The Fabulous O'LearysTitle: Presenting…The Fabulous O’Learys

Author: Caron Freeborn

Pages: 214 Pages

Publisher: Holland House Books

The Blurb

Roll up, roll up, ladies and gentlemen, see the freaks in their natural habitat.  Only cost you your bloody soul.

It is the 1980s: the theatre is crumbling, and show business is changing forever. When veteran actor Ken O’Leary retires, to the disgust of his eccentric, dependent family, they instinctively look to the mute and unendingly withdrawn Glen for salvation. Gentle, starving Delia and her ambitious actor boyfriend Eddie, sexy singer Raquel, circus aerial artist Lesley and a host of midgets, Tourette’s tics and managers squabble – bringing about family breaches, inappropriate sexual relationships, even death.  As the family fractures, their eccentricities raise the question of what it means to be outside of the norm; to be different.

This is a book about disability – and a book not about disability at all.

The Review

Well. There we go.

I’m not too sure what to say about Presenting…The Fabulous O’Learys. I don’t think I liked the story. I didn’t dislike it. I’m just sort of indifferent to it.

The story centres around a showbiz family. There are singers, actors and circus performers; there are also those who deal with being in a showbiz family without actually being in the business. Like all families there are secrets and lies. That is pretty much all I can say about it.

Some people will really like this story. Personally it didn’t do it for me.

Presenting…The Fabulous O’Learys by Caron Freeborn is available now.

For more information regarding Caron Freeborn (@CaronFreeborn) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Holland House Books (@HhouseBooks) please visit www.HhouseBooks.com.

2 Stars

Coming Home to the Comfort Food CafeTitle: Coming Home to the Comfort Farm Café

Author: Debbie Johnson

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: Harper Collins UK/Harper Impulse

The Blurb

Welcome to the cosy Comfort Food Café, where there’s kindness in every cup of hot chocolate and the menu is sprinkled with love and happiness…

Moving to the little village of Budbury, Zoe hopes the crisp Dorset sea breeze and gentle pace of life will be a fresh start for her and her goddaughter, Martha.

Luckily for them both, the friendly community at the café provide listening ears, sage advice, shoulders to cry on, and some truly excellent carrot cake. And when Martha’s enigmatic, absent father suddenly turns up, confusing not only Martha but Zoe too, the love and support of their new-found friends is the best present they could ask for.

Have Zoe and Martha truly found their home at the Comfort Food Café?

The Review

In my four and a half year of doing book reviews I have had the pleasure and the privilege of getting to read the work of some really great authors. The greatest aspect of reviewing though is meeting an author through their writing and then having them become one of your favourite and trusted authors. For me that writer is Debbie Johnson. For me, she can do no wrong and once again she has proven me right with Coming Home to the Comfort Farm Café.

I truly believe that Budbury, the Comfort Farm Café and the characters that live there have magical healing powers. I want to live there. I want to be in the novel, in every book in this series.

In this third instalment we meet Zoe and Martha; both broken by the loss of Kate (Zoe’s best friend and Martha’s Mother) and are looking to be healed. Martha has become self destructive since her mother’s death so Zoe makes the decision to relocate to Budbury.

Like the previous novels in the Comfort Food Café series, more than just comfort food will help with the healing process.

Ok, as cheesy as this may sound these books are aptly named. Whenever I read them I do feel comforted. It may be that I feel like I am meeting old friends in the staple characters or the fact that they have managed to remain happy and now are helping others. I just love these books. Long may the series continue.

Coming Home to the Comfort Farm Café by Debbie Johnson is available now.

For more information regarding Debbie Johnson (@debbiemjohnson) please visit www.debbiemjohnsonauthor.com.

For more information regarding Harper Collins (@HarperCollinsUK) please visit www.harpercollins.co.uk.

For more information regarding Harper Impulse (@HarperImpulse) please visit www.harperimpulse.com.

5 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

Earth Hates MeTitle: Earth Hates Me – True Confessions from a Teenage Girl

Author: Ruby Karp

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Perseus Books/Running Press

The Blurb

Earth Hates Me presents a look inside the mind of the modern teenager–from a modern teenager’s perspective.

Sixteen-year-old Ruby Karp addresses the issues facing every high schooler, from grades to peer pressure to Snapchat stories, and unpacks their complicated effects on the teen psyche. With dashes of humour throughout, Ruby advises her peers on the importance of feminism (“not just the Spice Girls version”), how to deal with jealousy and friend break-ups, family life, and much more. The book takes an in-depth look at the effect of social media on modern teens and the growing pressures of choosing the right college and career.

With Ruby’s powerful underlying message “we are more than just a bunch of dumb teenagers obsessed with our phones,” Earth Hates Me is the definitive guide to being a teen in the modern age.

The Review

Isn’t it sad when you find the perfect book too late? In my case, I found Earth Hates Me – True Confessions from a Teenage Girl by Ruby Karp eighteen years too late. Sixteen year old Lisa was very similar to Ruby Karp. She was a bit unsure, didn’t know the rules, how to follow them or indeed how to break them. She was a little bit quirky and lived her life to want to perform.

In Earth Hates Me, Ruby Karp shows wisdom way beyond her years. He talks about issues that plagued me well into my late twenties and I genuinely believe that this book can act like a friend to those who are lonely, scared, unsure or just need the comfort of a book shaped security blanket.

If there is one important book that I will be recommending to the teens in my life (and since I work in a high school that is an awful lot of them) it will be Earth Hates Me – True Confessions from a Teenage Girl by Ruby Karp. It is a vital book that everyone going through their formative years should have access too.

Earth Hates Me: True Confessions from a Teenage Girl by Ruby Karp is available now.

For more information regarding Ruby Karp (@RubyKarp) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Perseus Books (@PerseusBooks) please visit their Twitter page.

For more information regarding Running Press (@Running_Press) please visit www.runningpress.com.

4 Stars