Review of The Bookstore

When I first requested this book I was really excited by the title – The Bookstore – I love books, with a passion, so what was there not to love about this book?

The story is pretty good in places; very well written and very descriptive, making it a joy for the reader. But the main character, Esme Garland, really did disappoint me. I am so used to strong characters who know exactly what they want and set about how to get it. Sadly, Esme did not meet that criteria for me. I found her to be a pushover, certainly when it came to Mitchell, her on/off boyfriend. I know there really are women who are this wishy-washy when it comes to men but normally I do not read about them.

I found myself wanting shake Esme silly throughout the book, it is very obvious Mitchell does not really love her and sees her as nothing more than a distraction. I guess the book is showing us that we can all lose our heads and self respect when we fall for someone.

The plot was very disappointing, it is a gentle tale in parts, quite cringeworthy in others and some parts are a little pointless. Throughout the story I felt certain Esme would eventually hook up with Luke, who clearly has a thing for her, but the story ends before that point is ever reached.

There are some wonderful characters in this book – I particularly loved George, the book shop owner. The parts of the story that are spent at the bookstore are the best, they make up for the weaker and more cringeworthy parts where Esme is making a fool of herself over Mitchell.

I did enjoy the section of the book that dealt with Esme wrestling with her conscience when she discovers she is pregnant. Some very good and thought provoking points are explored. There are also some witty moments during and after the birth, which many a mother will easily relate to.

I have to say that the story line is not particularly strong, but I imagine lovers of the chic-lit genre will approve of this book.

4 stars ****

Review of American Spirit

It took me a while to get into this book – mainly because my husband was going through a similar health scare and it was a little too close to home. I persevered though and was very glad that I had. This book is a well written, very witty tale about Matthew, a forty-something media executive who has hit crisis mode in every aspect of his life; his marriage has broken down, he’s screwed his job up and his health is suffering.

Matthew launches on a life-altering escapade that sees him dealing drugs, trying his hand at mug design, a stay in a national park with his friend and two crazy tag-ons. He finds romance in an unlikely place and then manages to screw that up too.

This is an absolute hoot of a read, there are plenty of laugh out loud moments – for me, the funniest part was when Matthew is staying in the log cabin and the neighbour is telling him about the bear encounters. Matthew’s thoughts on this are hilarious!

I actually did not think I was going to enjoy this book, given what was going on in my own life at the time, but I am so glad I continued with it because it brought much needed laughter to my life at a crazy time.

Very well written. Lots of laughs and even when Matthew is being a jerk you cannot help but feel for him. Very poignant too, as the book follows Matthew on his journey of self discovery right through to his operation in Bali. After my initial reluctance I absolutely loved this book and would highly recommend it to everyone. It really is a funny book and brilliant read!

***** 5 stars. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!

Review of Angel on the Ropes.

This book is about a trapeze artist, Amandine Sand, who has a secret – she is also a leopard!

When I first started reading this book I was quite taken aback by the leopard revelation. I thought at first it was maybe a children’s book that I had accidentally requested to review. After I read a few more pages I realised the story was a futuristic, sci-fi/fantasy tale.

The story follows Amandine as she performs at the circus and helps her own kind, the leopards, find safety with the help of a group of people known as the Seekers. The story has a fair amount of terms and characters that are often referred to and I was left wondering if this particular story was part of a series. I felt a little more description would have helped the reader to better understand some parts.

That said, the story is quite interesting, particularly for sci-fi/fantasy lovers. For all there was a lack of description for some characters involvement I did enjoy the read. Towards the end I felt quite a lot of things were rushed, but also there are a lot of loose ends – the hook for a sequel?

I felt the author researched the circus background pretty well, the scenes where Amandine and Jango are performing and practising their trapeze sequences were very well written. I loved all of the circus parts, felt a strong sense of hatred towards the Plaguellants – who I felt were very cruel.

I thought the book was a good read, particulalrly if you enjoy this genre. I am not so sure readers who aren’t familiar with the sci-fi/fantasy genre would appreciate it though, it is pretty futuristic and leans heavily on the fantasy – which makes it a wonderful read for anyone who loves this genre.

Well written, one or two confusing parts – for me, anyway – but on the whole a good read.

**** 4 stars.

Review of Wounded by Ben Burgess Jr.

I am reviewing this book for the Book Tour that is being promoted by Elite Book Promotions.

Wounded, by Ben Burgess Jr is in the Gay & Lesbian genre.  When I first started reading it I was left reeling by the protagonist’s flashbacks.  After my initial shock I got back to business and read the book until I had finished it.  I literally uttered the word “wow” when I was done.  This book was very powerful and moving.

The protagonist, Samantha Miller, loves nothing more than to “turn straight women out”.  Sam is gay and she is not ashamed of her sexuality.  She trawls bars and clubs looking for “hot women” who are on the “cusp”.  She has a deep rooted mistrust and hatred of men, stemming from the abuse she suffered at the hands of paedophiles when her own mother pimped her out in exchange for a fix of heroin.  After her mother died she relied on her body in order to survive, she sold herself to men for money.  She was arrested and taken into care at the age of 14, but that did not keep her out of trouble.  At 17 she was jailed on drug charges and once again found herself being abused by men – this time the male prison wardens.

Sam had always known she was gay but she had never been with a woman.  Eventually, another inmate, Cheryl, teaches her the art of lovemaking.  Upon her release from prison Sam vows to never let anyone ” fuck her over again”.  She gets a job as a stripper and starts to build her ow photography business.  But she has never settled down, much preferring her own predatory behavior towards women.

Until she meets Sasha.

Sasha isn’t gay, but Sam is convinced she can turn her.  Sasha’s wariness means that Sam has to use a different tactic and she befriends her.  They grow very close, with Sam being the person Sasha turns to when she splits with her boyfriend.

Eventually Sam wins Sasha over and the two become involved, but Sasha isn’t ready to come out of the closet.  Sam thinks it will only be a matter of time before Sasha comes out so is quite happy with their life together at first.  Eventually, Sam grows weary of Sasha dragging her heels on the whole coming out thing and ends up outing her in front of her college buddies.  Sasha is petrified her very religious family will find out about her sexuality and again drags her heels over telling them.  When she does eventually tell them they disown her.  This hurts her so much that she becomes very distant with Sam.  Sam hates this and ends up cheating on Sasha.  Sasha finds them and she flees to her family home looking for forgiveness and solace.  But her family still shun her and hours later, a brokenhearted and dejected Sasha overdoses.  She is unable to be saved and this tragedy sends Sam spiraling out of control once more.

Sam is her own worst enemy but you have to feel for her.  She is so messed up, and who can blame her with the abuse she has suffered, repeatedly?  She has gotten so used to looking out for number one that she finds it hard to be there in the capacity that Sasha needs her to be.  After Sasha’s death Sam blames herself and reverts back to her predatory ways, but help is at hand and she does sort her life out.

This story is very powerful.  As you read it you experience Sam’s emotional trauma and you feel for her.  The issues that this book deal with are extremely upsetting and the raw emotion that gets stirred up leaves you quite emotional.  It is a well written, thought provoking book.  I really did not expect to enjoy it all, but I have to admit that I really did.

A read that takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions and really gets you thinking about the impact sexual abuse has on the lives of the victims.

Highly recommended.

***** 5 stars.