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The Fault in Our Stars
The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.85

5.0 out of 5 stars Knocked me sideways, 19 May 2014
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This review is from: The Fault in Our Stars (Paperback)
I finished this book on a train yesterday and was in pieces. Tears of sadness (its a story about teenagers with cancer so that's hardly a spoiler) but I was also feeling inspired, moved and just in awe of the emotional power I'd experienced through reading this lovely book. It's such a special and rare thing to be so moved by a novel, to feel like you are coping with the news of friends rather than fictional characters. I've read a lot of good books but this one knocked me sideways.

In my view the way the author achieves this incredibly moving story that seems to have touched so many, is simplicity. This is a very simple story about two ordinary teenagers in an extraordinary situation. Cancer is an important character in the book but not nearly as important as Hazel and Gus. I thought their parents were also brilliantly portrayed as ordinary parents just trying to protect their kids. The plot skips along quickly and there are some very impressive characters developments and twists which surprised me, I thought I'd figured this book out from the opening page and I was wrong.

It passes the greatest test - I've bought new copies to give to my Mum and best friend so I can keep mine.


Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found (Oprah's Book Club 2.0)
Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found (Oprah's Book Club 2.0)
Price: 3.59

5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful journey, 21 Nov 2013
What's brilliant about Wild is that you really get taken on the journey with the character and are left feeling renewed and inspired by the end of the book. It's the kind of story I was completely absorbed in - rather than feeling like I was on a bus in London I felt like I was out there in the wilds of the USA.

There's a good balance of the sadness our heroine has lived through and the future she's working towards but what I loved best was the day to day experiences of her epic hike. You could really visualise the heavy pack on her sweaty back, the bloodied feet and the incredible places and things she saw across the wild open spaces of the USA. Her feeling of isolation - both good and bad - and the sense of struggling through and enjoying it was really engaging. As a British reader its particularly interesting to imagine these huge open spaces, the coyotes howling at night and the genuine danger of getting lost and not reaching the next food source in time. I don't usually read memoirs but this wonderful story reads like a page turning novel. I think the film version with Reese Witherspoon sounds like it will be great, but make sure you read the book first.


The Time Traveller's Almanac: The Ultimate Treasury of Time Travel Fiction - Brought to You from the Future
The Time Traveller's Almanac: The Ultimate Treasury of Time Travel Fiction - Brought to You from the Future
Price: 5.99

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A treasure chest of stories, 20 Nov 2013
This is a huge, beautiful collection! An excellent range of stories, with all the big hitters you'd hope for included and some new gems to discover. Its something to dip in and out of. I've got the hardback because I love to have it on my shelf, but I could imagine the kindle would work too as its so huge and heavy you can only read it for so long!

A book to treasure, makes a great gift too.


The Lie of You: I Will Have What is Mine
The Lie of You: I Will Have What is Mine
Price: 3.79

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling, thrilling and deeply atmospheric, 18 Nov 2013
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An enormously impressive debut novel. I fell madly in love with it and read in one weekend.

Its the story of one woman stalking another. The fantastically characterised and deeply dangerous Heja is absorbed with everything about new mother Kathy - her son, her husband, her home, her job, her eating habits, her dress sense. What's enormously refreshing about this novel is its close inspection of well drawn female leads - it's not just about a bloke! It really gets under the skin of these women, how they behave and why. It reminds me of Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller in this respect. I think a lot of women can relate to that unspoken but deeply felt feeling of rivalry with certain other woman - a feeling of being pit against one another for a job or relationship. Its not a novel about bitchiness. Heja envies Kathy's happy home life and yet in turn Kathy envies Heja's cool elegance and success.

The plot rips along as we unpick the threads that drive Heja and make you want to shout at the page to Kathy, who is too trusting and caught up in her own things to realise the danger she and her family are in. It comes to a satisfying end, no easy feat for a debut thriller like this, and it stayed with me after reading. Heroine Kathy is enormously likeable but in a strange way so is Heja despite some awful and devious behaviour, she's fascinating, dangerous and keeps you guessing. Learning to understand her is what's so brilliant about this book.

I'll be getting the paperback edition, titled THE LIE OF YOU, for family and friends to try as I highly recommend this read.


Where'd You Go, Bernadette
Where'd You Go, Bernadette
by Maria Semple
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.35

5.0 out of 5 stars Read it and then give it to your Mum, 1 Nov 2013
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Where'd You Go Bernadette is very funny, very cleverly structured and moving. It keeps the pages turning as you piece the story together from various unreliable narrators. The moment I finished I couldn't wait to talk about it and sent it onto my Mum asap, not only because we have similar tastes and appetite for a good book but because it really moved me about the mother daughter relationship.

I adored young Bee and her mother Bernadette - their close relationship and unusual family life. Then as the story unravels you get to know more about Bernadette's past and learn how she got to where she is. The neighbouring characters were also excellent - both funny (I actually laughed out loud at one) but also with their own perspectives and journeys to go on. There's some great material about the father Elgin a Microsoft genius who is not plugged into his own family.

Because it is an unusual quirky book with strange themes and plot lines, you never guess what's coming next or how it might end. What's really impressive is how real it feels. The rainy town in Washington, the complex technical world of Microsoft and even the vast Antartic are all brilliantly captured to feel as though you are there, when actually it's a world away.

As it's the sort of book you'll want to discuss as soon as you've read it. I highly recommend.


The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving
The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving
Price: 0.59

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A quirky, heart warming journey but with real sadness behind it, 2 Sep 2013
This is a lovely funny book and I can see where the 'Little Miss Sunshine' comparisons and the beautiful cover comes from but be aware it is a very sad and moving story too. This made it all the more wonderful a read for me.

It's the story of Ben, a loser (no job, no life, no effort with the few friends he has left) who finally gets the pick up he needs when he takes a job looking after disabled teenager Trev, which he does about a thousand times better than he ever takes care of himself.

The two form an unlikely friendship and take a road trip together to visit Trev's Dad, taking in some of the USA's most random tourist attractions (giant pits and the like) and a few new friends too. The whole journey is completely rejuvenating for bored and frustrated Trev and lost soul Ben.

The way Ben's tragic past is revealed is cleverly done so you not only see how he got to the end of the road trip but also what led him there - his life is so sad but somehow leaves you with hope for his future. The book is all about him moving forward, with glimpses to the past and I love books like this that are all about the every day slog of life after a big event. There's something about these protagonists - both ordinary blokes who have been through the runner and whose most tender moments together largely involve barely any words or teasing each other as opposed to break downs and emotional heart to hearts. These are blokes we all know.

Highly recommend a punt on this on - it deserves a wide readership.


The Abomination (The Carnivia Trilogy)
The Abomination (The Carnivia Trilogy)
by Jonathan Holt
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 13.59

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars feels like the next big thing, 7 May 2013
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One of those really exciting opportunities - I read this on recommendation just as it came out and now I feel like I'm in on the next big thing!

The Abomination is very original, a proper page turner with a beautiful evocative location and some really believable characters. I particularly liked the female leads - they were brilliantly put together. Believe the hype on this one, I had high expectations and it really delivered. Exactly what I was looking for - escapism, very cleverly plotted but easy to read and engage with on page one. Have recommended this to family and friends and look forward to watching it spread.


Before I Go To Sleep
Before I Go To Sleep
Price: 2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Builds and builds - loose yourself in an excellent thriller, 3 Oct 2011
This is a good story. But the telling of this story is outstanding - absolutely superb. Before I Go To Sleep is of the most accomplished first novels I've ever known - Watson is already a master of the psychological thriller.

I will admit that it takes a while to get going - Watson creates a realistic portrayal of waking up every morning with no memory and in order to do so there are several elements of tedious repetitiveness throughout and particularly within the first 100 pages or so. However, before you know where you are, you will be completely gripped. The long, dramatic climax is incredibly pacy and well played by Watson. With this book the reader has both the pleasure of trying to figure out the puzzle - and the joy of being constantly surprised by some very impressive and well placed twists.

Excellent pace, a unique reading experience and a very sympathetic heroine make up Before I Go To Sleep. Believe the reviews - and give it a go just make sure you can spare the time as you wont be able to stop!


When God was a Rabbit
When God was a Rabbit
by Sarah Winman
Edition: Hardcover

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So simple, yet so remarkable, 12 April 2011
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This review is from: When God was a Rabbit (Hardcover)
Like many of these other reviews I was blown away by this book. I was guilty of reading it too quickly, devouring the unusual persona that leads you through her life.

I have a weakness for rabbits, and like our heroine adored mine as young girl which is why I read this book, but actually it has so much to it. Its a simple family saga, full of the scandals, changes, romances and troubles you would hope for it and yet there is something really remarkable and unusual about the writing - a truly original voice that you would simply have to read for yourself. I'm already passing this around to friends and family and compel you to give it a read too. A total delight.


The Beauty Chorus
The Beauty Chorus
by Kate Lord Brown
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 14.98

38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Adventure in the skies, 12 April 2011
This review is from: The Beauty Chorus (Hardcover)
A stunning book of love loss and romance etc, but really just an incredible true story that I cant believe I knew nothing about before reading this! Based on the ATA girls of World War II, incredible women who flew everything from Bomber planes and Spitfires from factories to airbases as part of the war effort. The girls in the book, Evie the fabulous one, Stella the concerned mother with a great tragic back story and my favourite, young Megan the welsh farmers daughter, come together to fly for the ATA and have to live together in a tiny cottage. They all come from all over, with interesting reasons for flying that make it something you can really imagine, like Evie who's desperate for adventure and Stella who just wants to escape and build up her confidence. This book captures an incredible time and place so well, whilst still being a really nice easy read about characters you can get to grips with. There are scenes of action that highlight the incredibly dangerous job they did (they weren't allowed to fly with weaponry or navigation!) and then wonderful humour and exciting romance and friendships. It gave me everything a good book should.

I'm partly writing this review on behalf of my Grandma, who loved this book as much as I did. I think that shows the true broad appeal of this book, my Grandma loved the setting whereas I felt really touched that girls like me in their early twenties were so brave and strong to fly these great planes in dangerous conditions.

Thrilling, heart warming and fascinating true stuff - a great gift for a female relative.


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