Author Archives: Katie

Going Postal by Terry Pratchett

Addition: Audiobook

Rating: 3/5

Synopsis:

“Arch-swindler Moist Van Lipwig never believed his confidence crimes were hanging offenses – until he found himself with a noose tightly around his neck, dropping through a trapdoor, and falling into…a government job?” “By all rights, Moist should have met his maker. Instead, it’s Lord Vetinari, supreme ruler of Ankh-Morpork, who promptly offers him a job as Postmaster. Since his only other option is a nonliving one, Moist accepts the position – and the hulking golem watchdog who comes along with it, just in case Moist was considering abandoning his responsibilities prematurely.” “Getting the moribund Postal Service up and running again, however, may be a near-impossible task, what with literally mountains of decades-old undelivered mail clogging every nook and cranny of the broken-down post office building; and with only a few creaky old postmen and one rather unstable, pin-obsessed youth available to deliver it. Worse still, Moist could swear the mail is talking to him. Worst of all, it means taking on the gargantuan, money-hungry Grand Trunk clacks communication monopoly and its bloodthirsty piratical head, Mr. Reacher Gilt.” But it says on the building Neither Rain Nor Snow Nor Glo m of Ni t…Inspiring words (admittedly, some of the bronze letters have been stolen), and for once in his wretched life Moist is going to fight. And if the bold and impossible are what’s called for, he’ll do it – in order to move the mail, continue breathing, get the girl, and specially deliver that invaluable commodity that every human being (not to mention troll, dwarf, and, yes, even golem) requires: hope

This is number 33 in the Discworld series. As ever, it is full of action, comedy and adventure.

The star of this story is Moist van Lipwig. He is a conman, and is shocked to discover he didn’t die when they hanged him for his crimes. Lord Vetinari, the city’s leader has other plans for him. Instead of killing him, Moist is ordered to revive the Post Office. This seems a ridiculous task as the city has clacks. Yet a meeting with the questionable man who runs the clacks and the fact they keep breaking down leads him to take up the challenge. It is not easy – he has to contend with people trying to kill him, falling in love and fire.

This is another enjoyable Discworld instalment. There is great characters, competition, fire and angry women, and of course, the post! I liked Moist. He was a funny man, but also determined and clever. His previous crimes gave him a shady, yet ingenious mind that was very helpful for him, and very entertaining to read. Lord Vetinari was my favourite character in the book. His dry wit just made me laugh.

In the synopsis there is talk of hope. I didn’t find this a big theme throughout the book. I thought the main idea was to remember there are old fashioned ways to communicate! It seemed to me that Pratchett was having a sight a dig at modern technology, and I thought that was funny.

This is not my favourite Pratchett book but there was nothing wrong with it. It was funny and action-packed, and full of the genius that is Terry Pratchett.

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50 Harbour Street by Debbie Macomber

Book Sort: Library Book

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

Dear Reader,

Considering that I’m married to Cedar Cove’s private investigator, you might think I enjoy mysteries. But I don’t — especially when they involve us! Roy and I have been receiving anonymous postcards and messages asking if we “regret the past.” We don’t know what they mean . . .

On a more positive note, we’re both delighted that our daughter, Linette, has moved to Cedar Cove to work at the new medical clinic. A while ago I attended the humane society’s “Dog and Bachelor Auction,” where I bought her a date with Cal Washburn, who works at Cliff Harding’s horse farm. Unfortunately Linette is less enthusiastic about this date than I am.

Speaking of Cliff, the romance between him and Grace Sherman is back on. But that’s only one of the many interesting stories here in Cedar Cove. So why don’t you drop by for a coffee at my husband’s office on Main Street or our House on Harbor and I’ll tell you everything that’s new!

Corrie

This is typical Debbie Macomber. This is number five in the Cedar Cover series and is in every way as good as the others. You could read this as a stand alone book as it does recap the general story lines from other books, but it does carry on nicely as part of this series.

The main focus of this book is the private investigator, and his wife – Roy and Corrie. They have been receiving mysterious gifts and postcards. They have concerned Corrie and Roy is struggling to find out who they are from. In other stories, Charlotte marries Ben, but is upset by her children wanting to check him out first, Olivia is concerned for Jack’s health – and when he ends up in hospital she sees she is right about his lifestyle and everything is a bit on-and-off with Cliff and Grace.

This book includes all the usual favourite characters and we continue to follow them through their lives in Cedar Cove. I don’t think I have a favourite, no one sticks out in my mind, but they are all nice and it is quite a gentle, friendly community they live in. It is idealistic but so what? It is nice reading.

Once Roy and Corrie’s daughter moved to the area and started making friends I quickly worked out who it was sending the anonymous notes and how the love story would pan out. I didn’t mind the predictability however. This is simple chick-lit that would make a good beach read. It is a lovely series to escape to and I always enjoy Macomber. This is a good book for those who like a light, quick, chick-lit read.

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The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Copy: Review e-book

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

Meghan Chase has never fit in at her small-town high school, and now, on the eve of her 16th birthday, she discovers why. When her half brother is kidnapped, Meghan is drawn into a fantastical world she never imagined–the world of Faery, where anything you see may try to eat you, and Meghan is the daughter of the summer faery king. Now she will journey into the depths of Faery to face an unknown enemy . . . and beg the help of a winter prince who might as soon kill her as let her touch his icy heart. The Iron King is the first book in the Iron Fey series.

I loved this book for everything from the beautiful cover to the great story line. This is the first book in Julie Kagawa’s young adult series The Iron Fey Series. I highly recommend this book and cannot wait to get onto the next: The Iron Princess (out this month). The final book in the trilogy is released in Feb. 2011. This is fantasy and adventure, with a touch of romance – everything you need for a great read.

The star of the story is Meghan Chase, a girl who didn’t fit in well at school. She did however have a good friend: Robbie. Her life changes when she discovers her little brother Ethan has been kidnapped and replaced by a monster. Suddenly she finds herself on a mission: rescue Ethan. This opens up a whole new world for her, the Nevernever world. Unbeknownst to her, this is the world she belongs in, as does Robbie. He turns out to be Puck, and he had been guarding her for the Summer King. Whilst in the King’s court she meets Ash, the Winter prince sent to kill her, but sparks start to fly. And then when they discover it is a new enemy trying to take over Nevernever and is holding Ethan hostage Ash and Puck have to put their differences aside, Ash has to stop trying to kill Meghan and together, with the help of Grim the cat, they have to defeat the new Iron King.

This book is full of imagination, adventure and I cannot think of one bad thing to report. Right from the start I was interested. The faery land mischief starts in the human land when Meghan turns 16. From there she meets all kinds of interesting characters. Kagawa has an amazing imagination and what she creates is great to read. She has taken normal fantasy creatures and evolved them, she has given power to normal animals, such as cats and she has created new monsters. All this wrapped together makes for excellent reading.

I finished the book as definitely Team Ash! Of course that might change with the reading of the new book, but he was strong and handsome, and prepared to put his needs aside. Of course to start with Meghan had to bargain with him but as the story progressed you could see him softening. Puck, or Robbie was a great character too, but I the girl in me preferred the hero Ash! Puck made me laugh with his humour and tricks, but I think I liked Grim the most. I’m not a cat person but this was a wonderfully written character – smooth and cool, and just down-right entertaining. Meghan was a strong-willed girl and the love for her brother drove her on, which was lovely to see.

Overall, I can easily give this top marks, and I am itching to get onto the next in the series, and to read the novella, Winter’s Passage. I’m glad I discovered this series, and if you like young adult books or fantasy, this is well worth reading.

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The Girl Next Door by Elizabeth Noble

Book Type: Large Print Hardback from Library

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

What makes a house a home? For Eve Gallagher, home is miles away in England since she and her husband relocated to an apartment building on New York’s Upper East Side. And life isn’t remotely coming up roses. What makes a neighbour a friend? Violet has lived in the building for decades but she’s always kept herself apart.

I was worried about how good this book was going to be when I opened up the first page and saw a list of characters. There were a few pages and my initial thought was simply “oh no”. To be honest, the first time I tried this book I only managed around 50 pages. The second time was much better however. This is mature chick-lit that looks at the idea of relocating, making friends and starting a family.

The central character is Eve, who moves to New York with her husband as he has earned a promotion. She finds herself living in a gorgeous flat, but even though there are people all around, she is isolated and alone. That is until a fellow neighbour hosts a meeting about the roof terrace – they have permission to make it a nice garden area. Eve goes along and meets some fellow neighbours, most notably Violet. She is an old lady who also emigrated from England, but until meeting Eve has kept herself apart from others. The book mainly follows these two characters with interludes from others in the apartment to break up the story. To be honest, although I can remember the other story lines – the over-bearing mother of a spoilt toddler, a love affair between two unlikely people and a new friendship – the characters themselves haven’t stayed with them, I couldn’t name them for instance. In reflection though, that doesn’t bother me as I remember Eve and Violet, and how Eve struggles with life in America, and then gets pregnant and has to deal with a premature birth. Violet is there all the way through and we learn her story and about her heartbreak, and that to me is the main story and worth remembering.

Noble takes on tough issues in this novel. She looks at relocating, premature birth and death. There are moments when this is a sad tale, and other times when it is uplifting. This shift in mood keeps the book entertaining. This is not the best Noble novel I have read – that would be Things I Want My Daughters to Know, but I enjoyed this.

I liked Eve and felt sorry for her. I could relate her as she struggled in New York – I wouldn’t have been brave enough to go out and make friends either. Ed, her husband, was nice enough but he didn’t understand her that well, and I was a bit gutted that he wasn’t too keen on her the pregnancy at first. I had to grow to like him, whereas I liked Eve instantly. I liked Violet as well. She was kind and caring, but she was stern and motherly, just what Eve wanted. The other characters were pleasant but don’t stick out in my mind that much. It was nice that Noble included the other storylines but I think the people she wrote needed to be more inspiring.

This is mature chick-lit and I really enjoyed it. I would happily recommend this novel to others who like Elizabeth Noble and like a good, emotional, realistic, interesting read.

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The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

Book Type: Paperback – library copy

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey
dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life—and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey’s boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie’s own. Joe is the new boy in
town, a transplant from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his musical talent. For Lennie, they’re the sun and the moon; one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can’t collide without the whole wide world exploding.

This remarkable debut is perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Francesca Lia Block. Just as much a celebration of love as it is a portrait of loss, Lennie’s struggle to sort her own melody out of the noise around her is always honest, often hilarious, and ultimately unforgettable.

I have been eagerly awaiting this book, having only heard good things about it, and I loved it! This is the first novel by Jandy Nelson, and I hope she writes more as this was a success. This is a young adult book, but one that adults will enjoy too. It is mature and very readable. It did not take long for me to read this book. I was hooked from the beginning and could have easily read this in one sitting.

The story follows Lennie, a seventeen year old who has just lost her older sister, Bailey. She died of an aneurysm whilst in rehearsals. Until then, Lennie had been floating through life, working hard at school, spending her summers making lasagne at a local Italian restaurant and playing her clarinet. They lived with Gram and their uncle, Big. Their mother Paige had left when Lennie was one. She had what Gram called the “restless gene” and could not stay settled in one place for long. This had never bothered Lennie, but as Bailey had got older and her relationship with Toby grew more serious she started to look for Paige. After Bailey’s death Lennie does not know how to cope. She spends time with Toby, but their grief is leading them to be more intimate than they should be. Toby reveals many things that Lennie didn’t know about Bailey and her plans too. Then Joe appears – the new boy in town and in band practice. Lennie starts to fall for him, but hates herself for it as she should be grieving all the time. She also hates that Bailey is not around to see Lennie in love. Lennie has to learn to deal with her grief, understand that other’s are hurting too, and learn about love all at the same time.

This book is moving, often sad, and at times funny. Nelson explores all the feelings involved with grief and I think the portrayal of Lennie is accurate. She struggles after the death. She doesn’t want to pack up Bailey’s things, she doesn’t know how to react around people and she starts to feel things that she had never experienced before. She channels her grief into sexual tension, and acts irresponsibly with Toby because when she is with him she feels Bailey around them. I liked Lennie. This book is a journey for her and I think it was so well written. I felt so sorry for Lennie, and really wanted good to come of the situation.

I liked the other characters too. Lennie’s friend Sarah was funny, but I loved that she let Lennie have a free pass card, so her aloofness could be forgiven as she grieved. Sarah was always there when needed though. Big also made me laugh, with his efforts to revive dead bugs. Joe was a bit too in touch with his emotions for my liking – a bit jealous and easily angered. However, his pursuit of Lennie was sweet. My favourite character was Gram. She was strong, having lost her daughter and grand-daughter. She was honest and blunt when she needed to be, and I loved reading about her.

One feature of this book I really liked was at the beginning of most chapters was a picture with a poem Lennie had written and where it was found. In the book she is often writing on rubbish or tables or trees, as an outlet for her feelings, and I loved that the reader got to experience this. I also loved how Nelson used music as a release too – this reminded me of Sarah Dessen and how she uses creativity as a way of coping.

There is nothing bad to say about this book and if you like a realistic, touching and gripping book this is for you. This is for everyone, not just teenagers. I loved this book, and it was well worth the wait.


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Second Chance by Jane Green

Book Type: Paperback – own copy

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

Holly Macintosh is sitting round her kitchen table with her oldest friends – friends she hasn’t seen since school – now reunited by an unexpected tragedy and catching up on the past 20 years.

On the surface, they are all successful and happy. But scratch a little deeper after that extra glass of wine and it’s not quite so straightforward: Paul and Anna are struggling to have a baby, Saffron the actress is still waiting for that really big break that – at 39 – is looking less and less likely, and Olivia, always the wallflower of the group, is newly single and mourning her lost love.

And what about Holly Mac? Can she and her husband Marcus get their marriage back on track for the sake of the children? Or has someone just come back into her life who will change everything forever?

This is the first Jane Green novel I have read and I really enjoyed it. This is grown up chick-literature, and it was entertaining and a quick read. I was gripped from the beginning. This really is a roller coaster of emotions. It was easy to fall in love with the characters and I found myself cheering them on and sharing their pain.

The main character is Holly Mac. She has not seen her oldest friends in nearly twenty years – and it is an awful tragedy that has brought them back together – one of the group has been killed in a terrorist attack on a train in America. Tom was the centre of the group, the one who kept in contact with everyone, and his death has drawn them all together. They sit at Holly’s house and catch-up and grieve. From there they go on to Tom’s memorial service. There they run into his younger brother Will, who joins their circle of friends. During this time they all experience other pain. Olivia has a fling, that has consequences; Paul and his wife Anna are struggling to have children; Saffron is a recovering alcoholic and Holly’s marriage is in trouble. They group together and help each other through every crisis. Tom’s death has reformed the group but they still feel the pain of his absence.

The way Green deals with the issues of death, old friends and marriage is wonderful. I thought she was sensible with her outcomes – although I personally would of liked Holly’s story to end differently. Green is sensitive and delicate. Her writing is humorous and gripping. I found the story easy to follow and engaging.

I found the characters realistic and wonderful. The friendship is gorgeous – the way they will drop everything for each other. I was so happy when they all ended up in Gloucestershire for Saffron. Her Hollywood life is not all that glamorous but they are all there for her. I liked Holly but some of her choices I didn’t like. My favourite character was probably Anna – Paul’s wife. She wasn’t part of the original circle of friends but she slipped into the group with ease. She felt pain but still looked out for others. She makes crisis calls, works hard, and is just easy to like. She was a realistic character and someone I would have picked as a friend in real life.

I enjoyed this book and it did not take long to read. It is easy to see why Jane Green is such a popular author and I will be reading more of her novels.

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A Daughter’s Journey by Lyn Andrews

Synopsis:

A captivating new saga set in Liverpool and Ireland, from the bestselling author of DAYS OF HOPE and FAR FROM HOME Angela O’Rourke is six when her parents hand her over to an aunt and uncle in a distant village. It’s a common practice for large, hard-up families in 1950s Ireland, but for Angela it means that her mother and father don’t love her any more. Still, she’s well cared for till she’s sixteen, when her uncle starts to take too much of an interest in her. Moving to Liverpool in the early 1960s, she becomes a success in the world of fashion design. The pain of a disastrous love affair sends her home to Ireland just after the death of her aunt: and there, among old papers, Angela makes an astonishing discovery. As she learns the truth about the past, a brighter new future beckons.

This is the first Lyn Andrews novel that I have read and I enjoyed it. The book begins in Ireland, where Angela’s parents are too poor to keep her. Devote Catholics, they have a lot of children, and another is on the way. Angela’s dad is struggling to find work, so they make the decision to send Angela off to live with her Aunt Mary. Her aunt gives her a good life, but Angela misses her family and resents them for sending her away. Life is OK until her Uncle starts drinking. Life becomes unsafe for her. Then her best friend Emer leaves for America – this is the motivation Angela needs to start thinking about leaving. She works hard and is accepted to do nursing at Liverpool. She moves away – to the anger of her uncle, but soon learns that the academic side of nursing is too much for her. By chance she meets Rox and her family. Whilst with them she has the courage to leave nursing and start her own business in fashion design. For a long time she is happy without a man, but then she falls in love. However, her boyfriend is not a nice guy and result is a broken heart. Shortly after this she has to return to Ireland because her aunt is seriously ill. After her aunt dies she discovers papers that had been hidden from her all her life. This startlingly discovery changes her life and her outlook on family.

This is a very simple read – the language is not difficult and the story is not complicated. I read the majority of this book in one day. It was interesting, fun and engaging. The characters were believable and most of them I liked! The story is set in the 1960s and I felt that life in this time was depicted well. The poverty and the contrast between people and countries was astonishing but also realistic. This did mean there were heartbreaking moments in this book, like at the beginning when a six year old Angela learns she is being sent to live somewhere else.

I liked Angela, although I’m not convinced she would of had such a successful business simply because she was a woman, and in the 1960s it was a male dominated world. However, I liked her determination and her caring heart. She worked hard and was selfless. She understands poverty and when the chance to help out others arises she takes it, helping to pull others out of hardship. My other favourite character was Rox. I loved her shopping obsession! She was cool, chic and stylish, yet had a big heart. When Angela needed her she was there, and helped her through some tough situations.

This was a nice read and I enjoyed it. I’m happy to recommend this book to others and I will be looking out for other Lyn Andrews books. The ending was a bit of a disappoint – the cliff hanger, where we wonder what will happen to Angela, I wanted the book to keep going so I could find out how Angela’s life would change. That is probably my only complaint with the book.

This is simple chick-lit and I would recommend it to those who like a good girly book. 4/5 from me.

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The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

Synopsis:

High in his attic bedroom, twelve-year-old David mourns the death of his mother, with only the books on his shelf for company. But those books have begun to whisper to him in the darkness. Angry and alone, he takes refuge in his imagination and soon finds that reality and fantasy have begun to meld. While his family falls apart around him, David is violently propelled into a world that is a strange reflection of his own — populated by heroes and monsters and ruled by a faded king who keeps his secrets in a mysterious book, The Book of Lost Things

I didn’t know what to expect when I started this, but in truth: I loved it. John Connolly has played with the idea of fairy tales and children’s nightmares – he has taken them and made them into an adventure. The story centres around David, a boy whose life changes when his mother dies. His father re-marries and they move to the country. There David finds himself spending most of his time in the attic surrounded by old books. World War 2 is taking place, and one night, having thought he had heard his mother calling him David goes into the garden, just as a German bomber crash lands. David finds himself transported into another world. Here he faces wolves that have started to morph into men, monsters and Crooked Man.

I loved what Connolly did with this. The wolves, or Loups, came out of the story of Little Red Riding Hood, the monster which followed David came from his nightmares and the enchantress in the tower came from Rapunzel. Connolly has taken these childhood fairy tales and made them into violent, adult stories, and battles which David has to face. The worst for me was the Crooked Man, who steals children to expand his life. The descriptions of his actions and his torture chambers were horrific and not for the faint hearted.

I wouldn’t call this book scary but it is intense and some of the things David and his friends fight are quite chilling. This is quite violent and graphic, but so readable. I didn’t want to put this down, I was engrossed. I wanted to know what David would have to battle, what happened to the king and how the story would end. This book was exciting and full of adventure. There was not a dull moment in this book.

I loved the characters Connolly created and how they evolved. At first I felt empathy for David, then I was anxious for his welfare, and by the end I was confident in him and happily cheering him on. He matured and became fearless, and I liked how things worked out for him. The men who helped David were courageous and fun to read. I loved the dwarfs the most. They are not like they are in Snow White – and neither is she in this book. All I could do was laugh at the situation and their attitudes – they were very funny!

There was nothing to dislike about this book. I can easily give it 5/5. I loved it 🙂


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Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

Synopsis:

In this splendid retelling of the biblical story of Hosea, bestselling author Francine Rivers pens a heartbreaking romance between a prostitute and the upright and kind farmer who marries her; the story also functions as a reminder of God’s unconditional love for his people. Redeeming Love opens with the Gold Rush of 1850 and its rough-and-tumble atmosphere of greed and desire. Angel, who was sold into prostitution as a child, has learned to distrust all men, who see her only as a way to satisfy their lust. When the virtuous and spiritual-minded Michael Hosea is told by God to marry this “soiled dove,” he obeys, despite his misgivings. As Angel learns to love him, she begins to hope again but is soon overwhelmed by fear and returns to her old life. Rivers shines in her ability to weave together spiritual themes and sexual tension in a well-told story, a talent that has propelled her into the spotlight as one of the most popular novelists in the genre of Christian fiction.

This book will take you on an emotional rollercoaster. It is beautifully written and will keep you reading and entertained right until the end. This is a re-telling of the book of Hosea, from the Bible. Hosea was an Old Testament prophet who God instructed to marry a prostitute.

Rivers’ story tells of Angel, a prostitute who marries Michael Hosea – a very Godly man. He sees her walking past him and is breath is taken away. She is stunning. He goes to visit her at the brothel, but not to have sex, just to talk to her and rescue her. God has told him to marry her – and he finds a way. But life is not easy. Angel has always suffered at the hands of men and struggles to trust Michael at first. His patience, kindness and love start to break down her defences and she gets scared – so she runs, more than once. People respond to her in different ways. Paul, Michael’s brother-in-law hates her and wants to see her leave, yet another family consisting of Elizabeth, Ruthie, Miriam and others love her and don’t care about her past. Angel has to learn to love, to trust and to believe in God – not idolise Michael. The story is set in California in the 1800s.

I really liked Angel. She had a tough life – her mother was a prostitute, her father was a rich Englishman who wanted nothing to do with his child. Her mother than gets together with a man called Rab, but when she dies Rab is left with a child he can’t provide for. He passes her on to Duke, thinking he will look after her. He doesn’t – what he does is rape her and send her into prostitiution – at the age of 8. She manages to escape and leave New York for California, but there she is taken under the wing of the Duchess – and back into prostitution. The first good thing to happen to her was Michael, but she was hard inside, she had built many walls to stop herself from getting hurt. I could understand that and longed for her to open up and love Michael. People fought her all the way in this novel, but I loved watching her grow and change and see the good in life. I loved Michael. He had a heart of gold. Although he argued with God, he listened to Him and did His bidding. He never pressurised Angel or abused her. He was sensitive, compassionate and loving. He is the ideal man! There were other characters I liked too, such as Miriam who became Angel’s friend and helped her cope with life and Ruthie – who was just very cute. I didn’t like Paul – he hated Angel because he used her and he was a hypocrite, however he did want the best for Michael, even if he was misguided.

I would of happily had the book end half way through because during that period Angel was happy, and that was how I wanted her to stay. There are so many twists and turns in this book – it is never boring. Angel goes on a long journey with a beautiful outcome. I loved the ending and what she achieved. She changed her life around and her reaction to Duke when he caught her, God’s intervention and the outcome were wonderful to read. There were times when I sat smiling as I read this and times when I had tears in my eyes. It is a beautiful and satisfying story. It was not a quick read but every page was worth reading. I can easily give this 5/5

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Forever by Judy Blume

Synopsis:

Katherine and Michael meet at a New Year’s Eve party. They’re attracted to each other, they grow to love each other. And once they’ve decided their love is forever, they make love. It’s the beginning of an intense and exclusive relationship, with a future all planned. Until Katherine’s parents insist that she and Michael put their love to the test with a summer apart…”Forever” is written for an older age group than Judy Blume’s other novels for children. It caused a storm of controversy when it was first published because of its explicit sexual content. It was a book ahead of its time – and remains, after thirty years in print, a teenage best-seller. America’s No. 1 children’s author has written some of the best books of our time about real-life issues – family stress and pressures, what happens when your parents divorce, the problems of growing up and sexual awakening, bereavement – with insight, sensitivity and honesty. The response of readers all around the world continues to make her one of the best-loved writers ever published.

Well I can see why this book would have shocked Judy Blume’s younger readers! I loved her books when I was 10 and 11, but never came across this one. The one’s I remember are full of innocence and fun…this one is full of sex! I think I’m glad I didn’t discover it when I was reading her books, I was too young to know about sex and love! This is definitely a novel for older teens, but I think it is a good book for those who are starting to explore life and relationships.

The story is mainly about Katherine. She is young and eager to experience life. She meets Michael at a party and they start dating. Soon they believe themselves to be in love and think they will be together forever. When Katherine thinks she is ready they start to have sex. Yet they are both sent away for the summer and during that time Katherine meets someone else who she feels attracted to. It is also whilst she is away that her Grandfather dies. Katherine had a close relationship with him and is devastated. Through the time away, the grief and the infatuation she feels, Katherine matures and has to find out if “forever” with Michael really is “forever”.

I liked how this was written. Katherine didn’t rush into sex and she asked lots of questions to help her make a decision. She also was sensible and used contraception, even going to see a specialist to find out about all the ways to stay safe. Personally I believe in no sex before marriage, but that is not a common view and I think Blume explored all options well. Her writing was wise and informative, as well as a fun read. Sex is not the only thing explored in this book but it is the main idea. Katherine has to learn how to deal with death and grief – something else Blume did delicately and realistically; and Katherine learns about romantic relationships. She is young and hopes her and Michael will stay together forever, but her parents don’t want her to tie herself down to the first guy she dates. Blume explores the idea of first love, marriage and forever in a great way, that gives advice and options to teenagers.

I liked Katherine. She had a good head on her shoulders. She asked questions, sought advice and didn’t rush any big steps in her relationship. She was a realistic teenager who had mood swings and had to learn to grow up. Michael on the other hand I didn’t like. I felt he was pushy, and although his feelings for Kathy seemed genuine, his main focus seemed to be sex. While they are both away for the summer he often makes reference to the fact what he is missing most is sex. It just made him a bit sleazy and I felt his intentions were wrong. I liked the authority figures Blume wrote. Kathy’s parents and grandparents are wise and honest – but also firm and just want the best for her. They are not scared to over rule her and help her do what is best. I thought they were vital to the story and very good characters.

This is a good book for older teenage girls who are thinking about sex and growing up. Blume is open in this book and looks at the act from many different angles and gives some sound advice. It didn’t take long for me to read and I can see why this is a teenage classic. There were elements, such as Katherine going forward with the sex and the character of Michael I didn’t like, but I don’t think that will put others off the book. I give this 3/5.

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