REVIEW: Violent Delights, Victoria Namkung

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

At Windemere School for Girls, one of America’s elite private schools, Dr. Gregory Copeland is the beloved chair of the English Department. A married father with a penchant for romantic poetry—and impressionable teenage girls—he operates in plain sight for years, until one of his former students goes public with allegations of inappropriate conduct. With the help of an investigative journalist, and two additional Windemere alumnae who had relationships with Copeland as students, the unlikely quartet unites to take him down.

REVIEW: Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore, Matthew J. Sullivan

Monday, 27 November 2017

When a bookshop patron commits suicide, it’s his favorite store clerk who must unravel the puzzle he left behind in this fiendishly clever debut novel from an award-winning short story writer.
Lydia Smith lives her life hiding in plain sight. A clerk at the Bright Ideas bookstore, she keeps a meticulously crafted existence among her beloved books, eccentric colleagues, and the 'BookFrogs'—the lost and lonely regulars who spend every day marauding the store’s overwhelmed shelves.
But when youngest BookFrog Joey Molina kills himself in the bookstore’s upper level, Lydia’s life comes unglued. Always Joey’s favorite bookseller, Lydia has been bequeathed his meager worldly possessions: Trinkets and books, the detritus of a lonely, uncared-for man. But when Lydia pages through his books, she finds them defaced in ways both disturbing and inexplicable. They reveal the psyche of a young man on the verge of an emotional reckoning. And they seem to contain a hidden message. What did Joey know? And what does it have to do with Lydia?
As Lydia untangles the mystery of Joey’s suicide, she unearths a long buried memory from her own violent childhood. Details from that one bloody night begin to circle back. Her distant father returns to the fold, along with an obsessive local cop and the Hammerman, a murderer who came into Lydia’s life long ago—and never completely left, as she discovers. 

22 Goals for 22

Saturday, 25 November 2017

How am I already 22? Honestly, it doesn't feel like minutes since I could legally drink and now here we are - four years later and definitely not feeling like any more of an adult. I thought that by 22, I'd have my life sorted out and already have on my foot on the career ladder towards my dream job. But my dream job has changed four times this year and life hasn't turned out quite the way I thought it would be (which makes the incorporation of Deaf Havana in this post even more appropriate). So here are 22 goals to get me back on track and to make 22 the best year yet!

REVIEW: 147 Things, Jim Chapman

Thursday, 23 November 2017

In 147 Things, Jim takes us on a whistle-stop tour of the best bits of everything, from the mind-blowing to the ridiculous. As with his videos, no subject is off-limits and he’ll lift the lid on his life and his relationships, sharing embarrassing stories and things he’s learnt along the way. If you’ve ever felt weirded out by the fact we’re seven billion (mostly) hairless apes spinning around a giant ball of flaming gas, or that we all begin as tiny humans INSIDE our mothers, or that many of us keep slightly-less-dangerous wolves in our homes, then you need this book in your life. Jim wants to inspire you with the sheer unlikelihood of us all being here and equip you to feel just a little less overwhelmed by the small stuff. 

REVIEW: All the Wrong Chords, Christine Hurley Deriso

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Scarlett Stiles is desperate for a change of scenery after her older brother, Liam, dies of a drug overdose. But spending the summer with her grandfather wasn't exactly what she had in mind. Luckily, Scarlett finds something to keep her busy--a local rock band looking for a guitarist. Even though playing guitar has been hard since Liam died, Scarlett can't pass on an opportunity like this, and she can't take her eyes off the band's hot lead singer either. Is real happiness just around the corner? Or will she always be haunted by her brother's death?

Best Red Carpet Looks from the 2017 American Music Awards

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Everyone knows that there is nothing I love more than a celebrity red carpet. And sure, it may be more than a little materialistic and bourgeois, but I get a special kind of joy from clambering to see the fashion highs and lows of the evening. 
The AMAs are a little low-key compared to some of the other shows of the season - not crazy-fancy like the Oscars or the Grammys, and not crazy-(well)crazy like the Video Music Awards. Instead, it is one of the only award ceremonies where it is acceptable to show up in jeans or trainers, but with the amount of clothes these celebrities have to hand for the event, you know that casual is never going to be an option.

Caleb McLaughlin 

REVIEW: Tale of a Boon's Wife, Fartumo Kusow

Friday, 17 November 2017

A young Somali woman defies convention and clan to marry the man she loves, but must face the consequences. Despite her family’s threat to disown her, Idil, a young Somali woman, rejects her high Bliss status to marry Sidow, a poor Boon man. Her decision transforms her life, forcing her to face harsh and sometimes even deadly consequences for her defiance of a strict tribal hierarchy. 

REVIEW: Last Lullaby, Alice Walsh

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Set in the fictional town of Paddy’s Arm, Newfoundland, Alice Walsh’s debut mystery novel is at once harrowing and homey, equal parts police procedural and diner gossip. When Claire and Bram's only child dies suddenly, it at first appears to be a case of crib death. But when the real cause of death indicates homicide and Claire is arrested as the number-one suspect, her friend, lawyer Lauren LaVallee, promises she’ll do everything she can to prove Claire’s innocence.
As Lauren combs Paddy’s Arm for suspects, amid department politics and small-town talk, leads abound. Why are professors Frances and Annabelle being so secretive about their adopted daughter? What’s behind a troubled student’s sudden disappearance? And who is the mysterious platinum blonde observed at the scene of the crime? Meanwhile, Lauren’s own secret–a case that almost cost her her career back in Montreal–and sudden the return of an ex-lover who wants back in her life, threaten to overwhelm the investigation altogether.

REVIEW: Off the Deep End, A History of Madness at Sea, Nic Compton

Monday, 13 November 2017

In the eighteenth century, the Royal Navy's own physician found that sailors were seven times more likely to suffer from severe mental illness than the general population.
On the high seas, beyond the rule of law, away from any sight of land for weeks at a time--often living in overcrowded and confined spaces, where anything that goes wrong could be fatal--the incredible pressures on sailors were immense. The ever-present fear drove some men to faith in God and superstition--and drove others mad.

REVIEW: Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng #BLOGTOUR

Sunday, 12 November 2017

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned -- from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules. 
Enter Mia Warren -- an enigmatic artist and single mother -- who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community. 
When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town--and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.

REVIEW: Women Within, Anne Leigh Parrish

Thursday, 9 November 2017

With themes of reproductive rights and feminism, this multi-generational novel presents three women whose paths cross at the Lindell Retirement Home. Constance Maynard, fierce, independent and proud, reflects on her long life promoting women’s rights through her career as a professor of history. Eunice Fitch, the perfect caregiver, is often unlucky in love, yet even in middle age refuses to give up searching for the perfect man. Sam Clark is a young aide with a passion for poetry, and small beautiful things, but at war with her own large, ungainly physique. All together they weave a tapestry as rich and complex as the female experience itself.

REVIEW: The House, Simon Lelic

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

What if your perfect home turned out to be the scene of the perfect crime?
Londoners Jack and Syd moved into the house a year ago. It seemed like their dream home: tons of space, the perfect location, and a friendly owner who wanted a young couple to have it. So when they made a grisly discovery in the attic, Jack and Syd chose to ignore it. That was a mistake. Because someone has just been murdered. Right outside their back door. And now the police are watching them...

REVIEW: Silent Lies, Kathryn Croft

Friday, 3 November 2017

Mia Hamilton lived the perfect life with her husband, university teacher Zach, and their two-year-old daughter, Freya. But everything changed when Zach committed suicide on the same night one of his students, Josie Carpenter, vanished. Five years later, and Josie is still missing but Mia has finally found some happiness with new boyfriend Will. Until one day when stranger Alison walks into her life and tells Mia that her husband didn’t kill himself. 
Desperate to find out what really happened to Zach, Mia is forced to put her trust in Alison. But she soon discovers that Alison has her own agenda behind exposing the details of Zach’s death. Can Mia really believe anything Alison says? Mia must decide how far she is willing to go to uncover the truth – even if she risks losing everything she loves. 

TRAVEL: Oxford, UK

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Oxford is truly the place in the United Kingdom that feels the most British. Surrounded by the smell of cold stone of the university colleges and the ye-old-architecture, I finally began to understand the portrayal of British people in films, in television programmes and in books from around the globe.
Oxford is the epitome of the British stereotype.
The accent, the lawns and the red telephone boxes all meld together to create the Britain of the world's dreams. In fact, the poet Matthew Arnold once called Oxford, "the city of dreaming spires" in attempt to describe its atmosphere to a friend, which casts a sort of ethereal glow to the city that only comes from historical links to religion and great knowledge.
And, such knowledge has walked those streets! 28 Nobel Laureates, 27 British Prime Ministers, 30 International Leaders, 32 Nobel Prize Winners, 12 Saints... It is frankly so amazingly ridiculous that it almost boggles the mind just thinking about the sheer number of Oxford University alumni, who have left a lasting stamp on the world.
I think you feel that when you enter this city: the possibility to do great things, it hangs overhead like the eyes of all of those that have come before you are looking down and expecting something brilliant.
Oxford, UK