THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE by Muriel Spark #bookreview #tuesdaybookblog

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THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE by Muriel Spark

Goodreads Blurb

‘Give me a girl at an impressionable age, and she is mine for life…’

Passionate, free-thinking and unconventional, Miss Brodie is a teacher who exerts a powerful influence over her group of ‘special girls’ at Marcia Blaine School. They are the Brodie set, the crème de la crème, each famous for something – Monica for mathematics, Eunice for swimming, Rose for sex – who are initiated into a world of adult games and extracurricular activities they will never forget. But the price they pay is their undivided loyalty …

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is a brilliantly comic novel featuring one of the most unforgettable characters in all literature.

My Review 

Miss Jean Brodie is an eccentric Edinburgh teacher in the 1930s. She selects a set of six girls who are each famous in their own ways – Monica for mathematics, Eunice for swimming, Rose for sex – to take under her wing throughout their school years. Her ways of interacting with the girls begins quite unconventionally and progresses to extremely adult and inappropriate extracurricular activities. In return for Miss Brodie’s special treatment and the added style and popularity the girls receive as being part of the exclusive Brodie Set the girls remain completely loyal to their mentor until one of them betrays her in the worst possible way.

THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE is only a short novel, but I still found it a bit of the chore to read. Jean Brodie did have many comedic moments, but I just found her to be an incredibly irritating character. She was often cruel and childish and I could never figure out why she was so invested in her girls. I also wondered why none of the other teachers or the girls’ parents didn’t seem to notice there was something off about her.

This book is part of the David Bowie Reading Challenge #DBowieBooks

1. 1984

2. The Great Gatsby

3. The Gnostic Gospels

4. A Clockwork Orange

5. Lady Chatterley’s Lover

6. The Art of War

7. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Links

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Book #review: PERSON’S UNKNOWN by Susie Steiner @SusieSteiner1

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PERSON’S UNKNOWN by Susie Steiner

Goodreads Blurb

The sequel to Susie Steiner’s bestselling MISSING, PRESUMED

Manon has settled back into life in Cambridgeshire with her adopted son Fly. She’s perfectly happy working on cold cases until a man is stabbed to death just yards from the police station, and both the victim and the prime suspect turn out to be much closer to home than she would like. How well does Manon know her loved ones, and are they capable of murder?

My Review

MISSING PRESUMED is the sequel to the DS Manon series. You can read my review of the first novel of the series MISSING PRESUMED here. Manon Bradshaw has settled into the family life with her newly adopted teenager son, Fly. They have left London to settle in with her sister, Ellie, and Ellie’s young son in Cambridgeshire while Manon works the more boring, but far less dangerous and intense, cold case department and turns to IVF so that she can have her own child. Of course, things don’t remain dull and boring for long and Manon is caught up in a new murder mystery that seems to involve somebody from her happy little family.

I really enjoyed the mystery side of PERSON’S UNKNOWN. There were plenty of twists and turns and I was genuinely surprised when the killer was finally revealed. I did find the IVF pregnancy a little bit out of character for Manon and definitely, but overall it was a great crime thriller and will look out for the novel in the series. Four stars!

Links

Susie Steiner

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Book #Review: Ache by Eliza Henry Jones @ehenryjones

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Ache by Eliza Henry Jones

Goodreads Synopsis

A year ago, a devastating bushfire ripped Annie’s world apart – killing her grandmother, traumatising her young daughter and leaving her mother’s home in the mountains half destroyed. Annie fled back to the city, but the mountain continues to haunt her. Now, drawn by a call for help from her uncle, she’s going back to the place she loves most in the world, to try to heal herself, her marriage, her daughter and her mother. 


A heart-wrenching, tender and lovely novel about loss, grief and regeneration, Ache is not only a story of how we can be broken, but how we can put ourselves back together.

My Review

Ache will make you feel every emotion under the sun. A must read for everyone!

Ache is set one year after a bushfire destroyed Annie’s family and Australian mountain home. Annie is still trying to pick up the pieces of her life after riding her horse through the fires to save her child only to lose her beloved Grandmother and unwillingly become the face of the fires after her photo became splashed all over the media. Annie is trying to make her marriage work with her husband, Tom, and heal her traumatised daughter, Pip, in their home in the city. She decides to head home to the mountain where her family and small town friends are still battling to recover from the devastation of the fires.

This fire in this story is fictional but I think most Australians will be able to relate to the trauma of a small town dealing with the aftermath of a devastating bushfire. I have been lucky to be relatively untouched by bushfires but I still understand the fear of fire (or flood!) and can imagine the trauma of being right in the middle of it all and how difficult it must be to pick up the pieces of your life after a fire sweeps through and destroys your entire life. Bless everybody experiencing something similar right now.

Eliza Henry Jones has studied English, psychology and grief, loss and trauma counselling and completed a thesis exploring bushfire trauma in fiction. She has crafted a beautifully written and emotional novel that deals with a wide range of themes with grace and ease.  Now I understand why everyone I know has raved about this book and am so happy to add my rave review to the list!

Details

Title: Ache

Author: Eliza Henry Jones

Published: Published June 1st 2017 by Harper Collins (first published May 22nd 2017)

ISBN: 1460750381 (ISBN13: 9781460750384)

Pages: 256

Genre: Contemporary Australian Fiction

Source: Publisher

My Rating: 5/5 stars

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Unrivaled by Alyson Noel

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Goodreads Synopsis

Layla Harrison wants to leave her beach-bum days for digs behind a reporter’s desk. Aster Amirpour wants to scream at the next casting director who tells her “we need ethnic but not your kind of ethnic.” Tommy Phillips dreams of buying a twelve-string guitar and using it to shred his way back into his famous absentee dad’s life.

But Madison Brooks took destiny and made it her bitch a long time ago.

She’s Hollywood’s hottest starlet, and the things she did to become the name on everyone’s lips are merely a stain on the pavement, ground beneath her Louboutin heel.

That is, until Layla, Aster, and Tommy find themselves with a VIP invite to the glamorous and gritty world of Los Angeles’s nightlife and lured into a high-stakes competition where Madison Brooks is the target. Just as their hopes begin to gleam like stars through the California smog, Madison Brooks goes missing. . . . And all of their hopes are blacked out in the haze of their lies.

Unrivaled is #1 New York Times bestselling author Alyson Noël’s first book in a thrilling suspense trilogy about how our most desperate dreams can become our darkest nightmares.

Details

Title: Unrivaled (Beautiful Idols #1)

Author: Alyson Noel

ISBN: 0062324527 (ISBN13: 9780062324528)

Published: May 10th 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books

Pages: 420

Genre: Mystery, Romance,  Young Adult, Contemporary

Source: Own Copy

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

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My Thoughts

Fun beach read!

Unrivaled is the first novel in the Beautiful Idols trilogy by Alyson Noel. The novel focuses on three people vying to win Ira Redman’s Unrivaled Nightlife promo competition. Ira owns several Hollywood nightclubs and the competitors score points based on how many celebrities they can bring into Ira’s clubs and how famous those celebrities are.

Layla dreams of becoming a journalist but currently runs a celebrity blog called Beautiful Idols.

Aster feels stifled by her wealthy but conservative Persian parents and aspires to become an actress.

Tommy has just moved to Hollywood from Oklahoma and dreams of becoming a famous guitarist and showing up his father who doesn’t even know he exists.

Madison Brooks is a star actress and worth the highest amount of points in Ira’s competition. As the novel progresses it becomes clear that there are dark secrets in Madison’s past. Madison’s story is where the mystery comes into play.

Unrivaled is a really fun read, perfect to take with you to the beach. 

There is quite a lot of character development and back story throughout the beginning and middle of the novel and a bit of a slow buildup before all the action starts to take place. This is something I enjoy but I think some mystery fans might find it a little bit too slow for them.

I also loved that the chapters are all named after songs. I found that fit in really well with the Hollywood setting of this novel.

There is quite a lot of character development and back story throughout the beginning and middle of the novel and a bit of a slow buildup before all the action starts to take place. This is something I enjoy but I think some mystery fans might find it a little bit too slow for them. The action starts to heat up towards the end of the novel, just in time to leave you dying to know what happens after the crazy cliffhanger. I’ll definitely need to check out the next book in the series to find out!

 

Review: Best Seller by Terry Tyler

Short, sweet, and full of twists! bestseller.jpg

Best Seller is about three women who are striving to become bestselling authors. They are all part of the online writer’s group, the North Norfolk Novelists.

Jan is factory worker with serious money issues thanks to her ex who ran up massive credit card debts and left her high and dry. She needs her novels to be successful but doesn’t have the money to spend on editing, proof-reading, or cover design and this hurts her book sales.

Becky is happy with the moderate success of her novels, although of course she would love to write a bestseller one day.

Eden is already a huge success with a lucrative publishing deal at 23 thanks to her shady father’s money and connections.

I don’t want to give too much of the plot away because it is packed with plot twists, but I absolutely loved Best Seller. It provides an interesting glimpse inside the realities of being an author and just how difficult it can be to gain success and recognition. Thank you, Terry, for another brilliant read!

Description

Three women, one dream: to become a successful author.

Eden Taylor has made it—big time. A twenty-three year old with model girl looks and a book deal with a major publisher, she’s outselling the established names in her field and is fast becoming the darling of the media.

Becky Hunter has money problems. Can she earn enough from her light-hearted romance novels to counteract boyfriend Alex’s extravagant spending habits, before their rocky world collapses?

Hard up factory worker Jan Chilver sees writing as an escape from her troubled, lonely life. She is offered a lifeline—but fails to read the small print…

In the competitive world of publishing, success can be merely a matter of who you know—and how ruthless you are prepared to be to get to the top.

BEST SELLER is a novella of 40k words (roughly half as long as an average length novel), a slightly dark, slightly edgy drama with a twist or three in the tale.

Details

Title: Best Seller

Author: Terry Tyler

Published:  March 14th 2016

AISN: B01CXA2K8E

Genre: Literary Fiction, Suspense

Pages: 155

Source: Review copy from author

My Rating: 5/5 stars

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Review: The Yearbook Committee by Sarah Ayoub

The Yearbook Committee is being described as this generation’s The Breakfast Club and I theyearbookcommitteecovercan see why! The setting for this novel takes place in a private school. Five Year 12 students are thrown together onto the yearbook committee and we get to read about their progress over the entire school year.

The story is told from the perspective of each of the members of the yearbook committee who are all dealing with their own personal issues while they are completing their final year of high school. Despite the fact that almost none of them are on the committee by choice they gradually form friendships with each other and put together a pretty amazing yearbook.

The Yearbook Committee tackles some serious issues. Bullying is a major theme, and it’s the kind of insidious, relentless gossip that is unfortunately far too common among females. It can be so difficult to pinpoint or deal with and I think Ayoub did a brilliant job of depicting it realistically. This kind of bullying has always been around in high schools (and some workplaces!), but it can be so much worse when it moves online. The problem with the internet is that everything on it is permanent and public. So, unlike the pre-internet days when you could go home from school and it didn’t exist bullying now follows teenagers everywhere they go, even when they graduate! Apologies for the rant here, but it’s a subject dear to my Internet Communications geek heart. Getting back on topic, brilliant job by the author to raise such an important issue in the language that teenagers will pay attention to!

This novel also tackles such issues as family and peer pressure, mental illness, self-esteem issues, gender stereotyping and questions about friendships, decency and life after school. And it is all presented in a non-preachy and brilliant story with interesting and well-developed characters that teenagers and YA fans will fall in love with. Bonus points from me because it was set in Sydney with many references to my hometown, Melbourne. And yes, Charlie should definitely visit Lord of the Fries when she goes to Melbourne for the weekend, but not with Pete because he’s a jerk!

Description

‘smart, funny and relevant’ – Melina Marchetta, bestselling author of LOOKING FOR ALIBRANDI, SAVING FRANCESCA and ON THE JELLICOE ROAD

Five teenagers. Five lives. One final year.

The school captain: Ryan has it all … or at least he did, until an accident snatched his dreams away. How will he rebuild his life and what does the future hold for him now?

The newcomer: Charlie’s just moved interstate and she’s determined not to fit in. She’s just biding her time until Year 12 is over and she can head back to her real life and her real friends …

The loner: At school, nobody really notices Matty. But at home, Matty is everything. He’s been single-handedly holding things together since his mum’s breakdown, and he’s never felt so alone.

The popular girl: Well, the popular girl’s best friend … cool by association. Tammi’s always bowed to peer pressure, but when the expectations become too much to handle, will she finally stand up for herself?

The politician’s daughter: Gillian’s dad is one of the most recognisable people in the state and she’s learning the hard way that life in the spotlight comes at a very heavy price.

Five unlikely teammates thrust together against their will. Can they find a way to make their final year a memorable one or will their differences tear their world apart?

Details

Title: The Yearbook Committee

Author: Sarah Ayoub

Published:  29 February 2016 HarperCollins Publishers Australia

ISBN: 9780732296858

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Pages: 304

Source: Review copy from HarperCollins Publishers Australia

My Rating: 5/5 stars

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Review: A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

Horrorshow raskazz with lashings of ultraviolence! clockwork

A Clockwork Orange is a modern classic. Published in 1962, it depicts a frightening dystopian future where youths hopped up on drugs run riot in the streets and terrorise people in their own homes. Alex, our humble narrator, is one of those youths.  Even though it is obvious he knows better, he is determined to continue on his merry way wreaking havoc with his droogs (friends), until they set him up and he is sent to prison. Alex undertakes an unusual and horrifying form of ‘therapy’ which makes him physically unable to perform or even think about acts of violence and is unceremoniously discharged from prison and left to fend for himself.

This novel raises some important questions about the matters of free will and choice. Is it morally ethical to remove a person’s ability to choose their own behaviour? How about when it means they will cease to commit acts of violence against others? Clearly the message this novel conveys is that is unethical to remove a person’s free will. I almost began to feel sorry for Alex when he was first released from prison and was unable to defend himself, but I soon got over that when he went straight back to his old ways as soon as he was able to.

The Final Chapter

My edition does contain the final chapter which is missing from many versions, as well as Stanley Kubrick’s film. I found it to be a bit of let down. I liked the idea of Alex deciding to change his ways, but thought the way he reached his decision was a bit unbelievable. It didn’t gel with anything we’d heard from him previously to just up and decide to be good for no other reason besides he wants a wife and child one day. Of course, I believe anyone can change, but there usually needs to be some kind of motivating event. Like maybe an actual wife and child.

Besides from that, it’s a must read. The made up language, nadsat, can be difficult to get into. I found this nadsat dictionary very useful for the first few chapters, but it is quite easy to get into the hang of it.

EDIT 24/02/16

I forgot to include my David Bowie song to match A Clockwork Orange. Obviously it’s Girl Loves me!

 


Description

“What we were after was lashings of ultraviolence.”

In this nightmare vision of youth in revolt, fifteen-year-old Alex and his friends set out on a diabolical orgy of robbery, rape, torture and murder. Alex is jailed for his teenage delinquency and the State tries to reform him – but at what cost?

Social prophecy? Black comedy? A study of free will? A Clockwork Orange is all of these. It is also a dazzling experiment in language, as Burgess creates “nadsat”, the teenage slang of a not-too-distant future.

Details

Title: A Clockwork Orange

Author: Anthony Burgess

Published: 1962

ISBN: 0241951445 (ISBN13: 9780241951446)

Genre: Classics, Sci Fi, Dystopia, Literature

Pages: 141

Source: Own Copy

My Rating: 4/5 stars

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This book is part of the David Bowie Reading Challenge #DBowieBooks

Books Read: 4/100

1984

The Great Gatsby

The Gnostic Gospels

A Clockwork Orange