Reading: Cross Your Heart
Author: Michelle Bardsley
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Reviewed by: Josephine Chiara
For Elizabeth giving up her comfy life hadn't been a choice.
But after the death of her beloved husband she returned to live in Broken Heart, Oklahoma.
To forget her problems she would usually drink a large blood martini. Yes being a vampire wasn't easy, but a vampire who is afraid of ghosts was almost comical.
Torn between two men, running from a ghost she had me in stitches.
Reading: Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)
Author: Jenny Lawson
Reviewed by: Ebony McKenna
By turns hilarious and painfully raw, Jenny Lawson (The Blogess) takes us on a vertigo-inducing ride through her life, from childhood 'highlights' such as a hand puppet made from squirrel road kill through to recently fighting off vultures in her back yard in rural Texas.
Rattlesnakes, mental illness, nearly breaking her arm inside a cow's vagina and running into a freshly hung-up deer carcass. These are all normal events in Jenny's life. It's too much in one go, that's for sure. That's why there are chapters. So the reader can take a breath and have a cup of tea and a lie down before they go back for more. This is a train wreck, and it's impossible to look away.
On one hand, Jenny sure has led an interesting life. On the other, this is completely normal. What makes it I so captivating is the telling, and this is a great story incredibly well told.
I love people like Jenny. They're unflinching and honest. They can't ever hope to set a good example, so instead they serve as a horrible warning.
Reading: Sister Pact
Author: Ali Ahearn and Ros Baxter
Genre: Contemporary Women's Fiction
Reviewed by: Louise Reynolds
When long estranged sisters Joni and Frankie are thrown together by the will of their deceased grandmother, they must compete as a team on a reality survival program in order to receive $1million each from her will. These once close sisters are as different as it’s possible to be. Quirky Joni with her green hair and pet ferret and cool, up-market Frankie are poles apart but they’re both desperately in need of money. Set on a survivor-style island in the Pacific and full of delicious characters and witty dialogue it’s the heartfelt love these sisters rediscover that warms. This is my top pick read of the year so far.
Author: C J Sansom
Reviewed by: Sara Hood
C J Sansom’s books were recommended to me by the youngest sister of a friend of my Dad’s. She lives in Utah and runs a bookshop, and despite never having met we’re firm Facebook friends. I happened to post that I adored Wolf Hall and was hanging out for Bring Up the Bodies, and she said I expect you’d like C J Sansom then. Her bookshop specialises in matching readers with books, so I hit Google, as you do, and there he was: A crime writer who sets his plots in Tudor England. The man has a doctorate in history and then became a lawyer, so there was the risk he’d be terribly worthy and dry, but keeping an open mind I sent off for Dissolution, the first in what is now a five book series.
And loved it. I’m really demanding of books. Sentences must make sense. Logic must be followed. If they’re historical then they have to be accurate, or accurate enough to make me think they’re accurate. No dress ups, please. Characters have to be real people, with motivations, and demons, and flaws. Don’t make them do things that are out of character or just plain daft so you can advance the plot, or I shall scare the dogs by throwing your book across the room. So don’t have the detective tell Madam that her life is in mortal danger and she must never leave the house, but if she really has to then she must take these two armed gorillas with her, but then she has a slight tiff with the upper housemaid and flounces out into the dark ALL ALONE. Sigh. Scream. Book flung at wall. Barking dogs.
C J Sansom is not like that at all. Characters are treated with respect. They’re fully formed, warts and all, and meeting them is like making new friends. Well, not the baddies. Of course, I wouldn’t want to make friends with them what done it. And places, they’re so vivid. You can see the triangular sails of the wherries, criss-crossing the Thames as the 16th century equivalents of taxis. Smell the stench of the London streets. Well, almost. You get the point. Tudor London stank. And be alert, be very alert, to keep up with the stories as they whisk along at breakneck speed, twisting and turning all over the shop.
Revelation is the fourth book and less twisty-turny than the earlier stories, but is much more bleak. Eeeeuw. How the baby dies. That’s not for the weak of stomach. And (spoiler alert) I do think it’s about time that the protagonist, Master Shardlake, is allowed to find someone to love him back. Heartstone, the final and most recent book, is on the bedside table waiting to be opened. But the sooner I start it the sooner it’s finished, so it will wait a little while longer. Let’s hope it has some requited love. Dear Matthew Shardlake deserves a bit of happiness after all the sleuthing he’s been up to.