Book Review: The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett

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Read between: 14th- 21st January, 2018
Format: ebook
Published: June 4th, 2015
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Synopsis: What if you had said yes? The moments that change everything… One Day meets Sliding Doors in this outstanding debut that is causing a buzz across the publishing world
Some moments can change your life for ever. Have you ever wondered, what if…?

A man is walking down a country lane. A woman, cycling towards him, swerves to avoid a dog. On that moment, their future hinges. There are three possible outcomes, three small decisions that could determine the rest of their life.

Eva and Jim are nineteen and students at Cambridge when their paths first cross in 1958. And then there is David, Eva’s then-lover, an ambitious actor who loves Eva deeply. The Versions of Us follows the three different courses their lives could take following this first meeting. Lives filled with love, betrayal, ambition but through it all is a deep connection that endures whatever fate might throw at them.

The Versions of Us explores the idea that there are moments when our lives might have turned out differently, the tiny factors or decisions that could determine our fate, and the precarious nature of the foundations upon which we build our lives. It is also a story about the nature of love and how it grows, changes and evolves as we go through the vagaries of life.

Rating: Image result for 2.5 stars

Review: This story is well written, the characters are well fleshed out. I love Eva and Jim, the two main characters of the story. The novel itself follows their lives from their births in 1938, to their first meeting, all the way up to 2014 when they are well into their elder years.

It is set in three different scenarios, (hence the title). In all three versions, Eva and Jim meet, in all of them they become parents, whether that be as a couple or with other people, but in all of them they face trials of love, loss, and heartbreak. Something happens that changes their lives, be that in a good way, or a bad one.

However, the main problem I had with this book, is having three separate storylines split up throughout the book was incredibly hard to follow. I wish I had read each version separately but as I read this book on my Kindle it would have been really hard to flick backwards and forwards between the the different versions.

I also didn’t like the amount of times Eva was cheated on by her many husbands (apart from Ted, he was lovely <3) over the three storylines. I don’t like reading about cheating, especially when the characters are so well written that you can feel, and understand, the sadness and the pain they are going through.

It’s a really hard book to explain because of the three different versions of Eva and Jim’s story. Despite them all crossing over, they were still very different, for example, their children had entirely different names in each story.  It definitely has an interesting concept, which I think gave the author a chance to delve into her characters more.

I enjoyed the story- I just got very confused and lost track of which version was which! Interesting, but cute, and I did like that Eva and Jim were each others endgame. It didn’t matter which version, they always ended up together 🙂

2.5/5 stars.
I didn’t hate this book, but I just found it incredibly difficult to read. Take it with a  pinch of salt.

Thanks for reading!
~Katie

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Bookshelf Tour!

So I decided to dust my bookshelves the other day and I decided to take some photos of my shelves to do a little tour! (One Book is in two separate pictures because I decided to move it haha!)

So, starting with my bottom shelf (it’s the third shelf of my unit my the bottom shelf of my books

The back of this shelf contains my Philippa Gregory collection, the current Poldark TV tie in books and some random books.

L-R: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Dracula by Bram Stoker, The Lady of the Rivers, The White Queen, The Red Queen, The Kingmakers Daughter, The White Princess, The Kings Curse, The Constant Princess- all by Philippa Gregory. The Fire Sermon and The Map of Bones by Francesca Haig, The Other Boleyn Girl, The Boleyn Inheritance, The Queens Fool, The Virgin’s Lover, The Other Queen, Three Sisters Three Queens, also all by Philippa Gregory. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. Ross Poldark, Demelza, Jeremy Poldark, Warleggan, The Black Moon, The Four Swans all by Winston Graham.

The front of the shelf is specific to all things Sherlock Holmes! But there are some other books dotted around too.

L-R: A Study in Scarlet, The Sign of Four, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Return of Sherlock Holmes, The Valley of Fear, His Last Bow (hidden), and The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes all by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: Dr Jekyll and Mr Holmes by Loren. D. Estlemen, Moriarty: The Hound of the Durbervilles by Kim Newman, The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz, The Moriarty Papers by Sebastian Moran, My Name is ____ and I’m a Cumberbitch, Mermaids by Skye Alexander, Dust and Shadow by Lyndsay Faye, Benedict Cumberbatch: In Transition and Benedict Cumberbatch: Transition Completed by Lynette Porter. The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, A Monstrous Regiment of Women, A Letter of Mary and The Moor all by Laurie R King. Mrs Hudson’s Diaries by Bob Cryer and Barry Cryer, Sherlock Chronicles by Steve Tribe, Sherlock- The Casebook by Guy Adams. A Meditation on Murder by Robert Thorogood, Vendetta, Inferno and Mafiosa all by Catherine Doyle, Timebomb by Scott K Andrews and Truth or Dare by Non Pratt.

Now onto the middle shelf! There’s no set order for this shelf! It’s random. Again, starting from the back..

L-R: A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart, Inkheart, Inkspell and Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke, The Titanic’s Mummy and The Beasts of Karlstad by David J H Smith. Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield, Frankenstein by Nick Dear, War Horse by Michael Morpurgo, The School of Good and Evil and A World Without Princes by Soman Chainani. One Day by David Nichols, When We Collided by Emery Lord, Atonement by Ian McEwan, The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Luis Zafon, Nyxia by Scott Reintgen, Is It Just Me? By Miranda Hart, Cinder by Marissa Meyer, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John Le Carré, Parade’s End by Ford Maddox Ford, The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson, The Duchess by Amanda Foreman, The Holy Bible and a Dictionary!

Onto the front of the shelf now which is mainly completed series.

Didn’t plan for it to be all black books at one end but there you go!

L-R: The Vesuvius Club/The Devil in Amber by Mark Gatiss, The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer. Dream a Little Dream, Billy and Me, Christmas with Billy and Me, Always with Love, You’re the One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher. Fangirl, Eleanor & Park, Landline and Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. The Chronicles of Narnia by C S Lewis, Divergent, Insurgent and Allegiant by Veronica Roth.

And finally, the top shelf! Again, the back doesn’t really have any order, but I’ve tried to keep like books together.

L:R- The first 11 books are part of the collection Doctor Who: The Complete History. I don’t have all of them yet. Torchwood: Long Time Dead by Sarah Pinborough, Torchwood: First Born by James Goss, Torchwood: Pack Animals by Peter Anghelides, Torchwood: Trace Memory by David Llewelyn. The TARDIS Handbook by Steve Tribe. Doctor Who: Prisoner of the Daleks, Doctor Who: Judgement of the Judoon, Doctor Who: Martha in the Mirror, Doctor Who: The Price of Paradise. Me Before You and After You by Jojo Moyes, Once in a Lifetime by Cathy Kelly, The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffeneger, Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo, The City of Brass by S.A Chakraborty, These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, The Waking Land by Callie Bates, The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson, The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

The notebooks on this shelf are wear I write my reviews.

The front of the shelf has a pretty obvious theme, including various bits and bobs like a mug of bookmarks, a Chip mug purse, a book money jar and my Ariel Funko!

So, the books!

L-R: A Darker Shade of Magic, A Gathering of Shadows and A Conjuring of Light all by V.E. Schwab. The Cuckoo’s Calling, The Silkworm, Career of Evil, all by Robert Galbraith. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone : 20th Anniversary Edition, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter: A History of Magic and finally, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by Jack Thorne and John Tiffany.

And that is my current bookshelf! I do have smaller bookshelf with just my hardcovers on that I haven’t included, but I hoped you enjoyed this post!

Thanks for reading!
~Katie
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Top Ten Tuesday: 2018 Goals

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that used to be hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, but has now moved into the sole hands of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week, the topic is 2018 resolutions and goals!

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So, here are my 2018 Reading Goals!

  1. I want to complete my Goodreads Reading Challenge is currently set at 50 books, and I hope to read that many, or more this year after I failed at 60 books in 2017!
  2.  I want to complete the Read The Year challenge that Penguin have set up- it only has one goal a month so I think it it doable, the only trouble is finding a book on my TBR that fits the challenge.
  3. The only other reading challenge I wish to complete is the Popsugar Reading Challenge! I never aim to complete these, as I don’t usually have a lot of books that fit the challenges but it would be good to complete it just once!
  4. Read only my TBR- I love re-reading books, but I have so many books on my TBR that I need to read that I want to focus solely on that this year, and see if I can get it down to a smaller number- not zero, but smaller!
  5. Go on a book buying ban. I try and do this every year, but my finances are not as they were this year, meaning I can’t afford to buy books. I also don’t have the space!

 

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6. Speaking of spacing issues, I also want to have a large unhaul this year. Any books that I give a three star review too- unless I plan on re-reading them, will be got rid of so I can make some space for more books to enjoy!

7. Plan my reading more- As each month comes up, I want to set myself monthly TBR’s so I can have an aim for that month- if they match any of the reading challenge topics too, then that’s a bonus!

8. Post more- This is a blogging thing more than a reading thing but I want to post more, take part in more weekly memes and readathons to make my blog more inviting!

9. Be honest. If I don’t like a book, I don’t usually want to post the review in case I get hate for it, but I think it’s good to have opinions, especially if the book is from the large eArc pile I have from Netgalley! (Sorry authors)

10. Interact more with my fellow readers. That’s it. I just want more friends!

Thanks for reading!
I hope you enjoyed my post. What were your reading goals for 2018?

~Katie
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Book Review: After You by Jojo Moyes

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Read between: 9th-14th January
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 409
Published: 30th June 2016
Publisher: Penguin
Synopsis: Lou Clark has lots of questions. Like how it is she’s ended up working in an airport bar, spending every shift watching other people jet off to new places. Or why the flat she’s owned for a year still doesn’t feel like home. Whether her close-knit family can forgive her for what she did eighteen months ago. And will she ever get over the love of her life? What Lou does know for certain is that something has to change. Then, one night, it does. But does the stranger on her doorstep hold the answers Lou is searching for- or just more questions? Open it and she risks everything. But Lou once made a promise to live, and if she’s going to ke ep it, she has to invite them in…

Rating:9dbae-4-52bstars

Spoilers for Me Before You below. Continue reading

Book Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Read between: 4th-9th January

Format: Paperback

Number of pages: 481

Published: 28th April 2016

Publisher: Micheal Joseph

Synopsis: Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Review: This book focuses on quite a conflicting topic- euthanasia or dying with dignity. It’s quite hard to swallow the story whenever the subject is bought up.

Despite that, Me Before You is a heartfelt story about two very unlikely people, Louisa ‘Lou’ Clark and William ‘Will’ Traynor- whose lives become entwined when Lou accepts a job to be Will’s carer.

Will is a quadriplegic. He’s paralysed from the neck down. He’s certainly not what Lou expected.

Can she cope with the job? It’s going to be tough, especially as she has a feeling Will doesn’t like her.

Throw in an exercise obsessed boyfriend, and Lou’s life is pretty busy! Will it all get too much to handle?

Lou is a great character, she has larger than life fashion sense, a complete polar opposite to her quiet personality.

She and Will actually bounce off each other well and it was really great to read the scenes they shared together. They had a really lovely friendship.

The end of the story was inevitable- and expected, but I did hope it wouldn’t happen. My heart didn’t want it either, but it happened and an already emotional book ended up breaking me.

5/5 Stars!

I’d definitely recommend this book. I loved it!

Thanks for reading!

~Katie

Book Review: The One Memory of Flora Banks

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Read between: 3rd-4th January
Format: ebook
Published: January 12th 2017
Publisher: Penguin
Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. Her mind resets itself several times a day, and has since the age of ten, when the tumor that was removed from Flora’s brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend’s boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Miraculously, this one memory breaks through Flora’s fractured mind, and sticks. Flora is convinced that Drake is responsible for restoring her memory and making her whole again. So when an encouraging email from Drake suggests she meet him on the other side of the world, Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step toward reclaiming her life.

With little more than the words “be brave” inked into her skin, and written reminders of who she is and why her memory is so limited, Flora sets off on an impossible journey to Svalbard, Norway, the land of the midnight sun, determined to find Drake. But from the moment she arrives in the arctic, nothing is quite as it seems, and Flora must “be brave” if she is ever to learn the truth about herself, and to make it safely home.

Rating: 003d1-threestar

Review: Flora is seventeen, she lives in Penzance, she had an accident when she was ten and has anterograde amnesia as a consequence. She forgets things easily, and has to leave herself reminders so she doesn’t start to panic. Phone numbers, where her parents are, who her friends are, etc.

It’s a struggle- living the same day over and over. ‘Flora- be brave’ says her hand. So she is.

Then she kisses her friend’s boyfriend, and she remembers every detail. Could Drake be her cure? She goes on an adventure to find him- but it doesn’t all go to plan. She’s lost, and confused, but is she also about to be heartbroken too?

This book surprised me. I enjoyed it, there were some moments that made me angry- and sorry for Flora. Her voice was written so well, I could really understand the conflict that was going on in her head.

It was interesting reading that point of view and it definitely made me think about how hard it must be to have memory loss like that. I mean, I can’t remember my childhood, but some of those I’ve deliberately forgotten.

Flora has no choice in the matter.

It’s a great read- I really like the premise- Flora’s erratic behaviour in an attempt to regain memoires made it a really quick read! All in all, a good story.

Shame Drake was a douche.

3/5 stars.

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Book Review: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

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Read between: 28th- 3rd January
Format: ebook
Published: May 3rd 2016
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Synopsis: Andie has a plan. And she always sticks to her plan.

Future? A top-tier medical school.
Dad? Avoid him as much as possible (which isn’t that hard considering he’s a Congressman and he’s never around).
Friends? Palmer, Bri, and Toby—pretty much the most awesome people on the planet, who needs anyone else?
Relationships? No one’s worth more than three weeks.

So it’s no surprise that Andie’s got her summer all planned out too.

Until a political scandal costs Andie her summer pre-med internship, and lands both she and Dad back in the same house together for the first time in years. Suddenly she’s doing things that aren’t Andie at all—working as a dog walker, doing an epic scavenger hunt with her dad, and maybe, just maybe, letting the super cute Clark get closer than she expected. Palmer, Bri, and Toby tell her to embrace all the chaos, but can she really let go of her control?

Rating: ef735-star5

Review: This is the second book by Morgan Matson I’ve read and I loved it!

It focuses on Alexandra ‘Andie’ Walker, her life with her friends and her congressman father. She has more than the average life, and she has her sights set on pre-med school once the summer is over.

Then everything takes an unexpected turn. Her future changes, as does her dad, and- thanks to a summer job walking dogs, her love life starts looking up too…Enter Clark, a guy who is totally not her type, but perfect!

Andie has a great summer, despite the drama that happens, causing cracks in her friendship group.

I really enjoyed this book, I love the writing, and the large collection of characters. All of the group of friends were similar, but each had separate personalities. Apart from Andie, I liked Palmer- she seemed very down to Earth.

It was a great read to start off the new year.

I also like the fact the author included snippets of the novels by C.B. McAllister (Clark)- so that the reader is included by knowing elements of the fantasy story he writes. Then we understand why the characters are such a fan of his books.

It was definitely a read that kept me interested- the story had a really nice flow to it. Also, there’s lots of dogs. Added bonus!

I’m definitely going to pick up more of Morgan Matson’s books in the future. They’re so easy to read! I’d definitely recommend this book- it’s fun and lighthearted, and well worth a read 🙂

5/5/ stars!

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