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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: Zoe Sugg – Girl Online

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22510983This book was hyped so much that when we were out shopping, I asked Cameron to buy me it for Christmas. And then two days later, it came out that maybe Zoella didn’t write the book herself and had help from a ghostwriter. I personally don’t really care about that, many people use ghostwriters to write their ideas, so it’s not really surprising that someone young and popular like this would do the same thing. Good for her as she gets her idea turned into a book, and good for the publisher to cash in on her internet fame for the Christmas sales rush.

Just like the last book I read, I think I would have enjoyed this book immensely about 10 years ago, but although I still enjoyed it very much now, it did feel very teenager-ish.

The book centres around a 15 year old blogger whose parents land a job planning a wedding in New York just before Christmas. Penny is the clumsiest most awkward teenager imaginable, so she’s grateful for a change of scenery. And when she meets the supposed boy of her dreams, it looks like Penny is in for the perfect Christmas. He whisks her off her feet showing her the sights of Brooklyn, and even writes a song about her.

But when Penny returns to Brighton and finds out the truth about who Noah really is, her perfect fantasy is turned upside down and for more reasons than you’d imagine.

Of course there’s a twist in the ending, which you can probably guess (I know I did), which leads to a happy ending for all involved.

The book was a very pleasant read and a nice happy story, but the characters seemed a bit cliched and the some aspects of the story felt a little under-developed. It was very predictable in what was going to happen; girl falls in love, boy does something wrong, boy turns up and makes it all okay. The cross-atlantic aspect was quite nice, and I did feel like the book was very well written to make you feel empathy with the characters, but I did find Penny annoying at times. Probably because I’m a bit older than the target audience for the book, so not the fault of the author.

I’d definitely recommend this book to younger authors, but if you’ve got past the stage of teenage crushes and infatuations, then this book probably isn’t for you.

3/5

Review: Olivia Goldsmith – Uptown Girl

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uptown-girl-olivia-goldsmithThis is another kindle book, read on my phone whenever I’ve had a spare few minutes. It takes quite a while to read books this way, but it’s better than the crap I would be reading if I was just checking Facebook in those spare few minutes (sorry if any of you are my Facebook friends – I don’t mean you).

This book was definitely a typical chick-lit book, although the storyline didn’t go in quite the direction I expected when I first started reading it. In my opinion, the book wasn’t particularly well written, which would have been okay if the book had a strong storyline, but I found it a bit boring to be honest. When I read chick-lit books, I enjoy them most when I can relate to the character, or if I can at least feel some kind of connection with them, but Kate seemed to be like a spoilt posh girl with too high an opinion of herself, and it really didn’t endear me to want the story to finish off in her favour. But of course, in typical chick-lit fashion, it did.

A quick overview of the story in case you were still thinking of reading the book: Kate’s a youngish woman from Brooklyn, coming from a broken childhood to make it good in Manhattan. She’s got a new set of friends (all very stereotypical characters) and a good job, and what she thinks is a great boyfriend. But then her old and new lives collide rather dramatically and there’s nothing Kate can do to stop it from unravelling.

Her best friend Bina thought she was going to be proposed to by her boyfriend Jack, but instead he ran off abroad without her. But then Kate’s friends notice that there’s a guy charmingly nicknamed ‘Dumping Billy’ who has a reputation that every girl he goes out with is proposed to straight away after he dumps them. So of course Kate’s friends create this master plan for Bina to go out with Billy so that she can win Jack back and get the ring that she has always wanted. Of course, this doesn’t seem like such a great plan when Kate realises that she has fallen for Billy, and there’s a lot of scheming and moping while Kate figures everything out.

There was a nice little twist at the end which saved the book from being too predictable, but I still don’t think I would recommend it.

1-5

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