Friday, 18 March 2016

Review of 'Abandon' by Meg Cabot

This is the first YA fiction book I've read in ages, and one that's actually been on my shelf waiting to be read since it first came out a couple of years ago. I have to say, I love the illustration on the front cover, and really think it's something that has the potential to draw a lot of readers in. I LOVED Meg Cabot as a teenager: The Princess Diaries series was basically what my dreams were made of, and even when I branched into her adult novels I was enthralled. This book really brought me back to how much I loved her writing, and after ending on such a cliffhanger I'm definitely going to have to pick up the next in the series (Underworld) asap!

Pierce's life is nowhere near normal, and not just because she lives on Isla Huesos, aka the island of bones. Just before she moved to the island, Pierce died ... and then came back to live, but not before she took a trip to the Underworld. There she was given a necklace that she was told would protect her from evil, but the problem is that Pierce doesn't just want to protect herself, she wants to protect the people she loves. After returning to live with a completely new perspective on things, she is soon branded as trouble and her uber rich parents are determined to make sure she doesn't completely make a fool of herself and more importantly them.

So, when she goes to Isla Huesos, Pierce hopes that she'll be able to finally make her mum proud again, and become a 'normal' girl. Yet, fate has other plans. Her necklace becomes a bigger problem than she'd ever imagined, and her captor in the underworld who gave it to her keeps showing up. The biggest problem? She thinks she might be falling for him.

Have you read it? What did you think?
Steph x

Monday, 14 March 2016

Review of 'The Versions of Us' by Laura Barnett

This book actually signified a learning curve for me in life and literature. When I started reading I was presented with three 'versions' in the life of Eva and Jim. They all start with them meeting at Cambridge with Eva on her bicycle and Jim taking a stroll. One ends in them falling in love and staying together, in one they never speak, but only see each other, and in the last they have a brief liaison before she returns to her old boyfriend. 

Where I went wrong in the book was in waiting for the author to let me know which was the right version of Jim and Eva's lives, and I found it increasingly frustrating that in all of them there were good and bad parts. That is, until I realised that this was the entire point of the novel: there is no perfect version of your life, and although the grass may always seem greener on the other side of your decisions it does not mean it is. 

Each chapter has a date and Barnett takes you through what some, or all, of the versions of Eva and Jim are doing on those days. Sometimes we only see what one of them is doing, sometimes both. I've previously stated my current dislike of every single award-nominated or winning book seeming to have multiple narratives, so to find another one was a tad grating. However, what I had most trouble with was that each date didn't always have all three versions, or all of them in the correct order, so I had to keep reminding myself of which one was which and constantly redrawing the little strands together. If you like interesting narrative structures, this might prove a fun read for you!

Have you read it? What did you think?

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Review of "Before I Go To Sleep" by SJ Watson

Want to know what the scariest book I've ever read is? This one. It even overrides my Goosebumps days as a kid when I would read with one eye half open as nightmarish terrors coursed through my body via the power of words. The basic premise of the story is that the main protagonist, Christine Lucas forgets everything that has happened to her during a day when she goes to sleep. When she wakes up in the morning she usually considers herself to be in her early twenties, but can be younger, even a child. 

I cannot imagine anything more terrifying than waking up thinking I'm the age I am now only to discover that I'm actually 40, half my life has gone by and I have nothing to show for it: no kids, no career, no social life. Every day is filled with the knowledge that tomorrow will consist of the exact same monotony, of not really knowing who she is anymore, or even if she can say she 'is' anything; what is life if it's simply survival?

Christine just wants to get her life back, and that's exactly what Dr Nash offers her. He's been treating her in secret for a few weeks, and has encouraged her to start writing a diary to keep track of her memories, and hopefully to start helping her be able to get them back. But, he's been doing it in secret - Christine's husband Ben has no idea. Whilst Ben is out at work Dr Nash calls Christine to remind her where she has hidden the diary and when/if they have an appointment for that day. 

Christine soon begins to amass memories, and reading the diary every day brings her great sorrow and great joy. The one baffling thing? She's scrawled Don't Trust Ben in the front of it, yet he's the one who stands by her every day and deals with the fact that she simply cannot remember him, where she is or even who she is.

Have you read it? What did you think?

Steph x