot and I kept wanting to read more to find out what happened next.

My favourite things about the book are:
* It was really funny, David Walliams always makes me laugh
* Illustrated well – I really liked the illustrations in the book
* I would definitely read it again and have already recommended it to my friends

If you are looking for a book to purchase your kids for Christmas this book would definitely be worth adding to your list as David Walliams appears to be a master in writing funny books to entertain our children.