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Midsummer Dreams/Sweet Nothings Alison May

Two book reviews in one

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Midsummer Dreams

Book Blurb

Four people. Four messy lives. One night that changes everything …
Emily is obsessed with ending her father’s new relationship – but is blind to the fact that her own is far from perfect.
Dominic has spent so long making other people happy that he’s hardly noticed he’s not happy himself.
Helen has loved the same man, unrequitedly, for ten years. Now she may have to face up to the fact that he will never be hers.
Alex has always played the field. But when he finally meets a girl he wants to commit to, she is just out of his reach.
At a midsummer wedding party, the bonds that tie the four friends together begin to unravel and show them that, sometimes, the sensible choice is not always the right one.

My review

I make no apology that I like Shakespeare, but not reading the plays – seeing them as they were meant to be seen – On the stage. Not that I get much chance these days, but in my youth I was lucky enough to spend time in Stratford-Upon-Avon and that’s where I first saw this play being performed.

Therefore I was intrigued to see just how the writer, Alison May could translate such a bright, and in truth confusing story into modern day language, but she managed. I think it helped that she decided to use multiple voices, separating each by chapter or else the reader would have had no chance! What with the King and Queen of the Fairies and well as the four confused lovers I don’t thing Shakespeare ever intended for his plot to be emulated. However I’m all for the retelling of the classics, especially if they are done with both style and humour.

Well done Alison!

Sweet Nothings

Book Blurb

Would you risk everything for love?
Independent, straight-talking Trix Allen wouldn’t. She’s been in love once before and ended up with nothing. Now safely single, Trix is as far away from the saccharine-sweet world of hearts and flowers as it’s possible to be.
Ben Messina is the man who broke Trix’s heart. Now he’s successful the only thing rational Ben and free-spirited Trix see eye-to-eye on is the fact that falling in love isn’t part of the plan. But when Ben’s brother sets out to win the heart of Trix’s best friend, romance is very much in the air. Will Trix gamble everything on love and risk ending up with zero once again?
A modern retelling of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. First novel in the 21st Century Bard series.

My Review 

if Sweet Nothings was a movie it would be a Richard Curtis comedy with Colin Firth in the lead, I can even see that reindeer jumper!

i don’t usually give more than a four star to romances. Why? Because it’s very difficult to produce a plot or churn out characters that haven’t been churned out before – the rehashing of popular historical works has been done to death. One only has to look at the beloved works of Jane Austin to see that (Zombies indeed!)

That said this does get the five stars from me.

There are shades of genius here reminiscent of David Nicholls One Day. This isn’t because of the backwards, forwards plotting that moves the story forward in bite sized chunks with flashbacks, this is thanks purely to the delicious character of the male lead, Ben Messina. Ben is socially awkward, you know the type – he only opens his mouth to change feet! Here is a character we all love to hate. He’ll stand us up because he forgets the time, he won’t buy us flowers (only post-coital knickers), there’s no question he’ll remember our anniversary, maths professor notwithstanding. However he’ll do his best – a male lead that will, no, can only do his best – Pure genius!

 

 

 

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Awakened by Autism: Andrea Libutti MD

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Andrea Libutti began the work of reconstructing herself after her oldest son was diagnosed with severe autism several years ago. Distraught and seemingly hopeless at the time, a series of unfolding events moved her from sleepwalking through life toward a personal journey of inner transformation. She immersed herself in research surrounding the causes and treatments for autism, and after several years of learning she has come to understand the disorder from a physical, emotional, and spiritual perspective.
In Awakened by Autism, Andrea shares her journey and the knowledge she has gained along the way. She believes that the masses of children diagnosed today with autism are here to teach us some important lessons about the world we have created. Humanity has gotten off track, leaving our bodies and our planet overburdened with toxins, and our families exhausted, stressed, and broken. It is for these very reasons that autism has emerged as an epidemic and a calling for humanity to wake up. We cannot continue to deplete our planet and our souls and still expect our children to thrive. Awakened by Autism is a practical guide for healing our children—and a starting point for healing our selves and our planet.

My review

The interesting thing about this book is that it’s a mum and a doctor striving for the best for her son. I’ve read many books on the subject, but this is the first where the expert is also a parent of a child with this diagnosis.

I’ve talked about a silver bullets for Autism in a previous book review – It’s indeed heartbreaking that there seems to be no one answer to cure or treat, but in a way it makes sense.

If you go to the doctor with a broken leg the surgeon pieces it together again. If you go to the doctor with hypothyroidism you’ll most likely be given Thyroxin or something similar. Why? Because your GP/ the staff at A&E see these conditions day in day out – With Autism ‘When you’ve seen one case of Autism you’ve seen one case.’

But that said there is still work to be done, children to be cared for and hope to be had.

Inspiring

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The Quality of Silence – Rosamund Lupton

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Book Blurb

On 24th November Yasmin and her deaf daughter Ruby arrive in Alaska.

Within hours they are driving alone across a frozen wilderness

Where nothing grows

Where no one lives

Where tears freeze

And night will last for another fifty-four days.

They are looking for Ruby’s father.

Travelling deeper into a silent land.

They still cannot find him.

And someone is watching them in the dark.

My review

i was lucky enough to read an ARC of Rosamund’s book over May Bank Holiday. I had so many plans for that weekend and very few of them materialised when I got my nose stuck into this amazing read.

I’m not sure whether the character driven narrative alternating between voices drew me in because of the skill of the writer or the evocative setting, but whatever the reason I raced through this tome in less than a day. It was simply unputdownable (that should be a word by the way!)

Apart from the writing the research was impeccable – From the description of hearing loss, life in Alaska to even the signs of stroke you could just tell that this took a long time to prep before the first word hit the page.

Rosamund is quickly earning a place amongst my favourite writers.