I haven’t really read any chicklit (unless Bridget Jones counts?) and part of the reason I set this blog up was to try new things, so I tried A Passionate Love Affair with a Total Stranger by Lucy Robinson. Part of the reason I did was because the comment on the front made it sound funny. I must admit I didn’t find it so funny that I laughed out loud, but it was an entertaining read.
Anyway, before hearing what I think you’ll want to know what it’s all about! Charley thinks she has the perfect life with her swish flat, beautiful clothes, super healthy lifestyle and important job. All of this tumbles down, well, when Charley tumbles down a hill and breaks her leg and pelvis badly. She’s forced to hand her work over to her unscrupulous deputy, and her boss who she’s had a thing for for years proposes to another woman. Things aren’t going very well for Charley and despite her friends encouraging her to take the break she desperately needs, she can’t give up working and starts her own business writing messages for people who are rubbish at online dating. She starts exchanging messages with William on behalf of her client but gets carried away and they send increasingly flirty messages, until Charley falls in love with him. Should she let William go on the date with her client, or should she intervene and let him know she’s the one he’s been messaging?
I wouldn’t say I loved this book, but I did find it entertaining and I did have the just one more chapter… feeling throughout it too, meaning I was reading it till the early hours of the morning! The characters all feel like they could be real people, but I wasn’t a fan of the swearing. Maybe I’m just a bit old-fashioned, but I find making characters swear to give them ‘character’ a bit boring. The best thing I thought about this book was the fantastic twist! I always thought chicklit books would have guessable endings so this twist was a great surprise. After a while you know where the book’s going, but everyone likes a happy ending, so no complaints there! I don’t think this book’s made me a convert to chicklit, but I did enjoy it, and if chicklit is your thing I would recommend it. I’ve seen lots of great reviews for this book, so I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
I’d heard a lot about The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (one of the Waterstones 11 for 2012 and longlisted for the Man Booker prize) so I was very excited to get a copy from Transworld. Once I got going I really couldn’t put this one down, I read it in two sittings on the same day, staying up till the early hours of the morning.
It all starts when Harold Fry receives a letter from an old friend and colleague, Queenie, telling him that she has cancer. He struggles to write a reply and takes his letter to the postbox. But when he reaches the postbox he wants to keep walking, so he decides to walk to the next one, then the one after that. On his way he stops at a garage and talks to the girl working there who tells him that her aunt had cancer, but she always had belief that she would get better. This encounter inspires Harold to keep walking, not to the next postbox, but all the way to Berwick-upon-Tweed, nearly 600 miles from his home in South Devon. He’s old and unfit, he doesn’t have any specialist walking equipment or even a map, but Harold believes that he can walk to Queenie, and that walk will keep her alive.
The thought of following an old man as he walks from one end of England to the other might not seem like the most exciting book but give it a try. Harold’s journey is one filled with interesting people who share their secrets, and throughout the book we delve into Harold’s secrets too. We find out what’s happened in his life, his secrets, and his regrets in snippets throughout the book. His walk is both physically and mentally exhausting, but by the end he becomes a better person. It’s a book that’ll keep you thinking about it afterwards, and to me, that’s always a sign of a good book.
Are you planning on reading Harold Fry? Have you already read it? What did you think?
Straight after 1Q84 Book One and Two I started Book Three (if you haven’t read One and Two yet then check them out, it’s a bit silly to read Book Three without reading those first!). It’s hard to write about this book because I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone thinking of reading the first books by giving that ending away, so bear with me if my thoughts are a bit vague or confusing! Anyway, if you have read the first two books, then I’m sure you don’t need any encouragement from me to pick up the third; 1Q84 is such an intriguing world that you’ll want to stay in it as long as you can.
After such an exciting end to Book Two I thought the pace might pick up in Book Three, but once again things are a little bit slow; especially as we follow another character, Ushikawa, who you may remember from before. Having chapters revolving round three separate characters definitely brings the pace back down, and at times I found the jumps in time a little confusing, not something I had a problem with in the first book. Once again though, I do like that Murakami devotes so much time to each character; we get to see how the storyline affects each one and I found it hugely interesting to see both sides of situations involving two or more characters.
Even though I’ve said the pace is slow don’t let that put you off, there are plenty of mysteries, surprises and strange events to keep you picking up and reading. I mentioned in my last review that I liked that Murakami answered a lot of my questions; however I feel the complete opposite for this book! I felt that after devoting so much time to the story that the ending was too quick, and too neat. I was expecting a huge, amazing finale from this trilogy but I didn’t get it. Although I don’t think anyone can be unhappy with what happened in the end, I did feel disappointed that so many things felt unfinished. I wanted to know more about the Little People and what they were doing at the end of this book, I also wanted to know Fuka-Eri’s intentions of her actions at the end of Book Two. Perhaps the nature of the conclusion makes these questions unnecessary, but it does bother me that I still don’t know.
I hope I haven’t come across too ‘down’ on this book. I did find it hugely enjoyable and I recommend it. 1Q84 presents us with a world like ours, but a world with Little People and air chrysalises, a world with mysterious forces at work. Ultimately it’s a fascinating world, and I hope you think so too.
Have you read the 1Q84 trilogy? What did you think?
Aomame is stuck in a traffic jam on her way to a job she cannot miss. Her taxi driver suggests leaving the car and using an emergency stairway from the expressway to get there on time, but gives her cryptic warnings that doing something so unusual may come with consequences. Not the kind of consequences you might expect. Consequences that could change the world she lives in.
Tengo is a writer and part time maths teacher. He comes across Fuka-Eri’s Air Chrysalis as he screens entries for a young writer’s prize. It’s a hugely imaginative and striking novel, but terribly written. Tengo’s friend and editor Komatsu sees the potential in Air Chrysalis and persuades Tengo to use his talent to rewrite the story with the intention of it winning not just the new writer’s prize, but the prestigious Akutagawa Prize too.
So starts two seemingly separate storylines that gradually start to connect as we find ourselves drawn deeper into a world that Aomame and Tengo find evermore distanced from the 1984 that they knew. From the police having different uniforms to not remembering major news stories, it’s clear something’s changed… Have there always been two moons?
1Q84 isn’t a fast paced thriller. It didn’t have me so hooked that I couldn’t put it down; it took me a little while to get through, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like it. Jumping from Aomame to Tengo each chapter doesn’t help the pace, but I liked having time dedicated to each character. I also felt the slow pace helped draw me into the world of 1Q84 more than books usually do. Some people may find Murakami’s overly detailed descriptions and back stories unnecessary to the plot, but I felt I knew more about the characters and their world. I know so much about Aomame and Tengo that I felt more connected with them, they felt like real people, so what happened to them mattered to me.
The slow build up leads to an incredible ending. I devoured the last 100 or so pages in one sitting, I was gripped. Aomame and Tengo thought they were at the sidelines, but they start to see just how involved they are in the strange world of 1Q84. You’ll be glad to know that the culmination of Book Two answers a lot of questions, and then it opens so many more that you won’t want to wait for the next book. I’m glad I’ve got Book Three to hand so I can immerse myself in this surreal and intriguing world just a little longer.
Hello you and welcome to my blog. If you’re reading this you either know me or you like books, or perhaps you know me and like books, which is even better. Anyway, if you want to follow my ever increasing pile of books to read and what I think of them then you’ve definitely come to the right place. I read new books. And old books. And classic books. And fact books. I’ll read pretty much anything. I’m an illustrator so you might get some specially illustrated reviews too (if you’re lucky).
I’ve got some fantastic books coming up soon, starting with the incredible 1Q84, so hopefully you will find a book or ten you’d like to read in the coming months!