Fragment by Warren Fahy

fragmentWelcome to Henders Island where many weird and wonderful new creatures run amoc. An island separate from the rest of humanity where life has evolved in a different form.

It’s not a place I would wish to visit for my holidays, although the novel certainly makes for entertaining reading. It’s action packed drama all the way. It’s not a novel with deep characterisation, but it’s exceptionally gripping and a complete page turner. I really can see this transferring to the big screen very well as it very much puts me in the mind of Jurassic Park. It’s really thrilling and keeps you on your toes. I found it well written and easy to follow although it did require some imagination to conjure up the animals in my mind, but actually that was quite fun.

The last 100 or so pages of the book took me a little by surprise as I was not expecting the course that the book took. It was all good though!

If you want all out action and you can appreciate a deviation from reality I suggest you read this. It’s a great entertaining read.

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Kicked Out by Richard W Hardwick

kicked outThis is the tale of sixteen year old Danny who is made homeless when kicked out of home by his parents after disappearing for two days after his sixteenth birthday.

I started this and really wasn’t sure it was going to be to my taste, but I was glad to be proved wrong. I found the writing style easy to read, but initially it was interspersed with other bits of writing that made the story a little difficult to follow, but this became less over the course of the book. I found that initially Danny came across as a very shallow young lad, but after being made homeless and then finding himself a place in a young people’s hostel I started to see another side to Danny appear. He makes a pal there called Goocher, although finds himself sharing a room with a ’smackhead’ Paul. Lots of fighting happens at the hostel along with drugs, sex and drink, but we also see the camaraderie of the young people and how they will look out for their pals.

When Lucy comes into the picture we can really start to see the softer side to Danny and it makes you feel so sad that his own family have become dysfunctional.

I found that through the story I really started to root for Danny and really hope that he could pull his life around and make something of himself. I then start thinking about life on the streets and those that are homeless. Many probably have much they could give to society, but with their upbringings and hardships that they have had to face make this an almost impossible task for them.

Overall I would say this is a novel that really draws you in and can help you understand the lives of those less fortunate than yourself and I felt could make you think under different circumstances “that could be me!” I have certainly been surprised by other’s behaviour (people that I think I know well) when they have been put under a certain set of circumstances and so I know that people can be a mix of many things depending on their situation. I think this is a book that will stick with me for sure and it’s certainly one that I would recommend.

Published by:  Burning House

RRP: £7.99

Learning Disabilities by Etta K Brown


An interesting book where the first part looks at how the nutrition, sleep deprivation, parental care and physical, psychological and emotional trauma can have an affect on how a child can and is able to learn. With both my children having difficulties with reading and comprehesion I thought it would be an interesting read. I always thought that the suicide of their father would have affected their learning although much of the time no evidence was seen of this, but my daughter was having difficulty before this, but upon her father’s death concentration at school did certainly become much more of an issue and this type of trauma is certainly, suggested by the book, to take it’s toll on the child. It has twice been suggested by teachers at different schools that she may have dyslexia as she seems to have many of the traits, but even though she has been tested twice there has been no definite diagnosis.

The second part of this book is very much geared to the American school system and seems to thoroughly cover all the options open to parents with regards to the choices available to them for the child with learning difficulties. I would see this as a very good resource for them.

The third part covers the forms of processing disorders including visual and auditory problems that learning disabled children may have and it appears that a child can be weak in the visual or auditory field. It appears that my daughter has some weaknesses in both these areas along with parts of the others. Fortunately her school appears to be working wondefully with her and she is a much more confident student of late. I really like the way this third part of the book was laid out and I felt it really gives an understanding to the problems these children/students face. The author also gives strategies for dealing with these issues in and out of the classroom.

I can see that the author has issues with Ritalin being given to those diagnosed with ADHD and from my limited knowledge I do have to agree.

All in all an informative book and well worth reading.

Publisher: Langdon Street Press

Once Upon a Time in England by Helen Walsh

once upon a time in englandThis novel is set in the 70’s and 80’s in the Northern town of Warrington and folllows the lives of a mixed race family: The Fitzgeralds.

My initial thoughts were what a beautiful writing style and straight away I wondered where this story would lead for Robbie and Susheela. Reading further on I was surprised the direction the book took and about 100 pages in I wasn’t sure where the story was heading at all, but oh my goodness 200 pages in and I was totally hooked – I began to feel it was like car crash reading though. It feels like one of the most miserable but enchanting tales I’ve ever read.

Half way in I was finding this quite a depressing read and I was waiting for something positive to happen to lighten it up. I didn’t really like She or Robbie as characters and most stories that I really enjoy I find I connect with the characters and so I feel this book is unusual for me.

Moving, harrowing, disturbing, depressing and thrilling are the words I would use to describe this book. Utterly compelling reading through each time period. Well worth reading. Also the ending was not completely a negative experience. I would definitely read more by this author.


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Gutted (A Gus Drury Novel No. 2) by Tony Black

guttedGus is a hard headed, but soft hearted ex journalist and alcoholic and we meet him again in this second outing from Tony Black. The owner of a pit bull terrier, that savaged and killed a little 3 year old girl, is found murdered on an Edinburgh hill by Gus, as he just happens to stumble upon him whilst he was investigating a ruckus involving some thugs torturing a dog, which then decides, after being rescued, that he’s Gus’s best friend! Gus decides to investigate the murder and finds himself being targeted by the police for the crime and to make matters worse his ex Deb is about to marry one of them.

Another cracker of a read; I again couldn’t put the book down and I read it in a very short time. The pace and action is unrelenting and we get to see more of what made Gus’s relationship with Deb’s tick. I find myself feeling like fighting along side Gus all the way when coming up against his enemies and I’m a pacifist, but the injustices and cruel beatings are hard to take, although at times Gus does seem to take them in his stride.  Some of the reading was a little difficult to read because of the subject matter surrounding the fighting pit bulls, but don’t let that put you off. An excellent gripping read. Number 3 please Mr Black!!!

I highly recommend this book!



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Living Like You Mean It: Use the Wisdom and Power of Your Emotions to Get the Life You Really Want by Ronald J. Frederick

feelingThis is a book aimed at those people who are out of touch with their feelings and emotions, although anyone may gain from reading it. The book explains that many people are afraid of their emotions (feeling phobia) and truly do not accept them and will rationalise in their head, with their thoughts, as the emotions can be too strong for them to deal with. The book advises really feeling those feelings and emotions through the body and to leave the thinking for later. It gives examples of people and their lives and looks at the influence of their upbringing with regards to how they deal with emotions.It then gives advice how to deal with the fear and accept your own emotions in full.

I found this an interesting book, well written and easy to follow and understand. I have read some similar books before and I wasn’t sure that this one added too much to what I’d already read – however it did make me realise that, at times, I am too quick to rationalise things other people do before feeling fully the emotion I have felt because of what they have done, and so it’s definitely given me food for thought and next time I have a roaring emotion, caused by someone else’s action, I’ll try to bear with it and let the thoughts happen later and see how it feels. I would certainly recommend it to anyone that has difficulties with their emotions and connections to other people, especially if they’ve not read anything in this area before. I can certainly imagine it could be of great use to people who had a very cold upbringing and really have never ever gotten to grips with their feelings as from childhood their emotions have been pushed away. If everyone could learn to connect with others as this book suggests the world would be a better one.

Publisher: Jossey-Bass (March 3, 2009)

All These Lonely People by Gervase Phinn

phinn1I loved this little book; I thought it was a really touching and moving read that drew you straight into the story. It follows some of the characters from the song Eleanor Rigby by the Beatles, as Mr Phinn chose to see how they might have lead their lonely lives. I thought Father McKenzie was a beautifully drawn character and I really wish the world was made of more characters like him, although I don’t feel they would all need the religious element as I believe people of varying types could have the characteristics, understanding, compassion and ability to see the good in everyone as does Father McKenzie. I really recommend this and being a quick read it’s easy to fit in to a busy life.



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