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Posts Tagged ‘Relationships’

The Silence of Snow by Eileen Merriman. Pub. Black Swan, 2020.

January 17, 2021 Comments off

Two things hit me very quickly when I started to read this adult medical drama. Firstly how terribly difficult it must be to maintain a long distance romantic relationship. Secondly how frightening it is to expect young doctors to do 15 hour shifts when they are dealing with life and death situations in a hospital.

There are two main characters and things are going to get hot between them.

Jodi is in her late twenties, she is attractive but unsure of herself because she comes from a family of doctors and wonders is she doing the right thing for herself and everybody else. She is in a relationship with Fraser who lives in Dunedin while she works further north. It is nearing Xmas and because of work schedules and the demand from the hospital Jodi is unable to go to Dunedin to be with Fraser. He has visited her but their relationship is around bickering-why can’t you come down? you are always tired. That sort of thing.

Rory is slightly older, from Scotland with a smooth Scottish accent and a quick wit. The female doctors and nurses are smitten by him but he has a problem and a past. He is an anaesthetist and early in the novel assists Jodi in a desperate medical event. Rory deals with the pressures of work by self prescribing uppers and downers for however he feels. He is becoming addicted.

Rory is free and easy, drinks a lot and is slightly promiscuous because the women are available.

The first encounter between Jodi and Rory is sensual. Both feel the chemistry and it is a matter of time before they do the wild thing. Jodi has a relationship, Rory has a past and a problem. How can everything be resolved. Read it and find out.

Very well written in short chapters that have breaks for you to stop and reflect or get the tranquilisers out. The romance is hot and the medical events often disturbing. When Jodi and Rory have their first kiss, Jodi feels she is letting the wolf in and Rory feels his universe has been disturbed. One of the best devices Eileen makes is to provide the thoughts of the character in any situation written in italics. many of them will mirror your own thoughts.

I loved this novel, you will too. So what is the title all about? Well you don’t hear snow fall, until you are in the middle of a drift. Compelling reading.

Time To Remember by Janna Ruth. Self published 2020. www.janna-ruth.com

December 24, 2020 Comments off

Trauma can have lasting effects on your mental and physical health” This novel written in late 2020 started out to show the effects of earthquake trauma on children at the tenth anniversary of the first quake that hit Canterbury in the early morning of September 4th 2010.

Janna Ruth is a best selling German author who was in Christchurch through all the Earthquakes but the traumatic events that are the Covid 19 pandemic needed to be included in the story as well. She does this successfully in a very compelling novel to read.

Josh and Nathalie are her two main characters and both were 10 years old when the first earthquake hit but it was the February earthquakes that affected them the most.

Josh and Nathalie both attend the University of Canterbury and both are involved in writing articles and publishing the Student newspaper Canta. At the start of the novel they dislike each other intensely and both are involved in relationships within their social circle. Nathalie suggests a special piece on the tenth anniversary of the quakes in which students are asked to write stories of their experiences and Josh is particularly vitriolic at her suggestion. Why? Read it and find out.

Trauma of the earthquakes is at the heart of Josh’s problems as it is with the behaviour of many of the characters in this novel. In many ways it is a love story which explores the fine line between love and hate.

The lockdown because of Covid helps consolidate opinions and situations. Very much an exploration of student relationships which add much of the drama to the novel. I can tell you no more except to say I lived in Christchurch through the earthquakes and attended University of Canterbury.

This novel was real enough to me. One character says this “We lost my mum. One of those white chairs on the lawn was hers”. Of course the words “EQC stinks” will ring true for many people.

A novel to remember.

Breathless by Jennifer Niven. Pub. Penguin Books, 2020.

December 9, 2020 Comments off

I lingered over this romance novel and was sorry when I finished it. I can’t possibly replicate the passion and feeling of this novel in a review except to say “first love will leave you breathless”.

Claudine , (Claude) Henry is as happy as she can be. She lives in small town Ohio, her parents are creative, she is 18 years old and still a virgin and looks forward to when her virginity has gone. She has a fantasy about the boy she wants to take her virginity but he is aloof and unaware of her feelings.

Everything she feels is shared with her best friend Saz. The phone, text and skype to each other all the time. Their discussions on virginity are at times hilarious. Saz is lesbian but this has nothing to do with their relationship. The two plan to do a road trip in summer before both go to college in separate states but they vow that their relationship will be forever.

Then the Sh*t hits the fan. Claude’s father tells her that he is breaking up with her mother and there is nobody else. Is this true? Lauren the mother takes Claude away under protest to a family home on an island off the coast of Georgia with a history that is intriguing.

On the island Claude meets Jeremiah a boy with a lot of charm but a disturbing past. They fall in love over the next 32 days. He is so beautiful it hurts her heart. She can walk the beaches of the island and it is a rare person you can be silent with. Will he take her virginity? Jeremiah warns her not to fall in love with him and she gives him the same warning but will both be able to do this? read it and find out.

Some lovely descriptions of the island and the feelings Jeremiah and Claude have for each other. I enjoyed the book and so will you. As good a romance as you are going to get.

Swimming Lessons. Poems by Lili Reinhart, illus. by Curt Montgomery. Pub. HarperCollins, 2020.

November 22, 2020 Comments off

I awoke in the night and couldn’t sleep so I picked this excellent anthology to read until sleep took me. It never did. The poems entranced me so much that I had to finish and they will do the same to you.

The poems are short and long, some a few lines others three or four pages. Many are a series of couplets, sometimes three lines then a single line. None of them rhyme in the traditional way poetry does. The poetry comes from the beautiful flow of language.

The themes are love from the beginnings of young love with it’s newness and it’s doubts. The reader will know all the feelings described and the heartbreak when things go wrong.

The poems have no titles, they are separated by a blank red page and they make compulsive reading. Everyone wants love to last forever and in one poem these words describe that:- Forever has an expiry date. There is no always. No forever. Just now.

How true.

Other prophetic subjects are covered such as reincarnation. Maybe you believe in reincarnation but even if that happens, you come back as an entirely different being in an entirely different life.

The poems are superbly illustrated in red and black ink outlines that say so much and enhance the written poetry.

For high school and young adult readers plus adults. The most moving book of poems I have ever read.

Deadhead by Glenn Wood illus. Scott Pearson. Pub. OneTree House, 2020.

November 2, 2020 Comments off

This novel for reluctant readers, particularly boys, starts at a rate of knots and never lets the reader go until the end. It has action, it is violent, it is over the top witty, it is very clever and it has a satisfying ending.

You can’t get better than that.

Spenser and his friend Regan are 13 years old. Spenser is very smart and Regan likes to be around him not that he notices her very much in the way she notices him.

Spenser is being bullied by a rich kid, Carl, who forms a gang based on the Yakuza. Spenser provides him with a samurai sword but it still does not stop the bullying. Spenser has a plan to resurrect a copper who was recently killed in a gang confrontation, turn him into a robot with some clever engineering and protect himself from Carl and his pretend Yakuza gang.

Regan and Spenser dig the decomposing body up and create a moveable zombie like character dressed in his ex cop uniform. It solves the problem for a while but then something weird happens but you will have to read the novel to find out what it is.

Needless to say they have created a crazy zombie cop with a heart. The real Yakuza come into it as does a criminal gang.

Superb creative and imaginative novel that will make you laugh all the way through. Told in short chapters with graphic novel illustrations at the end of each chapter that summarise the important action.

One of the best novels of the year.

Loveless by Alice Oseman.

August 27, 2020 Comments off

lovelessLoveless by Alice Oseman. Pub. HarperCollins, 2020.

This 430 page novel for high school students and young adults is about sexuality and romance. How do we know who we are attracted too? What is the spark that turns attraction into love? How important is sex and romance in peoples lives? Does everybody have erotic dreams? What happens if you don’t feel attracted to anybody? What if you don’t feel attracted to boys, girls,  both or neither?

Georgia is 18 years old and has just finished High school. She has never kissed anyone and is still a virgin. She doesn’t know if she is gay or straight because she feels revulsion at any sexual contact at all and she is worried that she will never have a partner and love a normal life.

She has two friends – Pip who is an attractive Latino girl who knows she is a lesbian and makes no bones about it, and Jason a shy boy who is attracted to Georgia but she doesn’t know it. All three are off to Durham University and all three are into acting and drama especially Shakespeare. Georgia hopes that the questions about her sexuality will be answered at university.

While at University she is paired with a girl named Rooney in a flat. Rooney is totally out there. She goes clubbing, mixes well, has sex because she likes it and is everything that Georgia wants to be. All four characters form a Shakespeare club and plan to put on scenes from Shakespeare’s plays that are key scenes. But the sexuality question gets well and truly in the way. Read it and find out how.

I read this book in small chunks but it was compelling reading and I was sorry when it was finished. It is really addressing  asexuality or aromanticism. Some scenes are hilarious some down right embarrassing but always right on the nail. Everybody is interested in the subjects discussed here and to do so with a good story is brilliant.

The Shakespeare scenes are superb. My YA book of the year.

Madame Badobedah by Sophie Dahl.

October 15, 2019 Comments off

badobedayMadame Badobedah by Sophie Dahl. Pub. Walker Books, 2019.

If I was an old woman I would like to be like Madame Badobedah. Mysterious, well kept, says “darlink” and keeps to herself.

She arrives at the Mermaid Hotel with two dogs, two cats, a tortoise and 23 bags and moves into room 32. Mabel is a resident of Mermaid Hotel and she keeps an eye on things and she decides Madame Badobedah is suspicious.

Mabel is a young girl with imagination and she treats every room in the Mermaid Hotel as a brother or a sister.  She imagines fantastical exploits with Madame and they become good friends. Read it and see what happens.

Great illustrations portray Madame , the Mermaid Hotel and an English seaside resort . Sophie Dahl’s text  tells a whimsical story with intrigue and mystery.

For primary and intermediate readers but adults will love this as well.

American Royals by Katharine McGee.

September 16, 2019 Comments off

royalsAmerican Royals by Katharine McGee. Pub.Penguin Random House, 2019.

I have always liked Romance as a genre and if you are going to read romance then read the best. This is the best. At times the romantic scenarios and the dialogue between the characters is electrifying. It is positively sizzling.

America has a Royal family descended the same way that British Royalty has but from George Washington. If Brexit doesn’t work out for Britain I would recommend that they sell their Royal family to the Americans. They need it.

Now George 1V is on the throne and for the first time the heir is female, Princess Beatrice who is 18 years. She has a sister and brother two years younger and they are twins, Samantha and Jeff.

Jeff is a bit of a playboy, Samantha feels she is not important compared to big sister Beatrice but she has a commoner friend, Nina. Beatrice is perfect and knows she has a role to play as heiress to the throne but she has feelings. She is escorted everywhere by her bodyguard Connor who is a square jawed hunk of manhood.

Onto the scene comes Teddy, a well connected aristocrat as smooth as a baby’s bottom but a cad underneath. Put all these characters together and you have romantic intrigue hotter than a pepper sprout. Then there is Daphne -find out for yourself.

The plot also has many links with the reality of Royalty in UK and elsewhere. There is an Aunt Margaret whose relationship to a fighter pilot was stopped from on high and Charles “liege man” speech to his mother, is reiterated by Teddy.

Brilliantly told in short chapters from each of the female characters in sequence and as bestselling author Sara Shepard wrote “Completely addictive”.

I loved it, you will too. For high school and young adults but intermediate girls will fight you for it. Boys should read it too, it is superb. Better still American Royals 2 is out next year. I can’t wait. Excellent cover design.

Ravi’s Roar by Tom Percival

August 22, 2019 Comments off

ravis roarRavi’s Roar by Tom Percival. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2019.

Ravi is not happy being the youngest and smallest in his family even his dog biscuit is bigger than him.  He is always last in a race for anything, he is not allowed on the big slide and he can never find anyone during hide and seek.

When he is last to the ice cream cart and there is none left, Ravi sees red and turns into a tiger that scares everyone off. this loses him all his friends and he has to make a big decision. Read it and find out what it is.

Easy to read script and illustrations that enhance the plot and highlight personality differences. Tom Percival is good at this sort of thing and two others of his picture books are on this blog. Check them out.

Cross Fire. A Noughts & Crosses Novel by Malorie Blackman

August 15, 2019 Comments off

cross fireCross Fire. A Noughts & Crosses Novel by Malorie Blackman. Pub. Penguin/Random House, 2019.                    RELEASED 20 AUGUST

If there is a better novel this year for High School students and Young Adults then I would love to read it. The 4th novel in the Noughts & Crosses series from the legendary Malorie Blackman is superb and the good news is, it is not over yet, there will be another.

Albion is a country divided by severe racial problems. The dark skinned Crosses are the elite and home people, the Noughts are a fair skinned people from the north and throughout this series have slowly progressed to a state of near equality but only on the surface. Both sides have fanatics.

The first novel in the series featured Sephy a Cross and Callum a Nought who was the son of a servant in Sephy’s home. They got on very well and caused havoc in their racially torn world.

Now  a Nought,  Tobias Durbridge, has climbed the ranks with the help of a rich gangster Dan Jeavons, and become Prime Minister. Cross fanatics cannot stomach it and plot to bring him down.

Caught in the cross fire are teenagers Troy who is a Cross and the son of Sephy, and Libby, a Nought who is the daughter of Tobias. Central to the fortunes of all is Callie a cross breed and a lawyer of some repute but considered a Cross.

With the election of Tobias as PM fanatics from both sides get busy. Tobias is falsely charged with murder and Libby and Troy are kidnapped to pressure both sides.

The action and intrigue is thrilling. Malorie Blackman brings you up to date with the family histories so you needn’t worry about having to have read the earlier novels although you would be mad not to.

Outstanding writing from a writer at the top of her game. A modern story with fake news, cell phones and forbidden love. excellent cover.