Wednesday, 29 June 2016
Parker Grant doesn't need perfect vision to see right through you. That's why she created the Rules: Don't treat her any differently just because she's blind, and never take advantage. There will be no second chances.
When Scott Kilpatrick, the boy who broke her heart, suddenly reappears at school, Parker knows there's only one way to react – shun him so hard it hurts. She has enough to deal with already, like trying out for the track team, handing out tough-love advice to her painfully naive classmates, and giving herself gold stars for every day she hasn't cried since her dad's death. But avoiding her past quickly proves impossible, and the more Parker learns about what really happened – both with Scott, and her dad – the more she starts to question if things are always as they seem.
Not If I See You First illuminates those blind spots that we all have in life, whether visually impaired or not.
This is a YA book but don't let that put you off reading it at any age. I really enjoyed this book.
To begin with Parker is blind but that isn't the mainstay of the book, its about so much more and in essence so grown up with all that she and her friends deal with.
For a lot of the book I forgot I was reading a YA book - obviously all the main characters are teens but the dialogue and emotions are so mature that I just forgot. There was only one part about a third of the way through where it did turn into a little like "Mean Girls" and I did think I am too old for this! But it was a blip because the slice of Parker's life we get to witness is really amazing.
Each morning Parker and her friend Sarah hold "Home Office" where they listen to people's problems and give advice. Except that Parker really lets loose with no holds barred "advice". I found this aspect of the book really interesting. Parker is also a runner - without a guide! Then there is the romantic side of Parker but I didn't feel it ever got immature or gushy in that respect, again it was a very mature outlook.
I love the way that the writer almost accidentally referred to what for a blind person is a major thing - people moving things from where they normally are. The writing was really so sympathetic and understanding of what a blind person goes through that I thought they had more experience than is revealed at the end of the book in the acknowledgements.
I'm giving this book 5 out of 5 stars.
My thanks go to Netgalley for a copy of this book to review.
Monday, 13 June 2016
Eighteen years ago your baby daughter was snatched. Today, she came back. A sinister and darkly compelling psychological thriller from the No.1 bestselling author of The Girl With No Past. Eighteen years ago, Simone Porter’s six-month-old daughter, Helena, was abducted. Simone and husband, Matt, have slowly rebuilt their shattered lives, but the pain at losing their child has never left them. Then a young woman, Grace, appears out of the blue and tells Simone she has information about her stolen baby. But just who is Grace – and can Simone trust her? When Grace herself disappears, Simone becomes embroiled in a desperate search for her baby and the woman who has vital clues about her whereabouts. Simone is inching closer to the truth but it’ll take her into dangerous and disturbing territory. Simone lost her baby. Will she lose her life trying to find her?
This is the second book by Kathryn Croft that I have read and reviewed. You can find the review for The Girl With No Past here.
This book really caught my attention from the beginning - what happened?, who took Helena? and what relevance did Grace have to all of this? Lots of questions - no answers....
Unfortunately the characters themselves were a little wooden and one dimensional, but as I was racing through the book to find out what had happened it didn't really matter. I wasn't too bothered about getting to know the characters, just to find out what was going on. The author certainly keeps your attention throughout the book with lots of twists and turns.
Every time I felt the author had missed a point, or had made a continuity error, the next sentence cleared it up - it felt like I was keeping track of what was going on. Basically was the baby who had been abducted 18 years before still alive?
It is probably unfair to the author, but ever since reading "Fight Club" I will never let a novel make me think what it wants me to think! I'm always second guessing and deciding that is what the author wanted me to think, but I know better! I have to say with this book I thought I knew who the perpetrator was, but I think probably it was the author leading me to think that in some double bluff kind of way.
Alongside the present day narrative there is a story being told from another perspective - a sort of flashback, except you have no idea who the character is. It's a little creepy as you feel this other story is closing in around Simone and she's going to be engulfed by it too. I admit to reading this parts of the book super quick as they are not for the faint hearted.
My only slight reservation with the book is that Simone seemed hell bent on putting herself in situations where no one knew where she was - I know she was not in a fit state of mind to be reasonable, but down right stupid did not seem to fit the character only the story line.
I'm not sure what I feel about the ending of the book - sad? happy sad? It's another little twist waiting for you to get to it!
I'm giving this four out of five stars. My thanks go to Netgalley for a free copy of this book to review.
Saturday, 11 June 2016
A novel inspired by the author’s experiences with his autistic son, Zac
A wonderful life affirming debut that will make you, laugh, cry and smile
The rights sensation at the Frankfurt Book Fair, twenty territories (and counting) sold
A BOY MADE OF BLOCKS
Published on 1st September 2016 | Hardback and eBook price £12.99
MEET THIRTY SOMETHING DAD, ALEX… He loves his wife Jody, but has forgotten how to show it. He loves his son but doesn’t understand him. Something has to change. And it needs to start with him.
MEET EIGHT-YEAR-OLD SAM… Beautiful, surprising, autistic. To him the world is a puzzle he can’t solve on his own.
But when Sam starts to play Minecraft, it opens up a place where Alex and Sam begin to re-discover both themselves, and each other… can one fragmented family put themselves back together, one piece at a time?
A Boy Made of Blocks an astonishingly authentic story of love, family and autism. Fans of About a Boy, Us and The Rosie Project will love this heart-warming, heart-breaking & wonderfully funny debut from an exceptionally talented new writer.
So, there are a few novels now that have autism as their theme and I have probably read all of them. However, to say you've read one you've read them all is a very narrow view - autism affects different people in different ways and therefore each story is unique.
I've just finished reading this book and had to read the last couple of chapters with tears streaming down my face. Not because it was sad - it was just incredibly moving and I felt like I was there in the book taking part in the wonderful journey that Sam and Alex were on.
To step back a little, when I began the book I immediately liked the writing style. It is so effortless to read, the story just unfolds before you. I admit I didn't care for Alex at first, he seemed so shallow and running away from everything, but as time went on I began to really get to know him and his son Sam and learn a lot about Minecraft. Although Minecraft is a main theme in the book, you don't have to know anything about it to understand it, I had only heard of the name.
There is also a reason Alex is running from everything - he's been running a long time and that part of the backstory was heartbreaking to read. There are a few different stories that support the main one, but they didn't detract from it just added to the interest. Most of the book is about relationships - with family, friends - people you just met, it's very diverse.
You get to know all of the characters as they are so well developed. Not just the main characters, but all of them even down to the teachers at the schools, you immediately know what they are like, you can relate and identify them. I would love to meet Alex's Mum - I really enjoyed her character.
This is a book that will stay with me for a long time - so insightful and down to earth. I would urge you to read it - you won't be disappointed.
I'm giving this book 5+ stars. I don't think I've ever done that before - I've just invented a new score on my star rating system!
My thanks go to Little, Brown Book Group and Netgalley for allowing me to read an advance copy of this book.