Book Review – Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Book Review – Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail HoneymanEleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Published by Penguin on May 9, 2017
Genres: Fiction, Women, Literary, Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 336
Goodreads
five-stars

No. She’s not.

I think that’s ok. I think it’s ok to not be fine, but the lame, standard response to “how are you?” is, “fine”, “good”, “ok”. All smiles. When actually no one is fine or good or ok all of the time and we are all afraid to say it. God forbid we feel it.

I really love Eleanor. Yes, I hated the way she called her mother “mummy” throughout the whole thing. Yes, her prim and proper facade was irritating. But she’s just so perfect because Eleanor is completely herself most of the time. She’s not her vulnerable self, because that’s scary, but she is her imperfect self perfectly.

I know some people don’t like this book, haven’t got into it, but I’ll tell you a secret. The book is actually about trauma and a lot of it. At times Eleanor is just eccentric, amazingly interesting and funny, but it’s much more and much darker than that. Lucky I fell in love with this woman quickly. The love affair enabled me to keep reading and I was very happy I did.

Unfortunately, I gave my copy to the goddamn street library before writing this (foooooooolish) and I had pages earmarked that I wanted to discuss. Pffft. I’m an amateur book reviewer and right now it shows.

I can’t forget the general gist of what I wanted to write about though. I wanted to write about her loneliness. It is all encompassing. I don’t think she knows it is, for much of the book, but it is there like another character. Tick tock of the clock in a quiet room. It’s there and it is possibly the most accurate depiction of loneliness I’ve ever read. Shit. I need my copy of the book back. Or any copy. Hang on a tick.

“When the silence and the aloneness press down and around me, crushing me, carving through me like ice, I need to speak aloud sometimes, if only for proof of life.”

There it is. I’m going to have to re- read this book because there are moments that are like gold. I read an interview with the author a while back (see? research) and she said that she said something about this idea that people can spend an entire weekend not talking to anyone. She said she thought this only happened to old people. Pffttt. Come on now Gail.

I had a lot of smiles while reading this book too. Particularly at Eleanor’s experience of having a visit from a social worker. Where this gem occurred:

“I assume that it’s part of the job, checking to make sure that I’m not storing my own urine in demijohns or kidnapping magpies and sewing them into pillowcases.”

That one was a laugh out loud on the train moment actually.

and then this…

“Well, I haven’t become aware of any additional support needs, and I’m fully integrated into the community, June,” I said.”

For much of the book I could hear Eleanor’s voice as I read. I cried for her, I was happy for her, frustrated at her. Eleanor had me feeling every emotion possible. Her and her alone. I know someone is making this movie, but I tell you, I don’t know if an actress can do this character justice. I may eat my words. I may be surprised. I doubt it though. Eleanor is a character I don’t want anyone messing with. I’m quite protective of her.

Ok, one more thing before I go. I could write all day about this book and it’s not even a thriller! I love the hint at romance. No fluffy, cringe worthy stuff. It felt real. It was refreshing. The focus was on friendships and I really like that.

It’s the authors debut novel and not gonna lie, I expect even more greatness in the future.

five-stars

About Gail Honeyman

Gail Honeyman is a graduate of the universities of Glasgow and Oxford. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine won the Costa First Novel Award and the British Book Awards Book of the Year, was short-listed for the Lucy Cavendish College Fiction Prize, the Desmond Elliot Award, and the Author’s Club Best First Novel, and was long-listed for the Women’s Prize for Fiction. This is Honeyman’s debut novel and she lives in Glasgow, Scotland.

Too long between Drinks

Yes, yes, yes, yes. It’s been far too long between drinks. I realise I’ve had an obvious absence from my blog. I’m still reading (although not as often as I would like lately). I’m a little behind on my reviews. My book blogging plugin is not working as my paid membership on WordPress has expired. I know. Excuses.

I’m also very well aware the Goodreads Choice Awards are currently underway and I’m not even close to blogging about it yet. Have no fear, I have voted for my favourites and highlights of my blog. It’s no surprise or coincidence that some of my best reads of 2019 make an appearance in the nominations. Stars such as Parkland: Birth of a Movement by Dave Cullen, My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing and Life Will be the Death of Me by Chelsea Handler. But more about Goodreads Choice Awards later…

My blog might look slightly less…structured because I’m currently not intending on paying for WordPress. This may change in the future, but for now, it’s a shambles.

I wrote this some time ago and now even more time has passed and I’m out time, out of date, out of whack. I’m going to be extremely gentle with myself about this. Complete feather touch…because there are bigger things to worry about than a blog. So here it is. I paid for the damn thing because I miss it. However poorly written it is. Oh the irony! A book reviewer who can’t write…luckily, I don’t write I just read and put my thoughts down.

SLAM!

There they are.

Anyway….vengeance, back with it ( as an aside, I thought it was vengence, but it appears that’s not the word I’m looking for)

Book Review – My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing

Book Review – My Lovely Wife by Samantha DowningMy Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing
Published by Penguin on March 26, 2019
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Psychological, Suspense, Crime
Pages: 384
Format: eBook
Goodreads
five-stars

I know it’s been a while since I’ve blogged and the reason for that is several things going on in life that have taken up my time. It doesn’t mean I’ve stopped reading. I finished this book more than a couple of weeks ago I just haven’t got around to reviewing it. I’ve also read a few more… so I have some catching up to do!!! Lucky you, just means there will be a bunch of blog posts coming up.

My Lovely Wife is another fantastic thriller just making my life worth living right now!

I didn’t think it could get any better after Jane Doe, but I’m very happy with My Lovely Wife. Of course a murderous husband and wife team would peak my interest. I read a lot of thrillers and for it to be exciting to me there needs to be a point of difference.

It is the authors debut novel (kudos to Samantha) and a lot of these fantastic thrillers I’m reading are the authors first book. Perhaps there is a little more creativity and bravery among these writers? Who knows. I know I will be very interested in reading Samantha’ s next novel.

I was introduced to the male protagonist (we never find out his real name?) and straight away I was intrigued – even though I initially didn’t know what was going on. Straight away he was picking up a woman and it wasn’t his first. He has a wife, Millicent, who encourages and joins in on the killings. It would appear that he does all the hunting though.

Despite me knowing that Millicent’s husband is just as responsible as she is, I start to feel sorry for him. I find myself on his side – and that is what the author, Samantha does so well. The story from his perspective allows me to see how evil Millicent is, but somehow I forget about his part in it all. Until later…

Some have likened it to Dexter (I don’t think it’s quite there) or Mr and Mrs Smith (nope, not at all). I think it’s original in it’s own right and comparing it to either does not do it justice.

It’s a great read and I finished it quickly and easily. I have recommended to all my friends and that’s when you know it’s really good. It’s also great for psychopaths, like me ;o)

Synopsis

Every marriage has secrets. Everyone has flaws. Your wife isn’t perfect – you know that – but then again nor are you.

But now a serial killer is on the loose in your small town, preying on young women. Fear is driving your well-behaved young daughter off the rails, and you find yourself in bed late at night, looking at the woman who lies asleep beside you.

Because you thought you knew the worst about her. The truth is you know nothing at all.

five-stars

About Samantha Downing

Born in the Bay Area and now living in the Big Easy, I consider both to be home. Along the way I went to school, worked a few jobs and learned a thing or two. Throughout it all, I wrote. Never studied writing, it’s just a hobby that grew into a passion. A dozen books later, my first novel will be published in 2019. My Lovely Wife is not the first one I wrote, it’s the first one I submitted (trust me, the other eleven are terrible).

When I was a kid, my mom brought me to the library every two weeks. I checked out a stack of new books and new worlds. The best thing was becoming so absorbed in a book I couldn’t put it down. I walked around with it in front of my face, I took it to the bathroom, the kitchen, the book came with me wherever I went. I tripped, ran into walls and stubbed my toes because I never watched where I was going.

This is why I write. I want to tell stories that make people walk into walls.

Book Review – Get the Guy by Matthew Hussey

Book Review – Get the Guy by Matthew HusseyGet the Guy: Learn Secrets of the Male Mind to Find the Man You Want and the Love You Deserve by Matthew Hussey
Published by Harper Wave on February 11, 2014
Pages: 272
Goodreads
four-stars

It’s another dating advice book!!!

I’m not even embarrassed to admit that I read them. I don’t always take the advice provided but I guess that’s why I’m still single?

I had seen Matthew Hussey’s videos on social media and you tube and decided to take the plunge and download his book. I got the audiobook this time and normally I have reservations about audiobooks but Matthew is easy to listen to and I made an effort to listen to the book in big chunks. It helped to listen to the book as I was driving, cleaning and walking the dog.

I don’t know if I had any lightbulb moments that I hadn’t read or heard about before from other dating books/websites, etc but I think I respected the advice a tiny bit more because it was coming from a man. Matthew is logical. Logic is what I need when it comes to dating. I tend to be a bit more emotional and sometimes this impacts how I date and relate to men.

There are a couple of things I took from Matthew’s book – the first and most important one being – I need to meet the guy to get the guy. Anyone who knows me well knows I’m a hermit who actually enjoys being at home more than having to go out on dates or go to places to meet people. Matthew’s advice is to attempt to meet and talk to people everywhere you go (train, shops, waiting for coffee) which is incredibly challenging for me. People who know me well wouldn’t say I’m shy either, but it is very hard for me to put myself out there and talk to strangers (let alone men) without a good reason. It sounds so simple, but he is so right with this point. SO – I may be saying yes to more outings, be more open to dates and start talking to random strangers as a result….even if I’m reluctant to start with…

Another tip I like a lot, which isn’t new advice to me but I really need to work on it. Being a woman of high value. Matthew talks about women realising their worth and being able to walk away from relationships or situations that are not meeting their needs. I’m getting better at this, slowly. I have no time for men who don’t want what I want currently and I’m no longer afraid to tell them what I’m looking for. I’m still working on the confidence bit.

The book also has a few great tips for flirting, talking, starting a relationship and even how to keep the flame going once you’ve got the guy. Matthew used to be a dating coach for men, so he comes from an interesting perspective. In the book he states that he understands what both men and women want when it comes to dating so this could make his advice also a little more trustworthy to me. Matthew talks about women approaching men and makings some of the initial moves in conversation, which is contrary to a lot of other dating advice books I’ve read…that are written by women. I am going to attempt to put his advice to the test, even if I feel/look like a weirdo in the process.

I did have one nice date last week. So there is hope!

four-stars

About Matthew Hussey

M atthew Hussey, speaker, New York Times Bestselling author, columnist for Cosmopolitan Magazine, and dating expert on ABC’s digital series What To Text Him Back.

Matthew’s rise to success as a motivational speaker has been meteoric. From humble beginnings working as a life coach with individual clients in London’s coffee shops and cafes, Hussey now runs programs across the globe, helping thousands of men and women reach their true performance potential. In packed conference rooms across the US and UK, or on week-long retreats in luxury locations in Europe and America, Hussey and his team have created tailor-made programs designed to help clients transform their lives. Hussey’s private clients through his life-coaching brand have included directors of major FTSE 500 companies, hedge-fund managers, and celebrities such as Christina Aguilera, whom he worked with in July 2011. His corporate clients include Hugo Boss, The Perfume Shop, Virgin Gyms, Proctor & Gamble, Bare Escentuals, U.S. legal giant Weil Gotshal & Manges, and global management consultants Accenture.

Hussey has lectured at Oxford University to the Department of Neuroethics. He has rooted his business in private coaching work, which has often focused on confidence issues that impacted relationships. As a result, he began to gain recognition helping men with their love lives. For two years, this became a major focus of his work, and he conducted several hundred seminars for large groups of men on this subject, as well as coaching many more men on a one-to-one basis. As his reputation grew, Hussey found himself approached by increasing numbers of women, eager to hear what he had learned about the male perspective on love and romance. In 2008 Hussey created GetTheGuy, focusing exclusively on relationships. The brand established Hussey as one of the leading experts in the field of human attraction in the U.K. and U.S.

Now through his online programs, viral internet broadcasts, sell-out seminars, NYT Bestselling book, and his roster of private clients, he has been able to pass on his insights and strategies to countless people. 50,000 women have attended his live events and he has reached over 10 million online. Hussey is the new international guru of the dating and relationship-coaching scene.

My Mac is Dead 😭😭😭

My blog posts are going to be slightly less beautiful for a red hot minute because my MacBook Air will not turn on or charge.

It is devastating but it is now in the hands of Apple being repaired, so fingers crossed. In the interim, luckily I have my phone.

I’m halfway through a few books right now and I’m particularly excited about one of them. I’ve been reading great thrillers lately. I’m on a roll…. I might have to stop reading thrillers for a while after this one because I’m bound to be disappointed at some point.

Currently, the amazing thriller is distracting me from two other (non thriller) books I was reading. The others are interesting and I will finish them eventually – I just love it when I’m shocked or surprised by a book and lately – the thriller genre is in the lead on that front.

I’m also listening to an audiobook of the dating variety. I know, I know….but I’m really enjoying it and learning many new things to try. I will give you a full report of course.

In the meantime, I’m hoping my Mac will be saved and I can get back to blogging with my usual standard.

Book Review – Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone

Book Review – Jane Doe by Victoria Helen StoneJane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone
Published by Amazon Publishing on 2018
Genres: Fiction, Psychological, Thrillers, Suspense, Women
Pages: 258
Goodreads
five-stars

Jane Doe is the most exciting thriller I have read in a long time.

Why is it exciting you ask?

Several reasons:

  1. The protagonist is a female sociopath, yet strangely likeable…
  2. The plot had me on the edge of my seat
  3. I found some of it humorous
  4. It was a very quick read (probably because it was a clear 5 stars to me)
  5. I think it would be an AMAZING tv show or movie
  6. I want more from Jane! (another book pleasssssee)

I have been telling EVERYONE to read this book and it is my favourite thriller I have read this year and it has been sitting in my TBR list since it was a nominee in the Goodreads Choice Awards (where it first came to my attention). I’m going to continue to shout it from the rooftops. I think the point of difference here is the strong female protagonist who isn’t a victim and is ultimately in a position of power and control (wohoo – go girl!).

I actually love Jane so much, even though she is mostly void of feelings and empathy. I want to know more about her. Jane is like a female version of Dexter. I haven’t read the Dexter books but I’m a big fan of the tv show.

Jane is funny. I read this book on the train and I had many giggles to myself.

…and if I have sex with him now, I’ll be trash.Women have to worry about that kind of bullshit when they’re dating and plotting a crime…

It is also very interesting to me that the author used to write romance novels. I am very glad Victoria is now writing thrillers and even more excited to learn that she has a new book out called False Step. Victoria is an author I really, really want to read more from.

Tiny word of warning, if sex scenes make you blush, it might not be for you. They are not terribly graphic but there are a few of them (I quite enjoyed them) but might not be everyone’s cup of tea.

So, it’s a standing ovation from me on this one.

Synopsis

A double life with a single purpose: revenge.

Jane’s days at a Midwest insurance company are perfectly ordinary. She blends in well, unremarkably pretty in her floral-print dresses and extra efficient at her low-level job. She’s just the kind of woman middle manager Steven Hepsworth likes–meek, insecure, and willing to defer to a man. No one has any idea who Jane really is. Least of all Steven.

But plain Jane is hiding something. And Steven’s bringing out the worst in her.

Nothing can distract Jane from going straight for his heart: allowing herself to be seduced into Steven’s bed, to insinuate herself into his career and his family, and to expose all his dirty secrets. It’s time for Jane to dig out everything that matters to Steven. So she can take it all away.

Just as he did to her.

five-stars

About Victoria Helen Stone

Victoria Helen Stone, formerly writing as USA Today bestselling novelist Victoria Dahl, was born and raised in the flattest parts of the Midwest. Now that she’s escaped the plains of her youth, she writes dark suspense from an upstairs office high in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah. She enjoys summer trail hikes with her family almost as much as she enjoys staying inside during the winter. Since leaving the lighter side of fiction, she has written the critically acclaimed, bestselling novels Evelyn, After; Half Past; Jane Doe; and her latest Amazon Charts bestseller, False Step.

Book Review – Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Book Review – Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane MoriartyNine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
Published by Flatiron Books on November 6, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Women, Family Life, General, Thrillers, Domestic
Pages: 432
Goodreads
four-stars

I finished this one last week, but because I have a case of the cold/flu germy germs, I haven’t been able to focus on reading and/or writing till now. I read a few reviews about this book before reading – even though I was already convinced I’d find it interesting when I had a read of the blurb.

The reviews weren’t great. A few of them were indicating that ‘nothing happens’ and there is ‘no story’. I don’t think this is the case. A fair bit happens, but obviously the focus is on building up the characters and the story to the peak point.

Yes, it’s a little slow moving… which I actually think a lot of Laine’s books are to be honest. What Laine does very well is her characterisation and these characters certainly had personality. I think this book would actually be great as a movie adaptation. As usual, there is the underlying humour in Liane’s writing (which I love) and the characters were very varied, which made for an interesting read. Of course, there is more to everyone than meets the eye and you get to go deeper with each one.

This is not a thriller, it’s more of a drama and if you like a slower pace and a lot of different characters you will enjoy it. I also enjoyed that it was set in a wellness centre and all of the preconceptions about the centre were amusing and as I expected.

Not as good as Big Little Lies, but interesting…

It could have gone to darker places and I would have welcomed this, but, it was still entertaining.

Synopsis

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER 

“If three characters were good in Big Little Lies, nine are even better in Nine Perfect Strangers.” —Lisa Scottoline, The New York Times Book Review

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Big Little Lies

Could ten days at a health resort really change you forever? In Liane Moriarty’s latest page-turner, nine perfect strangers are about to find out…

Nine people gather at a remote health resort. Some are here to lose weight, some are here to get a reboot on life, some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves. Amidst all of the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know these ten days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging the next ten days are going to be.

Frances Welty, the formerly best-selling romantic novelist, arrives at Tranquillum House nursing a bad back, a broken heart, and an exquisitely painful paper cut. She’s immediately intrigued by her fellow guests. Most of them don’t look to be in need of a health resort at all. But the person that intrigues her most is the strange and charismatic owner/director of Tranquillum House. Could this person really have the answers Frances didn’t even know she was seeking? Should Frances put aside her doubts and immerse herself in everything Tranquillum House has to offer – or should she run while she still can?

It’s not long before every guest at Tranquillum House is asking exactly the same question.

Combining all of the hallmarks that have made her writing a go-to for anyone looking for wickedly smart, page-turning fiction that will make you laugh and gasp, Liane Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers once again shows why she is a master of her craft.

four-stars

About Liane Moriarty

Liane’s most recent novel Truly Madly Guilty was published in 2016 and also debuted at number one on the New York Times Bestseller list. Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon, together with their respective production companies, have once again partnered to option the film and TV rights.
Liane’s youngest sister Nicola Moriarty has also written three wonderful, gripping novels, Free-Falling, Paper Chains and The Fifth Letter.
Liane is now a full-time author. She has sold over 14 million copies of her books worldwide and her novels have been translated into thirty-nine languages.
She lives in Sydney with her husband, son and daughter. When she’s not writing she can be found reading, demanding coffee, clutching her forehead and occasionally falling to her knees on the soccer field sidelines (the grief, the joy, the drama!) demanding chocolate, skiing like she’s thirty years younger than she is, recovering from skiing injuries, doing the school run, walking around the block to avoid writer’s block, talking to old friends about getting old, listening to her children explain the wonders of MineCraft, watching TV series far too late into the night and reading, which has already been mentioned, but deserves a second mention.

Book Review – The Catch by Samantha Brett

The Catch by Samantha Brett
Published by Allen & Unwin on 2012
Genres: Family & Relationships, Love & Romance
Pages: 330
Goodreads
four-stars

Nope.

I’m not ashamed at all.

The truth is, I have read many dating books. Albeit, I have read them very quietly, on my kindle where no one can see me reading them…

Today is a new day. Not only have I read this dating book, but I am shouting it from the rooftops and reviewing it publicly. I may even do it again one day. Whilst I was reading this one and talking about it a friend recommended another to me and I think I’ll read it too.

The Catch really wasn’t hugely groundbreaking, but I enjoyed it and I took a few tips from it, which I am now actioning.

The book is a guide to becoming “The Catch”. An elusive being who men want to date and eventually marry. Now, I like to think I’m already a catch…in so many ways, I just haven’t met the right man yet. However, there were a few things I took from this book, the exercises (already done a couple and another is in progress) and tips throughout.

One such exercise I am using to stop the scum of the male species from invading my heart and vagina. It is a 30 day man free, date free, dating app free challenge. Or as some of my friends so aptly called it “Dry July”. This is one of the extreme measures the book suggests to keep dickheads at bay and start fresh only attracting lovely men. I also enjoy the fact that the book suggests to focus on me during this time and things I want to do or achieve – I mean…I kinda do this anyway, every day of my life, so this part wasn’t really new to me, but I did get some good ideas and motivation to look out for myself a bit more.

Another exercise the book suggests is a 30 day bootcamp – which is kind of the same thing…but a little more of an intense focus on me. I can’t wait. I’ll be running the world before you know it. Sucks to be you (all of my ex’s).

One thing I did not like about the book, were the stories about, I’m assuming, real women and their dating struggles/wins. The problem with these stories were that the women were not relatable in any way, on any planet. They were either models, had perfect bodies, were CEO’s or some such garbage. They may have been completely fictional for all I know but I’m sorry….I’m not really buying that the model has trouble attracting a man.

Are there better dating books out there? YES. Was this still a bit of fun with good tips? YES.

Synopsis

Sick of dating guys who want sex and fun without any commitment? Ever wondered how some women always have men chasing them?

These women are what dating guru Samantha Brett describes as The Catch: the ultimate single girl who knows her worth, doesn’t settle for less and doesn’t get caught up in the whirlwind of the dating game.

After the abrupt end of a fairytale eight-year relationship, Samantha found herself thrust back into single life. As part of the healing process she interviewed thousands of men, as well as the women they defined as the ultimate Catch. In the process she developed a foolproof method to help you become The Catch.

This book will teach you how to:

– move on from a break-up

– avoid the traps of the dating game

– become a stronger you through the 30-Day Catch Boot Camp

– get a man to propose in only six steps

Forget chasing him ever again!

four-stars

About Samantha Brett

Samantha Brett is a news reporter and bestselling author of six books. Samantha began her journalism career in New York as an intern at the Fox News Channel, before returning to Sydney to write Australia’s number-one lifestyle column for six years. Samantha has since gone on to file news reports for Sky News, CBS, CNN, and currently works for Australia’s Seven Network. Samantha has covered a variety of international stories and breaking news including the terror attack in Jakarta and the joint world rescue of stranded researchers in Antarctica. Samantha has written more than 1000 articles for newspapers and magazines around the world on a variety of topics. She is passionate about helping other women to achieve their dreams, and is a proud supporter of the Pink Hope Foundation and Mummies Paying it Forward.

Book Review- Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Book Review- Uglies by Scott WesterfeldUglies by Scott Westerfeld
Published by Simon and Schuster on May 3, 2011
Genres: Young Adult, Action & Adventure, General, Fantasy & Magic, Social Themes, New Experience, Science Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, Dystopian, Eating Disorders & Body Image
Pages: 406
Format: Paperback
Goodreads
three-stars

I don’t normally read young adult novels, but I had heard about this series of books and when I saw Uglies and Pretties at my work book swap I had to give them a read.

The last young adult books I read were the Divergent trilogy and prior to that was the Hunger Games. So I might have expected a little too much from Uglies. The main comparison is that all of these series are set in a dystopian world, but that is where the similarities end. I felt that Uglies isn’t quite as sophisticated as The Hunger Games or Divergent…but I still had fun reading it and I will continue with Pretties.

I think the main point the book is tying to make is to be happy with yourself the way you are. Tally, the main character so desperately wants to become a pretty, but she soon learns that all that glitters is not gold in the world of the pretties.

Yes, I wanted to know what was going to happen and I kept on reading, but I found myself at times wanting a bit more from the book. As I said I think it needed a bit more complexity, more twists perhaps? I kept thinking, there must be more to the story and there could well be, given there are four books in the series, but I don’t hold to much hope. I’m not sure why its a New York Times Bestseller… I needed more from it.

It is no Hunger Games or Divergent, so keep your expectations a little lower if you want to read it.

Synopsis

Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can’t wait. In just a few weeks she’ll have the operation that will turn her from a repellent ugly into a stunning pretty. And as a pretty, she’ll be catapulted into a high-tech paradise where her only job is to have fun.

But Tally’s new friend Shay isn’t sure she wants to become a pretty. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world– and it isn’t very pretty. The authorities offer Tally a choice: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. Tally’s choice will change her world forever…

three-stars

About Scott Westerfeld

Scott Westerfeld is me. I’m the author of twenty-two novels. Five are for adults, and the other seventeen for young adults. I’m best known for the Uglies quartet, set in a future where cosmetic surgery is compulsory at age sixteen. I’m returning to the Uglies world with four new novels, starting with Impostors, out Sept. 11, 2018.

Book Review – Parkland: Birth of a movement by Dave Cullen

Book Review  – Parkland: Birth of a movement by Dave CullenParkland by Dave Cullen
Published by HarperCollins on February 12, 2019
Genres: Social Science, Violence in Society, Biography & Autobiography, Social Activists, History, United States, 21st Century
Pages: 400
Format: eBook
Goodreads
five-stars

Confession time.

I have re- written this review approximately 3 times. Not because I was confused about what I felt about the book, but because this issue – gun violence – is particularly close to my heart. It makes me angry, frustrated, sad and curious. I wanted to be very aware of what I wrote, because it impacts so many and I really want things to change in the US in relation to gun legislation. School shootings, or any shootings for that matter, make my blood boil and my heart ache.

There is a reason Dave Cullen is one of my favourite authors. Obviously, the subject choice interests me (and infuriates me), although, this topic wasn’t a choice but I think, a necessity for Dave to write about, but there is something about the way he writes. It’s honest, fair, with great insight and understanding of his subject. Dave’s choice not to mention the killer’s name is also such a wise and wonderful choice.

I loved his book Columbine. Parkland is different, it feels so personal. The way Dave writes about these amazing young people – he writes about their quirks, sometimes their flaws, worries and talents. I loved learning about the young people I knew very little about. I’m so removed from gun violence in the US, living in Australia. I had no idea the extent of work the survivors from Parkland undertook to advocate for gun legislation change. I’m so thankful for it and for them. We all should be. They did it on their own. I’m absolutely in awe of them.

Why was it different with the parkland movement? Why did it take so long?These young people acted quickly, they had great timing, and a great platform (social media). Most importantly, they were young people who are the future. They were victims. There are more of them than I can name, but David Hogg, Cameron Kasky and Emma Gonzalez are just a few of these activists and names you need to know.

You need to read Columbine. You need to read Parkland: Birth of a movement. It doesn’t really matter the types of genres you usually read. This is important. Thanks to Dave Cullen for writing about it. I really hope that there will be a difference in our future. The March For Our Lives group gives me hope.

Dave is writing his next book about two gay soldiers and of course, I’ll be reading that.

five-stars

About Dave Cullen

Dave Cullen has been covering the blight of mass murders in America for two decades, first with Columbine, now Parkland: Birth of a Movement. Columbine was a New York Times bestseller and the consensus definitive account. Parkland is a story of hope: the genesis of the extraordinary March for Our Lives movement. Dave was with the students from the beginning, with unparalleled access behind the scenes.

Columbine made two dozen Best of 2009 lists including New York Times, and won several major awards, including the Edgar and Goodreads Choice Award for best nonfiction of the year. It now appears on several all-time True Crime Top 10 lists.

Dave has written for New York Times, London Times, Vanity Fair, BuzzFeed, Politico, New Republic, Newsweek, Guardian, Washington Post, Daily Beast, Slate, Salon, The Millions, Lapham’s Quarterly, etc. He has appeared on PBS Newshour, NBC Nightly News, Today, CBS Sunday Morning, Nightline, Morning Edition, CBS This Morning, New Day, Anderson Cooper 360, Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, Lawrence O’Donnell, Talk of the Nation, The Nineties, Hannity, etc.

Dave is a former gay army infantry grunt. Parkland struck while he was in year 18 of a book about two gay soldiers. He will finish that soon. Dave wrote Columbine in Colorado, then moved to NYC. He is uncle to 11 cool humans and 1 adorable corgi, Bobby Sneakers.