Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Music for Sunshine - 6 Weeks of Summer

Every week this summer, I'm sifting through the arts to find books, shows and music to brighten the rainy days. This week, I'm bringing you a list of artists, old and new, who are perfect for those summer drives through the hills and out to the beach. From Jazz to acoustics, youtubers to big names, here are my top ten musicians to listen to this summer:

10. Jamie Cullum

9. Norah Jones

8. Newton Faulkner

7. Amy Winehouse

6. Jack Johnson

5. Elbow

4. Dodie Clark

3. Lucy Spraggan

2. Pixie Lott

1. Paolo Nutini

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

The Thing About Apples - 6 Weeks of Summer

The Thing About Apples - Elizabeth Rose

Everyone knows the tale of the innocent young girl and the evil step-mother but few know the story to be like this. Teenager Ann's battle with step-mother Hilde and the beauty pageant she is forced to enter is worsened by an altogether different challenge: Ann's undiagnosed Asperger's disorder. 

Between the oppressive responses of Hilde and the disorientation inside her own head, Ann must find her own way to be happy. This is the third installment in the 'Once Upon a Reality' series, as a modern retelling of Snow White. 

Image sourced from here.

As a novel authored and published in America, many British readers might be unfamiliar with Elizabeth Rose and this particular title. Certainly, I am only aware of it having read it in its early days on writer's forum, WeBook.

Literary pieces about mental illness or disorders such as Autism are relatively common in the modern world of reading and so, when this book was published just over a year ago, it joined a wealth of other books tackling the same themes.

But, crucially, not every writer tackles well and, where many novels have crashed and burned beneath unconvincing plot-twists and poorly researched, under-developed character traits, Rose's writing flourishes. 

It is not enough to simply state, somewhere in a story, that the character has Asperger's, nor is it enough drop a few explicit traits into a couple of chapters. This is something that Rose appears to fully understand, instead creating a character of depth and emotion, accurately detailing the thought processes and, often, distress that can be felt by those with such a complex syndrome. In the process, she creates a novel that is as moving as it is convincing.

Though it is not available to be bought from any English book shops, I would most certainly recommend searching on Amazon adding The Thing About Apples to your 'to-read' list. 

Fancy a read? Click here.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

All That She Can See - 6 Weeks of Summer

All That She Can See - Carrie Hope Fletcher

Released just under a month ago, All That She Can See is my book to read this summer. Written by actress, youtuber and three-time author Carrie Hope Fletcher, it follows the story of Cherry Redgrave, a baker with an extraordinary hidden talent for seeing the feelings that shadow every human.

Whilst Cherry utilises this talent for good, using her baking to warm the hearts of those around her, a gentleman with the same talent has a rather different agenda.

Combining love, magic and a careful dusting of sugar, this is a beautiful study in what it means to feel. 

Image sourced from here.

I have reviewed both of Fletcher's previous books, determining that, whilst her writing style was not always smooth, her ability to use words to convey the strongest of emotions was really rather impressive.

This time, however, her writing was not only smooth but beautifully moving, with passages evoking such strong feeling that they may well have been lyrics from one of her many songs. Fletcher not only has a strong understanding of what it means to feel but of how to use words to make others feel and that is a true literary talent.

What I find most extraordinary about her work, however, is her ability to expertly weave magic between the lines of the mundane, every day, making each idea feel that little bit more possible.

My book of the summer, All That She Can See, is available to buy from Waterstones.