Thursday, 11 July 2013

Charlotte Street by Danny Wallace

You know that typical story of Boy meets Girl? You know the one, you've read a million different versions, you've seen it depicted by Hollywood in every possible way.  Well....I bet you haven't seen the heartwarming everyday tale of Boy stalks Girl?

"My name is Jason - and I have just met the most incredible woman on Charlotte Street.  

Well, I say 'met'.  I sort of held her bags for a second.  But she smiled at me!

And it was this amazing smile.

Of course, I don't know her name, or anything about her at all.  But I do happen to have something of hers.  She left behind one of those old-school disposable cameras.

I've got it here.  It's here in front of me.

So there are two things I could now do:

I could develop the photos.  Maybe work out a way of finding her.  See that smile again.

Or I could chuck it in a bin like a grown-up.

I'm fairly sure one of those ideas is a good one.  I'm fairly sure the other might be illegal.

Look, if you were me... what would you?"

When I first heard on TV that Danny Wallace had written a novel, and that it was to do with a boy....stalking a girl, I was instantly drawn to it.  It sounded like something I would adore.

And I did, to an extent.  There were parts of the book which I feel I just didn't "get" and at that point, I felt slightly disconnected.  You know that feeling when you're fairly sure someone has just cracked a joke, but you just don't get it.  I experienced that throughout the majority part of the book - where there London in-jokes that I, as a country bumpkin, just didn't get??  Or maybe there wasn't, maybe I was over thinking it as the author is known as a 'funny man'.  There is certainly a sense of fun running throughout the book.

It made me smile, but it didn't make me laugh out loud.  Overpoweringly though, I loved the characters.  Danny leads you up certain paths that you might fall for, or you might not.  The ending isn't overly shocking, it's kind of predictable but it's perfect.

They say it'll happen when you least expect it, and this story tells you just that.  My absolute favourite part of this book was the last few chapters (and no, I don't mean because it was going to be over).  They're perfect, in every way.  So much so, I went back and reread them a few hours after finishing!

As mentioned by other reviewers, I can absolutely see this being made into a film.  Hurry up and sell the film rights!!

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Today I finally finished The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.....

I'm a little ashamed to admit that I allowed myself to get distracted from this book.  I got three quarters of the way through, it ended up in a different location to me and I started another book whilst I awaited its return.  Since that moment, I've read more books than I count on one hand.....!  Now, that isn't at all like me.  I usually get into a book, and I struggle to put it down until I have absorbed every last word.  I mistook my casual attitude to returning to it as disinterest, but having returned to it today, I was wrong.  

The main character is lovable, in an extraordinarily different way.  With undiagnosed asperger's syndrome, Don is a very special man!

In this book, you'll experience a number of projects....the Wife Project, the Father Project and as the name suggests, the Rosie Project.  I found myself wondering when the Rosie Project would begin and I had to wait until the end of the fourth paragraph on page 256 to see those three little words 'the Rosie Project'

Funny, perfectly pitched, not your typical rom-com but packed full of real life.

You can follow the author on twitter @GraemeSimsion.  Could you come up with a story in 140 characters or less, twitter fiction and you might just stumble upon some on Graeme's twitter page.  See the challenge and story here

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Thank you to Jessica at Orion Books for the review copy of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

This book has been marked as 'Thriller of the Year' by the Observer.  It isn't, however, your typical thriller that will have you quivering in your seat.  However, it is chilling as a psychological thriller that makes you realise just what human beings are capable of if they really put their minds to it.  You might think it is silly and unrealistic, but think about - deep down, you know someone could pull this off if they really really wanted to.

The book is split into parts which, in a very clever way, depict the two sides to this particular story.  The story (and you may have to keep reminding yourself that it is, just that, a story!) is very well written, woven together and maintained right up to the last page.  It's packed full of twists, and I challenge anyone to say that they saw them all coming!  The life lesson is that revenge is a powerful thing!!  The characters are very well drawn.

As I got close to the end, I became very aware that it had the potential to have a very disappointing ending for me.  I, luckily, wasn't disappointed, and most importantly, I wasn't annoyed.  However, I know for a fact that some of you will read it and absolutely hate the ending!  Unfortunately, there is only one way to find out but what I will say is, if you've managed to avoid it so far, DON'T read the spoilers before you embark on this as they will, quite simply, ruin it for you!

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

First of all, a big thank you to Mia Churcher at Hesperus Press who supplied a review copy of The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared.  You can follow Hesperus Press on twitter @HesperusPress and they have their very own blog which you can follow and get involved in here.

When I first heard about The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared I was, quite simply, intrigued.  It sounded unique, and I couldn't imagine what I was letting myself in for when I opened the first page and began to experience the adventure of Allan Karrlsson (the hundred year old man, who doesn't wish to attend his hundredth birthday party, so he embarks on an adventure you couldn't even begin to dream up if you tried).

This book translates fabulously from Swedish (hats off to the translator, Rod Bradbury) and conjures up a book which will take you beyond your wildest dreams.  The thing I loved about this book is that it is so lighthearted.  It starts on in 2005, the day of Allan's hundredth birthday but the chapters soon start to skip between the past and the present.  Chapter by chapter, you uncover the full story and history behind the man who is Allan Karlsson.  This skipping doesn't break up the flow of the story at all; it is absolutely seamless.

Now, I don't claim to know a huge amount about history (it was not my subject of choice at school), so I cannot tell you how accurate the tales are, but you will soon discover that Allan has been now only involved in, but been the key feature, to some of the most momentous events in the twentieth century.  Despite his aversion to politics, he becomes entirely tangled up in it!

The characters are fabulously created and maintained throughout.  I loved that they were quite often referred to by way of a description, rather than by name, for chunks of the book before you actually came to learn their names.  It depicted exactly how a hundred-year-old man might think and talk.

All in all, I loved reading the adventure, I loved meeting the characters and following them along their sometimes-ludicrous journey!  The tale is extremely well woven together and has a very satisfying ending.

Finally, CONGRATULATIONS to Jonas Jonasson and Hesperus Press, as they are currently celebrating selling over 1,000,000 (yes, that is one million) copies of the book!  Will you add to that number? Get yourself a copy, and I'd love to know what you thought.....