Monday, April 25, 2022

Playlist For The Dead by Michelle Falkoff

Here's what Sam knows: There was a party. There was a fight. The next morning, his best friend, Hayden, was dead. And all he left Sam was a playlist of songs, and a suicide note:

For Sam - listen and you'll understand.

Here's what Sam knows: There was a party. There was a fight. The next morning, his best friend, Hayden, was dead. And all he left Sam was a playlist of songs, and a suicide note: For Sam - listen and you'll understand.

As he listens to song after song, Sam tries to face up to what happened the night Hayden killed himself. But it's only by taking out his earbuds and opening his eyes to the people around him that he will finally be able to piece together his best friend's story. And maybe have a chance to change his own.

Part mystery, part love story, and part coming-of-age tale in the vein of Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Playlist for the Dead is an honest and gut-wrenching first novel about loss, rage, what it feels like to outgrow a friendship that's always defined you - and the struggle to redefine yourself.

I grabbed this book from my local library’s ebook collection, as my daughter brought it home from school. When she told me what it was about I asked if she’d like me to read it alongside her too, like a buddy read, in case she had questions really. So we have both been reading and chatting. She’s 13, and has autism, so I wasn’t sure how she would manage with the themes in this one.

The main theme is suicide. You find out very quickly that Hayden has taken his own life, and it’s his best friend Sam who finds him. The rest of the book is about grief, bullying, friendship, and loss, and it’s been written in quite a good way for young adults to learn about these things without it being too much. I liked the way each chapter was the name of a song, all the songs from the playlist Hayden left for Sam. It’s made me listen to them, and I know my daughter found a playlist for this book and she’s been listening too.

I enjoyed it, gave it 4 stars, and would happily read more YA like this alongside my daughter if she wanted me to.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

PS I Still Love You by Jenny Han

 Lara Jean didn't expect to really fall for Peter. But suddenly they are together for real - and it's far more complicated than when they were pretending! A risque video of the two of them has been posted online. WillLara Jean ever live it down? Peter is spending more and more time with his ex. Has he stillgot feelings for her? A boy from Lara Jean's past has returned, and so too have her feelings for him. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once? Only one thing is certain: falling in love is just the easy part!

I read this one a while back now, and forgot to review it! I love these books, and the films, so I do read the characters in the voices (and faces) of the film actors and actresses, but it’s not a bad thing imagining Noah as Peter.

I enjoyed this book, not as much as book 1, but still really good. I loved the addition of John Ambrose, he threw some stuff up in the air didn’t he! I loved him in the movie too. I also really enjoy the scenes with Stormy! She’s a brilliant character, very straight and to the point, and I can imagine her being so much fun to be around.

LJ’s family are still here, and things are changing slightly with new romances, and a friendly neighbour. Noah is adorable, I love him, and I root for him and LJ all throughout, even though I know how this whole thing ends.

If you like easy romance books, this one is one for you. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

A Slice of Heaven by Sherryl Woods (Sweet Magnolias book 2)

Dana Sue runs the best restaurant in Serenity, but still can't get her too skinny daughter, Annie, to eat. When Annie lands in hospital, Dana Sue must turn to the man she loves to hate: Ron, the husband who took her heart with him when she threw him out. Ron is still Annie's white knight, even if he's decidedly more tarnished in Dana Sue's eyes. But sometimes life picks strange ways to mend fences, and Ron still looks good enough to eat, and maybe, just maybe, to forgive...

Once, Ron made the mistake of letting Dana Sue go without a proper fight. But he has always loved her and now she is about to get another taste of sweet devotion from a man hungry for that slice of heaven he found with her.

This is book 2 in the Sweet magnolias series. It was really good, and again I could picture the characters so clearly, but again as their tv show actors. Not a bad thing though. This book is based on Dana Sue, and her relationship with daughter Annie and ex husband Ronnie. I love Ronnie in the show, and I was excited to read their story, especially as this book is so different to the show, the storyline doesn’t even happen. Annie has Anorexia, and ends up in hospital with a cardiac arrest due to her not eating, It was a really good storyline, and one that was dealt with very well by the author. 

Also alongside that is the side story of Dana Sue and her diabetes which keeps popping up from time to time. I have diabetes so it was good to read a character with the same issues (like wanting cake when you shouldn’t have it).

I’m definitely going to keep on with the series, next up for Serenity is Ms Helen’s story!

Stealing Home by Sherryl Woods (Sweet Magnolias book 1)

Maddie Townsend might live in a town called Serenity, but there's been nothing calm or peaceful about her life since her marriage broke up.

This stay-at-home mum has no job skills, an out-of-control sixteen-year-old son, a talkative fourteen-year-old who's suddenly gone silent, a six-year-old daughter whose heart is broken, an ex-husband whose younger girlfriend is expecting their baby and two best friends who think she's somehow qualified to help them open a fitness spa for women.

But this is nothing compared to the chaos that ensues when she discovers that her son's sports coach has feelings for her and the whole town disapproves. Maddie's faced a lot of challenges lately with strength and resolve, but Cal Maddox may turn out to be more than she can handle. Then again, he could just be the one man who can help her find serenity.

Let’s start off by saying I love the Netflix Show Sweet Magnolias, and after devouring season 2 really quickly, I had to jump into the books. I was worried I wouldn’t enjoy the books with watching the show first but wow, how different are the show and the book! 

I read somewhere that the first season follows the first 3 books, and then the show took its own direction. There were some similarities, and some parts of the book I remember being in the show, but there were so many things going on that didn’t happen in the show, which made it really enjoyable.

I love the three main ladies, and yes I did read all of the characters in the actresses voices. Maddie is such a strong woman, how she sticks up for herself, puts her kids needs before anything else, and in the face of everything that is going on. Dana Sue is warm and caring, she likes to feed people and make them happy, which sounds right up my street. Miss Helen is fiesty, she seems like someone you definitely want in your corner.

It’s a fast moving story, but easy to follow. Lots of romance, sweet kisses, and warm hugs. I’m excited to jump into the next book.

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Paper Towns by John Green