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

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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: Stardust by Neil Gaiman

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Read between: 12th-15th December
Format: ebook
Published: August 29th, 2006
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Synopsis: Life moves at a leisurely pace in the tiny town of Wall – named after the imposing stone barrier which separates the town from a grassy meadow. Here, young Tristran Thorn has lost his heart to the beautiful Victoria Forester and for the coveted prize of her hand, Tristran vows to retrieve a fallen star and deliver it to his beloved. It is an oath that sends him over the ancient wall and into a world that is dangerous and strange beyond imagining . .

Rating: ef735-star5

Review: Eighteen years ago, Dunstan Thorn spent the night with a Faerie woman, 9 months later, Tristran Thorn is born and left in a basket on his father’s doorstep. Little does Tristran know that eighteen years later, he will travel back to Faerie, leaving the town of Wall behind, in order to retrieve a fallen star to impress the woman he loves.

It turns out the star is a girl- and Tristran isn’t the only one searching for her.

He ends up travelling with the star, Yvaine, facing many troubles, a collective variety of people, and experiencing a world of fairy tales he’s only ever dreamed about.

Having watched the movie adaptation many times, I thought it was about time I read the book. There are certainly differences between th two, but the film does manage to remain (mostly) faithful to the book.

I really enjoyed the book, Gaiman is very good at description, I love his writing  style- the settings and the characters, everything is extremely well written.

Tristran could be a little irritating- but he was lovesick and once his attention shifted, he became much more tolerable. Yvaine noticed it too, I felt sorry for her when Tristran had his moments.

If you’ve seen the film, you know they end up together, so she must have loved those moments!

It’s a great fantasy novel, for all ages. It’s funny, with the added darkness Gaiman does so well!

5/5 stars!

Thanks for reading!
~Katie

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Book Review: Watson and Holmes Vol.2 by Various Authors

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Previously read in the same series: Watson and Holmes: A Study in Black

Read: 12th December
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 144
Published: August 1st, 2015
Publisher: New Paradigm Studios
Synopsis: Watson and Holmes Volume 2 collects multiple one shot stories of our newest take of the detective duo from Harlem. Volume 2 brings stories from Lyndsay Faye, the writer of Dust and Shadow, Gods of Gotham, and Seven for A Secret reinterprets a classic short story and Irene Adler in modern New York City. Brandon Easton writes a compelling story of the murder of a politician’s wife in conjunction with sex slavery. Steven Grant the creator of “2 Guns” and Hannibal Tabu write a story of the 2 going to Chicago to investigate suicides of Veterans of our recent wars. These stories and others continue with taking our interpretation of Sherlock Holmes and Jon Watson in bold new directions.

Rating: 5521e-4stars

Review:

In the second volume of the graphic novel series, we return to Harlem for four smaller cases for private detective Sherlock Holmes and his friend and colleague Doctor Jon Watson.

They encounter scandal, a transgender sex worker, a stalker cyclist, and the formidable Irene Adler reimagined as an underground singer, in trouble with her music label and lover.

All of the authors and artists have done brilliantly in capturing Holmes and Watson and their personalities!

There are trigger warning for rape-which is why I haven’t given it five stars, however, it’s great to rejoin classic characters in a completely different world.

This graphic novel is much shorter than the first but it has started the Moriarty storyline so I am very excited in seeing what Volume 3 is going to include!

Obviously I enjoyed this graphic novel- I mean it’s Sherlock Holmes!

I love this take on it, because it shouldn’t work- but it does!

I’d definitely recommend it especially if you’re a fan of reimagined classics and Sherlock Holmes.

4/5 Stars! Brilliant!

Thanks for reading!

~Katie

Book Review: Mirror of Stone by Corie Weaver

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Read between: 7th-12th December
Format: ebook
Published: February 25th, 2014
Publisher: Dreaming Robot Press
Synopsis: Trapped by her mother’s death into caretaking for her alcoholic father, sixteen-year-old Eleanor Weber dreams of escape, but doesn’t know what else to do with her life on the backwater colony moon of Travbon.

The death of an old prospector in her family’s inn puts an extraordinary object in her hands. Over time the object bewitches her with scenes of a mysterious city populated by strange figures. When Eleanor’s Aunt Susan threatens to take the bar from her, Eleanor realizes her father can no longer help anyone, and runs away to find the beautiful city.

Adam Cole resents his work. Stuck in his job as a Guardsman, kept from joining the Navy and defending the interplanetary traders from unknown attackers, he is sent after Eleanor with puzzling orders. Retrieve the girl and more importantly, the pack she carries.

Adam’s grandfather Jake Cole, a veteran of the civil war that shook the Claro system fifty years ago, helps Adam trace threads of the mystery back to the shadowy Olympia Norris, the old woman who rules the governing council.

Together, Eleanor and Adam must race to expose the secret that Olympia has hidden for two generations, and prevent an impending genocide.

Rating: 5521e-4stars

Review: Eleanor Weber spends her life being bossed around by her Aunt Susan, as she serves drinks and waits on tables in the bar that is actually owned by her father. A bar she will one day take over….not that her Aunt wants her too.

Then a prospector comes to stay, bringing with him a strange map and a pack full of mysterious objects. It gives Eleanor the chance she needs, and she takes his pack and runs away. Wanting to discover the secrets he knew.

However, her Aunt accuses her of theft, which leads the local law enforcement to lead a chase for her. The officer, Adam, loses her, he assumes she is dead, and loses all memory of the event. Then everything changes for the both of them.

Adam, through the Navy, and Eleanor, now the Ambassador of an alien race, find themselves on the edge of a war. Can both sides negotiate peace? Or will the inevitable genocide end up happening after all?

At first I wasn’t sure if this book was set in the past or the future-but that soon became clear!

It’s a very well written sci-fi because at first it doesn’t read that way! I liked that it wasn’t in your face. There were lots of twists, surprises and a few sad moments which kept the story moving along at a quicker pace.

I prefer fast moving sci-fi novels, so this was right up my street even though I don’t read much sci-fi.

Every character felt important. The humans and the aliens- all had a purpose to the story.

I really enjoyed this book- considering I knew nothing about the story before hand.

4/5 Stars!

A surprisingly good read, and very exciting. I would recommend it!

Thanks for reading!

~Katie

Book Review: One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

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Read between: 14th- 20th October
Format: ebook
Published: May 30th, 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Synopsis: One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.

Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.

Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.

Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.

And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

Rating: 003d1-threestar

Review: Firstly, thank you to Netgalley and the author for letting me read this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Five students end up in detention- then one of them dies. Tragic accident or deliberate? Whatever happened, the other four become murder suspects and their lives change dramatically.

To make it worse, the boy who died, Simon, was going to post incriminating gossip about all four of them on his app, gossip that could effect their personal lives. It gives them motive, so- did one of them actually do it or is it all a misunderstanding of an accident?

The author is really good at building suspense from the moment Bronwyn, Addy, Nate and Cooper become persons of interest in Simon’s death. Obviously, they all had secrets they wanted to hide, and Simon knew about them. It would make a lot of sense that one of them could have done it.

However, the more I read, the more I found it difficult to pin it onto one of them, even if Nate did have a criminal record. It would point towards one of them, and then the plot would change direction and I’d be unsure again!

There are lots of twists in the story, especially the reveal that one of the characters is gay- but it’s used negatively, seen as something scandalous and used against him. I like that the author decided to include LGBTQ+ representation, but she could have done it a little better I feel. There is also representation of depression that could be seen as negative representation so take this book with a pinch of salt if you decide to read it.

The representation of depression is very important to the story however.

When it came to the outcome of the story, even though the author did use it as Simon’s way to entertain people after he’d gone, the idea of his depression didn’t make a whole lot of sense. However, I admit that I didn’t see the ending coming.

At first it didn’t make any sense, but when I thought about it, it was actually really obvious.

It was a good book, and I did enjoy it, despite the slightly controversial and problematic scenes.

3/5 stars.

Thanks for reading!
~Katie

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