That is not me

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“Hi Aneta
Thanks very much for this thoughtful and generous review. I’m glad you liked the book.
With best wishes
Ann”

 

I bought this ebook on sale for 3 euro. ”Beside Myself” by Ann Morgan is one of those rare books that drag you in and you just have to keep reading. It was a gem, dark and intense. The style of the writing itself is worth noting, the use of phrases without verbs have added an artistic feel to it. The author introduced a narrator in the second and third person alongside, which worked well and served its purpose; the second person rather unique, rarely seen in other books.

The plot was intriguing, built up fast and kept you turning pages. The characters were complex. A lot of deep and insightful thought was put into their psychological aspect. Throughout the whole book we see what impact can certain events have on us. How they can brake and damage us, how then we pass it further to the others. It also shows that the way others perceive us, can have a strong impact on our lives. How people are social animals and can waste away when they are abandoned and left alone.

The book is about a couple of twins, young girls who one day come up with a plan, one that must have crossed minds of every identical twin on Earth, what if we swapped places for a while? They spend one afternoon practicing being the other and giggling on their way home. It comes easily for Helen, the extrovert and confident twin, so they focus more on Ellie, on trying to turn her from the shy self into the leader. Surprisingly, Ellie gets it and rises up for the challenge. Furthermore, she enjoys it and doesn’t want to go back to being herself again, often picked at and laughed at, so she persists and claims to be Helen.

The real Helen is the protagonist of the book. She is fed up and wants things to get back to normal, she wants to be herself again but nobody believes her. Time passes by. Her sister thrives, she is popular at school while things are tough for herself, just like they used to be for her sister. With her identity stolen her life slips out of her hands and takes one bad turn after another. She takes on a role of a Cinderella in the family, every one sees her as the weaker, less talented or even plain stupid version of her sister. Their Mother blames the cord getting wrapped around her neck during the birth and simply accepts the situation. The girl screams inside. As they reach their teenage years, she rebels. She hurts herself the most in the process, but she doesn’t know who she is anymore, having lost that long ago as a child. She decides she is a nobody and doesn’t want to feel anything, because it hurts too much. She becomes deeply depressed but her family turns a blind eye.

The twins despise each other and have no contact as grown ups, until one day they paths cross again. The new Hellie is a successful woman with a family, while Smudge, as the former Helen calls herself, is alone and still struggling. Will she be able to rebuild her life, to finally be her former self or maybe a new person altogether? Has life been really that good and easy for her sister, always pretending to be someone else?

Congratulations, 5 1296777772-300px1296777772-300px1296777772-300px1296777772-300px1296777772-300pxpaint brushes, easels or binoculars, a must read.

Paint brushes, easels or binoculars rating:

1296777772-300px1296777772-300px1296777772-300px1296777772-300px1296777772-300px– one of the best books I read

1296777772-300px1296777772-300px1296777772-300px1296777772-300px– charmed

1296777772-300px1296777772-300px1296777772-300px– good read

1296777772-300px1296777772-300px– disappointed, I thought it was going to be better

1296777772-300px– don’t waste your time

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Getting through

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When I was picking the book ”The Life you left” by Carmel Harrington, the synopsis on the back cover sounded intriguing. Sarah’s husband leaves the house one day and doesn’t return. She is left with three kids, struggling with everyday life. A childhood friend comes to her rescue but she is the only one who can see him…

I was expecting intrigue as to why her husband has disappeared, while it turned out he has left her for another woman. I found the characters in the book quite stereotypical and one dimensional, to start with the cheating and inconsiderate husband, through the bitchy and young mistress to Sarah’s womanising but charming brother.

The mysterious friend turned out to be Sarah’s guardian angel, which was an interesting surprise, but the book did not deliver what I was expecting. Frankly, I struggled through most of it, as I didn’t find the story plot gripping, it seemed a bit random; things were just happening out of the blue. I did not like the style the book was written in, nor did I enjoy the all-knowing narrator, who felt the need to state things that the reader was more than capable of deciphering from the context; it was rather annoying and added pieces of text that did not bring anything to the book, but were boring to get through. There was also too much eye-gazing type of romance for my liking.

The last few chapter brought the book more to life, as a lot more was happening. Perhaps more research should have been done for the book. I am not an expert in the matter, but I don’t think that having a witness who saw the suspect near the crime seen with an item that could have been the murder weapon, would have been enough to get him convicted; without any evidence, it would have made him a suspect at best. Similarly, finding out that the man in question saw the victim last, wouldn’t have made him a suspect just for that sole reason, but a person of interest, I suppose.

Overall, unfortunately just two Vanilla-Pink-Cupcake-300px Vanilla-Pink-Cupcake-300pxcupcakes, pancakes or raspberry trifles.

Cupcakes, pancakes or raspberry trifles rating

Vanilla-Pink-Cupcake-300pxVanilla-Pink-Cupcake-300pxVanilla-Pink-Cupcake-300pxVanilla-Pink-Cupcake-300pxVanilla-Pink-Cupcake-300px– one of the best books I read

Vanilla-Pink-Cupcake-300pxVanilla-Pink-Cupcake-300pxVanilla-Pink-Cupcake-300pxVanilla-Pink-Cupcake-300px– charmed

Vanilla-Pink-Cupcake-300pxVanilla-Pink-Cupcake-300pxVanilla-Pink-Cupcake-300px– good read

Vanilla-Pink-Cupcake-300pxVanilla-Pink-Cupcake-300px– disappointed, I thought it was going to be better

Vanilla-Pink-Cupcake-300px– don’t waste your time

Double meanings

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”The curious incident of the dog in the night-time” by Mark Haddon is a unique book. The narrator is a fifteen year old boy who is autistic. He likes math and science and always tells the truth. He doesn’t like to be touched, doesn’t eat yellow or brown food and finds other people confusing. It was very interesting to see the world through his eyes, how he has to learn what comes quite naturally to others, that people use sarcasm and irony, that they sometimes lie. He studies certain phrases which he considers peculiar as they have double meaning.

One day Christopher discovers a dead dog in his neighbour yard and is accused of killing him. The situation he has find himself in worsens when he is being questioned at the scene by a police officer. He does his best to cooperate but the answers he gives are so literal to the questions asked, that it makes him look suspicious and aggravates the officer, who decides to pull him up from the ground and drive him to the station. Christopher gets upset at the number of questions that has been thrown at him in a quick succession followed by the unwelcome grasp of his hand and hits the policeman. He gets arrested for assault. When his dad comes to the rescue and advises him to say that he didn’t mean to hit the police officer, he says that he meant it but saves himself out of the difficult situation when finally admits that he didn’t meant to hurt him, that he hit him to make him stop touching him.

The boy decides to play Sherlock Holmes to find out who has killed the dog, he wants to write a murder mystery novel. In his investigation he comes across more than he was expected to find. He finds letters hidden in his fathers room, that his mother has been sending him throughout the years, the mother who he thought died of a heart attack. From the letters he learns that she has left them because she didn’t have as much patience as his dad, but that she still loved him very much. Christopher gets angry at his father for lying to him and decides to go to see his mother at the address on the letters and leaves the house to travel by himself in her search.

Will he be able to forgive his mother for abandoning him? Will his father be able to convince him that he lied out of love to save the boys feelings, when in his son’s world everything is black and white and a lie is simply always wrong. You will find that there is a lot of humour in the book, it will make you smile or even laugh, but it is also loaded with some heavy questions that live brings. I found the book one of a kind and I am granting it 4 nicubunu-Toy-car-300px nicubunu-Toy-car-300px nicubunu-Toy-car-300px nicubunu-Toy-car-300px red cars, dogs or rain drops.

Red cars, dogs or rain drops rating

nicubunu-Toy-car-300px nicubunu-Toy-car-300px nicubunu-Toy-car-300px nicubunu-Toy-car-300px nicubunu-Toy-car-300px – one of the best books I read

nicubunu-Toy-car-300px nicubunu-Toy-car-300px nicubunu-Toy-car-300px nicubunu-Toy-car-300px – charmed

nicubunu-Toy-car-300px nicubunu-Toy-car-300px nicubunu-Toy-car-300px – good read

nicubunu-Toy-car-300px nicubunu-Toy-car-300px – disappointed, I thought it was going to be better

nicubunu-Toy-car-300px – don’t waste your time

The Bloomsday

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The Bloomsday is celebrated annually on the 16th June, as Thursday 16 June 1904 was a date when James Joyce’s Ulysses was set. It is named after the protagonist Leopold Bloom. Hard to imagine, such a thick book for just one day, huh? Have you read Ulysses yet? I have started a long time ago, but I was pretty young back then, so may give it another go one day. I read and enjoyed the Dubliners by the same author, if you are up for the taste of Joyce but wish to start with something easier to read than Ulysses.

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If you wish to join the celebration, put on a straw hat and dress up in clothes from the era and go to Dublin for various book reading, performances and to visit places described in the book, some even have a full Irish breakfast at the James Joyce Centre on the morning of that day with the usual ingredients, like sausage, fried egg, pudding, mushrooms etc but also accompanied with liver and kidneys as this is something that Leopold Bloom had for his brekkie.

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The Bloomsday dates back as far as 1922 when Ulysses was published for the first time but only amongst James Joyce’s circle of friends. First proper celebration in Ireland took place in 1954. Nowadays the celebration has spread around the world.

If you would like to see in detail what had been planned for the celebrations this year,

vist

http://jamesjoyce.ie/bloomsday/

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Hope you enjoyed the Bloomsday.

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“Hi Aneta,

Thank you for reviewing The Twins on your blog. I’m very happy that you enjoyed it!

best wishes

Saskia

Saskia Sarginson”

The Twins by Saskia Sarginson was a frighteningly good read. Viola and Isolte are twin sisters who live with their hippie mother in a cottage near the forest after she got fed up with living in a commune in Welsh and they moved to their own house. They are very close to the nature, their forge plants in the forest with their mother, who also makes their own clothes sometimes and walks barefoot. She loves her children but tends to drink to much and lets the girls run wild. The twins feel as a whole when they are together, separately they feel as if they were incomplete, so they keep close whenever and wherever they go, pitying others who don’t have a twin to accompany them. On one of their adventures through the forests and local villages they are surprised to stumble upon another set of twins, John and Michael and naturally so, all four quickly become play mates.

However with the passage of time, the twins grow apart. Isolte writes about fashion in London and is rather successful but Viola doesn’t seem to be able to fit into the city life and is struggling in the adulthood in general. Viola is slowly starving herself to the point where she needs hospitalisation. The twins don’t discuss their childhood anymore, and have not been back to the place where they grew up ever since they left. Viola sometimes writes to one of the twin boys but has never had the courage to actually send any of her letters. One day she asks her sister Isolte to travel back to the village and find out what has happened to the twin boys, desperately needing some sort of a closure with the past. Her sister at first refuses but then realises sadly, that it may be her sister’s last wish if she doesn’t get better, and reluctantly agrees to go. Viola sees that her sister’s happiness is only superficial and knows that she needs the closure as much as she herself does, and is glad that Isolte has agreed to go.

If you want to find out what events split the inseparable twins, stained their happy and innocent childhood memories and made them never want to come back to where they grew up, then pick up the book. You will see the story through Viola’s eyes, how her memories slowly unravel events from the past. You will also realise that the two sisters, despite looking so much alike, have in fact very different personalities, how they clinged to each other in young age and how their differences separated them later in life. I thought it was a read worth four gingercoons-Lop-eared-rabbit-300px gingercoons-Lop-eared-rabbit-300px gingercoons-Lop-eared-rabbit-300px gingercoons-Lop-eared-rabbit-300pxrabbits, frogs or flies.

Rabbits, frogs or flies rating 

gingercoons-Lop-eared-rabbit-300px gingercoons-Lop-eared-rabbit-300px gingercoons-Lop-eared-rabbit-300px gingercoons-Lop-eared-rabbit-300px gingercoons-Lop-eared-rabbit-300px – one of the best books I read

gingercoons-Lop-eared-rabbit-300px gingercoons-Lop-eared-rabbit-300px gingercoons-Lop-eared-rabbit-300px gingercoons-Lop-eared-rabbit-300px – charmed

gingercoons-Lop-eared-rabbit-300px gingercoons-Lop-eared-rabbit-300px gingercoons-Lop-eared-rabbit-300px – good read

gingercoons-Lop-eared-rabbit-300px gingercoons-Lop-eared-rabbit-300px – disappointed, I thought it was going to be better

gingercoons-Lop-eared-rabbit-300px – don’t waste your time

One way ticket

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”The Journey’‘ by Josephine Cox is a Lucy Baker’s journey through life. Benjamin Morris meets elderly Lucy and her daughter Mary in a graveyard, when he rushes to Lucy’s rescue after she falls. He comes to their impressive Edwardian house later to return a lost handbag. He is intrigued by the inscription on Barney Davidson’s stone that the two women frequently visit, which reads ”A man of courage. He made the greatest sacrifice of all.” Lucy welcomes the gentleman into the house when he comes to return the handbag, but is she ready to reveal to him what is behind the curious inscription? Story for story, Mary and Lucy get to know Ben, a hardworking and divorced farmer. He earns their trust and gradually learns Lucy’s life story.

Lucy’s life events are the core of the book. In her tale, she goes back to when she was a young girl, fell for a questionable character Edward Trent, got pregnant and was left ball alone in the world. Abandoned by Edward, she found refuge at Bridget’s, who run a house with ladies who ”entertain”. Lucy cleaned and cooked in return for the shelter. One day Edward came back. Lucy hoped things would get better for her, that he would now look after her and their son Jamie, but Trent dreaded the thought of being a father, pushed her when they argued and left her unconscious in a field. A local farmer Barney found her and brought her to his cottage where she stayed to recover and befriended his wife and their children. The Davidson’s family suggested that their farm would be a much better place for her and for Jamie to grow up than the Bridget’s house, and offered her a job at the farm.

Now old, wrinkled and weak Lucy clutches a letter to her chest, it is from the Davidson’s kids, from America, all grown ups now, who wrote to tell her how much they despised her and their father and that she has ruined their lives. Lucy’s heart aches for them, she has information that would clear their fathers name but she has promised him to keep it a secret, the one that explains Barney’s great sacrifice.

If you are curious and would like to know what the sacrifice was, I invite you to read the book that brings a rich story, full of events, one of those books that describe ones’ whole life. I enjoyed it and think it is worth 3 food-strawberry-300px.png food-strawberry-300px.png food-strawberry-300px.png strawberries, cherries or gooseberries.

Strawberries, cherries or gooseberries rating

food-strawberry-300px.pngfood-strawberry-300px.pngfood-strawberry-300px.pngfood-strawberry-300px.pngfood-strawberry-300px.png– one of the best books I read

food-strawberry-300px.pngfood-strawberry-300px.pngfood-strawberry-300px.pngfood-strawberry-300px.png – charmed

food-strawberry-300px.pngfood-strawberry-300px.pngfood-strawberry-300px.png – good read

food-strawberry-300px.pngfood-strawberry-300px.png – disappointed, I thought it was going to be better

food-strawberry-300px.png – don’t waste your time

Favourite person in the world

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”Thanks for reading and reviewing The Marriage Lie! 👰🏻💍📚💖

kimberly belle

I bought “The Marriage Lie” by Kimberly Belle for under €2 as an e-book. Iris’ marriage seems perfect, until the day when she finds out that her husband was killed in a plane crash. She refuses to believe that he is dead, as Whilliam was not supposed to be on a plane to Seattle. He was meant to be on another aircraft, one that has safely landed in a Orlando.

When she rings the hotel, where he told hear he would be staying, she finds out that not only he hasn’t been booked there but that the conference he was meant to be a part of, never took place. Despite this discovery, she keeps her hopes up, as it still doesn’t prove that he was on the tragic flight. She is a school psychologist and as a therapist she realises what other people must think, that she is in denial, that she doesn’t want to acknowledge her husband’s death. She knows what her second step is going to be to prove to everyone else that her husband’t wasn’t on the tragic flight.

When she flights to Seattle with her twin brother for a company, she is shocked to uncover that there are people who knew her husband. Whill apparently grew up there and not in Memphis as she thought. His pictures are all over the yearbooks in a school in Seattle, while nobody ever heard of him in Memphis. But there is more, people who knew him from his childhood and adolescent years, don’t put him in a good light. They refuse to talk about him, nearly spitting at the mention of his name.

The dipper she digs the more lies she uncovers and each one more horrible the the former. She is beginning to doubt that she knew her husband at all. In fact, she doesn’t know what to believe anymore. She isn’t even sure if her husband is really dead. Somebody sends her anonymous messages wanting her to go back home and leave the past behind. Somebody lives her notes in the house in her husband’s handwriting. Is someone just trying to mess with her head or is Whill really alive? If he is, where is he and why is he hiding? Why did he lie to her, to his ”favourite person in the world”?

The book kept me interested, lots of unexpected twists and turns.When you think you know how the plot is going to unravel, the author introduces another surprise and a change of direction. 3 Cartoon-Spoon-300px Cartoon-Spoon-300px Cartoon-Spoon-300px spoons, forks or frying pans granted.

Spoons, forks or frying pans rating

Cartoon-Spoon-300px Cartoon-Spoon-300px Cartoon-Spoon-300px Cartoon-Spoon-300px Cartoon-Spoon-300px – one of the best books I read

Cartoon-Spoon-300px Cartoon-Spoon-300px Cartoon-Spoon-300px Cartoon-Spoon-300px – charmed

Cartoon-Spoon-300px Cartoon-Spoon-300px Cartoon-Spoon-300px – good read

Cartoon-Spoon-300px Cartoon-Spoon-300px – disappointed, I thought it was going to be better

Cartoon-Spoon-300px – don’t waste your time

The World around me

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”Room” by Emma Donoghue is one of of those books that are hard to put down. ”Jack is five. He lives in a single, locked room with his Ma.”– this is all the synopsis on the back cover says. Their world is so confined that the everyday items have much more significance for little Jack than they would have for any other child his age, it is shown by the author in a simple but ingenious way of using capital letters for the ”Lamp, Bed, Duvet” etc. Nothing much changes in their everyday routine.

What Jack doesn’t realise is that they are being held captive by Old Nick, who comes at night and rapes his mother and that she has been missing for around seven years. In fact Jack doesn’t know that the world outside the Room exists. Room is all he has ever known since his birth and Ma explained that nothing outside it is real, just like pictures on the telly they sometimes watch. Out of love and desperation, she tries to make his live as normal as possible in the surreal and horrendous situation. She hides him in the closet for the night, where he sleeps and where he is out of sight of Old Jack, who visits them at night time. She makes sure her son eats healthily and teaches him hygiene, using the sparse and basic supplies that Old Jack brings. She is growing more and more anxious, her son has turned five and she knows that the older he gets the harder it will be for her to shield him from the sick reality they have been forced into, as he will start to understand more. Furthermore Old Nick has lost his job and he might loose his house. She fears the worst, she knows that when he is forced to leave, he won’t be able to keep them, but that he won’t definitely let them go free.

She plots an escape plan but she has to tell her son first that they will be going outside, that there is a world out there. At the age of five, will Jack be able to completely change his understanding of what’s real and what’s made up, if the Room is all he knows? If so, will they escape and how? And even if they do, will she and Jack especially, be able to find themselves in the real world? Very imaginative, insightful, heartbreaking. A definite page turner, 4 1275417416-300px 1275417416-300px 1275417416-300px 1275417416-300pxkeys, locks or clouds from me.

Keys, locks or clouds rating

1275417416-300px 1275417416-300px 1275417416-300px 1275417416-300px 1275417416-300px – one of the best books I read

1275417416-300px 1275417416-300px 1275417416-300px 1275417416-300px – charmed

1275417416-300px 1275417416-300px 1275417416-300px – good read

1275417416-300px 1275417416-300px – disappointed, I thought it was going to be better

1275417416-300px – don’t waste your time

Hidden memories

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I bought “Close to me” by Amanda Reynolds as an ebook for barely €1. The protagonist, a woman in her fifties looses a year of memories after a bad fall and a head injury.

I liked the structure of the book, fragments of events, as they were coming back to her, get repeated with more information revealed. Surprisingly I didn’t find the repetitions tedious, I thought they enriched the book as they would show the events from sometimes slightly and other times completely different perspective. I would gladly pick up the book and continue reading, which is often a good sign, though I found it slightly less compelling towards the end, I think the pace has slowed down unnecessarily.

I liked the idea of Jo feeling that something was off, even though she couldn’t remember what has happened, how she struggled between what her gut was telling her and the logical and factual thinking, not knowing which she should trust. We could see how, without having a full insight into the actual facts, we can misread a situation or even how people are capable of manipulating the reality for the purpose of making things look better for themselves or simply just for some twisted sort of fun on someone else’s expense; how unfortunately others can become “collateral damage” if people are guided by their egoistic goals and the price to pay can be high.

Jo lives in an immaculate and secluded house, she feels lonely, confused and betrayed. She doesn’t know who to trust and what to believe. She doesn’t remember what has happened to her. A lot seemed to have changed during the lost year and what is even more frustrating her family doesn’t want to talk about it. She is afraid and disgusted by her husband, a feeling she cannot explain towards a man whom she loved for over twenty years and who seems as caring as ever. She is desperate to hear from her fragile son but he is an introvert and refuses to confess what has been bothering him. What is behind the drastic change in her daughter’s look and when will she meet her boyfriend whom she is told neither she nor her husband approve of?

If you want to find out if Jo will finally remember it all, give the book a go. Overall a good read, 3 Manchego-mill-01-300px.pngManchego-mill-01-300px.pngManchego-mill-01-300px.pngwind mills, wind chimes or umbrellas.

Wind mills, wind chimes or umbrellas rating

Manchego-mill-01-300px.pngManchego-mill-01-300px.pngManchego-mill-01-300px.pngManchego-mill-01-300px.pngManchego-mill-01-300px.png– one of the best books I read

Manchego-mill-01-300px.pngManchego-mill-01-300px.pngManchego-mill-01-300px.pngManchego-mill-01-300px.png– charmed

Manchego-mill-01-300px.pngManchego-mill-01-300px.pngManchego-mill-01-300px.png– good read

Manchego-mill-01-300px.pngManchego-mill-01-300px.png– disappointed, I thought it was going to be better

Manchego-mill-01-300px.png– don’t waste your time

The destructive culture of instant gratification

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”Three Seconds to Rush” by Danielle Steward was on offer as a free e-book and I wasn’t disappointed. It started rather fast, when Tara wakes up in a hospital and is told that she overdosed on heroin and was rescued just in time by a policeman. She is also informed that her son, who is only a toddler, was found in a the parking lot of a supermarket nearby, left alone in cold temperatures. She is shocked as she insist that she doesn’t do drugs and would never have abandoned her son. The police officers and child protective services are not convinced, especially after they find out that the father of the child died of an overdose.

Tara is determined to get Wylie back but she is starting to realise it may not be that simple. Out of her despair she calls the only person she can think of who may be able to help. Her long lost childhood friend Reid is a lawyer now, and she hopes he still remembers her. It takes Tara a while to convince him to listen to her, the high hopes she had of him burning out with his reluctance to take on her case. He finally agrees but his skepticism he seems to have developed during the years as an attorney, puts her off when he insists that she should plea guilty in order to be able to hopefully see her son again after she has proven that she is fit to look after Wylie again. Reid is adamant when she tries to refer to their common memories from their childhood. He argues that she has no chance of winning the case if she pleas not guilty of the felony charges of child endangerment. Eventually he gives in though reluctantly and decides to follow with her not guilty plea, but deep down he doesn’t seem to believe her. Her chances are looking even less likely when the estranged but resourceful and wealthy parents in law step in and are up for a battle as they demand full custody of Wylie.

I have to say that before I reached the final chapters I kind of guessed the bits of the books that were meant to be kept as a mystery, but I often do, there are hardly any books that are so unpredictable that they keep the reader completely in the dark, it is more of a wonder as to which way will the book go. Nevertheless I enjoyed the read and am granting it 3 Schnecke-300px.png Schnecke-300px.pngSchnecke-300px.png snails, turtles or rabbits.

Snails, turtles or rabbits rating

Schnecke-300px.pngSchnecke-300px.pngSchnecke-300px.pngSchnecke-300px.pngSchnecke-300px.png – one of the best books I read

Schnecke-300px.pngSchnecke-300px.pngSchnecke-300px.pngSchnecke-300px.png – charmed

Schnecke-300px.pngSchnecke-300px.pngSchnecke-300px.png – good read

Schnecke-300px.pngSchnecke-300px.png – disappointed, I thought it was going to be better

Schnecke-300px.png – don’t waste your time