Looking For Alaska – by John Green

21 10 2019

I read a load of John Green when The Fault In Our Stars was a big thing, and at the time bought several of his books, this one has sat there a while, but at only 260 pages it seemed a good one for my Dark Materials break!

It’s a John Green book, so of course it’s got teenagers and drama. Miles hasn’t got many friends at school in Florida, so at 16 goes off to boarding school in Alabama. He has a thing about famous peoples last words, and reads a lot of biographies to collect them. He quickly makes friends with people very different to his previous life (think stereotypical smoking and drinking), one of whom is a girl called Alaska, who is a bit unpredictable. I won’t go any further because of spoilers, but I read this in 3 or 4 days – crazy fast!

A couple of days ago I saw an advert on TV for a series they’ve made of the book which literally went live on Friday and is available on iPlayer, so that’s something else to fit in!

He writes books that are so easy to read and just enjoy. I have one more of his books on my shelf, so I think I’ll be picking that up again in the not too distant future.





The Subtle Knife – by Philip Pullman

14 10 2019

Having read Northern Lights a few months ago, I thought it was best to pick up the sequel before I forgot too much about it! I’m also unsure if the new TV series covers just the first book or the full trilogy!

The first book was set in one universe, this one moves into 3, and what I found really helpful, was that in the margin of each page was a little icon that related to the universe you were currently in, so if you picked up the book you could remember where you were – or sometimes even mid-reading!

There was one point around a third to halfway through where I very nearly gave up – I’d read the same page so many times over several days and just couldn’t get into it to get past it, but I’m glad I carried on. That bit was in what felt like a bit of a side plot that at that point I just didn’t care about yet, but it was needed for later on.

This book left off on what felt like an even bigger cliffhanger than the first one, and I’ve had a lot of people advise me when I was struggling to carry on with this book, that this is one you just had to get through to get to the third which sounds like it might be deemed the best of the three, so I’m looking forward to picking up the next one! Might just find something else to read first to help divide the books in my head so they don’t all merge into one 🙂





Will Grayson, Will Grayson – by John Green and David Levithan

8 11 2018

This has been on my shelves for ages. Having read The Fault In Our Stars, An Abundance of Katherines and Paper Towns a few years ago I bought a couple more of John Green’s books, but other books beat it to the top of my list more recently.

I enjoyed it more than I thought I would as well. The book is about two guys, both called Will Grayson, who randomly bump into each other one night in Chicago. One is having girl trouble, one is having boy trouble. I don’t want to say too much about the plot as there are twists early on and I don’t want to spoil them. What isn’t a spoiler though is that the book ends with a performance of the “most epic musical ever to grace the high-school stage.”

One of the Will Graysons really beats himself up and has major self confidence issues which I think a lot of us find really relateable (at least I hope it’s not just me!) – I found that a really powerful part of the story. It’s a heavy book in places, but with a lot of fun in it too!

It was a really easy read, took me a little over a week to read the whole thing, I enjoyed it!





The Book Thief – by Markus Zusak

22 08 2018

I nearly gave up on this during the first 100 pages, but it was so worth persevering!

The narrator of the book is Death, and that’s what made the beginning so strange, I got into it once it settled into a more normal narrative, with Death’s thoughts and opinions just popping up from time to time.

We’re in Germany during WW2, Liesel arrives at the home of her new foster parents who are in one of the poorest areas of town, she spends her time helping her Mama collect and deliver laundry, and playing (and a bit of stealing) with Rudy from next door. She’s known as The Book Thief because that’s what she does. For example, at one point there’s a Nazi rally in town, and a bonfire of all sorts of propaganda, but she realises the books at the bottom aren’t burning, so she sneaks in and takes one. At the start, she can’t read, and so with these books and help from her Papa, she learns, but it’s a habit she continues!

I won’t go any further as I don’t want to give spoilers but as I say, once it settled down I really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it!





The Colour of Magic – Terry Pratchett (UNFINISHED)

6 05 2018

I picked up this book in a charity shop because Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books are raved about, and this is the first in the series. I got about 100 pages in before I gave up. I’m told later books are better and this one is more scene setting, but in 100 pages barely anything happened, and I just didn’t care about the things that did.

The book is split into four sections, and so when I reached the end of the first one, I admitted defeat, I just didn’t care enough to carry on. If you enjoyed this book, I do apologise – maybe one day I’ll try a different one in the series from recommendations I’ve been given…

For now I’m looking forward to trying something different.





Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – by Gail Honeyman

19 04 2018

The main reason I bought this book is that it appeared EVERYWHERE. Every time I was in a shop I saw it, or at least that’s what it felt like! I read the back and thought it sounded like it was worth giving a go.

Eleanor is a woman of routine. She wears the same clothes, eats the same food, drinks the same vodka. You would be justified for thinking she’s a bit autistic, she certainly struggles with interaction with people, but before long you see that there’s clearly something dramatic in her past which has affected her greatly, but it’s only revealed little by little as you go.

Very funny in places, heartbreaking in others, very engaging overall!

The only thing I will say, I don’t want to put spoilers so I’ll try to keep this vague, but if you find you struggle with triggers regarding suicide attempts, it’d be best to maybe give this a miss.

There was a line, just a throwaway comment that I found fascinating!
“Eyelids are really just flesh curtains. Your eyes are always ‘on’, always looking; when you close them you’re watching the thin, veined skin of your inner eyelid rather than staring out at the world.”





Still Me – by Jojo Moyes

5 04 2018

Two years ago I read Me Before You, swiftly followed by After You, and said I’d happily read a third if it was ever written – good news, it has been!

Louisa has just arrived in New York to be a live-in assistant for a wealthy lady in society. It’s a huge lifestyle adjustment, alongside trying to manage a long distance relationship.

It’s a combination of warm fuzzy moments one minute, and heartbreaking ones the next. Predictable in places, some of the major plot points I saw coming a mile off, but there are surprises too. With 50 pages to go before the end I had NO idea how it was going to tie together!





Brain Freeze – by Tom Fletcher

28 02 2018

I just read a book in under half an hour!
Yes, it’s for children.
Yes, it cost £1 new.
Yes, it’s only 86 pages, some of which are only pictures.
But that’s not the point!

I started the other book I’m reading over a month ago and am only halfway through, and so was getting frustrated with my lack of progress. Generally I refuse to start another book while I have one on the go, but as mentioned, this one was tiny, so when I saw it in tesco, I picked it up – it looked like fun! As well as being by Tom from McFly!

It’s a very sweet and very clever little book – Izzy’s Grandpa was an Ice Cream Man, he passed away a year ago and so she eats ice cream every day to remember him. One night, she hasn’t been able to have ice cream and worries she’s forgetting him, so she sneaks out to his old van, and finds it can do so much more than just produce icecream – it can travel in time!





Some kind of wonderful – by Giovanna Fletcher

7 01 2018

My friend bought me this for Christmas, so it was a good book to start the year with.

Lizzy has been dating Ian for 10 years she was 18 and is desperately waiting for a proposal, so when that comes crashing down, she has to rediscover how to function on her own and see how much she’s changed in that time.

There’s no point trying to claim this is sophisticated literature, but it’s a comfortable, easy read (evidenced by the fact I read nearly 400 words in 6 days!), and it’s fairly warm and fuzzy. Definitely enjoyed it 🙂





Anne of Windy Willows – by L M Montgomery

28 10 2017

Book four chronologically in Anne’s life, though this one was actually written 20 years after most of the others. A newly engaged Anne moves to Summerside to become principal of a high school and lodges with two widows in a house called “Windy Willows”. A lot of the book is written as her letters to Gilbert, maybe a half and half split with that and general narrative. She spends three years there while Gilbert is at medical school, and doesn’t get off to the easiest start.

The majority of Summerside either seem to be the Pringle family or have some Pringle blood of them of some sort, and they seem to gang up against Anne initially. But Anne being Anne, she finds her way! From there we meet lots of different people over the three years, very few characters get featured the whole way through other than the little girl, little Elizabeth, who lives next door with her Grandmother and “the woman”, who feed and clothe her well enough, but don’t show anything by way of affection, so in time Anne befriends her and that relationship blossoms beautifully! Elizabeth goes by many different names, depending on how she is feeling: Betty, Beth, Elsie, Bess, Elisa and Lisbeth. “But not Lizzie; I can never feel like Lizzie.”

Anne seems to be not a matchmaker as such, but definitely gets involved in pushing a couple of couples forward in their relationship who have for various reasons not got engaged or married yet. Somehow it’s written so that you feel it’s entirely justified and gives each couple a happy ending!

My only real frustration with this book was a couple of times when we meet someone who is meant to be annoying and talking non stop without Anne or anyone getting a word in edge-ways. But the way it’s written you end up reading pages and pages of this irrelevant annoying waffle and actually don’t care! It makes the point well, but did make me want to skip pages at times.

This book was publish 3 years before World War 2, so it was sad to read the following: “It’s impossible to think of Canada ever being at war again. I am so thankful that phase of history is over.”

Of course, these books always provide some wonderful one liners, maybe not as many as in the other books, but still!

  • “I’ve always liked washing dishes. It’s fun to make dirty things clean and shining again.”
  • “[Babies] are what I heard somebody at Redmond call ‘terrific bundles of potentialities’. […] But I think I’m glad Judas’s mother didn’t know he was to be Judas, I hope she never did know.”
  • “If we were all beauties, who would do the work?”
  • “But there’s one consolation: you’ll be spared an awful lot of trouble if you die young.”