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

PPand M 2Title: Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe

Author: Melissa de la Cruz

Pages: 225 Pages

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

The Blurb

Darcy Fitzwilliam simply doesn’t have time to fall in love. But this Christmas, a kiss under the mistletoe will change everything…

As partner at a major New York hedge fund, Darcy’s only serious relationship is with her work cellphone. The truth is, she’s too busy being successful and making money to have time for romance and Christmas cheer.

But this year Darcy is coming home to Pemberley, Ohio, for the holidays. There, she runs into her old neighbour and high-school foe Luke Bennet – the oldest of five wayward brothers. When Darcy’s enmity with Luke is re-opened, along with a hefty dollop of sexual chemistry…well, sparks are sure to fly. Can Darcy fall in love – or will her pride, and Luke’s prejudice against big-city girls, stand in their way?

This sparkling retelling of Pride and Prejudice will warm your heart over the festive season.

The Review

Firstly, I would like to thank Louise Swannell at Hodder and Stoughton for sending me a copy of Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz to review.

Pride and Prejudice is a story that has been told and retold over and over again. I’m always fascinated when someone manages to tell such a classic story and make it feel fresh and fun. This is exactly what Melissa de la Cruz does with Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe.

With a backdrop of America during the Christmas period, de la Cruz has given the characters a bit of a gender twist just to keep fans of the original Austen classic on their toes.

What is truly wonderful about Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe is that you really do feel the heat between Darcy and Luke. Obviously, the modern day setting helps this along but you can almost feel the heat coming off the page it almost makes you think back to Pride and Prejudice and re-imagine the scenes between Elizabeth and Darcy as much more scorching than they originally appear.

It really is a lovely little thrill of a novel and it isn’t too big a book at only 225 pages. Definitely a book that can be kept in your handbag to be read wherever you are.

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz is available now.

For more information regarding Melissa de la Cruz (@MelissadelaCruz) please visit www.melissa_delacruz.com.

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

4 Stars

The French Whale ExchangeTitle: The French Exchange Whale

Author: Cal King

Pages: 176 Pages

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

The Blurb

It’s said that everyone has a book inside them. Cal King doesn’t have just one though; he’s bursting with ideas for everything from children’s books to (in his mind) prize-winning novels.

Unfortunately for Cal, his ideas are all a bit silly. However, refusing to be deterred by rejections from publishers and agents (or the laughter of his girlfriend) he managed to secure a meeting at a top publisher and arrived at their London offices with a head full of dreams and a folder full of concepts.

At the end of the meeting (during which the editor seemed to have the most terrible cough) it was gently suggested that Cal compile his pitches into a collection of ‘terrible book ideas’ for the joke book market. Slightly hurt by this suggestion, but driven by a desperate and all-consuming need for approval, he agreed. And here it is . . .

The Review

Sometimes you just want a bit of whimsy to get you through your day. If this sounds like you, that you are forever on the whimsical hunt then look no further just pick up The French Exchange Whale by Cal King. It is a book about books. Actually it is a book about books that you will never read for they are all the plots to the books that Cal King has never had published.

Now I don’t know what this says about me but some of the story ideas that Cal King put forward actually sounded pretty good and totally books that I would read. Sadly, all of these ideas have been kaiboshed and I don’t think we will find them on the shelves of your local bookshop anytime soon.

You should, however, request this book in your Christmas stocking. It is charming and entertaining. Definitely give it a read.

The French Exchange Whale by Cal King is available now.

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

3 Stars

jane-steeleTitle: Jane Steele

Author: Lyndsay Faye

Pages: 432 Pages

Publisher: Headline

The Blurb

Reader, I murdered him.’ JANE STEELE is a brilliant Gothic retelling of JANE EYRE from Edgar-nominated Lyndsay Faye, for fans of LONGBOURN and PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES.

Like the heroine of the novel she adores, Jane Steele suffers cruelly at the hands of her aunt and schoolmaster. And like Jane Eyre, they call her wicked – but in her case, she fears the accusation is true. When she flees, she leaves behind the corpses of her tormentors.

A fugitive navigating London’s underbelly, Jane rights wrongs on behalf of the have-nots whilst avoiding the noose. Until an advertisement catches her eye. Her aunt has died and the new master at Highgate House, Mr Thornfield, seeks a governess. Anxious to know if she is Highgate’s true heir, Jane takes the position and is soon caught up in the household’s strange spell. When she falls in love with the mysterious Charles Thornfield, she faces a terrible dilemma: can she possess him – body, soul and secrets – and what if he discovers her murderous past?

The Review

Oh boo. I really wanted to like Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye. I genuinely did. My favourite book is Jane Eyre and so I thought that a book that had so many links to the Bronte classic would naturally be loved by me but it wasn’t.

I have to give kudos to Faye because her style of writing is on point. She continues the selected style throughout the text and never wavers. I think for someone writing outside of the pre-Victorian time period that can be difficult but she manages it excellently. However, I did find the tone to be very glib. The satirical style almost became too jarring.

Jane Steele is a well rounded mystery and Faye masterfully weaves a tale of intrigue but it just didn’t tick all of my boxes.

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye is available now.

For more information regarding Lyndsay Faye (@LyndsayFaye) please visit www.lyndsayfaye.com.

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

2-stars

kids-of-appetiteTitle: Kids of Appetite

Author: David Arnold

Pages: 352 Pages

Publisher: Headline

The Blurb

KIDS OF APPETITE by David Arnold is a tragicomedy of first love and devastating loss for fans of Rainbow Rowell and Jennifer Niven.

In the Hackensack Police Department, Vic Benucci and his friend Mad are explaining how they found themselves wrapped up in a grisly murder. But in order to tell that story, they have to go way back…

It all started when Vic’s dad died. Vic’s dad was his best friend, and even now, two years later, he can’t bring himself to touch the Untouchable Urn of Oblivion that sits in his front hall. But one cold December day, Vic falls in with an alluring band of kids that wander his New Jersey neighbourhood, including Mad, the girl who changes everything. Along with his newfound friendships comes the courage to open his father’s urn, the discovery of the message inside, and the epic journey it sparks.

The Review

As I am wont to do, I was drawn to Kids of Appetite because of its cover. It looked intriguing. Ergo, I requested said book from Bookbridgr and NetGalley (believing I would only receive one – sorry). If I am honest, it took me a long while to get into the story.

I am, however, glad that I stuck with it. Initially, I was perplexed by the many different characters who I felt that I couldn’t keep up with. Then I was fascinated by one of the main characters, Vic, and his medical condition – Moebius Syndrome – something I knew nothing about. I loved the idea of a group of young people all coming together with different backgrounds but forming a family and I loved the relationship between the two main characters. What I loved most is that Kids of Appetite is a great pay-off novel.

Whilst you may find that, like me, you struggle to find your rhythm with this novel, please stick with it. It is really good. It is different from anything I have read before and it really is a great story.

Kids of Appetite by David Arnold is available now.

For more information regarding David Arnold (@roofbeam) please visit www.davidarnoldbooks.com.

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

35-stars