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The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid. - Jane Austen

Review: Evan Mandery – Q: A Love Story

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q-a-love-story-evan-manderyWell it’s been quite a while since I wrote one of these, although that doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy the book, I’ve just had an unusually busy month and not as much time for reading as I would like. It does mean that I’m now 14 books behind on my reading challenge, which seems like a pretty tall mountain to climb, but I’m going to give it a good try.

The book was quite hard to get involved with in the beginning because the writing style was a little unusual, but once I got used to that the book was amazing. The glimpse into the story that you are given on the back of the book was just the tip of the iceberg. Mysteriously, you are told that “One day, a man claiming to be our hero’s future self tells him he must leave the love of his life”. In reality, this is just the start of a winding tale of the perils of trying to go back in time to alter the course of your life.

The book starts with our guy (we never find out his name) falling in love with a beautiful woman named Q. She’s the love of his life, and they are weeks away from getting married when his future self turns up out of the blue and announces that he has to break up with her. If he marries Q, they’ll have a child with an incurable genetic disease and it will destroy them both so completely that he should end it now before it can happen.

He can’t stand the thought of losing his child, so he does the unthinkable. He breaks up with Q. This part of the book has my favourite quote, when he wonders why I-60 (as he calls his future self) did not come back and prevent him from even meeting Q in the first place to save him the heartbreak.

“It would have been a lot less cruel to come before I ever met her.”

“No, that would have deprived you of the happiest moments of our life. I’m just trying to spare you the saddest.”

From here, I was unsure where the book would take us next. By this point, we are about half way through the book and it looks like it could fizzle out into a typical chick-lit book where he makes a pathetic attempt to get Q back because he’s realised that he’s done wrong.

But that’s when the story gets interesting. It turns out that I-60 is not the only visit he will get from his future. His next visit is from I-55, you guessed it, a 55 year old version of himself. This is where I was grateful to the author for making the guy a bit clueless about time travel, because I-55 explained it to him (and obviously for us too). I-55 is not simply I-60 but 5 years younger, he’s a completely different guy. The decision to leave Q set his life on a different course, but it turns out that this course was not much better than the first, and now I-55 wants him to do something different.

And on it goes from here. Every time he makes a decision and becomes happy with the way that his life is going, another I-Whatever turns up and tells him his future life is horrible and he needs to make a drastic change. At first it’s quite frustrating for him, but it turns slightly comical (for us, not for him) when he is asked to do one thing, then the next guy tells him that he needs to go back on that decision and do something completely different.

And that’s as far as I am going to go on the storyline because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone planning on reading it. There’s nothing worse than reading a review of a book and realising that there’s not much point picking up the book because you know how it’s going to end.

If I was going to describe the book, I’d say it was an epic love story with an underlying moral lesson about the ethics of time travel and the dangers of trying to meddle with your past. I guess it’s not really a relevant moral lesson for us since time travel is not possible (yet), but it certainly makes you think about the paths that your life can go down and the choices that you have made. For me it brought to mind the phrase ‘no regrets’.

On the back of the book, it was compared to The Time Traveller’s Wife, but I’d say that they are quite different books. Yes, they are both time-travelling romances, but the way that the love manifests itself in the two books is quite different. I can’t really say too much about what makes the book so romantic without ruining it, but I will say that the beauty of it brought a slight tear to my eye.

I’d heartily recommend this book firstly to anyone that enjoyed The Time Travellers Wife, because even though they are completely different, they both hold the same kind of specialness. And then to anyone who likes a love story with a bit of a twist, one that is well written and makes you think, rather than the usual chick-lit trashy style ‘love stories’. For all those people calling 50 Shades of Grey a love story, put the trash down and pick this up, this is a love story.

5-5

Now Reading: Evan Mandery – Q: A Love Story

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q-a-love-story-evan-manderyOkay, it’s an addiction. I MUST stop buying books, although I blame this one on Cameron for not stopping me. On the plus side, I’m 60% towards getting a £10 Waterstones gift card, unfortunately that means I’ve spent a little too much this year…

The reviews on this one say that it’s great for fans of The Time Travellers Wife, which is one of my favourite books. Unfortunately, the review from the New York Times says:

“A word to the tear-prone: don’t attempt to read the ending in public”

Unfortunately, I’m like the teariest person ever, I cry at the smallest thing, so I don’t hold out much hope for staying tear-free at the end – I’d better get my tissues ready…

Review: Jessica Thompson – This is a Love Story

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jessica-thompson-this-is-a-love-story-e1329424003476It’s been a busy past few days for me (more about that in a blog post tomorrow), so I’ve only just finished reading this book. I have a few days off work now though, and I’m expecting a parcel from Amazon tomorrow with the baseball books that I ordered last week.

It was really good though, especially for a debut novel. At first, I was a bit dubious as one of the main characters (Sienna) seemed a bit thin, but after a while her character was fleshed out a bit and I started to really get along with both her and Nick.

Like a lot of books in this genre, the book was written from two viewpoints, but unusually you saw most parts of the story through the eyes of both characters. It was a refreshing change, and definitely made the story more engaging.

The main storyline was obviously Sienna and Nick, and the almost love story between them. As I had guessed, it wasn’t quite a perfect love story, it’s definitely unusual when the two main characters don’t actually get together until the last 3 pages of the book!

The book also brought attention to a condition called Narcolepsy which most people find quite trivial (if they’ve heard about it at all), but you find out from the book that it’s actually quite serious and the effect that it has on the person and their family and friends too. Sienna’s Dad has this condition which makes him fall asleep (and fall over) whenever he feels any kind of strong emotion, and she spends a lot of time looking after him. In the end, it’s him that plays a big role in bringing Sienna and Nick together. He was also the reason that I almost cried in the last few chapters, I’ll not tell you what happened but it was very emotional!

I definitely enjoyed this book, very easy going and a nice (mostly) light hearted story. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for Jessica Thompson in the future.

5-5

Now Reading: Jessica Thompson – This is a Love Story

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jessica-thompson-this-is-a-love-story-e1329424003476 This is a Love Story, but not every story is the same. At first glance, it’s intriguing, although I have to admit that I’m a sucker for judging a book by it’s cover, and that’s pretty much why I bought this one. The description on the back seemed a bit odd too, and grabbed my attention:

When Sienna meets Nick, it’s not the way it happens in love stories, it’s because of a squirrel on water skis…

Sounds rather strange, but the other description on the back of the book says:

Funny and sad, this is the story of two people destined never to come together in the great love affair they crave more than anything else.

It will probably be a bit easier (and quicker) to read than the last book, but lets hope I enjoy it just as much!