Milly Reynolds the Crime and General Fiction Author

Creator of crime sleuths Mike Malone and Jack Sallt and writer of other general fiction

Review – Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

by Ransom Riggs

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I hadn’t actually realised that this was a YA novel when I bought it, I was just intrigued by the photographs and curious to see how they would be used to tell the story.

The book is littered with eerie photographs of Victorian children doing extraordinary things which adds to the ethereal quality of the story; these are Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children. The story revolves around Jacob Portman who travels from his home in America to Wales to find out the truth behind his grandfather’s stories. Are they really as fantastical as they appear? In Wales he finds the children that his grandfather told him about and this is when we get swept into the paranormal. The story is captivating and engaging; the pictures add to the other-worldly feel. I’m definitely going to have to buy the sequel at some point.

So, without giving too much away, this is a book of monsters, time-travel, horror, goodness and even love. Intrigued? Then try it, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. And – even if you don’t like the story, you can always look at the mesmerising photographs.

Almost forgot – a Google search revealed that Tim Burton is creating a film of the novel. Will it live up to the book in my mind? I’ll have to wait and see.

The Hunger Games

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As the first book in the trilogy , ‘The Hunger Games’ is on the curriculum for next year at the school that I am presently working part-time in, I thought I had better, finally, read it. I ended up reading all three books in the series.

For the few out there who have never read this series, this is a dystopian series. Katniss lives in District 12 and the Capitol decree that every year, two tributes are chosen from every district to battle it out to the death in the arena. Makes Big Brother look a bit tame, doesn’t it? The tributes – well,they’re aged 12-18. This is a novel about children killing children. Of course to the victor, wealth and food for their family. They will never go hungry again.

I’m not giving any more of the story away – but if you like dystopia, you will enjoy this series.

I can’t make up my mind whether or not I like Katniss. She is a strong female character which will attract the young teenage girls. I occasionally find her cold and manipulative. As for the subject matter – citizens ruled by fear, by starvation, by violence these are fairly common themes. But the idea of a society condoning the killing of children – well that does feel uncomfortable to my adult mind. Best to leave it to young adults who will enjoy it as a story without getting hung up on the grittier themes.

Nevertheless, I read all three books within a week and did not feel that they had been a waste of my time. In fact they are books that I will look forward to reading with my groups next year. it will be interesting to listen to their opinions and insights.

Now – where to buy the movie?

We love our gardens.

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Another afternoon out and this was a real treat, even if the weather was not as good as it could have been. Easton Walled Gardens near Colsterworth, Lincolnshire. These gardens were ‘lost’. The stately house that they had originally belonged to was demolished in 1951. The gardens were rediscovered in 2001 and with the hard work of Lady Ursula Cholmeley, wife of the present Baronet of Easton, the gardens have been restored; they are wonderful. There is so much to see. Everywhere you turn you discover something new; cottage garden, yew colonnade, rose gardens. There was everything. My pictures do not do the place justice, but suffice to say, it is a place that we will return to.

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Us by David Nicholls

Us

by David Nicholls

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I have never actually read one of David Nicholls’ books before so wasn’t sure what to expect. ‘Us’ is funny, sad, touching.

It’s the story of Douglas and Connie, a married couple in their 50’s who are on the verge of splitting up. Their son, Albie, is about to leave home for college so Douglas decides that a Grand Tour is called for, a last holiday as a family.

Being of a similar age, this book resonated so much with me; like Douglas, we took our son on a last holiday as a family before he went off to sixth form and reached an age where a holiday with Mum and Dad would just not be cool. Our wasn’t a Grand tour – we went to Venice. And, our wasn’t the holiday that Douglas experienced, thankfully.

Douglas is so sweet – reliable, dependable, safe – not emotionless, but a man who doesn’t get it right – especially with his son. Connie – well, sometimes I just wanted to shake her.

I loved Douglas’s adventures, his desire to organise everything. And yes, I did cry.

I recommend it.

Review – I Let You Go

I Let You Go

by Clare Macintosh

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It’s going to be difficult to write about this novel because of the twists. I’d hate to ruin it for you. In a nutshell, it’s the story of Jenna Gray. Her life becomes a nightmare and her only hope is to walk away from everybody and everything and start again. But …

I never saw the twists coming, in fact, I had to skim read the first part again to make sure that I hadn’t missed the glaringly obvious. I hadn’t. The book was gripping, I couldn’t put it down.

I’m  not saying anymore – I’ll end up letting something slip. Read it yourself. And I bet you go back to part one again – just to check.


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Stately Houses and books

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Summer is finally making an appearance. A beautiful day today so husband and I went off to Grimsthorpe House. It’s a favourite haunt of ours, we like to have a light lunch in the little tearoom and then go for a long, leisurely walk around the lake. A lovely spot is across the lake looking over towards the house. The birds are singing in the trees; we saw some long-tailed tits today, a red kite was circling in the skies above us. The house looked magnificent in the afternoon sun. With the gentle breeze that was blowing, rippling the grass, the house looked like a beacon in the midst of a gently rolling green sea. Magical. Wish there were more days like this.

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What made today even more special was that I have just passed the 40,000 sales mark. Not bad! Not bad at all.

Review – The Mind’s Eye

The Mind’s Eye

by Hakan Nesser

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Back to my Scandinavian detectives. Inspector Van Veeteren maybe  brooding and dark with a rotten private life but, he is also sharp-minded and he doesn’t miss a trick. However, he is also a detective that doesn’t share his insights with his team and so this makes him quite arrogant. But the story keeps you guessing.

A teacher is murdered and everything points to her husband, Janek Mitter, who was so drunk at the time of her death that he cannot remember what happened. Mitter protests his innocence but even his wry sense of humour when cross examined cannot prevent the court finding him guilty. It’s only when he’s locked away that he starts to remember …

As for Inspector Van Veeteren, he believes the answer lies in the dead woman’s past but as all secrets seem to have died with her, he just needs to dig a little deeper.

A good read. this is my second Inspector Van Veeteren novel and I will be reading more.

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