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Friday, 30 April 2010

New to Dot Scribble's Shelves...

I have been good this week and only bought one book but my wish list has got considerably longer!

I bought:
The Point of Rescue by Sophie Hannah (Hodder)- Sally is watching the news with her husband when she hears a name she ought not to recognise: Mark Bretherick.
Last year, a work trip Sally had planned was cancelled at the last minute. Desperate for a break from her busy life juggling her career and a young family, Sally didn't tell her husband that the trip had fallen through. Instead, she booked a week off and treated herself to a secret holiday. All she wanted was a bit of peace- some time to herself- but it didn't work out that way. Because Sally met a man- Mark Bretherick.
All the details are the same: where he lives, his job, his wife Geraldine and daughter Lucy. Except that the man on the news is someone Sally has never seen before. And Geraldine and Lucy Bretherick are both dead...


These two were sent to me by lovely, lovely publishers for review:
The Named by Marianne Curley (Bloomsbury)- Imagine you were able to change the past. By altering one tiny thing, you could start a chain of catastrophic events...
Ethan is Named- he has the ability to travel back in time, where he must use his special skills to try to intercept the dark forces intent on unravelling history. But Ethan is also a normal schoolboy, and leading a single life with a double identity is becoming just too much to handle, especially when even the normal part is getting more and more complicated.


What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty (Penguin)- Alice wakes up on the floor of the gym with a nasty bump on her head, thinking she's still a fun-loving twenty-nine year old starting life with her gorgeous husband and pregnant with her first baby.
To her disbelief, it soon transpires the fall has knocked ten years from her memory and she is actually an uptight thirty-nine year old whose idea of a good time is a three-hour workout followed by committee meetings with the kind of women she used to despise. How on earth did her life come to this? And more disturbingly, how can she not remember giving birth to three children? Why does her husband suddenly hate her? And what can Alice possibly have done that means her beloved sister will barely speak to her?
Seeing herself through fresh eyes, Alice barely recognizes or even likes the person she has become. Can she ever find her way back to the woman she used to be?


So there you go, let me know if you have read any of these or heard anything good/bad about them. Hope you all have a lovely Bank Holiday weekend, hopefully there will be some sunshine!

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Book Review: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

I kept on reading very positive reviews of Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins so I decided to find out what all the fuss was about for myself. I'm so glad that I did, Hex Hall is a little like The Worst Witch crossed with Mean Girls and a sprinkling of Harry Potter.
Sophie Mercer is only sixteen when she discovers that she is a witch. Whilst trying to help someone out she performs a love spell with dire consequences. As a punishment Sophie is sent to Hecate Hall; known as 'Hex Hall' by the pupils, it is a reform school for Prodigium; which can include witches, shapeshifters, faeries and warlocks. Sophie's first day does not go well, she quickly makes enemies of the three most beautiful and popular girls in school. She has a crush in a warlock who happens to be with one of the 'mean girls'. To top it all off, Sophie's roomate Jenna is the only vampire allowed at Hex Hall making her the freakiest and most disliked of them all. As if this isn't enough, awful events start taking place at the school; students are being attacked and all fingers are pointing at Jenna. Sophie wants to protect her new best friend but it is hard for her to know who to trust in this strange new world she has been thrust into.
I loved Hex Hall, Rachel Hawkins starts the action immediately and she does not let up until the very end. I did not see the twist at the end coming which is great as you feel as though you are experiencing everything a and when Sophie does. Rachel Hawkins has created some weird and wonderful characters but if you strip away all the magic and special powers then you are left with a group of teenagers trying to discover who and what is important to them. Sophie is new to this world and there is so much she needs to know. She has to decide whether she would rather fit in with the popular pupils or stand up for those who are most important to her.


Hex Hall was such a good read and I really hope that there are more to come as they would make a great series. 

Monday, 26 April 2010

Book Review: Love Letters by Katie Fforde


With the bookshop where she works about to close, Laura Horsley, in a moment of uncharacteristic recklessness, finds herself agreeing to help organise a literary festival deep in the heart of the English countryside. But her initial excitement is rapidly followed by a mounting sense of panic when reality sinks in and she realises just how much work is involved- especially when an innocent mistake leads the festival committee to believe that Laura is a personal friend of the author at the top of their wish-list. Laura might have been secretly infatuated with the infamous Dermot Flyn ever since she studied him at university, but travelling to Ireland to persuade the notorious recluse to come out of hiding is another matter.
Determined to rise to the challenge, she sets off to meet her literary hero. But all too soon she's confronted with more than she bargained for- Dermot the man is maddening, temperamental, and up to his ears in a nasty case of writers block. But he's also infuriatingly attractive- and apparently, out to add Laura to his list of conquests.

Katie Fforde has written the perfect book to sit and enjoy in the sunshine we are having at the moment. I found the aspects of the book that dealt with the publishing industry the most interesting. Katie Fforde's own experience with literary agents and editors allows her to write about the publishing world with great wit and confidence.
It took me a long time to warm to Laura, I felt as though I wanted to give her a good shake every now and again and tell her to get a grip! Dermot Flyn on the other hand was a completely different story. He is a very charming character but he does not lack substance in any way. Katie Fforde shows the pressures placed on an author for their future work when their last book was a roaring success.
Love Letters is a really good read that I would highly recommend.


Friday, 23 April 2010

Book Review: Drawing With Light by Julia Green


Emily's older sister Kat has gone away to university and Emily is sharing a tiny caravan with her dad and step-mum Cassy while their new house is being finished. Her dad and Cassy are expecting a new baby and this leaves Emily wondering where she now fits into the family picture. Emily also wants to know about her real mother who left when she was only a baby. No-one will talk about her yet Emily has so many important questions that need answering. Add into this, the lovely Seb, he is the son of the builder working on the house. They begin a relationship and Emily begins to have the confidence to look into her past and find out who she really is.
This is the first Julia Green book that I have read and I really enjoyed her writing style. The story that she creates is absorbing but I found the best part of the book to be the characters. I am 27 years old and this book is Young Adult fiction but I could totally relate to Emily. Julia Green really does capture the excitement and nerves involved in having your first boyfriend. The constant checking of text messages and wondering exactly what they mean was spot on. I also really enjoyed how we saw the continuing of Emily and Kat's relationship via letters and MSN chats whilst Kat was away at uni. I too have an older sister and I know how important it was and still is to have her to talk to about what is going on in my life.
Julia Green chooses to put her characters in a tiny, cramped caravan and the more I thought about it the more I could see why she chose this setting. Emily effectively has nowhere to hide; she cannot ignore her Dad and Cassy's relationship and the pregnancy. At the same time she has no familiar home comforts around her or links to the past so she is so much more focused on the future and what she wants from it.
Drawing With Light is one of the best books that I have read about growing up and experiencing love and relationships for the first time. I read the book in one sitting and I felt as though I knew Emily so well by the last page. It was one of those books that I didn't want to end and I hope that Julia Green writes many more in the future.

Thank you to Bloomsbury for sending me a copy of this book.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Book Review: Hurting Distance by Sophie Hannah


Three years ago, something terrible happened to Naomi Jenkins- so terrible she never told anyone.
Now Naomi has another secret- her lover, unhappily married Robert Haworth. When Robert vanishes, Naoimi knows he must have come to harm. But the police are less convinced, particularly when Robert's wife insists he is not missing.
Naomi is desperate. If she can't persuade the police that Robert is in danger, she'll convince them that he is a danger to others. Then they'll have to look for him- urgently.
Naomi knows how to describe in detail the actions of a psychopath. All she needs to do is dig up her own traumatic past...

I thought that Little Face by Sophie Hannah was brilliant so I was a bit nervous about reading the next in the series. I shouldn't have worried though as Hurting Distance was just as good and has made me determined to read the others.
Naomi Jenkins is a rape victim which is the difficult subject that Hurting Distance explores. We do not know immediately what exactly or when it happened by Naomi is an extremely complex character and it is clear to see the devastating affect the rape has had on her life. Her relationship with Robert Haworth is equally as complex; they meet every Thursday at a motorway hotel for three hours, Robert goes home afterwards and Naomi spends the night alone in the same hotel room every week. When Robert doesn't arrive one Thursday she knows that something has happened to him. This takes her on a terrifying journey where she has to lie and manipulate those around her in order to find her missing lover. Naomi, however is not prepared for the fact that Robert's disappearance will cause her to visit the awful and devastating events of her past.
Sophie Hannah reintroduces us to the characters of Detective Sergeant Charlie Zailer and Detective Constable Simon Waterhouse. In Hurting Distance, the focus is more on Charlie, we see how her feelings towards Waterhouse are affecting her personal life and professional judgement. We see much more of Charlie and Simon's boss in this book, Detective Chief Inspector Proust. He is your classic, grumpy policeman but he adds a welcome touch of humour to the book.
I think that Sophie Hannah is an extremely clever writer, she litters the story with clues for the reader to pick up on, you feel as though you are part of the ongoing investigation. I worked some of the plot out but there were many twists and turns that I did not see coming.
I have already ordered the third book in the series and I am looking forward to the next story that Sophie Hannah has in store.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Book Review: After the Party by Lisa Jewell



I am a huge Lisa Jewell fan and have read all of her books so you can imagine how happy I was to discover that she was writing a sequel to her best-seller, Ralph's Party.
After the Party joins Ralph and Jem eleven years after they got together. Everyone who knows them looks on their relationship as perfect and everlasting. However, Ralph and Jem now have two young children, a house in suburbia and fond memories of the care-free existence they once had. Ralph still loves Jem but he knows he is no longer her priority and Jem is beginning to wonder who she is outside of her 'mother' role. So they are both struggling to get back to each other and secure the future they believed they would always have.
Out of all of Lisa Jewell's books, I think this one is the darkest. I found this really refreshing; she strips back Jem and Ralph's relationship and shows the problems they are experiencing. The story is written from both of their perspectives as they try to make sense of what is going wrong.
There were certain points in the book where I disliked both Jem and Ralph but again I think that this emphasises how real relationships work. Couples do annoy each other and row; you have to make the decision as to whether the love you feel for the other person is worth putting up with their negative traits.
As usual, I was totally absorbed in Lisa Jewell's writing style and the story she was telling. It is quite a long book but I was swept along with it and had finished in two days. If you have already read Ralph's Party then great but it is not a necessity. Lisa Jewell provides enough information for the reader to understand Ralph and Jem's past without being bored by it. I could not recommend this book enough, it is a realistic take on modern relationships without the sugar coating that some authors seem to go for.

Friday, 16 April 2010

New to Dot Scribble's Shelves...

There have been some lovely new arrivals on the Dot Scribbles shelf this week! Firstly these are the ones that I bought:

After the Party by Lisa Jewell (Century)- It's eleven years since Jem Catterick and Ralph McLeary first got together. They thought it would be for ever, that they'd found their happy ending. As everyone agreed, they were the perfect couple. Then two became four, a flat becomes a house. Romantic nights out became sleepless nights in. And they soon found that life wasn't quite so simple anymore. But through it all Jem and Ralph still loved each other, of course they did.
Now the unimaginable has happened. Two people who were so right together are starting to drift apart. And in the chaos of family life, Ralph feels more and more as if he's standing on the sidelines, and Jem that she's losing herself. Something has to change. As they try to find a way back to each other, back to what they once had, they both become momentarily distracted- but maybe it's not too late to recapture happily ever after...
Marshmallows for Breakfast by Dorothy Koomson (Sphere)- When Kendra Tamale returns to England from Australia she rents a room from Kyle, a separated father of two, and begins a new job. She's looking forward to a fresh start and a simple life.
Kyle's six year old twins, Summer and Jaxon, have other ideas and quickly adopt Kendra as their new mother- mainly because she lets them eat Marshmallows for breakfast. Kendra eventually becomes a part of their lives, even though she's hiding a painful secret that makes her keep everyone- especially children- at arms length.
Then Kendra bumps into the man who shares her awful secret, and everything falls apart: she can't sleep, she can't eat, she's suspended from work, and the kids are taken away by their mother. The only way to fix things is to confess to the terrible mistake she made all those years ago. But that's something she swore never to do...
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins (Simon and Schuster)- When sixteen year old Sophie Mercer discovers she's a witch, she imagines life will be full of magic, fun and...well... broomsticks! But her first attempt at a love spell goes disastrously wrong, and as a punishment, Sophie is shipped off to Hectate "Hex" Hall, a reform school for witches, shapeshifters and faeries.
By the end of her first day among her fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tag-along ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person on campus and the only vampire.
Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students and her only friend is the number one suspect...
Hurting Distance by Sophie Hannah (Hodder)- Three years ago, something terrible happened to Naomi Jenkins- so terrible she never told anyone. Now Naomi has another secret- her lover, unhappily married Robert Haworth. When Robert vanishes, Naomi knows he must have come to harm. But the police are less convinced, particularly when Robert's wife insists he is not missing.
Naomi is desperate. If she can't persuade the police that Robert is in danger, she'll convince them that he is a danger to others. Then they'll have to look for him- urgently.
Naomi knows how to describe in detail the actions of a psychopath. All she needs to do is dig up her own traumatic past...

These are the exciting books that I have been sent to review:
Wintercraft by Jenna Burtenshaw (Headline)- Ten years ago Kate Winters' parents were taken by the High Council's wardens to help with the country's war effort.
Now the wardens are back... and prisoners, including Kate's uncle Artemis, are taken south on the terrifying Night Train. Kate and her friend Edgar are hunted by a far more dangerous enemy. Silas Dane- the High Council's most feared man- recognises Kate as one of the Skilled; a rare group of people able to see through the veil between the living and the dead. His spirit was damaged by the High Court's experiments into the veil, and he's convinced that Kate can undo the damage and allow him to find peace.
The knowledge Kate needs lies within Wintercraft- a book thought to be hidden deep beneath the graveyard city of Fume. But the Night of Souls, when the veil between life and death is at its thinnest, is just days away and the High Council have their own sinister plans for Kate and Wintercraft.
Drawing With Light by Julia Green (Bloomsbury)- Everything is changing in Emily's life. Her older sister Kat is just starting university; Dad and Cassy have bought an old house which will be their dream home one day... except that while it's being done up, they've all got to live in a tiny caravan in the middle of a field. Then a throwaway comment starts Emily thinking about her real mother, who left when Emily was a baby. Who was she? What was she like? Why did she go? Over the years, she has become the unmentionable secret in Emily's family.
And as Emily pieces together a truer, fuller picture of her mother, she also embarks on a new relationship of her own with Seb, a beautiful boy with fine features and expressive eyes...
Things I Wish I'd Known by Linda Green (Headline)- When Claire Cooper discovers the sealed envelope containing the 'dream list' she wrote as a teenager, she realises how far her life is from the one she'd imagined she'd have (and it isn't just the boobs that she's missing). Divorced, stuck in a dead end job and dating an ambulance chasing personal injury lawyer, she decides it's time to put her life back on track.
But is meeting up with her teen idol, footballer Andy Pailes, really the best way to make her dreams come true? What really happened between them twenty years ago? Could Claire end up making a much bigger mistake?

Finally these are the books that I got from the library:
A Whiff of Scandal by Carole Matthews (Headline) - When Rose escapes London and Hugh- her devastatingly handsome, intelligent and charming ex-lover- she has no idea that her occupation as an aromatherapist will cause such a scandal in her new country village.
All she wants is a bit of peace and quiet, but her weird and wonderful neighbours soon ensure that her life is more complicated and chaotic than it ever was before. Maybe that's because she's in love again...
Love Letters by Katie Fforde (Century)- With the bookshop where she works about to close, Laura Horsley, in a moment of uncharacteristic recklessness, finds herself agreeing to help organise a literary festival deep in the heart of the English countryside. But her initial excitement is rapidly followed by a mounting sense of panic when reality sinks in and she realises just how much work is involved- especially when an innocent mistake leads the festival committee to believe that Laura is a personal friend of the author at the top of their wish-list. Laura might have been secretly infatuated with the infamous Dermot Flynn ever since she studied him at university, but travelling to Ireland to persuade him the notorious recluse to come out of hiding is another matter.
Determined to rise to the challenge, she sets off to meet her literary hero. But all too soon she's confronted with more than she bargained for- Dermot, the man is maddening, temperamental, and up to his ears in a nasty case of writer's block. But he's also infuriatingly attractive- and apparently out to add Laura to his list of conquests.
Phew, so there you go! Let me know if you have ready any of them or are looking forward to particular ones, the problem now is which one to read first!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Book Review: Lex Trent versus The Gods By Alex Bell


Cheats never prosper. At least that's what everyone else would have you believe. But Lex Trent knows better. Lex knows that, with a bit of luck, the quickest route to success is to lie, swindle and cheat all the way to the top.
Unfortunately Lex has taken his scams a step too far...
Rather than see his neck in a noose, he's forced to go on the run in a world of irritable Gods, fearsome magicians and strange beasts.
But luck is still on his side, just.
The God's favourite pastime is The Games...
and Lex has just become one of the human playing pieces. With fame, glory and untold wealth at stake, Lex isn't going to lose (especially as that so often involves dying)- in fact he fully intends to beat the Gods at their own game.

This book is quite different from what I usually read but I really enjoyed it. I didn't think that Lex Trent was a particularly likable character but this just adds to the story as he gets himself into one scrape after another.
Alex Bell gives the reader non-stop action and adventure throughout the book. The pace of the story is pretty fast especially when Lex becomes involved in The Games. I loved the vivid descriptions within the book and I think that it would make a brilliant film.
Alex Bell takes quite ordinary objects and situations and gives them a magical twist. I loved the enchanted ship that Lex travels on and the squabbling Gods who use humans for their own gain.
I hope that there will be more Lex Trent books as he is the kind of character that wouldn't stop at one adventure.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Book Review: It's Now or Never by Carole Matthews

I was lucky enough to get a copy of this book at the Headline event last month. It has only taken me two days to read it as once again, Carole Matthews has created a story that draws you straight in.
Annie and Lauren are twin sisters and when they attend their older sister's lavish Birthday party at the Dorchester they begin to wonder why their lives are so far removed from the glamorous world that Chelsea inhabits. Whilst Chelsea has the gorgeous and successful husband and picture-perfect family; Annie's husband would rather spend his time fishing and Lauren's boyfriend already had a picture-perfect wife and family of his own. After drowning their sorrows with several bottles of champagne, Annie and Lauren decide to give themselves a year to turn their lives around.
I warmed instantly to the characters of Annie and Lauren and I was willing them to get the perfect endings that they both wanted. I think that we all have points in our life where we take stock of everything and consider our hopes and wishes for the future. Carole Matthews shows that there is nothing wrong with wanting more in life but that we have to be grateful for what we do have and not lose sight of what is really important.
The writing style is extremely witty and I found myself laughing out loud on several occasions. I would highly recommend this book, it has great characters and a story that I am sure many readers would identify with.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Book Review: Never the Bride by Paul Magrs


Never the Bride is the first in the Brenda and Effie series by Paul Magrs. The books are set in Gothic Whitby, the sea-side town with the rolling mists and tales of vampires.
Brenda runs a Bed and Breakfast whilst her best friend Effie lives just next door where she runs a cluttered junk shop. All sounds pretty normal doesn't it? Don't be fooled, Brenda is hiding a terrible past, she knows that she will soon have to explain the intricate scars covering her body and the fact that she doesn't appear to age.
Never the Bride introduces us to these two women's wonderful friendship. They are quite happy going for quiet walks and sharing fish and chip suppers so it comes as quite a surprise to them that the gateway to Hell is situated in Whitby and they are the chosen guardians.
I instantly fell in love with the characters of Brenda and Effie. These two ladies take everything in their stride, from murder to martians and vampires. Paul Magrs offers his readers such an original story set in the beautifully atmospheric Whitby with it's dark alleys and age-old myths.
Never the Bride is full of dark, witty humour and I found myself completely carried away with the story. It's so exciting to find a new series of books to read and I can't wait to start the next one.
Have you read any of the Brenda and Effie series? Do you have a particular favourite?

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Book Review: Wedlock by Wendy Moore


Precocious and indulged, Mary Eleanor Bowes was the richest heiress in eighteenth century Britain. Scandalous rumours were quick to spread when she fell under the spell of handsome Irish solider, Andrew Robinson Stoney. When Mary heard that her gallant hero was mortally wounded in a duel fought to defend her honour, she felt she could hardly refuse his dying wish to marry her.
Yet within hours of the ceremony, Stoney seemed to be in the grip of a miraculous recovery and Mary found herself trapped in an appallingly brutal marriage. She was terrorised by violence, humiliation, deception and kidnap but the life of Mary Eleanor Bowes is a remarkable tale of triumph in the face of overwhelming betrayal.

Wedlock has to be the best non-fiction book that I have read in a long while. I had to keep reminding myself that Mary Eleanor Bowes was not a fictional character but she had really lived through these horrendous events. Wendy Moore's book reads very much like a work of fiction, it is very detailed and the way she recounts Mary's life story from beginning to end has you gripped.
Mary Eleanor Bowes endured both physica; and mental abuse at the hands of the man she married. Andrew Robinson Stoney was a vile and sadistic man who would do anything for his own gain. Whilst there are many instances where the reader pities Mary during the book, Wendy Moore does not shy away from highlighting her many faults. Mary's unloving attitude to her eldest son cannot be explained nor can we ignore the consequences of her promiscuous behaviour before marriage. I think that Wendy Moore delivers a more credible book by presenting Mary warts and all. It is as if she is giving the reader all of the information she can in order for them to make their own minds up.
Moore highlights the lowly position of women during Mary's era. Mary came to the marriage with far more money, respectability and status but as soon as she had taken her vows she was powerless to the whims of her detestable new husband. What really struck me as I read the book was how many other Mary Eleanor Bowes were there and has the predicament of domestic abuse really changed that much. We know of Mary's treatment through diaries, letters and legal documents but how many other women suffered in the same way as her but did not divulge the mistreatment in any way.
I admit that I gave up turning back to the notes section each time that something was cited as I felt as though it took away the flow of the story for me. Wendy Moore has written a fascinating account of one woman's unbearably unhappy and harmful marriage. Even though dealing with Georgian England, the issue that Moore raises are unfortunately still relevant in this century.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Book Review: Little Face by Sophie Hannah

Little Face by Sophie Hannah is a pure psychological thriller. Alice Fancourt leaves Florence, her two week old daughter in the care of her husband David and goes out for the afternoon. On returning, Alice is distraught and insists that the baby in the nursery is not Florence and that someone must have swapped her child. Alice's situation becomes more desperate when the police are called as David is sure that the baby is Florence and that his wife is either lying or has literally gone mad.
Sophie Hannah has created brilliant characters in this book, she presents all of their flaws, making them particularly believable. My thoughts on Alice Fancourt twisted and turned as I read as did Simon Waterhouse's. He is the detective working on the case but Sophie Hannah shrouds him in mystery too so that the reader becomes highly suspicious of nearly all the characters.
The concept of the book is great and it is a far cry from your average whodunnit. I have the second Sophie Hannah book, The Other Half Lives which I am pleased about as I know that it has some of the same characters. The author ties up most of the loose ends but there are still a few tantalising questions left unanswered, leaving you thinking about the book long after you have finished it.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Danielle Trussoni Discussing the Nephilim

The brilliant Angelology is out to buy today, you can read my review of it here. It is one of the best books that I have read so far this year and I have to admit that I am also slightly in love with the cover. Below is an interview with the author Danielle Trussoni, she is talking about the beautiful but savage Nephilim, they are basically the baddies in the story! Enjoy!

video

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