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If This Gets Out

by Sophie Gonzales & Cale Dietrich

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Most of my Goodreads friends have rated this one 3★, & that is actually a very fair call. I’m giving this one 4 (weak)★, due to my own fascination with boy bands (& to a lesser extent girl bands) & their often toxic world.

& this book does cover this – quite exhaustively actually – what life could be like in a boy band. Exhausting work schedules, closeted homosexuals, management exerting absolute control over every moment of the boys lives, fear of their more extreme fans. All this is documented here. X 2. as Sophie wrote the chapters from Rubens POV, & Cale wrote Zack’s. At the start this made for a very slow telling of the story (more showing & a bit less repetition would have been good) But at the halfway point with fellow band member Angel’s disintegration the pace picks up & there is a good story in there. One reservation I had (& I can’t post because I still haven’t figured out how to do spoiler tags on WordPress)

but the story kicked along at a good pace from then on, & I was able to finish my read quickly. I’ll mention this is my first time reading homosexual love scenes – they were sensitively handled.

My own favourite boy bands. I like the oldies but goodies Westlife & the now defunct Boyzone (this story of a 15 year feud between Shane & Mikey is hilarious though)

Those Irish voices (swoon!)
Out of the current crop I like CNCO the best in spite of the horrifying (to me) way the group was put together. (Like a meat market.)


…although their last couple of singles have been disappointing. The fifth member Joel departed with out rancour last year, & Christopher in particular seems a happy, sunny personality.

I’d recommend this book to boy band fans only.

The Outsiders

by S.E. Hinton

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

I am in a bit of a quandary about how to rate this YA novella, I may still bump it up to 4★,because the ending had such a terrific impact on me.

But a lot of the book (dare I say it) dragged for me – although, of course it was a very sad story.

Three brothers are orphaned young. The eldest, Darry, has given up on his dreams & is working hard, desperately trying to keep what is left of the family together.

This book is told through the eyes of the youngest, Ponyboy (yes that is his name) & it is pretty much unrelentingly depressing & bleak.

The exception is the joy Ponyboy takes in little things like sunsets.

Finished my review & it is still feeling like 3.5★ I’m afraid.

Cold Harbour Gentlemen

by Ann Lee

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The author (aka Abigail Bok) is one of my oldest friends on Goodreads.

Young Harry Steer is being pushed hard, as his father wants him to rise in the world. The endless cramming makes Harry long for adventure – or even for the outdoors! A chance meeting takes Harry along a path that could not only ruin his own life – it could take his family down with him. A smuggler’s life appears glamorous & well paid at first – but everything comes at a cost.

Ms Lee has completely immersed herself in the the world of Darking (now known as Dorking) and has even created a website for this world.  I really enjoyed this adventure, which picked up a lot in the final third. Saying that the ending was a little improbable,  but no matter! Enjoy this rollicking tale!

Next… (Arc for One of Us is Next)

Next… (One of Us Is Lying, #2)

Next… by Karen M. McManus

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was hoping Penguin NZ would give me to chance to read this novel as an arc – and they did! Just as good as a Christmas present! Thanks so much!

Love the Arc cover!

In spite of a few lulls (mostly near the start) I’m going with my overall feeling that this is a 5★ book. Once the story got going I was really engaged and as much as I loved One of Us Is Lying I preferred the character development for previous characters like Maeve and Bronwen in this sequel. I also found the main new characters and the way they worked together (or against each other) far more convincing. The further I got into the book,the harder it was to put down. It was meant to be my holiday read, but I finished it before I went away. All strands pulled together (view spoiler)[ Well…almost. I had a bit of difficulty with Emma’s character and motivation. I also really didn’t like her much. Fortunately I don’t require all characters to be likeable. (hide spoiler)] Fantastic ending, which will have me coming back for more!…

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Book Review: National Velvet

National Velvet

National Velvet by Enid Bagnold

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A very quick review as I’m going away tomorrow.

Not an easy book to classify, but I will go with young adult because of Velvet Brown’s age. (She was fourteen)

I love the interaction of the Brown family and found them all very easy to relate to. I loved seeing a young girl follow her dreams.

But I did find too much just too improbable and I found the book poorly structured (it took till chapter 7 to get going) and with distractions like [ the other five horses that took away from the plot without really adding anything. I will add that although I love to look at horses, I don’t like being with horses. So this book was always going to be a hard sell for me.…

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