Thin Air

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Michelle Paver is one of my favourite authors and her book, Dark Matter is my favourite ghost story ever. I thought that Dark Matter was too good to be true and that Paver would never write another story like it but here it is! Thin Air is Paver’s second ghost story and it does not disappoint!

Like Dark Matter, Thin Air is advertised as a horror book. I feel as though this novel is more of a mystery/thriller/survival story than a horror as it does not have the same intensity nor the suspense that makes Dark Matter a terrifying and unforgettable ghost story. Despite the novel being placed in the wrong genre, it is still great and provides an interesting mystery that will keep you turning the pages.

Set in the 1930’s, Thin Air tells the story of a team of young men who travel to India to climb the third highest mountain in the world, Kangchenjunga; a mountain that nobody has ever conquered. Stephen Pearse and his brother, Kits, are fascinated by the British hero, Lyell who tried to scale the mountain before but failed, concluding with the death of five men yet only four were buried. The Pearse team literally follows in the footsteps of the 1907 Lyell Expedition but soon uncover the truth of the previous failure in those snowy conditions. Something moves on the mountain and it follows, seeking revenge.

One of the best things about this novel is the atmosphere and the way Paver describes the mountainous world. To the men on the mountain, the air is stifling and suffocating and as the travelers step closer to the summit, the reader feels the same suffocation and realises the danger these men are in. The utter isolation of the team makes one feel alone and tense. My shoulders were very sore after reading this novel as I had been so hunched up with the tension that the characters were feeling.

The characters are all interesting and have their own stories. Stephen, who writes diary entries of the trip, is the most fleshed out character as he is the one that first starts to experience the terror that follows them. His brother, Kits, is also fleshed out a lot as we see his interactions with Stephen more often than other characters. The others all are spoken of and are not just characters in passing, which is good as usually in horror books, there are always a few characters that are never discussed further than their name and relationship with the protagonist.

As I said previously, the book is more of a mystery than a horror. It will keep you reading as you will want to know the truth about the Lyell Expedition. Why doesn’t anybody talk about it? And why have the team been warned against stepping on the mountain? When you do learn the truth, the horror starts to amount to something as the ghosts start to appear. It really is a page turner.

I gave the book 5 stars as I really loved the tension of the book and the plot. It is not better than Dark Matter as a horror but I still enjoyed it just as much as a mystery.

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What Does Consent Really Mean?

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Thank you to Netgalley and Jessica Kingsley Publishers for an early copy of this in exchange for my honest review.

Before I start my review, Jessica Kingsley Publishers are amazing. They publish books that they know will make a difference. These books range from topics of dyslexia, Asperger’s, gender issues, trans rights, etc,. I think they are amazing, not many publishers dedicate their company to books that help young people deal with social topics.

What Does Consent Really Mean is a graphic novel written by Peter Wallis & Thalia Wallis, illustrated by Joseph Wilkins. As it says on the cover, this book is about consent. The novel follows a group of teenage boys and girls as they discover a classmate has been raped and people are posting hurtful comments online about it. This opens a discussion about rape, consent and if you should say yes or no. It’s a very short graphic novel and I flew through it in about half an hour but the message of the novel is so potent that it is definitely worth the read. Plus, a lot of people in my life – including children and teenagers – tell me that they do not have time to read. 63 pages of a graphic novel do not take long and with a story like this, it is a necessary novel to read.

In recent times, rape and rape culture has become part of our dialogue. We speak about it frequently; on the news, on social media, in person – anywhere and everywhere, you will find you are faced with something that is becoming a widely discussed topic. However, some of the discussions surrounding rape and consent are wrong and do not educate or help people understand. Some media outlets use rape as a tool to get views – some shows and films through it in for the scandal whilst others keep it historically and socially accurate.

What this graphic novel doesn’t do is sensationalize this heinous crime. The reader becomes part of a gang of teenagers and feels like they are listening alongside them as they walk through the park, meet up with boys and ‘share’ a plate of chips. Through this, their discussion of consent begins.

The characters discuss how people do not “deserve it” because they had something “shit” happen and that no-one has a right to force someone to have sex, even if they are drunk (which is how the girl is raped in the first place – she was knocked out drunk and somebody took advantage).

The girls are the main group discussing consent and all are diverse and you can see all of their situations – they are all from different ethnic backgrounds and all have different relationships. The girls learn through their chat with each other that consent is an “enthusiastic yes” and that they should not be pressured by anyone, even if their boyfriend’s make them feel bad. When the boys join the conversation, the discussion turns to expectations and consent among men too.

All of these are valuable lessons to be learned and as they are told through the comic strip it is easier to read and feel immersed in for people who do not want to or have a hard time reading.

This book is not for children as there is small swear words in and it is a difficult topic but I would suggest this for anybody going into high school and further. Men and women need to know what consent is and when it is not okay to do something and through this storytelling with relatable characters and friendly faces everyone can learn something.

I gave this book 5 stars. It is a book that needs to be on shelves and seen by all, especially as the topic of ‘consent’ is still one that seems to be lost in translation for some people.

 

MEG

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Tonight marks the beginning of Shark week, a week dedicated to the most misunderstood creatures in the sea. To be honest, I had a different review lined up for this evening but I started writing it last night and just was not enthused by it. Maybe you’ll see that review go up tomorrow but I think to mark the beginning of Shark week, I should review one of my guilty pleasure books; MEG by Steve Alten.

So I recently admitted to one of my close friends that one of my guilty pleasures is reading fictional books about gigantic sharks – the trashier the better. One book that was recommended to me earlier in the year by my dad was MEG by Steve Alten and I definitely lapped it up.

First released in 2005, I believe Alten’s MEG is one of those glanced-over novels that people seem to think nothing of – it could possibly be a cover issue or the plot may sound too silly for some but this is a pure treasure if you are wanting something easy, fast-paced, slightly hilarious but equally as tense all in a book.

A quick summary for you:

Jonas Taylor is haunted; haunted by a secret mission which only he survived. The thing that haunts him is the Carcharodon Megladon – a massive ancestor of the great white shark, which is ferocious and deadly. Taylor becomes obsessed with Meg, making a career out of his research and theories, and when an old friend coaxes him to return to the water, Taylor is about to come face to face with the most terrifying creature to ever live.

Sounds pretty cheesy, right? Oh, you are right – this is pretty cheesy in places. One example is when Meg grabs a bloody helicopter from the sky… I had to put the book down for a solid few minutes, trying hard not to laugh but if you can forgive some of these minor cringes then it truly is a gem. I know I am not the only one whose guilty pleasure is big monster novels and that’s why I am writing about this book.

I am not going to lie, the way this novel is written is in no way artistic or beautiful or even entirely skilled. Some of it is quite rushed or just scrappy. However, what do you expect from a novel about a gigantic prehistoric shark? I did not start reading this novel with the idea that this was going to be the most beautifully written book I have ever read. Instead, I went in wanting a gory, tense monster novel and that is what you are given.

In relation to the characters, there is not much to say about them. A few chapters focus on different characters rather than just Jonas. This actually makes the book interesting as some of the characters are journalists, marine biologists, etc, and you get to see what would happen if a megladon really did surface. I actually quite liked the journalists and their news stories but I will just say this, do not get attached to anyone fast as not many people in this novel last past two chapters. I suppose that always keeps you on your toes – I love Game of Thrones so I am well used to a lot of death in my books so this didn’t bother me. I know some people do not like a heap of the core cast being killed off in any novel or series.

Oh yes I forgot –  another note, this actually is a series. I think there are five books (I should have done some research about how many there are before writing this) but I have the second one all set to read. I was not going to read another one because of how cringy it can be but these books are quite addictive. PLUS the first one ends on a cliffhanger so you cannot exactly get away from wondering what happens next!

MEG is a perfect guilty pleasure book. You can easily take it on holiday and look like you’re reading something quite intelligent and you can go to the beach and terrify everyone with the idea of a giant shark in the waters!

I have given this book 3 stars. The reason behind me not giving it more is that I like to reserve 4 star and 5 star ratings for exceptional books that I would pick up again. I would not re-read MEG but I would highly recommend it to other people to read! So for this Shark Week, how about you pick up this horror/thriller?

 

Pax

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I must admit that I, like many, am an absolute sucker for a beautiful cover. I have a select collection of ready-to-hold books but where the majority of my books go is my beloved Kindle. Yes, say what you want about reading on a technological device but I travel a lot and move a lot and sometimes books are not practical (sad to say it..). Anyway, I LOVE my carousel on my kindle to be covered with the most gorgeous covers and this was one of them for a while. Not to mention, there is a FOX on the cover – come on, if any of you have any idea, I am a fox lover… well actually, I am really a woodland creature lover but anyway, this book dragged me in with the stunning cover.

However, it was not only the cover that grabbed me. This is a children’s book and is about war. Anybody that knows me knows I am obsessed with anything about the WWI and WWII and I have dedicated my life to studying and working with children’s books so this book seemed the perfect choice for me. Unfortunately, this book was not a winner with me.

The book follows the tale of Pax, the fox and Peter, the boy as they try to find each other after being separated due to the encroaching war. Peter’s father is a harsh, unfeeling man who forces Peter to get rid of Pax in order for Peter to be evacuated. Peter, however, runs away whilst Pax lives in the forest. The tale that ensues is one of man and beast trying to find each other.

Sounds like a tearjerker, right? Wrong.

I don’t believe these critics who argue that because it’s a children’s book, an adult cannot enjoy it. I work with children’s books and enjoy them all, looking at them critically from each angle. So I know I didn’t enjoy this book but it’s not because I am not the intended audience.

Anyway, this book is pretty boring. The chapters alternate between Peter and Pax and to be honest, Peter’s chapters were very difficult to get through. Now, there are a nice few lessons for children to learn from Peter’s struggles and the companionship he finds on his travels however, his chapters felt rushed with no direction. Pax’s, on the other hand, were artistic and creative. Writing in the way she believes a fox would think, confused by the world and the events, Pennypacker has a beautiful way of capturing the forest and the dangerous scenery during the war. The illustrations that debut with this novel are equally as stunning and creative, adding a certain essence to the novel that cannot be found in others.

Character development is low in this story. With Peter, I didn’t care enough about him to want to know his history and struggles. Pax and the other foxes he meets are built on further and the almost-fantasy way that Pennypacker has the foxes tell their story through ‘mind-reading’ definitely paints a picture of the struggles of the creatures. It is strange though when the animals have more character development then the humans. I think Pennypacker would have been a lot smarter to write this book told solely through the eyes of Pax. The reason I say this is that the book had an Animals of Farthing Wood by Colin Dann feel to it and I feel it would have been just as successful if written like that. However, the book has been nominated for awards (possibly won by now) so it must be doing something right (I wrote ‘write’ here first and laughed for a little while about that…).

Finally, the ending is not what you expect. I expected to have my heart wrenched out of my chest, as is what usually happens when I read novels like this, except that did not happen. I must admit there is a shock and a bit of a heart stopping moment in the last 40% of the book but then you just feel unsatisfied with how it is tied up. I kind of wanted more but on Pax’s side, not Peter’s.

Overall, the book is alright. It’s nothing to write home about. It’s interesting and has an amazing message about the destruction of nature at the hands of humans but aside from that, it is just an okay read. I probably would suggest middle-graders and up to read this. It is quite violent in places but I know better books I have read this year and in my childhood that could do the same as this book does. If you are going to read this, read it solely for Pax and the illustrations because they make the book worth it.

I was disappointed in what seemed to be a promising book and for that, I have given it two stars unfortunately, a rating I do not often give.

The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde / The Wildling Sisters

To clear any confusion, when I was first sent this book it was named The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde and has since gone through a name change so I have posted both covers and both names for those of you who know the novel by each name!

I would like to thank Penguin UK – Michael Joseph and Netgalley.com for the chance to read an early release of this novel to review for my blog.

The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde is told in two timelines. Each chapter alternates between the present day and Summer, 1959 – five years after Audrey Wilde disappeared. In the present day, Jessie, her husband, daughter and stepdaughter move into Applecote Manor, uprooting their busy London lives for a different pace. Jessie struggles with the death of her husband’s first wife, feeling the ghost of her wherever she goes. Not only does she have to deal with this but she must deal with her rebellious stepdaughter, who creates all kinds of issues.

Meanwhile, in 1959, the four Wildling sisters have been uprooted from London to spend the summer with their aunt and uncle at Applecote Manor, where their cousin disappeared. Soon, dark secrets begin to unwind in the hazy summer days, families are tested and there are twists at every turn.

What happened to Audrey Wilde? What is everyone slowly uncovering? What secrets does everyone carry?

This book is AMAZING. 

The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde serves as a mystery, thriller, romance, and historical novel all in one. There are twists at every corner and just when you think everything has been revealed, a new twist occurs. It keeps you on edge and unable to stop reading. My heart was in my mouth all the way through and Chase perfectly ends the chapters so that you MUST keep reading or you will burst with anticipation. The storyline is fantastic. It is thrilling and engaging, and whilst the idea of a missing child in these times has been used before, Chase writes the story in such away that it stands out from anything you would have ever read.

Not only is the plot engaging and outstanding but the writing style is truly beautiful. The book has a stunning flow to it and you almost feel as if you are a fifth Wildling sister in the stifling summer of ’59. The writing brings a Gothic feel about the book and brings the timelines to life. You feel exactly as the protagonists feel, sharing their shock, excitement, irritation or horror. The writing makes the book feel haunted and alive, it brings an atmosphere to you that you cannot shake.

In the first few pages, the girls drag a body through the woods and you are immediately sucked in – you MUST know what happened. This feeling is never shaken.

I am utterly stunned by this novel. I loved it so much that it is actually difficult to write this review as I could gush and gush about it but I will never do it the justice it deserves. This book has it all – drama, romance, thrills, character development, beautiful writing. It is released on August the 22nd and I highly recommend everyone to pick it up and read it – you will not be disappointed.

I gush about books often but never quite like this one. I traveled from Devon to London this week and devoured the book on my two 5 hour coach rides. I was absolutely absorbed in Eve Chase’s writing. I have put this book in the top 5 of the year for me and have even gone out and bought Eve Chase’s first novel – Black Rabbit Hall. 

I give it five stars and would give it more if possible.

 

 

Sunshine Blogger Award

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Wow, so this made my day! I’ve not been up and running for long but I was nominated for a Sunshine Blogger Award. This certainly was a little ray of sunshine on a tough day! Thank you to Wholeheartyhappy for the nomination, I greatly appreciate it! You all should go and check her out, I love her #Fridayfoodie segment! Leave lovely Shawna a comment and give her some love and feedback to help her blog continue growing! I am always looking for feedback and so are other bloggers!

Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

Questions for me:

What is a quirky habit that you have?

I’m pretty sure this is a habit but I’ve kind of grown up with it so who knows… we’ll give it a go! I actually bounce when I walk. I cannot walk normally at all. My dad calls me Tigger ’cause I bounce basically! I’ve also always walked on my tiptoes whenever I don’t have shoes on. I think these are related.

What is something that you cannot live without?

Definitely my kindle. I would say sentimental pieces and stuff but my kindle is my lifeline. I don’t own a phone and it has all of my books on it so I wouldn’t be able to do this if I didn’t have that!

Favourite food or dessert?

Salted caramel anything!

What is your favourite book?

Wow, as a reviewer this is not an easy question. I will have to name a few: “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, “Jurassic Park” by Michael Crichton, “Furiously Happy” by Jenny Lawson, and “Dark Matter” by Michelle Paver. They all span different genres too!

What kind of music do you listen to?

Mainly broadway and Disney but if I am going for genres then there would be indie and 70’s/80’s hits.

Why did you start your blog?

I have always been a bookworm for as long as I can remember. I have also always loved reviewing things. I used to run a reviewing everything blog but college took over. This year, I decided that I was stuck in a rut in life and in reading. I was reading the same genre over and over again so I set a challenge of reading 50 books I would not normally read. I have read up to 41 (that’s with work and socialising) and have found so many gems. I have found new loves and new hates. I found myself within my love of different books and I wanted a way to talk about and write about these books! That’s how ‘foxtrevert’ came about!

Do you use any social media platforms for your blog?

Yep! I have a Goodreads and I have a Facebook.

If you have a blog/site focused on certain topics, but are suddenly inspired to write a post on something different, do you do it? 

No, I want my blog to focus on books and literature.

If you could live anywhere, where would you live? 

London.

Favourite quote?

“You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think” – A.A Milne, Winnie the Pooh.

Any advice for other bloggers?

No matter how small your blog or how hard it is to get recognised, keep going. Call in your friends, recruit family to share your page, share and share and share but no matter what, keep writing what YOU want to write and don’t change your page for others.

Nominees:

Fraukeisonline

Booksareonlythebeginning

Restingbitchpersonality

Sprout&sprig

Racefortheironthrone

Joy The Witch

Lucybird’s Book Blog

Cherryberrycrochet

Diary of a Wiener Dog

Themochiskin

Readingeverynight

Questions for the nominees

What animal is your spirit animal and why? 

Describe your blog in 4 words.

Would you like to make your blog a job or just a hobby?

Do you have any phobias?

Are you a film buff, bookworm or both?

What’s your favourite film of all time? 

What are you most looking forward to this year? 

Where would you like your blog to be in 5 years?

Do those close to you know about your blog or do you keep it private from them?

What are your favourite types of blog to read?

Favourite actor/actress/author and why? 

Thanks again and have fun!

A Dog’s Way Home

dog's way homeAnyone who knows me in real life knows how much W. Bruce Cameron’s trilogy mean to me. I was going to start off with a review of A Dog’s Purpose but this book is the one I read recently from the trilogy and honestly, I am in love with these books. I am a massive animal lover and the majority of my ‘want to read’ list or ‘read’ list feature animals. I have Peter Rabbit tattooed on my wrist! If that doesn’t say something, I don’t know what will.

Anyway, the first two books of this trilogy were devoured within several days between work and socialising (goddamn social life!) and when this book came out, I was so excited for months and my friends (and boyfriend) were incredibly annoyed at how much I went on about this book before I had even read it!

The book focuses on Bella, a pit bull. Told from her perspective, the reader is left on the edge of their seat as Lucas, her owner, struggles to keep the dog undercover in a home that doesn’t allow dogs and in a state that doesn’t allow pit bulls! Animal welfare is something very close to my heart and I could argue about banned breeds (and why they should not be banned) for years and so I can tell you, this book gets pretty infuriating because you see the close mindedness of some of the characters.

Due to these bans, Bella is cast out and she must find her way home and back to her beloved owner, Lucas.

It’s an incredibly beautiful tale of love and devotion. I have told everyone that I will never see my dog in the same light after reading this trilogy.

So now instead of gushing about the book, I will honestly review it!

You do not need to have read the other books in the trilogy to read this one. The first and second one are slightly linked but the third has few -if any – links to the originals. So you can always just pick this one up if the pit bull storyline interests you!

The storyline is beautiful and really simple. I would say this story could captivate any level of reader. However, the writing style is simple too. Told from Bella (the dog’s) perspective, it does read as if a dog could write in English. Items from our every day lives are given simple terms, limiting the dog’s vocabulary. I know this is a complaint from a few reviewers but I became so immersed in the story it wasn’t an issue for me.

This story has heart to it and there is a heartwarming feel about it. If you’re an animal lover, dog owner or simply love a feel good (and sometimes heartbreaking) novel then this book is a book you will enjoy!

To be honest, I think a negative about this book is that there is not much I can actually say about it. Character development isn’t really a ‘thing’ here and I’ve covered everything pretty basic here. As I said, it’s simple but beautiful!

I gave this book 4 stars! The first two both got 5 so if you want to see those reviews, let me know!

Be My Killer

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Be My Killer by Richard Parker was a book I picked up after I saw my Goodreads friends and suggestions go crazy for this book! The cover claims that it is an “unputdownable crime thriller” so let’s see what my thoughts were on it.

When an online prank goes viral and triggers a spate of gruesome murders, documentary maker Hazel Salter watches in horror. But then Hazel’s childhood friend, Meredith Hickman, is the next victim and Hazel knows she has to find out what happened to her.

Is it one killer or more? Random acts of violence, or part of a bigger, twisted plan?

The police have no leads, but Hazel has a theory – one she’ll stop at nothing to prove – and she also has a film crew. She’ll make a documentary, catch the killer, and give Meredith justice.

The novel claims to be a crime thriller but I definitely would not class it as a ‘crime’ novel. I would put this novel in the ‘thriller’ and ‘horror’ genre as it is pretty gruesome and there are some extremely tense moments that will have you on the edge of your seat. Saying that, there are also some chapters that are a snooze-fest. If I had been looking for a crime novel, I would have been disappointed with the way this book played out but honestly, it’s pretty cool and pretty intense.

First of all, the premise of the book is interesting and unique. In the digital age that we live in it does happen that social media can become the death of some people. Richard Parker uses Twitter in this book. Twitter users use #bemykiller and write witty taglines. The antagonist then chooses some of these taglines and butchers the authors in the manner that they chose themselves. When the film-making team decide to use the hashtag, will any survive or will they all be targets of the menace lurking on the web?

As I have said previously, the book is gruesome and should be classed as a horror. It reminded me of the 80’s and 90’s slasher movies that I used to binge watch as a child. If you liked Scream the TV series, this book reminded me of that. If you are squeamish then this is not the book for you. The deaths feature from the first chapter to the last and it is difficult to think that someone actually came up with these fictional acts of violence. I loved it all though – this book was right up my street.

For a horror/thriller/crime, this is quite well written. Many ‘slasher’ books I have read seem to be unedited, sloppy and difficult to read. Richard Parker’s book is eloquent and interesting but I must say the ending was a bit of a let down. I expected more of a POW ending – it was still good but I was left a little disappointed and to be honest, I cannot remember who the killer turned out to be!

Another thing you must look out for in this book is the fact that the chapters do skip to different people’s perspectives occasionally and sometimes this can take you by surprise but once you get into the fast pace of the novel, there is no getting out of it.

Four stars for me! I will definitely be looking up more of Richard Parker’s novels!

Go Set a Watchman

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Go Set a Watchman is the sequel of Harper Lee’s most beloved To Kill a Mockingbird. Set two decades after the novel that stole the hearts of millions, Go Set a Watchman focuses on the return of twenty-six year old, Jean Louise Finch (Scout). Told through Jean Louise’s perspective, everyone’s favourite tomboy comes back to Maycomb County to find that her hometown is struggling with civil rights tensions and political issues. Her discovery leads to her finding some hard-hitting truth about the people she most loves.

This novel left me so torn. Like many others, I put this at the back of my bookshelf as I had heard negative reviews on it and I did not want a classic to be spoiled. This summer, I sucked it up and decided to plow through, and I did. I actually read it very quickly.

The first half of the novel is quick and easy-to-read as one catches up with their favourite characters. This ‘getting to know you again’ stage leads the reader disillusioned as they find out about heartbreaking deaths and upsetting truths from their favourite characters. Maycomb has a different feeling this time. The atmosphere of To Kill a Mockingbird, that familiar feeling of home, family, childhood, triumphs and losses, have all disappeared. Go Set a Watchman leaves you feeling disillusioned and quite frankly, annoyed.

The writing is sloppy. It is not fine tuned or easy to understand, like it’s predecessor. Now of course, Harper Lee never intended to publish the ‘lost manuscript’ but an editor and publisher could have quickly fixed some errors that bugged me throughout. Long scenes of dialogue became confusing after several pages as you lose who is saying what.

Questions you want answered and endings you want to see do not happen in this book. I am actually annoyed I read it as I don’t feel the same knowing what I know about Jean Louise, Atticus, Dr. Finch, and Jem. Not to mention that there is no Arthur ‘Boo’ Radley, who I know many fans wanted to know the fate of.

The book speaks of important political times and of issues still being raised in the world today but it has most certainly lost the ‘Mockingbird magic’. It doesn’t feel like a safe place, it doesn’t bring warm and fuzzy feelings, and it doesn’t make you continue to love the characters. Now, I know everything is not always warm and fuzzy but I feel the book was severely detached from it’s predecessor. Of course, they were written at different times with different thoughts and feelings but to me, a sequel usually fits with the introductory novel.

In light of all of this, I did enjoy the novel. The flashback scenes of teenage Scout were some of my favourites of the book and some hard-hitting quotes bring one down to earth. For this, I give it a 3 star. I did enjoy the reading of the book, just not the content.

I Need a Lifeguard Everywhere but the Pool

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Before I begin, I would like to say a big thank you to St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley for an early reading copy. I greatly appreciate it for my start-up blog!

I Need a Lifeguard Everywhere but the Pool is a collection of short stories and thoughts by mother-daughter duo, Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella. I was surprised to find that this is actually in the parenting and family section on a few websites I visited but who am I to question that?

Anyway, before I requested an early copy, I read a few reviews and realised that the majority of reviewers had already read books by Lisa and Francesca. I have not. I am just being introduced to the mother-daughter duo. As others were smitten by their work, I was not won over entirely by them.

When I read a book that claims to be ‘hilariously funny’, I normally fly through that book in a day or two. I lap those books up, I love a good laugh – I read far too many serious books. However, I have found this book difficult to get through. I think the main reason behind this is how mismatched the stories are. There doesn’t seem to be much unity or a blend as one minute the authors could be talking about animals and the next would be the election or technology. Perhaps I just do not know the authors’ style well enough but this did throw me but anyway, here is my review.

Some of the stories are gold. At first, I was worried that I would like one of the duo more than the other as I reacted more to Francesca’s writing than Lisa’s but as I got further into the book I found myself relating to both of them. Lisa has hilarious stories about animals, especially her dogs and the snakes in her garden. Her truck buying and her conversations on home improvements are very funny and definitely relatable but those damn snakes and the way Lisa writes about them had me beaming. I loved that. One thing that must be noted is their humour can be quite blunt and odd, it is not a stereotypical style of humour but you can get into it for some of the stories.

Francesca’s stories were similar, some were great, such as her love for perfume and her attempts at running, and I could personally relate to them. However, I did find that a lot of the stories left me wanting more as they seemed to not have an ending or even a purpose sometimes. Some of them just sat there or seemed like a stream of consciousness which to me, left it slightly disjointed and mismatched.

Now, I am unsure if this is because of my lack of experience with these two authors but this book had been highly recommended to me (they hadn’t read it yet but they had seen the description and thought of me) and it just didn’t seem to live up to the hype that people were generating.

The book is most certainly aimed at women of all ages (especially if in their 20’s and over) as there are some strong feminist messages there but I also feel that Americans probably can relate to this book more than me (an English woman). Bridal showers (not a big thing here) and the election are not hot topics for us so the humour was lost there. Some of the conversations on the election were also a bit serious and seemed to not fit into the collection of stories. I think if I could have related a little further I would have given it an extra star.

Another point was that there are quite a few empowering speeches in the stories and I have ever been a fan of reading that kind of work.

However, there is a positive to my experience, I will be picking up another one of these books as I do not want to write them off just yet! I also have some friends (mainly American actually) who I know will definitely appreciate this book more than I did so I will be pointing them in the authors’ direction when the book is released!

I definitely think if you are a fan of mother-daughter duo’s, very short (as in 2-3 page) life stories and can appreciate some odd humour about life then this book is for you. If you are American or more aware of American politics than I, you may also enjoy this book more than I did.

For me, because I enjoyed quite a bit of the book, I give it 3 stars.