Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Book 20 of January.
Book 20 of 2018.

I picked this book up in Sainsburys for £3.99 the other day (yay for Sainsbury’s books!) because I’d seen it on sooooo many peoples’ book instagrams, in the shops and in the Waterstones newsletter. I couldn’t keep ‘not buying’ it, right?

I’m currently off work for two days with an on-going issue, so I’ve mainly been sleeping, reading on the sofa or eating avocados.

I started the book the night before last and really struggled to put it down when I needed to sleep. It had me laughing continuously for at least 70% of the book, even though I knew something disturbing was either going to happen, or be revealed.

Sometimes I feel like Eleanor. I feel like not talking to anyone for days at a time. However, I thought about it and actually, I’m not like her at all. I couldn’t possibly not talk to people for 3 days or avoid social interaction, or not buy new clothes.

Her quirky personality develops as the book goes on, and we grow to love her and her friendship with Raymond. Despite Eleanor’s inability to filter anything that comes out of her mouth, her slightly warped sense of reality and the severely disturbing relationship she has with her mother, there’s something oddly charming about her.

The last few pages had me thinking, ‘What the f***?!’ but I’m so glad I read it.

I loved the way it was written, the dialogue wasn’t forced and the characters had enough personality to them without being over-done or pointless. I felt like every word of this book was relevant.

I’d rate it 4 stars (out of 5) and strongly recommend this book for anyone looking for something a little different. It’s not crime, romance, or thriller, but weaves in elements of those three. And sadly, it could easily be a true story.

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Book Reviews, Writing

Turtles all the way down

Book 16 of 2018: Turtles all the way down, by John Green.

After reading The Fault in our Stars last year and becoming completely obsessed with the story, I went on to read Paper Towns (then watch the movie) and then bought Will Grayson, Will Grayson. I am in love with the way John writes. I know he’s aiming at a younger audience but his words are so moving, simple to read, yet his messages are so important in teaching us how to deal with the world. Especially as a young reader.

Whilst I was desperate to reasd Turtles all the way down as soon as it was published, I was on a book ban because of the move to China, plus a little short of cash pre-Christmas. Thankfully, it was on a 99p ‘deal of the day’ on iBooks last week and I nabbed it immediately.

I couldn’t put my iPad down. I was reading until late into the night, reading on the bus, reading during my break time and a sneaky read during ‘quiet reading’ in class this week. I loved it. It had a real charm. It was soulful and sad, beautiful and heartbreaking all at once.

I can’t get enough of John’s books and I will have to start Will Grayson in the next few days.

What’s even better is that my students also love his books. I gave my second copy of The Fault in our Stars to one of my students and she’s thoroughly enjoying it, and another girl has read all of his books in Spanish, and is now moving on to the English version of Looking for Alaska. It’s fantastic.


John’s writing inspired me to write a little piece of my own – please don’t be too harsh on me, it’s only a quick scrawl to get my thoughts onto the paper but I thought I’d share it anyway. Here goes…

Ayala wasn’t real, but Aza was. The resemblance between the two were unmistakable. My best friend had turned me into some sort of monster. How could she does this to me??

Aza’s friend Daisy had undoubtedly betrayed her trust, their friendship, by putting a real-life Aza on the internet for the world to read about.

I’m going to be sick. I’m going to be sick. I’m going to be sick.

Her own mental health was just a platform for everyone else’s entertainment. A source of jokes and giggles over how ‘crazy’ Aza was. Now Daisy had taken it to a whole other level. The source of her increasingly popular fan-fiction was her. Aza. Her own best friend. Thousands of people read Daisy’s stories and know they all know that she’s best friends with an absolute lunatic. A sad, useless friend.

Gel. Get the gel. The thoughts will turn into bacteria and poison your brain. You only need a handful to get rid of the germs. There we go. Shit that hurts. 

Burning the lining of her throat and creating an instant, repulsive feeling of nausea, Aza couldn’t help but take another gulp of anti-bacterial gel. Just in case the thoughts actually became toxic and poisoned her.

You’re crazy, Aza, but you’re taking this too far. You know your own thoughts aren’t going to poison you. Or, are they?

 

 

Book Reviews

Book 17: Camino Island

Book 17 of 2018: Camino Island 🌴 by John Grisham

Well, well, well… I’ve heard a lot about Mr Grisham and his writing but this is the first book of his I’ve read. I can honestly say I wish I hadn’t had so much work to do this week because I didn’t want to put the book down! I’ve been reading at everyone opportunity.

From the first word I was hooked. There are no wasted words, sentences or, more importantly, dialogue. Everything has its place in this story and it weaves together so smoothly you don’t even notice the transitions.

One thing that threw me was the quote on the cover “the best thriller writer alive…” whilst this may be true, this book was not a thriller. It wasn’t even suspenseful. However, it was an un-put-down-able read and I love every word.

I’m using this book for my #popsugarreadingchallenge prompt ‘a story about a heist’ but it could also work for ‘story set in a bookshop’ or ‘problems society faces’ PLUS there’s tonnes of books mentioned in it… so if you read this, you’ll easily be able to chose your next read for ‘book mentioned within another book’.

Join Denny, Mercer, Elaine and Cable on this bizarrely outrageous adventure, full of wine, late nights and lives on the run…

I’m giving it 4/5 stars 🌟 and will probably pass it on to a colleague who I think will enjoy it too!

Book Reviews

Book 14 of 2018: A Gathering Light

I have another confession. I can’t even remember why I bought this book… but I’m glad I did!

Starting it on Monday, I couldn’t quite get into it. I started it thinking I would use it for the Popsugar prompt: True crime, but the story isn’t exactly based on the crime in question.

It is more about the people in the town in which the crime happened.

At page 177, I was hooked. I couldn’t put it down and it took me just a couple of hours to finish it.

A young, best friend duo, Mattie and Weaver, work their way through school, fight battles with outsiders and do everything in their power to help their families, even when the odds are against them.

For me, this story, despite being true, is about family values, determination and the importance of books. The enjoyment Mattie finds in reading, writing and learning new words resonates with me so strongly, and her determination to not let other people’s opinions of her hold her back is inspiring.

I wouldn’t class this book as crime, but it does address some serious issues, including race and infidelity, based in the early 1900s.

I’d rate it 3.5 stars – I enjoyed reading it but it didn’t particularly ‘move’ me.

Book Reviews

Book 11 of 2018 – I Let You Go

First of all, I have a confession to make. I’ve tried twice to read this book, but moved on after a couple of pages each time.

Last Sunday and throughout the week I persevered. Despite only reading a few pages at a time at work, I made a real attempt last night.


11pm until 4am I was fixated on this book.

Wow.

Oh. My. God.

What a story!

Poor little Jacob loses his life to a hit-and-run accident, the driver flees and a year later the police still have no idea who was involved.

Ray and Kate make a strong detective team and refuse to give up on finding justice for Jacob.

What they do find is more than you can ever imagine. Join these characters on the journey from hell as they battle through family troubles, grief, loss and unsolved crimes…

I’m incredibly envious of the construction of the twists and turns in this novel. I would never have predicted any of them and I simply couldn’t put the book down.

I’m exhausted today but it was totally worth it for the book!

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars 🤩

Book Reviews

Book 10 of 2018: The Body in the Library

This morning I finally wrapped up book 10 of 2018 – I have to admit, I’m feeling really proud of myself right now. This time last year I hadn’t even picked up a single book. I was determined to read one book every day until the 15th of January but my mind’s not been totally with me the last few days.

Despite studying English Literature for at least 6/7 years, I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve never paid much interest to Agatha’s Christie’s work and honestly, I have no idea why. I can only assume it’s because her works are so famous. I have this weird thing about not following the crowd.

I read Murder on the Orient Express at the end of last year because I thought the movie would be fantastic (I was wrong, it was awful) but I really enjoyed the book. I realized, among my 200 books I had The Body in the Library, and it fits the 2018 Popsugar Reading Challenge Prompt: A book that takes place in a library or bookstore.

Now normally I read the real thriller stories. The kind that completely mess with your head and leave your shivering in fear as you hide under the bed covers, but I’m starting to warm to these fairly calm, detective stories.

I’d give this book 4 stars because I absolutely love the way Christie writes. There’s a real old-fashioned elegance in her words and the way she directs your suspicion from person to person without you even questioning her is brilliant.

At least twice I thought, ‘yup! It’s definitely him / her’ and then a few pages later I think, ‘wait, what? Of course it’s not them!’

Great twists in the story, well-rounded characters without wasting time on giving them pointless traits or flaws. I don’t know how she did it, but she’s a real genius!


What Agatha Christie books have you enjoyed?
If you’re in the UK is there any you’d like to book swap with me?
Please let me know your opinions or any recommendations you have.

xo

Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Book 8 of 2018 : Hopes and dreams amongst the Northern Lights

Sky Song – by Abi Elphinstone

My oh my! What a truly beautiful piece of art. This book contains so much more than just words. The magic within this book is dreams and love, friendship and bravery, family ties and determination.

Whilst I rarely ever read books like this, because I’m completely obsessed with crime, thriller and gore, I’m so glad I chose this.

As Waterstones’ book of the month, it was placed in piles around the shop and I couldn’t help but fall in love with the cover!

I would recommend this book to anyone with a hopeful heart and someone who enjoys a little magic. Two new friends will take you on a journey to save their divides kingdom, whilst making new friends along the way!