The Most Dangerous Place on EarthTitle: The Most Dangerous Place of Earth

Author: Lindsey Lee Johnson

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

The Blurb

An unforgettable cast of characters is unleashed into a realm known for its cruelty – the American high school – in this captivating novel.

The wealthy enclaves north of San Francisco are not the paradise they appear to be, and nobody knows this better than the students of a local high school. Despite being raised with all the opportunities money can buy, these vulnerable kids are navigating a treacherous adolescence in which every action, every rumour, every feeling is potentially postable, shareable, viral.

Abigail Cress is ticking off boxes towards the Ivy League when she makes the first impulsive decision of her life: entering into an inappropriate relationship with a teacher. Dave Chu, who knows himself at heart to be a typical B student, takes desperate measures to live up to his parents’ crushing expectations. Emma Fleed, a gifted dancer, balances rigorous rehearsals with wild weekends. Damon Flintov returns from a stint at rehab looking to prove that he’s not an irredeemable screw-up. And Calista Broderick, once part of the popular crowd, chooses, for reasons of her own, to become a hippie outcast.

Into this complicated web, an idealistic young English teacher arrives from a poorer, scruffier part of California. Molly Nicoll strives to connect with her students – without understanding the middle school tragedy that played out online and has continued to reverberate in different ways for all of them.

Written with the rare talent capable of turning teenage drama into urgent, adult fiction, The Most Dangerous Place on Earth makes vivid a modern adolescence lived in the gleam of the virtual, but rich with sorrow, passion and humanity.

The Review

The Most Dangerous Place on Earth was a very uncomfortable read. It is, for want of a better description. The OC minus the glamour.

Author, Lindsey Lee Johnson looks at the seedy underbelly of what the lifestyles of the rich is really like and how that life of privilege can do more harm than good.

What is especially clever about The Most Dangerous Place on Earth is that the characters feel intangible. They always feel separate and you don’t form a connection with the characters. You dance a limbo in between feeling sorry for them and also a little like they deserve everything they get.

As I say, The Most Dangerous Place on Earth is not the most comfortable read but it is a great book to read if you are looking at modern day affluent youth culture.

The Most Dangerous Place of Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson is available now.

For more information regarding Lindsey Lee Johnson (@lindseyleej) please visit www.lindseyleejohnson.com.

For more information regarding Hodder & Stoughton (@HodderBooks) please visit www.hodder.co.uk.

35 Stars

Carnegie's MaidTitle: Carnegie’s Maid

Author: Marie Benedict

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Sourcebooks

The Blurb

From the author of The Other Einstein comes the mesmerizing story of love, power, and the woman who inspired an American dynasty. 

In the industrial 1860s at the dawn of the Carnegie empire, Irish immigrant Clara Kelly finds herself in desperate circumstances.  Looking for a way out, she seeks employment as a lady’s maid in the home of the prominent businessman Andrew Carnegie.  Soon, the bond between Clara and her employer deepens into love. But when Clara goes missing, Carnegie’s search for her unearths secrets and revelations that lay the foundation for his lasting legacy.

With capturing insight and sunning heart, Carnegie’s Maid tells the story of one lost woman who may have spurred Andrew Carnegie’s transformation from ruthless industrialist into the world’s first true philanthropist.

The Review

Before I read Carnegie’s Maid I knew very little about Andrew Carnegie’s life. I knew that he had been a philanthropist and encouraged reading – not just for those who were well off but those who couldn’t necessarily afford to buy books. That was about it.

What I did know was that I was eager to learn more. Marie Benedict’s fictional portrayal of Andrew Carnegie’s life was really interesting. The story is steeped in facts but with a delicious fictional love story wrapped around them. The love story between Andrew and Clara transcends class and was an absolute delight to read.

Carnegie’s Maid is an exceptional story and is a must read for fans of historical fiction.

Carnegie’s Maid by Marie Benedict is available now.

For more information regarding Sourcebooks (@Sourcebooks) please visit their Twitter page.

4 Stars

Title: The Taste of Marmalade

Author: Tessa McWall

Pages: 25 Pages

Publisher: Amazon Media

The Blurb

Katrin, a young Polish woman who moved to London before austerity reigned, is working long hours at the Epicure Café in order to earn enough money to bring her mother over as well.

In the café she falls in love with a lecturer in film studies – but Robin comes with a past that will complicate any future they have together.

As droves of once-hopeful Polish émigrés return home, Katrin finds her life growing more difficult, especially when her boss in the café starts picking on her.

Determined to keep the freedom she’s found in England, Katrin finds the costs of her new found liberty are mounting up.

The Review

Well, now I am depressed. The Taste of Marmalade is not a happy story. It is the story of Katrin, a young Polish girl living in London. It is a story of survival, survival in a foreign land.

Katrin has to deal with trying to save money to bring her mother over from Poland, a boyfriend who is blatantly using her for sex and a boss who hates her. Things aren’t looking good for Katrin.

I would love to say The Taste of Marmalade has a happy ending but it doesn’t seem to move along from what happened at the start. It seems to be stuck in a very stagnant place of sadness.

The Taste of Marmalade by Tessa McWall is available now.

1 star

Title: Mind Café

Author: Lizzy Ford

Pages: 29 Pages

Publisher: Kettlecorn Press

The Blurb

The Mind Café: Death’s waiting room and the only refuge for a woman trapped in her body after a tragic accident leaves her unable to o anything but watch the world and think.

The Review

The Mind Café us a quirky story about a girl who is in an almost vegetative state. She has been left that way after an accident and has spent a large portion of her life in hospital. She has watched the people in her life come and go and pass away while she is stuck in a half life.

It is a very contemplative short story which doesn’t seem to have a resolution which mirrors the life of the protagonist. Mind Café is an easy enough read for a short commute.

Mind Café by Lizzy Ford is available now.

2 Stars

Something BeautifulTitle: Something Beautiful

Author: Amanda Gernentz Hanson

Pages: 220 Pages

Publisher: Pen Name Publishing

The Blurb

Cordelia and Declan have been best friends since they were three years old. By the time they hit middle school, Cordelia—Cord, to Declan—is already feeling the blackness in her life as depression takes hold. Their mutual attraction to each other leads to a serious high school relationship, one with their foundation of friendship at the forefront. Cordelia seems to have her mental health under control. All appears to be well.

However, when Declan starts to accept his own fluid sexuality, it sets something in motion in their lives that is both beautiful and tragic as they learn to love each other for who they are.

The Review

There are some stories that just help you pass the time away, and there are some that you get mildly sucked into and then there are some stories that take your breath away. Something Beautiful took my breath away.

It focuses on the lifelong friendship of Cordelia and Declan. They are destined to be together. However, life makes things difficult for them. Declan deals with his sexual fluidity, Cordelia deals with her mental health. Even though life throws spanners into their lives the one constant that they have is each other. Something Beautiful is the story of two people who need each other. And it is stunning.

The non-linear multi-perspective narrative keeps the reader on their toes and heightens the tension throughout. Something Beautiful is, at times, un-put-down-able.

This is definitely one book I will be recommending to my friends.

Something Beautiful by Amanda Gernentz Hanson is available now.

For more information regarding Amanda Gernentz Hanson (@amandamaregh) please visit www.amandagernentzhanson.com.

For more information regarding Pen Name Publishing (@PenNamePublishing) please visit www.pennamepublishing.com/home.

4 Stars