Sociable Reading: ‘Penguin Bloggers Party’

My Books!

Event: Penguin General Bloggers Party

Who: The friendly people of the Penguin General Publicity team.

What: An evening for book bloggers to mingle and meet authors with wine and free books thrown in for good measure.

Where: ‘The Gallery’, third floor of Foyles Bookstore on Charing Cross Road, London.

When: Wednesday 27th March (it’s an annual event!)

Review:

I had never been to a Blogger party so I was quite unaware of what to expect. Since the venue was just down the road from my work I was a little early. In hindsight an error because it meant that I perused the bookshelves in Foyles resulting in at least ten more new titles being added to my ‘to read’ list.

Not knowing anyone was slightly daunting, however, this feeling soon disappeared as soon as I entered, ‘The Gallery,’ and was greeted warmly by Lija (the main Penguin organiser). Before I knew it I was directed to a name badge and had a glass of red wine in hand. The evening improved immeasurably when I was thrust into a conversation with two authors, Rhidian Brook and Mohsin Hamid, who were both present to treat us to a reading from their latest books. Before the readings began, the ‘Bloggers’ were invited to take any/ as many of the books that were available on the trestle tables, most of these were written by the authors present but there were a couple, ‘Toby’s Room’ by Part Barker included, that I snaffled which weren’t.

After a bit more mingling and the realisation that I needed to have ‘a blogger card’ to hand out, I sat down with my new friend and fellow blogger Sarah (‘Today I’m Reading’), a sack full of books and another glass of wine to listen to the eight authors and the accompanying pianist.

Mohsin Hamid ‘How to get filthy rich in rising Asia’ – the first of our author readings, due to his need to dash off quite quickly, and a very amusing and semi-seductive one! The novel spins the tale of one man’s journey from poverty to business tycoon set in Pakistan. Previously I hadn’t been attracted to the title or the synopsis of the book however, after this little snippet, I knew I wanted to read more, so I grabbed a copy in the interval before it was too late.

Alicia Foster ‘Warpaint’ – as a debut novel this one ticked a lot of boxes. Set in 1942 near the woods of Bletchley Park, the short reading from Foster didn’t disappoint offering up espionage, the Home Front and some strong lady leads sending this novel to the top of my reading list.

Rhidian Brook ‘The Aftermath’ – based on a true story told to him by his Grandfather, Brook’s latest novel tells the tale of post-war Germany, specifically Hamburg. Colonel Morgan is tasked with the reconstruction of a devastated city and finds himself sharing his ‘requisitioned’ new home with its German owners.

I enjoyed speaking to Rhidian immensely, especially finding out more about his background as a scriptwriter. This is his latest novel which is already destined for the big screen thanks to Ridley Scott. I was envious to learn that his publicity tour is taking him off to America and Canada with his daughter acting as his PA – she’s 13yrs old!

Catherine O’Flynn ‘My Lynch’s Holiday’ – an amusing story of a father attempting to reconnect with his son amongst the ex-pat community in Spain. As someone who is somewhat disillusioned when Brits move abroad to just demand British culture with sunshine this is set to be a novel that will tickle my brain cells.

Bernadine Evaristo ‘Mr Loverman’ – one word… hilarious. Evaristo should do audio-books as her humorous and playful voice does complete justice to her novel, which spins the tale of gay love set in contemporary London.

James Robertson ‘The Professor of Truth’ – this poignant reading from Robertson almost caused me to tear-up. His beautiful and tragic novel deals with one man’s experience with the Lockerbie Bombing and his quest to find out the truth. This reading was my favourite of the evening.

Joanna Rossiter ‘The Sea Change’ – her debut novel sounds intense and quite beautiful dealing with the relationship between a mother and daughter who are caught up in a Tsunami and war.

Jonathan Coe ‘Expo 58’ – the final reading was by Mr. Coe whose novel concerns the Cold War period and has been described as ‘A Hichcockian Thriller and political farce.’ The snippet we were treated too was heavy on the toilet humour and bloody hilarious so I will be eager to crack on with this one!

Freebies: Books! I seriously didn’t realise there would be so many to choose from but I came home with quite the haul.

Food: Red wine (or if you preferred white wine or bottles of Peroni) and a selection of pick n mix, olives and various potato based snacks.

This was a really fun evening full of interesting people with author, blogger and vlogger (??) coming together due to a genuine love for books – thank you Penguin and team for the invite!

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

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Easy Listening: ‘Neverwhere’ by Neil Gaiman

neverwhere

Title: Neverwhere

Author: Dirk Maggs’ adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel ‘Neverwhere’

Genre: Fantasy Drama

Publisher: The audio adaptation was by Radio 4 and the book was published by Headline Publishing Group in 2005.

Voices: An absolutely stellar cast including some big names: James McAvoy, Sophie Okonedo and Benedict Cumberbatch,

Broadcast: March 2013 – Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra

Stand alone or Series: A six part adaption of Neil Gaiman’s novel ‘Neverwhere’.

Why: My partner received Neil Gaiman’s ‘Sandman’ series for Christmas last year and has since been promoting the author’s talents.

Where: ‘London Below‘ is a subterranean world so where better than The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town or perhaps Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, Fleet Street? (Both London)

Refreshments: The sinister style of the audio doesn’t make for a great eating environment. However, since it’s set in London how about a good ale!

Review:

Richard Mayhew is a young businessman whose life is looking pretty bright. Living in London, he enjoys a good job and is engaged to a beautiful woman until one simple act of kindness catapults him out of his safe and predictable life and into the world of ‘London Below.’ In this world he finds a city of monsters, saints, murderers and angels. There’s a girl named Door, our leading lady, who is trying to discover what happened to her family and who opens…doors. In his reluctant quest to help Door, Richard also encounters the Angel called Islington, an Earl who holds Court on a Tube train, a Beast in a labyrinth, and a floating market – amongst other dangers and delights beyond his wildest dreams.

James McAvoy is brilliantly cast as Richard, our confused good Samaritan dragged from ‘London Above’. His youthful, Scottish accent translates well to portray the fear and general confusion that Richard feels as well as the rallying strength of the unexpected hero. Another stand-out is Cumberbatch as the Angel, Islington. His acting skills are especially notable in the final episode when his true nature and ulterior motives are revealed into a crescendo of music and rivetingly sinister drama. The voice of Anthony Head took me back to Buffy the Vampire watching days which was slightly disconcerting since his character, one half of sinister assassin team Croup and Vandemar, was a far cry from the kindly Librarian Giles.

The female characters also have exceptional actresses as their vocal counterparts. Sophie Okondeo, creates a convincingly strong character as Hunter, who is famed for her legendary defeat of underground beasts around the world. And Natalie Dormer is well cast as the mythical Door whose character is innocent and tinged with a beautifully portrayed sadness.

Gaiman has exceptional skills in creating different and dark worlds. His use of well-known areas of London to direct us around his fantasy land draws you and entangles you within the drama. This adoption also adds a hint of irony, especially when describing Westminster as a sewer and Knightsbridge as somewhere where your soul can be stolen.

In general, I am not usually one to choose fantasy as a genre. However, I found this immensely entertaining and would urge you to have a listen.

Rating: 9 out of 10 – I will be having a gander at the book

Book Review: ‘The Collector’ by John Fowles

The Collector

Title: The Collector

Author: John Fowles

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Publisher: Vintage Classics; New Edition.

Publication Date: 5th February 2004 (first published 1963)

Paperback: 288 pages.

Stand alone or Series: Stand alone.

Why did I choose to read this book? It was the choice of my Book Club.

Where to read? Due to the sinister nature of the novel I feel staying in a Scottish Castle in winter would make the perfect setting – check out Glenapp Castle!

Refreshments: I didn’t really think about food when reading, I was too disturbed, however, if we’re in Scotland then it should probably be Whisky

Review:

 ‘If she’s with me she will see my good points, she will understand. That was always the idea that she would understand.’

Frederick Clegg is an orphan, withdrawn from society and desperately lonely after a turbulent upbringing involving an alcoholic mother, the death of his father and favourite Uncle and domination of his Aunt. That is until he meets Miranda Grey a confident and beautiful 20yr old art student with whom he becomes obsessed. After winning a sizable chunk of money the seeds of an idea for kidnapping Miranda are sewn and one evening he calmly abducts her with the unwavering belief that she will both understand and learn to love him. 

The two main protagonists take turns in detailing their own points of view. The first section is dedicated to Frederick where, we are given an insight into how his horrific plan develops to the kidnapping. The next section is from Miranda’s point of view, in the format of a diary, and includes a lot of snapshots of dialogue between her and Frederick, who she starts to refer to as ‘Caliban.’ The final section reverts back to Frederick and, without revealing too much, leaves the reader with a chilling aftertaste.  This style of narrative is brilliant for a psychological thriller novel, it paints a picture of both characters mind-sets which is very effective in instigating an emotive reaction and giving greater depth to the situation.

Fowles has created a truly terrifying character in Frederick Clegg and one which will continue to instil fear  even after you’ve finished reading. The way Fowles writes Frederick’s thoughts, in terms of how he justifies things to himself, gives us a deeper insight into a very complex mind. The meticulous planning,  from buying a country house with extensive cellars to the trialling of all possible escape plans,  is both at once fascinating and horrifying. The depth of the description of Miranda’s ‘new home’ enables you to visualize and put yourself in her shoes. At times during Frederick’s accounts I had a physical reaction of repulsion especially during the events when photography occurs, and it was at these points where I felt fear for Miranda.  

It is also through Frederick that Fowles successfully makes the reader completely and utterly frustrated -which isn’t something you always look for in a book but in this case is very effective for the character. Through two events in particular, found in the middle and at the end of the novel, his dithering and predictions of outcomes almost make you want to scream at him, thus effectively placing the reader in the position of Miranda.

Miranda’s diary is a catalogue of musings about why she has been kidnapped as well as the struggle to understand her captor. We are treated to her inner thoughts which vary from using emotional blackmail to sexual advances in order to get to the root of the situation in order to escape. There are continuous extracts of her conversations with Frederick that usually end with rage and vitriol only to boomerang back to needing any kind of human contact no matter how vile. Her repeated ramblings about G.P depict her as someone who is slowly going insane. It shows her constant analysis of life and relationships before the cellar and nearer to the end of the novel these become more and more frequent.  Although Fowles effectively forges an empathy between the reader and Miranda through her more frantic diary entries and underlines the frustrations and  futile attempts to understand Frederick I did find myself slightly bored with this section of the novel.  I feared for Miranda more through the thoughts of Frederick.

This novel was unlike anything I’ve read before and the character of Frederick will certainly leave a lasting memory.  I don’t think there’s been a character that’s made my skin crawl or forced me to talk back (shout!) at a book on so many an occasion – well done Fowles!

Rating: 8.5 out of 10 – genuinely terrifying.

P.S I wouldn’t spoil the book by watching the film but perhaps prepare yourself by a healthy dose of ‘Misery’

Author Q&A: Graeme Simsion ‘The Rosie Project.’

The Rosie Project

I went to the pre-publication launch cocktail party, I’ve read the book and now I’ve got the answers to some of my burning questions concerning Graeme Simsion’s fabulous and hilarious novel, ‘The Rosie Project.’

Q&A with Graeme Simsion

How difficult was it to translate The Rosie Project from a screenplay into the novel we can read today?

Dead easy.  It took me four weeks to write the first draft and just three further weeks to get the manuscript into shape for submission. This was the version that won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript and got me a publication contract. All the hard work had been done in the screenwriting. I just needed to add Don’s inner thoughts, which, though they weren’t on the screenplay page, were firmly in my head.

Did you do much research into Aspergers/ spend time with people with the syndrome?

I spent thirty years working in information technology and also did a stint in academia – as both a lecturer and researcher. I met a lot of people like Don, though few had been diagnosed with Asperger’s. I did read a couple of books on the subject, but the ‘field work’ was much more useful.

Do you see any of your own personal qualities in Don?

Of course, of course! (As Don might say).  I think most of us – particularly men, and particularly men involved in technical professions – have a bit of Don in them. Sometimes quite a bit. And inevitably when you write a character, you unconsciously put something of yourself into him or her.

You mentioned Don was based on people you’ve met in your career. Who or what was the inspiration behind Rosie?

I didn’t have anyone I knew consciously in mind when I created Rosie – I was trying to manufacture a character who was opposite to Don yet had a motivation for being attracted to him (and vice versa). On reflection, there’s a bit of an ex-girlfriend, a bit of a current friend and a bit of my daughter (minus the profanities) in her.

Are the names of the characters in your novels important?

Good question! Yes, I think hard on them. Claudia was originally Lorraine – my editor didn’t like Lorraine, and we kicked a lot of names around. We had to change Carmen to Bianca so we didn’t have two ‘C’s. Dave the baseball fan was originally Dan, which I preferred, but we didn’t want confusion with Don. Gene was suggested by a friend, and it just seemed right, even though in the early draft he was a physicist, not a geneticist. And Don… it’s always been Don. I note that the Asperger’s character in Mozart and the Whale is also Don…

Who would you like to play the role of Don if the book was adapted into a film? – I already know what cocktail he would be!

Pass. Seriously I hate to answer that question because people who haven’t read the book will then have a picture of a character who they may already have views about – “I hated Owen Wilson in Meet the Fokkers / Steve Carrell in Forty Year Old Virgin / Ewan McGregor in Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Woody Allen in Manhattan (just kidding). Above all, someone funny – this is meant to be a laugh-out-loud comedy.

Have you received any negative reactions to your presentation of Aspergers?

No, but I figure it’s just a matter of time. I hoped it would promote discussion, and discussion means differences in opinion. But so far, overwhelmingly, the response from the Asperger’s / Autism community had been positive. Don is a hero – a big change from many of the portrayals of unusual characters as no more than vehicles for the real hero’s learning.

Can you give us a hint on what you’ll be tackling in your next novel?

I’m working on a sequel. Marriage for Don is going to be at least as challenging as courtship. As it is for most of us!

NOTE: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion is published in hardback by Michael Joseph, 11th April, £12.99

Follow Don and Graeme on Twitter! @ProfDonTillman @GraemeSimsion

P.S. I would also like to thank Graeme for being kind enough to answer my questions.

Sociable Reading: Belgravia Books & Michael Jacobs

Belgravia BooksBook ReadingMichael Jacobs

Event: Author Michael Jacobs discusses his new novel ‘The Robber of Memories’ at Belgravia Bookshop.

What: Author Q&A with Michael Jacobs and Robin Bayley.

Where: Belgravia Bookshop, wonderfully quaint nestled in the heart of London.

When: Thursday 14th March ( events are held regularly)

Refreshments: A couple of glasses of nice red and a variety of crisps and cheese twirls

Q&A with Michael Jacobs

How did you get into travel writing?

I was born in Spain and spent most of my childhood visiting Spain and the Basque country. So my life was inevitably building up to a love affair with South America. I became obsessed with travel and was inspired by Larousse’s ‘Age of Discovery and Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez’s ‘100 years of solitude.’ which offered a fantastical world that I wanted to explore.

But in a way I fell into the career after my degree in Art History came to a close after my personal tutor, the somewhat infamous ‘Anthony Blunt,’ was exposed as a wartime spy resulting in me becoming unemployed and unemployable.

What was the inspiration behind ‘The robber of memories’?

A combination of my Grandfather, my parents and Marquez. It’s essential to have a guide in a travel novel as well as to write from internal necessity. My Grandfather fell in love with an Irish woman and then was sent to Bolivia for years until they were reunited in 1914, his memoirs were a strong influence. Also the title and the book is a reflection on memory which was important as my father had Alzeheimers and my mother has dementia.

You met Marquez, how was it to come face to face with your idol?

It was an interesting one. I was aware of his health issues after battling cancer. However, I wasn’t expecting him to have lost nearly all his memory, something which has been kept a secret in Colombia for a long time. It was at Hay’s Literary Festival in Colombia where I met him, however it wasn’t until a more private party that I got the chance to speak to him. What was wonderful was that when I mentioned the ‘Magdalena’ his eyes lit up and he said, ‘I remember everything about the river!’ that was the moment the book changed direction from being a simple travel novel to being one about memory.

How do you feel about the genre of travel writing?

It has become more and more marginalised. Relegated to the top floors or basements of bookshops. The internet has made travel writing almost redundant, and travel journalism is out of date. It’s become more about ‘where is there left to write about?’ rather than people writing about what they’re really passionate about with a boyish enthusiasm. In order to survive as a travel writer you have to cross genres, break genres become more ambitious, in my latest novel it’s not just about the Magdalena River but about memory and psychology.

What’s your next book about?

It’s not about travel isn’t my next one, it’s about a painter called Deigo Velazquez the painting is the starting point but it deals with a journey through history and Spain as well as partly autobiographical.

If you could go anywhere, where would you go?

Unfortunately as you get older you realise that you won’t make it to every country in the world or even every place you wish to go. Saying that I would love to do Mexico properly.

Michael Jacobs is a fascinating author to listen too and similar to David Attenborough in terms of the entertaining and varied life experiences he has to tell. He really does have an enviable life and shows no sign of running out of his so-called ‘Boyish Enthusiasm,’ and zest for the traveling life.

The Robber of Memories is available to purchase now and if the author is anything to go by it’s sure to be a fascinating read.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Book Review: Magda by Meike Ziervogel

MagdaMeike Ziervogel

Title: Magda

Author: Meike Ziervogel

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher: Salt

Publication Date: Friday 22nd March (£9.99)

Stand alone or series: Stand alone.

Why did I choose to read this book? I am fascinated by the history of Nazi Germany and Fascism of the mid 1900’s so the subject of Magda Goebbels, of whom I previously hadn’t studied specifically, held a particular interest.

Where to read? If you don’t have your own library then head here for a bit of peace and quiet mid-week: Queen Charlotte’s Cottage

Refreshments:This is quite a shocking read so a nice strong Quinta de la Rosa Tawny Port is ideal!

Synopsis:

This is a unique dissection of Magda Goebbels, the female role model of the Third Reich and wife of Hitler’s propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. Meike Ziervogel attempts to explain the psychology behind the history of this multifaceted woman using historical research and her own imagination. The result is a fascinating insight into complex mother-daughter relationships that culminated in the murder of the Goebbels children in Hitler’s Bunker in 1945.

Q&A with Meike Ziervogel

What inspired you to write about such a difficult topic?

There are a number of reasons why I was drawn to write about Magda Goebbels. The starting point was a very personal one: 18 years ago, when I gave birth to my first child, a daughter, I struggled for two years to embrace motherhood. Since then I  have often wondered what would have happened if I had not made the emotional connection to my role as a mother? What if I had never grasped the idea that my daughter was offering me a chance to grow personally? What if I had never taken responsibility for my desire to be both a mother and a career woman? I looked around for a dramatic story to explore those ‘if’s’. Magda Goebbels caught my attention. I soon realised that I had found a compelling example of a mother-daughter tragedy. The failure of Magda’s mother to connect to her daughter paved the way to a flawed maternal relationship in the next generation. Magda Goebbels was not able to perceive her children’s reality and lives as separate from her own – and acted accordingly.

Furthermore, I hope that with ‘Magda’ I help to correct a bias towards books about Nazi men to the exclusion of Nazi women who officially did not commit crimes but in my view are equally culpable. And thirdly, writing this book also allowed me to look at  my own German history critically but with understanding.

What research did you do to create the story?

I went to the British Library and read literature by and about the Nazis, including Hitler’s Mein Kampf, Ian Kershaw’s Hitler biography and My German Mother by Niklas Frank (a book which hasn’t yet been translated into English). However, I found the literature that came a generation earlier and influenced the Nazi writings far more useful. I have in mind such books as Houston Stewart Chamberlain’s The Foundation of the 19th Century  and the German novelist Karl May (Hitler’s favourite writer). I also immersed myself in German philosophy, such as Fichte and Nietzsche, and the German Romantic writers, such as Tieck, Novalis, E.T.A Hoffmann. All these writers proved very useful in understanding the Nazis’ usage of language.
I also drew a lot from my experience as a mother and as a German.

How much of the story is non-fiction?

All the scenes, thoughts and feelings of the characters are fiction. However, not merely are Magda, Joseph and their children historical figures, but also her mother and Magda’s first husband and her affair with  Zionist Chaim Arlosoroff. Other historical facts: Magda spent some years as a child in a Catholic convent in Belgium, Auguste married a Jewish merchant. Magda wanted to leave Joseph Goebbels and Hitler talked her out of it. Joseph, Magda and their children spent their last days in Hitler’s bunker. At the end of the war Magda was physically sick. Since 1942 she had suffered from heart problems and Trigeminal neuralgia (a nerve disorder that causes a stabbing or electric-shock-like pain in parts of the face) that left half of her face paralysed, in addition to severe depression and heavy consumption of alcohol and cigarettes. Hitler married Eva Braun in the bunker. Furthermore, Magda’s mother was interviewed after the war and I read a few short extracts.

How did you decide to structure the chapters – in terms of each one coming from a different female’s viewpoint?

From the start I knew I didn’t want to create a narrator who analyses or pretends to know the answers. My aim was to create an interplay between the characters and the reader without any mediation. I then decided to use different female voices. Each of these voices comes from a different aged woman: Magda as a small child, Helga as a teenager, Magda as a mature woman, Magda’s mother as an elderly woman. All of these different voices could be one woman. I do believe that our experience of the world is very often filtered through the voices of the people closest to us.

What emotions (if any) did you have when researching and also writing about Magda Goebbels?

During my research I wanted to understand why anyone could have followed the Nazi doctrine. I had to allow myself to approach this subject without condemnation. Furthermore, while I wrote Madga, I as the writer had to emphasize with my character, otherwise I couldn’t have written the book. Why? Because I wanted to draw a three dimensional human being. I did not want to portray her as a monster or glamorise her.  We can only learn from history if we understand that the Nazis committed their crimes because they were humans. But ultimately, of course, Magda Goebbels does not deserve our sympathy, because she was a grown up woman who not only could have made different choices – and decided not to –  but who also failed to respect her children’s rights for life.

 Have you always been interested in this area of history ?

I grew up with stories about the Red Army ransacking Germany at the end of the War. One of my subjects for Abitur (German A-level equivalent) was History and I chose as a focal point The Third Reich. After school I decided to go to Israel. I thought as a German it is important to see Israel. I lived there for a year.

Rating: 9 out of 10 – I found this a truly unique, fascinating read and one which has prompted me to seek out more literary studies and research on Magda Goebbels.

P.S. I would also like to thank Meike Ziervogel for being kind enough to answer my questions and offer me a deeper insight into her novel.

Book Review: Is it just me? by Miranda Hart

Miranda Hart

Title: Is it just me?

Author: Miranda Hart

Genre: Autobiography

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Publication Date: 11th October 2012

Paperback: 336 pages

Stand alone or Series: Stand alone

Why did I choose to read this book? I love Miranda!

Where to read? A bit fancy perhaps but afternoon tea for two for one at Claridges

Refreshments: Lots of pots of tea and chocolate, caramel digestives

Review:

The autobiography of the comedienne Mirada Hart famous for appearing in her self-titled TV show Miranda and who has since been crowned the Queen of Comedy at the British Comedy Awards. Her self-deprecating and endearing style of honest comedy has made her a national treasure and definitely a woman after our own hearts.

The book is structured as a three-way (naughty) dialogue between Miranda, her 18 year old self and the reader. The chapters centre around different life topics like holidays and dating and are written in the style of a self-help book. Each chapter is punctuated with Miranda’s own personal embarrassments, interruptions from her younger self and frequent tea breaks culminating in a ‘to-do list for her ‘dear reader chum.’

The book reads as a literary adaptation of her TV show and similar to the Miranda show her humor sometimes misses the mark and borders on the unbelievably cringe. There were legitimate laugh out loud moments and I did recognize myself in some of the descriptions of her thought processes, especially in regards to the office stationery cupboard. However, I expected her autobiography to have more substance. The continual slapstick content became quite monotonous and also came across as slightly implausible that so many calamities could afflict one individual.

The upside to the novel is that Miranda is attempting to make women less self-conscious about the pitfalls of social situations. She successfully does this in the trademark style that has endeared her to the female nation. Her frank and at times brutal honesty effectively highlights the fact that things like, toilet roll on your shoe or your skirt tucked into your knickers, will all happen to the best and most coiffed of us eventually.

However, the second downside, for me, were the frequent breaks in the story for Miranda to have a dialogue with her younger self. I wasn’t expecting these and quite honestly they were unnecessary and rather awkward. A lot of the time I skimmed over these sections to get back to the main point of the chapter.

There were high expectations for this debut novel and as much as I love Miranda and feel that she is a fantastic role model for women I wanted more of the ‘real’ Miranda and less of the character. This book was ‘what I call’ disappointing.

Rating: 5 out of 10 – missed the mark.