Title: Turtles All the Way Down

Author: John Green

Pages: 286 Pages

Publisher: Penguin Books

The Blurb

Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience and the power of lifelong friendship.

The Review

Turtles All the Way Down is a brave novel.

I say this for many reasons. The first reason being that this book is the first release from John Green since the epically successful The Fault in Our Stars; comparisons are bound to happen. People may have been expecting another gut wrenching tearjerker or to be completely emotionally immersed into the characters world in the same way as before. The second reason is that John Green has chosen to tackle a topic that is so on trend at the moment – this being mental health – that the worry is that he isn’t going to do it justice. Other writers’ may do it better. However, John Green needn’t have worried.

Turtles All the Way Down, as I said before, is brave. Having read many stories based on mental health I can genuinely say that I felt Aza’a compulsions. Her obsession with things that she cannot control became oppressive and you found yourself feeling both sorry for her but also understanding her need.

Furthermore, what John Green did (which is often missed out of the stories I have read previously) he discussed how hard mental illness is on those around the sufferer. He didn’t make the story evenly balanced because essentially it is Aza’s issue but we saw how the people who cared about her struggle – her mum not wanting to lose her, her best friend Daisy always feeling a few steps behind and her would be boyfriend Davis who can’t get as close as he would like to Aza.

So, Turtles All the Way Down is nothing like The Fault in Our Stars and if you are expecting it to be the same or similar then you may be disappointed. Taken as a separate entity, then John Green has written a really impressive and stark story about mental health.

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green is available now.

For more information regarding John Green please visit www.johngreenbooks.com.

For more information regarding Penguin Books (@PenguinTeen) please visit www.penguinteen.com.

4 Stars

Theres Someone InSide Your HouseTitle: There’s Someone Inside Your House

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Pages: 289 Pages

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

The Blurb

Over a year after her parents sent her away from Hawaii to live with her grandmother in landlocked Nebraska, Makani Young is still adjusting to her new life. She’s made a small group of close friends and even flirted with romance, but her past in Hawaii is still hard to forget.

And then . . . one by one the students of her new high school begin to die in a series of gruesome murders.

Makani doesn’t know who’s next on the list. Between this, and a secret scorching relationship with the school weirdo, this school year may turn out to be one to die for . . . literally.

There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins will have you swooning with fear and romance, and is the perfect page-turner for fans of Scream Queens and I Know What You Did Last Summer.

The Review

There’s Someone Inside Your House, the latest release by Stephanie Perkins, is much like Ronseal paint. It does what it says on the tin. It is a creepy thriller about a psychopath coming into certain people’s houses and killing them off one by one.

The story focuses on Makani, a relatively new girl to Nebraska. She has managed to make a small pocket of friends and is just trying to keep her head down, graduate high school before she leaves for pastures new. But when she becomes the latest victim of these heinous attacks Makani’s life gets turned upside down.

Having read previous releases by Stephanie Perkins, I can honestly say There’s Someone Inside Your House is very different from the French Kiss series. I liked it but if you are expecting something similar you will be disappointed.

For intensity, surprising twists and breathtaking pacing you really need to read There’s Someone Inside Your House.

There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins is available now.

For more information regarding Stephanie Perkins (@naturallysteph) please visit www.stephanieperkins.com.

For more information regarding Pan Macmillan (@panmacmillan) please visit www.panmacmillan.com.

3 Stars

My Side of the DiamondTitle: My Side of the Diamond

Author: Sally Gardner

Pages: 240 Pages

Publisher: Hot Key Books/Bonnier Zaffre Books

The Blurb

An extraordinary tale about the search for love from the acclaimed Costa and Carnegie winning novelist Sally Gardner.

Jazmin has been shunned ever since her best friend Becky disappeared.

But Becky didn’t just disappear – she jumped off a tall building and seemingly never reached the ground. It was as if she simply vanished into thin air.

Did Jazmin have something to do with her disappearance?

Or was it more to do with Icarus, so beguiling and strangely ever youthful, with whom Becky became suddenly besotted . . .

The Review

My Side of the Diamond by Sally Gardner is a very curious tale that had me reading way outside of my comfort zone. It is part YA which I love, part thriller and mystery which I am lukewarm to and part science fiction which is so not my genre.

However, Sally Gardner has created a really compelling story and full bodied cast that I found myself unable to put the damn book down! The story is told from multi-perspective which lends the book an air of displacement and discomfort. I did not feel comfortable or settled reading it. I constantly questioned my characters – on their morals and what they said.

I do feel more settled now that I have finished My Side of the Diamond but it has left me irked in the best possible way.

I would love to know if the Lazarus theme is a link to David Bowie? There are too many shout outs. If anyone knows if this was a choice by Sally Gardner – or if indeed Sally Gardner you would like to answer this question for me – then I would be really grateful.

My Side of the Diamond is a strange little book that begs to be read.

My Side of the Diamond by Sally Gardner is available now.

For more information regarding Sally Gardner (@TheSallyGardner) please visit www.sallygardner.net.

For more information regarding Hot Key Books (HotKeyBooks) please visit www.hotkeybooks.com.

For more information regarding Bonnier Zaffre Books (@BonnierZaffre) please visit their Twitter page.

3 Stars

Hello folks,

Yes I am back doing a wrap up. I haven’t done these in a long time so it is nice to get back into the swing of things.

Ok, here goes.

October has been a pretty good month for me. I have been off work because I have recently been ill. I was hospitalised at the end of August after having a particularly nasty flare up of my Ulcerative Colitis. Whilst recuperating there wasn’t really that much I could do except read and watch TV so that is exactly what I did.

I binge watched Riverdale. It is pretty good. If you haven’t watched it then I totally recommend it. I have also bowed to peer pressure because curiosity has gotten the better of me and now I am watching Stranger Things. So far (after one episode) I like it!

October

Back to books though. Obviously, being off and being poorly sick I may have treated myself to a few pick me up books. I bought the following:

Hardback

The Gatekeepers – Jen Lancaster

Mirror Mirror – Cara Delevigne

This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay

Turtles All The Way Down – John Green (review coming soon)

Nevermore: The Trials of Morrigan Crow – Jessica Townsend (review coming soon)

Paperback

Hunger Makes a Modern Girl – Carrie Brownstein

The Group – Mary MCCarthy (an absolute bargain at only £2 on Amazon)

I Believe in a Thing Called Love – Maurene Goo

Review Titles

I was also really blessed to be sent a few review books in October. They are:

Hamilton – Elizabeth Cobbs

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe – Melissa de la Cruz

Welcome to the Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club – Sophie Green

Thank You’s

I was particularly lucky this month when it comes to winning competitions. I have a few thank you’s to give out (I feel like I am at the Oscars). Thank you to:

Margot Weale (@margotbookpr) for a copy of Edgar Allan Poe and the London Monster by Karen Lee Street.

Killer Reads (@KillerReads and @HarperCollisUK) for The Missing Twin by Alex Day. You can find more information about Killer Reads by visiting their website www.killerreads.com.

Ex Libris Live (@ExLibrisGame) gave me a particulary generous prize of the Ex Libris Game, The Housekeeper by Suellen Dainty, The Escape by CL Taylor and Another Justified Sinner by Sophie Hopesmith.

HQ Stories (HQ Stories) for the two Fiona Harrison books A Pug Like Percy and A Puppy Like Hugo. I will be donating these to the school library in which I work. For more information about HQ Stories make sure you follow them on Instagram at instagram.com/hqstories.

The lovely people over at Popshot Magazine (@popshotmag) for my two Anne Michaels books: All We Saw and Fugitive Pieces. For more information over what they do please visit their website www.popshotpopshot.com.

A special thank you to fellow blogger Louise (@foxesfairytale) over at Foxes Fairytale. She sent me two books: Under My Hat a collection of short stories from various authors and Feed by Mira Grant.

Reviews

I have managed to get plenty of reviews out this month. If you haven’t seen them already then click the links below.

All the Dirty Parts by Daniel Handler

A Semi Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland

Bad Choices Make Good Stories: Going to New York by Oliver Markus Malloy

Dyslexia is My Superpower (Most of the Time) by Margaret Rooke

Earth Hates Me: True Confessions of a Teenage Girl by Ruby Karp

Grand Theft Octo by Niels Saunders

No Shame by Anne Cassidy

Tell Me by Abigail Strom

Ten Birthdays by Kerry Wilkinson

The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook

The Note by Zoe Folbigg

Random Musings

37 Thoughts I Had When Rereading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling

38 Things I Thought When I Reread Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling

So that is it folks. October was a good month. Happy Halloween!

Lisa x

So I’m off work sick at the moment and obviously Harry Potter is my comfort blanket. Let’s hope that Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban will work its magic and make me feel better.

I always say that Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the book that changes this series that stops it being for children. It starts getting really dark. Also I have an overwhelming memory of being on a train going to see my granddaddy in Eastbourne and reading this book. It was a re-read but something happened that was shocking that I had forgotten about and I took an audible gasp of breath. The people on the train all turned and looked at me. I apologised and told them I had forgotten that this thing happened and then sheepishly hid behind the book. For the life of me I can’t remember what it was that shocked me so much but when it happens again I will be sure to write it down.

Ok, here goes:

  • Who was the most feared wizard before Voldemort? Was it Grindlewald?
  • “Don’t let the Muggles get you down!” I totally forgot that Ron said that! Love it!
  • People should wear Fez more often.
  • Oh my. JK wrote the word “bitch.” Ok it was used in the technical sense but see, this is just as I said, the books are becoming more adult.
  • I think I would enjoy riding buses more if I could sleep on them. I once missed my bus stop (which happens to be at the start of a big hill) after I had just been to my university library. I had to walk over a ruddy big hill to get home, shattered, carrying twelve very large hardback books on Race in Post-war America. I resumed the nap the moment I got home.
  • Hermione is a September baby – perhaps a Libra like me…because we rock.
  • When is Hermione’s birthday?
  • *Googles Hermione’s birthday* It is the 19th of September 1979 – not quite a Libra. Boo.
  • You know, Harry could totally eliminate the element of surprise in his life if he just did some wizard research into his own past.
  • Oh Harry! You have been so starved of love that a hug from Mrs Weasley must have felt awesome.
  • I don’t know why but whenever the journey to Hogwarts takes place in my brain when I am reading the books the weather instantly becomes wintery – really blustery winds and heavy rain. I feel like it needs to be read in that weather to feel the same impact. As I read this chapter it is grey and rainy. Perfect…except that it is 18:15 on a September evening.
  • Holy crap the Dementors are scary in my head.
  • I can’t believe Hermione Granger is sassing a teacher. Bolshy move, Granger!
  • The knight, Sir Cadogan, in the painting reminds me of the little dog in Labyrinth. God I love that movie.
  • Lupin is just a stand-up guy. He is the teacher you remember for the right reasons. He is Hogwarts version of Shirley Donnelly. I should preface this by saying that Shirley Donnelly was my favourite teacher in high school. She, along with Jane Granger in primary school and Elina Vitkala in college were the best people ever.
  • Oh I had forgotten about the Hufflepuff/Slytherin quidditch match switcheroo. Ooh and the first mention of Cedric Diggory.
  • Ooh Ron jumping to Hermione’s defence once again. He lurves her. He lurrrrrvvvvesss her! As a side note, I must try to remember that I am 34 years old and not in high school and it isn’t classy to mock fictional characters.
  • Aww Cedric Diggory tried to do the right thing. Man, he was a good guy. Oh, pre-emptive sob!
  • Oh, the Marauder’s Map. My sister bought me a Marauder’s Map mug last year for my birthday. Tea has never tasted so mischievous.
  • Well the Minister of Magic was a bit remiss with his security discussing Sirius Black at the Three Broomsticks.
  • The Marauder’s Map chapter has to be one of the most revealing chapter of the whole book series. Bloody brilliant.
  • Oooh, Harry is right pissy at the moment. To be fair, he has just learned that Sirius Black got his parents killed at the hands of Voldemort but he is still very whiney.
  • Dumbledore likes chipolatas. I like chipolatas. Therefore, I am Dumbledore.
  • I’m yet to figure out what my patronus is. I have an idea that it is a crossbreed. I would love it to be a unicorn because they are awesome but I reckon it might be a bookworm. Maybe a book-a-corn – a bookworm with a horn?
  • When you think about it, Quidditch is like Formula 1. It’s not necessarily the driver (or the broomstick rider) t is the car/broomstick that gives you the advantage. Also this is a damning indictment into the lack of funding for sports in schools.
  • I don’t like it when Ron and Hermione are fighting. Bring back the love, JK.
  • “My dad didn’t strut.” – Strut is a funny word.
  • Poor Hagrid and Buckbeak. Sob.
  • Go on, Hermione. I don’t condone violence but Malfoy had that slap coming to him.
  • Flibbertigibbet is one of my all time favourite words of ever.
  • We should all take a minute to appreciate Lee Jordan’s Quidditch commentary. Bloody brilliant.
  • I feel like my heart has been in my mouth these past few chapters. So many revelations.
  • You have to wonder though, where was the pastoral care at Hogwarts? I mean, seriously? There needs to be another book in which Harry deals with all of his life drama. It could be called Harry Potter and the Therapists Couch.
  • Peter Pettigrew – you little shit!
  • Oh Harry, for a brief moment you were happy. You had a family with Sirius.
  • Dementors – truly terrifying. I cannot say this enough. If you want it emphasised then please see point 12.
  • Ok, so I can’t just breeze past Hermione’s secret (the time turner – which, by the way, I have) without commenting on the glaring error of why did nobody just use a time turner years ago to foil Voldemort and, you know, save Lily and James? I love you JK but you didn’t think this one through. Still my favourite book though!
  • Oh, when Dumbledore can’t fix things for Sirius is like when you realise that your parents aren’t superheroes. Sadness.

God, I love this book. Such a glorious story. I didn’t manage to remember what I forgot. Perhaps I need Neville’s Rememberall. It is disappointing that I can’t remember but I will get over it. Especially as I am currently basking in that post Harry Potter glow.

Next up, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Exciting.