Star-crossed by Minnie Drake

cynthia-star-crossed.jpgThis was such a fun read. Justine works for the local paper and meets up with Nick, an old friend. When she discovers that he lives his life by the stars, Justine decides to alter the astrology column to help nudge him in her direction. Of course things do not go to plan and altering the stars affect other people as well. I loved how these characters were woven into Justine and Nick’s story. I was chuckling throughout the story – it was just what I needed.

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French exit by Patrick deWitt

amy-french-exit.jpgThree and a half stars for this dark, occasionally humorous, rather bleak tale. Frances and her grown son, Malcolm, live a wealthy, largely self-sufficient life in Manhattan, until they are forced to move to Paris, almost penniless. It’s often absurd, kind of nonsensical, but oddly touching, and even beautiful at times.

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Bridge burning & other hobbies by Kitty Flanagan

tracey kittyIf you are a fan of Kitty Flanagan as I am, you will love her new book! It is a collection of easy to read “true stories and ill-informed opinions” written in her distinctive relaxed and familiar style that make you laugh out loud and be very annoying to your partner trying to read a serious book alongside you in bed at night!
Chapters include Yoga Guantanamo, which is about attending a yoga ashram in order to avoid going to Easter mass, The Wishbone Chicken Shop where her love of cooking definitely did NOT come from her grandmother and The Vardy Party about children’s birthday parties in the good old days when parents used to dump their kids and run.
If you want something that is light, bright and humorous to lift your spirits then this is the book for you!

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The colour of magic by Terry Pratchett

Amy The Colour of magicI have long been encouraged to read Terry Pratchett, and I put it off, I’m not sure why. I think, somehow, I just had a sense that he wasn’t for me. Perhaps I chose the wrong book. The Colour of Magic is very imaginative, funny, or at least amusing, and action packed, but I didn’t really enjoy it. All action and jokes, no character development and no heart. It’s kind of like a video game, with one dimensional characters moving quickly from one life-threatening situation to the next. If you like that sort of thing, it’s great, but I read for something different.

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The bad guys by Aaron Blabey

Kate the bad guys

“The Bad Guys” by Aaron Blabey, has been a long sought after series in our house after word-of-mouth in the school classroom, so I borrowed a couple of episodes. Mr Wolf, Mr Shark, Mr Snake and Mr Piranha, the bad guys trying to prove to us they are really heroes, are a big hit. It’s a quick book to read to my eight year old, who thinks it’s hilarious. The comic strip speech style of writing encourages character specific voices (and a Spanish accent for Mr Piranha, of course, as he’s from Bolivia) and much shouting when the text is big, bold and in capital letters like ‘I SAID, BOO HOO. BOO. HOO.’ My eleven year old then takes the book away to read to herself and says she is hooked from the very first page. My kids are eagerly awaiting the next instalment of this entertaining series. (And, me too! I don’t think you have to be a kid to enjoy it.)

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Three men in a boat by Jerome K. Jerome

Amy Three men in a boatThree Men in a Boat is a classic I am only just getting to now. It’s that particular sort of British humour -bumbling, self-deprecating and obvious, mixed with a travelogue, nostalgic for the history of the countryside along the Thames. Quaintly amusing, historically interesting (given that it was written in the 1880s and was looking back) and with a marvellous dog called Montmorency, this is a quick, fun read.

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Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

Amy Jane SteeleI have resisted this book for some time. Jane Eyre is my absolute favourite, and I am not at all keen on it being messed with. In the end, I read enough positive reviews from lovers of the original that I tentatively picked it up. Actually, it’s a lot of fun. Reader, I murdered him. Jane Steele loves Jane Eyre, and while her life has many similarities, and the book is set not long after Jane Eyre, the story is full of twists and turns, and is not a retelling. The language was sometimes a little odd, and it was a bit modern in places, but it is fun and romantic in spirit, and I did enjoy it.

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Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

Caitlin Flora and Ulysses

Flora and Ulysses is a book with a capacious heart and a flying squirrel.

Flora Belle Buckman is a natural-born cynic, lover of comics – especially ones that provide practical advice, with titles like ‘Terrible Things Can Happen To You!’.

Told with a sense of humor, this story about a serious kid who finds adventure in the most unlikely way will make you chuckle, and maybe even cry a little bit. But by the end of the story you’ll be glad you were a passenger on the ride. Continue reading