Sometimes it’s hard to write reviews. So, rather than leave them languishing as drafts, I’ve decided to share them as mini reviews instead.
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Boys Don’t Cry by Fiona Scarlett read by Ronan Raftery
From Goodreads: “Joe is 17, a gifted artist and a brilliant older brother to 12-year-old Finn. They live with their Ma and Da in a Dublin tower block called Bojaxhiu or ‘the Jax’. It’s not an easy place to be a kid, especially when your father, Frank, is the muscle for the notorious gang leader Dessie ‘The Badger’ Murphy. But whether it’s day trips to the beach or drawing secret sketches, Joe works hard to show Finn life beyond the battered concrete yard below their flat. Joe is determined not to become like his Da. But when Finn falls ill, Joe finds his convictions harder to cling to. With his father now in prison, his mother submerged in her grief, and his relationships with friends and classmates crumbling, Joe has to figure out how to survive without becoming what the world around him expects him to be.“
I’d seen this book doing the rounds on social media recently and thought I’d give it a listen on Scribd as it was just 4 hours long. Well it hooked me straight away, especially as the narrator, Ronan Raftery is an Irishman. It was so good that I almost listened to this in one sitting, but unfortunately life got in the way. The story of this family was so compelling that I had to find out what was going to happen to these two brothers and their mother. It’s hard to believe that this a debut and I can’t wait to see what Fiona Scarlett comes up with next! I definitely recommend this one if you enjoy contemporary fiction, but be warned you may need tissues.
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie performed by Dan Stevens
From Goodreads: “Ten strangers, apparently with little in common, are lured to an island mansion off the coast of Devon by the mysterious U.N. Owen. Over dinner, a record begins to play, and the voice of an unseen host accuses each person of hiding a guilty secret. That evening, former reckless driver Tony Marston is found murdered by a deadly dose of cyanide.
The tension escalates as the survivors realise the killer is not only among them but is preparing to strike again…and again.…“
I’ve been meaning to listen to this infamous book for years and jumped at the chance when it came up on Scribd. Firstly I loved Dan Stevens narration he was superb and really made the book for me. It was your typical Agatha Christie story full of unlikeable characters that you can’t trust and all have some sort of motive for the murders. I was very confused with the cast of characters at the start and borrowed a paperback copy from the library to help me but as they get bumped off it was easier to follow who was who. As to the big reveal? Well I must confess I was rather disappointed, and actually think it’s been done a lot better by other authors since this book was published in 1934.
Abandoned London by Kate Wignall
From Goodreads: “ With 150 outstanding color photographs, Abandoned London presents a poignant pictorial exploration of the English capital—from forgotten railways lines and underpasses to lost industrial places, movie theatres, churches, and cemeteries. London is both a bright, modern city with soaring skyscrapers as well as a metropolis hundreds of years old—and, despite its gleaming surface, there is another side to the city, one of secrets, dilapidation, and mystery. Wander through disused stations on the Underground; immense, ornate Victorian sewers and waterworks; crumbling but beautiful Art Deco cinemas and empty swimming pools; bombed-out churches and eerie docklands; and ruined mansions and overgrown cemeteries, all haunting relics from a time gone by. Arranged thematically from transport and industry to residential and recreational, these entries cover both the modern city and the historical metropolis.“
I really enjoyed looking through this ARC of abandoned buildings and places in London, it made me wish I was in London so I could go and find them and take me own photos. I was a bit disappointed that some of the places have since been developed so some of it did seem to be a tad out of date, but then London is changing at such an alarming rate, so maybe it’s not a surprise really. I loved the history of the places especially one particular doorway from the 1700s and a Victorian sewer that have been used in films. I definitely recommend it if you’re interested in photography or London.
Thanks so much NetGalley and Amber Books for my digital copy via the NetGalley app.
The Railway Children by E. Nesbit read by Virginia Leishman
From Goodreads: “Father has suddenly and mysteriously disappeared. Now Mother has moved Roberta, Peter, and Phyllis from London to an old English country house. Missing the hustle and bustle of the city, the children are ecstatic to find that their new home is near a railway station. Making friends with both the porter and the station master is great fun. So is waving to a kindly old gentleman who rides through on the 9:15 every morning. When mother gets sick, it is he to whom they turn for help. And later, when a fortunate twist of fate returns their father to them, they are surprised to find the old gentleman involved once again. Written by an unconventional woman whose friends included H.G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw, this classic has been popular since it was first published almost 100 years ago. Virginia Leishman’s enthusiasm translates these adventuresome children into heroes for modern listeners.”
I love this story and have already reviewed a different version for 20 books of summer a couple of years ago. It was a real delight listening to this a second time, in fact I may have enjoyed it more because this was a professional recording and Virginia Leishman was so good at all the different characters. I highly recommend this classic children’s book.
Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers read by Olivia Colman
From Goodreads: “When the East Wind blows Mary Poppins into the home of the banks children, their lives go topsy-turvy and are changed forever. More than eighty years since we first met Mary Poppins, this original, classic story is still charming readers and transporting new fans into the mysterious world of everyone’s favourite magical nanny.”