Apple Tarts Vs Hope and Despair…

apple
Title: The Apple Tart of Hope
Author: Sarah Moore Fitzgerald
Series: N/A
Edition: Hardcover, 272 pages
Published: June 5th 2014 by Orion
Genre(s): YA; Contemporary
Disclosure? Yep, I received a copy via the author/publisher in exchange for an HONEST review

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I found the beginning of this book rather odd which made it a little hard to get into, but it soon becomes apparent that that oddness is what makes The Apple Tart of Hope such a unique read.

It opens at a service being held for Oscar Dunleavy, who is presumed dead. The church is full; the atmosphere, strange. The narrative comes from Meg, who claims to be Oscar’s best friend, but another girl, one with golden hair, is called up to speak a few words about Oscar, as she is apparently his closest friend.

Throughout the book we are taken back to how it all began, switching between the perspectives of both Meg and Oscar. At the start, they are inseparable. They live next door to each other and their bedroom windows face each other so they can lean out and talk every night.

Life seems pretty good, everyone gets on with each other at school, and Oscar and Meg are well-loved. There is a whimsical sort of magic to Oscar. He’s an unusual character for a young boy. He’s kind and deeply thoughtful, and likes to solve people’s problems by baking them exquisite apple tarts.

But it’s not an ordinary apple tart. It’s the apple tart of hope. After you’ve taken a bite, the whole world will look almost completely different. Things will start to change and by the time you’ve had a whole slice, you’ll realise that everything is going to be OK.”

And then it all starts to go wrong. Meg is forced to move to New Zealand, and Paloma – the girl with the golden hair – moves into Meg’s house…

Oh man, this was a rollarcoaster. Once I got into it I couldn’t put it down. I needed to know how things had spiraled so out of control for Oscar and Meg. It really captured something special about being young, especially the perils of school days and friendship.

It’s hard to explain without giving the whole plot away, but I will say that at certain points in this book I was filled with so much hate for what happened to Oscar and Meg, and I knew then that this book was something special, not to mention how beautifully it’s written.

The man was a maze of wrinkles and his hands were dirty. Tears made shiny branch-like patterns on his cheeks.”

This was my first read of Sarah Moore Fitzgerald, and it definitely won’t be my last. I need to find her debut Back to Blackbrick, stat!

unicorn rating 4

Available now from Waterstones in hardback, or to pre-order in paperback (due 05/02/15).

(Out Today!) Skyships, Pickpockets, and a Whole Lot of Lies…

take
Title: Take Back the Skies
Series: Take Back the Skies #1
Author: Lucy Saxon
Edition: e-book, 496 pages
Published: June 5th 2014 by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
Genre(s): YA; Fantasy; Steampunk
Disclosure? Yep, I received a copy via the author/publisher in exchange for an HONEST review.

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Catherine Hunter is the daughter of a senior government official on the island of Anglya. She’s one of the privileged – she has luxurious clothes, plenty to eat, and is protected from the Collections which have ravaged families throughout the land. But Catherine longs to escape the confines of her life, before her dad can marry her off to a government brat and trap her forever.

So Catherine becomes Cat, pretends to be a kid escaping the Collections, and stows away on the skyship Stormdancer. As they leave Anglya behind and brave the storms that fill the skies around the islands of Tellus, Cat’s world becomes more turbulent than she could ever have imagined, and dangerous secrets unravel her old life once and for all . . .

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Take Back the Skies. I’d read a few unfavourable reviews, and found out that the author is only 19, 16 when she started writing the novel, which I realise I shouldn’t let sway me before even opening the book, but of course it does!

Then I started reading, and it was good. Really good! I was hoping to skim-read it because I’ve fallen behind on ARCS/reviews lately, but I found that I didn’t want to skim it at all, I wanted to savour it.

Take Back the Skies is a fast-paced, well written, fantasy-adventure. Protagonist Cat, is a loveable, head-strong character who I instantly felt invested in.

We follow her as she runs away from her snobbish, government father who wants to marry her off for status, to the skyship Stormdancer where she meets a colourful array of characters who soon become Cat’s family. Once in the skies, it quickly becomes apparent that things in Anglya and the surrounding islands are not as they seem. The war seems to have ended, so why are all the teenagers being ‘collected’ to go to war? Where are they?

Seriously guys, I really loved this. There was a lot of action and intrigue, and I think the world Saxon built is great. There was a lot of characterisation too, so even though Cat hadn’t known the crew of the Stormdancer very long, it felt OK how close they became. There is a cute romance between Cat and Fox, a hot orphan who likes to get his guns out – in both senses of the word – but it did start to feel a bit Twilight-y on some occasions where Fox was telling Cat that he’s no good for her and she should choose another. And also Cat thinking that he couldn’t possibly like her. Yawn.

Once they’d gotten over that though, and decided to be together, I liked that it wasn’t all Cat thought about. There was no ‘omg he kissed me and it felt amazing and I want to touch him all the time’, it was pretty much wham, bam, thank you maam (they’re wasn’t actually any ‘bamming’, don’t get your hopes up).

Cat, Fox and the rest of the Stormdancer crew were intent on outing the government and finding out what was happening to all the kids, and once they do, there’s definitely a sense of look what you’ve got yourselves into. I really enjoyed the conflict between high-society and the commoners, and the sinister operations of the government – I wasn’t expecting that plot at all.

However, I can’t wrap this up without talking about the ending. No spoilers I promise, but it was just bad. End of. There was no need for the Epilogue at all, nothing was resolved, and I only hope that the outcome makes more sense in the second book.

I’m tempted to give it 3 Unicorns just because of the ending, but the rest of it was so good, so I won’t. Any book that makes me GASP deserves 4 Unicorns.

unicorn rating 4

Take Back the Skies is available from Waterstones in Limited 1st Edition Hardback, and Paperback from today.

Currently Reading:

Take Back the Skies by Lucy Saxton

takeCatherine Hunter is the daughter of a senior government official on the island of Anglya. She’s one of the privileged – she has luxurious clothes, plenty to eat, and is protected from the Collections which have ravaged families throughout the land. But Catherine longs to escape the confines of her life, before her dad can marry her off to a government brat and trap her forever. So Catherine becomes Cat, pretends to be a kid escaping the Collections, and stows away on the skyship Stormdancer. As they leave Anglya behind and brave the storms that fill the skies around the islands of Tellus, Cat’s world becomes more turbulent than she could ever have imagined, and dangerous secrets unravel her old life once and for all …

I started this last week but I’ve had next to no reading time of late 😦 However, my first impressions are good ones! I know it’s all most people are talking about, but I can’t believe Saxon is only 18 and started writing this book when she was 16. It certainly doesn’t read like it’s written by a sixteen year old so far!

I have high hopes for this steampunk, fantasy adventure.

Goodreads
Purchase (limited Hardback 1st Edition & Paperback available)
Available to pre-order now, or buy from the 6th June.

Suffer the Children by Craig DiLouie

sufferFrom an acclaimed horror writer, a chilling tale of blood-hungry children who rise from the dead in this innovative spin on apocalyptic vampire fiction.

Suffer the Children presents a terrifying tale of apocalyptic fiction, as readers are introduced to Herod’s Syndrome, a devastating illness that suddenly and swiftly kills all young children across the globe. Soon, they return from the grave…and ask for blood. And with blood, they stop being dead. They continue to remain the children they once were…but only for a short time, as they need more blood to live. The average human body holds ten pints of blood, so the inevitable question for parents everywhere becomes: How far would you go to bring your child back?

Suffer the Children, as the title and cover suggests, is a pretty creepy read. Let’s face it kids can be creepy, anyone who has ever seen a horror film or read a Stephen King novel can tell you that. So that’s pretty much everyone, right? Kids coming back from the dead and craving blood…totally up there on the creep-factor, so naturally I knew I was going to enjoy this book.

I wasn’t disappointed! I absolutely loved the beginning of this book. The plot was quite slow, but it was all about the characterisation for me so it didn’t drag at all. DiLouie’s style very much reminded me of King in that way. The writing was engaging and it was a pretty quick read.

Suffer the Children follows several eclectic families from the days that lead up to ‘the event’ where every single pre-pubescent kid in the world just falls down dead. There’s a lot of grief, obviously, and horrific but necessary actions that follow, such as bin men having to collect the bodies, and dig mass graves. And from there, it just gets worse…because they come back!

One of main things I liked about this book was the underlying irony of it. You’d probably think there’d be nothing worse than burying your child, but then you find out that they’re all coming back to life and you have go and dig them up. As a doctor you’d think doing some autopsies on the deceased kids would be for the greater good, until you realise that they weren’t actually dead until you cut through the rib cages and removed their hearts.

It doesn’t take long to figure out that these families would have been better off if the children didn’t come back to life, because keeping them alive is going to destroy them and the world as they know it. But other than that, and the whole philosophical look at how far would you go to keep your children alive there wasn’t a great deal to this book.

If push came to shove, she’d let her kids eat her.”

Although it was enjoyable, unfortunately there was nothing surprising about Suffer the Children; I found it a bit predictable. I felt like the greater story to tell would be the one of what happened after the events in this book (maybe they’ll be a sequel, who knows). I also think DiLouie missed out on some great horror moments, such as hearing about one of the protagonists killing his dog to feed to his son almost as if in passing rather than finding out about it at the time. I wanted more gory details! But I’m weird like that.

If you like your horror with a message instead of gory details then I definitely recommend you give this a try!

Favourite Quote: “It struck her then, that in most of the world there wasn’t a single human being who believed in Santa Claus”

unicorn rating 3

Disclosure?: I received a copy from the publisher/author in exchange for an HONEST review
Title: Suffer the Children
Author: Craig DiLouie
Details: Paperback, 352 pages
Published: May 20th 2014 by Permuted Press
My Rating: 3/5

Coming Up/ New Releases

It’s been a while since I’ve done a coming up post, so here’s what you can expect to see on Lipsyy Lost & Found in the next month or so.

Suffer The Children – Craig DiLouie

suffer
Genre(s):Horror; Paranormal
Publication Date: May 20th 2014 by Permuted Press

From an acclaimed horror writer, a chilling tale of blood-hungry children who rise from the dead in this innovative spin on apocalyptic vampire fiction.

Suffer the Children presents a terrifying tale of apocalyptic fiction, as readers are introduced to Herod’s Syndrome, a devastating illness that suddenly and swiftly kills all young children across the globe. Soon, they return from the grave…and ask for blood. And with blood, they stop being dead. They continue to remain the children they once were…but only for a short time, as they need more blood to live. The average human body holds ten pints of blood, so the inevitable question for parents everywhere becomes: How far would you go to bring your child back?

Take Back the Skies – Lucy Saxon

take

Genre(s): YA; Fantasy; Steampunk
Expected Publication Date: June 5th 2014 by Bloomsbury (UK & ANZ)

Catherine Hunter is the daughter of a senior government official on the island of Anglya. She’s one of the privileged – she has luxurious clothes, plenty to eat, and is protected from the Collections which have ravaged families throughout the land. But Catherine longs to escape the confines of her life, before her dad can marry her off to a government brat and trap her forever.
So Catherine becomes Cat, pretends to be a kid escaping the Collections, and stows away on the skyship Stormdancer. As they leave Anglya behind and brave the storms that fill the skies around the islands of Tellus, Cat’s world becomes more turbulent than she could ever have imagined, and dangerous secrets unravel her old life once and for all . . .

The Apple Tart of Hope – Sarah Moore Fitzgerald

apple

Genre(s): YA; Contemporary
Expected Publication Date: June 5th 2014 by Orion

Oscar Dunleavy, who used to make the world’s most perfect apple tarts, is missing, presumed dead. No-one seems too surprised, except for Meg, his best friend, and his little brother Stevie. Surrounded by grief and confusion, Meg and Stevie are determined to find out what happened to Oscar, and together they learn about loyalty and friendship and the power of never giving up hope.

The second sensational novel from Irish author, Sarah Moore Fitzgerald, following her debut, BACK TO BLACKBRICK, perfect for fans of Annabel Pitcher and Siobhan Dowd.

Braineater Jones – Stephen Kozeniewski

brain

Genre(s): Horror
Publication Date: October 14th 2013 by Red Adept Publishing, LLC

Braineater Jones wakes up face down in a swimming pool with no memory of his former life, how he died, or why he’s now a zombie. With a smart-aleck severed head as a partner, Jones descends into the undead ghetto to solve his own murder.

But Jones’s investigation is complicated by his crippling addiction to human flesh. Like all walking corpses, he discovers that only a stiff drink can soothe his cravings. Unfortunately, finding liquor during Prohibition is costly and dangerous. From his Mason jar, the cantankerous Old Man rules the only speakeasy in the city that caters to the postmortem crowd.

As the booze, blood, and clues coagulate, Jones gets closer to discovering the identity of his killer and the secrets behind the city’s stranglehold on liquid spirits. Death couldn’t stop him, but if the liquor dries up, the entire city will be plunged into an orgy of cannibalism.

Cracking this case is a tall order. Braineater Jones won’t get out alive, but if he plays his cards right, he might manage to salvage the last scraps of his humanity.

Burial Rites – Hannah Kent

burial

Genre(s): Historical Fiction; Mystery
Publication Date: February 27th 2014 by Picador

Set against Iceland’s stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.

Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes’s death looms, the farmer’s wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they’ve heard.

Riveting and rich with lyricism, BURIAL RITES evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?

Have you already read some of these? Let me know what you thought!

You’re the One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher (Out next week!)

youreMaddy, dressed in white, stands at the back of the church. At the end of the aisle is Rob – the man she’s about to marry. Next to Rob is Ben – best man and the best friend any two people ever had.

And that’s the problem.

Because if it wasn’t Rob waiting for her at the altar, there’s a strong chance it would be Ben. Loyal and sensitive Ben has always kept his feelings to himself, but if he turned round and told Maddy she was making a mistake, would she listen? And would he be right?

Best friends since childhood, Maddy, Ben and Rob thought their bond was unbreakable. But love changes everything. Maddy has a choice to make but will she choose wisely? Her heart, and the hearts of the two best men she knows, depend on it…

When I heard that Giovanna ‘Mrs Tom McFly’ Fletcher had ventured into the world of Chick-Lit I didn’t know what to expect. I have to admit I did the usual well it’s easy to get published when you’re already famous by default thing, which I realise is a horrible thing to think, but I’m cynical like that.

And then I saw some really good reviews of her first book, Billy and Me, so I decided I should check them out for myself. I never did get round to Billy and Me but as soon as I saw this one on Netgalley I decided to request it.

You’re the One That I Want pleasantly surprised me and would make a great beach read, but I wasn’t completely won over by it.

Maddy has grown up with two best friends who just happen to be boys. They’re inseparable from childhood to adulthood, through thick and thin. But when adolescence hits, things begin to change. Both boys start to see Maddy as more than a friend, but which one will declare their feelings first? And which one, if any, will Maddy end up with?

I’m not a hater of the love triangle trope like a lot of people are, so I wasn’t put off by that aspect of the book. I was interested to see how the choices that were made could affect the strongest of friendships and I definitely found myself engrossed in the story. Like Maddy, I was torn between Robert and Ben at different stages of their lives.

But there were a few things that prevented me from really loving this book. The writing wasn’t bad, but I felt like the tone, and some of the ideas were way too immature, even as the characters got older. I mean, I know people mature at different ages but it seemed like these friends led pretty sheltered lives until they got to Uni. They were climbing trees and not allowed out after dark at the age of 15 which didn’t strike me as being very realistic – or maybe I just grew up different!??

When they go away to Paris for a 6th Form trip, it’s like they’ve never been away from home before, and when they get to Uni, it’s like they’ve never got drunk before – I found it odd. However, I loved the second half of the book – once they were at Uni – finding it much more riveting and realistic than the first, and I was eager to find out who Maddy had chosen, and if they would all be able to remain friends.

I thought the structure of the book really worked too. I’m not always a fan of multiple narrators, but it was definitely the way to go for this book. I also liked that it was written from the present time of ‘the wedding’ but not knowing who she had chosen, and looking back in chronological order as to what had led them there.

You’re the One That I want developed into an interesting story of friendship and love, how those lines can be easily blurred, and how one decision can change the course of your life forever. I was impressed by Fletcher, even if I didn’t completely love it.

It makes a really nice summer/holiday read. Give it a chance.

unicorn rating 3

Disclosure?: I received a copy from the publisher/author in exchange for an HONEST review
Title: You’re the One That I Want
Author: Giovanna Fletcher
Details: Paperback; Kindle; 320 pages
Published: May 22nd 2014 by Penguin
My Rating: 3/5

The Unicorn Thief by R.R. Russell (Released 06.05.14)

uniA dangerous thief is at work in the land of the unicorns…
Twig and Ben are hard at work taming the last free unicorn herd on Lonehorn Island when Ben’s loyal unicorn, Indy, disappears. When their search leads them to the island’s secret passageway to Terracornus, the land of unicorns, they discover a bold thief at work.

There Twig learns the tangled truth about Ben and the evil queen who’s enslaved all of the unicorns. Now all of the captive unicorns are in danger and only Ben and Twig, the last unicorn riders, can save them.

Like Twig and Ben readers will be drawn to a beautiful and mysterious world where unicorns roam wild. R.R Russell’s storytelling is sure to captivate unicorn lovers of all ages.

It saddens me to say that I didn’t enjoy this book very much, but I don’t think it’s the book’s fault really. When I requested it from Netgalley I didn’t realise it was the second book in a series. I wanted to give it a go anyway…because UNICORNS…but I just couldn’t get into it at all.

I was kind of confused about how Twig and Ben had ended up on The Earth Lands instead of Terracornus, and why they keep some unicorns with them but not others. But that being said, there were some things I did enjoy about The Unicorn Thief.

Once Twig and Ben move into the cave to be herders, (which I assume is like a birthright?) and then set out to find Indy the missing unicorn, the pace increases and I did eventually feel involved in the story. It’s a story that’s full of adventure and action, and a quick read to boot.

If I’d been up to speed with the first book, I’m pretty sure I would have loved that this book gets straight into the action, but as it was, I was just a bit lost.

I enjoyed the characterisation here too. Ben and Twig have a nice relationship which is tested throughout the book, and the bond between unicorn and rider was evident, making it realistic that Ben would go to such lengths to find Indy.

All in all, don’t be put off by my rating, I just felt like I was coming into the middle of a story with no background, which I guess I was. I’d really like to go back and read the first book to see if that’s all it was preventing me from loving it.

unicorn rating 2

Disclosure?: Yep, I received a copy from the publisher/author in exchange for an HONEST review
Title: The Unicorn Thief (Unicorns of the Mist #2)
Author: R.R. Russell
Details: Hardcover, 288 pages
Published: May 6th 2014 by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
My Rating: 2/5

When Darkness Falls…

Dark Eden by Chris Beckett

arc2On the alien, sunless planet they call Eden, the 532 members of the Family shelter beneath the light and warmth of the Forest’s lantern trees. Beyond the Forest lie the mountains of the Snowy Dark and a cold so bitter and a night so profound that no man has ever crossed it.

The Oldest among the Family recount legends of a world where light came from the sky, where men and women made boats that could cross the stars. These ships brought us here, the Oldest say—and the Family must only wait for the travelers to return.

But young John Redlantern will break the laws of Eden, shatter the Family and change history. He will abandon the old ways, venture into the Dark…and discover the truth about their world.

Woah, was my initial reaction to this book! Not because it completely blew me away, but because it’s such an epic journey to go on. I’m just not sure how much I enjoyed that journey.

Dark Eden is a book full of questions and very little answers. It is set on what we assume is an alien planet (although it’s pretty similar to earth) where almost two hundred years ago, humans crash landed. Some attempted to get back to earth, while one man and one woman thought it was too dangerous and stayed behind, deciding to make a go of living in the blackness of Eden until they were rescued.

Fast forward a hundred years or so and Eden is inhabited only by Family, who live a simple, deprived life, in a monotonous cycle of hunting, building fires and increasing the population by ‘slipping’ with anyone who offers, and a few species of animals similar to ours but with a few extra legs and lights on their heads. Sort of.

I found everything about Dark Eden intriguing. Beckett keeps us in the dark as much as the setting itself. We’re never quite sure where or what Eden is, nor can we trust what any of the characters say or think, because they don’t actually know anything. The world-building was good, and I liked that we were left to our own devices to imagine what certain things looked like but sometimes the lack of any specific details was irritating.

History and ideas about earth have been passed from generation to generation of Family, and many things have gotten lost, which is sometimes how I felt reading the book. Family cling onto a few surviving relics such as a toy car and keyboard but they know nothing of these things. Words have also been passed down like the biggest game of Chinese Whispers, so these too have altered in time making Dark Eden a challenging read to begin with.

Family are also taught that they must stay in one patch of Eden in case Earth returns for them, because that’s what the first settlers did. No one questions it, and no one tries to make their lives better by learning new things or exploring, that is until John Redlantern does.

At the start of the book, John is respected and sought after (for his juice – eww), but his new found inquisitiveness and out-spoken nature turns people against him, and eventually he is banished, sent away from their settlement to explore Dark Eden alone.

One of the main things that prevented me from loving this book was that I found it hard to like any of the characters. John was brave and clever but came across as a bit too aloof and I never felt like I knew him. All of the women in the book were betrayed pretty badly too, and the older members of the family were all completely unlikable – probably because of their tendencies to sleep with teenagers.

But what it lacked in character, Dark Eden made up for in themes and ideas. Each chapter gave me a new outlook on life, and how we live it; how we have evolved, and how society is only as good as the people in it. Family had no forward-thinkers, no one to teach the children and no one who could use their surroundings to invent new things and evolve as race. So they were stuck but didn’t know it.

There is also the obvious ties to the Garden of Eden story. Having to rebuild humanity afresh from just two people, inevitably means incest. The original father Tommy, had sex with his children and their children, and they had sex with their brothers and sisters, which is obviously the reason why some babies are born Batfaces or Clawfeet – although that is never stated, because they are ignorant to it. There’s a lot of talk of ‘baby juice’ which is pretty gross, but it does make you think about relationships and sex in a different way.

I feel like this book could have been shorter, but it was compelling and thought provoking. I wish I liked the characters more, and at times it was infuriating but it is a science fiction story that is scarily believable.

It reminded me of a cross between The Lord of the Flies, The Knife of Never Letting Go, and even Robinson Crusoe at times. It’s quite a feat. Read it.

unicorn rating 4

Disclosure?: Yep, I recieved a copy from the publisher/author in exchange for an HONEST review!
Title: Dark Eden
Author: Chris Beckett
Details: Paperback, 448 pages
Published: April 1st 2014 by Broadway Books (first published January 1st 2012)
My Rating: 4/5

Welcome to The House of Mirrors…

Frog Music Book Launch 30.03.2014

frog1

I had a really great time at the book launch for Emma Donoghue’s new book Frog Music on Sunday, which may or may not have something to do with all the free booze.

frog2

When we arrived we were handed a delicious cocktail in a tin cup, ushered into a rather unsafe looking lift and entered The House of Mirrors.

Donoghue did two readings as Blanche La Danseuse, the second accompanied by an actress playing Jenny Bonnet. They did a really good job, making me wish that I myself had read the book with such pzazz!

frog3

Miss Polly Hoops definitely stole the show though, with her awesome Hula-hoop routine.

frog4

There was a constant supply of wine (always good), some nibbles, (even though I definitely ate something mushroomy by mistake ugh!) and we topped off the evening by rummaging through the fancy-dress box. What could be better!?

frog5

You can read my review of Frog Music here.

Out Now!
Goodreads
Amazon

Many Thanks to Picador!

Frog Music by Emma Donoghue

frogSummer of 1876: San Francisco is in the fierce grip of a record-breaking heat wave and a smallpox epidemic. Through the window of a railroad saloon, a young woman called Jenny Bonnet is shot dead. The survivor, her friend Blanche Beunon, is a French burlesque dancer. Over the next three days, she will risk everything to bring Jenny’s murderer to justice – if he doesn’t track her down first. The story Blanche struggles to piece together is one of free-love bohemians, desperate paupers and arrogant millionaires; of jealous men, icy women and damaged children. It’s the secret life of Jenny herself, a notorious character who breaks the law every morning by getting dressed: a charmer as slippery as the frogs she hunts. In thrilling, cinematic style, FROG MUSIC digs up a long-forgotten, never-solved crime. Full of songs that migrated across the world, Emma Donoghue’s lyrical tale of love and bloodshed among lowlifes captures the pulse of a boom town like no other.

Frog Music feels like a return to what Donoghue knows best; like she’s returning home after the Hollywood vacation that her best selling book Room took her on.

Despite being set a century later, and in San Francisco rather than London, Frog Music has a lot of similarities to her earlier novel, Slammerkin. The protagonist in this case is Blanche de Danseuse, an exotic dancer at The House of Mirrors who lives with her lover-cum-pimp Arthur and his pretty much shadow of a friend Ernest.

One night Blanche literally runs into Jenny, a larger-than-life character who rides a stolen bicycle and who refuses to wear ‘ladies’ clothes despite being continuously fined and jailed for wearing trousers.

Frog Music jumps from the fateful night in which Jenny is killed, back to the moment they met. Which sounds good in theory, but I like to be informed when timelines are shifting and this book didn’t do that. When starting a new chapter it took a while to figure out where in the story I was, which left me confused and annoyed at times.

However, Donoghue has such a beautiful, enticing, and musical way with words that Frog Music was satisfying to read even if I was unsure of what was going on with the plot. I was also kept interested by certain breadcrumbs of information, such as Blanche being so adamant that it was Arthur who killed Jenny, but meaning to get her instead. What happened between the time Jenny was welcomed into their bohemian, flirtatious friendship and the night she was killed?

I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by Emma Donoghue, and this was no exception, but I was a little disappointed. My main issue, I think, was the character of Blanche. I wanted her to be bolder, more outrages but instead she was rather bland for a french bohemian exotic dancer and prostitute.

unicorn rating 3

Disclosure?: I received a free copy from the publisher/author in exchange for an HONEST review.
Title: Frog Music
Author: Emma Donoghue
Details: Hardcover, 352 pages
Published: March 25th 2014 by HarperCollins
My Rating: 3/5