Category Archives: Romantic

Trains and Lovers- Alexander McCall-Smith


Foreword

It was National Handwriting Day on Friday, I only found out about it yesterday, so I decided to pay my tribute a little late. I’ve decided to write a review as in actually handwrite it. I like handwriting, it helps me to think. I don’t like how little I do it.

I’m doing copying bits (links to buy, synopsis, hyperlinks) in typing, and I will transcribe afterwards in case you can’t, or don’t want to, read my handwriting.

Oh and I apologise for any misspellings- handwriting has no inbuilt dictionary.

Synopsis (from amazon)

In the words of Alexander McCall Smith: ‘You feel the rocking of the train, you hear the sound of its wheels on the rails; you are in the world rather than suspended somewhere above it. And sometimes there are conversations to be had, which is what the overarching story in this collection is all about. It is a simple device: people brought together entertain one another with tales of what happened to them on trains. It takes place on a journey I frequently make myself and know well, the journey between Edinburgh and London. It is best read on a train, preferably that one.’

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Buy it on amazon:

Paperback (£6.27)

Kindle (£4.87)

Hardcover (£8.99)

Transcript

So here goes. The review.

I decided to write a review of ‘Trains and Lovers’ as my handwritten review because I don’t actually have much to say on it. With the fact that handwriting takes longer than typing, plus me wanting to type it up, I don’t want to have to write lots. (Although I probably will end up writing as much with all this explanation)

‘Trains and Lovers’ is a bit different from the other McCall-Smith books I’ve read. To be fair the others have been detective novels- No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, and one of the Isabel Dalhousie books. There’s less to figure out- which you would, of course, expect seeing as it’s more of a romance novel. Although McCall-Smith can’t quite resist, there is one story which has a bit of a mystery to it.

It has the same ‘nice-ness’ which I would expect from McCall-Smith, but it’s sweeter. There’s a certain poetry, which probably replaces most of the humour which I would have expected. I liked that.

I also liked that it was real. The stories were not great ‘perfect’ romances, or a rehash of Pride and Prejudice (as so much chick-lit is). They were romantic in an everyday was, no grand gestures. They were romances I could believe, and in a sense that makes them more inspirational than ‘great’ love stories.

I think I likes this more more than I realised. Writing this has made me look at things differently.

3.5/5

 

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Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, Romantic

Fangirl- Rainbow Rowell


Synopsis (from amazon)

Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they’re off to university and Wren’s decided she doesn’t want to be one half of a pair any more – she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It’s not so easy for Cath. She’s horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she’s experienced in real life.

Without Wren Cath is completely on her own and totally outside her comfort zone. She’s got a surly room-mate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

Now Cath has to decide whether she’s ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she’s realizing that there’s more to learn about love than she ever thought possible.

Review

When I reviewed Landline I mentioned how much I had loved Fangirl (which I had just finished reading).

I really identified with Cath, more than I identified with Eleanor (of Eleanor & Park), I think that’s a skill of Rainbow Rowell’s- making characters which are easy to identify with.

To me Cath was a Harry Potter fangirl, I’m not quite her (only the occasional dip into the world of fanfiction) but I certainly ‘knew’ people like her, and saw a lot of elements of myself in her. Harry Potter was a big part of my world for a while (which I have spoken about before), so I think I understood Cath, although maybe I was more of a balance between her and Wren when it came to uni.

Thinking about it, actually, Fangirl is quite a lot like 4 to 16 characters, although I did prefer it.

It’s cute, and it’s romantic, and it’s real, that’s what’s awesome about it.

5/5

Buy it from an indie store (via hive):

Paperback (£6.23)

Buy it from amazon:

Kindle (£2.99)

Paperback (£4.19)

Hardcover (£9.09)

Other reviews:

The Perpetual Page Turner

Curiosity Killed the Bookworm

Bookjourney

The Leading Librarian

Recovering Potter Addict

So Long And Thanks For All The Fish

4 Comments

Filed under Fiction review, Romantic, YA

The Pre-Raphaelite Seamstress- Amita Murray


Disclaimer: I was given this book free of charge, by the author, in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis (from amazon)

It is the 1860s, and Rachel Faraday is trying to follow in the footsteps of the Pre-Raphaelite artists. Struggling to make a living, in a world that looks down on female traders, she paints her fabrics in the colours and styles of the artists and sells them to wealthy women who daydream about clasping the men of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood between their thighs. One night, she meets a man, who, after the coldness of her cottage and the loneliness of her existence, shows her the possibility of a different life. The next day, he is arrested on suspicion of cold-blooded murder. As Rachel sets out to prove his innocence, she realizes that she must come to terms not only with the evidence in front of her, the vagaries of her trade, the hot-blooded attentions of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, but her own erotic longings and the secrets of her past.

Review

I’m trying to remember anything of note about The Pre-Raphaelite Seamstress. There isn’t a hell of a lot to be honest. In fact the main thing of note I can think of is that as a historical novel it seemed loose. I wouldn’t really say historically inaccurate, but it had little real history except for the setting.

As a crime novel it was better, but a little sketchy. Not as much detail as I would have liked, but enough to keep me wondering and reading.

The sections with Rossetti were…strange. It seemed almost as if Murray wanted to write the story about  Rossetti but couldn’t find a whole story there so decided to find a place in another story for it. It fit in with the rest of the story, but only slightly, it seemed an unnecessary plot line.

There was a romantic element too. Which was a driving force but a minor element to the story, according to amazon this book is the first in a series which is yet to be finished, I can see the romantic element being a larger plot line than in this first book.

3.5/5

Buy it:
Kindle (£0.77)
Paperback (£5.43)

 

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Filed under Crime, Fiction review, Historical, Mystery, Romantic

Just Destiny- Theresa Rizzo


Disclaimer: I was sent this books free of charge, by the author, in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis (from amazon)

What would you do if your whole world fell apart?
Jenny Harrison made some poor choices in the past, but marrying Gabe was the best thing she’d ever done. They had the perfect marriage, until a tragic accident leaves Gabe brain dead and her world in ruins.
Devastated by grief, she decides to preserve the best of their love by conceiving his child, but Gabe’s family is adamantly opposed, even willing to chance exposing long-held family secrets to stop her. Caught in a web of twisted motives and contentious legal issues, Jenny turns to best friend and attorney, Steve Grant. Steve wants to help Jenny, but he has reservations and secrets of his own.
When something so private and simple turns public and complicated, will Jenny relent? What is Steve willing to sacrifice to help Jenny?
Review
Just Destiny reminded me a lot of of Jodi Picoult books. A sort of debate. Is it right to take sperm from a dead guy? Even if he is your husband? There was the emotional element, and the personal element. There was a higher romantic element than in Picoult books, and that was, ultimately, what made it fall behind Picoult’s books.
The romance element was interesting, and I did like it. However it drowned out the moral elements, which were what interested me the most.
It was well written, and I quite liked the characters, especially Steve. It was an easy read too, and fairly compelling. I wouldn’t call it an amazing novel, but enjoyable enough
3.5/5
Buy it:
Kindle (£2.39)
Paperback (£12.73)

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Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, Romantic

Landline- Rainbow Rowell


Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book by the publisher (via netgalley) free of charge in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis (from amazon)

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and he still loves her – but that almost seems besides the point now.Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells him that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her – he is always a little upset with her – but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts…

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

Review

I was all set to start my review with talking about how Landline is the best book by Rainbow Rowell that I’ve read so far. I even had to stay sitting at a bus top because I couldn’t walk home without finishing it. But today I finished Fangirl (the only book I hadn’t yet read by her), and Fangirl is just…better.

Landline was the best Rainbow Rowell book I’d read at the time, however, and I still think it was really good. It’s different to any of her others. It feels more adult than Attachments did. Maybe because Georgie is older, and Lincoln is basically a uni student stuck in a working person’s body (hey, aren’t we all a little like that?), maybe because Georgie has more of an ‘adult life’.

Landline is more instantly engaging than either Attachments or Eleanor & Park (or Fangirl actually, just Fangirl became like an addiction).

I expected the supernatural phone to the past to be a bit too far fetched, but somehow it worked. It seemed almost realistic. It felt more like a classic love story- or rediscovering love story. Plus it took some of the cuteness out of it, and sometimes love stories are too cute.

4/5

Buy it:

Independent via Hive:
Hardback (£8.77)

From Amazon:

Kindle (£4.99)

Hardback (£6.89)

Paperback- released March 2015 (£7.53)

Other reviews:

Curiosity Called the Bookworm

Words for Worms

Nylon Admiral

The Perpetual Page Turner

As the Crowe Flies (and Reads) (as part of month in review)

 

8 Comments

Filed under Chicklit, Contempory, Fiction review, Romantic

The Glass Guardian- Linda Gillard


Synopsis (from amazon)
Ruth Travers has lost a lover, both parents and her job. Now she thinks she might be losing her mind.

When death strikes again, Ruth finds herself the owner of a dilapidated Victorian house on the Isle of Skye: Tigh na Linne, the summer home she shared as a child with her beloved Aunt Janet, the woman she’d regarded as a mother.

As Ruth prepares to put the old house up for sale, she discovers she’s not the only occupant. Worse, she suspects she might be falling in love again.

With a man who died almost a hundred years ago…

Review

This is probably the best Linda Gillard I’ve read since A Lifetime Burning (which still remains my favourite). They both do have a supernatural element, although much stronger in this one.

It actually reminds me quite a bit of Her Fearful Symmetry it has a similar gothic feel, and I always like gothic stories.

The love story was good too, strangely realistic, although the way it ended was a bit too perfect.

3.5/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£1.99)

Paperback (£5.93)

Other Reviews:

The Little Reader Library

Have I Missed Your Review? Leave Me a Link In Comments and I’ll Add it Here

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Filed under Contempory, Fantasy, Fiction review, Paranormal, Romantic

Eleanor & Park- Rainbow Rowell


Synopsis (from amazon)

Eleanor is the new girl in town, and she’s never felt more alone. All mismatched clothes, mad red hair and chaotic home life, she couldn’t stick out more if she tried. Then she takes the seat on the bus next to Park. Quiet, careful and – in Eleanor’s eyes – impossibly cool, Park’s worked out that flying under the radar is the best way to get by. Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall in love. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you’re 16, and you have nothing and everything to lose. Set over the course of one school year in 1986, Eleanor & Park is funny, sad, shocking and true – an exquisite nostalgia trip for anyone who has never forgotten their first love.

Review

There are so many reviews of Eleanor & Park out there that I almost feel that something original cannot be said. Do have a look at the reviews at the bottom for more detailed or different reviews. I tend to go with feelings rather than any real analysis.

So Eleanor & Park. After Attachments I expected to enjoy it, I didn’t expect better because it’s YA and I only usually read YA when I just want to read without thinking. As a more relaxing, easy read. It was on offer for the kindle though, so I thought I would give it a try. Actually I think it was better than Attachments. It was maybe in some ways less adult but it was less superficial I think. Especially from Eleanor’s side of the story.

I got Eleanor. The escapism. the shyness. The uncertainty. I was like her a lot in school. Whilst not having a bad time of it as she does; at home or at school, I could identify more with how she felt at times.

In a sense she was saved by Park. Una @ Watching the Words (see her review below) says it’s anti-feminist. Well maybe, but I don’t see that. It’s just another form of escapism. He facilitates so much of her escapism. The comics, the music. Why can’t he be a form of escapism himself? Does she need him? Maybe not. She ultimately helps herself. He makes it better though. He makes it easier. That’s not about him ‘saving’ her. It’s not about him being a boy. It’s about love. She doesn’t want that to end, of course she doesn’t.

I can’t say I liked Park so much. He grew on me. He understood more about life as he went through.

Yes this is a story about love, but it’s more than that. It’s a story about hope. It’s a story about overcoming bad things in life. It’s a story about finding yourself, and believing in yourself.

4.5/5

Also can I add I love the Rainbow Rowell US covers, the British not so much. Plus this one represents the book much better on the US version

Buy it:

Kindle (£1.49)- until 6th May only
Paperback (£5.59)
Hardback (£14.26)

Other reviews:

If I (somehow!) missed your review post a link in comments and I will add it here.

11 Comments

Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, Romantic, YA

The Rosie Project- Graeme Simsion


the rosie project, books, book, Graeme SimsionSynopsis (from amazon)

‘I’m not good at understanding what other people want.’

‘Tell me something I don’t know . . .’

Love isn’t an exact science – but no one told Don Tillman. A thirty-nine-year-old geneticist, Don’s never had a second date. So he devises the Wife Project, a scientific test to find the perfect partner. Enter Rosie – ‘the world’s most incompatible woman’ – throwing Don’s safe, ordered life into chaos. But what is this unsettling, alien emotion he’s feeling?

Review

Everyone in the book blogosphere seems to have read The Rosie Project, and most of those people have loved it, I’ve not seen one negative review. I am no exception. I loved The Rosie Project.

It was cute and funny, and romantic, and quirky. Don was such a unique, yet believable character. He was a little bit of a less asexual Sheldon Cooper (of The Big Bang Theory).

Big Bang Theory, Sheldon, Sheldon Cooper, Bazinger, books, The Rosie project

Sheldon

Rosie is Don’s complete antithesis, but, for some reason, it works. Rosie takes Don completely out of his comfort zone, she helps him to relax.  Don is so clever, but he’s blind when it comes to women, when it comes to Rosie. It means you see lots of times that Don is being clueless, you want someone to come and show him everything objectively- I think that could have worked for him.

I did love Don as a character. I loved reading the story through his voice. He obviously cares about things, he always works really hard at everything, but he doesn’t understand that you can’t learn everything from books, or in an intellectual way. It’s kind of adorable.

When looking for reviews of The Rosie Project I found out that a sequel is coming out this year. I’m excited to see the sequel but not sure if it will really work, especially if it was written just because The Rosie Project itself was so popular. I fear it won’t meet up to the amazingness of The Rosie Project, but I’ll still read it.

5/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£3.80)

Kindle (£2.99)

Hardback (£9.52)

Other reviews:

Giraffe Days

The Little Reader Library

Bookjourney

Under A Gray Sky

So Many Books, So Little Time

Sam Still Reading

As The Crowe Flies (And Reads!)

Words For Worms

No Page Left Behind

Chrisbookarama

Leeswammes Blog

Farm Lane Books

What Hannah Read

Have I missed your review? Leave me a link in comments and I will add it here.

 

9 Comments

Filed under Fiction review, Humour, Romantic

Boy Meets Boy- David Levithan


Boy meets boy, David Levithan, book, young adult, book cover, YA
Disclaimer: This book was given to me free of charge by the publisher (via netgalley) in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis (from amazon)

The unforgettable debut novel by co-author with John Green of Will Grayson, Will Grayson

To be together with someone for twenty years seems like an eternity. I can’t seem to manage twenty days…

How do you stay together?

Paul has been gay his whole life and he’s confident about almost everything. He doesn’t have to hide his feelings like best friend Tony or even cope with loving the wrong guy like his other best friend Joni.

But heartbreak can happen to anyone. Falling in love changes everything.

Review

I have a growing relationship with David Levithan. I loved The Lover’s Dictionary, and vowed to read more of him, but seeing as he’s generally a YA writer, and that’s a genre I only read once in a while I haven’t really been actively seeking him out.

Anyway I saw Boy Meets Boy- which was Levithan’s first solo book up on netgalley for its re-release. Thinking of my plan to read more Levithan I decided to request it, and got it, yay!

Boy Meets Boy is set in an ideal town where being ‘different’ is accepted, even praised. At Paul’s school there are gay people, straight people, bisexuals, and transvestites, but everyone accepts everyone else for whom they are. It was a little difficult to get my head around at first because, unfortunately, real life isn’t like that. It made it sort of unrealistic.

However once I got more comfortable with the story I started to really enjoy it. I quite liked Paul, although I certainly wanted to shout at him a fair few times for lack of foresight.

I much preferred Noah, Paul’s love interest, as a character, he was more interesting for one thing. Or maybe it was just because we saw him through Paul’s eyes when Paul was falling for him.

The most realistic character was Josh, I think maybe I would have preferred a story about Josh. Being gay wasn’t easy for Josh, and though we saw a bit from Paul’s friendship with him I think it would have made a more interesting story to have it from Josh’s perspective.

It was quite a cute story when it came down to it, and rather romantic. Not some great amazing piece of literature, but I still enjoyed it immensely, and it took me less than a day to read because I couldn’t put it down!

Oh and you know what I love about everything I’ve read by Levithan so far? He obviously loves words!

5/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£5.29)

Paperback (£5.75)

Other reviews:

Curiosity Killed the Bookworm

Have I missed your review? Post a link in comments and I will add it here

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Filed under Fiction review, Romantic, YA

Her Fearful Symmetry- Audrey Niffenegger


her fearful symmetry, audrey niffenegger, niffenegger, book, book review, twins, dark, black, dark cover, girls, cemetery,

Synopsis (from amazon)

When Elspeth Noblin dies she leaves her beautiful flat overlooking Highgate Cemetery to her twin nieces, Julia and Valentina Poole, on the condition that their mother is never allowed to cross the threshold. But until the solicitor’s letter falls through the door of their suburban American home, either Julia nor Valentina knew their aunt existed. The twins hope that in London their own, separate, lives can finally begin but they have no idea that they’ve been summoned into a tangle of fraying lives, from the obsessive-compulsive crossword setter who lives above them to their aunt’s mysterious and elusive lover who lives below them and works in the cemetery itself.

As the twins unravel the secrets of their aunt, who doesn’t seem quite ready to leave her flat, even after death, Niffenegger weaves together a delicious and deadly ghost story about love, loss and identity.

Review
Niffenegger’s previous novel, The Time Traveller’s Wife, is one of my favourite books. When I heard that she had a new book coming out I was super excited. But then the reviews started coming in, lots of disappointment. I started to doubt whether it was a good idea to read Her Fearful Symmetry. I was worried that I would be disappointed too. So it sat on my to be read pile for years (literally- it’s been there since before I started this blog, almost 4 years ago). There were a few times that I almost picked it up, then I finally decided I would, so here we are.
Well I can’t exactly say that I was disappointed by Her Fearful Symmetry (possibly because I was prepared to be disappointed) but I didn’t fall in love with it in the same way as I did when I read The Time Traveller’s Wife.
Some early points, especially when it came to the relationship between Robert and Elspeth gave me hope. Their relationship was maybe everyday, but there was something beautiful about it. In a way it’s a shame that their relationship didn’t continue because I think love may be Niffenegger’s forte- not sure how much of a novel a continued relationship would have given.
As I got a little further in I felt that my initial interest dropped off. It took me a long time to take to the twins, and the plot felt like it was dragging its feet a little, it was mainly the descriptions of Highgate Cemetery which kept me reading.
I am glad I continued reading however. I started to become more interested in the twins- especially Valentina, and more interested in the ghost story element too.
Towards the end I couldn’t decide whether to be disturbed or riveted.  There was a certain discomfort to the plot, but at the same time I wanted to see how things turned out. My feelings for the various characters changed somewhat
(highlight for spoiler)I found I really felt pity for Valentina. She was certainly misguided, but there was also an element of her being a bit controlling. Julia seemed to be the more controlling of the two twins, but I think Valentina was quite good at manipulating people.
As for Elspeth. Well she disgusted me by the end. I didn’t really believe that she’d had no control when it came to not being able to executing Valentina’s plan. After all she could put the kitten back. I think she tried but in a half-heated way. She didn’t try to push Valentina back into her body- as with the kitten, and I’m sure she had some sense that Valentina wouldn’t be strong enough to do it alone. Maybe she hadn’t planned to take Valentina’s body when she agreed to help her, but she certainly took advantage of the situation, and I find it hard to believe that the thought wouldn’t have crossed her mind.
Ultimately I wouldn’t call Her Fearful Symmetry a ghost story- although it had ghost story elements. It was more a story of relationships and families, and I think it’s better to approach it with that in mind.
4/5
Buy it:
Paperback (£5.59)
Kindle (£5.22)
Hardback (£15.12)
Other reviews
I’m sure I’ve missed lots of reviews from this list, if your is one of them post a link in comments and I will add it here.

15 Comments

Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, Paranormal, Romantic

Hotel on The Corner of Bitter and Sweet- Jamie Ford



Synopsis (from amazon)

1986, The Panama Hotel The old Seattle landmark has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has made a startling discovery in the basement: personal belongings stored away by Japanese families sent to interment camps during the Second World War. Among the fascinated crowd gathering outside the hotel, stands Henry Lee, and, as the owner unfurls a distinctive parasol, he is flooded by memories of his childhood. He wonders if by some miracle, in amongst the boxes of dusty treasures, lies a link to the Okabe family, and the girl he lost his young heart to, so many years ago.

Review

When Judith @ Leeswammes Blog saw that I was reading Garden of Stones (the review of which is scheduled for February) she suggested that if I was interested in the topic I should read Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.

Unfortunately for Garden of Stones I was reading Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet when I got around to writing a review. At the time of reading Garden of Stones I had really enjoyed it, but it pales in comparison to Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.

I found Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet felt rather authentic, especially during the war years. In some sense the  story seemed not so much a war novel as a romance.

A beautiful romance novel too. There was the level of uncertainty of first love, a sort of is this love feeling. At the same time Henry really had great conviction, even when everything was against his love he still held on, he never really let Keiko go. In a way this makes the end of the war a bit of an anti-climax. (highlight for spoiler) It seemed at odds that Henry wouldn’t wait longer for Keiko. If his letter was returned especially she still might come to find him, but instead he gives up on her

Henry was the perfect character to explore the war element from because he could see lots of different sides as a Chinese-American in love with a Japanese-American. He wasn’t completely embedded in any of these perspectives but you could gain a sort of empathy for conflicting views which you wouldn’t have gained from seeing one perspective in detail. I would have liked to see the interment camps in a little more detail but from seeing the changes the Japanese citizens would return to meant that as a reader you can imagine longer-term effects.

In shot I’m glad I started my year on this book. Here’s to hoping 2013 brings lots more great reads.

4.5/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£5.99)
Kindle (£4.79)
Hardback (£11.69)

Other Reviews:

If you have reviewed this book please leave me a link in comments and I will add it here

16 Comments

Filed under Fiction review, Historical, Romantic

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares- Rachel Cohn and David Levithan


Disclaimer: This book was given to me free of charge via netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis (from Amazon)

I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.

Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favourite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions? Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.

Review.

I haven’t read a book this quickly in an age. Or stayed up late just to read ‘one more chapter’. It helps that Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares is a young adult book. That means it was easy to read, and generally quite plot driven. The chapters were short so it didn’t seem like much to read just one more chapter (although I did that for about 10 chapters in a row).

I’ve been thinking about reading something else by David Levithan since reading A Lover’s Dictionary which I loved. Seeing as most of his other books are YA however I hadn’t rushed out to read another by him. Not because I won’t read YA, it’s just not usually the first thing I would pick up. Those things combined meant that seeing Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares on netgalley gave me the perfect excuse.

I wouldn’t say the book was any great literary genius, but I never expected it to be. I loved the idea of two people meeting through a little red book. It’s the kind of thing you just wish would work in real life (I imagine in real life a shop assistant would have found the book and chucked it into lost property- as often happens with bookcrossing books). I also loved how it seemed to show a love of books too, what more could a literary girl want.

I almost immediately loved Lily as a character when I saw her words in the notebook (the first we hear of her voice. (highlight for spoiler) Although I was rather disappointed to find out those initial words weren’t hers, nor the idea, it made me like her less. She convinced me to like her again by the end however.

It took me longer to warm up to Dash but I probably loved him even more by the end. There was something about Lily which started grating on me (although I still loved her). Dash however had a sarcastic, slightly cynical streak which I took to, and I loved his passion for words.

I enjoyed the fairytale references as well. I suppose in a way the story was a modern fairytale, a little unbelievable, and romantic in the way fairytales often are, but also with a touch of realism which you don’t see in traditional fairy stories.

This book is set during Christmas time. It’s not essential to read it over Christmas but I think I might have enjoyed it more if I read it then (rather than early-September, which is when I did read it).

I wonder now about looking into reading something more by Rachel Cohn seeing as I liked the Lily chapters.But then I think of how much I enjoyed P.S. Longer Letter Later as a teenager, and how disappointed I was to find that Ann M. Martin was the writer of The Babysitters Club (pretty much the last thing I would think to read).

4/5

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dreams is not released until 5th October 2012 in the UK but you can pre-order it now from Amazon

Buy it:

Kindle (£6.99)

Paperback (£5.59)

Other Reviews:

The Perpetual Page Turner

Owl Tell You All About It

4 Comments

Filed under Fiction review, Romantic, YA

Charlotte Street- Danny Wallace


Image from amazon

Synopsis (from amazon)

It all starts with a girl… (because yes, there’s always a girl…)

Jason Priestley (not that one) has just seen her. They shared an incredible, brief, fleeting moment of deep possibility, somewhere halfway down Charlotte Street.

And then, just like that, she was gone – accidentally leaving him holding her old-fashioned, disposable camera, chock full of undeveloped photos…

And now Jason – ex-teacher, ex-boyfriend, part-time writer and reluctant hero – faces a dilemma. Should he try and track The Girl down? What if she’s The One? But that would mean using the only clues he has, which lie untouched in this tatty disposable…

It’s funny how things can develop…

Review.

A while ago I read a review of Charlotte Street on Ellie’s blog; Curiosity Killed the Bookworm. Ellie loved Charlotte Street and I just had to add it to my wishlist. Well the other week I managed to get myself stuck in Waterstone’s. I had intended just to browse. I told myself I could buy two books from the buy one get one half-price selection, but only if one was from The Rory List. I didn’t see any books from the Rory list in that selection so I decided to leave. Unfortunately when I reached the door I saw that the rain was coming down like a Monsoon. I mean, I couldn’t go out in that could I? So I was stuck in Waterstone’s, and my will-power was wearing down…I had no choice. So I came out with Charlotte Street and Scarlett Thomas’ Going Out. Both books on my wishlist, neither on The Rory List.

Anyway this is meant to be a review, right? Not the story of how I got forced to buy books!

Charlotte Street was one of those books that made me both sad and satisfied to have finished. It’s been a long time since I last got this feeling from finishing a book. I wanted it to carry on, even though I knew it had definitely reached a conclusion.

I liked the characters, especially Dev. I quite often thought they were idiots but that just made them more realistic. Jason was certainly the flawed hero- if you can call someone whose behaviour borders on stalker-ish a hero! He did sometimes doubt whether he should be behaving the way he was, but there was always a friend to put him on the ‘right’ path, and I loved that.

In some ways you could actually call Charlotte Street a coming of age story. Maybe it was later in life than the typical coming of age story but Jason (and actually the other major characters too) certainly learnt something from the beginning of the book to the end and entered a new stage of life.

Wallace’s writing style reminded me a lot of Nick Hornby’s books, especially High Fidelity. Flawed hero- check, love interest- check, geeky friend- check, shop- check. It wasn’t a copy my any means but there were a lot of parallels. Amusing but in a real-life way rather than an artificial humour.

I had meant to read something by Danny Wallace for a long time, in fact since reading Are You Dave Gorman? when I was at school, and finding out Danny Wallace had written solo books, but somehow it hasn’t happened until now. This is probably the worst book to start on seeing as it’s Wallace’s first fiction book, but it has made me more eager to read something else by him.

5/5

Other Reviews:

Ellie @ Curiosity Killed the Bookworm

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Buy it:

Paperback (£7.79)

Kindle (£7.40)

10 Comments

Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, Humour, Romantic

The Lover’s Dictionary- David Levithan


Image from Amazon

Synopsis (from Amazon)

How does one talk about love?

We are all beginners when it comes to love, from those tentative first dates to learning how to live with, or without, someone. But how does one describe love? How does one chart its delights and pleasures, its depths and desolations? Do we even have the right words to describe something that can be both utterly mundane and completely transcendent, pulling us out of our everyday lives and making us feel a part of something greater than ourselves? David Levithan’s The Lover’s Dictionary starts where we all once started – with the alphabet.

Constructing the story of a relationship as a dictionary, Levithan explores the intimacies and workings of love through his nameless narrator, to paint a moving portrait of love through everyday words. Cleverly using the confines of language to provide an intimate window into the great events and quotidian trifles of being part of a couple, Levithan gives us an indelible and deeply moving portrait of love in our time.

Review

I read this book alongside two others both of which I am somewhat struggling with, not enough to give up but enough to need a break. The Lover’s Dictionary seemed perfect for those purposes. It’s an easy read and easy to break up into little chunks so you can just read a page or two as something easy. Despite the fact I was using it as a rest-stop book it’s taken me less than 3 days to read, and I think it would only take a couple of hours if read alone.

Would I call it a novel? Well I don’t know really, although there is certainly a story in there it isn’t a novel in the conventional sense, and you need to fill in a lot of gaps yourself. I liked the way it added emotion to words in a way just reading a word doesn’t do. There’s a certain suggestion that the words one reads are not ‘just words’ but have a whole other layer of meaning if you are so inclinded to look for them. As a reader it held a certain beauty in the way it approached words but also in the way it would sometimes speak of books and reading. There seemed to be two loves there in a way, the love of a lover, but the love of books was there too.

It felt personal and I liked that.

4.5/5

I wouldn’t recommend the Kindle edition specifically though. The editing was bad, quite often the word being defined was on the previous page to the definition, and that doesn’t really work. When I bought it on Kindle it was on offer (99p I think) so I don’t really mind, but I would have if I payed full price.

Buy it:

Kindle (£5.99)

Paperback (£4.79)

Hardback (£8.44)

Other Reviews:

The Perpetual Page-Turner

A Thousand Books With Quotes

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9 Comments

Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, Romantic