My thoughts on that green eyed girl by Julie Owen Moylan

book review

This book was bought for me as a birthday present in June and it jumped way up my tbr list as the other books sat solemnly on my wooden shelves watching as a grabbed this new book to read. 

Luckily I was not disappointed with my choice to read it early. It wouldn’t be one I’d normally pick in a book shop however the book is beautiful and the turquoise pages drew me in. All I knew was what the blurb had told me and it sounded intriguing and something that could either be executed very well or poorly.  

The story is set In two different decades, 1955 and 1975 and as I have previously said I love different Eras and reading about how different it was and also how similar. Below I have included the synopsis from waterstones. 

Although I was rooting for the characters I still found them frustrating. Dovie is a people pleaser and doesn’t want to upset anyone but this causes her more hurt and trouble in the long run. Gillian and Dovie’s lack of communication is what causes a lot of their problems. It was giving me ‘normal people’. The frustrating relationship where they want to be together but they just can’t communicate well enough for it to work. I did like Gillian and Dovie and wanted it to work out for them. In 1975 our main character is Ava winters who is a teenager navigating her own family problems along with trying to be a normal teen experiencing life. I enjoyed reading both decades as they both, I felt, had interesting storylines and I also wanted to see things work out for the characters. I like how the stories become entwined. Too find out how you’ll have to give it a read.

There were some very important and serious themes in this book that helped me to understand the poor treatment people have experienced and the extreme methods used to ‘cure’ them of their quote ‘unnatural activities’ although upsetting I think it’s important to know about the past so we don’t repeat it in the now. The author describes how the women were arrested and treated awfully because of their sexuality and these innocent women went through a lot of pain and trauma and had unhappy lives which is horrible but it was the reality and you see through the book how their whole lives had been affected terribly by this and by the fear of being caught. Although the book doesn’t describe anything too graphically as an emotional person I did find I really felt for them and for anyone at the time having to hide who they were/are.

Another difficult theme was that of feeling unloved from those that should be there unconditionally and also navigating family relationships and problems as a young person. I think ultimately this book is an interesting mystery, dealing with feelings we all feel to some degree or at least can relate to: guilt, shame, the need to impress, desire, feeling alone and feelings of not being good enough. But also positives such as finding good friends that become like family and having dreams to pursue.

I would recommend this book as I was gripped the whole way through and I enjoyed the characters even when they weren’t too likeable and there are little twists throughout. So if you are interested in fiction or trying to figure out the mystery then give this one a go!

I was struggling to get back into reading more and this year I am well behind on my goal. This book has given me a bit of a boost to try different books and get stuck in.

Good to be back at it again- introduction and what I’ve been reading in 2022 so far

book review

I’ll start by saying hi, I am back. And I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted but I am glad to be back and sending out a post and hopefully connecting with people again

2022 for me has been a year of real progress and working on myself. So I have been reading but I haven’t felt in a position to really post anything and I’ve had to not let the guilt get to me.

I started the year mentally, not in the best place but through therapy i have really started to come through and see a happier life so although I’ve not been posting it has been a journey and I’m feeling ready to be back at it again.

I set my goal on goodreads at the start of the year to read 45 books. Last year I read 44 and thought one more will be easaaaay but it’s the 7th month and I’ve read 22 so either a lot of catch up needed or some really quick reads. Any recommendations welcome 🌝

So I thought I would talk about 5 of the best books I’ve read this year so far.

1. The seven husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid : I LOVED this book it is so well written in terms of character portrayal. The characters feel real and I felt a connection to their stories. It is a story that has real sadness and the reality that people face in not being able to be themselves and feel happy and open about who they are and what makes them truly happy. Great read and has stayed with me since 100% recommend

2. Nothing to see here by Kevin Wilson: I initially picked this book up as it looked interesting with a illustrated cover and the blurb said it was about children that spontaneously combust however they are ok and it’s a normal thing for them. so I thought it sounded like an odd concept to give it a go. I found this book captivating and at points brought me to tears and made me laugh out loud. I am such an empath and it made me want to just make sure the children were safe and looked after and happy and that it would turn out okay for them. A great story which gave me all the feels. Loved it and would read again.

3. Daisy Jones and the six by Taylor Jenkins Reid: this book is 100% one of the best books I have read. I love music. I love the idea of the 70s and the movement of the time and the characters again so well written that it feels real and I wanted to be part of it all. It explores interesting and serious topics but it doesn’t feel too heavy. The story is written as a transcript like an interview with the band and with friends and family and it was lively and fun. I hoped it wouldn’t end. It is also being made into a Netflix programme which I’m super excited for.

4. The no show by Beth O’Leary: at first I wasn’t sure what was happening and if I was going to enjoy the book however I’m not one to give up but it was interesting enough to keep me reading and I am so glad I did. It is funny, it is sweet and some great twists and turns to keep you reading non stop. I was in a bit of a slump and this book helped me get out of it. Again it made me laugh it made me cry it shocked me and I felt it all. Beth o Leary continues to keep me entertained and also fall in love with the characters and their story’s

Maybe in another life by Taylor Jenkins Reid: again Taylor Jenkins Reid has really smashed it for me in my reading list this year. Having read 3 of her books I’ve found the love for the way she writes and makes you believe in the characters. The story splits into two alternate realities where decisions the main character makes paves two very different lives and makes you think differently about all the whatifs we have and how things would have turned out had we just done something different. although things might not be what we expect it doesn’t mean it won’t work out.

I have read some fab books and can’t wait to continue with my journey 🙂 any and all recommendations welcome!

Thank you for reading ☺️

My thoughts on: Nothing to see here by Kevin Wilson

book review

A brief Synopsis … doesn’t do the story justice

Lilian attends an elite boarding school as a scholarship student where she befriends the beautiful and wealthy Madison. Despite their differences they form a close friendship and become inseparable. Later during their time at boarding school a scandal forces Lilian out of the school. Madison and Lilian continue to keep in touch writing letters to each other although a reunion is yet to happen. Years later Lilian receives an urgent plea for help from Lilian in the form of their usual letters. Intrigued, Lilian follows up no longer making excuses to not meet.

Jasper, Madison’s husband has twins from a previous marriage and they are now faced with having to care for them full time following devastation. Knowing Lilian will be discreet and keep her secrets Madison knows she’s the only one she can turn to.

You see, children can often have little quirks and they are a big responsibility but the responsibility and need for a lot of care increases ten fold when they can SPONTANEOUSLY COMBUST at any given moment. Although they remain unharmed it is not ideal for the senate to have fire children.

The book was published in October 2019 by Ecco press and it wasn’t until 2021 that it caught my attention. I purchased the book and was excited to read it but as with all things for me it took a while to get round to reading it. It is my fourth read of 2022 and I am not disappointed! Not one bit.

I had expectations of the book to a certain extent but I hadn’t thought too much about it, I knew others had enjoyed the book and I knew the general idea of the story but that’s as much as I had processed. I picked the book up and after only a few pages I knew it was going to be an interesting read.

What I liked about this story was how loveable Bessie was. She is ten years old but she understands a lot. Their upbringing had not been easy and it seemed they had to teach themselves a lot of what we all take for granted and Bessie would beat herself up for not knowing things when she had not been given the tools in life to have the chance to learn. She was sweet, honest, funny and wise and she was my favourite character. creating many moments in the book that bought tears to my eyes. I loved The way Lilian interacted with the kids and the way she thought of them. To take on another families children and treat them as your own and love them unconditionally is a strong thing to do and really shows her character. The love in this book was powerful and moving

Even though I actually did not like to be touched, I just let it happen, I allowed it, it was fine

Page 167

Roland and Bessie, the twins, and Lilian really opened up and allowed each other in which was something none of them would have done for anyone before and this bond really made this book memorable. We all want unconditional love and to feel safe and this was captured perfectly throughout the story.

They would always, kind of, belong to me. I had never wanted kids, because I had never wanted a man to give me a kid. The thought of it, gross; the expectation of it. But if a hole in the sky opened up and two weird children fell to earth, smashing into the ground like meteorites, then that was something I could care for. If it gleamed like it was radiating danger, I’d hold it. I would.

Page 168

Although the fire caused the children to be isolated and experience life differently, Bessie confessed she never wanted it to leave she wouldn’t know what to do without it. Roland and Bessie had been treated badly by those who should love them unconditionally and should protect them from harm so when they didn’t have that, they had the fire to protect them. Their innocence and naivety makes you love these children even more and just want to wrap them up and tell them it’s all okay.

I loved this book, I loved Lilian, Roland and Bessie and was invested in their well-being the whole way through routing for them and I think that’s what I want from a book, to connect with the characters and feel for them. the book was comforting, hilarious, bizarre and warming.

I 100% would read this book again and I wouldn’t normally say that so if you take anything from this please give it a try.

What can I say about The last house on needless street by Catriona Ward

book club pick, book review

I read the last house on needless street throughout April for my book club and wow was I impressed. This book has so many twists and turns and really grips you as a reader. I loved this book and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good psychological thriller.

Now I can’t say too much about the story without giving anything away so you will have to read it for yourself but I 100% know you won’t be disappointed.

Goodreads summary:

The story keeps you guessing throughout and is told through a number of perspectives, all of which we are unsure we can trust completely but all I can say is, get your hands on a copy and you will not be able to stop reading.

I know some people have found it strange and have given up at the introduction of Olivia but please please please give it a go.

My thoughts on: Before the coffee gets cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

book review, Uncategorized

3 stars ⭐️

The concept of this book really intrigued me about the time travel and the stories of the characters, I had heard mixed reviews about this book however I went into it with an open mind not knowing what the there would be in store for me.

Before the coffee gets cold is a relatively short book with only 192 pages so it’s not a big read. The book is set in a small cafe in Tokyo which has been serving specially brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. This coffee shops offers a unique opportunity for its customers to travel in time. The book is split into sections following 4 customers and their decision to travel in time. What made them want to do it and are they willing to risk it? It lets people face their past and allow them to move forward with their life. Although nothing can be changed, they can learn and find peace. However, they must return to the present before the coffee gets cold otherwise they will become a ghost, trapped.

I found this book quite difficult at the beginning to keep track of who everyone was, how they were related to the story and the other characters however once I grasped this part I was able to follow the story and each character’s history much more easily.

I liked the concept of this book however I’m not sure it was executed how I was expecting. It may be that I was expecting more than I thought originally but I feel that although people could travel in time there wasn’t that much that happened during these sections. I was more interested at the present time and understanding what drove these people to want to time travel and what they hoped it would bring them. I liked the present time characters and their story’s as they were better developed and weaved the story together.

The stories were heart warming and I liked the connections between the characters and the idea of a magical cafe that allowed you to go back in time. The time travel was well thought out by the author. I liked that there were set rules and that it was treated as a very important responsibility to pour the coffee that was passed down through generations but I did feel like something was missing. It did make me think and I did feel for the characters for the losses they have experienced and the guilt and regrets they had held onto. I think this book is more focused on these ideas than there actually being a storyline to follow.

I would recommend reading before the coffee gets cold because it is interesting and a great concept which I’m sure will appeal to many. My rating was 3 stars at this time however I might revisit and see if anything changes.

What I thought about: The Split by Laura Kay

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The split by Laura Kay was released on 18th March 2021, I hadn’t seen much about this book but I was intrigued. The front cover says ‘Ally’s relationship is over, and she’s taking the cat…’ and as a cat lover this inevitably drew me in.

The story is not a romance in a traditional sense but it is very funny. Ally’s girlfriend Emily has just split up with her so ally moves back in with her dad in Sheffield from their bot house on London. Ally’s old friend from primary school, Jeremy, is also suffering from heartbreak from a recent breakup with Ben and they both find comfort in each other after their parents suggest they hang out. Jeremy and Ally soon become the best of friends through the ups and downs of heartbreak and single life. Jeremy believes his ex boyfriend Ben might be running the Sheffield half marathon and convinces Ally to run it with him which is hilarious and I identify fully with them and the hatred they have towards running but the determination they have to complete it. After moping around her dads house in her old bedroom for weeks, Ally needs to find a job and the introduction of these new characters through work is a lovely addition to the already fab friendship Ally and Jeremy have.

I love Ally’s dad and feel like he cares so much and is so supportive of Ally and any decision she makes. He is a very heart warming and funny character that you can’t help but love.

Throughout the book I was increasingly frustrated with Ally and her overwhelming need to get Emily back while trying to prove how far she has come and show Emily she is over it. Although the conversations between Ally and Jeremy are funny and they build a great friendship, Ally does annoy me with all the pining and the emails to try and get her ex back but I guess that’s what a breakup can do to a person.

I feel it is a story about friendship, heartbreak and taking risks. There is also cake, a cat and running. I would recommend this book if you are looking for something funny and light. Although I enjoyed it I would only give it 3/5 but this may be due to my own expectations, I just wasn’t too invested in the character of Ally but I did really like Jeremy.

What books have made you laugh out loud?

April Book club pick – The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward

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For April we have decided to read the last house on needless street. Released on 18th March 2021, This book has been called a horror thriller and I would normally not read anything described as a horror as I would be sleeping with the light on for weeks so I’m hoping it will be more of a thriller but I am grateful that I am being pushed out of my comfort zone and I’m looking forward to giving it a go.

I use goodreads ALOT to help track my reading, set goals and discover new books and keep a TBR list which is super useful. So I have been on goodreads to find out a little bit about the last house on needless street when we were deciding on our book for the month. Goodreads synopsis is the following:

Goodreads

I love a good thriller with twists and turns that keeps you hooked so I’m really hoping this will be a good one. Stephen King praised this novel saying the the buzz around Cattiona Ward’s new novel is real & well if Stephen King is saying it…

I’m looking forward to this one and can’t wait for my copy to arrive. Let me know your thoughts If you have read this one or if it’s on your tbr.

My thoughts on: The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

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The flatshare has been on my tbr list for a while and so many people have been gushing about it and recommending it so I was overly excited when I got my copy in the post 🥳 & I loved every second of reading it.

I don’t have a single bad thing to say about the book, it is a delight!! Such a feel good book with fab characters that you can’t help but love.

The story does explore emotional abuse in relationships and gaslighting but overall it is a very uplifting and positive book about the strength of friendship and how a relationship should be, although there can be ups and downs the characters support each other and respect their choices, decisions and feelings

I loved that you follow the story from two perspectives both Leon and tiffy and they both bought so much to the story. Leon’s story is about family and the bond you have with a sibling and his job working in a hospice and the difference his patients make to his life and the impact he has on them. Tiffy’s explores toxic relationships, female friendships and her job in publishing and the ups and downs.

I would 100% recommend this book if you want something sweet and uplifting and you enjoy romcoms. It is the perfect read and I would definitely read it again. It had a really good storyline with little ongoing themes to follow throughout which kept me interested. This book made me want to be more positive and not take things too seriously.

The starless sea by Erin morgenstern

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4.5 / 5 ⭐️

“Do you have a particular favourite?” Simon asks

Eleanor considers this. It is not a question she has ever been asked, but a book comes to mind.

“I do. I… I do. It’s…” Eleanor pauses “would you like to read it?” she asks instead of trying to explain it. Books are always better when read rather than explained.

“I would very much so” Simon answers.

“I can get it and you can read it and then we could talk about it. If you like it. Or if you don’t, I would want to know why, exactly. It’s in my room, would you come with me?”

I feel like this book is trying to get at something similar to that tenacious D song, if you know it, Tribute. This is not the greatest book in the world, no this is just a tribute. but this is a very good book but I feel like the books discussed in this book must be AMAZING!

This book is one that I don’t think I’d have picked up if I was in a bookstore however I had seen reviews of this book and people loved it or hated it so I was intrigued and thought I’d move away from what I’d normally read and give it a go. I’m not usually a fantasy lover, I tend to go for books that are realistic and easy to relate to. Though I see how there are relatable elements in fantasy I just tend to read about everyday things. I’m not sure if I’m a full fantasy convert now but maybe an Erin Morgenstern convert!

The writing of this novel is beautiful, there is so much care and attention to the world the author is creating to give you the details to create this magical world and it is truly magical.

The story is about a university student, Zachary Ezra Rawlins, an avid reader and gamer studying for his thesis. He stumbles upon a book in the library with no author or any record of being in the library when he checks it out. It is a small book full of intrigue taking him on a journey of twists and turns intertwined with short stories all building up to something bigger.

When I started this book it wasn’t what I had expected, definitely didn’t start as I expected. I thought maybe a different book had been inserted in the cover then I learnt that there weren’t any rules and soon stopped expecting things and let the author take me on this journey.

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is the main character in the book but he is not the character that gripped my interest. The characters you meet throughout the story are all there for a purpose and are important to the plot moving forward. The keeper, Mirabel, Dorian, Kat and Allegra were all interesting and not who they first seem, they all have histories, futures, secrets, purposes and all have a part to play. I wasn’t always fully invested in Zachary and his story but it had mystery, magic, fate, love and all the elements you’d look for in a story and I liked the romance between Zachary and Dorian but I wanted to know more about Dorian to better understand him.

I can see why people might not like this book but I loved the short stories throughout, they felt so magical and really developed the characters and linked everything together. Throughout these stories it would keep me guessing and trying to solve the puzzles from the trails they were leaving and I wold get excited when I get a link right or another piece of the puzzle would fall in place. Some of the short stories I’d be happy to just read a book full of them. My favourite one being about the innkeeper and the moon. I would love to visit that inn! I also enjoyed the ballad of Simon and Eleanore.

Love love love the bees and the idea of a magic kitchen & I love the cats. It is a fab story with so many fun elements and it all works well together. There is some jumping around and following different stories but I didn’t find it complicated and I liked the short stories breaking it all up I didn’t find them distracting or an inconvenience I feel they did their job and bought more to the story. I liked the idea of people not always being just that and I would probably re read the book to experience it again.

So what I’m trying to say is, if you’re looking for a bit of escapism to a beautiful immersive world this book is for you and you should 100% read it, it’s like travelling to a new world from the comfort of your sofa or wherever it is you read.

🐝 🗡 🔑

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My thoughts on: The vanishing half by Brit Bennett

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⭐️ 4.5/5

This book has been long listed for the women’s prize 2021 and is a goodreads choice 2020 winner. I’d heard so many good things about the vanishing half that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it and read it for myself.

It is a story about twin girls from a small town in New Orleans called Mallard, spanning from the 1950s to the 1990s. Mallard is a southern black community that Stella and Desiree Vignes, at the age of 16, decide they need to run from to start a new life. They run away together until they go their separate ways, one living as a white woman and the other living as a black woman. They both experience very different lives but they are ultimately led back to each other. One of the twins ends up returning to the town they had escaped from with her black daughter after escaping her husband/daughters father while the other passes as white, living with her white husband in their expensive estate home. Her husband knows nothing of her past and doesn’t have suspicions of her being anything other than what he knows. However when their daughters’ lives intersect they find they will always be intertwined with each other. The story spans many decades following the twins and their daughters over the years. The Vanishing Half is a beautifully written story about racism, social classes, family and love.

When I started reading this I was trying to get to grips with the characters and where the story was going to go, although I had seen good things about the vanishing half I wasn’t fully aware of the storyline. Once I got reading I found myself really enjoying the book and I am glad I initially pushed through the beginning. Once characters had been established and the story started to open up I found the story was beautifully written and was a really important look into racism and complicated family relationships giving a voice to these women to discuss hardships experienced trying to make a better life where racism is still rife, how black and white are ultimately just that.

“She felt queasy at how simple it was. All there was to being white was acting like you were.”

I did like the book and I would recommend it, I liked the characters and the storyline and the different view points that the story was told from. The story follows the Vignes twins, their daughters and their mother and explores how race affects lives and how although they lead very different lives they ultimately intersect with each other.

All the characters have fears and they are all very real fears to have. Fear of being alone that you lie to keep your life, even if you don’t feel like it’s your own.

‘She hadn’t realized how long it takes to become somebody else, or how lonely it can be living in a world not meant for you.’

Fears of not belonging

‘There were many ways to be alienated from someone, few to actually belong’

and Fears of not being accepted as you are and therefore denying yourself the chance to be happy

‘Well, maybe that’s your problem,” Kennedy said, “You tell yourself no before anyone even says it to you’

Although we can make judgements based on the characters actions and maybe think that we would do differently, I can’t imagine what it must be like to be in their position and how I would live my life in their shoes. The characters are likeable and you find yourself routing for them and hoping they find their way and are happy and through it all I don’t think we will know but ultimately they have made their choices and they have grown from them and have had some good things and bad things happen but they are strong and just trying to be good people and good to their families.

There are so many beautiful quotes in this novel and I could quote them all day so please give this book a read and let me know what you think. Yes there are some questions unanswered but I think that’s part of it and it is so well written that you will not forget this book anytime soon.