Sunday, 28 July 2013

The House We Grew Up In By Lisa Jewell

This was a really enjoyable read and I was quite hooked, particularly towards the end where I kept telling myself 'just one more chapter' and then inevitably finishing the book! The story was relatively sad, specifically regarding the Mother of the story, Lorelei. The hoarding issue was a really unusual one to cover, as I have never encountered it before. And the effects of Rhys's suicide were written subtly but also referred to quite often. The family dynamics and the journeys of the different family members were so interesting and intriguing, all with an air of mystery which comes together towards the end of the book. Overall, I really loved this book and give it 9/10.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

The Way of Muri by Ilya Boyashov

I was sadly disappointed by this book, mostly because it was really pretentious. It went on far too much about philosophers and ideas and quoted lots in latin. I think that the author was almost mocking these people but actually more made a fool of himself. It's a shame because the actual story of the book and the variety of characters that Muri met on his travels were actually really interesting and I enjoyed those parts. The only strange part of his story was the inclusion of spirits and other ethereal ideas. I think the story would have been better without those. I suppose the book just wasn't what I was expecting, and I was fed up during quite a bit of it. Therefore I give this book 4/10.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Unexpected Lessons in Love by Bernadine Bishop

I really enjoyed reading this book as it covered so many interesting topics and characters throughout. The main character, Cecelia, was brave and enduring in the face of cancer, being given an infant to care for, the abduction of her son and so many other issues. And yet there was an honesty about the situation that showed her fears, too. Helen was another interesting character, who acted quite differently to her cancer but still dealt with it with a great deal of bravery. The variety of plots surrounding the characters, including the mad Leda, courtship at an older age and accepting the inevitable death of one's mother, to name just a few, were so amazingly told and with such respect but honesty. I never once felt confused as to what was going on, despite the wide range of plots and characters. And I always felt that I was part of the family and friends, and wanted to find out more. I give this book 9/10.

Monday, 15 July 2013

The Importance of Being Myrtle by Ulrika Jonsson

This was a lovely, easy read with various characters which show the dynamics of family relationships and the effects of death. The main character, Myrtle, was perhaps a little bit weaker than I would have liked, but grew throughout the book to become really loveable. The two daughters were well written, both being very different and therefore bringing different elements to the story. The character of Gianni was a bit random, but was important and enjoyable to read. And I really enjoyed reading the growing relationship between Myrtle and her next door neighbour. The only problem was that it just didn't have me totally gripped, but I can't quite put my finger on why. I also would have liked to have seen Myrtle using her garden more as a haven as implied in the synopsis. I give this book 7/10.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Perfect by Rachel Joyce

I was really disappointed with this book, especially after hearing such good things about Joyce's debut novel. I found it really hard to get into the story, forcing myself to read on and hoping it would get better. The last 100 pages were a definite improvement and I started to want to find out what would happen. However, this was majorly overshadowed by the fact that I just wanted to finish the book so I could start another. The main problem for me was that I did not feel connected to any of the characters, except perhaps I felt a bit of empathy towards Jim. The story was very slow going and not much seemed to happen for a long time. And there was so much mystery in the story, it left me confused rather than wanting to find out more. The idea of the extra two seconds being added to time was excellent, it was just poorly executed. It was such a shame, as I had been looking forward to this book. I give this book 3/10.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

The President's Hat by Antoine Laurain

This was a lovely, quirky little book which I really enjoyed reading. It is such a simple idea, of a lost hat travelling between different owners, and it is done so well. It left the question open as to whether the hat actually had magical powers or if the life changes that occurred because of the hat were because of the people themselves. I enjoyed reading about all of the characters (although Bernard's story contained a bit more politics than I could really understand) because they were varied and interesting. It is just such a brilliant idea for a story that it was pure fun to read. I give this book 9/10.