Title: Poppy Does Paris

Author: Nicola Doherty

Pages: 65 pages

Synopsis

Poppy is going through a dry spell. It has been almost a year since she last…you know…had a romantic rendezvous with the opposite sex. And she is feeling that it is time to take matters into her own hands. On an upcoming working trip to Paris, Poppy decides she will seduce her co-worker Charlie for some no strings fun. However, life doesn’t always work out as planned as Poppy’s love life takes an unexpected twist in the world’s most romantic city.

Review

Poppy Does Paris, the first instalment in the Girls on Tour series was pretty much the ideal short story for me. I combined two of my favourite things; the world of publishing and the beautiful city of Paris.

What I loved about this short story is that the characters seemed fully developed. They didn’t appear as just brief snapshots. The story didn’t feel like scenes placed together, producing a domino effect. I was able to be charmed, amused and feel for the Poppy and romantic lead, Charlie.

Poppy’s mistakes felt like they could have been made by anyone. You genuinely wanted her not to screw up and felt the embarrassment – nay mortification – when she did. She was such a likable protagonist. Nicola Doherty has managed to create a character who I wanted to be – flaws and foibles included.

I’m very excited to read on with the rest of the Girls on Tour series.

Poppy does Paris by Nicola Doherty is available now.

poppy does paris

Coming Soon

Lily Does LA (released 25th September 2014)

Maggie Does Meribel (released 4th December 2014)

Rachel Does Rome (released 5th February 2015)

Girls on Tour (released 2nd April 2015)

Follow Nicola Doherty on Twitter @nicoladoherty

Synopsis

An airborne flu virus has been unleashed in Canada. People who contract the illness are dead within 48 hours. People all across Canada and America have been told to flee. No other advice has been given. Flee. Save yourselves.

Fast forward twenty years. Survivors of the modern day plague are still trying to make sense of the virus that has killed loved ones, severely depleted the population and forcefully created pocketed communities across the land. Some of these communities are peaceful. Some are not.

In a time of much confusion, who do you trust?

Review

Firstly, let me say that Station Eleven is not the type of book I would normally be compelled to read and admittedly I was drawn to the pretty cover. I was thankful when I was an approved reviewer for this book on NetGalley and even more grateful now that I have had the chance to read it.

It is phenomenal. That is a pretty big statement to make but let me tell you my reasons.

This book terrified me. My heart was set racing at several points due to the sheer fear that it instilled inside of me. It made me question things. Like, what if an epidemic like this actually happened? Would I have the strength to survive? To hunt? To kill? Would I fall apart and just wait for death? And rather materialistically – would I be able to survive in a world without all the luxuries that I have become accustomed to? Ah, le problemes du premiere monde!

What was fascinating about Station Eleven is that Emily St John Mandel has managed to create a dystopian future from describing how life used to be. The non-linear tale added to the anguish and the confusion of the situation. What was also very clever about the story was how the lives of the survivors linked without seeming contrived or too neat. I think this was helped by the cast of characters that came and went so seamlessly in the initial post epidemic scenes.

If you like dystopian fiction then this definitely needs to be added to your TBR pile and if it doesn’t sound like your kind of thing then I would still recommend that you give it a go. Station Eleven certainly gripped my attention.

Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel is available now.

You can follow Emily St John Mandel on Twitter @EmilyMandel

StationelevenUKHC

Synopsis

In a post 9/11 NewYork, Hariet – a recent graduate – struggles to find her place both in a city that she loves; a city that she has seen torn apart and put back together again with alarming speed but also in a post-baby boomer society.

Review

It was such a relief to pick up this book after a week reading books that didn’t enthral me. These Days Are Ours by Michelle Haimoff could almost be a safety blanket book – one that all graduates should keep close by to make them realise that they are not alone in the feeling of being completely unsure of what you are meant to do with your life.

I know that even seven years after I graduated I still have those moments of blind panic. I think that is why this book touched me the way that it did.

The post 9/11 Ne York setting eloquently reflected the insecurities of Hariet and her friends. The parallel was delivered so powerfully through her actions – the obsession with Brenner and his family and their security, the frequent belief that New York would be attacked again and her sadness at potentially becoming a New York child cliché. It was delivered with such a unique voice that it made me actually very sad that this was Haimoff’s debut novel and that there is not a body of work available for me to read.

For me, Michelle Haimoff is definitely someone to look out for.

These Days Are Ours by Michelle Haimoff is available now.

Follow Michelle Haimoff on Twitter @MichelleHaimoff

TheseDaysAreOurs

Review

I am a huge fan of music books. In particular those discussing the links between music and the epochs in which they were released. I love how the connection between social and political upheaval can be seen mirrored in the style of music that is popular during that time. It is with great disappointment that I have to write that I did not like The History of Rock ‘N’ Roll in Ten Songs.

I cannot argue that Greil Marcus knows his stuff. This guys mind is like a bottomless pit of information about music. The nuances, the techniques, the hidden stories – he truly knows some fascinating things. And I will admit that during the pages of this book certain stories did betwixt me and hold my attention but they were few and far between.

I just didn’t feel the connection. I don’t feel like Marcus’s narrative hooked me in. It felt like he was trying to regurgitate all the information he knows just to get it on page so as not to forget it rather than bringing the reader along for the ride. It made reading the book feel like a chore.

I cannot say that I recommend this book to music fans because I feel like too much was given without trying to include, and indeed inspire, the reader.

The History of Rock ‘N’ Roll in Ten Songs by Greil Marcus is available now.

The History of Rock N Roll in Ten Songs

Synopsis

When Rosie spends the summer of 1965 renting a room at Castaway house she begins to discover that the house – and its occupants – are not all that they seem. It is with the arrival of the mysterious Dockie, a man who appears to have a connection to the property but no living memory of what that is, that the mystery begins to unravel.

Review

The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House has a little bit of everything; mystery, romance, drama, social and political change. There is something that hooks your interest on each page. The balance of the two time periods is fluid but doesn’t leave you breathless or confused. Mostly, it is the characters that draw you in. In particular, Robert and Rosie, both of whom are the underdogs of the narrative.

Rosie, struggling with her sexuality and a secret that she would rather keep in the past almost echoes the character of Robert Carver. Robert’s secret is his undying love for his cousin’s wife; a love that has landed him in hot water. Both of their stories are tragic and desperate, lost in a time when their wants are not considered socially acceptable.

What Lam has done with this book is create a well thought out, thorough mystery that does have you wanting to turn the next page. Her florid style has crafted an image of two time periods that are both so very vivid and colourful. Her skill lies in the description. The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House played out like a movie in my mind. For a first time novelist, this is an excellent achievement.

Personally, for me, the one thing I didn’t fully appreciate is the neatness of the story. The lack of loose ends seemed to clean for me but then that is the purpose of mystery writing – to not leave the reader asking questions. Lam accomplishes this and I cannot fault her for that. It is just a personal preference in the stories that I read that things are not too neat and tidy. However, people who are frequent readers of mystery dramas (of which I am not) will appreciate Lam’s attention to detail.

The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House by Stephanie Lam is available now.

the mysterioous affair at castaway house