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 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 – 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.

Book Review – Rather Be The Devil by Ian Rankine…

Some cases never leave you.For John Rebus, forty years may have passed, but the death of beautiful, promiscuous Maria Turquand still preys on his mind. Murdered in her hotel room on the night a famous rock star and his entourage were staying there, Maria’s killer has never been found.
Meanwhile, the dark heart of Edinburgh remains up for grabs. A young pretender, Darryl Christie, may have staked his claim, but a vicious attack leaves him weakened and vulnerable, and an inquiry into a major money laundering scheme threatens his position. Has old-time crime boss Big Ger Cafferty really given up the ghost, or is he biding his time until Edinburgh is once more ripe for the picking?
I was given an ARC by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I’ve heard of Rebus and watched the TV show, but have never before read one of the books.
He is a gritty character who seems unable to let go of his life as a policeman. He is gruff but he cares a great deal about the people in his life. He is a strong protagonist who definitely gives the book a strong sense of realism.
As the story progresses, I feel like I have known Rebus and the other characters as well for much longer than I have. That is testament to the descriptive skills of the author. Everything is so alive.
The cases that are the backbone of this story are so cleverly woven together that they seem to become just one. As a newbie to Ian Rankine’s writing, I’m pretty impressed.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading his other work.
A five out of five star read.
I’m profoundly grateful to NetGalley and Orion for my copy.

Book Review – Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple…

Eleanor Flood is going to clean up her act, only change into yoga clothes for yoga, which today she will actually attend, and be a better version of herself. But then, as it always does, life…
Eleanor’s husband is missing, and their son, Timby, is wearing eye shadow to school and getting into fashion battles on the playground. (It’s true that it’s Eleanor’s fault: She did put makeup in his Christmas stocking.) Just when it seems like things can’t get weirder or more in the way of Eleanor’s personal transformation, a graphic memoir called The Flood Sisters surfaces, and the dramatic story it tells reveals long-buried secrets and a sister to whom Eleanor never speaks. 
I was given an ARC by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I wanted to like this book, I really did. I just couldn’t get my head into it. I couldn’t warm to the main character and the plot was all over the place and impossible to pin down.
A one out of five star read.
I’m profoundly grateful to NetGalley and Orion for my copy.

Book Review – The Witches Kiss by Katharine Corr and Elizabeth Corr…

Sixteeen-year-old Meredith is fed-up with her feuding family and feeling invisible at school – not to mention the witch magic that shoots out of her fingernails when she’s stressed. Then sweet, sensitive Jack comes into her life and she falls for him hard. The only problem is that he is periodically possessed by a destructive centuries-old curse. Meredith has lost her heart, but will she also lose her life? Or in true fairytale tradition, can true love’s kiss save the day?
I was given the advance chapters by NetGalley in return for a fair and honest review.
The five chapters that I read were (sad to say) rather mundane and sadly not a very good advert for the rest of the book. Sorry.
A two out of five star read.

I’m profoundly grateful to NetGalley and HarperCollins UK for my copy.