Review of the Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins


Heralded as the new 'Gone Girl' and 'Before I Go to Sleep' this thriller for me topped both of these books, there I have said it.The similarity between this novel and S J Watson's Before I go to Sleep is the use of an unreliable narrator. Where memory loss is the issue in Before I Go To Sleep, alcohol abuse is the main factor in this gripping tale.

What happens in the book?


The novel centres around a lonely commuter called Rachel, who gets the same train morning and evening in and out of London. At one particular stop she can see into the backs of a row of houses and regularly sees one couple in particular. In her mind she has given them both names, jobs and daydreams about their perfect idlilic lives. That is until one day she sees something that shatters this illusion and when a police investigation unfolds, she has to decide wether she should tell the police what she saw.

This is the main story of the book but so much more happens, of course I don't want to spoil it for you. Rachel has her own demons to bare, she is still hung up over the loss of her marriage and has taken to drinking too much. Sometimes she blacks out and can't remember what happens which is one of the main factors in the novel. We question what she says and does, has she remembered correctly? What happened the night before when she woke up bleeding from the head? The story of Rachel unfolds as the story goes along.

The characters in the book are brilliantly written, there are so many twists and turns, you literally cannot put the book down.Whilst in Gone Girl both characters were wholly unlikeable and ridiculous (in my opinion), I did feel a lot of sympathy for Rachel and the things she was going through, although at times I felt she went a little Bridget Jones (Not a bad thing necessarily). If you did enjoy the novels I have mentioned, or just like a really gripping thriller I would definitely read this.


Review of Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell


I have read a lot about this book before deciding to finally read it. The push was reading Landline by Rainbow and really enjoying it.After finishing Eleanor and Park I felt like it sucked me in so deeply I was left feeling short of breath.I fell in complete and utter love with it.It is the story of Park, a half Korean teenager who is into music and comics but also does martial arts with his dad and brother once a week. One day on the school bus he saves new girl Eleanor from complete embarrassment as no one will give her a seat. After that they sit together on the school bus everyday and he realises that she is also reading his comics. He starts to bring in more comics for her to borrow and tapes for her to listen to until finally they talk to each other.Eleanor doesn't fir in, she wears oversized mens clothes, has wild red curly hair and doesn't conform in the slightest. The other people at school give her the title 'Big Red', charming eh.Eleanor holds so much back that it's only towards the end of the novel Park learns of what has happened to her and the truth about her home life. 

The reasons I loved it


Although it is written for young adults it doesn't take the reader to be an idiot or need to be spoon fed information. It is beautifully written and much is said but not written if that makes sense.Eleanor is such an interesting female character, it isn't just a love story, it is about a girl utterly scared to death, hopeless that anyone could love her or care about her, and unable to reveal the secrets that are holding her back from really living or ever being happy.I really felt sorry for the situation she was in at home and I found it so interesting and lovely to see Eleanor through Park's eyes. How amazing and beautiful he found her. I also adored Park, and it's not often I like both leading characters so much, but he isn't your typical Jock, or sulking bad boy. He is unique, has a quiet confidence and learns to accept himself. during the novel 

Without giving any spoilers, the story is so well told, so believable, you get completely drawn into the story of both characters and really get behind them. I also found it heart wrenching for a number of reasons, her home life when it finally erupts and what this means for Eleanor and Park. But wether you are a young adult or adult, I would thoroughly recommend reading this book. It has everything a good solid fiction book should, it isn't cheesy in anyway. It is tenderly written, the characters wholly believable and is one of those special books that stays that little bit in your heart.

I love this digital painting by Simini Blocker of Eleanor and Park kissing....

Review of Landline by Rainbow Rowell


From the author of Fangirl and Eleanor and Park comes Landline, a story about a thirty something year old woman called Georgie McCool. Georgie is married to Neal and they have two children and live in a house in Calabasas. Their marriage has been suffering for a while because Georgie works as a script writer for a sitcom with her best friend Seth and is often away from home, working weekends and late nights. Neal is a full-time house husband, he does everything around the home and for the children as well as looking after Georgie when she comes home late. 

Georgie and Seth have been working on their own sitcom for years and finally have the call to say a huge TV network want to commission the series, BUT they have to write the rest of the episodes in just a week or so. This means Georgie can't go with Neal and the girls to spend Christmas with his family in Omaha. Neal and the girls leave under a dark cloud, and Georgie senses Neal is far from happy with her. Georgie starts to spend her time at her old family house where her younger sister, mother and her partner live. She realises that something is really wrong with her marriage and she spends each day trying to contact Neal on his mobile, but he never picks up. So, she goes into her old bedroom and plugs in the landline she used to use twenty years ago, but when she finally speaks to Neal, it isn't Neal in the present, it's Neal twenty years ago....

A great twist


I don't want to give away the whole plot of this novel but I really enjoyed it and really felt Georgie's pain and frustration over her relationship. I initially thought this was a young adult novel because of Rowell's other novels and whilst it is about thirty-something people, it reads like a teen novel and is modern and fresh.It is a story essentially about love and maintaining a relationship and a family. It is also very funny in places, with Georgie's sarcastic sister Hannah and her mother lending Georgie inappropriate lingerie. The story follow the nine days from when she is left alone to write the content for the new sitcom to Christmas day and at times Georgie can be frustrating, as days go by and she gets no work done, I was thinking, DO something! Get your husband back!I will certainly be reading Rowell's other books after this.



Blog Tour-Review for Breeder by K.B Hoyle


The Breeder Cycle Book 1 Published December 11th 2014 by The Writer's Coffee Shop

Breeder to me, is a dystopian novel aimed at the Teen market, but I thoroughly enjoyed the story myself and I am way past being a teenager. It reminds me of a number of novels I have read including, The Hunger Games and the Delirium Trilogy by Lauren Oliver. If you are a fan of these types of novels then I don't think you will be disappointed with Breeder.

What is the novel about?


We first meet the narrator of the book, number 17 who is a Breeder for the Unified World Order. Her genetics are perfect, her life is perfect in her home, the Sanctuary. There she lives with her 'sisters' about 30 other girls who are all genetically and physically superior to other humans, which is why they have been chosen to be a carrier. They have their lives controlled, from what they eat to how much exercise they do, and to how to behave. They have been taught about the devastation of mankind and that the only way to stop it happening again is to have all deformities removed from the gene pool, this include those with freckles, those with ginger or blonde hair, the list goes on. Number 17 and her sisters are given the best nutrition and care so that they can carry a baby and create a healthy genetically perfect child.

Number 17 has already carried one child, but during the second carry she has to have a procedure to get rid of the child which leaves her questioning the UWO, 'Mother' who runs the Sanctuary and everything she thought about her life. As she comes round from the procedure she sees a man who tells her his name is Pax and asks for her name which is Pria. No men are allowed in the sanctuary so it leaves her feeling uncertain. When she asks Mother, she tells her she made it up in her head, but as Pria starts to become more and more unhappy, will Pax be the escape she needs and what happens when she learns the real truth of the United World Order?

The next novel in the series is called Criminal and is out in 2015, and I for one, cannot wait. 






Breeder Blog Tour December 2014

Look out for my review of Breeder by K.B Hoyle tomorrow as part of a blog tour for this fantastic new book!


Graphic Novel Review- Sex Criminals Volume 1

Suzie learns one evening as a teenager that when she orgasms, time stops. At first she wonders if this happens to everyone, but after much research, she realises that it seems to be just her that this crazy thing happens to. That is until she meets Jon at a party and they both realise they stop time during sex and a certain part of Jon's anatomy glows... Jon decides that they should actually use the freezing of time to have fun, so they go wild in a sex shop before deciding to rob banks to save Suzie's local library. This is when things start to go slightly wrong...

Original and witty


I wasn't sure what I was expecting from this graphic novel, but I found it to be witty, dark humoured, clever and a real breath of fresh air. I realised how much I liked it when page after page of Suzie singing Queen's Fat Bottomed Girls had to be left out because of legal issues, instead of shying away from this fact, it became one of the highlights of the novel.

I found Suzie to be really likeable and funny and I enjoyed the relationship elements of Suzie and Jon getting to know each other. Obviously there is sex in the novel (shock, horror) but it wasn't offensive or done just for the sake of it. As I have said in the past, I am not into the superhero type graphic novels, so this is a great, entertaining and very funny alternative. The artwork was really impressive on the cover pages, see below.I can't wait to read Volume 2 in the New Year.



Review of Daughter by Jane Shemilt


Does anyone else agree that the cover of this reminds them a lot of Room by Emma Donoghue? Just me then...The premise of this novel is that the teenage daughter of Jenny and Ted goes missing one night and as they start to search for her, secrets and lies slowly unravel.

Then and Now

The story is told both from the days leading up to and after Naomi's disappearance, then over a year on. It is told from the mother's point of view, Jenny who is a GP and has teenage twin boys as well as Naomi. We learn about the days leading up to Naomi going missing and the hunt for her afterwards. We also learn of what has happened over the past year, how the family have fallen apart and still they have no answers about Naomi. That is until a secret is revealed and finally both Jenny and the police start to unravel the truth about what happened to Naomi.

I found the parts talking about what happened around her disappearance more interesting than the year on, which tended to be quite slow.Also, I didn't find any of the characters to be very likeable, especially Jenny the narrator of the novel. Whilst I did feel sorry for her over her missing daughter, another part of me kind of blamed her to a degree. Saying that, it did seem that Ted, the father was at home even less, yet we are made to blame Jenny for not knowing what was happening to her teenage children. I did find some of the many secrets to be far fetched but I suppose it was to highlight how little Jenny and Ted knew about their children.

Conclusion

It was one of those novels which you have to keep reading to find out what happened to Naomi and I wasn't disappointed, especially with the extra twist at the end. With this kind of novel, I don't mind not liking any of the main characters as I was reading ti to find out what happened, rather than to have any emotions for them. If you like to bond with characters in novels, you may find it difficult to in this case. I did have high hopes for this novel, especially with all the hype, and whilst it was gripping at times, it wasn't as good as I had hoped.