The Limehouse Golem by Peter Ackroyd

When I spotted the film posters for ‘The Limehouse Golem’, I was immediately intrigued. Reason number one, Bill Nighy (I am a huge fan), reason number two the apparently spooky Victorian setting. However, time passed and I never made it to the cinema – Boo! Then, by luck, I found a copy of the novel in the local Oxfam bookshop and decided that I had to read it before I watched the film. As we bookworms are all fully aware ‘that the book was better’ – still waiting to check if that is true, though.

I was expecting, for some reason, for this book to be a tough read but it is so wonderfully written that it becomes a real page-turner. Every chapter is told in a different style, which keeps the interest of the tale and the mystery of ‘The Limehouse Golem’ alive. The setting of murky Victorian London is ideal for a murder mystery, as many of us are aware, and in this novel it is as much of a character as the people we encounter.

It is always difficult to blog about books that you do not want to reveal too much about. So, all I will say is that there are two twists – well, there were for me anyway – I expected one but only at the very last moment!

I am now so ready to go and watch the film because I am intrigued to see if it does this brilliant novel justice. And if it doesn’t, at least it is a chance to watch a Bill Nighy film.

However, one thing is for sure: I am keen to read more titles by Peter Ackroyd – anybody read any that they would recommend?

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

I picked this book as my holiday read (I have been on a little trip to Jersey which I will tell you all about soon) as I had spotted it on a lot of social media. I knew nothing about the book and did not even read the back of it to find out. I just had a good feeling about this title and that feeling was correct.

This is a story which really does plant ‘little fires everywhere’ – the title is perfect. It refers not only to one event that draws us into the tale, but is also a perfect metaphor for events that every character experiences in the tale. This novel is an interesting study of human nature and the impact of nurture. It addresses some very difficult questions about family and the ‘rights’ of those in a family – however it may be formed.

Also, secrets and identity engage you in the tale. Secrets lead to misunderstanding and mistrust causing relationships to sour. However, are some secrets kept for the good of those involved? If it seems to those involved that it is not causing any harm?

The novel is engaging and thought provoking. You will like some characters, you may dislike others (I certainly did), but you will probably understand, if not agree, with the actions of those involved in the story.

So, if you are looking for a good story about characters this is the book for you!

Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend

A second award winner for April. Nevermoor won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2018 for Younger Fiction, so I decided I needed to give it a go.

The cover is wonderful, you are automatically intrigued about the tale as the blue and gold suggests a beautifully magical world. Centre-stage of the cover is our bold heroine, Morrigan Crow. It is lovely to read another tale with a strong female lead. Morrigan is whisked away, on her eleventh birthday, to Nevermoor by Mr Jupiter North, her guide and protector in this new city. She has to face a series of trials to earn her membership of the mysterious Wunderous Society. To succeed in these trials, Morrigan must use her exceptional talent – whatever that may be. Of course it all results in some exciting, and occasionally scary, adventures with a whole load of colourful characters to encounter along the way.

As you read this tale, you are on all the adventures with Morrigan and her friends. You are almost part of the secret city of Nevermoor, avoiding the Hunt of Smoke and Shadows, and trying to gain your place in the Wunderous Society.

This book would be perfect for any bookworm – especially those readers who may have enjoyed books such as Harry Potter and will go on to become fans of stories such as The Hunger Games. Remember some books can be enjoyed by readers of all ages – and this is one. Who knows where Morrigan’s adventures will take her next?

The Hate U Give (THUG) by Angie Thomas

So, I am a little late at picking up a copy of this novel but this is certainly a case of better late than never. Recently the winner of ‘Waterstones Children’s Book Prize’, and it really is a deserving winner.

I am not sure I can do this title justice in a blog post. There is so much in this novel that deserves praise and recognition that I honestly do not think I have the skill to comment on it all. However, I am going to do my best to share my thoughts on ‘THUG’.

However, first it is another novel with a fantastic female lead in Starr. She may not have an easy ride for a whole load of different reasons but she is someone that you can imagine wanting to be friends with. You root for her from the word go; even if you don’t always agree with some of her actions, you can certainly understand them.

In fact, this whole novel is probably an important lesson for us all. Angie Thomas was inspired to write this because of the #Blacklivesmatter campaign and really shows us why we should use the voice we have been given to speak out for what we believe in. After all, our voice is our most powerful weapon. This is an incredibly thought-provoking book and is essential reading for all of us.

I really do not want to spoil this novel for anyone who has not read it, because it is such a powerful book. However, I will say that it is an emotional page-turner which will probably make you take a long, hard look at the world we live in and some of the actions we witness on a day-to-day basis.

So, whenever I am asked for a book recommendation this will be top of the list. If you haven’t read it, go out and find a copy and dedicate some time to Starr and her friends and family. They might all teach you thing or two.

Sad Cypress by Agatha Christie

So, I am pretty sure I have mentioned that I am a fan of Poirot. After all, I did do ‘A Murder on the Orient Express’ post last year. (Go and check it out if you haven’t already)

Sometimes I am just keen to read a good old-fashioned crime novel and, based on that I picked ‘Sad Cypress’ from my to-be-read pile. And, let’s be honest, I was not going to be disappointed by some quality time with Poirot and his little grey cells.

I enjoyed this novel because this is a crime that Poirot needs to solve to save Elinor Carlisle from the gallows. Her guilt has been decided by many before Poirot takes on the case with jealousy being given as the main motive, especially, by those who like a little bit of gossip. It is always fun to follow Poirot on his journey to solving the crime. There is always a charm to Christie’s novels which almost makes you wish you were part of the tale. And ‘Sad Cypress’ was no different.

So, if you are a fan of Christie Crime Classics (and if not, why not?) this is the novel for you.