This week the heat gang popped our slippers on, took the phone off the hook and polished our spectacles as we sat back and enjoyed a spot of reading. On this week's heat bookshelf: Between The Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer, and Separate Lives by Kathryn Flett.
Here's what we thought:
Between The Lines
JODI PICOULT AND SAMANTHA VAN LEER (Hodder & Stoughton, £12.99)
The plot: Once upon a time in a bog-standard fairytale, dashing Prince Oliver sets off to rescue damsel-in-distress Serphelia. But when no one reads the story, the characters drop the façade and go about their everyday lives within the book. So, when Oliver is desperate to escape and join the real world and is suddenly able to communicate with lonely teenage reader Delilah, will she be able to set him free?
What’s right with it? Picoult’s books for adults, such as the popular blub-fest My Sister’s Keeper, have sold by the million. Here, she has teamed up with her daughter to write an adventure tale for teens, and it has plenty of action and romance to keep younger readers happy.
What’s wrong with it? We held up our so-called “youngster” books Harry Potter and The Hunger Games on the bus with pride, but with illustrated pages of mermaids, trolls and a dragon, this was a step too far.
Verdict: Picoult fans might want to avoid it, unless they have a mini-person in their life. This one is definitely just for the kids. 3/5 @deborah_heat
KATHRYN FLETT (Quercus, £7.99)
The plot: When Susie finds a dodgy text from a woman named Pippa on the phone of Alex, her partner of ten years and the father of her two kids, she totally freaks out. Narrated by Susie, Pippa and Alex, the book follows their desperate and emotional attempts to untangle their feelings and sort out their lives.
What’s right with it? Susie’s story is told as a straightforward first-person narrative, while Pippa’s story is told through letters to her mum and Alex’s through e-mails to his twin brother. The intensity and complexity of the characters’ involvement with each other is like a particularly gasp-worthy EastEnders special.
What’s wrong with it? Pippa’s supposed to be a smart, educated, lonely woman, but comes across a smidgen sinister. Also, Alex is a bit of a prat, so you have no sympathy for him, which would have been good for balance.
Verdict: You’ll get completely caught up in the lives of Susie, Pippa and Alex in this emotionally honest, character-driven read, although you might be left not really liking two of the three main characters. 4/5 @jousmar