Tag Archives: America

The Other Girl by Erica Spindler. Review 

Phew! What a roller coaster ride. I haven’t read such an engaging, well written thriller in a while. 

The Other Girl is authored by Erica Spindler best known for her ability to jump between genres, beginning with Mills & Boon style romances, fitting in some of her delicious crime thrillers featuring The Malones and Stacey Killian and even fitting in some cross genre crime/sci fi fiction with her Lightkeepers series. 

This new novel features a brand new detective Miranda Rader and I really hope that we get to see some more of Miranda in the future. Miranda comes from a troubled background, after getting busted for possession of pot when she was 15 and spending some time in juvenile prison, Miranda turned her life around and became a police officer. 


Miranda is brought in as lead detective to investigate the murder of a professor at the local university. Son of the prestigious President of the University, the pressure is on to find out who killed him in such a brutal way. As Miranda begins to put together the pieces which may link the dead man to a terrifying night from her past, suddenly she’s gone from Apple of the Chief’s eye to a suspect. The only people who seem to be on her side are her partner Jake and her best friend Summer who owns a bar (with a really cool name!) The Toasted Cat. 


But who can Miranda trust, it’s clear somebody is setting her up but who? Then she remembers there was another girl there that night, another girl who knows what happens and who exactly covered it up… but who is The Other Girl? 


This was a well written and fast paced novel. Erica has a wonderful way of writing and throws in particularly good red herrings, I’m not ashamed to admit that I fell for one of them hook, line and sinker. But there’s a sadness to this novel too as it shows how a woman must struggle in a man’s world, how someone who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks can be manipulated and disbelieved and the corruption within law enforcement, where money can buy you anything. 

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. Review 

I’ve read a few of John Green’s books now. Obviously I read Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns and this is my third one. 
I must admit I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much. Too much use of languages and mathematics which meant I had to refer to the footnotes which could be quite distracting. Overall though I found the concept interesting. 

Colin is what is known as a child prodigy. That doesn’t mean he’s a genius just that as a child he learnt things and excelled at them much faster and easier than other children. Surprisingly this is something I can relate to at least in terms of reading although I’ve never really been good at anything else. In a way it satisfied me to learn that like me Colin being a prodigy doesn’t mean he was ever going to amount to anything special just because he had certain talents. 

Colin has a thing for girls called Katherine. Not any other variation like Kat, Kate or Katie or even Catherine it has to be Katherine. He has dated and been dumped by 19 of them and when he’s finally had his heart ripped out by Katherine the 19th his friend Hassan decides that they should go on a road trip to cheer him up. 

On the road trip they end up at a small town called Gutshot in Tennessee where they meet trainee paramedic Lindsey Lee Wells and embark on a journey of self discovery and anti-coolness. 

The banter between the three friends is enjoyable and the writing is terrific I feel that John Green, without stating the obvious really knows how to write in a way which appeals to teenagers. 

3* overall. 

Review: Underground Airlines

Wow.
Just wow.

This is probably the hardest review I’ve ever had to write. Mainly because this is one of the best books I’ve ever read and believe it or believe it not; good books are harder to review than bad ones.

Why is that you might ask? Well it’s the same mental process as the way we complain about bad service in a restaurant but don’t often compliment. How we might review a clothing company badly because the top we bought had a hole in it but don’t really take the time to say ‘hey, good job that top had no holes and the colour really suited me’. There are of course exceptions but this is just an example of.

So anyway back to the book. It’s the first time I’ve come across this author but I was immediately intrigued by the subject matter. A world modern like present day but where slavery still exists. I don’t know exactly what I was expecting and I was right in my trepidation as Underground Airlines took me on a very bumpy ride and I wasn’t sure exactly what was going to happen from one moment to the next. Although I think that’s what makes the book so fantastic.

So the plot, it’s not exactly what you think. Yes slavery still exists but only in the South, the North is full of free states but the racism is up a couple of notches on the racism today. There are also ‘free’ black people as well who were not born into slavery or who escaped and managed to form a new identity; just like our protagonist Jim or is it Victor or is it something else?

Jim/Victor/Something else works for the federal marshals by tracking black people who have escaped from slavery and return them to their ‘masters.’ Funny job for an ex slave huh?

I won’t spoil the story as my regular readers know I don’t like spoilers. However what I will say is that this novel is everything it promises. It delivers everything it says it will and more. It answers all the questions you might have and wraps everything up in a neat little bow while still leaving the ending open to interpretation which I think for an author is an incredible skill. I have already recommended this book to several members of my family and friends because it is actually THAT good.

The plot stays focus on the protagonist but opens up other smaller stories which run alongside it and keep the readers interest. It is a contemporary novel of one of the finest styles I have ever read. I would definitely be keen to read more from this author if his other novels are even a fraction of the quality of this one.

Review of The 1975 gig

So last night I got to go and see my favourite band for the second time in my life. I saw The 1975 for the first time last year at Manchester Apollo.

So first the venue. The 02 Academy at Sheffield is a pretty small venue usually used for small bands and also as a nightclub at weekends. It’s a pretty good venue and I’ve previously seen a few acts there including John Newman and La Roux. It has a small dance floor but enough space to the sides and behind and a standing circle on the first floor as well.

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Now the band. The 1975 are that rare sort of band where they are both well known and yet at the same time little heard of. They debuted several years ago releasing 4 EPs between 2012 and 2013 and then a self titled debut album in 2013. Their style falls under the category of ‘indie’ and their EPs and first album were very much in this category. My favourites Robbers and Settle Down. There’s a good mix on the debut album from the soft sounds of tracks like robbers to the brilliantly poppy Girls and the instrumentals provided with the intro track, 12 and An Encounter.

 

The second album has been highly anticipated by fans and critics alike and the first track was released along with the album title on Annie Mac’s Radio 1 show.

 

Love Me is a great single from The 1975 new album. It’s pop it’s electronic and it’s reminiscent of David Bowie what’s not to love. Matty’s usual deep meaningful lyrics shine through in an effort to resist conforming to modern standards of vanity and social media ‘you look famous, let’s be friends and portray we possess something important’. It has received more radio play than any other Single the band have released. You can listen to it and watch the fantastic video here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TJ5bZuUlftI

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So back to the gig. Introduced with white noise tv screens the band streamed onto the stage with Matty shaking his famous curly hair dressed in what appeared to be a navy coloured mac. They opened with the new single Love Me and the crowd obligingly went wild. Following it up with singles from the first album Heart Out and Settle Down. The gig went on with several songs from the old album along with some treats from the upcoming one as well.  Here’s the full set list I obtained from someone’s Twitter last night hehe.

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Each song was delightfully supported by Matty taking off more and more of his clothes. Starting in the Mac and then losing it to reveal a cute stripy jumper

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Next the jumper was replaced by an open shirt revealing his bare chest

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And finally the loss of the shirt all together

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So the new songs. As a die hard fan what did I think? I was worried at first I’ll admit. Having heard Love Me I knew their sound seemed to be changing. What scared me slightly was that it would change completely and I’d lose what I’d loved from the first album. Fortunately though this was not the case. The second song from the new album which they played last night was Change of Heart. A beautiful ballad about falling out of love with someone. Like Love Me it made references to our obsession with living life online ‘You took a picture of your salad and put it on the internet’. The catchy tune of Sound brings back a little of the sexual theme dominant in the first album with ‘you call me when you’re bored and you’re playing with yourself’. Finally She’s American is a funky pop song possibly referring to someone the band met during their time in America over the last year. It again refers to vanity ‘she’s says I’ve got to fix my teeth’.

All of the new songs played bode well for the 17 track album titled ‘I love it when you sleep for you are so beautiful, yet so unaware of it’. The 1975 ‘s album is released on the 26th February 2016.