Synopsis

When Daniel is left by his girlfriend Clara he is understandably pretty miffed; left with just a goodbye note and the dog that they had recently acquired from Battersea Dogs’ and Cats’ Home Dan makes a decision to deal with the hand the life has dealt him. First stop is to return Doggo.

However, when he realises that the animal shelter have to castrate Doggo as a part of their policy, Dan – in an act of male solidarity – decides to keep Doggo. And with this act an unlikely but beguiling friendship blossoms.

Review

I didn’t really expect to like this book. I’m not a dog person and I suppose this has always rendered me extremely unmoved by mans’ relationship with dogs. However, Mills surprised me with Waiting for Doggo. I think I fell a little in love. Yes, Mark B. Mills has done the impossible. Do I like dogs now?

Besides the new warmer feelings I have towards canines I also really enjoyed this story. It was interesting to read a break up story from the male perspective. I think that throughout the years I have read books with a female protagonist who has been hurt by the unsavoury activities of her boyfriend and I have always sided with the girl – ovarian power and all that hoopla. It was interesting to finish a book and think that actually, we girls aren’t necessarily that great either.

I may be reading too much into this but I also liked the parallel between Doggo and Dan. Both were being castrated by their situation. Doggo because he was a dog – no other reason but Dan by all the outside factors – his ex; his new boss; his burgeoning feelings for Edie. It was a clever allegory.

Overall, Waiting for Doggo has been one of my more enjoyable reads of the year. It wasn’t too hefty or taxing. It was just an entertaining read. I give it two hearty thumbs up.

Waiting for Doggo by Mark B. Mills is available now.

Waiting for Doggo

Synopsis

Francis is not well. He is pale, losing weight and perpetually getting nose bleeds. His mother is determined to find out what is wrong with him. When it is discovered what is wrong with Francis, his whole life changes.

Review

In Bloom is heartbreaking and wonderful. It would be far too easy for me to say “if you liked The Fault in Our Stars or A Song for Jackson Dawes you will love this” – easy, but true. In Bloom is of the same ilk of novels focusing on the internal battles of being young juxtaposed with the external battles of a serious illness. However, what I can say is different about In Bloom is the wit a charisma with which it is written. It is very funny.

Matthew Crow has taken a very difficult topic and created a story with some lovely light moments and that should be celebrated. His characters are brilliant. From snarky teens to crazy mothers Crow has them all. The personal dynamics between the cast are brilliantly played out to help highlight the exhaustion of not only the main characters (those living with leukaemia – Francis and Amber) but of the family members (Francis and Ambers mothers’), how cages can be rattled due to the stress and worry of it all and how we can snap at the wrong people. Crow also finds the warmth that develops from these encounters and how people will pull together in times of crisis and sadness.

What I do love is that we are currently in a phase where YA literature is being released and at the heart of the books is a contentious and (oftentimes difficult) subject that is helping teach young readers not only empathy but also about life. Life is hard and scary and some things you cannot control. And sometimes bad things happen to good people. This is the over-riding feeling I got from reading In Bloom. So, basically, this book is brilliant and everyone should read it.

In Bloom by Matthew Crow is available now.

You can follow Matthew Crow (@Mizzlecrizzle) on Twitter

 

Synopsis

Francis is not well. He is pale, losing weight and perpetually getting nose bleeds. His mother is determined to find out what is wrong with him. When it is discovered what is wrong with Francis, his whole life changes.

Review

In Bloom is heartbreaking and wonderful. It would be far too easy for me to say “if you liked The Fault in Our Stars or A Song for Jackson Dawes you will love this” – easy, but true. In Bloom is of the same ilk of novels focusing on the internal battles of being young juxtaposed with the external battles of a serious illness. However, what I can say is different about In Bloom is the wit a charisma with which it is written. It is very funny.

Matthew Crow has taken a very difficult topic and created a story with some lovely light moments and that should be celebrated. His characters are brilliant. From snarky teens to crazy mothers Crow has them all. The personal dynamics between the cast are brilliantly played out to help highlight the exhaustion of not only the main characters (those living with leukaemia – Francis and Amber) but of the family members (Francis and Ambers mothers’), how cages can be rattled due to the stress and worry of it all and how we can snap at the wrong people. Crow also finds the warmth that develops from these encounters and how people will pull together in times of crisis and sadness.

What I do love is that we are currently in a phase where YA literature is being released and at the heart of the books is a contentious and (oftentimes difficult) subject that is helping teach young readers not only empathy but also about life. Life is hard and scary and some things you cannot control. And sometimes bad things happen to good people. This is the over-riding feeling I got from reading In Bloom. So, basically, this book is brilliant and everyone should read it.

In Bloom by Matthew Crow is available now.

You can follow Matthew Crow (@Mizzlecrizzle) on Twitter

 

Hello lovely character in my book of life,

How art thou? Goodeth I hopeth. Sorry, I have been assisting with the learning of The Bard this week and well who doesn’t love a bit of ye olde English?

Anywho, it has been an ok week of reading. I got through some good books. Here is what I managed to read:

A Place for Us Part Four by Harriet Evans

Not that Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

Zoey and the Nice Guy by Carter Ashby

In Bloom by Matthew Crow (Review to be posted 25.11.14)

I am currently in the middle of Waiting for Doggo so that should be finished and reviewed for next week. There is only one book that I am due to review this week so any other books that I manage to read and review will be a bonus. The book I have to review is:

The Shape of my Heart by Ann Aguirre

I have been a bit naughty this week when it comes to books. I bought two off Amazon and I did technically buy several from charity shops this week. My argument is that I am technically saving lives….in a roundabout way. I got some fantastic bargains though.

Anyway lovely folks, I hope you enjoy your week.

L x

Title: Secret Santa

Author: Scarlett Bailey

Pages: 106

Synopsis

It is but a few days before Poldore’s annual Christmas pageant and Sue’s usual Santa Claus has retired, parked the reindeer and hung up his present sack. Sue has to ensure that the event runs as smoothly as it does every year, not just because she is a control freak and town matriarch but also because the people of Poldore are only just getting over the devastating impact of last year’s inclement weather. On a more personal note, Sue also is trying to hold things together ever since her husband walked out on her a few days earlier. No, she needs to make this year special. She needs a Christmas miracle.

Review

Whilst I did enjoy this short story I felt at a slight disadvantage being that I hadn’t read its predecessor. This is no fault of the authors or should in any way reflect on the short story Secret Santa; the fact that I knew that the characters had previously been written about is because of the conscientious writing of Bailey who introduced all the main players with thoughtful information from their book past. What Bailey has managed to do with this short story is intrigue me enough to want to read the rest of the books in the Poldore series.

Focusing on Secret Santa, this story gave me what the other festive texts have yet to do. It gave me that added bit of Christmas magic. There was a slight element of the unnatural, the unrecorded and whilst I have loved the books that I have read in my festive feature they have all lacked that element of magic that you can really only get away with at Christmas.

I loved how strong willed Sue was, how her determination to look after everyone took precedence over her own life. She seemed to be such a giving person. What I loved more about her though is that we were able to see moments of self doubt and weakness and that she wasn’t too proud to let others help her. Her strength didn’t become a detriment.

I was really impressed by Secret Santa and I am intrigued to read about the rest of the characters. This book should be on your Christmas to be read list. I know the rest of the series has been added to mine.

Secret Santa by Scarlett Bailey (Rowan Coleman) is available now.

You can follow Scarlett Bailey (@ScarlettBailey) on Twitter.