#bookreview: Paper Towns by John Green

Well, I’m back! As my previous post explained, I was going through a really tough time; something that not many people knew about. However, I am getting better, it’ll take some time to get t0 100%, but I know I’ll get there.

During my little absence, I bought a new laptop, which means lots of new blog posts coming up – no more writing on my mobile.

So, Happy Monday, I give you a new book review – enjoy!

About the book…

Paper Towns CoverFormat: Paperback
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Published: 19th December 2016
Pages: 305 Pages

The Blurb
Quentin has always loved Margo Roth Spiegelman, for Margo (and her adventures) are the stuff of legend at their high school. So when she one day climbs through his window and summons him on an all-night road trip of revenge he cannot help but follow.

But the next day Margo doesn’t come to school and a week later she is still missing. Q soon learns that there are clues in her disappearance . . . and they are for him. But as he gets deeper into the mystery – culminating in another awesome road trip across America – he becomes less sure of who and what he is looking for.

Masterfully written by John Green, this is a thoughtful, insightful and hilarious coming-of-age story.

Purchase the book: Amazon UK | Book Depository

The Review

I’ll firstly start off by saying that I saw Paper Towns the film before I read the book, which I never do! No, Clare, you should always read the book first, the books are always better! (You may disagree with me on this, though!)

I knew about John Green when The Fault in Our Stars made an appearance. The book was great, so it was only natural that I gave another Green novel a go. Paper Towns was given to me as a gift, so that was the next one for me.

Right from the beginning you know that Margo is gonna be a badass and Quentin will  act like a love-sick puppy when around her. However, it doesn’t last that long because after an evening of revenge she goes missing – but not without evidence, she leaves clues for other people to find her and this is where Quentin steps in. He embarks on an adventure, with the help of his friends, to try and find Margo and hopefully, stop her from doing stupid things again.

The element I liked most was the banter between Quentin and his friends. I could just imagine three “weird” teenage boys hanging around high school, but still having the time of their lives. Personally, I don’t think Quentin should have even bothered trying to find Margo, she doesn’t bother with him for years and then all of sudden she wants to be friends again? talk about rude! I suppose she may have thought that no one else understood her, so turned to Quentin for some guidance – who knows!

The rest of the story? Hmm it was a little lacking in energy for me. I don’t know what it was and that’s probably not the most helpful in a review, but Paper Towns just did not excite me as much as I thought it would.

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Time’s a healer

Hi all.

You may have already seen my little note on Twitter and Instagram, but if not, I’d just like to let you all know that I’m really not well and so, I’m taking time off everything. 

I’m off work, on medication and being supported by a great bunch of people. I’m not sure when I’ll be return, but I most definitely will be back – promise! 

Any book reviews and blog tour commitments will be posted as agreed. ☺

See you soon. X

#bookreview: The Breakdown by B.A Paris

About the book…

Behind Closed Doors cover

Format: Paperback
Publisher: HQ Stories
Published: 9th February 2017
Pages: 336 Pages

The Blurb
If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?

Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods, on the winding rural road, in the middle of a downpour, with the woman sitting inside―the woman who was killed. She’s been trying to put the crime out of her mind; what could she have done, really? It’s a dangerous road to be on in the middle of a storm. Her husband would be furious if he knew she’d broken her promise not to take that shortcut home. And she probably would only have been hurt herself if she’d stopped.

But since then, she’s been forgetting every little thing: where she left the car, if she took her pills, the alarm code, why she ordered a pram when she doesn’t have a baby.

The only thing she can’t forget is that woman, the woman she might have saved, and the terrible nagging guilt.

Or the silent calls she’s receiving, or the feeling that someone’s watching her…

Purchase the book: Amazon UK | Book Depository

The Review

One stormy evening, Cassie decides to take the quicker way home, avoiding the other way due to the adverse weather conditions. During the journey, see passes a woman pulled over in her car, she seems out of place, but Cassie thinks nothing of it, until the next morning when her husband Matt tells her the lady was found murdered. Cue Cassie’s mind escalating many unwanted thoughts and feelings: what if she could have prevented the woman’s death? She chooses to keep this piece of information to herself, but in doing so means she becomes nervous and anxious.

The Breakdown essentially details Cassie’s deterioration – her ‘breakdown’ if you will. Her family and friends know nothing of her anxieties and so, blame her forgetfulness on Cassie being Cassie, where as Cassie believes it to be onset dementia – sadly just like her mother experienced. A series of events sees Cassie making unwanted decisions and forgetting about them – not intentional, but people close to her are getting agitated, which then sends Cassie into turmoil.

Having read Behind Closed Doors by BA Paris previously, I knew I needed to give The Breakdown a go! Both follow the psychological thriller genre with the story lines keeping you on your toes. Out of the two, I did prefer Behind Closed Doors, but The Breakdown was good in its own right.

It was hard to read about Cassie and how she was feeling. She had nothing to do with the woman’s death, but her over thinking mind played games on her and changed her life forever. We all have times like that when we take one small scenario and flip it into something that makes you anxious and sad. Cassie didn’t seem to have much support even with a loving husband and close friend. They seemed to dismiss Cassie’s forgetfulness as silly and didn’t listen to her when she was worried about the fact that she could be suffering the same as her mother.

However, piecing together the events of the last few months Cassie realises that she maybe isn’t going ‘mad’, but what has caused all her ‘forgetful’ moments?

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#bookreview: What Alice Knew by T.A. Cotterell

About the book…

Format: Paperback
Publisher: Black Swan
Publish Date: 4th May 2017
Pages: 384 Pages

The Blurb
How far would you go to keep a secret?

Alice has a perfect life – a great job, happy kids, a wonderful husband. Until he goes missing one night; she receives a suspicious phone call; things don’t quite add up.

Alice needs to know what’s going on. But when she uncovers the truth she faces a brutal choice. And how can she be sure it is the truth?

Sometimes it’s better not to know.

Pre-order/Purchase the book: Amazon UK | Book Depository

The Review

I bet you’re all wondering what does Alice know? I know I certainly did when I saw the cover and read the blurb. Well, put it this way, her head is full of secrets and probably secrets that she doesn’t really want to keep inside.

Alice has the perfect life, which includes the perfect husband: he’s well-educated, hard working and a pillar of the community, but one night he goes ‘missing’, and a certain phone call changes their lives forever.

What Alice Knew isn’t your typical thriller, you’re not made to figure out who the killer is, but more that you’re witnessing the destruction of the murder and the secrecy surrounding it. The police are involved and everyone is talking about it, which sends Alice into turmoil.

As you may have already guessed, Alice is the storyteller and she is the one that slowly falls to pieces with the news of the murder of a young girl. Ed, her husband, tries his best to comfort her, but she’s wondering how can he be so calm? She’s questioning her sanity and loyalty, what should she do? I felt incredibly sorry for Alice because she went from being a happy person who loved to paint into an emotional wreck. She had no support either, which made it 10 times worse.

The ending left me feeling a little confused. I’m not entirely sure what the outcome was – it’s hard to explain what I mean without spoiling the whole book for you. Let’s just say, Alice tells someone her secrets and gets everything off her chest, but I’m not sure what happened with them!

All in all, I loved What Alice Knew because it was different and intriguing – a definite must-read for 2017.

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#bookreview: Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham

About the book…

Lauren Graham memoir

Format: Hardback
Published: 6th December 2016
Publisher: Virago Press
Pages: 224 Pages

The Blurb
In Talking as Fast as I Can, Lauren Graham hits pause for a moment and looks back on her life, sharing laugh-out-loud stories about growing up, starting out as an actress, and, years later, sitting in her trailer on the Parenthood set and asking herself, “Did you, um, make it?” She opens up about the challenges of being single in Hollywood (“Strangers were worried about me; that’s how long I was single!”), the time she was asked to audition her butt for a role, and her experience being a judge on Project Runway (“It’s like I had a fashion-induced blackout”).

Some more things you will learn about Lauren: She once tried to go vegan just to bond with Ellen DeGeneres, she’s aware that meeting guys at awards shows has its pitfalls (“If you’re meeting someone for the first time after three hours of hair, makeup, and styling, you’ve already set the bar too high”), and she’s a card-carrying REI shopper (“My bungee cords now earn points!”).

Including photos and excerpts from the diary Graham kept during the filming of the recent Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, this book is like a cozy night in, catching up with your best friend, laughing and swapping stories, and—of course—talking as fast as you can.

Purchase the book: Amazon UK | Book Depository

The Review

It seems to be a common occurrence for me to read books and/or watch movies and TV programmes several years later than everyone else. So, it’s no surprise that I haven’t watched the Gilmore Girls, or know anything about Lauren’s life. However, once I’d finished her collection of memoirs, I felt like I’d known Lauren for years and that we were the best of friends – how creepy does that sound? he he.

Talking As Fast As I Can is a all about Lauren’s life (obviously!), where she details events such as: her childhood, early career, relationships and of course, her successful acting career in the Gilmore Girls.

It’s refreshing to read a celebrity story where there’s no drama. Granted she suffered things like you and I, but there was no scandalous kiss-and-tells plastered with drink and drugs. Each to their own and such like, but for me, Lauren’s life made me smile. Her words were humorous, genuine and easy to read, which as mentioned, probably aids into why you feel like you know her so well. I particularly liked her college and University years.

It looks like I’m gonna have to start watching the Gilmore Girls, doesn’t it? 😉

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#bookreview: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Well, I’m back! Did you miss me? 😉 As you know, I took a little break; it was refreshing whilst giving me the opportunity to relax and just read at my leisure (which means lots of reviews coming up!). I hope you all had a great New Year and that 2017 is treating you well.

My first post of 2017 is a book review of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (I know, very late on reading!).

About the book…

The night circus cover

Published: 13th September 2011
Publisher: Doubleday
Pages: 400 Pages

The Blurb
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices plastered on lampposts and billboards. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.

Within these nocturnal black-and-white striped tents awaits an utterly unique, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stare in wonderment as the tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and become deliciously tipsy from the scents of caramel and cinnamon that waft through the air.

Welcome to Le Cirque des Rêves.

Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is under way–a contest between two young illusionists, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in a “game” to which they have been irrevocably bound by their mercurial masters. Unbeknownst to the players, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will.

As the circus travels around the world, the feats of magic gain fantastical new heights with every stop. The game is well under way and the lives of all those involved–the eccentric circus owner, the elusive contortionist, the mystical fortune-teller, and a pair of red-headed twins born backstage among them–are swept up in a wake of spells and charms.

But when Celia discovers that Marco is her adversary, they begin to think of the game not as a competition but as a wonderful collaboration. With no knowledge of how the game must end, they innocently tumble headfirst into love. A deep, passionate, and magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

Their masters still pull the strings, however, and this unforeseen occurrence forces them to intervene with dangerous consequences, leaving the lives of everyone from the performers to the patrons hanging in the balance.

Purchase the book: Amazon UK | Book Depository

The Review

I’ll just wait a few seconds for you to pick up your mouths from the floor. Yep, I’ll admit – I’ve only just recently read The Night Circus. I’m unfortunately one of those people that has a copy of most (if not all) books, but will take 299488448 years after everyone else to read it. It’s bad, I know, I want to get out of it, but for now I’ll just admit I’m terrible and get on with the review. 😉

Lisa from Lisa Talks About kindly gifted me the book and as she placed it into my hands my eyes lit up – how pretty is the cover? Nothing should be judged by its exterior, but I just loved the black and white contrast with a splash of red in the pages.

Le Cirque des Rêves is a place made of dreams! Enter the world where your imagination runs wild and transports you into the Victorian circus. There’s a host of areas that delight, evoke your senses and make you feel all content. I loved how Erin’s words were very descriptive because it helped you paint a perfect picture of what the circus was like. The Night Circus, as the name suggests, only opens at night with the fantasy genre jumping at you with full force. It’s not like your typical circus, the entertainers all have magical skills!

Celia and Marco are the two main characters that The Night Circus makes point of detailing, they have to ‘compete’ with one another using their magical minds. The competition is vague for both them and for us the readers, they literally have no idea what’s about to happen.

My favourite character would have to be Celia who takes after her father to become an illusionist using her powers to fool her audiences with delightful tricks. She had a terrible start to life with her mother committing suicide, but I think the circus gave her hope and a sense of belonging.

My only criticism was that the plot was a little vacant at times, but as one reader on Goodreads suggests, it’s all about the storytelling and that’s what keeps you immersed throughout.

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