Go Ask Alice is a fiction book in the style of a diary which follows a young girl and her experiences with drugs.
Upon looking further into this book after reading, although it said to be written by ‘anonymous’ and to be an excerpt from a real diary it is now beleived to have been written by Beatrice Sparks. It is a popular book and as of it remained continuoslly in print, over 4 decades since its release in 1971.
When reading this book, I felt as though this could have been written by a young girl struggling with drug addiction who runs away from home and experiences things she shouldn’t. Some of the things recorded in this book are hard to read and an extreme and although many feel it is unrealistic I am not sure I agree. It is less about the specifics and the book as a whole for me. Its about the journey the young girl is on and how she copes with this journey.
I liked the diary structure of the book as it felt realistic and with each excerpt being fairly short, it made me want to read on (just one more section!) I was graphic at times which can be hard to read but I think that made the message of the book stronger and there are extremes to the world of drug addiction at a young age.
This book has mixed reviews with many claiming it as anti-drug propaganda and unbelievable with others praising the awareness, and messages throughout the book. I felt it was realistic enough and brought attention to the consequences of drugs. Strange things happen everyday so who is so to say that the events in this book would never happen. Even if they didn’t I would say I am not sure that it really matters as the message would be the same, there are dangers and consequences to drug abuse.
I liked this book and would recommend, whether you look at it as fictional or not. It is a very impactful read and with a message that should be heard.
Smoke gets in your eyes: and other stories from the crematorium by Caitlin Doughty is a non-fiction work which looks at life working at a crematorium.
It is almost like a collection of non-fiction short stories surrounding Doughty work within the crematorium, all of which were interesting and curious. I have never really thought about what happened at a place like that and who would want to work there but this provides a great insight. It makes you think about the events of a funeral/cremation and how they have evolved and changed over time and between cultures.
Although this book has a lot to do with death it doesn’t really fell a heavy book to read and is an interesting read, this is likely due to Doughty humour throughout as well as her engaging writing style. It is full of facts about what happens in a crematorium and what has changed (and what Doughty feels should change) as well as practices in some other cultures surrounding the dead.
It is the mix between the facts and Doughty personal experience as a crematorium worker which was made this a great book, in my opinion. It made it feel more understandable and intriguing. I liked the fact the book was split up into different chapters or stories as it felt easier to read and more engaging.
This book is entertaining, morbid and factual allowing you to learn about something new while you read! I would recommend!
Many thanks, Caitlin x
(PS feel free to comment or like)
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A Minute to Midnight by David Baldacci is the second book that features FBI agent Atlee Pine. This novel follows Agent Pine as she tried to find out what happened one fateful night when she was 6 years old and her twin sister Mercy was taken and Pine herself was left for dead. When she oversteps her mark on an arrest she is given a leave of absence which she uses as a perfect opportunity to try to figure out what actually happened all those years ago.
I picked this book up when I was browsing one day and it caught my eye immediately, I love investigative books and this one seemed to be one that I would like. Upon reading my initial thoughts were correct.
I feel that as soon as I began reading I was gripped on the story and wanted to find out what happened to Pine and her sister. In the beginning of the book we find out Pine is visiting a criminal in a Colorado maximum security prison who she beleives knows something about what happens and he plays mind games with her which proves to be frustrating to Pine. I thought this was an interesting way to begin. As Pine already believes she has found someone who knows something the book takes off from there and with Pine being given leave of absence brings an opportunity for us to follow her journey to the truth.
As she delves back into her past her memory of that night are hazy but she meets up with people who knew her parents and family or lived in the area at the time. She uncovers shocking surprises and secrets which makes her question her parents and her own past. What did she really know about her family?
As all of this goes on a string of murders begin to occur in her hometown which as an FBI agent she helps out with. It makes you as the reader think about whether the current crimes were connected to those of the past.
Atlee Pine is a strong female FBI Agent who I found was a character I wanted to stay with and was likeable. You want to help her find the truth and seeing the main lead of the book as a female FBI agent was great! as Pine reflects on her memories of the event that lead to her sister being taken you want to help her to find the truth. The book shows how she has never really gotten over what happened that night and not knowing what happened to her twin sister was affecting her. This book allows insight into why Pine is the agent she is today!
I found this book an easy read in the sense that the book made me want to turn the pages. I wanted to find out what happened on the next page and chapter! It was a thriller full of great twists and turns which proved to be a compulsive read. The first in the Atlee Pine books, Long Road to Mercy, is for sure on my to read list after reading this! (although I would say I didn’t find I was missing anything huge without reading in the correct order but I would recommend doing so!)
I found Baldacci writing to be engaging and easy to comprehend. With a book about discovering something that happened in the past it can sometimes become a confusing read with different timelines and tenses but this book never had that problem! I like that the chapters were not too big and allowed me to see progress clearly.
I would recommend this book for sure, especially to those who like a book with twists, turns, investigations and crime!
The Lincoln Rhyme series by Jeffrey Deaver conisists of 16 novels, which were the basis for a TV series that was realeased in January 2020.
I am not going to lie and say I have read all 16 (but I will one day be able to say that). I have read two of the series that I was fortunate to have won in a competition. The two I have read, The Burning Wire and The Skin Collector, I loved and has made me add the other 14 books to my TBR list. (the list just got a whole lot longer:))
Lincoln Rhyme is a former NYPD homicide detective, forensic anaylist and crimanalist who after being injured during an investigation becomes a quadriplegic. He is now a forensic consultant who works from a state of the art lab in his own home. He works alongside Amelia Sachs who acts as his eyes as she walks through crime scenes and helps to solve the crimes they are faced with.
The Burning Wire was the fist one I read which also happened to be the 9th in the series. For this reason I was skeptical about how much I would understand or engage with the characters having missed out on the previous 8 books. I would say the main story of the killers whose weapon was electricity was one I found unique and made me want to read on but there was a sub-plot based around the Watchmaker, one of the few criminals to get away from Lincoln Rhyme which I felt a bit of background knowledge could have been useful. Saying that, I still enjoyed the book a lot and it didn’t really affect my reading enjoyment.
I found this book a page turner which is the best kind of book in my opinion. In this novel there is a killer whose unique weapon is electricity. I found this quite a different weapon of choice compared to others in different books which I liked and it felt new to me. Reading how something most of us take for granted can be turned into a weapon and seeing how Rhyme and his team tackled finding this killer was really engaging.
I have to admit I am not sure how much I loved the little bits of input about the watchmaker story line. I get that it is more of a bigger picture moment but I felt it kind of stunted the flow of the book. This could have just been due to the fact I hadn’t read previous books but I felt it took away a bit from the investigation ongoing.
I liked how we got to read this book from different points of view, I personally find this more engaging as we see differences within the characters and there perception of what is happening around them.
I was a fan on the character of Lincoln Rhyme and how even though he was a quadriplegic he is still one of the best in his field of work. How he utilises help from people and equipment was fascinating to read. I felt that this book showed some vulnerability in Lincoln which was nice to see that he wasn’t just a crime solving machine.
The second book was The Skin Collector, this is the 11th installment in the series.
This installment I also found to be a real page turner and I loved getting to read about Rhyme taking on another criminal. In this book the weapon of choice was poison, which was administered via an unvoluntary tattoo by the criminal. I also found this quite a unique way to poison someone and I hadn’t really read of that before which was intriguing. The killer leaves messages with these tattoos and we are able to read as Rhyme and his team try to find the killer and what these messages mean.
I was a fan of this book as well, and I think it gave more of an insight into Rhyme as a Character and more about how he works with his team to find out who is responsible for these crimes. This installment has links back to The Bone Collector which was the very first book in the series which I liked, even though I haven’t read the first one. I liked how even though it was the 11th in a series it is still connected to the book 10 books prior.
I felt this book gave more of an insight into Amelia Sachs as we see her connection with 19 year old Pam whom Sachs has taken under her wing. This relationship does make referals to previous books however I didn’t feel as though I couldn’t understand the relationship and I still enjoyed it!
There is also a TV series, Lincoln Rhyme Hunt for the Bone Collector, which was released in January 2020 which I haven’t watched yet but I do intend to! Comment below if you have seen it !
I feel that book books were skillfully told, with twist and turns to keep your pages turning with them. I would recommend to read these, especially to those who enjoy mystery, thriller crime books!
Hands Up’ by Stephen Clark is a crime/police procedural novel that deals with domestic storylines. It is a book that focuses on the death of a young, unarmed black male who was killed by a white police officer. When I was sent this book by the author to read and share my opinion I was very happy as this sounded like the very type of book I would like to read. All of these opinions are my own!
This is a serious topic that many people can feel effected by. This book is emotive, powerful and gripping. From the moment I was sent it I couldn’t stop reading. I had to know more and find out the conclusions to the storylines.
I found the writing itself engaging as it used language that matched the story and it was not filled with complex words. Occasionally authors will use big complex words to seem more professor but it effects the impact of Thier sorry if you have to read the same thing multiple times to be able to understand it. I did not have that issue with this book and I was able to engage and be fully present with the story.
I liked the fact it dealt with a thought provoking issue and didn’t shy away from the realities. It is not only about unlawful brutality by police but faces issues such as racial divide, police corruption, self harm, drug use and gang culture. Due to this the book can be intense but that isn’t a negative, these are serious topics that need to have a platform and if that is in a fictional book then so be it. I felt it was authentic and could be a real event.
It sharesa story, although fictional, that is similar to those we have all heard of on the news. It was structured in a way that we heard from three main viewpoints throughout the event, the aftermath and the conclusion. We hear from Jade (the sister of the young male (Tyrell) killed), Ryan (the cop who killed him) and Kelly (the parent of Tyrell and jade who has come back after leaving his family years ago).
I liked this as you saw the views from very different views which helped to build reasoning to your own thoughts as you read. It was also nice to hear from Ryan’s pint of view and not just the victim family as it shows that he didn’t just kill. There was a reason and influence by others and we also get the chance to see how he is coping with the events and that it didn’t just happen and that’s that.
The main characters whose viewpoints we hear are strong characters. They all provide different aspects of the event and I really like the way in which Clark has written this book. I think the characters are well developed and realistic. Jade I liked. She was a sister hurt by her brothers death and I felt that anger and upset through Clarks words. Although not necessarily to me I feel that she could be relatable to a large amount of people. She dealt with huge loss. I feel like saying that Ryan is likeable is wrong as he is the culprit in this book, but I did think he was. He was a man that, yes commited a horrible crime that cannot be condoned, was influenced by his corrupt partner and from the outset knew and took responsibilities for his accent. Kelly is a character is did not particularly like. I however do not think this is a bad thing. You need to have character you don’t connect with to add the tension to the book. He had previously left his family after being involved in gangs and when he comes back he claimed he had changed but had he really?. The other characters in the book are all vital parts who we get to meet through these three and although their views are not used as a voice for the story they are just as important to convey the realistic and thought provoking aspect of the book.
One thing I would say is that I’m not sure how I felt about the way thing went in part two between certain characters (you will know once you read it). I mean it’s not a negative thing and maybe it’s just because I wasn’t expecting it but still I felt it lessened the impact of the story just a little. There are other benefits to it however with it bringing the two ”sides” together but I still not 100% how I felt. I’m not sure if it was a real connection or if it was all part of a scheme and that could be completely what the author intended for the reader to feel. So they can make thier own mind up.
Overall ,I would rate this book highly and would recommend that you read this! Even if you don’t like police procedural books this is one that isn’t solely about that. I don’t think you can easily categorise this and there is almost something for everyone!
Again thanks again to Stephen Clark for sending me the book for this honest review. Again everything in this review is my honest opinion.
The Book of Hidden Things by Francesco Dimitri is his debute English novel.
It is a fantasy novel which follows 4 childhood friends as they discover more and more about the town they lived in and themselves. They have a pact where every year they meet at a restaurant in their childhood town and when Art (one of the friends) doesn’t turn up events start to mirror those of 20 years ago. He is the one member who insisted on this pact and when he doesn’t show it is worrying. The 3 friends stay in town and investigate his disappearance.
I really enjoyed this book and I loved the mystery to it. As I read I continued to wonder what was going to happen next which I think is great in a book. Although this is a fantasy book it isn’t really heavy on fantasy element. Towards the end there is more of those elements however there is more of a focus on the characters.
I thought the characters were realistic and well written but at times they are not all likeable. Which I don’t think is a bad thing. In life there are people that you like and those not so much and therefore having this in the book almost makes it more realistic. It looks at the relationship between the character in depth which is something I really enjoyed. They are not perfect and they all have flaws and do things we really hate about them. I also like this about the characters as it adds dimension to the book.
I really like this book and would recommend it to those who not only like fantasy novels but also phycological thriller and mysteries.
Many thanks, Caitlin X
(Ps please comment if you have read this book or are going to)
Libraries are places where I generally don’t go to but there isn’t really a specific reason as to why not. I think libraries are a great opportunity to let people read without paying the prices for individual books.
I remember being in primary
school and taking a class trip to the local library. I was always to excited to
choose a book and look at all the options. Even if someone in my class didn’t
like to read they generally liked to go through the books and choose one.
Whether that be a comic style book or a novel style book. I think at that age
libraries are great as not only do the kids get out of class they also choose a
book that they want to read and can start to see a style that suits them.
I think libraries should be
used more often and I am someone who should use one more as well. I admit I
should use them more! Not only is there a variety of books there is also staff
there to help you. If you’re looking for a specific book and you can help it or
you just want some advice on books there is someone there to help you and
answer your questions. If you’re not sure how the library organised then just
ask and the staff can explain everything you need to know.
However, they are not always up
to date with new releases so if you’re looking for a newly published book then
this might not be your best option. It also depends the size of the library
whether they have as many books on offer. There is also the issue of the book
your wanting already having been taken out by someone else.
I would say that overall
libraries are a great service and should be used more to allow more people to
enjoy reading. It provides books alongside a quiet place to enjoy them. So I
hope that more people use them and I will be!
Many thanks, Caitlin x
(PS please comment your opinion
on libraries or any alternatives)
The amount of travel books available to read is huge however
in this post I am going to talk about Lonely Planets releases.
I love to read and browse Lonely Planets travel books and
see all the different destinations I would want to go to. I think most of these
books give you the best photos and the idealistic travels however it does often
provide inspiration for your travels.
There are also many different types of books that Lonely
Planet has released such as; specific destinations, types of travel and round
ups. These can all provide different information and depending what your after
can help you whilst at your destination by giving you tips for your travels.
Lonely Planets website you can get loads of information on destinations
however nothing compares to having actual pages to flip through and write notes
on or bookmark. I think for travel books it is fun to go through and mark your
favourite destinations or activities and write notes next to articles. It
allows you to be involved and plan your own journey with all you need in one
book that’s right infront of you. It is also ideal when you are travelling to
carry one with you as you won’t always have access to the internet ad can still
get all the information you require.
Books such as ‘Packing List’ and ‘Travel tips’ are also very
helpful. I always find that when I go on holiday I write constant lists of what
I need to pack to ensure I don’t forget anything so having a specific book for
that is great. To ensure you have all the necessities before you make a trip.
Tips to help you travel also helps as sometimes you don’t know everything you
need to before you travel (which is fine) however they can often make your trip
Due to the vast amount of different travel books I would
highly recommend getting one for your chosen destination. Not only will it give
you a bit on insight on what to expect but could give you ideas and hints for
Many thanks, Caitlin x
(Ps please comment if you use travel books at all!)
Yes Please is a non-fiction book written by American comedian and actress Amy Poehler which was released in 2014. In this book Amy shares stories from her life about how she became the well known comedian/actress she is today. It features personal, funny stories on everything from relationships, to working and parenthood. It is part-memoir, part self help where she offers her advice on things such as anxiety and self doubt.
As a fan of her work on SNL and Parks and Recreation as well as watching her comedy at UCB (on youtube!) I couldn’t wait to read this!
The book is very honest and open with Amy sharing a lot of
her life. It follows her professional journey through her comedy in Chicago,
her time on SNL and her experiences on Parks and Recreation. We hear about how
she help found the Upright Citizens Brigade that is a vital part of many
comedians career. It is inspirational as you see that she didn’t become famous
overnight and she has worked hard throughout her life. She is incredibly
talented but she also shares her personal stories of relationships and
parenthood. She is honest and that is something I admire. I loved this book and
I loved Amy Poehler even more after reading this!
I personally listened to the audio book where Amy herself
narrated alongside guests such as Seth Myers, Mike Schur and her parents. I
also have both the hardback and paperback versions (which is definitely
overkill but I just couldn’t not have them!) I really liked listening to the
audiobook for this as it adds more of her personality into the words she has
written. There are even a few extra anecdotes you can enjoy! I found that I
couldn’t stop listening to the audio book as it is not only a great book but
full of personality. It is themed and easy to follow. It is well written and
although throughout the book she declares that she hated writing it, I feel it
paid off. She was honest about the difficulties of writing a book which I
liked. It’s not always easy to write.
I loved this book and would highly recommend (especially to
those who like Amy Poehlers work). She is honest and open whilst sharing this
with humour intertwined. I love the book but I would highly recommend that you
listen to the audio book. It is a perfect example of when the audio book may be
better than the printed copy!
Recently on twitter @LoveBooksGroup ran a competition to win two books from the Lincoln Rhyme Series and one from the Katheryn Dance Series by Jeffery Deaver, alongside different teas and a cute notebook, and I was lucky enough to win. (Many thanks to @LoveBooksGroup).
I had never heard of this author or this series before seeing this competition and once I had read a little about them I was very interested.
Jeffery Deaver is a former journalist and attorney who is an international best seller and has released over 35 novels. He mainly writes mystery/crime novels but he has also released a non-fiction book that looks at law.
The Lincoln Rhyme series is focused on the central character of Lincoln Rhyme who is a former NYPD homicide detective who is now a forensic consultant with the department. This change of role was due to an accident which resulted in Rhyme becoming a quadriplegic. He is partnered with Amelia Sachs who acts as his eyes as she walks through the crime scene.
Personally, I really liked the concept of these books as I love crime novels but having the main character as a quadriplegic is not only a great way to show disability is not something to shy away from when writing and having the main character quadriplegic hightens this but also it lets you see the stories and crime scenes from a different view as he uses his partner as his eyes.
I have not yet read them but I can’t wait! The two books from this series are; The Burning Wire and The Skin Collector.
The third book I was lucky enough to win was Roadside Crosses which is an installment in Deavers Kathryn Dance series. Kathryn Dance is a Special Agent in the Central Bureau of Investigation of the state of California. This character was originally introduced in one of the Lincoln Rhyme novels before Deaver went and dedicated a new series to her. Kathryn Dance is an expert in Kensics and interrogation and is originally assigned to interogate Daniel Pell, a convicted murderer.
As you can imagine this is also a series that I am interested in reading as I also love any book that has a spy aspect to it, and although she isn’t a spy she is a special agent so close enough!
I also was sent 4 different types of tea from ‘eteaket’ and a cute notebook.
Again thanks to LoveBooksGroup and I recommend you follow them on twitter!
Many thanks, Caitlin x
(ps please comment if you have read any of the books from these series’ or by the author Jeffery Deaver.)