Sunday, 22 December 2013

The Christmas Countdown is nearly over...

There’s something very different about the build-up to Christmas once you are no longer in full-time education.  Having graduated in June, this is my first Christmas with a full-time job, and my first Christmas that doesn’t fall in the middle of a nice long 3-week holiday.

For a start, the month of December is racing by! Without the routine of timetabled lessons, followed by a formal end to the term and some free time to relax and finish Christmas shopping, the big day seems to be catapulting nearer. The windows on my advent calendars (I have 3 – is that acceptable?) are flying open and the countdown is well and truly on.

December is a month full of events, both recurring annual ones and one-off catch-ups, and all of those are now being fitted in after days at work, or fitted into the couple of bank holidays we all have off. It’s been a busy couple of weeks so far…

First came ChristmasFest, in the village where I live. An annual event, all of the shops stay open late and there’s street food and fireworks. I went this year with my friend Laura and her parents and brother, to begin the Christmas countdown. In the same week came a visit round the houses from Father Christmas.

On a Friday early in the month was my sister’s Sixth Form Fashion Show. It seems to get better every year, and this year blew me away. It’s a fashion show featuring clothes from local stores, and has lots of dance routines in between. My sister choreographed this year’s show and it was brilliant! Here are a couple of blurred pictures of the ‘Night at the Movies’:

The Christmas tree arrived, and evenings out with my boyfriend and friends like Laura, Helena, Matt, Harry and Jen followed, and my mum performed in her choir’s annual Christmas concert. 

And now here we are: it’s the 22nd December, there’s a day and a half left for me of work, and then Santa will arrive. The weeks have raced by, and the presents are wrapped. It’s nearly here!

How has your build-up to Christmas been?

Sophie x

The Reading List #9

It’s been a busy week, but I’ve still found time for reading! Here’s the latest round-up of things I’ve read:

The Lollipop Shoes, Joanne Harris

This novel returns to visit the family of ‘Chocolat’, which I have actually not read yet, but the story can stand alone as well. Yanne lives with her daughters Rosette and Annie above a chocolate shop, until Zozie de l’Alba enters their lives and changes everything. Yanne and Zozie both have pasts, and Zozie’s presence forces Yanne to confront things she has blocked from her mind. This novel has it all: mystery, ruthlessness, fraud, family, love and friendship – there is a lot going on!

One thing that slightly confused me was which character was narrating each chapter, until I realised the picture symbols at the beginning of the chapters were a sort of key, identifying Zozie, Annie or Yanne. Once I had figured that out, I got completely lost in the narrative, and it is superbly written, with distinctive voices. You have to suspend reality a little for certain elements of the book, but if you just let it wash over you it’s an enjoyable read.

Snowdrops, A D Miller

Nick is writing a confession about what really happened during his time as a British lawyer in Moscow. He was drawn into a world of corruption and lies, and the story unfolds quite rapidly. The novel starts very strongly, and the explanation of the title is intriguing. However, I felt this element of the story could have gone a lot further, as it all fizzled out a little. It was written as a confession, but there actually wasn’t much to be confessed.

Moscow sets a stunning backdrop, and the city and its underworld are beautifully described, but the story did nothing for me. It’s a quick read and a simple thriller, but there was a lot missing for my personal taste.

The Art of Fielding, Chad Harbach

A Sunday Times Book of the Year, this novel tells the story of the lives of 5 people all connected to one college, over the course of a baseball season. A college president has fallen in love, Owen is having an affair, Schwartz is guiding Henry’s career and neglecting his own, and Pella is on the hunt for a new life. The five lives overlap, and are neatly contained within this one place, over one season.

I’ll start with what I loved – the realism and the complexity of each character was brilliant, and the descriptions well done. It certainly kept me turning the pages. Schwarz and Henry’s story, in particular, really stood out to me. What I felt was missing was my own connection with sport. I think there would be an extra level in the book you could only connect to properly if you understand that mindset of devoting your life and all of your time to a team sport. This was certainly what my dad loved about it. Either way, it is really worth a read for the fantastic writing of Harbach.

A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian, Marina Lewycka

Sisters Vera and Nadezhda put aside their sibling feud to get rid of 36 year-old Valentina, who has seduced their 84 year-old father. Valentina is Ukranian and desires Western wealth, and the book follows the sisters’ campaign to oust her. The book manages to fit in a fairly wide spread of European history, as well as playing out the inter-family feuds.

This book was shortlisted for the Orange Prize, and was much-hyped when first released, but it was another book that I just thought was silly. There was a lot of potential, and the humorous way it examined European history and wars worked well, but it then became too much when also combined with a silly story at the forefront. A lot more could have been done by using the humour more cleverly, nestled between some more real moments that might allow you to connect more with the story. I’d be interested to hear what anyone else thought…

And now let the final Christmas preparations begin! Who is excited? And what will you be reading over the break?

Sophie x

Monday, 16 December 2013

The Reading List #8

Oh dear, oh dear, I missed a week of The Reading List! I’m really going to try and stick to a Saturday upload, or I’m speeding through books then not blogging them until weeks later. Without further ado, here’s the latest selection:

Wish You Were Here, Graham Swift

This is one of those books that’s been hanging around on my shelf for ages, but gets shunted out of the way by newer, shinier options. I have a feeling one of my parents read this a while ago, and I then poached it from their bookshelf.

Jack’s brother, Tom, is killed in Iraq, and this loss causes Jack to confront many issues in his life, past and present. Jack is a man of simple pleasures, but incredibly complex, and the writing of this character is what makes the book. It faces a backdrop of war – both the Great War and the Iraq War – heritage, marriage and grief, but is never too heavy-handed.

The emotional current of the book is believable, with sometimes very abrupt changes in mood or in the way characters interact, which made the emotions seem more raw. The last few chapters, for me, were unnecessary, although I’m sure many people would disagree. I don’t want to say much more about the story, for fear of giving anything away, but it is a thought-provoking read and worth a try if you’re on the hunt.

If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things, Jon McGregor

This is a short book, and lends itself beautifully to being read in one sitting, which is how I read it. It covers one day on one, ordinary, northern street, full of ordinary people doing ordinary things. We peep through the keyholes of people in a huge range of life circumstances and moments, but glimpse them only for minutes. Some characters are returned to, some are not, and very few are named.

Against this scene, something big happens. This book is just stunning. It’s so beautifully written and the observations are measured and precise. The topic doesn’t sound particularly interesting before reading, but you can’t help turning every page, because the dull and mundane are captured with beauty. Read it now!

Queen Camilla, Sue Townsend

The royal family has been thrown out, and banished to the ‘exclusion zone’. The satirical tale unfolds on this council estate, and offers a social commentary on modern Britain. It is a very ‘relevant’ tale and does address some issues a lot of people are currently worried about or protective over.

The novel is, of course, silly, but it is also very clever, and Townsend clearly has a reason for every scenario she plays out. I could admire that this book was well written, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I’m glad I read it, as I am trying to widen my horizons a bit genre-wise, but I wasn’t a huge fan.

Once in a House on Fire, Andrea Ashworth

This was another book from my parents’ bookshelf, and it has no blurb so I really had no idea what I was going to find as I began to read. What lies inside is the memoir of the writer, who endured an abusive and turbulent childhood. It was a bit of a shock, considering I wasn’t sure what was inside at all, but it is a well-crafted memoir.

Her memories are painful ones, and it is a difficult read. Some of the situations she describes are incredibly upsetting, so I think only a certain type of reader would want to pick it up. Somebody like my sister, who is fascinated by memoirs and tales like these, though, would receive this as a well-delivered piece of writing. If you fancy a try, just be warned it isn’t easy to forget.

I feel like I say this all the time, as I’m really happy with the range of things I’m reading at the moment, but it was another varied selection! I love getting comments on what you’re reading or what you might try, so please keep them coming.

Having missed a week of this post, I’ve already read my next four books, so will try and get the post up on time for once!

What are you reading now?

Sophie x

The Challenges #1 December 2013

I held off on posting this at first, as I didn’t want to publicly set myself a challenge I couldn’t stick to! I have decided that I will begin each month by setting myself a challenge, which can cover any aspect of my life, and do little updates on here. It might be a good way to set myself in the routine of new habits, or just prove to myself that I can stick at something for the month.
December’s challenge is a toughie: NO spending on toiletries or cosmetics. Anyone that knows me knows I have a huge collection of these things, far more than I could ever be using in one go. My mum moans about it all the time… until she needs to borrow something, that is!
Although I don’t waste all my money on these things, and I do budget and have money to save at the end of every month, it can never hurt to save a little more. I thought that, in the months where I was finishing Christmas shopping, it might be a good idea to reduce spending on myself. And so December’s challenge was born. 16 days in and I’m finally blogging about it, because I think I’ll actually stick to it. In fact, because I’m steering clear of certain shops (the temptation!), I’m just spending less all round.
I’ve got to admit, a beauty advent calendar has helped out the challenge a little, as I’m getting little treats every morning, but it’s still not made me not want to add other things! In the lead-up to Christmas every brand seems to have such incredible offers running, and when you add in tempting launches, like the Naked 3 palette, it’s not the easiest month to have chosen.
When the month is up, I will be very happy to add a couple of bits to my collection that I have had my eye on, but it’s given me the chance to really think about what I want and when I’ll use it. Hopefully, my spending will become a bit more measured and my savings can start to build up more quickly. With both Andy and me now working full time, getting back into a place of our own is the priority into the New Year, so it’s nice to know exactly what I’m saving for.
Have you ever tried a spending ban? How did it go?
Sophie x

Monday, 2 December 2013

The Reading List #7

The weekend seemed to fly by and I didn’t get around to finishing my reading list post, so here it is now. I’m still going through my period of pulling lots of books off shelves that I haven’t read yet, so the wide mixture of books continues…

The Sea, John Banville

I read two Banville novels at university and was more than impressed, so was excited to find this gem on my parents’ bookshelf. In ‘The Sea’, art historian Max returns to a place he holidayed as a child, following a personal loss. The novels flits between two periods of his life - the then and the now - leading to themes of childhood discoveries, maturing, and loss. The time periods almost blend into one another, yet there is something distinctly separate about them too, so it is not confusing.

It reads almost like poetry, and is utterly beautiful. Any literature fans, or fans of superb writing and narrative, need to give it a go.

A Small Part of Me, Noelle Harrison

Christina’s mother, Greta, walked out on her as a child, and Christina is now at a point in her life as a mother where she may take the same path. This is a novel of journeys, discovery, and family relationships, with chapters told by four or five different characters. Again, this is a novel that flits around in time, and there are no dates given, but it isn’t confusing to follow.

I didn’t find the story hugely gripping, and didn’t connect with many of the characters, but it was a nice story, and some of the passages describing families and relationships were brilliantly written.

Wedding Babylon, Imogen Edwards-Jones and Anonymous

Sorry, I promise this is the last of the Babylon series for a while! They are just such light, easy reads, making them perfect to separate books with heavier subject matters, so I’ve been enjoying revisiting them. This followed the usual set-up of a week behind the scenes in a glamorous industry.

It is told by a wedding planner, and features excess, huge budgets, tantrums and celebrities. It is pure trash, and you know exactly what you’re getting. Sometimes, after a long day, that’s all you need!

Lady Oracle, Margaret Atwood

I’m definitely an Atwood fan, but the blurb of this book made it sound a lot more unusual or intriguing than it actually was. Joan Foster is a writer who hides behind many different guises, and this is the story of her life. Whilst some of her experiences and the situations she finds herself in are a little silly or over the top, it really just reads as a bit of a memoir.

It’s worth reading though, for the character of Joan. Her voice is so distinctive, and charismatic, and her quirky ways are believable. It wasn’t my favourite Atwood novel, but it was a good story and kept me reading.

So there we are: the latest instalment. I’ve had a slightly quiet week reading-wise since these four, so I’ll get myself back on track and back into the land of fiction ready for next weekend.

What have you been reading recently?

Sophie x

Sunday, 17 November 2013

The Reading List # 6

It’s been a busy old week, and I’m a bit behind on my reading lists. The good news is I’ve been reading lots so there’s enough to fill a good few posts over the next couple of weeks. The majority of this next list was pulled together by grabbing things from my parents’ bookshelf, and one is a trashy re-read from a few years ago. Here goes:

Beach Babylon, Imogen Edwards-Jones and Anonymous

This is another in the Babylon series I have mentioned before – ‘true’, insider accounts are drawn together in a narrative to give an insight into a week of certain luxury worlds. This one covers a week at a tropical island resort, where money is no object and the guests are demanding to the extreme. It’s told through the eyes of the resort manager, covering the staff’s side of things. It is an over-the-top, funny and trashy read, and perfect for a lazy weekend or holiday.

Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

This is the biographical account of Greg Mortenson, a mountaineer who stumbles across an impoverished Pakistani village and vows to help its people. I was not a fan of this book at all. It was fairly nicely written, but there was a buzz when this came out suggesting this story, or at least parts of it, are made up, and that’s definitely the way I was leaning. It could have been a third of the size, as there was a lot of unnecessary embellishment, and I just found no reason to warm to Mortenson.

There are too many things that don’t add up, such as what motivated strangers to give one man so much money, and how he manages to keep flitting to and from America despite having ‘no money’. His failed relationships are introduced but then brushed over as trivial, and I’m sure such an impoverished village wouldn’t keep demanding so much, so rudely, as opposed to being grateful for what they have received. Too much of this book just didn’t add up for me, and I’m inclined to believe it certainly has been embellished or falsified.

Mister Pip, Lloyd Jones

Mr Watts, the only white man on a tropical island, appoints himself teacher and teaches his children from the only book he has: Great Expectations. It is set against the backdrop of a civil war, and I thought every element of this book was just stunning. It’s almost poetic in the way it is written, and short, making it easy to read over a fairly short period, so you can view it in its entirety.

I know Great Expectations so well, and this intertextuality really added something to the narrative – there are so many themes within it I would not have thought of, but the way it is used and explored works incredibly well. This is a thoughtful novel, including themes such as war, childhood, education, race… It is a beautiful read, and well worth picking up.

A Partisan’s Daughter, Louis de Bernieres

Chris picks up Rosa in the street, assuming she is a prostitute, and she decides to go home with him. The two become friends and he spends hours listening to her stories. Rosa is Yugoslavian, and came to England illegally in the 70s, bringing many tales of pain, love and excitement. Readers and Chris are never quite sure which stories are true and which are Rosa’s fantasies, but that isn’t the part which matters.

The relationship between the pair is believable and it reads very well. Chris and Rosa take it in turns to narrate chapters, and the ending is beautiful.

Yet another random list, there. I never understand how people can read the same type of book over and over – I like to try different things!

What have you been reading recently?

Sophie x

Sunday, 3 November 2013

The Reading List # 5

Weekends are the perfect time to catch up on reading, so here’s the latest instalment of things I’ve been reading recently.

Fatherland, Robert Harris

It is 1964, and Hitler is nearing his 75th birthday, having been victorious in the Second World War. Detective March finds a naked dead man in a lake, and this begins to unravel a huge conspiracy.

The premise of this book was so interesting, and it certainly delivered. There is enough fact weaved in to make the events believable, and the atmosphere and architecture of this 1960s Germany is conjured up well. The book is realistic in that there is still plenty of discontent in the country, so it was a rounded picture, and then in amongst it all was a gripping detective story. This is well worth a try.

Revenge Wears Prada, Lauren Weisberger

Ten years after The Devil Wears Prada ended, Andy is co-running her own successful wedding magazine. Her life has changed a lot, and is the usual rollercoaster of emotions. This is a trashy novel, of course, but well-written enough to still feel like a good read.

There’s a great twist later in the book, although I did find the end a little annoying… On the whole, this is a fun, escapist read, but I think after waiting so long for this sequel, it was always going to have a hard time living up to the original.

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared, Jonas Jonasson

Firstly, this is such a great title for a novel. There was a buzz about this when it first came out, and my family were divided on loving it and hating it, so I was looking forward to giving it a try. Alan escapes from his nursing home on the morning of his 100th birthday party, and this sets off a story of murder, travel and gangsters. You need to totally suspend reality to read this one – the story is silly, exaggerated, and everyone in it is a ridiculous caricature. Personally, that’s not the type of thing I like to read, but I did enjoy the nods to so many 20th century historical events, and the book was well-crafted.

I really warmed to the character of Alan, despite not liking the overall silliness of the novel, and I was a huge fan of the ending. Despite not loving the book, the final chapters allowed it to make sense to me, and let me fully appreciate why it had been written in such a way. This is definitely worth a try – I know people who have loved and hated it, and I can’t compare it to anything else, so see what you think!

Nineteen Twenty-One, Adam Thorpe

Joseph Monroe just missed out on fighting in the war, and tours the fields at Flanders with a friend, where he decides he would like to write the first great novel of the war. This is stunningly written, with brilliant characterisation, and looks at a fascinating moment in time.

It was so interesting to read about the battlefields tour in the immediate aftermath of the war, and to read something set in that strange time of limbo just after the war’s end. There were overarching themes of love, war, loss, and art, and I was really impressed.

This list was quite a successful one, and with a variety of styles. I’m already well on my way through the next four, so the next post will be coming soon.

What have you been reading recently?

Sophie x

Sunday, 27 October 2013

The Reading List # 4

I think this reading list is the most mixed bunch so far, so I’ll just get on with it!

The Scar, China Mieville

There’s a bit of a story behind this choice. In second year of university we did a genre fiction week, discussing why science fiction and fantasy aren’t studied at school. The set text was an 800-page fantasy novel: China Mieville’s Perdido Street Station. I was dreading it, as I would never select something like this, but stuck with it and was more than impressed. Browsing at the library a while ago, I spotted this other Mieville book, and just had to give it a try. The Scar is about a character called Bellis Coldwine, who has been exiled from New Crobuzon, and finds herself living on a floating city run by pirates. They are all on a hunt for a forgotten people and a wound in reality.

Yet again, Mieville has converted me to his favoured genre and blown me away with his writing. The descriptions are exquisite, and the world he creates is so well-crafted that I found it easy to suspend reality – it feels as if you are reading of a world you know. There is no time wasted, though – the story is never lost to huge passages where the author is trying to construct a world. It just works. It’s another long one, about 750 pages, but I’d definitely recommend giving Mieville a try, especially if you’re a fantasy fan already.

After the Fall, Charity Norman

Five year-old Flynn falls from a balcony on holiday and is rushed to hospital. This novel tells of that night in hospital, and the lives of Flynn’s family leading up to this event. I was totally drawn in by the line on the cover describing the book as similar to Jodi Picoult – I’ve said on here before that I’m a huge fan. I can understand the comparison so far as the fact that the story flits between two periods in time leading to a climax, but that’s where the similarities end.

The McNamara family clearly have issues, but these issues were far too overplayed. There were a few too many dramas to draw me in completely. I also felt that the final climax or conclusion was rushed over, which was a shame after having spent so long building the tension. There were some good descriptions, especially in the chapters set in hospital, but I wasn’t wowed.

Fashion Babylon, Imogen Edwards-Jones and Anonymous

This book covers six months in the life of a fictional designer, with all of the events based on real stories from ‘industry insiders’.  It’s a light-hearted, humorous window into a fashion world, and is a good escapist read. I originally read this when it first came out, on holiday, and that’s the kind of book it is. If you want an easy read, and something light-hearted and a bit trashy, this is what to turn too. The only thing that was a shame is that it’s dated very quickly since release – names of places and celebrities are used, so these nods to celebrity culture were only relevant for a short period. Worth a read if you want trashy escapism, but it won’t change your world!

Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn

Nick Dunne’s wife, Amy, disappears on their fifth wedding anniversary, giving way to a great thriller exploring what may have happened. This really was the book of the summer, so I was looking forward to reading it. This book has all the ingredients for a winning thriller: strong characterisation, multiple viewpoints, suspense, manipulation and twists. The story is gripping and it’s a page-turner. I’m not sure it deserved quite the amount of hype it did get, as I think there are a couple of issues with the plot, or parts where huge jumps are made, but overall I really, really enjoyed it.

So that was this reading list’s mixture of styles. I’m racing through books at the moment, so it won’t be long until the next!

What have you been reading recently?

Sophie x

Thursday, 17 October 2013

The Reading List # 3

This reading list contains yet another very random mix of novels. I was in the library and just picked up some books with interesting covers or titles, to be perfectly honest! Amongst this group were a few very pleasant surprises…

Jubilee, Shelley Harris

In 1977, a photograph is taken at a jubilee street party, with a young Asian boy at its centre. 30 years on, Satish is still living with the memories of that day, and a reunion photo is being arranged. The novel weaves together the events of that day in 1977 with Satish’s life now, as a grown man. The day itself is examined from so many different viewpoints, yet is never repetitive, and there are many complex emotions and themes tied to that day which still haunt his life.

I’ve got to say, I absolutely loved this book. It was beautifully written, and cleverly pieced together. Not much actually happens, yet Harris keeps you turning every page, and you are lost in Satish’s story. Satish is such a fully-formed character, and some of the descriptions and thoughtful moments are fantastic. Satish’s feelings of being an outsider are described so intricately, and I was blown away by Harris writing. This one is definitely worth a try.

The House of Velvet and Glass, Katherine Howe

This novel is set in Boston, in 1915. Sibyl lost her mother and sister in the sinking of the Titanic, and has been drawn into the world of psychics, spiritualism and opium dens. The story weaves in fraud and deceit, as Sibyl explores this world with psychology professor Benton Jones. There are also passages set on the Titanic, and chapters on the life of Sibyl’s father, Lannie, when he was a 17 year-old at sea.

This is another novel that is crafted beautifully, and the three time periods weave together well. It was also intriguing to read about a place I know little about, and a fascinating moment in time. There was beautiful imagery throughout, and I enjoyed the afterword, which provided historical context, I wasn’t a huge fan of the final parts of the story, but I’ll leave you to make your own minds up about that!

Burning Secrets, Clare Chambers

Daniel moves to the remote Isle of Wragge with his mother and sister, leaving undisclosed secrets behind him. Daniel’s secrets are gradually revealed during his time on the lazy, seemingly idyllic island. It quickly develops into a pacey mystery or detective-style tale.

This wasn’t the best mystery I’ve read, and I wouldn’t rave about it, but it was a page-turner and it was entertaining.

Just Like Proper Grown-Ups, Christina Hopkinson

This is about a group of women in their late thirties, all facing different challenges in their life. Tess’ pregnancy, by a sperm donor at the age of 39, makes the other women question where they are at in their lives. It’s certainly a good place to begin a ‘trashy’ novel, and it was a fairly easy read.

For me, there were a few too many peripheral characters in this book, and far too many huge dramas for just one group of friends. That’s always the way with books like this, but in this there were just too many messy overlaps and dramas. It also tied up at the end far too neatly for my liking, but if that’s what you’re looking for, go for it.

So there you go, a mixed bag! Coming up in the next reading list are another couple I’ve read already and loved, so that post won’t be too long away.

What have you been reading recently?

Sophie x

Saturday, 28 September 2013

The Reading List # 2

It’s time for the second instalment of things I’ve read recently, and these four books were random library selections. They are all fairly easy reads – not particularly long and with a fast-paced story. Here goes:

Told in Silence, Rebecca Connell

The main outline of this story is that Jonathan and Violet marry young, and at the point of the story Violet finds herself a widow at just 21. The book is split into three parts:

Part 1 - Told by Violet, flitting between the present and the time before Jonathan’s death. There are beautiful passages on the idea of loss, but it trips along fairly quickly.
Part 2 - Told by Harvey, Violet’s father-in-law, looking back at Jonathan’s life and featuring a few revelations.
Part 3 - Told by Violet, who discovers events discussed in part 2 and her world is shattered.

All-in-all, this has a good storyline and moves quickly. The time jumps are slightly stilted to begin with, but once you know the characters the story begins to tell itself.

The Clever One, Helena Close

I can’t get over how much the cover of this reminds me of a Judy Blume book, did anyone else used to read those? The story is simple, and possibly a little silly: Maeve is 16, her older sister is pregnant to a horrible man, so Maeve decides to get rid of him. There are multiple themes of family, alcohol, drugs, prison; the family and their friends are a fiery group. There are some sweet relationships that develop through the course of the book, and the narrative voice of Maeve is convincing. The final act of revenge was well-described, although I wanted to hear more of the aftermath.

The thing that spoilt this story for me was the ridiculous amount of swearing. I don’t mind swearing in a book – when done right, it can add so much to a character. However, this book tried far too hard to be controversial, as if making characters swear a lot would suddenly make them more believable.  It ended up sounding immature and a bit desperate. It’s a shame, as certain characters did have potential, but this just ruined the effect of the book for me.

The End of Everything, Megan Abbott

Lizzie and Evie, aged 13, are best friends, and then Evie goes missing. This is where the story begins, and I’m not going to say any more as I don’t want to give anything away! What I loved about this book was how developed and believable all the relationships were: father/daughter, sister/sister, friend/friend. Lizzie tells the story, and it is narrated in a convincing 13 year-old voice. It is packed with careful observations, but is fast-paced and full of story. A great little read!

The Book of Tomorrow, Cecelia Ahern

This is a real trashy book: full of story, easy to read, and not hard work in any way. Sometimes, that is exactly what you need. Tamara and her mother move away to stay with her aunt and uncle in the middle of nowhere, and she finds a blank diary. Every day, this diary fills with a page of her own writing, narrating what is to happen the following day. This sets off various mysteries, hunts, and huge family secrets are revealed. It has all the ingredients for a good story, and it’s great for an escape after a busy day. The writing and the story didn’t blow me away, but it was a good read and kept me turning the page.

So there we are: fast stories, easy reads, and perfect for curling up with on a lazy weekend. Coming up in the next reading list post, I’ve already read a couple of brilliant books I’m looking forward to sharing, so stay tuned!

What have you been reading recently?

Sophie x
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