Book Review: The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

What’s it about?

HOW DO YOU KNOW WHO TO TRUST WHEN YOU CAN’T EVEN TRUST YOURSELF?

I look at my hands. One of them says FLORA BE BRAVE.

Flora has anterograde amnesia. She can’t remember anything day-to-day: the joke her friend made, the instructions her parents gave her, how old she is.

Then she kisses someone she shouldn’t, and the next day she remembers it. It’s the first time she’s remembered anything since she was ten.

But the boy is gone. She thinks he’s moved to the Arctic.

Will following him be the key to unlocking her memory? Who can she trust?

My thoughts

Loved it, loved it, loved it – please tell me they’ll be a sequel!!!

I bought this book based on the recommendation of another trusted book blogger (see..it does happen!) and I’m not going to lie when I knew it was a targeted YA I was sceptical but I went with it anyway. Oh blimey, I absolutely loved everything about this book, including the sparkly cover and its design and adore Flora.

Not gonna lie the whole first person narrative takes adjustment to especially when little things are repeated but actually given the situation and Flora’s condition it’s totally appropriate and eventually I thought it endearing but so very heartbreaking.  There was a point where I very nearly shed a tear (that takes some doing I’ll tell you).

Don’t think, as I may have done initially, that this book will be light and fluffy and not hard-hitting.  This book is very unsettling  and I think because it’s written from a 17-year-old girl’s perspective most adult women will relate to her emotions which I did but on more than one occasion I wanted, needed to mother and protect her.  Without wanting to give too much away I sensed throughout that all wouldn’t turn out as Flora hopes but I certainly wasn’t expecting what actually did.

Those of you that have read and enjoyed SJ Watson’s Before I Go To Sleep would like this, please don’t dismiss because it’s found in the teen section.  You’d really be missing out.  Overall, a totally unexpected pleasure, I’m just desperate now to find out what happens to her! 100% recommended for ALL ages!

Book links: Goodreads | Waterstones | Amazon

Author links: Website | Twitter

Small print for info
Source: Purchased
No of pages: 320
Publisher:  Penguin

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Book Review: Based On A True Story by Delphine de Vigan

What’s it about?

Overwhelmed by the huge success of her latest novel, exhausted and suffering from a crippling inability to write, Delphine meets L.

L. embodies everything Delphine has always secretly admired; she is a glittering image of feminine sophistication and spontaneity and she has an uncanny knack of always saying the right thing. Unusually intuitive, L. senses Delphine’s vulnerability and slowly but deliberately carves herself a niche in the writer’s life. However, as L. makes herself indispensable to Delphine, the intensity of this unexpected friendship manifests itself in increasingly sinister ways. As their lives become more and more entwined, L. threatens Delphine’s identity, both as a writer and as an individual.

My thoughts

I’ve got to admit this book did take some getting into as I wasn’t and still am not entirely sure what is was that I was reading.  Was it a memoir, pure fiction, or a mixture of both?  I also felt confused about the books the characters were talking about and the realisation that the book that pushed Delphine into the limelight isn’t this one I’m reading.  Having got passed my own confusion, this book is so unnerving with the inference of a deadly sense of foreboding that you’re just waiting for something awful to happen, which of course, makes you read faster to find out.

The author has this way of depicting how easy it is for a person to manipulate and embed themselves in another’s life, it’s very cleverly plotted and crafted but underneath all of it, it’s still at the back of my mind – is this real, did this happen to her? I still don’t know!

If you like plots that are full of drip-fed suspense and are reminiscent of the movies Single White Female and Stephen King’s Misery this is for you.  I was excited to discover that is has been adapted into a French movie so you never know it may be translated and released at a later date.

Book links: Goodreads | Waterstones | Amazon

Author links: Goodreads

Small print for info
Source: ARC – many thanks!
No of pages: 384
Publisher:  Bloomsbury

Book Review: The Dish by Stella Newman

What’s it about?

When Laura Parker first crosses forks with Adam Bayley, she’s only after one thing: his custard doughnut. But when she takes a closer look she sees a talented, handsome man who outshines the string of jokers she’s been dating.

There’s just one problem. Adam’s job means Laura has to keep her job as restaurant critic for The Dish, a secret. Tricky for someone who prides herself on honesty.

Can the truth be put on ice long enough for love to flourish?

And how can you expect your boyfriend to be honest if you’re not quite telling the truth yourself?

My thoughts

This is another ARC that had been on my book shelf for far too long and I’m really glad I finally got round to picking it up.  It’s very rare that I choose a women’s fiction, specifically a chick-lit novel, but I’ve got to say I really enjoyed this and would love it to have had a sequel.

From the outset I enjoyed the humour of main character Laura and her witty restaurant reviews.  The one in contention for the most part of the book was hilarious.  I also liked that it wasn’t overly schmoozy and lovey-dovey, it was pitched just right for me.  In fact my own teeny-weeny issue with the book is that a lot of the conversation takes place in email, there’s so many I find it slightly grating having to check and double check who the conversation is between but I can understand the need for it.

I also really enjoyed all the food and baking references so if you’re a foody looking for a delightful rom-drama this could really tickle your fancy so to speak 😉

Book links: Goodreads | Waterstones | Amazon

Author links: Website | Twitter

Small print for info
Source: ARC – many thanks!
No of pages: 407
Publisher: Headline

#BookReview: The One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood

What’s it about?

For years, guitarist Quinn Porter has been on the road, chasing gig after gig, largely absent to his twice-ex-wife Belle and their odd, Guinness records-obsessed son. When the boy dies suddenly, Quinn seeks forgiveness for his paternal shortcomings by completing the requirements for his son’s unfinished Boy Scout badge. For seven Saturdays, Quinn does yard work for Ona Vitkus, the wily 104-year-old Lithuanian immigrant the boy had visited weekly. Quinn soon discovers that the boy had talked Ona into gunning for the world record for Oldest Licensed Driver — and that’s the least of her secrets. Despite himself, Quinn picks up where the boy left off, forging a friendship with Ona that allows him to know the son he never understood, a boy who was always listening, always learning. The One-in-a-Million Boy is a richly layered novel of hearts broken seemingly beyond repair and then bound by a stunning act of human devotion.

My thoughts

This was our latest book club read and if I’m being totally honest I went into it thinking it wouldn’t be my cup of tea.  My mum picked it and she tends to pick crime thrillers or books like Harold Fry and The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year – neither of these I particularly liked either.

You get the gist of the book from the blurb above but the first thing that I didn’t love was that not one person throughout this book acknowledges “the boy” by his name.  I just didn’t get that.  At our book group discussion one member said that the author defends this in her acknowledgements in the paperback version but as I was reading the hardback – this isn’t mentioned.  I’m also not keen on having bits of the book explained to me in the acknowledgements as I rarely read them but also it seems a bit of a cop out.

In all honesty I really don’t think I understood this book and I do think this is down to me and this being a character driven novel.  I much prefer a plot driven book that has pace and will make me feel something more than a bit meh about it.

Having said that Ona is a great character with a wicked dry sense of humour that does make parts of the book really shine.  I also had a soft spot for Quinn, the underdog wayward father, where in actual fact I think the author was aiming for the reader’s sympathy to lie with Belle but I just didn’t like or connect with her at all.

Overall, one for you if you like slow moving plots but with deep characters.  A 3* read for me.

Book links: Goodreads | Waterstones | Amazon

Author links: Website

Small print for info
Source: Library
No of pages: 432
Publisher: Headline

Book Review: I See You by Clare Mackintosh

What’s it about?

You do the same thing every day.

You know exactly where you’re going.

You’re not alone.

When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it’s there. There’s no explanation: just a website, a grainy image and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it’s just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.

Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make . .

My thoughts

This is going to be a real mini mini review as I read it on holiday which was in July! I know I’m such a bad book blogger and I’m so behind with reviews.  I suppose I could have just left it and not bothered (which I have done with others) but because I loved Clare’s first book I Let You Go and therefore had high hopes for this one I wanted to share that it didn’t disappoint at all.

The thing that I took away most from this book and bearing in mind I read it 2 months ago, is how realistic I felt it was.  The social media culture allows us to put our whole lives online if we so wish so when you get scenarios in books like these it’s easy to think, shit yeah that could happen!  The characters are down to earth regular people and feel like people we all know which makes it all the more creepy.  From the outset it gave me the chills and didn’t really let me go till the end so I was able to read in a couple of days.

It would seem that Clare Mackintosh is going to be among the queens of twists and I will impatiently await book 3.

Book links: Goodreads | Waterstones | Amazon

Author links: Twitter | Website

Small print for info
Source: Purchased
No of pages: 384
Publisher: Sphere