Synopsis

Annie Howarth seems to have it all; loving husband, beautiful daughter and a house to be proud of but Annie also has a dirty not so secret past. She was once involved with a man accused of murder. And when her former lover, Tom Greenwood, is released from his 10 year prison sentence, Annie’s past comes back to haunt her.

Review

Firstly, I have to say that this book is extremely well written. Louise Douglas has captured a moment in history – the miner’s strike in Yorkshire during the 1980s with haunting accuracy. Her descriptions of the moors are both evocative and atmospheric. She cleverly toils with the thin line that separates right from wrong. Her overall style cannot be faulted.

However, I found that I could not empathise with her protagonist. Understandably, Annie Howarth was a victim of the actions of those around her; from her lover Tom Greenaway and how his actions led her to be left alone to the oppressive and overbearing nature of her policeman husband who smothered her. And whilst this character was layered with many complexities such as where her loyalties should lie – with her policeman husband during the miner’s riots, with her working class family who were striking or with Tom, the love of her life who she believes was wrongly accused all those years ago – I personally found it difficult to feel any sympathy for her situation.

As I have said, that is not to say that this isn’t a good, intriguing mystery that is written very well it just didn’t enthuse a love of character that I was expecting from Louise Douglas.

Your Beautiful Lies by Louise Douglas is available now.

louise douglas your beautiful lies

 

Synopsis

The Song girls have always been close. After the death of their mother Margot, Lara Jean and Kitty have had to work together to be strong; not only for each other but for their father too. So when Margot flies 4000 miles away to study in St Andrews University in Scotland, middle child Lara Jean finds that the majority of the responsibility falls heavy upon her shoulders.

It is difficult enough being the responsible one but Lara Jean has to deal with her burgeoning feelings for her sister’s ex-boyfriend Josh; a boy who she once loved but stopped herself from thinking about due to Margot liking him too. However, when a box of love letters that Lara Jean has written somehow get sent to all the boys that she has had feelings for before her whole world is turned upside down.

Review

Initially I wasn’t really feeling this book. I felt that it was paced at warp speed and the short scenes felt a bit choppy to me. However, I think this could have been because of the sweeping narrative of the book that I had previously read was still playing in my mind. This is not a fault of Jenny Han’s but just because it was such a sudden shift. I needed t readjust.

As I got further into the story I actually began to see the pacing as one of the books main attributes. Life is like that when you are young and in love. Everything goes fast, one drama after another that lose significance as the weeks go on. It was actually a clever stylistic trick employed by the writer.

As for the Song girls, they were so easy to like and what I thought was so special about Lara Jean is that she was the balance between the two surrounding sisters. She had the heart of Margot and the playfulness of Kitty and it was s lovely to see her develop and take on the role as older sister as opposed to middle child.

What was also rather lovely about the story is that it didn’t make grand sweeping gestures. It was the simple things that were important such as the little notes passed back and forth between Lara Jean and Peter or how they slowly got to know one another. Lara Jean came across as a young insecure teenager. She wasn’t whiney or gauche which you can sometimes find in YA fiction. She was still growing and developing.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before was a sweet innocent book that has the ability to remind us just what it is like to be in the first throws of teenage lust; a gloriously wretched feeling. Jenny Han has done herself proud.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han is available now.

*             Special thanks to Sophia at Scholastic for sending me a copy for review.

 

Synopsis

The Song girls have always been close. After the death of their mother Margot, Lara Jean and Kitty have had to work together to be strong; not only for each other but for their father too. So when Margot flies 4000 miles away to study in St Andrews University in Scotland, middle child Lara Jean finds that the majority of the responsibility falls heavy upon her shoulders.

It is difficult enough being the responsible one but Lara Jean has to deal with her burgeoning feelings for her sister’s ex-boyfriend Josh; a boy who she once loved but stopped herself from thinking about due to Margot liking him too. However, when a box of love letters that Lara Jean has written somehow get sent to all the boys that she has had feelings for before her whole world is turned upside down.

Review

Initially I wasn’t really feeling this book. I felt that it was paced at warp speed and the short scenes felt a bit choppy to me. However, I think this could have been because of the sweeping narrative of the book that I had previously read was still playing in my mind. This is not a fault of Jenny Han’s but just because it was such a sudden shift. I needed t readjust.

As I got further into the story I actually began to see the pacing as one of the books main attributes. Life is like that when you are young and in love. Everything goes fast, one drama after another that lose significance as the weeks go on. It was actually a clever stylistic trick employed by the writer.

As for the Song girls, they were so easy to like and what I thought was so special about Lara Jean is that she was the balance between the two surrounding sisters. She had the heart of Margot and the playfulness of Kitty and it was s lovely to see her develop and take on the role as older sister as opposed to middle child.

What was also rather lovely about the story is that it didn’t make grand sweeping gestures. It was the simple things that were important such as the little notes passed back and forth between Lara Jean and Peter or how they slowly got to know one another. Lara Jean came across as a young insecure teenager. She wasn’t whiney or gauche which you can sometimes find in YA fiction. She was still growing and developing.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before was a sweet innocent book that has the ability to remind us just what it is like to be in the first throws of teenage lust; a gloriously wretched feeling. Jenny Han has done herself proud.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han is available now.

*             Special thanks to Sophia at Scholastic for sending me a copy for review.

 

Synopsis

The Bradley family are devout Mormons. Their faith is unquestionable as they conduct their lives by the teachings of the church. Ian Bradley is not only the head of the family but is the Bishop in his local area; his wife Claire regularly sees the church put before his family but that is the way of the religion. God comes first. However, when the unthinkable happens within the Bradley family everyone’s faith is put to the test.

Review

Reading about religion will forever be an eye opener especially in modern society when for most religion has been reduced to special occasions and faith is not practised as much as it once was. In A Song For Issy Bradley, Carys Bray presents a story of fervent faith within the modern family and has focused on the Mormon religion which in itself is a fascinating topic but when structured around a fictional text very much becomes the foundation for its characters.

Bray handled the difficult subject of child death with dignity and heart. Her narrative is beautiful as she undresses the emotions that Claire was feels through the loss of a child. It is heartbreaking to read but absolutely necessary to see her crumble under the sheer pain and how her grief snowballs on to the rest of the family.

The familial roles significantly change yet the traditional roles that are expected within the religion remain i.e. the eldest child (and daughter) Zippy takes on the housekeeping responsibilities because it as expected. Ian tries to hold it all together as not only his wife falls apart but as he deals with his own grief and tries to remain faithful to his religious beliefs that everything happens for a greater purpose. His son Al, who has always been a loose cannon continues to misbehave and tries to mask his grief with humour and youngest son Jacob sticks fervently to his belief that his younger sister will be returned to him.

A Song For Issy Bradley is beautiful. There is no other word for it. Bray shines through as a new voice to look out for.

A Song For Issy Bradley by Carys Bray is available now.

 

Last week was a good reading week. I got through quite a few books – finally the dizziness has subsided so reading has become more frequent and easier.

This week I read:

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Jim Henson’s Labyrinth by ACH Smith and Brian Froud

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

A Song For Issy Bradley by Carys Bray (Review to be posted tomorrow)

And I started reading Boy About Town by Tony Fletcher which I will continue reading this week.

I was sent a copy of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. It was sent for review from the wonderful people at Scholastic so that will definitely be getting read this week. I will also read the following books.

The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House by Stephanie Lam

Your Beautiful Lies by Louie Douglas

One Kick by Chelsea Cain

I hope I can get through them all. I will get my NetGally percentage up and my reading list down.

Hope you have a good reading week.

L x