Thursday, 19 September 2013

Bookworm: The Sleeper by Emily Barr

I picked this book after reading some people suggesting you'd like it if you enjoyed Gone Girl - a book I loved.

Now on my way home on the train I've just finished it and I'm a bit undecided what I think.

Did I enjoy the book? I guess so.

Is it what I expected? Not really.

At first it was slow and then I started to like the character of Lara and could see where the story was going. However this story changes a lot.

Now this chopping and changing is a good thing in terms of twists and turns, but I even felt the style and approach was changing too. References to Laurie for instance (I'm not going into detail to avoid a spoiler here) seemed a bit weird and not in keeping with the book. 

I like the fact that things are not what they seem and do surprise you. Yet at the very end I felt it was all a bit weak and  nice. 

Don't get me wrong you do want to keep reading this book to find out what happens next, but certain characters like Iris have a rather rushed and limited build up and so I found I could not connect as much with her.

I also found that I kept going from liking to hating Lara and some of the male characters like Sam just come across as utter saps. 

Good points
Keeps you surprised 
Not predictable
Page turner

Not so great
Some of the character description not great
Goes off on tangents and seems to change mind what sort of book it wants to be

If you fancy an easy read with a touch of Gone Girl about it, give this a go but don't expect too much from it or such an impact of an ending. 

Saturday, 7 September 2013

All you need is love

I'm not in the best of moods today. I'm hungover, I'm tired and I'm 'in the bad books' with the boyfriend.

Realising I couldn't hole up in my little flat today and feel sorry for myself because I needed to go shopping did not help.

People getting in my way, a rude, ungrateful old woman on the bus and overheated shops weren't doing my mood any favours either.

You can hazard a guess at my feelings when one shop worker kept referring to me as 'dear' too. I should add he was young and saying it to me the way you might say 'you alright dear?' to an old lady in the street if they were struggling!

However, something happened today which brought tears to my eyes, put a huge smile on my face and reminded me of how lovely life and people can be.

I was queuing up and to be honest getting a bit impatient having to wait (I warned you I was in a bad mood today!) 

"Can you just ice it with three three o please?...Bit random I know."

Being nosey I started listening in when the guy in front of me made his request to the shop assistant. 

And of course I started thinking how odd it was to get a small chocolate tablet iced with some numbers. What could it be? Some code with a loved one? Or a football or sporting reference with his mates? 

The young female shop assistant quipped "What's that your house number or something?" 

Looking sheepish the guy laughed "That obvious is it?" 

Both shop girl and I looked confused. 

At this the guy started to elaborate and my heart and ice maiden mood started to melt. 

"Yeah it is our house number, our new house actually. I've just been and completed on it today."

Aw what a nice little gift for your girlfriend/boyfriend. 

"My girlfriend doesn't know we've got it"

What? How? Surely he means she didn't know it was going to complete today or something.

"Yeah when we saw it she was just like 'I want this one' and I've managed to keep it all a surprise from her."

Aw... Shopgirl and I oohed and aahed how sweet this was. What a surprise!! Nice guy.

"Actually we're going out tonight for dinner where I'm going to tell her."


"And I'm actually going to propose to her tonight."

Oh. My. God. What a man. What a lucky girl. 

"Yeah the place we're going to eat is somewhere I used to work actually and where we first met, she came in and I served her." 

Eyes now welled up, my face was beaming with the biggest smile and both me and the shop assistant cooed over him, saying what a romantic guy, what an amazing boyfriend.

At that he took his small chocolate gift and the shopgirl said she hoped his girlfriend said yes. How couldn't she?

"Good luck!" we shouted after him as he left. 

Wow. What an incredible evening for this couple, an out of this world surprise for this girl and a lovely lovely new life ahead for them both. 

I had to stop myself Facebooking and Tweeting this experience immediately. I walked out smiling and with a bit of a bounce in my step. Nothing like some human kindness and a bit of romance to brighten your day. 

So as I sit on my sofa still feeling the effects of last night's boozing I hope said couple have a wonderful night and thank them for cheering up this moaning moody madam! 

Friday, 6 September 2013

Bookworm: Big Brother by Lionel Shriver

As you may have picked up from my tweets and blog posts I'm kind of into the whole weight/diet/exercise topic. Something very close to my heart and an area I've been more interested in for the last few years or so as I've looked into my own weight and fitness. 

So when searching the Kindle store for ideas for my latest read and coming across Shriver's latest offering I thought what a perfect combination - fiction by a strong writer and the topic of weight/diet. 

Big Brother gives an insight into what it's like to find a member of your family morph from a successful, popular, confident and healthy individual into an unhappy, disappointed, obese human being.

From a family with links to the entertainment industry now instead in a newly formed setup surrounded by health and strict regime, Pandora is faced with a dilemma when her brother comes to stay and arrives as a completely different person to who she once knew.  

I loved how this book tackled opinions and thoughts people go through when faced with the issue of weight and diet. All the complexities involved with eating, our own personal journeys and our prejudged views on those we come across who are different weight wise - whether that be severely obese or extremely emaciated.

In addition Shriver explores relationships in families and how much should you be expected to do for your fellow siblings and family members - who should take priority? 

Admittedly I found the book a tad slow to staff with and was wary I'd made a bad judgment in my selection. 

However once I got into it I didn't want to put the book down and found it impacting on my own health journey and dietary decisions. It has definitely made me over think my current exercise and eating routine over the last week (if that's possible as we all know how I like to over analyse as it is! 

Good points
Tackles current issues
Gripping story
Not what you think (not saying anymore as I don't want to spoil it)
Great descriptions 

Not so great
Slow starter
Sometimes I found the style a bit hard to keep track of but this typical of the author's approach 
Might not leave you feeling super positive
At time it made me feel hungry (not good when you're trying to cut calories and be healthier!) 

All in all definitely a recommended read.