Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Could do better

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger follows Bianca as she weaves her way through life at a typical American High School, dealing with family issues, friends and boys including one in particular who calls her the DUFF (designated ugly fat friends). The relationship starts off sparky and positive as Bianca puts Wesley down until they fall into bed and keep falling into bed with one another in secret and this is where I start to have a few issues with the book.
What is the message that is being given to teens about relationships - it is ok to insult and be cruel to one another as long as you are a good kisser? It is acceptable to describe someone as ugly and fat (even if they are not - this is high school!) but it is ok to go to bed with them as it doesn't mean anything - it is just sex? Girls (and boys)  have enough issues around self-image, self worth and building good relationships without this being held up as an example that they should follow. The book was recently adapted in to a film which is rated 12A in the UK and though I haven't seen it  I think it must have a lot less sex in the film than in the book to get that rating.

There are a lot better teen novels out there which deal with relationships, families and getting to know yourself in a more positive and constructive way than this one. I would recommend that you try one of those!

I received a copy of this for free from Net galley in exchange for an honest review

Thursday, 9 April 2015

The Liar by Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts is on top from with the latest title. Shelby's life falls apart after the sudden death of her husband reveals the life that she has come to expect has been built on a tissue of lies.Trying to rebuild a life for herself and her daughter she returns to her home in the Smoky Mountains, In usual Roberts style not everything is what it seems and soon unexplained and suspicious events start to happen impacting on Shelby, her family & her new love interest.  Shelby starts to dig into her husband's past to try and find out people are being murdered around her she discovers a man she never knew, he is in stark contrast to the new man in Shelby's life. Roberts seems to equate good men with those who are hardworking and practical, something Shelby discovers her late husband was anything but.

Nora Roberts romantic thrillers are pure escapism and do follow a predictable formula but that doesn't stop them from being a good read. The premise of this novel is much better than the previous one The Collector which was slightly questionable as the heroine enjoyed spying on other people with her binoculars.

Nora Roberts depiction of strong women is a particular strength of hers and there a three generations of them in this novel - all Southern women - all steel magnolias. She doesn't equate being strong with being mean though; kindness, good manners respect and  loyalty are all important elements of strength and all lauded by Roberts.

The only negative I have is not directed at this book in particular. I have read most of Nora Roberts books over the years and really enjoyed them but I have to admit I am starting to find her use of one particular word is starting to grate - how many times can pretty be used as an adjective? Apart from that one small gripe this is Nora Roberts on top form - a great escapist read!

I received this book from Netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review

Thursday, 2 April 2015

A book apothecary sails into view

The Little Paris Bookshop is a must for all those who love books, reading and France.  a story that is told in 2 parts from the perspective of Jean and the diary of  Manon.

Jean stopped living 20 years ago when his lover, Manon,  walked out without explanation, his grief though has made him attuned to the needs of others and in his bookshop on a barge on the Seine he offers readers a book apothecary .Believing strongly in the power of books and stories to offer healing and respite to those with troubles Jean can heal many but not himself. He exists in his small world but even as he has shut himself away from human contact he has been forming relationships. Catherine a new resident in his apartment block sparks his interest as he recognises someone else who is also dealing with grief and opens the door to the part of his life that he has shut away.

This connection sparks a radical response as he casts his barge off and sets off down the Seine with 2 cats, a troubled author,a vague idea to really find out what happened to Manon and a quest to find the mystery author behind his favourite book set Jean on a course to reconnect with the world and start living again.

As they sail through France heading South the book apothecary continues to offer solace to those who need it along the way. Jean starts to learn that grief and anger has stopped him from living, we also see what happened to Manon as we read the diary and discover the secrets she kept and the things that drove her to make the choices she did.

The description of food is important in the novel - and Nina George has included some of the recipes that are mentioned in the novel. Jean Perdu's emergency library apothecary is also included so if you want to know which titles to read to deal with a sense of humour failure, pessimism and many more ailments - take a look!

An engaging read and you really can feel the heat of France in high summer (even in the depths of an English winter!)