Now, it is not often I read a sequel so quickly, but as I am reading with pride this month, I had to find out what happened next to Noah Grimes.
I enjoyed this title even more that the first one. I mean, poor Noah’s awkward adventures do feel like they only happen to him, but – just like the first – I think we all remember how everything seems like such a big deal when you are young. Especially, in this case, if you took part in a school exchange (mine was to Italy).
However, what is really important in this book is the development of Noah and Harry’s relationship. There is such a minefield to teenage relationships and the insecurities that come with it. I felt it was handled really well in Green’s novel, He makes it clear, through Noah and Harry, that there is no ‘normal’; all relationships are individual. By the end, I think Noah learns a very important lesson about love.
There really are a lovely light-hearted read, especially in these strange times. I mean, who can’t help getting the giggles at the thought of a goose swallowing the diamonds (although I did wonder if this was a nod to ‘The Adventures of the Blue Carbuncle’ by the wonderful Sir Arthur Conan Doyle). And, if you are a fan of pretty much any detective novel, you will relate to Noah’s rather over-active imagination.
There books are simply a delight, with a colourful cast of characters finding their way in the world (and that is not just the teenagers) and through relationships.
I would like to thank my lovely bookstagram friend Mrs D for encouraging me to have a ‘Great Expectations Buddy Read’. This is a book that I remember having a go at about 10 years ago, but I didn’t get very far. I think Dickens has always seemed daunting, so I needed a bit of a push to give it a go.
‘Great Expectations’ is a story that I am sure so many of us think we know. It is certainly a tale I thought I knew from various film and television adaptations. However, there is so much more to the book that I think you would ever be able to transfer to the screen. It also struck me that this always seems to follow set ideas when it is adapted. Pip always seems to be played as an innocent, Miss Havisham as so old and odd, and Estella as simply cold-hearted. That is, of course, part of their characters but not the be all and end all. Dickens has such a creative way of crafting his characters that they are never so simple.
The story of Pip and his coming of age is a great adventure but also highlights some real flaws in human nature. Especially some of the expectations we and society place place on ourselves and, sometime, there expectations are also our undoing. However, there is also the ease with which some people are manipulated or moulded into a certain way of being and thinking about themselves or others.
Dickens’ writing style brings every single moment of this story to life. You really feel you are on the marshes and in London – and especially when you are in the walls of ‘Satis House’, that famous home of Miss Havisham. The settings are as much part of the story as the characters and the action.
Reading this has certainly given me the bug to read more Dickens. Although, I cannot deny that I am still a little intimidated by some of his larger books.
Do you have a favourite Dickens novel?
This is the second novel from Lucy Powrie about ‘The Paper & Hearts Society’, and this novel focuses on Olivia Santos founding member.
This is a fabulous book for any lover of books and great stories. This is not just a story – it is an education, too. Olivia Santos has found her book-loving people in The Paper & Hearts Society (Tabby, Cassie, Ed and Henry). However, as the new school year starts, she starts to realise that maybe she can help other people find their people and do something about the fact that freedom of choice has been removed from the school library. Why should pupils be stopped from reading LGBTQ+ books?
Yet, as Olivia becomes more involved in the project, can she juggle all her personal expectations? Or will the pressure that she is putting on herself cause her to burn out? Not only impacting her but also those that she loves.
A real positive about this novel is the fact that it entertains and educates. It discusses the importance of diverse representation in novels and for people to feel seen. It also discusses the importance of wellbeing and good mental health. But possibly the most important this it shares is how significant great friendships are.
However, a danger of these fabulous books is that you will probably finish them with another reading list. It was great that so many books I have enjoyed were mentioned and, also, so many more ideas.
So, if you love books, YA novels and great characters, then this is the book for you.
June continues, as does my readin books with Pride. This next one was another I chose because of Bookstagram (maybe I am easily influenced) but, in all fairness, I have had my eye on ‘Noah Can’t Even’ for a while.
Now, to begin with, I was worried this book was farce. A little too silly and far-fetched, over-emphasised the awkward humour of being a teenager. Specifically, a teenage boy. However, my opinion changed as I read more of the book. In fact, as the story and characters developed, it became more charming.
Noah Grimes’ journey of self-discovery could certainly be relatable to so many readers. I mean I am pretty sure that many of us would agree that those early to mid-teen years are a bumpy road. Especially when it comes to fitting in (although we all know now that is not the be all and end all), and the pressure surronding sexuality. Although, poor Noah Grimes does seem to experience a series of unfortunate events on his journey. He thinks he wants a ‘normal’ life but, really what is ‘normal’?
Noah is such a great character who, at times, you may think is not making the best choices, especially when it comes to his best friend Harry. But you really do hope he will find his happy ending. And, maybe, he should accept a new idea of normal.
This is probably a younger YA book and would probably be a great one if you have some reluctant readers. But, to be honest, if you love to laugh and enjoy a good story, I would recommend this book.
This book was in that I chose to read as June is Pride Month. It is a book that, again, I have discovered thanks to the Bookstagram community.
‘Hideous Beauty’ is quite a book. There is so much amongst its pages to think about – this is certainly not just a story. This is a book that tackles some really complex issues – well, to be honest it should not be complex but sadly for some people it is and it is reality.
This book is clever. It has within its pages a mystery that needs solving – what are the secrets that Ellis has been keeping from Dylan? However, is it just about Ellis’ secrets? This is quie an investigation of relationships. Relationships of all kinds – romantic, family, friendships – all are tackled in this book and, in parts, quite closely examined. Sometime with surprising outcomes and, sometimes, with really tragic outcomes. (There will be tears).
However, as William Hussey says himseflf in a letter to his readers, he has tackled some of the ugly reality faced by members of the LGBTQ+ community. For some, that may make for uncomfortable reading, but if it makes for people think and causes them to take responsibility for their education, or re-education that can only be a good thing.
I feel I can do this book justice. It needs to be a book that is read to be fully appreciated. It is a real emotional page-turner that will stay with you for a long time. If you are going to pick this novel up, know that it does contain a trigger warning for some of the issues it tackles.
This is a book that I have been lucky enough to read as part of a blog tour. Historical fiction is not my genre of choice, but I am always trying to improve this,s and this was an excellent opportunity. Like so many of us, World War One is a time of our history that I have always been interested in and in my day job as a history teacher is is one of the topics that I think is essential to teach.
So, as I picked this book up, I was not sure to expect – or how I would find it to read (subjects I find emotional I often put off reading). However, Fanshawe’s book is a very good read. Although a slow paced tale in parts this, for me, adds to the narrative as you almost feel like you are reading it in real time. You are experiencing what ‘Cello’ is experiencing as it happens. This also makes this books quite an emotional read as you go.
I do not like to reveal spoilers or too much of the tale when I write about a book. All I want to say is that this book, set during 1917 and the battle of Arras, is about one soldier’s (‘Cello’) personal convictions and struggle between what he believes is right versus the expectation of the establishment. Also, the impact that goes on to have, not just on him but also his friend, Ben.
You are left really thinking about the idea of justice, the value of the life, and personal convictions, as well as the impact that war has on so many – not just those present in the moment.
For a thought-provoking read, I would highly recommend this book as one to pick up.
I absolutely loved ‘A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder’. It was one of those great YA novels that could be enjoyed by more than its ‘target’ audience. So, when I saw that the sequel was out, I knew I had to read it, especially as escapism in these lockdown times.
‘Good Girl, Bad Blood’ is just as wonderful as its predecessor. Pip has found success with her true crime podcast ‘A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder’, and believes she will now hang up her (metaphorical) detective’s hat. However, when there is a local disappearance, can she avoid getting involved? I don’t think it is a spoiler to say, of course she gets involved – we wouldn’t have a book otherwise. However, this is still a fresh story; this is a current case.
This novel is an excellent continuation from book one. The characters evolve naturally (you find out so much more about Pip) and there are links to the previous tale.
What I enjoyed most about this book is that it is not simplistic – it is a well-constructed crime novel. I worked out one teeny, tiny part of the story but that was it – the rest I discovered alongside Pip and her friends as they carried out their investigations.
I really hope there is more from the pen of Holly Jackson, because she really knows how to put together a contemporary and engaging thriller that can be enjoyed by so many fans of the genre.
This is a book that I picked up after attending a book event where Aisha Saeed spoke with Becky Albertalli about their co-authored book ‘Yes No Maybe So’. I had not encountered Aisha Saeed before as an author, but she was so engaging when she spoke and, clearly, loves to write, that I was encouraged to give her novel a go.
Amal has dreams of becoming a teacher, she loves to learn and she loves to read. But society has other ideas, she lives in a very patriarchal society and a village that appears to be run by those who have money – and not those who work hard in the community to make a living. After an accidental encounter with the rich Khan family Amal finds her life changes and her dreams appear to disappear. However, could she still be in control of her future, with a little help from her friends?
This book is engaging and written in a very readable style. It would be a great book for secondary school-aged readers. It really encourages you to think about some of the traditional roles that can be outlined for men and women without any discussion or chance for the moulds to be broken. But, in fact, inside us all, is there the spirit to force change and really take control of our destinies?
I really enjoyed this book, and it was a chance to discover another new author.
I picked this book up as part of the ‘The Tandem Collective’ #RunReadalong. I have never read a book by Ann Patchett before, but having seen ‘The Dutch House’ all over bookstagram I thought this may be a book to try.
As I started the book, I did not know what it was about (surprise). However, I was intrigued as I started. it has a wonderful opening line that draws the reader straight into the story. You want to know where this first line is going to lead you.
It leads you into a great exploration of family, and what exactly it means to be family. I found this fascinating as the story unfolded – especially when you come across the ‘subtle’ twist. This moment could change the path of the story, or your whole view of the characters. It is very clever, especially as Patchett leaves you wondering if Father Sullivan discovers the twist.
A book that encourages you to invest so much time into thinking is bound to stay with you even when you have put it down. I have found that the characters have not quite left me, the book concludes in a way that satisfied me – but I want to know more, I want to check in with them.
I am glad to have had the chance to discover a new novel and new author – so, thank you ‘The Tandem Collective’. I have already started looking for other books by Ann Patchett; this has certainly ben a lockdown highlight.
Have you discovered any new authors in these strange times?
What seems a lifetime ago, I was one of those readers that was sucked into the world of ‘P.S I Love You’. It was a book that made me a firm of the work of Ceclia Ahern.
So, when we knew that we would have the chance to meet Holly again, seven years after the story of ‘P.S I Love You’ ended, I was very excited. It has taken me a little while to pick the book up, simply because I knew that it would be an emotional read. And I was not wrong.
There is joy as you are reunited with Holly, her family and friends. But there is so much emotion as we realise that Gerry’s ghost is still playing a big part in Holly’s life and maybe she has not come as far in seven years as she thought she had. However, Holly meets some people in the ‘P.S I Love You Club’ who take her on a journey of self-discovery she may not have ever realised she needed.
Ahern tells the story in her usual beautiful style. Her books are so readable and, for me, this was like returning to an old friend. A perfect read in these strange times – a hug in a book.
So, if you have not met Holly yet, grab ‘P.S I Love You’, and – if you have – remember to read the ‘Postscript’. And, when you have done that, why not pick up a pen and send some happy mail?