Book Review… See You In the Cosmos Carl Sagan- Jack Cheng…

An astonishingly moving middle-grade debut about a space-obsessed boy’s quest for family and home.
All eleven-year old Alex wants is to launch his iPod into space. With a series of audio recordings, he will show other lifeforms out in the cosmos what life on Earth, his Earth, is really like. But for a boy with a long-dead dad, a troubled mum, and a mostly-not-around brother, Alex struggles with the big questions.

Where do I come from? Who’s out there? And, above all, How can I be brave?

Determined to find the answers, Alex sets out on a remarkable road trip that will turn his whole world upside down . . .

For fans of Wonder and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Jack Cheng’s debut is full of joy, optimism, determination, and unbelievable heart. To read the first page is to fall in love with Alex and his view of our big, beautiful, complicated world. To read the last is to know he and his story will stay with you a long, long time.

I was given an ARC by NetGalley in exchange for a far and honest review.

From the first page, I started to fall in love with Alex a little bit. He reminded me very much of me at that age as I was space obsessed. He is an incredibly erudite 11 year old who has a rather different lifestyle to most 11 year old. From the start, you get the impression that his mother suffers with a mental illness and he is her carer.

As the story unfolds, you come across some incredible characters and they paint a rich series of colours that help to paint Alex’s life a different colour than he ever thought would be possible.

A four out of five star read.

I am profoundly grateful to NetGalley and Penguin Random House UK.

Book Review – Final Girls by Riley Sager…

Each girl survived an unthinkable horror. Now someone wants them dead…
They were called The Final Girls.
Three young women who survived unimaginable horror. Three victims of separate massacres grouped together by the press. Three strangers bound by similar traumas.
Lisa. Quincy. Samantha.
When something terrible happens to Lisa, put-together Quincy and volatile Sam finally meet. Each one influences the other. Each one has dark secrets. And after the bloodstained fingers of the past reach into the present, each one will never be the same.

I was given an ARC by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

This book begins in the past as one of the female protagonists, Quincy is fleeing for her life from the cottage her friends were killed in. The chapter is written very well and it conveys the character and her terror in a really concise way.

As she learns of the death of one of the other “final girls”, Quincy is devastated and realising that her past will once again take over her life. The other final girl, Sam, arrives out of nowhere shortly before they find out that Lisa’s death was not a suicide but was indeed a murder.

A journalist that Quincy hates tries to tell her that all is not as it seems with Sam and that she is lying to Quinn. Quinn doesn’t know who to trust and finds herself spiralling out of control. The memories that Quincy could not recall are starting to filter through the blackness of her mind.

This story is brilliantly written and the twists and turns keep you guessing right up to the end. I was so shocked when the culprit is revealed. I would never have guessed.

Great book. I give it five out of five stars.

I am profoundly grateful to NetGalley and Dutton for my copy.

Book Review – The Book of Mirrors by E.O Chirovici.

When big-shot literary agent Peter Katz receives an unfinished manuscript entitled The Book of Mirrors, he is intrigued.
The author, Richard Flynn is writing a memoir about his time at Princeton in the late 80s, documenting his relationship with the famous Professor Joseph Wieder.

One night in 1987, Wieder was brutally murdered in his home and the case was never solved.

Peter Katz is hell-bent on getting to the bottom of what happened that night twenty-five years ago and is convinced the full manuscript will reveal who committed the violent crime.

But other people’s recollections are dangerous weapons to play with, and this might be one memory that is best kept buried.

I was given an ARC by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

I loved this book. Right from the start there are intricate plot twists and turns. There are several protagonists that give the story a different spin and you are kept guessing right to the end about just who is really responsible.

This is the first book that I have read by this author and I’d definitely read another.

A five out of five star read.

I am profoundly grateful to NetGalley and Random House for my copy of the book.

Book Review – Nineteen Eightyfour – George Orwell…

In 1984, London is a grim city where Big Brother is always watching you and the Thought Police can practically read your mind. Winston is a man in grave danger for the simple reason that his memory still functions. Drawn into a forbidden love affair, Winston finds the courage to join a secret revolutionary organization called The Brotherhood, dedicated to the destruction of the Party. Together with his beloved Julia, he hazards his life in a deadly match against the powers that be.

I agreed to buddy read this book with a friend of mine. I have to hang my head in shame and confess to being one of the few people who have never read any of George Orwell’s books. For this reason, and also for the reason that I fight against totalitarian governments and oppression wherever I can. So I began the book with a large dose of enthusiasm.

Sadly, for the first four chapters struck me with crippling boredom. I was finding it very difficult to maintain any interest in the book. I have problems with books. My hands/wrists become very painful after only a short while of reading. So I downloaded the book onto my kobo instead, and wow! The difference has been marked. I’m now captivated by the story.
There is a disturbing aspect to the story when Winston has violent and murderous thoughts about Julia and also the desire to rape her, near to the start of the story. That misogynistic piece of the plot was disturbing and upsetting, but yes, I know that people do think that way and it is saddening.
When Winston and Julia come together, the story shows the lengths that two people in love will go to in order to circumvent their situation and be together.
What this book showed is the way that an oppressive political regime can use fear to control the people and there can be no way out. No hope. This book has painted a picture of lonely people existing in their own bubbles. In joyless lives, terrified to have an independent thought that would lead to the arrival of the thought police.
This dystopian world shows a political party exercising ultimate and total control of its citizens. I don’t want to say more on this vein, as I don’t want to spoil the story.
Orwell has created a grey, colourless world that holds you tightly in its grip and will not let go.
A three out of five star read.

Book Review – The Devil’s Prayer by Luke Gracias…

In search of answers, Siobhan travels to the isolated convent where her mother once lived. Here she discovers Denise’s final confession, a book that details a heinous betrayal that left her crippled and mute, and Denise’s subsequent deal with the Devil to take revenge. In the desperate bargain Denise made with the Prince of Darkness, she wagered Siobhan’s soul. 
As Siobhan discovers the fate of her soul, she learns that hidden within the pages of her mother’s confession is part of The Devil’s Prayer, an ancient text with the power to unleash apocalyptic horrors. 
And now her mother’s enemies know Siobhan has it. 
Can Siobhan escape an order of extremist monks determined to get the Prayer back? Can she save the world from its own destruction? 

I was given an ARC by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Enough with the loving on this book already. This book started off a little woodenly I’m afraid. It was slow moving, and nothing in the first two chapters grabbed me at all. That continued on through the whole story.
There was, for me, no flow in the text at all. The story was clunky and jerky and every time I thought that it was going to take off and go somewhere, it sputtered to a halt again.
The ending of the story was frustrating and left way more questions than it answered. I wanted to like this book, I really did, but it just didn’t happen. Sorry.
A two out of five star read.
I am profoundly grateful to NatGalley and Australian ebook publisher for my copy.

Book Review – The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr…

“I look at my hands. One of them says ‘Flora, be brave’. I am Flora.”
Flora has anterograde amnesia. She can’t remember anything day-to-day: the joke her friend made, the instructions her parents gave her, how old she is.
Then she kisses someone she shouldn’t have kissed – and the next day she remembers it. The first time she’s remembered anything since she was ten.
But the boy is gone.
Desperate to hold onto the memory, she sets off to the Arctic to find him.
Why can she remember Drake? Could he be the key to everything else she’s forgotten?
I have been given an ARC by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review…
The book introduces us to 17 year old Flora at a party. She has things written on her arms. That’s how she remembers them. The writer illustrates Flora and her world so cleverly. You are there in the moment with her as she takes her first sip of wine at a party and then as she has her first kiss with the boy who just happens to be her best friend’s ex boyfriend…
This book cleverly details what grief can do to people and what untreated grief can make people do to others. It’s beautifully poignant.
It’s inspiring, it’s beautiful, it gives you hope.
A five out of five star read.
I am profoundly grateful to NetGalley and Penguin for my copy of this book.

Book Review – Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land…

‘NEW N A M E . NEW F A M I LY. S H I N Y. NEW. ME . ‘ Annie’s mother is a serial killer. The only way she can make it stop is to hand her in to the police. But out of sight is not out of mind. As her mother’s trial looms, the secrets of her past won’t let Annie sleep, even with a new foster family and name – Milly. A fresh start. Now, surely, she can be whoever she wants to be. But Milly’s mother is a serial killer. And blood is thicker than water. Good me, bad me. She is, after all, her mother’s daughter… Translated into over 20 languages, Good Me Bad Me is a tour de force. In its narrator, Milly Barnes, we have a voice to be reckoned with.
I was given my ARC by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Wow. Just wow. This is my kind of book, and when a new writer pops up on the scene, I am always keen to absorb the story and see what the new author’s style is like.
Land’s writing style is masterful and full of suspense. I got frustrated two thirds of the way from the simple point that no matter how many pages I turned, I couldn’t get to the end. I was so caught up in the threads of the storyline.
Milly’s character you really do find yourself feeling sorry for. She’s only 15 and already her life has been more than most people can take. She is struggling to come to terms with her life and the actions of her serial killer mother.
The book has only one weak spot as far as I am concerned and that is the way the end is constructed. Other than that, this is a brilliant book! Really well written.
A four out of five star read.
I am profoundly grateful to NetGalley and Penguin UK for my copy.

Book Review – Holding by Graham Norton…

The remote Irish village of Duneen has known little drama; and yet its inhabitants are troubled. Sergeant PJ Collins hasn’t always been this overweight; mother-of-two Brid Riordan hasn’t always been an alcoholic; and elegant Evelyn Ross hasn’t always felt that her life was a total waste.
So when human remains are discovered on an old farm, suspected to be that of Tommy Burke – a former love of both Brid and Evelyn – the village’s dark past begins to unravel. As the frustrated PJ struggles to solve a genuine case for the first time in his life, he unearths a community’s worth of anger and resentments, secrets and regret.
I was given an ARC by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I was really looking forward to this book. I adore Graham Norton.
The story paints a really vivid image of life in a quiet Irish town. The quiet images that Norton’s words create are vividly embedded in my mind. The words are so powerful that the pictures spring to life. You feel like you know each one of the characters personally.
The story unfurls slowly and gently and gives you a sense of actually being there and seeing it all happen. I loved it. Well done Mr Norton!
A four out five star read.
I am profoundly grateful to NetGalley and to Hodder and Stoughton for my copy.

Book Review – Miss Treadway and the Field of Stars by Miranda Emmerson…

Soho, 1965.
In a tiny two-bed flat above a Turkish café on Neal Street lives Anna Treadway, a young dresser at the Galaxy Theatre.
When the American actress Iolanthe Green disappears after an evening’s performance at the Galaxy, the newspapers are wild with speculation about her fate.
But as the news grows old and the case grows colder, it seems Anna is the only person left determined to find out the truth.
Her search for the missing actress will take her into an England she did not know existed: an England of jazz clubs and prison cells, backstreet doctors and seaside ghost towns, where her carefully calibrated existence will be upended by violence but also, perhaps, by love.
For in order to uncover Iolanthe’s secrets, Anna is going to have to face up to a few of her own…
I was given an ARC by NetGalley in return for a fair and honest opinion.
Anna is a strong protagonist. She is feisty and intelligent and she loves what she does.
Iolanthe’s disappearance has her so concerned that when the police fail to produce any leads, she becomes determined to find out what has happened to the fragile starlet. The police however are less than happy with her amateur detective efforts and tell her to stop.
The story jerks along and none of the chapters really inspire my thirst to know more.
The ending is also a little disjointed and doesn’t really answer half the questions you have.
A two out of five star read.
I am profoundly grateful to NetGalley and Harper Collins UK for my copy.

Book Review – Swing Time by Zadie Smith…

Two brown girls dream of being dancers – but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either… Dazzlingly energetic and deeply human, Swing Time is a story about friendship and music and stubborn roots, about how we are shaped by these things and how we can survive them. Moving from north-west London to West Africa, it is an exuberant dance to the music of time.
I was given an ARC by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
This is my first Zadie Smith book. Never having read her work before, I was really looking forward to reading it as I love discovering new authors. It really gives me a thrill.
I honestly didn’t know what to make of it at the start. One of my bookish friends asked me and I honestly couldn’t tell her. Other than it started off with a woman in an apartment with a dancer. *shrug* The beginning of this book does not inspire me at all, I’m sorry.
I’m finding this book so boring and difficult to read. *sigh*
That sadly did not change. The story was boring and the characters wooden and uninteresting. I honestly don’t know what else to say about this book. Sorry. 
A one out of five star read.
I am profoundly grateful to NetGalley for my copy.