Humour

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Beth And Chrissi Do Kid Lit 2016 – DECEMBER READ – The Boy Who Sailed The Ocean In An Armchair by Lara Williamson

Published December 31, 2016 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

All Becket wants is for his family to be whole again. But standing in his way are two things: 1) his dad, his brother and him seem to have run away from home in the middle of the night and 2) Becket’s mum died before he got the chance to say goodbye to her. Arming himself with an armchair of stories, a snail named Brian and one thousand paper cranes, Becket ploughs on, determined to make his wish come true.

What did I think?:

I’m always a bit sad when a year of Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit comes to an end as we enjoy it so much! For the final book of the year we chose The Boy Who Sailed The Ocean In An Armchair, partially because of the brilliant title and partially because of the great reviews on GoodReads. Apart from that, we really didn’t know much about it. It was only when I read the “about the author” part at the epilogue of the book that I realised that this was the author who also wrote the book A Boy Called Hope which has also has some excellent reviews and I am still to read (but very much looking forward to it now after this book!). But honestly, I cannot praise this book enough and it was a very welcome surprise how much I enjoyed it, ending our Kid-Lit year on an undeniable high.

Just to say, the synopsis above (from GoodReads), does not do justice to how great this story is. Our main character is a young boy called Becket who lives with his little brother Billy and his father and is still trying to cope with his mother’s death after she gave birth to Billy. They had previously been living with a woman lived Pearl, who his father was seeing but for some strange reason their father packed them all up in a hurry and moved them to a dingy little flat at some distance from their old house. They have been forbidden from any form of contact with Pearl, have to start at a new school and are, plain and simple, miserable. They were hoping with Pearl in their lives, they had the chance to have a “second mother,” and finally become a family. The Boy Who Sailed The Ocean In An Armchair shows how Becket deals with this latest upheaval in his life as he struggles with the grief for his mother, tries to forge a relationship with his father and get Pearl back into their lives and makes sure that his little brother and his new friend, Brian the snail are well looked after.

This book makes me want to do a lot of love-heart emoji’s. It is so beautifully written and absolutely hilarious which I completely wasn’t expecting. It’s not often a book makes me laugh out loud, but this one – oh my goodness. The characters are so warm and loveable, especially Becket and Billy, the latter of whom is so painfully honest but in such a funny way, like small children often are. The armchair in the title was the favourite chair of the boys mother and used by them to remember her and when Billy has bad dreams, the two curl up in it and Becket tells him a story of his own that calms him down and allows him to sleep again. The whole book is very fairy-tale esque (another bonus for me!) and filled with the most beautiful, emotional moments that would help anyone struggling with grief themselves. This is a wonderful story that I’m so glad I read and I can’t wait to read more from this author!

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

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating:

four-stars_0

BETH AND CHRISSI DO KID-LIT 2017 – THE TITLES ARE REVEALED – COMING 2ND JANUARY!

Talking About The Readers Of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald with Chrissi Reads

Published November 23, 2016 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

The International Bestseller

Warning: once you let books into your life, the most unexpected things can happen…

This is a book about books. All sorts of books, from Little Women and Harry Potter to Jodi Picoult and Jane Austen, from to Stieg Larsson to Joyce Carol Oates to Proust. It’s about the joy and pleasure of books, about learning from and escaping into them, and possibly even hiding behind them. It’s about whether or not books are better than real life.

It’s also a book about a Swedish girl called Sara, her elderly American penfriend Amy and what happens when you land a very different kind of bookshop in the middle of a town so broken it’s almost beyond repair.

Or is it?

The Readers of Broken Wheel has touches of 84 Charing Cross Road, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and Chocolat, but adds an off-beat originality and intelligence all its own.

What did WE think?:

CHRISSI: What were your first impressions? Go on, did you judge it by its cover?
BETH: Oh man, you know me too well! Yes, I did judge it by its cover and I was praying that I was going to like it as the cover was just SO beautiful. I have a special Goldsboro books edition that has lovely blue spayed pages and the image is a girl snuggled in an armchair with a book up to her face. Of course, if you’re a loud and proud bookworm like myself, this picture is pure bliss and definitely made me want to read the story. A book about books- I mean, what could be better?
BETH: Parts of this book are told in the form of letters between Sara and Amy. Did you enjoy this and how do you think it added to the story?
CHRISSI: I did enjoy this! I really like when there are little snippets of different media in a storyline. I don’t know why, but for me as a reader, I think it gives the reader an even deeper reading experience. Especially in this story, where we don’t often read from Amy’s point of view. I think the letters made it special and enhanced the storyline. I felt like I knew Amy.
CHRISSI: What affect does Sara have on the inhabitants of Broken Wheel?
BETH: She has an effect on every singing inhabitant of Broken Wheel that she comes into contact with, either directly or indirectly or even visitors to the town from the larger neighbouring town of Hope. Sara is a quiet, quite reclusive type that loves her books so passionately that it encourages everybody to try reading for themselves, especially when she opens a bookshop of her own and manages to find a book for everyone. I totally believe that there is a perfect book for everyone, if you’re not a reader, maybe you haven’t found that perfect one yet?
BETH: How do you think Sara and Tom’s relationship developed over the course of the novel and did you buy into it?
CHRISSI: Interesting question. Initially, I wasn’t sure about Sara and Tom’s relationship. I mean, I really like them as characters, but I was worried about Tom’s reluctance. I’m not sure I completely bought into the relationship, but it was a sweet enough romance despite some bumps in the road.
CHRISSI: How does Sara change through her experience of coming to Broken Wheel?:
BETH: As I mentioned in the previous question, Sara comes to Broken Wheel as quite a quiet and shy individual who is not used to socialising with many people and doesn’t have many friends, dreams or prospects in her life or back home in her native Sweden. Her life changes for the better when she comes to Broken Wheel. Through her love of books and the letters that she shard with Amy, (former inhabitant of Broken Wheel) she discovers a whole new world. She learns the joys of friendship, socialising with other people, falling in love and realises what her dreams for the future really are.
BETH: Who was your favourite character in this novel and why?
CHRISSI: Hmm, that’s a tough question as there were quite a few characters that I enjoyed reading about. I did like reading Amy’s letters though. I kind of wish there was more from her as I think she was a fascinating character and I thought she was incredibly sweet. I love how Amy and Sara connected as fellow bibliophiles. If I can’t pick Amy, I’d pick Sara as I found some of what she said about books highly relatable!
CHRISSI: I found it hard to classify this book. What would YOU classify it as?
BETH: Gosh, that’s a difficult question! It’s kind of contemporary fiction, kind of romance, humour…basically it has a bit of everything. GoodReads has a special category which classifies it as Books About Books’ which I think is perfect! If you love books that mention other books, you’re sure to love this little treasure!
BETH: Would you read another book by this author?:
CHRISSI: Yes! I think she has a very charming writing style and I was very impressed that this book was her debut!
Would WE recommend it?:
BETH: But of course!
CHRISSI: Of course!
BETH’s star rating (out of 5):
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CHRISSI’s star rating (out of 5):
four-stars_0

Banned Books 2016 – SEPTEMBER READ – Bone Volume One (Issues 1-6) by Jeff Smith

Published September 28, 2016 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

After being run out of Boneville, the three Bone cousins, Fone Bone, Phoney Bone, and Smiley Bone, are separated and lost in a vast uncharted desert.

One by one, they find their way into a deep, forested valley filled with wonderful and terrifying creatures…

Humor, mystery, and adventure are spun together in this action-packed, side-splitting saga. Everyone who has ever left home for the first time only to find that the world outside is strange and overwhelming will love Bone.

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Logo designed by Luna’s Little Library

Welcome to our ninth 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…

OCTOBER – The Glass Castle- Jeanette Walls

NOVEMBER- Gossip Girl- Cecily Von Ziegesar

DECEMBER – My Sister’s Keeper- Jodi Picoult

But back to this month….

Bone, Volume One (Issues 1-6) by Jeff Smith

First published: 1993

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

Reasons: political viewpoint, racism, violence

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

BETH: I can’t believe this graphic novel is over twenty years old! It was first published in 1993 which doesn’t seem that long ago to me and I don’t think attitudes have changed too much in the past twenty years so, as with most of our banned books, I don’t agree with the reasons for it being challenged when it was originally published. I was struggling with reasons why this book had been challenged as I read it and I deliberately don’t look at the reasons why until I write this part of the review. To be honest, I’m pretty dumbfounded. The violence – yes, I get to a point…but political viewpoint and racism? I must have been reading a different book?

CHRISSI: Like Beth, I was really searching for a reason why this book was banned. I read it over a week ago and nothing has stuck in my mind for a reason why it should be banned. Political viewpoint and racism- I really couldn’t pick out ANYTHING, so if anyone does know why then please enlighten me! Yes, there were certainly some violent scenes but nothing overly shocking, although I can understand why some educators wouldn’t want it in their classroom or libraries.

How about now?

BETH: In a open, liberal society (we would hope!) there’s even less reason for any book to be banned or challenged (the exception is if it is being considered as a taught text for some age groups in schools). As I mentioned above, I struggled with two of the reasons for this graphic novel being challenged as I don’t really remember any instances of either political viewpoint or racism in the narrative! The only thing that made me a bit wary of it being available for all age groups is that some of the monsters in it, known as the rat creatures, are a bit scary and I can imagine it being a bit too frightening for certain children. I still think it should be available in case they fancy scaring themselves a bit though!

CHRISSI:  I have said before that censoring a book can make children (and adults alike) more keen to try it out. Like Beth, I understand that the violence and scariness might be unsuitable for certain children, but in the main part, I don’t see that it should be banned now. Children can see much worse on the TV, in the news, or computer games.

What did you think of this book?:

BETH: This was a bit of a strange one for me. I liked the artwork and some of the characters like Thorn and her grandmother were very endearing, (others very irritating) and I did laugh out loud at a couple of points in the story. However, I wouldn’t rush to read the next one in the series. Apparently Neil Gaiman is a fan though, which makes me slightly more curious to read on.

CHRISSI: I didn’t really like this book. I wasn’t hooked by the story. The artwork was good, but it didn’t capture my attention.

Would you recommend it?:

BETH: Maybe!
CHRISSI: It’s not for me!

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

3 Star Rating Clip Art

Join us again on the last Monday of October when we will be discussing The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls.

 

Mini Pin-It Reviews #2 – Four Books From Book Bridgr

Published September 6, 2016 by bibliobeth

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Hello everyone and welcome to the second of my Mini pin-It Reviews. This time I’ll be focusing on four books that I received a while ago from the lovely folks at Book Bridgr. Hope you enjoy!

1.) This Is The Water by Yannick Murphy

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What’s it all about?:

From Yannick Murphy, award-winning author of The Call, comes a fast-paced story of murder, adultery, parenthood, and romance, involving a girls’ swim team, their morally flawed parents, and a killer who swims in their midst

In a quiet New England community members of the swim team and their dedicated parents are preparing for a home meet. The most that Annie, a swim-mom of two girls, has to worry about is whether or not she fed her daughters enough carbs the night before; why her husband, Thomas, hasn’t kissed her in ages; and why she can’t get over the loss of her brother who shot himself a few years ago. But Annie’s world is about to change. From the bleachers, looking down at the swimmers, a dark haired man watches a girl. No one notices him. Annie is busy getting to know Paul, who flirts with Annie despite the fact that he’s married to her friend Chris, and despite Annie’s greying hair and crow’s feet. Chris is busy trying to discover whether or not Paul is really having an affair, and the swimmers are trying to shave milliseconds off their race times by squeezing themselves into skin-tight bathing suits and visualizing themselves winning their races.

But when a girl on the team is murdered at a nearby highway rest stop-the same rest stop where Paul made a gruesome discovery years ago-the parents suddenly find themselves adrift. Paul turns to Annie for comfort. Annie finds herself falling in love. Chris becomes obsessed with unmasking the killer.

With a serial killer now too close for comfort, Annie and her fellow swim-parents must make choices about where their loyalties lie. As a series of startling events unfold, Annie discovers what it means to follow your intuition, even if love, as well as lives, could be lost.

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Would I recommend it?:

Probably!

Star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

2.) Roseblood by Paul Doherty

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What’s it all about?:

England, 1455: a kingdom on the brink of civil war.

The Red Rose: King Henry of Lancaster’s days are numbered. Deemed unfit for rule, even by his own mother, he surely cannot last on the throne for long. Simon Roseblood – London lord, taverner and alderman – is one of few loyal servants left to fight his cause.

The White Rose: Ruthless Richard of York has his eye firmly set on the crown – and plenty of powerful allies who will do anything to help him win it. Henchman Amadeus Sevigny makes no bones about enforcing his own authority and asserting law and order at York’s command.

When Roseblood is summoned by Sevigny to stand trial for a crime he knows he didn’t commit, their paths cross in ways that alter them both for ever. And as the Wars of the Roses looms, an even greater foe is poised to rock the foundations of England, and wreak horror in a hotbed of political unrest.

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Would I recommend it?:

Probably not – fans of political thrillers may enjoy it though!

Star rating (out of 5):

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3.) Holy Cow by David Duchovny

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What’s it all about?:

A rollicking, globe-trotting adventure with a twist: a four-legged heroine you won’t soon forget

Elsie Bovary is a cow, and a pretty happy one at that-her long, lazy days are spent eating, napping, and chatting with her best friend, Mallory. One night, Elsie and Mallory sneak out of their pasture; but while Mallory is interested in flirting with the neighboring bulls, Elsie finds herself drawn to the farmhouse. Through the window, she sees the farmer’s family gathered around a bright Box God-and what the Box God reveals about something called an “industrial meat farm” shakes Elsie’s understanding of her world to its core.

There’s only one solution: escape to a better, safer world. And so a motley crew is formed: Elsie; Jerry-excuse me, Shalom-a cranky, Torah-reading pig who’s recently converted to Judaism; and Tom, a suave (in his own mind, at least) turkey who can’t fly, but who can work an iPhone with his beak. Toting stolen passports and slapdash human disguises, they head for the airport.

Elsie is our wise-cracking, pop-culture-reference-dropping, slyly witty narrator; Tom-who does eventually learn to fly (sort of)-dispenses psychiatric advice in a fake German accent; and Shalom, rejected by his adopted people in Jerusalem, ends up unexpectedly uniting Israelis and Palestinians. David Duchovny’s charismatic creatures point the way toward a mutual understanding and acceptance that the world desperately needs.

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Would I recommend it?:

Probably!

Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

4.) The Snow Kimono by Mark Henshaw

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What’s it all about?:

On the same day that retired police inspector Auguste Jovert receives a letter from a woman claiming to be his daughter, he returns to his Paris apartment to find a stranger waiting for him.

That stranger is a Japanese professor called Tadashi Omura. What’s brought him to Jovert’s doorstep is not clear, but then he begins to tell his story – a story of a fractured friendship, lost lovers, orphaned children, and a body left bleeding in the snow.

As Jovert pieces together the puzzle of Omura’s life, he can’t help but draw parallels with his own; for he too has lead a life that’s been extraordinary and dangerous – and based upon a lie.

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Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

COMING UP SOON ON MY PIN-IT REVIEWS: Four Books From NetGalley

Blog Tour – Abe Lincoln On Acid by Brian Anthony and Bill Walker

Published August 28, 2016 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

There are whispers even now that Abraham Lincoln never really died, that a voodoo spell cursed him with a terrible eternal life. It has even been claimed that he robbed banks in the 1930s with John Dillinger, only to mysteriously disappear once again into the pages of history. But the truth is even stranger than the rumors…

Watched over by a vengeful J. Edgar Hoover and held in a secret location near his old Springfield home, Lincoln re-awakens in the 1960s, and finds himself thrust into an era even more turbulent than the Depression.

Escaping Hoover’s clutches, he navigates an even more treacherous and unfamiliar terrain, finding an ally in John Voci, a young San Francisco folk-singer. Together they journey across a counter-cultural landscape, meeting those who believe a great man has returned, and striving to remain free from those who want to bury him once and for all.

What did I think?:

I know some of you may be looking at the book cover and the title right now and thinking what the….? but stay with me for the duration while I talk to you about a very unique book that I was invited to read and give an honest review on by Sage Adderley for this blog tour. (Thank you to everyone concerned!) I’m always on the look out for books that expand my horizons slightly, are a bit different and are not of the usual genre that I read and Abe Lincoln On Acid fulfilled all these briefs. I only realised when I first started to read it that it’s actually the second book that the authors have done on Abe Lincoln – the first being Abe Lincoln: Public Enemy No 1 and I’m normally quite a stickler for reading things in the exact sequence that they were released. However, believe me when I say this really didn’t matter in this case and Abe Lincoln On Acid can easily be read as a stand-alone.

So, there’s an old urban legend that Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States of America is actually alive and well after his assassination in 1865. Well…when I say alive and well, I mean in a semi-comatose state, able to swallow food and take drink but essentially unconscious, until something happens in his beloved country to wake him up again and beg his assistance. When the current President, Barack Obama hears that Lincoln has now awoken from his deep sleep, he obviously believes it to be a big joke that his staff are playing on him – that is, until he meets Abe in the flesh and Abe begins to tell him a story about when he last “woke up” in the sixties in a bid to prevent the assassination of a certain Dr Martin Luther King.

J. Edgar Hoover, the first Director of the FBI in the sixties, is hell-bent on Abraham being kept in the house where he slept for all those years and on no circumstances allowed to walk the streets, meet with the public or get to Luther King. However, crafty Lincoln manages to find a way out of his “prison,” past the agents and out into the world where he hopes his purpose for waking up will finally become clear. The world of the 1960’s is already very different to when Lincoln last woke up (the 1930’s) and he meets a range of different people, sees a variety of amazing things and tries some mind-expanding substances that has him looking at America and its people in a whole new light.

I have to admit, I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I first opened this book although the synopsis immediately intrigued me. I loved the idea of Abraham Lincoln wandering around in a modern world and anticipating how he would react to certain things was really fun. My favourite character (apart from the endearing and very charming Lincoln himself of course) had to be the young man that Abe ends up be-friending, John Voci, a musician whose talent lies in singing very funny songs about vegetables and snappy one-liners. It’s an entertaining read that doesn’t take itself too seriously and was the light-hearted relief that I needed after reading one too many intense type novels. I would be interested to know what Abe gets up to now that he’s awakened in the age of Barack Obama…

Would I recommend it?:

Probably!

Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS

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BILL WALKER

A graduate of Emerson College’s prestigious film school, Bill wrote and directed his first feature film, Pawn, while still a student. After graduation, he co-founded Newbury Filmworks, Inc., an award-winning production company renowned for making high-quality corporate films and commercials.

In 1990, Bill relocated to Los Angeles, and began a freelance story analysis career for various studios and independent production companies, while devoting his spare time to the writing of novels, short stories, and screenplays. He is also a highly-respected graphic designer, specializing in book and dust jacket design. He has worked on books by such luminaries as: Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Dean Koontz, and Stephen King. In addition, Bill is a member of the Authors Guild.

He has won awards for his screenwriting, his two short story collections for Mid-Graders, Five-Minute Frights and Five-Minute Chillers, are perennial Halloween favorites, and his first novel, Titanic 2012 was enthusiastically received by readers. His second novel, Camp Stalag was released in 2001. Bill lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Debbie, and their sons, Jeffrey and Brian.

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BRIAN ANTHONY

I’m in my late fifties and began to write seriously after I was made redundant from my post as an Oracle Database Administrator in 2011. I spent my whole working life with computers, starting out in 1978 as technical support in the development of PABXs (private telephone systems) before becoming an IBM Systems Programmer in 1984. Towards the advent of the new Millennium I began to train as an Oracle DBA on Unix systems and finally let go of the reigns to the mainframe after seeing the year 2000 successfully through.

I live in Wales in a small cottage with my wife and our dog, a lively Collie cross (Welsh Collie/Border Collie) called Moli.

My ultimate aim is to bring enough money in as a writer to supplement my various pensions when I officially retire in however many years time that will be (depends whether the government keeps moving the goal posts or not).

No allusions of fame or fortune, just want to be comfortable in retirement and if I can sell the odd story or two it’ll go a long way to keeping the wolf from the door.

 

Abe Lincoln On Acid was published on 1st July 2015 by Walker and Anthony Publications and is available in paperback and as an e-book now!

Mini Pin-It Reviews #1 – Four Author Requests

Published August 20, 2016 by bibliobeth

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Hello everyone and welcome to a new feature on my blog! Due to problems with a chronic illness (which I hope to explain to you in a personal post soon) I am hugely behind with my reviews.. yes I actually have a backlog of just over a YEAR in reviews and, I have to be honest, it’s been stressing me out with the thought of never being able to catch up. Then my lovely sister and fellow blogger Chrissi Reads, who does something similar on her blog, gave me the fantastic idea of doing short and snappy reviews on a post-it. I just want to stress that it doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy the book – it’s just a good way for me for getting something out there a bit quicker for all the wonderful authors that send me books to review and for books I’ve had from NetGalley and Book Bridgr that, although read, are just languishing on the review pile!

For this first post, I’ve chosen four books that I’ve been sent directly from authors (or their publisher) that I’ll still be giving a star rating/recommendation to at the end. Hope you enjoy!

1.) Getting Rooted In New Zealand by Jamie Baywood

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What’s it all about?:

Craving change and lacking logic, at 26, Jamie, a cute and quirky Californian, impulsively moves to New Zealand to avoid dating after reading that the country’s population has 100,000 fewer men. In her journal, she captures a hysterically honest look at herself, her past and her new wonderfully weird world filled with curious characters and slapstick situations in unbelievably bizarre jobs. It takes a zany jaunt to the end of the Earth and a serendipitous meeting with a fellow traveler before Jamie learns what it really means to get rooted.

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Would I recommend it?:

Probably!

Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

2.) Off Key by Mark Robertson

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What’s it all about?:

Charlotte has supported Kyle’s precarious musical career for three years. Now it’s her turn. When Kyle doesn’t want to play the breadwinner, she looks to a future on the other side of the Atlantic. Saxophonist Kyle has no money, no career and has now lost the love of his live. Can an autistic twelve-year-old boy and an alcoholic ‘has been’ be his salvation?

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Would I recommend it?:

Probably!

Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

3.) Piano From A 4th Storey Window – Jenny Morton Potts

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What’s it all about?:

Lawrence Fyre and Marin Strang aren’t like other people.

He is the eccentric owner of failing Sargasso Books in the Brighton Lanes. She is an ex-Jehovah’s Witness and isolated Spanish teacher. If they live together in his illegal, beautiful, rope laddered lock-up, can their love overcome their losses?

Original, sexy, very funny and deeply moving. An author in complete control of a number of unforgettable characters and emotional highs and lows, Jenny Morton Potts leaves the reader breathless, and wanting more.

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Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

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4.) The Death Of Danny Daggers – Haydn Wilks

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What’s it all about?:

Cardiff. The last few days of summer.
Danny Daggers is about to die. He just doesn’t realise it yet.
A Leeds University student with a very popular YouTube channel, Danny Daggers is taking his alcohol-downing stunts on tour.
He’s about to find out that not everyone’s a fan.

Ji Eun is a Korean student doing work experience at the South Wales Post.
Rory Gallagher is the alcoholic veteran journo who’s mentoring her.
Carnage in Cardiff might be just what they need to begin and revive their respective careers.

Tom and Joseph work at one of Cardiff’s many call centres.
Tom is fed up of working boring jobs and living for the weekend.
Joseph is just happy to have a job.

Then there’s the Amstell brothers.
Simon’s just escaped from prison. And he happens to be the father of Joseph’s girlfriend’s son.
And his brothers happen to be psychopaths.

These stories collide and intersect over a frantic few days of heavy drinking, drugs and ultraviolence, set against a backdrop of dystopian modern Britain.

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Would I recommend it?:

Probably!

Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

COMING UP SOON ON MY PIN-IT REVIEWS: Four Book Bridgr Reviews.

 

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