Book Review: The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

The Rosie EffectWhat’s it about?

Forty-one-year-old geneticist Don Tillman had never had a second date before he met Rosie.

Now, living in New York City, they have survived ten months and ten days of marriage, even if Don has had to sacrifice standardized meals and embrace unscheduled sex.

But then Rosie drops the mother of all bombshells. And Don must prepare for the biggest challenge of his previously ordered life – while dodging deportation, prosecution and professional disgrace.

Is Don Tillman ready to become the man he always dreamed of being? Or will he revert to his old ways and risk losing Rosie for ever?

My thoughts

This book was our book club read for March.  It’s the sequel to The Rosie Project and a lot has happened since the Project I was looking forward to re-visiting these characters and see how they were getting on.

So the book started off at a good pace and it felt like old times, Don was just…well Don and Rosie seemed ok, settled.  But then their situation changes and things start to fall apart.  Don starts taking bad advice from his new group of friends which just ends up in a whole other world of mess.

There were some amusing scenes but they didn’t provoke proper laugh out loud moments for me…all those things that you loved about the first one, either didn’t carry through to this one or were just missing.

I don’t think it helped that I didn’t really like Rosie in this book and thought she treated Don somewhat badly for reasons that were pretty poor and unclear.  And what was going on with Gene, although you loved to hate to him, having this complete reversal in his character was daft and somewhat unbelievable.

I think if you enjoy farcical novels or things like Mr Bean you’ll like this.  Overall, a little disappointing in comparison to the first book and one that would probably be better received as a movie.

Links: Goodreads | Amazon

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Book Review: Bella’s Christmas Bake Off by Sue Watson

Bella's Christmas Bake OffWhat’s it about?

Bella Bradley is the queen of television baking – a national treasure. Her Christmas specials have been topping the ratings for years and her marriage to Peter ‘Silver Fox’ Bradley is the stuff of Hello magazine specials.

But this year things are going to be different.

For Amy Lane, Bella’s best friend from school, life hasn’t held quite the same sparkle. And when Amy’s husband walks out three weeks from Christmas, it seems their lives are further apart than ever.

Amy has watched Bella’s rise to fame fondly, despite the fact Bella was always a terrible cook. But when she realises that Bella’s latest Christmas book is made up entirely of Amy’s mother’s recipes, the gloves are off…

My thoughts

I think there’s just time to fit in a quick Christmas book review and as it’s quite an easy read you can squeeze it in before the holidays are over

It took me a while to get into the story as it wasn’t quite what I expected and found the opening few chapters a tadge slow but it does pick up pace and with some nice character development.

I think fans of The Great British Bake Off would enjoy this as it comes with some interesting insights into tv programmes and so comes as no surprise that the the author worked in the TV industry. You’ll also enjoy this if you like books with copious amounts of lovely foody descriptions and festive goodness that’ll make you feel a little bit warm inside (I even found myself unexpectedly filling up towards the end during one particular poignant scene, quite unusual for me).

No real plot surprises for me but I enjoyed the writing and the humour and so I don’t think it’ll be my last Sue Watson novel.

Links: Goodreads | Amazon

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Book Review: Solar by Ian McEwan

SolarWhat’s it about?

Michael Beard is a Nobel prize-winning physicist whose best work is behind him. A compulsive womaniser, Beard finds his fifth marriage floundering. But this time it is different: she is having the affair, and he is still in love with her.

When Beard’s professional and personal worlds collide in a freak accident, an opportunity presents itself for Beard to extricate himself from his marital mess, reinvigorate his career and save the world from environmental disaster. Ranging from the Arctic Circle to the deserts of New Mexico, this is a story of one man’s greed and self-deception; a darkly satirical novel showing human frailty struggling with the most pressing and complex problem of our time.

My thoughts

This was our book club read for May and having not being over-impressed with The Children Act I approached this book with trepidation and it seems I was right too! This was a quote from quite early on in the book but it kind of reflects my feelings towards it.

“And that was the problem. Much of the time he did not know what they were saying.”

The book started off well; there’s humourous antics, in particular the artic arrival, the accident and crisps scenes did raise an eyebrow but the author’s choice in language coupled with no chapters and the constant pages of solid text with too much laborious description of the science and technology aspects did not sustain my interest or raise my enjoyment level.

It’s not even if there’s any relatable or engaging characters, the protagonist Micheal Beard is a first class tw*t, his behaviour, the way he treats people, his wives, he’s just not a nice bloke with this air of arrogance about him that he doesn’t seem to think he’s doing anything wrong.

In parts I started to feel a little sorry for him but overall I think he totally deserves what he got but even then he still manages to come up smelling of roses.

I’m so glad to have finished this book for 2 reasons; 1) so I can say I got to the end and 2) so I could start something far more interesting.

This is one of the most baffling and boring books I’ve ever read. I just don’t get all the hype that surrounds Ian McEwan’s books  as they just have a way of making me feel totally uneducated and thick. Although at book club we did discuss the fact that he is able to write about an array of subjects extremely convincingly and with such thorough research that I totally believed everything he wrote – this I can appreciate. Overall, his books are just not for me so won’t be reading another!

If you wanna give it a go, here are the links: Paperback | Kindle

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Book Review: Holy Cow by David Duchovny

Holy CowWhat’s it about?

Elsie Bovary is a cow and a pretty happy one at that. Until one night, Elsie sneaks out of the pasture and finds herself drawn to the farmhouse. Through the window, she sees the farmer’s family gathered around a bright Box God – and what the Box God reveals about something called an ‘industrial meat farm’ shakes Elsie’s understanding of her world to its core.

The only solution? To escape to a better, safer world. And so a motley crew is formed: Elsie; Shalom, a grumpy pig who’s recently converted to Judaism; and Tom, a suave turkey who can’t fly, but can work an iPhone with his beak. Toting stolen passports and slapdash human disguises, they head for the airport …

My thoughts

I’d seen this book doing the rounds on Twitter and I have to say I was drawn to it by the badges that were being sent out with the books (I wanted the badges!). This book was way out of my comfort zone but I requested one and have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it – any book that can make me laugh out loud in the first few pages is going to be a winner.

Now, before you read this you’ll obviously need to leave reality and disbelief at the cover or you won’t like it, it doesn’t matter how the animals know how to do stuff, or get places or end up in conflicts, it’s not real, it’s a bit of fun with a moralistic undertone in that we’re all the same and should be treated as such regardless of animal type, race or religion.

Elsie’s not your typical cow (if there is such a thing??), she comes across as a teenage girl, which of course is what she is – a calf but she’s curious about the outside world and decides she isn’t happy to settle for the same as the other cows and after seeing something shocking on the tv she decides to leave the farm and herein starts her adventures. Think Babe, think Chicken Run and that’s what we have here.

The book’s full of witty funny one liners and some fun illustrations, a lot of which comes across as a satirical look at how people run their lives these days; ie the constant use of a smart phone, unable to have conversations, addicted to tv – you know that kind of stuff.

As for target audience, it’s good for younger teens as long as parents are aware there’s some not so appropriate language but probably nothing they’ve not heard before. It’s good fun, I think adults and teens alike will enjoy. If you think you might enjoy it or know someone that will then read it, if it’s not your cup of tea then don’t. I enjoyed it, it was a complete break from the norm that I read in 2 sittings.

The last third of the book does go all a bit moralistic but after all it’s a modern-day dairy tale!

Thanks to the publishers Headline for the ARC requested via Bookbridgr.

Try the book Hardback | Kindle

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Book Review: The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

The Man Who Climbed Out of the WindowWhat’s it about?

It all starts on the one-hundredth birthday of Allan Karlsson. Sitting quietly in his room in an old people’s home, he is waiting for the party he-never-wanted-anyway to begin. The mayor is going to be there. The press is going to be there.

But, as it turns out, Allan is not…Slowly but surely Allan climbs out of his bedroom window, into the flowerbed (in his slippers) and makes his getaway.

And so begins his picaresque and unlikely journey involving criminals, several murders, a suitcase full of cash, and incompetent police. As his escapades unfold, we learn something of Allan’s earlier life in which – remarkably – he helped to make the atom bomb, became friends with American presidents, Russian tyrants, and Chinese leaders, and was a participant behind the scenes in many key events of the twentieth century.

My thoughts

This was our book club read for October, and another one which I wouldn’t have picked for myself and with good reason. I couldn’t help myself but make assumptions of what this book was going to be like from the cover and the blurb and I wasn’t far wrong.

The blurb and the title pretty much cover the plot without leaving a lot more to add other than parts read like a history book, with others reading like a Monty Python sketch (not that I like or watch Monty Python, just from the snippets of clips I’m aware of), so does read like a farce.

There were some humorous elements but for me not laugh out loud, more of a smirk. I’ve said it before in my reviews and I don’t mind admitting it, I just don’t have the right sense of humour or even patience for these types of books – I was right out of my comfort zone with this book!

Other than Allan, the protagonist, there were a few other characters that he encountered along his journey (other than the historical figures) who became quite featured; all with their own agendas and back stories but I didn’t really feel any kind of affinity to any of them.

I’m assuming this book has been translated from Swedish into English, and overall it’s pretty good; however some sentences do come across as a bit long. They could have been written a little more succinctly. Also, the chapters are ridiculously long. As someone that likes to read in chapters I was having to leave them mid chapter, one I counted was around 30 odd pages. I know this doesn’t sound a lot but the pages are rammed full of text; there’s very little actual speech so does feel quite heavy going.

That said, our book club had a very lively, interesting discussion about the book so was ideal for a group read. One of the questions we had was along the lines of which historical character would you have liked to Allan to have met. Now, I suggested the Duke of Edinburgh which everyone thought was hilarious. What with some of the faux pas that he comes out with and the whole farcical feel to the book – would have been a perfect combination!

Fans of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year should enjoy this book that could possibly could win an award for longest book title ! 🙂

Get the book  Paperback | Kindle

Connect with the author Jonas Jonasson

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