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Book Reviews – April 2018

I joined the library last week! A few weeks ago I wrote about how I don’t read a lot anymore and wanted to get back into the habit. I finally joined but haven’t checked anything out just yet. Mainly because I want to finish the books I have lying around first. These reviews are the last of them. The next book reviews (as I hope to make this more of a regular feature) will be books I’ve gotten from the library.

 

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine*

book reviews - eleanor oliphant
4 and a half out of 5 stars

“Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.

Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.

One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.”

You may have seen this book a lot on social media, particularly on Instagram but it’s definitely worth the hype. Though Eleanor is definitely an oddball, I found myself intrigued and invested in her story. There are even certain things I can relate to.

This book kept me interested right until the end and there was a twist that I wasn’t expecting too which was a nice surprise. I loved the characters and found myself laughing and crying at different points. Definitely recommended.

 

How to Stop Time*

book reviews - how to stop time
3 out of 5 stars

“Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old history teacher, but he’s been alive for centuries. From Elizabethan England to Jazz-Age Paris, from New York to the South Seas, Tom has seen it all. As long as he keeps changing his identity he can keep one step ahead of his past – and stay alive. The only thing he must not do is fall in love…”

I was really interested in the premise of this book. I know some people found the time jumps back and forth a tad confusing but I was completely fine with it. I did enjoy it but my one criticism is that it felt very rushed towards the end.

The book is on the thin side anyway but knowing what the goal of the protagonist was, I found that I was getting dangerously close to the end without anything happening. So when it did, it was very quick and felt a bit anti-climatic.

 

Passenger* & Wayfarer*

book reviews - passenger
4 out of 5 stars

“New York City, present day

In one night, Etta Spencer is wrenched from everything she knows and loves. Thrown into an unfamiliar world, she can be certain of only one thing: she has travelled not just miles, but years from home.

The Atlantic, 1776

Captain Nicholas Carter is tasked with delivering Etta to the dangerous Ironwood family. They are searching for something – a stolen object they believe only she can reclaim. But Nicholas is drawn to his mysterious passenger, and the closer he gets to her, the further he is from freedom.

The Edges of the World

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by a desperate thief. But as Etta plays deeper into the Ironwoods’ game, treacherous forces threaten to separate her not only from Nicholas, but from her path home – for ever.”

Even though I last read Passenger when it came out a couple of years ago, I still wanted to review these books together as they are the same story. It’s another series that jumps back and forth through time; only this is actually about time travel. It’s been a while since I found myself pulled into a fantasy story and this one didn’t disappoint.

I was really invested in the characters and the adventure they go on together – I enjoyed both books. And as far as I can see that’s the end of the story. I was getting a little worried that Wayfarer would end on a cliffhanger like Passenger did but luckily it didn’t. There are so many fantasy trilogies out there that it was refreshing to come across a two book series.

The only reason why I only gave them 4 stars is that it did get a bit too complicated at times. There are a lot of rules to this universe, a lot of characters and a lot of different time periods. Though this was mainly found in the second book. Since I got them on their publish days which were around a year apart, I forgot who half of the secondary characters and had to look online (without spoiling myself). Thanks so much to the person who made a handy infographic!

 

The Secret Wife*

book reviews - the-secret-wife
4 out of 5 stars

“Love. Guilt. Heartbreak.

1914

Russia is on the brink of collapse, and the Romanov family faces a terrifyingly uncertain future. Grand Duchess Tatiana has fallen in love with cavalry officer Dmitri, but events take a catastrophic turn, placing their romance – and their lives – in danger…

2016

Kitty Fisher escapes to her great-grandfather’s remote cabin in America, after a devastating revelation makes her flee London. There, on the shores of Lake Akanabee, she discovers the spectacular jewelled pendant that will lead her to a long-buried family secret…”

It’s another story with multiple timelines – sensing a theme here? This was a book my mum lent to me and I wasn’t expecting much from it. However I was pleasantly surprised with how quickly I got into it.

Everyone knows historically the Romanov’s were all murdered in 1918. And that there was a conspiracy that Grand Duchess Anastasia survived until it was finally disproved around 90 years later. Grand Duchess Tatiana is the second oldest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II (Anastasia’s older sister) and is one of the main characters in this story.

When I first started reading, I thought how fun they’ve gone with something different from the usual Anastasia plotline. But then I started reading through Wikipedia and found that there was a lot of truth to parts of this story. It turns out that Dmitri did exist in real life and in fact there was something between him and Tatiana. It appears that if it weren’t for the civil war, they probably would have married in real life. Unfortunately Tatiana was murdered and Dmitri was killed in combat a year later. This story is all about the question, “what if?” What if Dmitri survived?

I love a good mystery and this was definitely a page-turner, especially towards the end. But then I do love a bit of historical fiction!

 

What have you read recently? Any recommendations for me?

Any items marked with * are affiliate links. This means if you click through and buy something then I get a small commission. 

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Girl, Missing – Book Review

Girl, Missing is a story of an adopted fourteen-year-old girl who realises that she may have been kidnapped as a baby. This book originally came out in 2006 so I received the 10-year anniversary edition. Though I believe that I am slightly older than the target audience (young adults), I still enjoyed the story. I’m quite interested in the subject of adoption and this was a tale that was different to what I have read before.

In the note from the author at the beginning of the book, the author mentions that they considered modernising the book to appeal to the youth of today – changing the texting to something more contemporary. Personally, I’m really glad that this version stuck to the original edition. It was a nice piece of nostalgia for me since “text speak” was my generation (I definitely no longer type that fast!) and I think it’s good for teens of the following generations to see what life was like before the days of smart phones.

The story itself surprised me. I was expecting the storyline to go in one direction and that would be it but the place I thought the book would have originally ended, was where the plot took a very interesting turn. I definitely enjoyed the last third of the book the most! The majority of the chapters ended in cliffhangers, which made me consume the book in a couple of days. The characters were interesting, relatable and there was never a dull moment.

Though there were times when my 28-year-old self would speak up and say, “this totally wouldn’t happen” in places, my fourteen-year-old self would tell her to shut it. I’m glad I kept reading because it turned out pretty interesting without giving anything away, and there were plenty of twists that I wasn’t expecting. I would absolutely be interested in reading one of her thrillers for adults.

And finally, I will completely admit that I am one to judge a book by it’s cover and this anniversary edition completely passed the test. It’s so pretty!

I would give Girl, Missing a 3 and a half out of 5 stars.

 

*I was sent this book to review, however as usual, all opinions are my own.

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#BEDM Day 9: Book Review of Happily by Sophie Tanner

After a bit of a drought in the way of books, I’m here with a book review. As well as buying a few that I can’t wait to devour, I was sent a Kindle copy of “Happily” by Sophie Tanner to review.

Now lets start this with a fact. This book is chick-lit. But not chick lit as you know it. I love a mix of books from historical to fantasy and biographies to chick lit. When I read chick lit, I’m looking for something light and funny but it does tend to get a bit repetitive; girl meets boy, there’s some kind of obstacle, boy upsets girl but then makes it up to her and they all live happily ever after.

Happily was different. It was light and funny but the subject matter was something I haven’t seen tackled in this genre before. The book is about a girl called Chloe who doesn’t want to waste her life waiting for the one and therefore decides to marry herself. Quite a refreshing storyline.

I love the fact that it’s about loving yourself first and being content with your life and who you are. Chloe has a great job, great friends and great home. Self worth is something that really should be taught more. Though it’s great to be a traditional wife, mother etc. that isn’t something that women should be defined by. Chloe’s life is full of colourful characters and I was both entertained and inspired by the story line.

It’s a shame this isn’t out as a tangible book but on the bright side with it being Kindle, it’s only 99p on Amazon. What have you got to lose?

I would give this book 4 stars out of 5 for giving me a nice surprise!

What’s your favourite book you’ve read recently?

*Book was for review free of charge but as always my opinions are my own.

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Book reviews

I did a lot of reading over Christmas so I figured I would share with you my reviews. I love these kind of posts as I’m always looking for something to add to my Amazon wish list.

The Girl On the Train – Paula Hawkins

I finally bought this to see what all the fuss was about and I get it now. Rachel is an alcoholic obsessed with a house she sees everyday on her morning commute. The couple who live there appear to have the perfect life. Though one day she sees something she shouldn’t.

It is a serious page-turner that leaves you wondering whodunit the whole way through. I found myself guessing right up until the end and I was wrong – just like my mum whom I leant the book to after I finished. Definitely recommended.

4/5 stars

 

The Next Together – Lauren James

It’s not very often these days that I finish an entire book in one day but I just couldn’t help myself with this one. The Next Together is about a couple who keep meeting in different lives, fall in love but then are torn apart. The chapters jump throughout history and there are fun touches like emails and letters between the pair. I was engaged from the first chapter and loved the concept. There is even going to be a sequel coming out this year so I will definitely be reading that!

5/5 stars

 

Why Not Me? – Mindy Kahling

Mindy is back and she’s definitely still funny. I found myself giggling away just as much through this book as I did for her last one, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me. On a serious note, I enjoyed her chapter about confidence at the end. It gave me the kick I needed to get some work done.

4/5 stars

 

Everything, Everything – Nicola Yoon

I could pretty much describe this as the female version of the film Bubble Boy. You know the one everyone forgets Jake Gyllenhaal was in? Though maybe without the epic road trip? Madeline is allergic to the outside world and has never left the house. She however ends up falling in love with the boy next door and chaos ensues. The story was sweet but the storyline was a bit too predictable for me.

3/5 stars

 

The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance – Kirsty Greenwood

Chick-lit at its core. Jess is a party girl who considers herself a modern woman. However when she loses her job and home, she moves in with her estranged grandmother. Together in order to sort out both their money problems they team together to turn Jess into a vintage woman so capture the heart of a playboy, and secure themselves a book deal in the process. Overall I enjoyed the story, though the main character annoyed me a bit. Not much else to say about it.

2/5 stars

What have you read recently?

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Book Review: Techbitch

After seeing reviews of Techbitch floating around the blogosphere I had to add it to my Amazon wishlist. It has been described as a modern day The Devil Wears Prada and since I really enjoyed both the book and the film I gave it a go while I was on holiday. In fact, I finished the book on the plane since it was delayed then we were switched to a plane with no entertainment. Four and a half hours is a loooong time.

Anyway, to the story. Imogen is an editor of a fashion magazine that has returned to work after a period of illness. She returns to find her ex-assistant sitting at her desk and everything has changed. Her other colleagues have disappeared and the office has been taken over by fashion bloggers and her former assistant is in charge. Imogen isn’t technology and isn’t sure where she fits in in this new world.

I have to say that I enjoyed this book. I sympathised with Imogen from the beginning and also with the fashion bloggers being worked to the bone by the assistant. I won’t give anything else away to the plot but I recommend it. It’s not the kind of book with twists and turns and a big reveal at the end but I liked it. I’d give it a 4 out of 5.

Have you read techbitch?

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