Monday, 24 October 2011

Book review: Shades of London #1: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

My edition: Paperback, published in 2011 by Harper Collins, 372 pages.

Description: The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it's the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.

Soon "Rippermania" takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn't notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target?

Rating:

Book review: Justin Thyme (The Tartan of Thyme #1) by Panama Oxridge

My edition: Paperback, published in 2011 by Inside Pocket Publishing Ltd, 368 pages.

Description: Justin Thyme is a self-made billionaire living in a castle overlooking Loch Ness. The day he turns thirteen, he receives an anonymous gift: a fabulous watch with a puzzling message hidden on it. When he tells his father of his plans to build a time machine, the Laird of Thyme reveals tantalising fragments of past espionage and warns his son of a ruthless enemy keeping him under constant surveillance.

At first, Justin fails to take Sir Willoughby seriously, but when a stranger arrives claiming to be his long-lost grandfather, Justin is wary - especially after his beloved Nanny insists the old man is an impostor. Justin's TV celebrity mother departs on a Congo expedition with her eccentric film crew and Eliza, a computer-literate gorilla. Whilst returning, Lady Henny is abducted, and clues prove that the kidnapper has inside information; someone in Thyme Castle must be a spy - or possibly Sir Willoughby's old enemy in disguise.

Everyone is under suspicion: Justin's nervy tutor; their snooping housekeeper; the theatrical gardener; an ex-royal butler; and Mrs Kof, their freakishly strong cook. Suddenly, the race against time is on. Can Justin convert his vintage motorbike into a time machine, rescue his mum and discover the identity of their resident spy in less than a week... or will the dreaded Thyme Curse claim another life?

Rating:

Book review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

My edition: Paperback, published in 2009 by Puffin, 288 pages.

Description: Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch.

Inside he discovers cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker—his classmate and crush — who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life.

Clay is one of them.

If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list.


Rating:

Book review: The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa

My edition: Paperback, published in 2010 by Vintage, 180 pages.

Description: He is a brilliant math professor, with a peculiar problem--since a traumatic head injury, he has lived with only eighty minutes of short-term memory.

She is an astute young housekeeper with a ten-year-old son who is hired to care for him.

And between them a strange, beautiful relationship blossoms.

Though the professor can hold new memories for only eighty minutes, his mind is still alive with elegant equations from the past; and through him, the numbers, in all of their articulate order, reveal a sheltering and poetic world to both the housekeeper and her son.

Rating:


Book review: The Midwife's Confession by Diane Chamberlain

My edition: Paperback, published in 2011 by Mira Books, 432 pages.

Description: Dear Anna,

What I have to tell you is difficult to write, but I know it will be far more difficult for you to hear, and I'm so sorry...


The unfinished letter is the only clue Tara and Emerson have to the reason behind their close friend Noelle's suicide.

Everything they knew about Noelle — her calling as a midwife, her passion for causes, her love for her friends and family — described a woman who embraced life.

Yet there was so much they didn't know.

With the discovery of the letter and its heartbreaking secret, Noelle's friends begin to uncover the truth about this complex woman who touched each of their lives—and the life of a desperate stranger—with love and betrayal, compassion and deceit.

Rating:

Book review: The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas

My edition: Paperback, published in 2011 by Atlantic Books, 488 pages.

Description: One day, at a suburban barbeque, a man slaps a child who is not his own.

This event has a shocking ricochet effect on a group of people, mostly friends, who are directly or indirectly influenced by the event.

Rating:

Book review: Bad Sisters by Rebecca Chance

My edition: Paperback, published in 2011 by Simon & Schuster, 389 pages.

Description: Three ambitious, rivalrous sisters. And a deadly secret, which one of them is determined to keep buried at any cost.

Deeley is the fake wife of a Hollywood TV hunk, who is secretly gay. But Deeley’s five-year contract is up, and his cut-throat publicist wants Deeley out. So, dejected and penniless, Deeley wends her way home to London, hoping to re-establish links with her two estranged elder sisters.

Devon is married to the nation’s-favourite-rugby-hunk Matt, and has her own highly successful TV career, as the sexy hostess of her own cookery show. But behind her buxom facade, Devon is lonely and frustrated, and when a live celebrity cook-off shows her up as a fraud, she leaves sweet Matt and runs off to Tuscany, to learn a few lessons – not just in cookery – from an Italian master.

Lastly, there’s Maxie: a politician’s wife, Maxie is fiercely ambitious. She’s furious when Deeley, hard on her luck, sells the sisters’ childhood story to a tabloid newspaper, revealing their impoverished roots and unsavoury parentage. The story undermines Maxie’s carefully cultivated image, and the fallout threatens to be devastating. But Maxie is only too aware that there is much more Deeley could yet reveal. What murderous secret lies in the sisters’ past? And just how far will Maxie go to keep it buried?

Rating: