Banned Books 2016 – JULY READ – A Bad Boy Can Be Good For A Girl by Tanya Lee Stone

Published July 25, 2016 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

Josie, Nicolette, and Aviva all get mixed up with a senior boy-a cool, slick, sexy boy who can talk them into doing almost anything he wants. In a blur of high school hormones and personal doubt, each girl struggles with how much to give up and what ultimately to keep for herself. How do girls handle themselves? How much can a boy get away with? And in the end, who comes out on top? A bad boy may always be a bad boy. But this bad boy is about to meet three girls who won’t back down.

bannedbooks

Logo designed by Luna’s Little Library

Welcome to our seventh banned book of 2016! As always, we’ll be looking at why the book was challenged, how/if things have changed since the book was originally published and our own opinions on the book. Here’s what we’ll be reading for the rest of 2016…

AUGUST – Bless Me Ultima- Rudolfo Anaya

SEPTEMBER – Bone- Jeff Smith

OCTOBER – The Glass Castle- Jeanette Walls

NOVEMBER- Gossip Girl- Cecily Von Ziegesar

DECEMBER – My Sister’s Keeper- Jodi Picoult

But back to this month….

A Bad Boy Can Be Good For A Girl by Tanya Lee Stone

First published: 2006

In the Top Ten most frequently challenged books in 2013 (source)

Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit

Do you understand or agree with any of the reasons for the book being challenged when it was originally published?

BETH: Like many of the other novels in our series of frequently challenged/banned books this year, this is a fairly recent release and I don’t believe too much has changed in our attitudes to books (either for the worse or the better) in the past ten years. This is one of those books where I can see why people may have had problems with it, mainly due to the sexual content. In that way, I can’t really see it being taught in schools (I can imagine a few red faces, including the teachers!) but I see no reason why it can’t be stocked in a school library for teenagers to read on their own time as I do feel it has some important messages.

CHRISSI: I was surprised at how recent this book was. I don’t know why, but I thought it had an ‘older’ feel to it. As I was reading the book, I realised that it wouldn’t be a great classroom read. It is indeed, sexually explicit. That’s not to say that I don’t think it should be available to teens. I do. As Beth says, it would be great to be stocked in the library. Sadly, I don’t see that likely to happen in many school libraries due to its content.

How about now?

BETH: See previous answer! I probably don’t agree with ALL of the reasons for challenging this book to be honest and as I mentioned, I do believe it’s important for teenagers to have access to it but I can’t remember any instances of offensive language or references to drugs. Everything mentioned in this novel I feel is part of a normal, curious adolescence and will be things that teenagers are likely to come across during this period in their lives. Wrapping them up in cotton wool and shielding them from the cold, hard facts of life I feel will do more damage than good in the long run.

CHRISSI:  As I said, I can see why this book wouldn’t be used in the classroom. However, I think it’s an accurate representation of adolescence and certainly think it should be available for teenagers. I think all too often teenagers are shielded from this kind of read and there’s no reason for that!

What did you think of this book?:

BETH: There were lots of things to like about this book. Firstly, it’s a very quick read, partially because the entirety of the novel is written in prose which makes it both interesting and easy to whizz through – I think I finished it in about an hour? We get to hear three teenage girls points of view when they meet, date and in some cases sleep with the notorious “bad boy” of the school and how this affects them emotionally as a result when he gets the only thing he really wants from their relationships – sex. I think it’s really important for teenage girls struggling with new, very adult emotions and who may be feeling particularly vulnerable to reassure them that they are not alone and that they don’t have to do anything that they may not feel ready for.

CHRISSI: I really enjoyed this book. I didn’t expect to whizz through it as much as I did. It helps that the book is in prose as it really picks up the pace of the book. It’s one of those where I kept thinking ‘just one more snippet’ and before I knew it I was finished. I don’t think it’s an overly memorable read, but I think it’ll be relatable to so many teens!

Would you recommend it?:

BETH: Probably!
CHRISSI: Yes!

BETH’S personal star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

Join us again on the last Monday of August when we will be discussing Bless Me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya.

 

 

Short Stories Challenge – The Graveless Doll Of Eric Mutis by Karen Russell from the collection Vampires In The Lemon Grove

Published July 24, 2016 by bibliobeth

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What’s The Graveless Doll of Eric Mutis all about?:

The final story in Karen Russell’s excellent short story collection focuses on a group of school friends who come across a scarecrow tied to a tree in a park that bears a striking resemblance to a young boy that they used to bully.

What did I think?:

There has been some real corkers of stories (and very few damp squibs!) in Vampires In The Lemon Grove, which was the first thing I’ve read from the author, Karen Russell. Looking back on the collection now I’ve completed it, stand out favourites for me have to include Reeling For The Empire, The Barn At The End Of Our Term and Dougbert Shackleton’s Rules for Antarctic Tailgating so I have to admit, I was expecting great things for the final story. To be honest, I was left feeling slightly disappointed by the ending as I felt the story had SO much more potential and things sort of… well, fizzled out by the end, with no clear indications of what was going to happen.

Generally, this story had a strong sense of Stephen King about it. (If you didn’t know, I’m a huge SK fan and that’s therefore a massive compliment!). The main protagonist is a young boy, part of a gang of friends known locally as Camp Dark – don’t judge them on the name, they designed it when they were much younger. One day in their local hang-out they see something that shocks them to their very core. It’s a scarecrow, tied to a tree. However, this is no ordinary scarecrow, it looks frighteningly familiar and then they figure out that the wax face attached to the scarecrow resembles a young boy that used to attend their school, Eric Mutis whom they nicknamed “Mutant” due to him looking a bit different and suffering from epilepsy. They used to bully this boy mercilessly whilst he was at the school, fists and all, but he’s recently disappeared, never to be seen again – until now.

The scarecrow freaks them all out, especially our main protagonist who seems to be dogged with guilt about the way he treated Eric whilst he was at school with them. Then strangely enough, pieces of the scarecrow start to go missing. At first, the other boys think our protagonist is to blame and he is playing a trick on them but this certainly is not the case. Bit by bit, the scarecrow continues to lose his appendages until just his head is left and each day as this happens, our boy feels more and more scared and regretful of his past actions.

This story had such an interesting premise and I was hooked most of the way through, intrigued to find out exactly what was happening and if the scarecrow had a darker message behind it. It was fast paced and more than a little creepy as the author plays on the reader’s emotions, the mystery of the situation and the darker secret that our protagonist holds that the rest of the gang was completely unaware of. I was however, very disappointed by the ending and did feel it had the potential to finish on a “bang,” rather than fizzle out the way I felt it did. Please don’t let my opinion put you off though – the build up on this story is very intense and what I may have disliked, many other readers may love.

Would I recommend it?:

Maybe!

Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

NEXT SHORT STORY: The Adventure Of The Speckled Band by Arthur Conan Doyle from the collection The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes

 

Blog Tour – Random Acts Of Unkindness – Jacqueline Ward

Published July 19, 2016 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

How far would you go to find your child?

DS Jan Pearce has a big problem. Her fifteen year old son, Aiden, is missing. Jan draws together the threads of missing person cases spanning fifty years and finds tragic connections and unsolved questions.

Bessy Swain, an elderly woman that Jan finds dead on her search for Aiden, and whose own son, Thomas, was also missing, may have the answers.

Jan uses Bessy’s information and her own skills and instinct to track down the missing boys. But is it too late for Aiden?

Set in the North West of England, with the notorious Saddleworth Moor as a backdrop, Random Acts of Unkindness is a story about motherhood, love and loss and how families of missing people suffer the consequences of major crimes involving their loved ones.

Random Acts of Unkindness is the first in the DS Jan Pearce series of novels.

What did I think?:

First of all, huge thanks to Faye Rogers for organising this blog tour and asking me to be a part of it and to the author and publisher, Kindle Press for providing me with a copy of Jacqueline’s first crime novel in exchange for an honest review. I’m a big fan of crime fiction and it used to be all I read before I broadened my horizons slightly but I still always appreciate a well written, exciting and dark piece of crime fiction and I got this all and much more besides with Random Acts Of Unkindness.

We are introduced to our main character, a police detective Jan Pearce in quite a shocking way as she has entered a house after reports of a suspicious smell to find an old woman dead in what she believes could be suspicious circumstances. We then find out that Jan has an ulterior motive in entering the property and this is because she is pursuing a link between the man who owns the house, the mysterious criminal mastermind Mr Connelly and the disappearance of her own beloved teenage son Aiden some time ago. What she isn’t expecting is to find so many parallels between her own private tragedy and the disappearance of the old woman Bessy’s own son, Thomas many years ago in the 1960’s when the horrific crimes of the notorious Moors Murderers were rife.

Jan manages to find a notebook of Bessy’s, written in the form of a journal, which contains vital information about her son’s case and provides many links to Jan’s current situation. It brings her both comfort and a sense of dogged determination that only makes her more desperate to find out exactly what happened to both boys. Defying the advice of her superior officer, her work partner and her ex-husband, Jan is certain that she will solve the mysteries of disappearing children that have plagued the county for decades. Things are about to get very dangerous as Jan receives terrifying threats, risks her livelihood and indeed, her life just to uncover the truth at any cost.

When I first began this novel, I have to admit to not being quite sure where the author was going with the story. The pace at the beginning I found quite slow but believe me, the build-up was totally worth it as when the action got going, the whole mystery and excitement really picked up a gear. I really enjoyed the way Jacqueline Ward has presented the story, in that we get to hear Jan’s voice in the present time and pieces from Bessy’s journal as she struggles to cope with never knowing what has happened to her son. I can only imagine the research that the author has had to carry out, on the Moors Murderers in particular and more than one passage sent a shiver down my spine, perhaps it was all the more chilling knowing that it is based on real-life people who actually carried out these atrocities. Random Acts Of Unkindness promises to be the first novel in a DS Jan Pearce series and I’ll certainly be checking out further books from this author in the future based on the strength of this particular novel.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

Random Acts Banner

AUTHOR INFORMATION

Jacqueline Ward

Jacqueline Ward writes short stories, novels and screenplays. She has been writing seriously since 2007 and has had short stories published in anthologies and magazines. Jacqueline won Kindle Scout in 2016 and her crime novel, Random Acts of Unkindness, will be published by Amazon Publishing imprint Kindle Press. Her novel SmartYellowTM was published by Elsewhen Press in 2015 and was nominated for the Arthur C Clarke Award in 2016. Jacqueline is a Chartered psychologist who specializes in narrative psychology, gaining a PhD in narrative and storytelling in 2007. She lives in Oldham, near Manchester, with her partner and their dog.

Website: http://www.jacquelineward.co.uk/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JacquiAnnC

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JACauthor/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8426429.Jacqueline_Ward

A huge thank you to everyone involved in this blog tour, I’ve had a great time doing it. Why not check out the rest of the stops on the tour where you’ll find some fantastic reviews from my fellow bloggers? Random Acts Of Unkindness was released on June 21st 2016 by Kindle Press and is available in both paperback and e-book format from all good bookshops now!

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30363250-random-acts-of-unkindness

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Random-Acts-Unkindness-Jacqueline-Ward-ebook/dp/B01EVK2AZM/

Random Acts Tour

Rogue Lawyer – John Grisham

Published July 17, 2016 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

‘The best thriller writer alive’ – Ken Follett

I’m not a typical lawyer. I don’t maintain a pretty office filled with mahogany and leather. I don’t belong to a big firm, prestigious or otherwise. I don’t do good works through the bar association. I’m a lone gunman, a rogue who fights bad systems and hates injustice . . .

Sebastian Rudd takes the cases no one else wants to take: the drug-addled punk accused of murdering two little girls; a crime lord on death row; a homeowner who shot at a SWAT team.

Rudd believes that every person accused of a crime is entitled to a fair trial – even if he has to cheat to get one. He antagonises people from both sides of the law: his last office was firebombed, either by drug dealers or cops. He doesn’t know or care which.

But things are about to get even more complicated for Sebastian. Arch Swanger is the prime suspect in the abduction and presumed murder of 21-year-old Jiliana Kemp, the daughter of the assistant chief of police. When Swanger asks Sebastian to represent him, he lets Sebastian in on a terrible secret . . . one that will threaten everything Sebastian holds dear.

Gritty, witty, and impossible to put down, Rogue Lawyer is the master of the legal thriller at his very best.

What did I think?:

In my late teens, John Grisham was one of my favourite authors and I used to rave about his books, in particular, A Time To Kill, The Client and The Chamber which were all very entertaining and thrilling reads and probably get my highest recommendation if you’ve never read any Grisham before. Somewhere along the way and for reasons I’m unsure of, I stopped reading him and Rogue Lawyer has been my first Grisham novel for a long while. Did he still have what it took to keep me turning the pages? Short answer – yes he did. I’ve noticed this book has come in for a bit of criticism on GoodReads with a lot of John Grisham fans being sorely disappointed, some disliking the style of the book, others believing it was too similar to another of his novels, The Lincoln Lawyer but personally, I have to disagree.

Our “rogue lawyer,” in the story is Sebastian Rudd, who isn’t part of a big corporation but works as sort of a lone wolf, taking on those cases most other lawyers wouldn’t touch with a barge pole, defending the nastiest, the down-trodden and occasionally, the poorest clients. This is all because Sebastian has a deep hatred for large companies, corrupt police forces and the like and has a steely determination to get justice for his client, especially if he believes they are innocent of the charges against them.

What made this book slightly different from all the other legal thrillers Grisham writes in my eyes was that it read almost like a book of short stories. We don’t just see the one case pursued and dissected throughout the novel, but a number of different cases with very different clients which I personally really enjoyed. I felt it was made slightly more realistic by the fact that no, Sebastian does not win every case he takes on and of course, not all of his clients are really innocent. However, I loved reading about his interactions with each one individually and felt I learned more about Sebastian as a character – he is obviously not perfect, has questionable parenting skills and occasionally has to play dirty to get the result he wants but it made him infinitely more plausible as a human being and definitely more fun to read about.

Sebastian’s personal life has also been full with trials and tribulations, his ex-wife left him for another woman and although they have a son together, his wife has full custody and he sees his son very rarely. He knows he has a lot to learn regarding fatherhood and messes up a couple of times (like we all do!) but at the end of the day, wants to be there for his son and do a decent job of bringing him up. Grisham manages to mix with an expert hand the personal aspects of Rudd’s life with the action-packed, occasionally very dangerous job of being a rogue lawyer such as himself and I loved that each separate case Rudd came across had a thrilling element where I was desperate to know what was going to happen next. The door is wide open for a sequel on Sebastian Rudd and I hope John Grisham reads enough of the positive reviews and less of the negative reviews so that he will not be dissuaded from writing a follow up. I certainly would be interested to see what happens to Rudd next and I’m very glad I came “back to Grisham!”

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

Beth And Chrissi Do Kid-Lit 2016 – JUNE READ – The Borrowers by Mary Norton

Published July 3, 2016 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

Beneath the kitchen floor is the world of the Borrowers — Pod and Homily Clock and their daughter, Arrietty. In their tiny home, matchboxes double as roomy dressers and postage stamps hang on the walls like paintings. Whatever the Clocks need they simply “borrow” from the “human beans” who live above them. It’s a comfortable life, but boring if you’re a kid. Only Pod is allowed to venture into the house above, because the danger of being seen by a human is too great. Borrowers who are seen by humans are never seen again. Yet Arrietty won’t listen. There is a human boy up there, and Arrietty is desperate for a friend.

What did I think?:

The Borrowers was one of those classic children’s books that I never took the opportunity to read when I was younger although I am aware of the gist of the story, mainly through the film that was made with British actor Jim Broadbent. One of my favourite films when I was younger (and a bit of a guilty pleasure!) was Honey I Shrunk The Kids and I remember being fascinated about how frightening the human world must look to someone no bigger than an ant so I was looking forward to seeing how this particular world would be portrayed.

The borrowers are little people who live in “normal-sized” humans houses, mainly under the floorboards or behind furniture to escape notice if they possibly can. Of course, they have to live and eat the same way as you or I do so they designate a member or members of their family as borrowers who sneak out whilst the house is quiet and borrow items that they need from the regular humans. This can include bits of leftover food or drink, or things they can find useful round the house like cotton reels to use as stools, blotting paper to use as carpets or even postage stamps which they can hang as portraits on their walls.

The particular family we learn about in this story is the Clocks, (named as they live behind the large grandfather clock in the hall) consisting of father and mother Pod and Homily and their only daughter Arrietty. Arrietty has never known life above the floorboards of their little den although she can occasionally see a bit of the garden and the sunshine through the grating in the wall. Her mother and father are very protective of her but soon realise that they have to be honest and warn her about the dangers of being seen by the humans that live upstairs.

Far from being horrified though, Arrietty is enthralled by their tales which sound far more exciting than the life she currently leads. She begs her mother and father to let her go out borrowing one time with her father Pod to experience what life is like beyond the clock. Although extremely worried, her parents reluctantly agree and Arrietty gets to see this whole new magical world where everything is much larger, much more thrilling and indeed much more dangerous than she could have ever imagined. However, when Arrietty herself is seen by a young boy who is living at the house at the time, she realises the small world she has become so accustomed to has the potential to change forever.

This was a lovely story to read and I particularly enjoyed the illustrations in my Kindle version by Joe Krush which added  an extra bit of magic to an imaginative and exciting plot. Arrietty was probably my favourite character in the narrative – I have to admit, her mother Homily annoyed me slightly and the young boy in the story was also ever so slightly irritating although I warmed to him a lot more when he started helping the Borrowers out as the tension rose and their lives became threatened. I can imagine a lot of readers falling in love with the independent, brave yet soft-hearted Arrietty and I admired her resilience as everything she has known comes crashing down around her. There are a lot of great things about the story that young children will love and Mary Norton certainly writes in an entertaining way that kept me engaged until the end.

For Chrissi’s fabulous post, please see her blog HERE.

Would I recommend it?:

Probably!

Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

Talking About According To Yes by Dawn French with Chrissi Reads

Published June 29, 2016 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

Dawn French, number one bestselling author of A Tiny Bit Marvellous and Oh Dear Silvia, returns with her joyously funny new novel, According To YES.

The Foreign Land of the Very Wealthy – otherwise known as Manhattan’s Upper East Side – has its own rigid code of behaviour. It’s a code strictly adhered to by the Wilder-Bingham family.

Emotional displays – unacceptable.

Unruly behaviour – definitely not welcome.

Fun – no thanks.

This is Glenn Wilder-Bingham’s kingdom. A beautifully displayed impeccably edited fortress of restraint.

So when Rosie Kitto, an eccentric thirty-eight-year-old primary school teacher from England, bounces into their lives with a secret sorrow and a heart as big as the city, nobody realises that she hasn’t read the rule book.

For the Wilder-Bingham family, whose lives begin to unravel thread by thread, the consequences are explosive. Because after a lifetime of saying no, what happens when everyone starts saying . . . yes?

What did WE think?:

CHRISSI: What were your first thoughts before going into reading this book?

BETH: I was quite excited! I love Dawn French, she’s a bit of a national treasure here in the UK as well as being a very gifted and funny comedienne. And although I have her novel A Tiny Bit Marvellous on my Kindle, because of the huge amount of books I have to read, I haven’t managed to get to it yet. (*hangs head in shame*). So, this was going to be my first experience of Dawn French as an author and I was looking forward to it.

BETH: Did you have a favourite character in this novel. If so, whom and why?

CHRISSI: It’s hard to pick a favourite character if I’m honest. Some of the characters were so ridiculous and I found it hard to connect with them. I think if I had to pick a favourite it would probably be Rosie. I felt like she was full of life and although she sometimes made decisions that I disapproved of, I thoroughly enjoyed following her story. I thought she was a character that’ll divide readers and I like that.

CHRISSI: Rosie aims to change by saying ‘yes’ to life. Discuss the choices she makes in the book.

BETH: When we meet Rosie, she is arriving in New York for the very first time after leaving a situation in the UK that we are not aware what happened for quite a while into the book. She is apprehensive but excited about the new challenges that face her in life and she is determined to live life to the full. What that means for Rosie is saying “Yes,” in situations that she might have previously shied away from and enjoying herself as much as possible while trying to integrate herself into the lives of her new family, the Wider-Binghams, where she is due to work as a nanny for the couple’s grandsons. However, Rosie does not realise that the decisions she makes while living with the very interesting family, will have ramifications for the rest of the life. So perhaps the decisions she ends up making or the situations she finds herself in aren’t necessarily the best ones? Say no more!

BETH: How well do you think Dawn French used humour in this story and could you see past it to the deeper message underneath?

CHRISSI: I thought the humour was used well, but unfortunately Dawn French is seen for being such a funny lady that I think the rating of the book has been rated down because of its more serious moments. It’s not what you expect. It’s nice to read another side to Dawn’s writing. However, the plot was a little strange and OTT for me. I think you expect to laugh a lot, but there was a deeper message in the story- about family and love.

CHRISSI: The Wilder-Binghams are a very ‘buttoned up’ Upper East Side family. How are they changed by Rosie coming into their lives?

BETH: Rosie is like a breath of fresh air for er… some of the Wilder-Binghams at the start of their relationship at least! Her views and attitudes are quite different from what they are used to, especially the matriarch of the family, the stern Glenn Wilder-Bingham who just doesn’t seem to “get” Rosie. This is in stark contrast to the rest of the family, especially the grandsons who end up adoring Rosie and everything she stands for. Before long, certain incidents which I cannot mention have the entire family re-assessing their futures for good. Relationships falter, secrets are told but in the end, they all come out hopefully stronger and happier people for Rosie’s influence.

BETH: Would you read another book by this author?

CHRISSI: I’m not sure if I would. I have heard that this book isn’t her best, but I didn’t find it compelling enough to want to read more of Dawn’s work. However, if anyone thinks I should give her writing another try then let me know!

Would WE recommend it?:

BETH: Maybe!

CHRISSI: Probably not.

BETH’s star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

CHRISSI’s star rating (out of 5):

stars

Blog Tour – Sweet Breath Of Memory by Ariella Cohen

Published June 27, 2016 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

Life is in the telling.

With its tree-lined streets, vibrant downtown and curbside planters of spring bulbs, Amberley, Massachusetts, seems a good place for Cate Saunders to start over. It’s been two years since her husband, John, was killed in Iraq and life has been a struggle. Her new job as a caregiver doesn’t pay much, but the locals are welcoming. In fact, Cate has barely unpacked before she’s drawn–reluctantly at first–into a circle of friends.

There’s diner-owner Gaby, who nourishes her customers’ spirits as well as their bodies; feisty Beatrice, who kept the town going when its men marched off to WWII; wise-cracking MaryLou, as formidable as Fort Knox but with the same heart of gold; and, Sheila, whose Italian grocery is the soul of the place. As Amberley reveals itself to be a town shaped by war, Cate encounters another kindred spirit–a Holocaust survivor with whom she feels a deep connection. When revelations about John’s death threaten Cate’s newfound peace of mind, these sisters-in-arms’ stories show her an unexpected way forward. And Cate comes to understand that although we suffer loss alone, we heal by sharing our most treasured memories.

What did I think?:

First of all, a huge thank you to the author of this stunning novel, Ariella Cohen for sending me a copy of her debut novel in return for an honest review. I’m truly honoured that I had an opportunity to read this book, I found it to be a highly satisfying and emotional read and I absolutely loved all the characters that the author has created. The novel itself has elements of both contemporary and historical fiction and I enjoyed how each strand was pulled together to create a narrative that I’m sure will speak to readers on a number of different levels.

Our main character is Cate Saunders, who moves to the small tight-knit town of Amberley, in search of something to take her mind off her overwhelming grief. Her husband, John was a soldier serving in Iraq and was tragically killed by a roadside bomb whilst out on patrol. Almost as soon as Cate enters the town, she is befriended by a number of strong, independent women all of whom are fighting their own somewhat invisible demons. There is Sheila who runs the local store who gives Cate a place to stay, brash yet gentle mechanic Mary-Lou who teaches Cate how to smile again and Gaby who runs the diner who has a strange gift for empathy and builds Cate’s spirit whilst fighting her own personal battles.

Before John died, Cate used to dream of being a writer and as she settles into Amberley, her dream becomes a reality when she finds old journal entries from a previous occupant of her apartment, Miriam, a Jewish refugee who had the most horrific life during World War II when she was sequestered in the notorious Lodz ghetto with her brothers. As Cate learns more about Miriam’s life from the journal entries and from the people who knew and loved her, Cate slowly but surely begins to heal and, bolstered by her new friends, enters a writing competition to tell the previously unknown stories of all the women in the town who have been affected by the horrors of war.

Personally, I felt the most wonderful part about this book (apart from a cracking plot of course!) was the characters drawn by the author. I fell instantly in love with all of them as we witness their own personal hardships and admired how they came together in support of each other as soon as they were needed. I found parts of the story, especially when Cate remembers her husband John and learning about the secrets of Miriam’s tragic past particularly emotional and I thank the author for taking me on a roller-coaster of emotions which left me with an new, entirely positive feeling about life, love and friendship. I’ll certainly be reading the next novel from Ariella Cohen and I’m eagerly hoping that there will be a sequel so that I can catch up with characters where it feels like they are already old and very dear friends.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

AUTHOR INFORMATION

AriellaCohen

Ariella believes in the healing power of cat purrs, coffee, Vivaldi and almond cookies. During the last summer Olympics, she felt compelled to march out to the garden and prove she was still a gymnast. It wasn’t pretty.
A native of Bergen County, NJ, Ariella now lives in New England but her dream self resides in County Mayo, Ireland. She graduated with honors from Barnard College, Columbia University, and attended the Hebrew University in Jerusalem as a Visiting Scholar. Her three years in that city were truly magical. She attended the University of Michigan Law School after which she somehow passed the NY & NJ bars.

Visit her website at http://www.ariellacohenauthor.wordpress.com/

Thank you so much to Ariella for providing me with a copy of her debut novel in exchange for an honest review and inviting me to take part in this blog tour. Sweet Breath Of Memory is due to be released on 28th June 2016 by Kensington Books and is available at all good bookshops including Waterstones and Amazon UK:

https://www.waterstones.com/book/sweet-breath-of-memory/ariella-cohen/9781496703705

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sweet-Breath-Memory-Ariella-Cohen/dp/1496703707/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1465253189&sr=8-1&keywords=%22sweet+breath+of+memory%22

Why not check out all the other stops on the blog tour?

Blog Tour Banner - Sweet Breath of Memory (JPEG)

 

 

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