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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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: 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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Book Review: Always with Love by Giovanna Fletcher

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Read between: 21st-28th December
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 400
Published: June 2nd, 2016
Publisher: Penguin
Synopsis: The next much-anticipated romantic chapter in Billy and Sophie’s love story from bestselling author Giovanna Fletcher.

Sophie’s got used to being the girlfriend of Billy Buskin, the biggest movie star in the world. Sort of.

But when she and Billy take a trip to visit his family in Los Angeles, she quickly discovers she’s totally unprepared for the chaos of Hollywood, the paparazzi and Billy’s controlling mother.

And when Billy extends his stay in LA, leaving Sophie to fly home to Rosefont Hill alone, it seems there’s more than just miles between them.

Now Sophie must decide if they can overcome their differences for good. Because not every love story lasts the distance . . .


Rating: 5521e-4stars

Review: Always with Love takes us back into the world of Sophie May and Billy Buskin as they are flying out to L.A so that Sophie can be properly introduced to Billy’s family. When they get there, Sophie realises that life in L.A. is much different from the quiet life of Rosefont Hill and her little tea shop- Molly’s-on-the-Hill.

Is Billy going to realise this too? Is he going to realise the quiet life isnt for him? Will Sophie be able to cope with a long distance relationship if he does?

This book definitely provided a different setting, with L.A being added to the mix- but it also made me worry about Billy and Sophie’s relationship! They’re such a cute couple and I didn’t want anything to change that.

Not even Petere, the son of Molly, the previous owner of the little cafe Sophie now owns, now named after her after she passed away in the first book.

However, I did like the way the author included a letter exchange between Billy and Sophie. It felt a lot more personal and I got to understand the characters feelings much better whilst they dealt with being apart whilst Billy was filming a new movie.

It was sweet that they found a way to stay in touch that didn’t disagree with the time difference!

I really enjoyed this book, maybe not as much as the first one, but I loved being back with the characters. It actually continues on from the novella, ‘Christmas with Billy and Me’ rather than the first book, but it felt like I’d never left the characters.

I really love Giovanna’s writing- she’s become one of my auto-buy authors. I’m really hoping she’s going to write another book featuring Billy and Sophie after the way this one ended!

It’s a great contemporary read- it has drama, romance, and cake!

What else do you nedd?

4/5 stars.

Definitely recommend it. I loved it!

Thanks for reading
~Katie

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Book Review: The Waking Land by Callie Bates

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Read between: 16th-21st December
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 388
Published: June 27th, 2017
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Synopsis: It’s been fourteen years, since King Antoine took Elanna hostage. Fourteen years since her father’s rebellion failed. Fourteen years spent being raised by the man who condemned her people to misery. A man she’s come to love as a father.

Now 20, Elanna is about to be taken prisoner once again… but this time by her father’s mysterious righthand man.

Her father wants to reignite his rebellion, this time using Elanna as figurehead. He will tell his followers she is the legendary Wildegarde reborn, a sorceress who could make the very earth tremble.

But what no one knows is that magic really does flow through Elanna’s veins. Now she must decide which side she’s on, and whether she’ll use her powers for mercy… or revenge.


Rating: 003d1-threestar

Review: Elanna has spent fourteen years at the court of King Antoine Eyrlai since he took her hostage at the age of five. Now she’s being accused of regicide- killing the king. Why? She’s a botanist with a love and understanding of plants… and he was poisoned by a mushroom…

Little does she know that her understanding of plants goes way deeper than she imagines.

When she finds herself back in the arms of her father, secrets are revealed and Elanna realises she has more power than she ever knew. She is the steward of the land, the Caveadear, possessing magical powers to control all of nature!

Just the weapon her father needs to win the approaching war…

It was a great premise and although things happened very quickly at the start, I enjoyed the story. However, going by the description of clothing in the book, I’m guessing it’s historical fiction with an added fantasy element, so I was drawn into because I really like that genre.

Despite this, there wasn’t much else in terms of world building and time period that enabled me to become immersed in the world.

It was lucky the collection of characters were interesting in the mix of personalities and  powers, especially Elanna. She was feisty, but she also treated her friends really well too, which added likeability to her character.

I admit, some of the elements of the story could have been better but I definitely became fully invested in the fight for their country.

There’s a lot going on once I got into the book it was easier to fly through the story. Books with magic are ones I always find engaging,

It’s a great story, with well rounded characters and an adventure filled plot. I’d definitely recommend it.

3/5 stars.

Thanks for reading!
~Katie

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Book Review: Doctor Who: The Complete History #7 by John Ainsworth

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Read between: 15th-16th December
Format: Hardcover
Number of pages: 128
Published: December 2nd, 2015
Publisher: Panini
Synopsis: The Christmas Invasion

The newly regenerated Doctor crash-lands the TARDIS in London. It’s Christmas. Sinister robot Santas are attacking the city and a Sycorax spaceship is heading for Earth.

New Earth

The Doctor takes Rose further into the future than she’s been before, to New Earth. There, they are summoned to a hospital where patients are being cured of incurable illnesses, and encounter an old foe, Lady Cassandra.

Tooth And Claw

The Doctor and Rose meet Queen Victoria in 1879 Scotland. A group of sinister monks are plotting against the monarchy and hope to create a new empire….The Empire of the Wolf.

Rating: ef735-star5

Review: This issue covers the first three episodes of Tennant’s tenure as the Doctor; The Christmas Invasion, New Earth, and Tooth and Claw. Just like every other issue it focuses on pre-production, production, post-production, merchandise as well as profiles on some of the cast members.

The issue features a profile on David Tennant! It had to really, being about his first ever episodes.

It  was interesting finding out about the changes made to the episodes before they aired- like deleted dialogue, because it probably would have made a difference to the way the episode came across to the audience.  I also really liked the way they described the way CGI was used in the episodes.

Especially the werewolf in Tooth and Claw!

I always flick through these books because they’re so interesting, especially for Doctor Who fans like me! The episodes in this issue were the first episodes that first started my love for the show- so it was a little bit special going behind the scenes.

The layout, sections, as well as the look at the 2006 series (Series 2) helped to break up the reading because I could choose where I wanted to stop reading and put the book down. There would still be more information there when I opened the book again.

Obviously I loved this book and the collection! Can’t wait to read the next issue.

5/5 stars!

Thanks for reading!
~Katie

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