Thursday, 8 December 2011

Debut Author Challenge 2011

I've signed up for the 2012 Debut Author Challenge hosted by The Story Siren. The aim of the challenge is to read and review a minimum of twelve young adult or middle grade debut novels in 2012.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Mystery & Suspense Reading Challenge 2012

I have signed up for the Mystery & Suspense Challenge hosted by Book Chick City. I'm planning to read at least 12 mystery and suspense novels in 2012 for this challenge.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Dark Matter by Michelle Paver

Dark MatterSynopsis: Out of nowhere, for no reason, I was afraid. My skin prickled. My heart thudded in my throat. My body knew before I did that I was not alone...

London, 1937. Jack is poor, lonely and desperate to change his life, so when he's offered the chance to join an Arctic expedition, he jumps at it. Spirits are high as the ship leaves Norway and at last they reach the remote, uninhabited bay where they will camp for the next year.

But the Arctic summer is brief. As night returns to claim the land, Jack feels a creeping unease. One by one, his companions are forced to leave. Soon Jack will see the last of the sun, the sea will freeze and escape will be impossible.

And Jack is not alone. Something walks there in the dark...

My thoughts: Dark Matter is written in the form of main character, Jack's journal and follows his journey from the first moment he meets his expedition companions for a drink in London right through until just before he is rescued from the Arctic. After that point, Jack refuses to write in his journal but we get a narrative from inside his head instead, which brings more urgency in one of the more action filled parts of the story.

Over the course of his Arctic expedition Jack changes as a character. At the start of the novel, in London, he is a solitary person who is quite looking forward to the peace and stillness of the Arctic. But by the time he is truly alone in the Arctic wilderness he realises what it's like to have friends and he realises that he does need people after all.

I wasn't really sure about the 'ghost' that Jack was seeing. I couldn't work out if it was real or if it was his imagination playing tricks on him because he was alone in an endless night. But whatever it was, the author built up the tension really well and as I was reading I had a strong feeling that something bad was about to happen. It was the sort of feeling where I didn't want to turn the page because I was scared, but had to carry on because I was desperate to know what was coming next.

This is one of those books where although it seems like a straight-forward ghost story, there's definitely a psychological element too as Jack seems to slide into madness. A great book for anyone who enjoys a good scare now and then!

Received for review on behalf of WHSmith's

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Midwife On Call by Agnes Light

Midwife on CallFrom the back cover:Agnes Light trained as a nurse in the 1960s and went on to become a midwife - helping to bring new lives into the world for over thirty years.

After fainting from shock at the first birth she attended as a student, Agnes eventually grew to adore her job and the lifelong friends that worked with her on the maternity ward. In her enchanting memoir, she recalls how she struggled at first with the strict rules of hospital etiquette, and the expectation that she would always know the right thing to do - from dealing with hysterical fathers to miracle multiple births - Agnes quickly learnt she had to keep a cool head whatever the circumstances.

This is a heartwarming portrait of a thoughtful and compassionate midwife. Funny poignant and rich with period detail Midwife on Call traces Agnes's touching journey from squemish pupil to assured professional.

My thoughts: This is a really interesting memoir about the author's time as a midwife, from the start of her training and through her career as a nurse and as a community midwife. Before reading this book I didn't know much about what midwives did, or even very much about childbirth in general. This book certainly taught me a few things that I didn't know. I was even quite shocked by some of the attitudes of medical professionals mentioned in this book.

The book is written in quite a laid back style and reading it feels like having a chat with an old friend as the author shares interesting and funny anecdotes about births she has attended.

I'd definitely recommend this book for anyone interested in a career in nursing or midwifery. But even if you're not interested in those careers you'll still enjoy this book.