Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Alice and the Fly – James Rice

Contemporary Fiction 3*'s
Contemporary Fiction
3*’s

Meet Greg, a teenage boy with a phobia of spiders or THEM as he refers to them, a social outcast, or the psycho as his classmates call him who has a kindly English teacher who suggests that he keeps a journal. The story told in that journal is a sad one as it documents days where he has no meaningful contact with anyone, including his family. At times the journal refers to events in the past, Greg has an ideal place, Finner’s Island somewhere that contains happier memories for him, but from excerpts from police interviews it becomes apparent that something happened on Finner’s Island way back in the past when Greg was a small boy.

This isn’t a bad book but nor does it deliver on the promise of the author of love and hope because I didn’t get either of these elements. The love aspect is Greg’s fixation with a girl, Alice. Now Alice barely seems to notice him for the majority of the story but despite that Greg details her father’s actions, he works with him at a butchers, spends nights in her garden feeding her dog Scraps and goes on bus journeys just to see her. Alice, like Greg appears to have some issues including family ones so I completely bought into the fact he was obsessed with her but love, no this wasn’t a love story. That brings us onto hope, this book made me feel sad, a family whose life was taken over by mental illness, a young boy who has no real hopes and dreams and from his journal we can assume that he is on strong medication. His father absents himself with work and women and his mother distracts herself with social climbing and decorating and his younger sister Sarah dances her way away from the misery in the house.

The writing is captivating to begin with, I wanted to know more about Greg and we get a sense of how he manages his phobia, school life and his part-time job courtesy of his parent’s wealthy friends all of which was excellently portrayed. The journal is broken up with some excerpts from the police interviews with his peers, family and teachers, and these gave a different view of this boy who was consumed with his own thoughts. I’m not a big fan of monologues and the format chosen didn’t give the writer any other possibility, I’m sure that this in part added to the feeling of claustrophobia of Greg’s world and for the reader to become immersed in it, but if I’m honest all the description and disjointed thoughts began to get too much for me and I just wanted some of the adults around him to get him some help. The only form of therapy he had was the chats with his teacher! Surely someone who had been diagnosed with a mental illness and was being medicated would have slightly more medical support?

In the last section of the book the writer picked up the pace, the journal style works so much better when there are actions to describe rather than just thoughts and I was keen to know, and understand, what happened!

I’m sure that this will be a popular read, there are lots of good points and the writer is clearly talented and has used his experiences as the ‘weird kid’ to write some affecting prose which would make an excellent choice for a book club read.

I’d like to thank the publishers Hodder & Stoughton for allowing me to read a proof copy of this book which was published on 15 January 2015.

Posted in Weekly Posts

Teaser Tuesday (January 13)

Kindle,jpg

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser this week is from Alice and the Fly by James Rice

Alice and the Fly

Blurb

This is a book about phobias and obsessions, isolation and dark corners. It’s about families, friendships, and carefully preserved secrets. But above everything else it’s about love. Finding love – in any of its forms – and nurturing it.
Miss Hayes has a new theory. She thinks my condition’s caused by some traumatic incident from my past I keep deep-rooted in my mind. As soon as I come clean I’ll flood out all these tears and it’ll all be ok and I won’t be scared of Them anymore. The truth is I can’t think of any single traumatic childhood incident to tell her. I mean, there are plenty of bad memories – Herb’s death, or the time I bit the hole in my tongue, or Finners Island, out on the boat with Sarah – but none of these are what caused the phobia. I’ve always had it. It’s Them. I’m just scared of Them. It’s that simple. Goodreads

My Teaser

Later, after my fitting and my vomiting and the seemingly impossible task of regaining my breathing, my father had said that they can sometimes ride their webs like paragliders, floating for miles on the wind. He saw it once on a documentary. He said they were fascinating creatures. Then he saw Mum and I staring up at him and he stopped saying things and went back to bed.

This is proving to be an interesting read, there are some interview notes between the police and one of our protagonist’s classmates so I’m eager to find out how all of this fits together.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Please leave the links to your teasers in the comments box below.

Posted in Weekly Posts

Musing Mondays (January 12)

Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer each week…
• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!
• What are you currently reading? What do you think you’ll read next? What did you recently finish reading?

We are now more than a third of the way through January so how many of you who made bookish resolutions have kept them? I don’t make resolutions and I certainly wouldn’t publish them as in no way do I want to be held accountable for my failings. However I do want to read more of the books I’ve chosen for myself this year rather than allowing them to disappear further down the TBR pile.

So how have I done so far? Well I’ve read 4 books, 1 Novella and 1 short – out of those 4 books were review copies, the novella was A Hank of Hair and I bought this copy in September 2014. The short, Broadchurch: The End is Where It Begins which doesn’t really count as towards any total being just 17 pages long was purchased and read on the same day!

My other reading has been done on-line where I have been browsing The Proceedings of the OLD BAILEY 1674 to 1913 which is absolutely fascinating!!  The link I have provided is about a fourteen year old girl consorting with soldiers against her mother’s wishes. The mother has her charged with stealing a shawl in what appears to be revenge for her disappearance. I started by browsing randomly, there are multiple search terms you can use, and  have been shocked by the number of charges there are for bigamy, it appears that in the absence of easy access to divorce men and women just remarried hoping that their previous marriage wouldn’t be discovered!

I am currently reading another review copy Alice And The Fly by James Rice

Alice and the Fly
Blurb

This is a book about phobias and obsessions, isolation and dark corners. It’s about families, friendships, and carefully preserved secrets. But above everything else it’s about love. Finding love – in any of its forms – and nurturing it.
Miss Hayes has a new theory. She thinks my condition’s caused by some traumatic incident from my past I keep deep-rooted in my mind. As soon as I come clean I’ll flood out all these tears and it’ll all be ok and I won’t be scared of Them anymore. The truth is I can’t think of any single traumatic childhood incident to tell her. I mean, there are plenty of bad memories – Herb’s death, or the time I bit the hole in my tongue, or Finners Island, out on the boat with Sarah – but none of these are what caused the phobia. I’ve always had it. It’s Them. I’m just scared of Them. It’s that simple. Goodreads

I have recently finished Runaway by Peter May

Runaway

Blurb

In 1965, five teenage friends fled Glasgow for London to pursue their dream of musical stardom. Yet before year’s end three returned, and returned damaged. In 2015, a brutal murder forces those three men, now in their sixties, to journey back to London and finally confront the dark truth they have run from for five decades.
Runaway is a crime novel covering fifty years of friendships solidified and severed, dreams shared and shattered and passions lit and extinguished; set against the backdrop of two unique and contrasting cities at two unique and contrasting periods of recent history. Goodreads


My review will be posted later this week.

Next I am planning to read another recent purchase, probably Taunting The Dead by Mel Sherratt

Taunting The Dead

Blurb

Nine out of ten murders are committed by someone the victim knows. So when Steph Ryder has her head bashed in within earshot of her family and friends, D.S. Allie Shenton begins her investigation close to home.
Soon the lies, backtracking, and secrets multiply as each of the suspects tries to cover up their actions on that fateful night. Before long, Allie homes in on Steph’s ambitious and powerful husband, Terry. Convinced he’s hiding something, she interviews him again and again—only to find that she is falling, despite herself, for his smooth charms.
As the trail grows hotter, along with Allie’s feelings, the web of deceit pulls tighter and more bodies begin to pile up. Allie must race against time to uncover the shocking truth before she becomes the killer’s next victim. Amazon


How is 2015 shaping up for you in 2015?

What are you reading this week?