Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Review: 36 Questions That Changed My Mind About You by Vicki Grant

I'm conflicted. I so badly wanted to LOVE this book, but something wasn't quite there for me. To be honest, I don't really buy the relationship between the two main characters. I know they say that opposites attract, and while this works in theory, I just think these characters were TOO different to really work in 'real life'.

Also, despite finding her quite irritating, Hildy reminded me quite a lot of myself - which probably says more about me than it does about this book.

The story was good; I love the idea of the 36 questions and the potential to form relationships with other people. I also liked how you find out more about each character as the story progresses, and how they came to volunteer for the study at all. This book was good and I liked it, I just didn't love it like I thought I would.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Review: The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook

THAT TWIST THOUGH! I'll be honest, it took me a little while to get into this book, but after 70 or so pages I couldn't put it down.

The twist was so unexpected - I actually gasped out loud and I rarely do that when reading books. This book was really well written; fast paced and interesting so that you want to keep turning the pages.

I go back and forth about how I feel about Candi/Skye/Cate. At first she was likeable, then you learn her secret and you question her character, despite understanding why she did what she did, and then the rest of the story is her going backwards and forwards between someone you like and someone you don't. But despite everything she does, you can kind of see WHY she makes these decisions - or I can, anyway.

This was an ideal book for me - exciting, fast-paced and wrapped up well. All in all, it was fantastic.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Review: Mischling by Affinity Konar

I'm so thankful that this book has a happy ending, because it is hard-going up until that point. It perfectly highlights the horrors of Auschwitz, and following the story of twins Stasha and Pearl makes it all the more terrifying.

Before starting this book I had actually just finished reading 'The Red Ribbon' by Lucy Adlington, which is another holocaust story, also set at Auschwitz, and it was interesting (if interesting is the right word) to read about the same time period from a slightly different point of view. Equally heartbreaking, but both with a hopeful ending.

This novel does a fantastic job at hinting at the horrors that went on in Dr. Mengele's lab without explicitly stating it outright. This is an important distinction because in a fiction book about a very real event, there is a fine line between telling and hinting at, and this author does that fantastically.

A brilliant book, if that's the right way to describe it. A haunting story with a hopeful ending, that's written well enough to enjoy.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Review: The Red Ribbon by Lucy Adlington

This is another one of those books where 'outstanding' or 'amazing' just seem like the wrong words to use, given the tragic context of the story. But this novel really is outstanding. I read the entire thing in a few hours, completely unexpectedly, because I found that I couldn't put it down.

The actual book itself was absolutely gorgeous - and I loved the fact that the cover encapsulates the pages, creating a little box effect. I know they say that you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, but this one has to be up there with one of the best that I've seen.

The characters are by far the best part of this story - the friendship between Ella and Rose is so incredibly heart-warming, and even the slightly less savoury characters can't help but resonate with you. This is essentially a story about survival in the most brutal of circumstances, and this is a story that is going to stay with me for a long time.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Review: No Shame by Anne Cassidy

'Good' doesn't really seem like the appropriate word to describe this novel, but it really was. Good, that is.

I read this entire novel in one sitting, in about two hours. The story started straight away, there was no need for a buildup, and this meant that the pace of the entire novel moved quickly. It was heart wrenching, and this was only made worse by the knowledge that this kind of thing happens everyday to people all over the world. It also makes you think. Despite knowing what actually happened, the account that the defence lawyer gives also sounds equally plausible, and no doubt could have been the situation that happened in an alternate universe.

Again, to say that I liked this book doesn't really seem like the right thing to say, given the topic. But it was well-written and I think it's one of those books that everyone should read.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Review: Happy Days of the Grump by Tuomas Kyro

I've been so conflicted about this book. I couldn't decide whether I liked it or not, and then just as I decided that it wasn't for me, the last two chapters arrived and completely changed my perspective.

I totally get it. As a twenty-one year old, I was 'against' the Grump until the last two or three chapters, when it all became clear. The Grump suddenly morphed into an image of my granddad, who is my favourite person in the entire world, and it all made sense.

The world changes incredibly quickly, and as this book says, 'everyone knows a Grump'. They are the people, generally older, who can't keep up with how quickly life changes, especially with the introduction of things like technology, which gets more and more advanced every year.

The moral of the story, as I have chosen to understand it, is this: phone your grandparents more often. Visit them. Gently introduce them to the technology that comes so naturally to you. And remember that without them, you wouldn't even exist.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Review: Open Arms by Vince Cable

Meh. I'm not really a fan of this book, to be honest. The summary sounded really good and I was excited to read it, but it was far more political than I was expecting, and this made it incredibly hard to read.

For me, this novel never really got going. It was just a clear political statement from start to finish, and to be perfectly honest, it was dull. The only exciting parts of the story were the interactions between Kate and Deepak, but even these were few and far between. They were also completely unrealistic. Kate announces that she's in love with Deepak after meeting him what, once? Maybe twice?

It was well written, don't get me wrong, and I think it had the potential to be a really interesting story, but it there was just too much 'filler' stuff. I don't know, maybe it's just because I'm not really into political fiction, but this really didn't do it for me.