Book Reviews: June 2014

june books
Just a few books to report on this month – I did get “stuck” on one for a while, so it took me longer than usual to read, which was annoying because I’d got up to date on my Goodreads reading challenge and that got me behind again! I have been fairly busy too with starting running and getting into sewing my circle skirts too this month, so haven’t sat down and read very much, usually only the occasional lunch break at work and half an hour in bed. Again, linking to the books this month because apparently that was useful last week, and on with the reviews.Daddy’s Little Princess by Cathy Glass – 8/10 (Kindle version
I tend to read Cathy Glass books as quickly as I can whenever I’ve found she’s published another, hence the fact that I have in the past reviewed six of them on the blog (reviews: Another Forgotten Child, My Dad’s a Policeman, Will You Love Me, and Please Don’t Take My Baby, A Baby’s Cry and I Miss Mummy). Though the subject matter can be difficult to deal with, they’re very quick reads for me. This one follows Cathy when she has only just begun fostering and has two young children herself. It isn’t as harsh as other books, as Beth, aged 7, comes from a home where her daddy, who loves her very much according to the girl’s reports, is staying in hospital recovering from a mental breakdown. It explores the concept of “emotional incest”, which isn’t necessarily harmful for the child at the time, but can have a huge impact on their future relationships if continued. It was very interesting to read as it explains another method of abuse that isn’t frequently talked about. The book also sees Cathy’s marriage breaking down too alongside the main storyline. If you like books about fostering or Cathy Glass’ other novels, you’ll definitely like this one too, and I would recommend it.

The Last Human by Ink Pieper – 6.5/10 (Kindle version) (reviewed via NetGalley)
Okay, yes, it’s pretty clear from the title that this is another dystopian future – I know! Also another one that sees the world decimated by a virus concocted by human hands, but this time on a larger scale as it is used been different nations’ warfare. It doesn’t focus much on the virus itself, but rather the impact on a smaller scale on a group of young people, watching the world through the eyes of Clay who is taken from his home and held in one of the worst facilities where he is tested, beaten and battered, kept in a tiny dark cell. There is, of course, a girl involved who he escapes with, but here is where it changes slightly from other dystopian novels, in that there doesn’t appear to be a light at the end of the tunnel throughout pretty much all of the book. There is a pretty big twist too towards the end which actually really confused me, but was very interesting indeed. I did enjoy reading it, but often found the story could be a little bit strange and confusing – it did bring across the atmosphere of a dying world very well though, and I suppose it makes sense as the characters struggle through a world they no longer understand.

The Sweet Girl by Annabel Lyon – 5.5/10 (Kindle version)
I picked this a while ago off Amazon because it mentioned that it was about the world of Ancient Greece and Aristotle’s daughter, which sounds just about right for me, plus it was one of the Kindle deals. The book opens with a “cast” of characters; people have commented that some of the names are confusing and to be honest, even with my pretty extensive knowledge of Ancient Greece (I did do a degree in it!), some of the names were weird, a couple were similar and I ended up mixing them up occasionally. Pythias, the main character, truly is her father, Aristotle’s, daughter, spending her younger years outdoing his friends at dinner parties and helping him dissect creatures for his studies. She certainly doesn’t conform to the standards that women in Ancient Greece should uphold. Then, banished from Athens, the family, including her father’s mistress, her younger brother and a layabout cousin, flee to a small town, where her father soon falls ill and passes away. The family is split, and Pythias has to learn to live without the protection that having a father brings, and she flits between places including the family home where the servants run amok, a temple to a goddess, the chambers of a strange house owned by a woman with three “daughters” and the care of a midwife. It was definitely interesting to read about Ancient Greece from this point of view, and see what life might have been like for a woman of her standing, but I found the story to be convoluted and have no clear purpose at times. I often couldn’t figure out where things were going, but I suppose it was probably more realistic than other novels as it followed a more daily kind of life.

The Nightmare Place by Steve Mosby – 7.5/10 (Kindle version) (reviewed via NetGalley)
This was a pretty good crime mystery novel that had me thinking a bit, scared in parts, and shocked at others. It follows two main characters: DI Zoe Nolan, the lead police investigator on a case of women being beaten, raped and finally murdered by the “Creeper” who has a troubled past which is introduced to us in the prologue, and Jane Webster, a volunteer at a “listening” helpline, who receives a call from a man claiming that he is carrying out the crimes. The opening chapter (after the prologue) was pretty fantastic, I have to say – read it to see why, but I loved it. The story definitely kept me interested, unveiling clues here and there as to who the Creeper is and why he’s doing this, although there were also other parts that I found to be a bit random to be honest – there were parts inserted into the novel that were unconnected until the end, but of course this made it quite clear due to the fact that they had nothing to do with what was going on at the time that the characters in these parts would be important later, so was a little obvious in those aspects. I did find the characterisation of Zoe excellent, with parts of her history slowly coming out through the book to connect her then with her now, and to explain the way she acts and treats other, particularly in the relationship with an old policeman friend who she cares for. I would recommend it, but certain bits could have been put together a bit more slyly so as not to give anything away too early.

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