A lovely treat through the letter box in Clare Fisher’s All the Good Things. It was a rainy Monday and my kindle battery had died so I looked to my unread book shelf and this caught my eye. From page one I was hooked in Beth’s story – at 21 years old she is in prison, and can only see the bad in herself. When her psychiatrist suggests writing down all the good things she remembers Beth feels she will struggle. Soon however she has remembered her job at the Odeon, Orange Wednesdays, being friends with Chantelle and “your dad”.
It’s not revealed until the end of the book why Beth is in prison, but I felt from reading you could probably begin to get an idea from reading between the lines. In writing her notebook you become immersed in Beth’s life – her struggles with an absent mother, being passed through the foster care system and in believing she’d found love with a married man. When she is pregnant she has little money and becomes embroiled in debt.
It’s difficult not to feel for Beth and by the end I was a little teary at her story – probably had more effect on me being a new mum myself that I could have more of a connection in that way to the character.
A great little page turner for a rainy day!
All The Good Things
Penguin - Viking
Twenty-one year old Beth is in prison. The thing she did is so bad she doesn't deserve ever to feel good again.
But her counsellor, Erika, won't give up on her. She asks Beth to make a list of all the good things in her life. So Beth starts to write down her story, from sharing silences with Foster Dad No. 1, to flirting in the Odeon on Orange Wednesdays, to the very first time she sniffed her baby's head.
But at the end of her story, Beth must confront the bad thing.
What is the truth hiding behind her crime? And does anyone - even a 100% bad person - deserve a chance to be good?
**This article contains spoilers about Flawed, the prequel to Perfect.**
Thanks to the publishers for allowing us an advanced copy of the sequel to Cecelia Ahern’s Flawed Series – Celeste is back in Perfect.
Having enjoyed the first book in the series (Flawed – check out our review for that here: http://compellingreads.co.uk/flawed-cecelia-ahern/), we were excited to get our book wormy hands on the sequel we were so excited for.
In Flawed we left Celeste branded flawed – the most flawed person ever in fact and now having been forced away from her family. In Perfect we pick up with Celeste as an evader, in hiding from the Whilstleblowers and Judge Crevan who are desperate to locate her and bring her under control, for Celeste has become a light of hope to flawed everywhere and she has dangerous information against Crevan himself, which he is desperate to prevent becoming public knowledge.
As Celeste faces challenges in keeping away from those desperate to bring her into line, combined with her determination to bring to light the truth about the Guild and the system that itself is flawed. Can Celeste trust anyone? And will she be able to reveal the truth of her brands and Crevan’s part in them?
In Perfect we see a more grown up Celeste and her relationship with other flawed, especially Carrick. While to some she is a hero, it is a role she is unsure of, one which is forced upon her but due to her nature she can see the ‘flaws’ in the system that is running her society. She herself knows that it is mistakes that people learn from, but in this time it is mistakes that make the flawed outcasts. When those hold up to be perfect seem to be the most flawed in their hatred of difference and selfish motives.
We see Celeste torn between Carrick and Art, who she still believes to have a good heart despite being the son of the person who has changed her life forever. It’s easy again to become lost in this book and I read it within a few hours as it’s simply impossible to put down.
I enjoy Cecelia Ahern’s adult books but I’m in love with this Young Adult series, which is by name and in reality Perfect.
The book highlights very serious issues in an easy to follow way, Celeste acknowledges that no-one is perfect and it is flaws that make people unique and allow people to learn. My favourite quote which sums up this central idea is in chapter 81 which I’d like to end this post with:
“For someone one win, somebody else must lose. For that person to have won they must have lost something in the first place.
The irony of justice is that the feelings that precede it and those which fruit from it are never fair and balance,
Not even justice itself is perfect”
If that wasn’t enough for you, we also have an exclusive extract from the book for you to read – just click the link below:
6th April 2017
The thrilling, shocking and romantic sequel to the bestselling YA debut FLAWED is finally here. When we embrace all our flaws, that’s when we can finally become PERFECT…
Celestine North lives in a society that demands perfection. After she was branded Flawed by a morality court, Celestine's life has completely fractured – all her freedoms gone.
Since Judge Crevan has declared her the number one threat to the public, she has been a ghost, on the run with the complicated, powerfully attractive Carrick, the only person she can trust. But Celestine has a secret – one that could bring the entire Flawed system crumbling to the ground.
Judge Crevan is gaining the upper hand, and time is running out for Celestine. With tensions building, Celestine must make a choice: save only herself, or risk her life to save all the Flawed. And, most important of all, can she prove that to be human in itself is to be Flawed…?
With thanks to the publishers for sending us a copy of this book in exchange for review. I was interested in the description of this book, which bought to mind the books of Dinah Jefferies that I’ve been enjoying recently and I was intrigued to take on another authors take on historical romance.
In the Silk Weaver Liz Trenow introduces us to Anna Butterfield, on the death of her mother she has given up the comforts of her peaceful life tending to her dad and sister and is thrown head first into London life with her aunt – her uncle a silk merchant has a social status which Anna finds she must also step into. She must wear the right clothes and be seen with the right people for a young woman of her status.
However soon on arriving Anna meets French silk weaver Henri and soon through several twists of fates their lives become intertwined in a forbidden romance.
Trenow has managed to weave a wonderful story which immerses the reader in history, I did however find this book a bit slow going to start with and it takes a long time to get into the romance. However once it began I was drawn into the relationship and the book was better for it.
The Silk Weaver
1760, Spitalfields. Anna Butterfield’s life is about to change forever, as she moves from her idyllic Suffolk home to be introduced into London society. A chance encounter with a French silk weaver, Henri, draws her in to the volatile world of the city’s burgeoning silk trade. Henri is working on his ‘master piece’, to become a master weaver and freeman; Anna longs to become an artist while struggling against pressure from her uncle’s family to marry a wealthy young lawyer.
As their lives become ever more intertwined, Henri realises that Anna’s designs could give them both an opportunity for freedom. But his world becomes more dangerous by the day, as riots threaten to tear them apart forever . . .
Inspired by real historical events and characters, The Silk Weaver is a captivating, unforgettable story of illicit romance in a time of enlightenment and social upheaval.
We were absolutely ecstatic to receive a very special bloggers copy of Rowan’s latest novel A Summer of Impossible Things and eager to get lost amongst it’s pages!
In a new turn for Rowan this story explores the possibility of time travel, but in a very clever way. Luna and her sister have lost their mum and are visiting America to sell off her old family home, but the death of their mother has uncovered some major secrets about who Luna is and being back in her mum’s childhood home has some unsettling effects for Luna – she finds she is literally drawn back in time and it’s possible that it’s down to her to change the tragic events of the past and hopefully make a new brighter future for her family.
The plot was very cleverly put together for this story and despite the time travel it was never unclear where you were in time or the story and the plot unwound naturally. I really enjoyed the relationship between Luna and her sister and how Luna supported her sister through her own issues. Luna was selfless in her determination to resolve the issues from the past even though it was clear this could mean she lost herself and her own happiness in the process.
The subplot of Luna’s own love interest in the past was also well done – showing two people drawn together by fate and unexpected circumstance and how they can overcome barriers to find love.
There are very few time travelling novels that I’ve actually enjoyed but I can genuinely add this one to the list. A beautiful book!
The Summer of Impossible Things
29th June 2017
This summer, get ready to believe in Impossible Things with the brand new book from international bestseller, Rowan Coleman. This is THE TIME TRAVELLER'S WIFE for a new generation of readers. Available to pre-order now!
If you could change the past, would you?
Thirty years ago, something terrible happened to Luna’s mother. Something she’s only prepared to reveal after her death.
Now Luna and her sister have a chance to go back to their mother’s birthplace and settle her affairs. But in Brooklyn they find more questions than answers, until something impossible – magical – happens to Luna, and she meets her mother as a young woman back in the summer of 1977.
At first Luna’s thinks she’s going crazy, but if she can truly travel back in time, she can change things. But in doing anything – everything – to save her mother’s life, will she have to sacrifice her own?
With thanks to The Orion Publishing Group for allowing us an advance copy of this book in exchange for review – the third in a series by Becky Masterman, however we’ve not read any of the previous books and had no problem getting stuck into this story reading it as a standalone.
Here we meet Bridget Quinn reminiscing on her first time witnessing someone’s execution and flashing forwards to present day where she winds up travelling to her parents as her dad is gravely ill and reencountering an old colleague who is now desperate to save a man days away from execution on death row. Marc Creighton is accused of the murder of his wife, thanks to some loose fingerprint evidence, and it’s also believed he murdered his children who disappeared the same night.
Marc however has always protested his innocence but can he convince those who want to put him to death in time? Bridget is looking over the case and this turns into a gripping thriller with a race against the clock element – unfortunately at some point the clock runs out but the pace of the story doesn’t falter and there are many more puzzle pieces to fit together before the oh my god twist of an ending!
A fantastic crime narrative and I’m sure to return to this author!
A Twist of the knife
Weidenfeld & Nicolson
8th June 2017
It takes a strong woman to be able to watch someone die.
Brigid Quinn is tough, determined, steely and sharper than sharp. As an ex-agent of the FBI she has seen it all, and survived. But nothing can cut her closer to the bone than family...
When Brigid gets a call from her mother saying her father is in hospital with pneumonia, she decides to check on her former colleague Laura Coleman who is living nearby. Having saved Brigid's life, Laura is now working on an 'innocence project', investigating cold cases. And one in particular seems to have caught her attention. Fifteen years before, Marcus Creighton was accused of killing his wife and three children. Now the state governor has signed the warrant for his execution.
Worried that her friend is getting in too deep, Brigid promises to help. But what if her instincts are betraying her? If she can't even trust her memories of her own childhood, how can she make a call on some stranger's story that took place over fifteen years before?