Hello folks,

It is that time of the month again (no not that time) when I tell you what I read this month. To be honest, November has not been kind to me book-wise. I fell into a bit of a reading slump. I have only read a few books which is not like me at all. It has picked up towards the end of the month but something knocked the wind out of my sails and I really struggled to gain momentum again.

Anywho, here is what I read:

  • The Nightmare Stone by Finian Black (eBook)
  • Look at Me by Sarah Deguid (NetGalley)
  • The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (Audiobook)
  • Make Trouble by John Waters (Hardback)
  • The Crimes of Grindlewald by JK Rowling (Hardback)
  • A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett (Hardback)
  • JK Rowling’s Wizarding World: Movie Magic Volume One – Extraordinary People and Fascinating Places by Jody Revenson (Hardback)
  • JK Rowling’s Wizarding World: Movie Magic Volume Two – Curious Creatures by Ramin Zahed (Hardback)
  • A Gift From the Comfort Food Café by Debbie Johnson (NetGalley)
  • JK Rowling’s Wizarding World: Movie Magic Volume Three – Amazing Artefacts by Bonnie Burton (Hardback)
  • One Perfect Christmas and Other Stories by Paige Toon (Paperback)

So yeah. Eleven books man. Feel like I have let myself down. Ah well.

I am currently reading about five books (I think I now see my problem – oversubscription). They are:

  • Paper Avalanche by Lisa Williamson
  • The Librarian by Sally Vickers
  • The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
  • Tilly and the Bookwanderers by Anna James
  • Charlie and Me: 421 Miles From Home by Mark Lowry

Hopefully, December will be a kinder month and I can get a lot more read.

Hope you are all well.

Lis x

Title: Make Trouble

Author: John Waters

Pages: 81 Pages

Publisher: Corsair

The Blurb

When John Waters delivered his gleefully subversive advice to the graduates of the Rhode Island School of Design, the speech went viral, in part because it was so brilliantly on point about making a living as a creative person. Now we can all enjoy his sly wisdom in a manifesto that reminds us, no matter what field we choose, to embrace chaos, be nosy, and outrage our critics.

Anyone embarking on a creative path, he tells us, would do well to realize that pragmatism and discipline are as important as talent and that rejection is nothing to fear. Waters advises young people to eavesdrop, listen to their enemies, and horrify us with new ideas. In other words, MAKE TROUBLE!

Illustrated with slightly demented line drawings by Eric Hanson, Make Trouble is a one-of-a-kind gift, the perfect playbook for gaming the system by making the system work for you.


The Review

Since I was a young child (and probably too young to understand half of what was going on in his movies) I have loved John Waters. He is one of my two favourite film directors and when, as a teenager, I had aspirations of acting I told myself I could die quite happily if I could play Velma in Chicago (this has changes to Elpheba in Wicked) and if I could be in a movie by John Waters. Sixteen years on from my naïve teenage years I have come to accept that I probably never will get to star in one of his films (my inner 16 year old is still holding out for Elpheba).

However, the opportunity came up to see John Waters give a talk in my home town of Liverpool as part of the Homotopia events. He had given talks there before but as far as I was aware they were for film students only. I bought my ticket with gusto and became more and more excited as the date drew nearer.

When Waters came on stage I became a puddle. This was a filmmaker I loved, whose films I had watched countless time. My tape of his movie Hairspray had to be selataped back together because I watched it that many times. I was in heaven.

After the show, I got to meet John Waters. I won’t lie, I nearly pooped my pants. This was a big deal. I had many of his books at home but hadn’t bought any with me so at the event I picked up one that I didn’t have. Make Trouble. This was his speech that he gave to a graduating class for the Rhode Island School of Design and man I wish it had been the speech given at my graduation.

It was perfect. Typically Waters in style and content and if possible made me love him more.

They say you should never meet your heroes because they will inevitably not live up to your expectations. John Waters did not let me down.

Make Trouble by John Waters is available now.

Title: Look at Me

Author: Sarah Deguid

Pages: 256 Pages

Publisher: Headline/Tinder Press

The Blurb

Lizzy’s mother died two years ago, leaving a family bereft by her absence and a house still filled with her things. Then, one day, Lizzy finds a letter from a stranger to her father, and discovers he has another child. Lizzy invites her into their world in an act of outraged defiance. Almost immediately, she realises her mistake.

The Review

Ok, so this is a confusing one for me. I wasn’t necessarily a huge fan of Look at Me but it is undeniable that the writing was good. I say this because Sarah Deguid genuinely managed to creep me out. Her story telling was exceptional in the sense that the character driven tale was really engaging and you felt Lizzy’s discomfort so fervently that it could quite easily be your own discomfort. So whilst I say I didn’t like the book it was not because it wasn’t good but I was so uncomfortable that it made me not like it which in my view is the sign of good writing.

Sorry Sarah Deguid, I didn’t like your book but in the most positive way.

Look at Me by Sarah Deguid is available now.

For more information regarding Tinder Press (@TinderPress) please visit www.tinderpress.co.uk.

For more information regarding Headline (@headlinepg) please visit www.headline.co.uk.

Title: Faithful

Author: Alice Hoffman

Pages: 272 Pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

The Blurb

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Marriage of Opposites and The Dovekeepers comes a soul-searching story about a young woman struggling to redefine herself and the power of love, family, and fate.

Growing up on Long Island, Shelby Richmond is an ordinary girl until one night an extraordinary tragedy changes her fate. Her best friend’s future is destroyed in an accident, while Shelby walks away with the burden of guilt.

What happens when a life is turned inside out? When love is something so distant it may as well be a star in the sky? Faithful is the story of a survivor, filled with emotion—from dark suffering to true happiness—a moving portrait of a young woman finding her way in the modern world. A fan of Chinese food, dogs, bookstores, and men she should stay away from, Shelby has to fight her way back to her own future. In New York City she finds a circle of lost and found souls—including an angel who’s been watching over her ever since that fateful icy night.

Here is a character you will fall in love with, so believable and real and endearing, that she captures both the ache of loneliness and the joy of finding yourself at last. For anyone who’s ever been a hurt teenager, for every mother of a daughter who has lost her way, Faithful is a roadmap.

Alice Hoffman’s “trademark alchemy” (USA TODAY) and her ability to write about the “delicate balance between the everyday world and the extraordinary” (WBUR) make this an unforgettable story. With beautifully crafted prose, Alice Hoffman spins hope from heartbreak in this profoundly moving novel.

The Review

I have never read a book by Alice Hoffman before and whilst I know she has been handed praise from all corners I still didn’t know what to expect.

I will admit, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Faithful.

Faithful is a story of redemption. Our protagonist Shelby is seeking redemption. She blames herself for an accident that left her best friend in a comatose state. She has survivor’s guilt and she sets on a path of self destruction. Along the way she hurts herself and other people but she also grows and begins to rescue lost souls much like herself.

Faithful is a wonderful journey of self discovery and you cannot help but root for Shelby and beg her to forgive herself.

I really enjoyed Faithful. I will definitely be returning to Hoffman for more of her books.

Faithful by Alice Hoffman is available now.

For more information regarding Alice Hoffman (@ahoffmanwriter) please visit www.alicehoffman.com.

For more information regarding Simon & Schuster (@simonschusterUK) please visit www.simonandschuster.co.uk.

Title: Get Back

Author: Donovan Day

Pages: 270 Pages

Publisher: Park Slope Publishing

The Blurb

Imagine going back in time and befriending The Beatles at the height of their fame. Imagine seeing “the boys” interact onstage and off, hanging out with them in the dance clubs of London, visiting John & Paul at Paul’s house across from Abbey Road Studios.

Imagine all the questions they’d ask when they learn you’re from the future – questions about how music is recorded, whether their music will last, if anyone will people remember The Beatles. And then John Lennon asks the biggest question of them all – “What will become of me?”

That last question sets 17-year-old Lenny Funk off on the adventure of his young life with a goal that seems impossible – to stop John Lennon’s assassin, Mark David Chapman!

Lenny Funk (given name: Lennon) is able to time travel thanks in part to his grandfather’s old iPod Nano which is loaded with classic music from the ‘60s and ‘70s. Together with new friend Yoko (yes, she’s named after that Yoko), Lenny “time slips” backwards to a world he thought he’d missed where he meets some of his musical heroes, including the Beatles, Jim Morrison and James Taylor, among others.

Lenny must make some difficult and heart-breaking decisions. Should he change the course of history or not? And what are the consequences if he does? Would John reunite with Paul? Would he remain married to Yoko and, if not, who would be his next wife?

The year 2015 marks what would have been John Lennon’s 75th birthday and also the 35th year since his murder.

The Review

I love The Beatles. As a Liverpudlian – born and bred – I find books that are about the fab four to be really entertaining and I guess I find it titillating when my hometown is referenced. Alongside those reasons, I also thought the concept of Get Back by Donovan Day sounded interesting.

If you could go back in time and save someone, would you?

It is a question that people get asked but usually it is Hitler put as the subject of the question. Would you kill Hitler if you had the chance? Get Back is less dark that that, it is asking if you had the chance to save John Lennon, would you?

Most people would say, yeah sure, why not. It makes sense to do a good deed but like all classic time travel stories, by altering the present you create a ripple in the time space continuum that will impact on the real present day.

It is delicious time travel headache inducing science.

Either way, Get Back is a great story. I loved going back in time and seeing musicians that I know and love and sing along to and getting to imagine what they would be like on a more personal level was great.

What I loved most about Get Back is that Day did not make a cliché out of the fab four. The colloquial vernacular was great. As a scouser, I hate it when writers overwrite the way we speak. Day got the balance right.

Get Back by Donovan Day is available now.

For more information regarding Park Slope Publishing (@parkslopepub) please visit www.parkslopepublishing.com/books/