Book review: Two Sisters by Kerry Wilkinson

Summary

This psychological thriller entails the story of a young woman called Megan. When she was ten years old, her older brother Zac went missing from a small seaside town called WhiteCliff.

Ten Years later, her parents pass away in a car crash, Megan receives a postcard on the day of her parents funeral with a photograph of Whitecliff and a single letter Z on the back.

Megan returns to Whitecliff with her sister Chloe to discover what really happened to her brother.

What I thought?

This book covers more than figuring out what happened to Megan’s brother Zac. I love how the book is written from Megan’s perspective, a young twenty-year-old girl who is struggling with her own inner demons as well as trying to discover why her family didn’t have the typical dynamic of every other family. The town of Whitecliff creates a great setting for a psychological thriller, the town is filled with secrets and rivalries that could mean anyone could be responsible for what happened to her brother. The book also covers how strong the bond of sisters can be, even when it is tested beyond limits.

I didn’t see the twist in this novel and there is a chance to suspect each of the characters, I would highly recommend if you like weird towns, distorted families and a mystery to solve along the way.80230211_285388026042236_4983610947617068407_n

‘If I Die Before I Wake’ by Emily Koch.

Summary

Alex is an experienced outdoor climber, however, since falling in a bad accident, he has spent the last eighteen months in a coma. Despite being in a coma, Alex can hear everything that’s going on around him. Including when the police suggest that his accident could have been attempted murder. Can Alex prove to his family that he is still awake before his attacker strikes again?…

What I thought?….

This thriller is very inventive, it was intriguing to try and figure out crime through the main character Alex who is in a coma, and the only thing you have to go off is the conversations between the people who come to visit him on a daily basis. I do love a good who done it? Who doesn’t? I definitely didn’t get who the attacker was and I was convinced it was someone different every chapter. If you can guess the twist at the end, you’re a genius94290273_685453812203028_2450197182154801152_n!

The Shop Assistant – Short story

Ivy hobbled through the town’s shopping arcade. Her ageing bones making the walk to her favorite shoe shop seem like she was attempting a marathon. Shopping had always been Ivy’s therapy ever since she was young, today she felt she deserved to splurge out and treat herself.

She finally reached the shop, taken in by the bright lights and sparkly shoes dancing in the reflection of her faded blue eyes.

‘Ivy?’ A familiar voice shouted down the aisle of the shop, it was the Manager Julia, her plump face smiling as wide and cheery as ever.

‘Hello Dear, has it been busy today?’ Ivy’s croaky voice tried to make its way over the other customer’s conversations.

Julia guided Ivy to the nearest seats. ‘ It has for a Tuesday Ivy, it must be the nice weather making people venture outside.’

Ivy held onto Julia as she lowered Ivy to the seats. ‘ Well, that’s why I’ve come Julia, I need some new sandals, my feet are getting all hot and sweaty in these clumpy things.’ Ivy winced as she lifted her leg slightly to show Julia her worn black boots.

‘Oh yeah Ivy, you can’t keep walking round in those things, you’ll overheat!’

‘I know lovely, I just don’t want to throw them away, they’re my favorite boots.’

‘Well, you could always buy yourself another pair.’ Julia hinted, pound signs flashing in her eyes.

‘Yes, well sandals first, winters well and truly done for a bit, thank heavens.’

‘So it is, right Ivy I’ll go and fetch you some different pairs of sandals to try on, you sit back and relax.’

Julia walked over to the summer sandals and picked out a few best-sellers in Ivy’s size four. Ester, a new shop assistant tapped Julia on the shoulder, with a friendly smile and the phone in her hand. She had long brown hair and innocent brown eyes.

‘It’s the area manager.’ Ester whispered.

Julia rolled her eyes,’ Will you take these boxes and help Ivy over there try them on, she’s a regular.’

‘ Sure thing!’ Ester said over-enthusiastically. Ester was sixteen and this was her first job, she was delighted to be earning her own money and determined to make a good impression.

‘Okay, you take these darling,’ Julia awkwardly handed over several boxes of sandals to Ester and took the phone off her.

‘Hello Paul, how are you?’ Julia asked, a sarcastic tone erupting in her voice.

Ester tried to keep hold of all the boxes and made her way to Ivy on the seats, she tripped over a pair of shoes that had been left on the floor and the boxes went flying around Ivy’s feet.  Ester stood frozen, her mouth hanging open.

‘Well, you know how to make an entrance deary.’ Ivy giggled.

‘Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry, I’m so clumsy!’ Ester panicked, scurrying up the boxes as quickly as she could.

‘Don’t worry deary, who are you? I haven’t seen you working here before.’

‘I’m Ester, I’m new this is my first week, as you can probably tell. Julia had to take a phone call so she told me to come and help you, well attempt too.’

Ivy laughed, this was the funniest thing she’d seen in a long time.

‘I’m Ivy Sweetheart, I come in here all the time.’

‘So Julia said.’ Ester pulled out the first pair of sandals, a white pair with a few silver diamantes scattered across them.

Ivy nodded, ‘ Well aren’t those fancy.’

Ester giggled, slipping Ivy’s boots off, trying not to repulse at the smell of sweat evaporating from Ivy’s small wrinkled feet. Ester put the sandals on her feet, Ivy’s face lit up.

‘Oooo those are nice. Be honest sweetheart, am I too old to pull these off?’

‘Of course not Ivy.’

‘ Well, I guess I’ll have to have them then.’ Ivy smiled through her crinkled lips.

‘Don’t you want to try any more on?’

‘Why not? I’m not in a rush to get anywhere, never am.’

Ester smiled, opening up the next pair of sandals. Ivy crossed her hands and rested them on her lap, a sigh emerging from her breath. Ester looked up and noticed a large silver ring on Ivy’s wedding finger and a plain silver one next to it, complimenting it’s shining features.

‘Your rings beautiful. I’ve never seen one like it.’ Ivy stroked the ring with her bony fingers.

‘Thank-you Deary.’

‘How long have you been married? ‘ Ester asked, unable to resist the tale of a good romance story.

‘Oh gosh, Albie and I were married for fifty-two years.’

‘Wow, that’s amazing.’

‘He was, he passed away last year.’ Ivy’s eyes filled with water, she sniffed and tried her hardest not to let the tears fall.

‘ Aw I’m so sorry Ivy, that’s terrible.’

‘It’s our anniversary today actually, so really we would be at fifty-three years.’

‘Ah well, you have a good reason to treat yourself today then,’ Ester remarked, as she put on the next pair of sandals for Ivy.

‘I miss him so much, it’s not the same without him, it’s so lonely.’

‘I bet you do, did you have any children?’

‘Yes one Christina, she lives in Spain with my Grandson Lui, Albie and I used to go all the time before he got ill. They can’t make it over as much because of Christina’s work and I’m too scared to fly alone.’ Ivy lifted her legs to see the new pair of sandals shining on her feet.

‘I think I’ll have to take these ones too.’ Ivy winked at Ester.

 

Ester took the two boxes of sandals to the till Ivy followed slowly.

‘Now thank-you for all your help deary.’

‘Ester scanned the boxes. ‘You’re welcome.’ She took the money off Ivy and put the boxes in a bag for her, as Ivy looked down to put her purse back in her bag, Ester held her hands over the shoeboxes and closed her eyes for a second.

‘Bye now deary.’

‘ You take care Ivy.’ Ester smiled and watched Ivy hobble out of the shop.

 

In her Bungalow, Ivy poured herself a sherry and perched down in a rocking chair in front of the fireplace. She raised her glass towards a photo resting on top of the fireplace of her and Albie on their wedding day.

‘Happy Anniversary my Albie.’ With that, she took a big glug of sherry and shut her eyes falling into a deep sleep. She was wearing the white sandals she’d bought earlier, a dim orange light glowed around them.  Ivy’s eyes flickered open and standing in front of her was an old man dressed in a smart suit with his hair combed back neatly. Ivy rubbed her eyes.

‘Albie, am I dreaming?’

‘You’re not my love, now it’s our anniversary, are you going to join me for a dance?’

Albie held his hand out and pulled Ivy up. She stood up without the unusual discomfort her body usually felt when moving. Albie and Ivy’s body’s swayed together in the small living room.

‘ I missed you Albie.’

‘I missed you too my darling.’ He kissed her cheek tenderly.

 

A few days later in the shoe shop. Ester was serving on the till when Julia approached her with sad eyes.

‘What’s wrong?’ Ester asked, concerned.’ It’s Ivy, do you remember that old lady you served the other day, she’s passed away.’ Tears emerged in the corners of Julia’s eyes.

‘Aw no, I’m so sorry, she was a lovely lady.’ Ester put her hand on Julia’s arm.

‘She was, I think it was of heartbreak, her husband only passed away last year you know.’

‘Did he? What a shame, at least they’re both together now.’

Julia nodded.’ Excuse me, I’ll have to go and tell Lorraine,’ she headed back down the shop. Ester carried on serving at the till, a woman with a pale complexion was buying a pair of boots, as she looked down to get her purse, Ester hovered her hands over the box of shoes and closed her eyes for a second.

 

 

‘If I Die Before I Wake’ by Emily Koch.

Summary

Alex is an experienced outdoor climber, however, since falling in a bad accident, he has spent the last eighteen months in a coma. Despite being in a coma, Alex can hear everything that’s going on around him. Including when the police suggest that his accident could have been attempted murder. Can Alex prove to his family that he is still awake before his attacker strikes again?…

What I thought?….

This thriller is very inventive, it was intriguing to try and figure out crime through the main character Alex who is in a coma, and the only thing you have to go off is the conversations between the people who come to visit him on a daily basis. I do love a good who done it? Who doesn’t? I definitely didn’t get who the attacker was and I was convinced it was someone different every chapter. If you can guess the twist at the end, you’re a genius94290273_685453812203028_2450197182154801152_n!

‘Never Greener’ by Ruth Jones review

Callum a 37-year-old teacher in Scotland is expecting his third child with his wife Belinda, he is happy in his little bubble until 22-year-old barmaid Kate starts working in his brother’s pub. They both get consumed in their wild passionate affair, but life interrupts and they are forced to go their separate ways. Until seventeen years later when they meet again…

What I thought?…

I loved this book! Ruth Jones has truly made an exceptional debut in novel-writing. The storyline had me addicted from the very start. The characters were very relatable and I felt for each of them as they tried to make sense of their chaotic intertwined lives. This book contains moral life lessons for each of the characters, that were easy to connect with on a personal level. I would highly recommend this book if you love a bit of romance and drama, who doesn’t? Fingers crossed Ruth Jones is writing her second novel right now because she’s just so good!94152133_267618297613913_5335088141776715776_n

‘The Institute’ by Stephen King.

94798726_230242218226848_6078307798280568832_nThe Institute is a science-fiction, horror/thriller, it entails the story of a young boy called Luke, who has very special powers. Life is pretty normal for Luke despite this, until he is kidnapped and taken to an extremely private institute in Maine, where more children with powers such as telepathy and telekinesis are being used to ‘allegedly’ serve the country.

What I thought?…

Honestly, I haven’t really read any Stephen King before this book. Generally being quite a scaredy-cat, I was afraid of reading a Stephen King novel and not being able to sleep at night! So, deciding it was about time I give the best selling author a try, I opted for one of his slightly less spine-chilling novels; which happened to be his newest novel, ‘The Institute.’

At first, I found this book quite slow to start with and it took me a while to get into. Being a slow reader anyway, it took me a while to read, as it is a mighty beast of a book!

However, once I got used to the style of writing and developed a connection with each of the characters, especially the main character, Luke. I found I couldn’t put the book down and I was routing for the children in the novel to overcome the evil they were trapped in.

So, I don’t think this will be the last Stephen King book I will be reading, I may even try one of his really terrifying ones like IT, maybe now as a twenty-three-year-old I might finally be ready to face my fear of clowns!

Little fires everywhere by Celeste Ng.

The second novel by Celeste Ng has become an international bestseller for a reason, Celeste depicts lives in the small town of Shaker Heights, where everybody stays in their perfectly well-behaved bubble. Elena Richardsons’ family are the ideal candidates for this town.

Everything is running just as it should be until outsiders, Mia a drifting artist and her daughter Pearl rent a house from the Richardsons. While Pearl grows closer with the Richardson’s children, unlike Elena and Mia who remain wary of each other and indeed they have a right to be.

Even more so, when the Richardson’s friends the Mcloughs’ decide to adopt a Chinese baby girl, forcing Mia and Elena onto opposing sides. Determined not to let Mia get in the way of her friends’ happiness, Elena digs into Mia’s past, which reveals secrets that will change both of their lives.

This beautifully written novel is gripping and explores how people from all different walks of life can intertwine and secrets can’t stay hidden forever.75317312_431858267529834_505252269004947456_n

 

Interview with teaching assistant Julie Collins, find out about her experiences working in a special needs school.

Have you ever thought of working with children/people with special needs, read teaching assistant Julie’s own experiences working in the special needs sector.

Julie,53 worked in the civil service for thirty years before becoming a teaching assistant at Hope School in Wigan.

Only when Julie was offered voluntary redundancy from the civil service, did she take the leap and complete a level 2 teaching assistant course. Julie had thought about going into care for a long time,’ I didn’t know which way I wanted to go into it. It would have been harder to quit my job and do the course without anything to fall back on; however, with the redundancy, I could do the course and not have to worry about money.’

Julie’s first job after the teaching assistant course was at a public primary school, but as soon as a job opportunity at Hope School came up, she jumped at the chance.

Now Julie works with eighteen to thirty-year-olds, who have a severe range of disabilities. ‘ The school is a very happy and caring environment to work in, it is extremely rewarding. A little thing like a smile of a student makes it worthwhile.’

Julie says although it is rewarding, it can be hard at times. ‘You have to be positive, especially when some of the students experience seizures. You have to do your best to make the lives of the students as comfortable and as happy as you can.’

The school takes part in a range of activities to create a fun and positive environment, such as wheelchair dancing, sensory art, music therapy, and dance massage.

If you are thinking about working in a special needs school Julie recommends to ‘ go and volunteer in a classroom, but you can’t let it upset you. Be practical and put the students needs first.’

 

 

 

Autumn Leaves

My soul is scattered across the concrete,

My spine detached from my tree,

no longer, do I belong to anything.

 

My skin is stepped on, kicked around,

the rain hits me harder,

as I have nowhere to hang.

 

My friends have flown away,

as time drags each day,

the lonelier I become.

 

My cover stuck to the ground,

there’s no one around,

to help me lift into the air.

 

So, I lay here,

until I eventually fade into the earth.

I pray that the leaves that fall after me,

don’t lose themselves completely.72418828_693175284507910_977889153364525056_n

 

 

 

 

The Archway

During my first semester at university, we went on a trip to Gregynog Hall in Wales for the weekend. We were asked to find an object on the grounds and write a piece based around it. I chose the beautiful archway that was located in the front gardens. It inspired me to write a short love story about a Lord and a Maid called The Archway.

 

‘Oh my Lord, is that the time already?’ I rip off my apron and quickly wash the flour off my hands in the sink.

‘Why? Where are you venturing off to at this hour Mary?’ I spin round to be greeted by the head Butler Mr. Gillespe hovering in the doorway, his eyebrows raised.

‘Nowhere Sir, I didn’t realize how late it was, that’s all.’

He frowns at me. ‘Very well, Goodnight Mary.’

‘Goodnight Sir.’ I wait until I can hear his footsteps fade down the corridor, then hurry to gather my coat from the cloakroom. I catch myself in the reflection of a window, I look pale and exhausted. I wonder if people can tell, he might be able to guess before I tell him. He can always read my face, I feel sick with anxiety at the thought of it.

I take a deep breath in and tighten my bun. I make my way out to the courtyard, the cool air pinching my skin. My breath looms in a cloud of fog around me. He’s already there, stood beneath the archway. Inhaling the frostbitten air, I let it fill my lungs and tiptoe over the crinkled leaves on the ground, careful not to make too much noise.

‘Jonathan,’ I whisper. He gaps putting his hand to his chest.

‘Mary, you startled me; where have you been it’s late?’

‘Sorry my love, I didn’t realize the time.’ He folds his arms around me, stroking my cheek softly.

‘I missed you, my dear,’ he says giving me a warm smile, before lightly pressing his lips against mine. I look into his penny brown eyes and fall in love with him all over again. He’s so handsome, I am still unsure how someone like Jonathan could fall for me “Mary the kitchen maid”. He could have any girl he pleased and yet here he is with me.

Hiding from all his family, keeping secrets. But what if it all changes once I confess my own. He won’t want to marry me, all his family would treat him as an outcast, especially his Father. I don’t understand how Jonathan and his Father share the same blood, his father is a cruel man, nothing but money on his mind, he doesn’t care for those; only those who will add to his fortunes.

Jonathan, on the other hand, is kind and caring. From our first meeting, I knew he was different from his family. He was polite and sincere, he always thanked me every time I served him. I didn’t see it coming, I was walking in the courtyard, I was strolling along in the courtyard when he pulled me to one side; underneath this very archway. He confessed that he couldn’t stop thinking about me, that my blue eyes haunted him every day. He knew it was wrong, his father would never allow it, but he needed to kiss me once, as he had done in his dreams.

I thought he was fooling me at first, but the look in his eyes right before he kissed me, was of a young boy’s excitement on Christmas Day. I know he loves me, yet I still dread to tell him what I know. I’m so scared of losing him, losing what we have.

‘What’s the matter, my dear, are you quite alright? You don’t seem yourself tonight.’

‘Yes I’m fine, just a little under the weather is all,’ I attempt to lie.

‘They have you working too hard in that kitchen, you need to take a few days off my dear. That’s an idea! Why don’t you say you’re visiting your family for a few days. I could say I have a business meeting in the city and we could go somewhere together.’ His face glows at the thought.

I attempt to look happy and force a smile upon my face, I must be a terrible actress because his face turns to concern.

‘ We don’t have to, I just thought it would be nice to spend more than one night together for once.’  He looks disheartened.

‘It isn’t that Jonathan, I want to, it’s just…’

‘What is it, Mary?’

I can feel tears wetting my eyes.

‘Oh my love, what is it?’ He pulls me in closer towards him and kisses my forehead.

‘Do you love me, Jonathan?’ I ask for reassurance.

‘Of Course, I do, you know I love you, Mary.’

‘I’m pregnant.’ He doesn’t say anything, he loosens his grip around me, then lifts my face with his hand so were looking into each other’s eyes.

‘You’re pregnant?’ Why did I tell him, I can see how scared he looks. What have I done?

‘ How long have you known?’

‘A week.’

‘Oh Mary, you’ve kept this to yourself for a whole week.’ I nod as my tears escalate into a muffled cry.

‘Mary don’t cry, I’m here now; everything’s going to be alright.’

‘You’re not going to leave me?’

‘No Mary, why would I ever leave you?’

‘What about your Father, I’m going to lose my job, all your family would never approve.’

‘Don’t worry my love, I’ll think of something, not just for us; but for our child.’ He places a hand on my stomach as his face illuminates with a smile.

 

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