I am not sure I can do ‘Moonrise’ the justice that it deserves. Sarah Crossan’s novel in verse is one heck of a powerful story, the sort that will stay with you for eternity.
Joe has not see his brother for a long time. His brother is away. His brother is on death row. Joe visits his brother reguarly in the days and weeks leading up to his execution date, trying to get to know him again, reflecting on the events that got them there and the memories he has of his older brother as his greatest protector from childhood. It all creates a completely heartbreaking story as the family looks for hope in the darkest times, right up until the very last moment.
It also really makes you reflect on the system that is supposed to offer fair justice. I found it particularly poignant with current events in the media from America. But, also hopeful that it will encourage readers of all ages to reflect on what justice means.
This is a beautifully written book that demonstrates again the power of verse to crate a narrative full of emotion.
This is a beautiful book that can provide so much for children and adults alike.
Things are changing for Archie: his dad has moved out and his dad has a secret. When Archie accidentally overhears what that secret is, he knows life will never be the same again, but he is determined to help his dad be happy. With the help of his two best friendsm Seb and Bell, he thinks he can his dad find happiness at the end of a brilliantly colourful rainbow.
This adventure takes the three friends to London Pride, where they find a whole host of brilliant characters who help them discover the answers that they are looking for. And they realise that change doesn’t have to be a bad thing, and difference deserves to be celebrated at all ages.
This is such a happy book with a wonderful and supportive message for people of all ages about how we live in a wonderfully colourful world, which we should all be supporting and celebrating. This is the sort of book I wish was around when I was growing up, because it is just a perfect story.
The pick for the month from ‘The Tasting Notes Book Club’ was ‘Miss Benson’s Beetle’. Now, this caused quite some excitement, as this was the latest paperback release from Rachel Joyce, bestselling author of ‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry’. However, I have a confession – I have never read it – so this was my first Rachel Joyce novel.
First, I must talk about the cover of this book. It is just so inviting, with so many little touches that mean so much as you work your way through the book. I returned to the cover once I had finished the book and could not believe how perfectly it fully represented the story.
‘Miss Benson’s Beetle’ is a complete joy of a book. Set in the fifties, Margery Benson makes the rather dramatic decision to leave London and go on an expedition to find an almost mystical beetle. She advertises for an assistant, and this brings Enid Pretty almost crashing into her life. And the adventures do not stop from that moment onwards for this unlikely pair. One of the most remarkable and solid friendships blooms and both women end up on a journey of self-discovery as well as a journey to the other side of the world.
I was surprised by what an emotional read this book became. Each character so beautifully created and two such fascinating women at the centre of it all. It also had so many wonderful elements to it – there was mystery and intrigue as well as adventure. And, well, you just wanted to keep reading.
Rachel Joyce also kindly shares her inspiration for the bookat the end. And that is as fascinating as the book itself.
So, now I have inspired to pick up more books by Rachel Joyce, because I have clearly been missing out.
I am a huge fan of TV detectives – Morse, Poirot and Dalziel and Pascoe, to name but a few, are programmes I can watch over and over again. Yet I have realised, after a read of a Dalgleish novel, that I have not necessarily read the books where those figures started.
So, I have made a decision (which will add to my tbr pile, no doubt) that I am going to try to read about thse detectives in the books where they began in my own ‘ TV Detective Challenge’. I will not be giving myself any kind of time limit or pressure to do this; I will just be giving myself the opportunity to discover some new authors and some new books. I am also hoping that I will be able to find some of these books in the local charity bookshop (I walked past the other day and there was a boxset of detective novels).
So, let us see if I can correct something that jars for a bookworm and find these detectives on the pages where they belong, and not just on TV.
For ‘The Unread Shelf Project 2021’ bonus prompt, you had to select a book from your fabourite genre, Now, that is quite a challenge for me as so many genres are my favourite – however, I made the decision that crime fiction is my favourite (right here, right now).
Therefore, ‘Death of an Expert Witness’ was plucked from my tbr pile. Dalgliesh is a detective that I have always meant to read about, as I have listened to radio adaptations and TV adaptations of the character.
I was not disappointed by my choice of book. I really enjoyed this style of detective story – it was very character-driven as Dalgliesh interviews all of those who could have been involved in the murder of Lorrimer at the lab. Although the pace is ‘slow’, it simply reflects Dalgliesh’s thoughtful and serious detective style.
P.D. James clearly took her time to compose the cleverly structured stories. And, despite the date of the book, researched the latest ideas about forensic science and the most up-to-date policing styles (of the time). At points, the book shows its age as we know the pace that science and technology move on. However, this never takes away from the story as an excellent piece of crime fiction.
Picking this book up has cleared a book from the tbr pile, but it does mean that I am now keen to read more of the stories of the poetry-writing Dalgliesh, which means that my wishlist will increase again.
I have had my eye on Holly Bourne’s books for a while and, in a lovely bookswap for spring, I was sent ‘The Places I’ve Cried in Public’. And, I do think this is YA at its finest – this is a book that I hope all young people will read. It is quite an eye-opening story about relationships and what makes a healthy one – something that many young people may think they understand but possibly don’t.
Ameliw and her family move from Sheffield to the South of England. For Amelie, this is a huge change as she starts her new college, and is anxious about fitting in and making friends. Then she meets Reese and falls in love – or so she thinks.
As she attempts to understand the relationship she believes she had, she revisits all the places she cried in public. We embark on this journry with Amelie and, with her, we discover that Reese was not the boy she believed he was. Amelie reframes her memories and begins to see the relationships for what it really was – and education for her and for readers. Especially as experiences do not have to define us.
This is a beautifully written story – and Amelie is a great representation of the feelings, emotions and fears of so many young women. But she also demonstrates the strength of so many.
This does tackle some of the worst traits of unhealthy relationships, so some may find it a challenging read. However, it is a powerful book that shows how important YA fiction can be for its readers. I will certainly be giving more of Holly Bourne’s books a read.
This book was the March thriller of the month from Waterstones and may have been an accidental purchase when I was shopping for presents. I picked it up as my latest read because I was in a thriller mood. However, I have to admit that it was not my favourite thriller that I have ever read.
I think for some, the subject of the book may be difficult, as it deals with postnatal depression and a potential case of child abuse. However, it is handled with care as part of the narrative.
I like elements of this thriller. It made you aware of checking in on people that sometimes you do not know what people are carrying around with them. There was an interesting study of the characters and their relationships. Especially, the idea of friendship and how they are handled by different people. Also, how far will some people go for their friends? However, it was a little slow and this did not add to the story unfortunately. The slower pace led the book to lose some of the thrilling factors.
I think some people will enjoy this thriller, if they enjoy stories that are very character-driven, but for me it was slightly lacking.
I have kept my eye out for this novel since it was recommended by Kate Riordan at the second Tasting Notes Book Club meeting. I could just sense it was going to be a book that I would really enjoy – and I was not wrong.
‘The Lamplighters’ is a stunning debut novel from Emma Stonex. This is a wonderfully atmospheric mystery set in a lighthouse in Cornwall. Three lighthouse keepers go missing in the seventies and their families are not entirely sure that the official story of events is the real one. We switch between the events of the seventies and the families revisiting their memories of the events in the present day.
I really cannot give any of the story away, because I would really encourage everyone to read this book. However, I can say that this book brilliantly weaves together a study of himan nature, the atmosphere of ‘life at sea’ and a thrilling mystery. I found it so engaging and was so intrigued about how the story was going to conclude.
If you want to discover a new author, I highly recommend Emma Stonex. Especially as I think, even though the year is only a quarter of the way through, I may have found one of my books of 2021 in ‘The Lamplighters’. (Would also quite like to visit a lighthouse again.)