Waiting for Callback by Perdita and Honor Cargill #bookreview #han

Waiting for Callback by Perdita and Honor Cargill
Release date: 28.1.16
Buy it here


When Elektra is discovered by an acting agent, she imagines Oscar glory can’t be far away, but instead lurches from one cringe-worthy moment to the next! Just how many times can you be rejected for the part of ‘Dead Girl Number Three’ without losing hope? And who knew that actors were actually supposed to be multi-lingual, play seven instruments and be trained in a variety of circus skills?

Off-stage things aren’t going well either – she’s fallen out with her best friend, remains firmly in the friend-zone with her crush and her parents are driving her crazy. One way or another, Elektra’s life is now spent waiting for the phone to ring – waiting for callback.

Can an average girl-next-door like Elektra really make it in the world of luvvies and starlets? Geek Girlmeets Fame meets New Girl in this brilliantly funny new series!

Elektra James is a solid leading lady in this book; she has the charm, drive and humility. She is a likeable, believable and most of all, relatable. She’s someone I would love to get to know

Her friend Moss is an interesting background/support character. We see her withdraw from Elektra quite early on in the book, yet we still learn a lot about her through the texts between herself and Elektra.

Archie is a lovely character, but lacking an obvious flaw, puts be on guard. I want to believe that he’s this wonderful, charming young man, but I’ve been burnt before. I’m intrigued to learn more about him in Take 2. I really do hope he doesn’t hurt Elektra.

It felt episodic, which is something amazingly refreshing. I wasn’t entirely sure where the story was going, ensuring it was a page turner from start to finish.

There’s drama, both on and off the set, but all seems fairly resolved before the final pages. It’s quite wonderful for a book to be resolved, yet wanting more. It also helps that I know there is more to come.

A brilliant use of emails and texts move the plot along and develop the minor characters. It’s not usually my cup of tea but it really works within this novel. It has a wonderful ease of reading akin to writers like Holly Smale and Bourne.
I really cannot wait for Take 2; it’s ordered and on its way.

Hope by Rhian Ivory #nspBookClub #bookreview #Han @Rhian_Ivory @zcollins1994

Hope by Rhian Ivory
Release date: 15th September
Buy it here


Description: The summer between school and sixth form. When Hope doesn’t get into drama college, and her friends do, all her plans fall apart. She’s struggling with anger, grief for her father and a sense that her own body is against her. She meets Riley on the ferry and his texts give her someone to talk to. But this isn’t a story about a boy fixing everything. It’s about trying new things, having the courage to ask for help and that when things seem to be all over, that might be just the beginning.

Hope is wonderful; she’s a strong and empowered voice. She uses that voice to inwardly project anger, fear and confusion. Sometimes it bleeds to an outward expression, but I felt it more within the inward thoughts and feelings.
Her passion for the performing arts are in conflict with her feelings of rejection from her final audition.
Seeing her overcome her obstacles of grief, mental health and relationships is incredibly endearing to the character.

Riley, the young man Hope meets at the start is an interesting character. While he is a romantic interest, there is something a little more innocent and organic about their connection and development.
Interestingly, we know very little about him, but we also see that he is complex and well rounded; not a 2-dimensional plot device that he could have come across as, had this book been in someone else’s hands.

It is a heartfelt plot, taking place over the summer between the end of GCSEs and the start of college education; whatever that might mean for Hope.
It is a clever, interwoven story; her job over the summer helps Hope in so many ways that you would not expect from the outset; from her undiagnosed mental health to her future beyond her dream career.

Having such a strong character is half the battle when it comes to this beautiful and educating novel. It is very clear that research has gone into this. From informing the reader about organ donation to Hope’s diagnosis.

This is a book that I will be purchasing many copies of in order to have them in my school lending library.



Hope will be discussed as part of the wonderful Zoe’s #nspBookClub on Saturday 14th October at 6pm. Come join us 😀

Truly Madly Awkward by Beth Garrod #nspBookClub

Truly Madly Awkward by Beth Garrod
Buy it at here
From Amazon:

Bella Fisher is back – and is cool, calm and collected as ever. So: NOT EVEN REMOTELY. Her fledgling relationship with Hot Adam seems to have stalled mid-flight (he isn’t really speaking to her), her big sister Jo has gone off to university leaving Bella to deal with ditzy Mum on her own, something is up with her best-friend-dynamic with Tegan and Rachel and horror of horrors, horrendous ex-boyfriend Luke has an ACTUAL MODEL as his new girlfriend. Mum opens up a doggy ice cream parlour – Give a Dog a Cone – which Bella is forced to help out at on Saturdays. Yes, dressed up as a dog. For some light relief she enters a radio competition to secure a performance from hot band of the moment The Helicans at her school – but another contestant begins turning into her sabotaging nemesis. Throw in a suspicious new lodger and the world’s most chaotic dog agility course and you’ve got another truly hilarious, truly relatable and truly madly awkward story!


The characters
I like Bella. She fills the geeky hole left by the ending of Holly Smale’s Harriet Manners. Bella is the geek that goes wrong and you love her for it.
Her crush, Adam, is sweet and charming. Although I don’t find myself rooting for them; I’m picky and he’s a little dull for my romance satisfaction.
Bella is supported by a well rounded group of friends, all lovely people with their own problems. It was quite nice to have a book where there wasn’t a single character I didn’t like.

Then there was the lodger who wasn’t all she seemed. There was a trickle of mystery behind her glossy look and it’s quite delightful to see the character develop.

The plot
The book centres on the opening and running of a shop Bella’s mum has opened which works in parallel with Bella’s own journey; winning a competition for the band of the moment to play at her school.

It’s a easy read plot of situation build up, catastrophe and resolution. It’s wonderful, and not entirely predictable like it could have been. There’s a great end that will leave any reader satisfied.

The writing
It’s a personal thing for me, but working with students all day means I have very little time for the ‘teen voice’ that is represented here in Truly Madly Awkward. It’s not bad, by all means, but is not something I enjoy. It’s actually a testament to the writer that she is so competent that all the other elements were enough to keep me invested. It wasn’t offputting, but it did sometimes take me out of the narrative.
My biggest issue was the coupled words and the abbreviations. They are things that are banned in my classroom. I have no reason for it, other than I think I’m getting old.

However, leaving my grumpy aging arse aside; the writing is very current and one that the intended readers will love and it enables those readers to engage with Bella further.


No Safer Place Book Club
The wonderful Zoe over at  http://www.nosaferplace.co.uk/ is holding a chat today at 6pm over on Twitter. Use the hashtag #nspBookClub, introduce yourself and come join us for an hour of fun, chat and bookish geekery.

Check out Hannah’s blog post about the Book Club here

credit Zoe