Guilt by Jonathan Kellerman

Whilst on holiday, and after finishing the other book I’d packed, I took advantage of the library that was provided on board the cruise ship I was on and found a book by Jonathan Kellerman, an author whose series I’d read quite a lot of before. Intrigued by this 2013 publication, I quickly became engrossed finishing the book in 4 days.

Kellerman’s crime novels follow the story of child psychologist Alex Delaware, an enigmatic, intelligent, thoughtful and quite a sympathetic character that you warm to instantly. He consults for the LAPD, helping Detective Milo Sturgis friend and professional partner who is also a great character full of wit and likability. I hadn’t read the series in a while, but this book brought back good memories of the series, meaning I’ll probably start them again at some point.

The plot revolves around bones that were found in a backyard of a house, which develops into a tale of Hollywood lovers gone wrong and a string of deception and creepy murders. It’s a good read, and got me hooked right away. Perfect for a summer holiday read.

“They’ve already gone to the lab, maybe you’ll get lucky.”
He said, “That’s my middle name.”
“Lucky?”
“Maybe.”
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Ant and Dec – The Autobiography

Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly have been in the entertainment industry for 25 years, starting their partnership on the children’s TV show Byker Grove and developing themselves into pop stars and finally entertainment presenters and national treasures. Their autobiography came out in 2009 and it’s only now that I picked up these cheeky Geordie duos’s book.

The book did take me the best part of 6 months to finish, as it remained on my shelf, only getting picked up if I was going on journeys; having said that, I really enjoyed this book. I’m a huge fan of the Geordie duo, ever since their days on SM:TV Live with Cat Deeley which was my Saturday Morning kids program of choice. I thoroughly believe they deserve all the success they have had and the love of the nation. The book itself offered a great insight into the duo and their friendship, particularly as the way it was written allowed for dual authorship – each having their own voice represented by different fonts. The book covered everything from their early days on Byker Grove, the success they had and continue to have on prime time TV, their personal lives and also plenty of brilliant anecdotes, remaining throughout the book their cheeky fun-filled selves.

It’s fair to say the book made me love them even more. Despite the fact the book took me a long time to complete, I would recommend this book to fans of the two, or just for a good autobiography.

“Throughout it all, we’ve always had one constant that’s kept us sane – each other. In two decades, we’ve never spent more than two weeks apart.”(Dec) p355

Dannii Minogue: My Story – Autobiography

I borrowed this from a friend as I’ve wanted to read the Aussie’s life story for some time. From her time on The X Factor she struck me as a fun, poised, and good-natured woman. What I’ve found from reading her story is that she is all those things and more.

Finding fame from an early age on the Aussie television show Young Talent Time, Dannii found her star rising when she landed a role on the popular soap Home and Away recording her debut album around the same time. Even though her music career did not take off as much as her older sister Kylie, Dannii still has many accolades to her name, with her music over the years becoming much more successful on the club scene. Her music hit highs as well as lows as she suffered the disappointment of bad reviews, bad sales and also getting dropped from record labels. She talks a lot about her music, about what it means to her and as someone that doesn’t know much about her music career it left me inspired to go and find some of her hits.

As well as her music career, Dannii touches on some other career highlights, including her passion for fashion design and her time in front of television cameras as a presenter and as a talent judge on Austraila’s Got Talent and The X Factor, including speaking about her infamous feud with Sharon Osbourne which is insightful and always a good read, espeically if you’re like me and love a good gossip.

As well as her professional career, she touches upon personal stories from her childhood as well as her heartache with relationships including her marriage breakdown to Julian McMahon, and several other relationships that have suffered from long distance. I never knew how many serious relationships she had had and how much her work schedules had affected them over the years. She also discusses several other passions of hers, including her charity work supporting HIV and cancer sufferers. I was surprised to find how much cancer has touched Dannii’s life; it’s not just the much-publicised battle that her sister Kylie had, but also her good friend Terry Ronald. It was very touching reading about the loss of her good friend Laura through cancer; it seems that she still struggles with that huge loss.

As well as all this, Minogue shares many anecdotes of fun times in her life, and it seems that she does enjoy a good tipple in her downtime. She seems like a very down to earth person, even with the fame that she’s found across both sides of the pond. If you’re a fan of hers, or just simply want an easy read then I would recommend this.

 

“I did know one thing for sure; whatever was going on with Sharon, this certainly wasn’t the end of it. In fact, I had a feeling it was just the beginning.” (Dannii Minogue: My Story)

The Writers Tale -The Final Chapter

Russell T Davies and Doctor Who Magazine writer Benjamin Cook embarked on a correspondence during the early planning of season 4 of Doctor Who; originally meant to be for an article, they soon realised they had much more material and decided to make a book out of it. The Final Chapter is a revised version of the original book published which includes filming of the Specials and the end of David Tennant’s tenure as the 10th Doctor and Russell’s run as executive producer.

It’s a bit of a beast of a book, with just under 700 pages in the revised version, but it’s jam packed full of inside titbit’s, including personal emails Russell sent to other production team members, sections of original script and behind the scenes photos. It has taken me the best part of 3 months to finish this book, however that was more down to a hectic summer, rather than a boring read. For any fan of Doctor Who, Russell T. Davies’ other work or indeed if your just interested in becoming a writer then this book is certainly for you. What started as an innocent question eventually ended up covering two years of both men’s lives, covering key moments in the show’s history such as the casting of Catherine Tate, Russell and David’s decision to leave, and on-set problems that arose during filming. Interwoven between production emails, they discuss current affairs, the TV program Skins and Russell Tovey amongst other things.

The communications between the two of them are extremely honest and touch upon some deep, personal issues. It’s a fascinating insight into the life of a writer but also Davies’ life, which is nicely facilitated by Ben Cook. You can also see how perhaps the correspondence shaped some of the writer’s ultimate decisions, a detail that is quite fascinating.

For any Doctor Who fan – it’s a must read.

“I can see how annoying that looks. I can see how maddening it must be, for some people. Especially if you’re imposing really classical script structures and templates on that episode, even unconsciously. I must look like a vandal, a kid or an amateur… The simple fact is, all those things were planned. All of them were my choice. They’re not lazy, clumsy or desperate. They’re chosen.” (Russell T Davies, The Writer’s Tale)

Don’t Tell Mummy

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Toni Maguire tells the heartbreaking story of her past, and the whole time I am reading I have to keep telling myself that this.is.true. The book is so well written that it is so easy to forget that the events you are reading actually happened to her, constantly I had to keep saying to myself ‘this really happened, it really, really happened’. Following her through childhood, living with little money, an abusive father and a mother who won’t come to her rescue, Maguire’s past slowly unravels.

I would definitely recommend this book, it’s an insight into the terrifying horrors abused children are subjected to, and how it affects the rest of the family’s relationships. When I first read this I didn’t know there was a sequel and so I was very disappointed when I didn’t find out how she finally managed to escape her father – and I still don’t know. But now I am aware, I am desperate to find out so I shall report back at some point.

For the time being though, go and read this book, cry for Toni, and enjoy her finally found happiness.

The Other Side of the Story by Marian Keyes

When picking my next novel, I wanted something a little more light-hearted to read so picking a Marian Keyes novel, I thought I couldn’t go wrong – and I did get what I wanted. A fairly light-hearted read, it flowed easily and didn’t require too much thought. However around 90 pages in to the story, it hit me – I had read this before. I felt a little cheated that I wasn’t reading a brand new book but felt it needed to be re-read and in the words of John Humphrys from Mastermind “I’ve started so I’ll finish”.

Three stories are intertwined into one – we first get introduced to Gemma, an event organiser who’s parents break up unexpectedly. A classic, they’ve been together for all their lives and the father gets a mid-life crisis and shacks up with his secretary. Her mum goes through a slight mental breakdown, and it’s quite funny to see what situations Gemma gets herself into. Secondly, we have Jojo a successful literary agent who just so happens to be having an affair with her married boss. And thirdly we meet Lily, a mother of one who has just been published (Jojo is her agent) and the ex-best friend of Gemma. Their friendship was left in tatters when Lily began dating and subsequently became pregnant with Gemma’s ex-boyfriend Anton, a betrayal Gemma took very personally. Across the book, their stories become intertwined with Gemma also becoming a published author –guess who her literary agent is? The book also is written in the point of view of the three different characters, with each having their own sections.

I must say I remembered some of what happened as soon as I realised that I had read it previously. I enjoyed Jojo’s story the most, despite the fact her character should stereotypically be the most hated – the ‘home wrecker’ as it were. However that may have something to do with the fact I am extremely interested in publishing as a career and I admired her tenacity and determination within the business. I warmed to Gemma’s story over the novel, although didn’t particularly care for her at first. Lily’s character was the hardest to care for, I think partly because I didn’t particularly like Anton. I found myself wanting her sections of the story to be over, and at times skimming the story, just so It would move.

Overall, I enjoyed the second read of this novel although to ensure that I didn’t read it again, promptly sent it to the nearest charity shop. I would certainly recommend this novel as a great holiday read.

I should never have started this thing with him, Jojo thought. I could be in love with someone else right now, someone who wasn’t married. Well, shoulda, woulda, coulda. (p145 The Other Side of the Story)

Life of Pi – Yann Martel

Life of Pi - Book review

Another of my poolside reads however this one was not intentional (a mix up in books I brought led me to have to rely on the little treasure chest that is created by other holiday goers – the hotel book stand). Although most were love stories or murder stories, this little gem shone out and I snapped it up before anyone else could.

I couldn’t wait to get into this book, the film having wiped the floor at the Oscars; I knew it must be good!

****SPOILERS****

I am so glad I didn’t spend £8 going to see this film at the imax, or any cinema for that matter. I knew the basis of the story – a young lad gets shipwrecked and all he has for company is a Bengal tiger. Post read I realise now that ‘basis’ is an understatement: that is the whole story. Over 100 pages of just being at sea – okay you built a raft; caught a fish and ate it; caught a turtle and ate that; blah blah blah. Unfortunately I can’t suppress the need to skip forward and see how many pages there are to go before the next chapter and so knowing there were 100+ between me and the next section of the book was soul destroying. But I persevered.

And I’m glad I did, because now I know I will never have to watch the film. As the story got going a thought crossed my mind ‘if this ends up as a dream I will be SO pissed off’ – well it wasn’t quite a dream but the ending did make me want to rip the book in half and throw it in the pool in a strop. Let’s just say I’m not a fan of endings like this – especially when the book hasn’t exactly been enticing me the whole way through.

Although I wouldn’t care to see the film, I would be interested to see what they filled the two hour gap with as I’m pretty sure this story would not suffice – but then maybe they just filmed him catching a lot of fish, which would be equally boring to watch.

In a way the story represents that of imagination and the imagination of the young, I could imagine my little cousin coming up with something like this after her summer holidays, and for that it is good. On the whole I was very disappointed with this one..a theme you can probably see running through my holiday book choice.

“To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation.” – Life of Pi

P.S. I Love You – Paperback

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Another of my well awaited holiday reads. This book has been top of my ‘read before see’ list for quite some time – probably since the film came out – and it  was with great anticipation that I finally got round to reading it. Now, I am probably going to offend a few people with what I am going to say, so if you love this book I would probably stop reading this post now…..

I hated it. I’m not sure if the hype it got from everyone may have done this, or if it just wasn’t my thing, but I did not see what everyone loved so much about it. I was so sick of Holly’s whinging that it took the story away from me. I get her husband died and I can’t begin to understand how that must be, but does it really have to be in every single chapter, sentence, word? (Can you tell I don’t care for love stories yet?) It just felt so girly and flimsy, that there was no real story to it.

I was rather disappointed that this book I had waited years to read had let me down, but I guess that’s what happens after rather a long period of super-heroes, mafias and medieval kings. It’s safe to say I’ve lost my girliness when it comes to love stories.

 

Don’t be afraid to fall n love again. Open your heart amd follow where it leads you….and remember, shoot for the moon…P.S. I will always love you… – Gerry – P.S. I Love You

HAPPY BIRTHDAY HARRY!!!

The 31st of July is a somewhat special date – mainly just an excuse to get the DVDs, books and memorabilia out, as well as quoting the hell out of Twitter. ‘Why so Special’? I hear you ask. Today is the day that one of the most anticipated quotes of all time (in the Potter-universe) was uttered – ‘Harry – yer a wizard.’ On this day, Harry’s 11th birthday, The Keeper of the Keys, Rubeus Hagrid, brought Harry Potter his Hogwarts acceptance letter, and from that point we were sucked into the wizarding world.

Not only is today Harry Potter’s name day, but also his creator’s J. K. Rowling’s. I cannot thank her enough for giving me the escape, passion, hobby (lifestyle choice) of Harry Potter. From the stories that inspired me to read and write, to the best friend I have made through a common interest, it is all thanks to J. K. Rowling.

Both Rachel and I hope you have the most wonderful of birthdays.

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‘STOP! I FORBID YOU!’ yelled Unlce Vernon in panic.

Aunt Petunia gave a gasp of horror.

‘Ah, go boil yer heads, both of yeh,’ said Hagrid. ‘Harry – yer a wizard.’

There was silence inside the hut. Only the sea and the whistling wind could be hear.

‘I’m a what?’ gasped Harry.

‘A wizard, o’ course,’ said Hagrid, sitting back down on the sofa, which groaned and sank even lower, ‘an’ a thumpin’ good’un’ I’d say, once yeh’ve been trained up a bit. With a mum an’ dad like yours, what else would yeh be? An I reckon it’s abou’ time yeh read yeh letter.’

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

One Day – Paperback

Everyone knows that a summer holiday spent sitting by the pool is the perfect excuse for an intense reading session, so on mine this year I decided to catch up on some books I should have read some years ago – this also means I can now see the films! I began with David Nicholls’ One Day.

I was surprised to realise that the book was only published in 2009 as the film came out in 2011 – fairly fast if you ask me! Anyway… the story follows two lead characters on one day (15th July) for twenty years of their lives, showing snap shots of where they are and what they’re doing after leaving university. Although on several occasions I did just want to know what happened after that day e.g. while they were on holiday, I realise that that was not the point of the book.

It is obvious from the get go that at some point these two best friends were going to end up together one way or another which kind of ruined the book for me in a small way; I found myself just waiting for it to happen and not really enjoying the book to the full.

I did not see the twist towards the end coming. I won’t ruin it here as the book’s worth a read, but WOW. I was in shock – sitting pool side with my mouth gaping open was not a good look but it happened so there.

This book is about love, friendship and life, and is definitely worth a read if you’re looking for something easy, fast and non-intense; definitely one for the beach.

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