Author Archives: loopyloo100

About loopyloo100

I enjoy reading, logic problems and generally having fun!

Kicked Out by Richard W Hardwick

kicked outThis is the tale of sixteen year old Danny who is made homeless when kicked out of home by his parents after disappearing for two days after his sixteenth birthday.

I started this and really wasn’t sure it was going to be to my taste, but I was glad to be proved wrong. I found the writing style easy to read, but initially it was interspersed with other bits of writing that made the story a little difficult to follow, but this became less over the course of the book. I found that initially Danny came across as a very shallow young lad, but after being made homeless and then finding himself a place in a young people’s hostel I started to see another side to Danny appear. He makes a pal there called Goocher, although finds himself sharing a room with a ‘smackhead’ Paul. Lots of fighting happens at the hostel along with drugs, sex and drink, but we also see the camaraderie of the young people and how they will look out for their pals.

When Lucy comes into the picture we can really start to see the softer side to Danny and it makes you feel so sad that his own family have become dysfunctional.

I found that through the story I really started to root for Danny and really hope that he could pull his life around and make something of himself. I then start thinking about life on the streets and those that are homeless. Many probably have much they could give to society, but with their upbringings and hardships that they have had to face make this an almost impossible task for them.

Overall I would say this is a novel that really draws you in and can help you understand the lives of those less fortunate than yourself and I felt could make you think under different circumstances “that could be me!” I have certainly been surprised by other’s behaviour (people that I think I know well) when they have been put under a certain set of circumstances and so I know that people can be a mix of many things depending on their situation. I think this is a book that will stick with me for sure and it’s certainly one that I would recommend.

Published by:  Burning House

RRP: £7.99

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Learning Disabilities by Etta K Brown

Learning DisabilitiesAn interesting book where the first part looks at how the nutrition, sleep deprivation, parental care and physical, psychological and emotional trauma can have an affect on how a child can and is able to learn. With both my children having difficulties with reading and comprehesion I thought it would be an interesting read. I always thought that the suicide of their father would have affected their learning although much of the time no evidence was seen of this, but my daughter was having difficulty before this, but upon her father’s death concentration at school did certainly become much more of an issue and this type of trauma is certainly, suggested by the book, to take it’s toll on the child. It has twice been suggested by teachers at different schools that she may have dyslexia as she seems to have many of the traits, but even though she has been tested twice there has been no definite diagnosis.

The second part of this book is very much geared to the American school system and seems to thoroughly cover all the options open to parents with regards to the choices available to them for the child with learning difficulties. I would see this as a very good resource for them.

The third part covers the forms of processing disorders including visual and auditory problems that learning disabled children may have and it appears that a child can be weak in the visual or auditory field. It appears that my daughter has some weaknesses in both these areas along with parts of the others. Fortunately her school appears to be working wondefully with her and she is a much more confident student of late. I really like the way this third part of the book was laid out and I felt it really gives an understanding to the problems these children/students face. The author also gives strategies for dealing with these issues in and out of the classroom.

I can see that the author has issues with Ritalin being given to those diagnosed with ADHD and from my limited knowledge I do have to agree.

All in all an informative book and well worth reading.

Publisher: Langdon Street Press

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Once Upon a Time in England by Helen Walsh

Once Upon a Time in EnglandThis novel is set in the 70’s and 80’s in the Northern town of Warrington and folllows the lives of a mixed race family: The Fitzgeralds.

My initial thoughts were what a beautiful writing style and straight away I wondered where this story would lead for Robbie and Susheela. Reading further on I was surprised the direction the book took and about 100 pages in I wasn’t sure where the story was heading at all, but oh my goodness 200 pages in and I was totally hooked – I began to feel it was like car crash reading though. It feels like one of the most miserable but enchanting tales I’ve ever read.

Half way in I was finding this quite a depressing read and I was waiting for something positive to happen to lighten it up. I didn’t really like She or Robbie as characters and most stories that I really enjoy I find I connect with the characters and so I feel this book is unusual for me.

Moving, harrowing, disturbing, depressing and thrilling are the words I would use to describe this book. Utterly compelling reading through each time period. Well worth reading. Also the ending was not completely a negative experience. I would definitely read more by this author.

Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd

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Gutted (A Gus Drury Novel No. 2) by Tony Black

guttedGus is a hard headed, but soft hearted ex journalist and alcoholic and we meet him again in this second outing from Tony Black. The owner of a pit bull terrier, that savaged and killed a little 3 year old girl, is found murdered on an Edinburgh hill by Gus, as he just happens to stumble upon him whilst he was investigating a ruckus involving some thugs torturing a dog, which then decides, after being rescued, that he’s Gus’s best friend! Gus decides to investigate the murder and finds himself being targeted by the police for the crime and to make matters worse his ex Deb is about to marry one of them.

Another cracker of a read; I again couldn’t put the book down and I read it in a very short time. The pace and action is unrelenting and we get to see more of what made Gus’s relationship with Deb’s tick. I find myself feeling like fighting along side Gus all the way when coming up against his enemies and I’m a pacifist, but the injustices and cruel beatings are hard to take, although at times Gus does seem to take them in his stride.  Some of the reading was a little difficult to read because of the subject matter surrounding the fighting pit bulls, but don’t let that put you off. An excellent gripping read.

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Living Like You Mean It: Use the Wisdom and Power of Your Emotions to Get the Life You Really Want by Ronald J. Frederick

feelingThis is a book aimed at those people who are out of touch with their feelings and emotions, although anyone may gain from reading it. The book explains that many people are afraid of their emotions (feeling phobia) and truly do not accept them and will rationalise in their head, with their thoughts, as the emotions can be too strong for them to deal with. The book advises really feeling those feelings and emotions through the body and to leave the thinking for later. It gives examples of people and their lives and looks at the influence of their upbringing with regards to how they deal with emotions.It then gives advice how to deal with the fear and accept your own emotions in full.

I found this an interesting book, well written and easy to follow and understand. I have read some similar books before  and I wasn’t sure that this one added too much to what I’d already read – however it did make me realise that, at times, I am too quick to rationalise things other people do before feeling fully the emotion I have felt because of what they have done, and so it’s definitely given me food for thought and next time I have a roaring emotion, caused by someone else’s action, I’ll try to bear with it and let the thoughts happen later and see how it feels. I would certainly recommend it to anyone that has difficulties with their emotions and connections to other people, especially if they’ve not read anything in this area before. I can certainly imagine it could be of great use to people who had a very cold upbringing and really have never ever gotten to grips with their feelings as from childhood their emotions have been pushed away. If everyone could learn to connect with others as this book suggests the world would be a better one.

Publisher: Jossey-Bass (March 3, 2009)

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Tomato Girl by Jayne Pupek

Tomato Girl by Jayne PupekA  strange, sad and disturbing tale set in the American South in the late 60’s. Ellie lives with her father and mother, but her mother is mentally unstable and after her mother takes a fall and Tess the ‘Tomato Girl’ comes to stay things steadily deteriorate for her mother and all involved.

Highly addicting reading, however awful things happen to eleven year old Ellie, one after the other, and it sometimes appears a little difficult to believe, but it certainly makes for page turning stuff.

Ellie has an awful lot to contend with dealing with her mother , father and Tess and one wonders how such a young girl can cope with all that is laid on her shoulders. One minute she seems very young for her years but the next very old. It’s certainly a world that wouldn’t be wished upon such young shoulders and it can be very strange too; the tale of her brother is most definitely disturbing. Ellie definitely had much too much responsibilty for one so young. It shows the strength of her character, but then if one has to deal with an awful situation there sometimes are not many options. It certainly scars her although which is to be expected. Ellie has a good friend who tries to help along the way and also finds there are others out there who will try to help in anyway they can, even if this involves a little bit of magic. It was by no means a cheerful tale,but the ending was certainly fitting and I felt helped lift the story from some of the sadness involved.

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Will Work for Nuts by Matthew Cole

This is an entertaining book that allows people to arrange for certain wildlife, and the occasional pet, to take park in stunts / experiments. I would say most of the stunts require quite a lot of patience and some have a need for wildlife in your back garden. Teaching your goldfish to play football certainly looked interesting as shown by the video on amazon. I have seen the squirrel stunts played out on TV, but most of the other ideas are all new to me. I have to say I can’t imagine myself entering my local wood with a battery powered drill! Read the book to find out more about this.

I would recommend this book as a stocking filler at this time of year and I believe it will entertain and amuse, dare I say, quite a few nature loving men, as I don’t see many ladies wishing to race slugs over razor blades. It’s written in a very humorous way and will lead to a few chuckles, but I would have liked a few more cute animal pictures, however I feel it’s a book more suited to the practicalities of playing out the stunts. One fact I did learn along the way was that if another woodlouse happens upon an upturned woodlouse he will help flip his pal over. It’s good to know even the bugs help each other out!

Overall an enjoyable fun book!

Published by Collins, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers Ltd

£9.99 Hardback

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The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Todd is the last boy of Prentisstown, who is shortly to become a man. Only men live in Prentisstown as the women have all died, and it’s an uncomfortable place as everyone’s thoughts can be heard by everyone else, otherwise known as ‘Noise.’

Todd’s parents are both dead and he’s been brought up by Cillan & Ben. Suddenly he finds himself being ordered from his home as Cillan and Ben feel it’s no longer safe for him. He takes with him Manchee his talking dog and takes off into the swamp, where he meets Viola, another orphan. They are destined to travel together on a hunt for Haven: the safe town! At the same time they are the hunted by the men of Prentisstown who will not let him just leave and Aaron, who has only recently become a man is also on their trail.

Great, dystopian, young adult novel, but I believe is suitable for us oldies too! It’s a real page turner! I haven’t read a story of this genre in a long time, but enjoy it I most certainly did. Its drama all the way through and just as you feel all will settle down the pace accelerates again. Every time I picked it up I found it very hard to put down. It’s a dark read and all told from the view that Todd has on his world. I thought the characters are all well drawn and I adored Manchee, the dog, and his funny ways. I was really sad to finish the book, with an ending I wasn’t expecting, but was very pleased to learn that this is only the first book of a trilogy. I can’t wait for more!

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Aberrations by Penelope Przekop

Narcoleptic Angel Duet struggles with her disability. It means she can fall asleep at no notice and she also suffers with cataplexy which can leave her body asleep, but the mind still awake. The book shows how difficult life can be for Angel as she has to rely on others so much, but she meets 2 new friends: Tim & Kimmy and she tries to overcome her narcolepsy by using a drug of the non prescription type. Throughout the novel Angel is on a mission to find out about her mother who apparently died whilst giving birth and her father is unable to discuss this with her as the pain appears too much for him. He has a new relationship with Carla, who is a down to earth lawyer and try’s in her way to help Angel, but Angel is not ready to accept her help.

A great novel; I loved this book. It was an amazing emotional journey with true depth and I felt it gave a real understanding of the characters. We see people in their true colours; warts and all, including Mac who is married, but at the same time is having an affair. One can’t but help warm to his character, but it left me uneasy at times as I felt by liking him I was almost condoning his adultery. Even though we did not know his wife to any great degree in the novel, she was still a valid person and did she deserve this? However this is what happens in life and it’s not all pretty colours and this novel shows the dilemmas in life very well; people are fallible, but this doesn’t make them totally bad. I also began to question if the illicit drug that Angel took for improving her narcolepsy would actually help and if it did I wondered if there was any clinical testing being done with regards to this; leaving me with research to do.

This novel was great for getting me to think; it had a wonderful flowing story, was written in a very effective way and also had me connecting emotionally to the characters. I couldn’t ask for more.

I highly recommend this book.

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Cliffhanger by T J Middleton (Tim Binding)

Middle class modern England, quaint village by the sea with some lovely cliffs: here we meet Al Greenwood and his wife Audrey. This story is told from the perspective of Al. Initially we find out that Al has had enough of his wife and it’s time to be rid of her and he intends to do this by pushing her off a cliff; that’s the plan anyway! Another young lady called Miranda disappears at the same time. You’ll have to read it to find out how she fits into the story.

It’s a mystery and comedy rolled into one. Al is a very strange character; well actually everyone in this book is strange! Al loves his Asagi koi carp (Torvill & Dean) and finds himself in the company of a local policeman that can also see the finer side of fish! The neighbour Alice Blackstock, otherwise known as Mrs Poke Nose, seems like an old hippy at heart and when she makes stuffing to accompany the pork chops at a dinner party we can wonder what her secret ingredient is that means they take 10 minutes to chew through and why are they so irresistible? This book is really funny and one can’t help at times feeling a bit sorry for Al, but at the same time thinking he’s a selfish prize idiot. They certainly are a wonderful set of characters to follow and the tale of Kim out at night with a lady roaming the countryside had me in stitches.

It certainly feels like a right English romp and there is so much to find funny in this book and I would definitely recommend it as it’s a lovely read.

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