Robin Mellom – Perfect Timing

When I found Perfect Timing, I was sure I’d enjoy it. The plot and cover drew me in, and even though, at teen/young adult genre it is a little young for me now – I still wanted to give it a go, as a little light-hearted reading is exactly what I need to get through the huge stack of work and revision I need to do this Easter break.

Synopsis:

After breaking up with her boyfriend,  Tori Wright (an expert in relationships having read hundreds of self-help books as her Mum writes an advice blog for people who are post-divorce), decides the best way to get over him is to get a job and avoid him until he comes back to her. But the job she gets isn’t like any ordinary job… as is the way with most things in LA (so I’m told!), her job involves running errands and delivering items to the biggest celebrities in Hollywood. Then, after a misunderstanding lands her to spend the night in jail, Tori has just one night to clear her name, save her actress hero from the paparazzi and find Adam, her co-worker who is rapidly stealing her heart….

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Review:

All sounds very dramatic doesn’t it? I did enjoy the book, but it seemed far too short to actually tell the story properly. The first half was told well, but the second half, with more action and drama, finishing the plot if you like, was rushed so much that it didn’t seem to do the book justice. I didn’t feel as though the plot had unfolded as it was supposed to. Whether or not this was due to the author’s restrictions in page numbers, I felt that this effected the quality of the book.

On the other hand, I appreciated the angle of feminism and self-development that Robyn Mellom executed in Perfect Timing, as often this is heavily neglected in books aimed at teenagers. For example, Tori being anti the stereotypical girl going through a break-up, not being a fan of the ‘movie’ culture of eating your feelings and drowning your sorrows in alcohol. The book also remained focused to Tori and her aspirations, and I was glad that foremost the ending resulted in her achieving her dream.

I was disappointed though, with the development of many of the characters within the novel. We were introduced to Tori’s best friend, Shannon at the beginning of the novel, but by the halfway point she had more or less disappeared from Tori’s life. Similarly Adam, Tori’s new work colleague was introduced, and I felt like we had hardly got to know him – and it seemed as though Tori was quite attached and almost deeply in love with him when we’d only had one moment of them together. I felt their relationship needed more time to build up to make it more believable.

Overall, I rate this book 6/10. I enjoyed it and would recommend for a short plane ride/long drive as it is simple, easy to read and quite funny in part but if you are reading it as a boredom-cure or to distract yourself from work or revision, like myself, I would opt for something with a bit more depth or at least a better developed plot.

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Books for your Christmas wishlist

Christmas is the perfect, opportune time to get a big stack of books; be it from your parents, partner, siblings, grandparents, friends – whoever it is, its always a good present particularly if they have some idea of the kind of books you want.

Aaron Jacobs

This list focuses on fiction, and is solely of my own opinion – if you’re a fan of the blog, and therefore I would imagine the books that I like to read – then these are perfect to see you through until 2015’s new book releases come whizzing through.

1. Girl Online –

As I write, this book is undergoing serious controversies with revelations regarding ‘ghost writers’ and how much was actually written by popular YouTube vlogger, Zoella. But nonetheless, I received this as an early Christmas gift from one of my best friends and already I know its one of my favourite presents! I love the characters, the concept and the writing already.

Suitable for: Fans of Lindsey Kelk, Paige Toon, Jane Costello….

2. Fifty Shades of Grey series –

As a reader, I hate these for the bad literacy, however I have read all of them. Twice. There is obviously something in these books which has captured the attention of millions of women all around the world. They make the list because, I think before going to watch the much-anticipated film version on Valentines Day 2015, you should at least give the books a go.

Suitable for: Fans of Twilight fan fiction, Bared to You, other ‘adult’ literature…

3) Paper Towns – John Green

After the global success of ‘The Fault in Our Stars’, John Green now has another of his novels heading to the big screen, in 2015. I must confess I haven’t actually read ‘Paper Towns’, but if its anything like the rest of John Green’s novels its a must read before the film comes out!

Suitable for: Fans of The Fault in Our Stars, other John Green novels and Perks of being a Wallflower

4) How to Build a Girl – Caitlin Moran

Recently named as one of the most influential tweeters in Britain, Caitlin Moran’s writing – in tweet form and otherwise is incredibly popular. She wowed readers with her fantastic ‘How to be a woman’ two years ago, and this year ‘How to Build a Girl’ has made a similar impact. Fabulously funny, occasionally sad – How to Build a Girl is perfect for women aged 14-92?!

Suitable for: Fans of Bridget Jones, How to Be a Woman, Moranthology….

5) The Maze Runner – James Dashner

On my must-read-before-watching-film list and currently sitting on my bookshelf untouched, The Maze Runner was one of the many teenage blockbusters to hit our screens this year but first, it was an award winning book series by James Dashner. With the second in the series set to come out in 2015, might be worth getting stuck in to this book series, particularly when they’re all available on kindle for just £10 – vouchers for Christmas anyone?

Suitable for: Fans of The Hunger Games, Divergent, Sophie Mckenzie, Anthony Horowitz…

6) Shopaholic to the Stars – Sophie Kinsella

Admittedly this has been out a while, but having been a huge fan of this series for rather a long time now, it has to get a mention in this list – particularly since I haven’t read it yet! Becky, the series’ central character and narrator, is the most relatable heroine I have ever encountered in fiction. And her life is something one could only dream of, yet she still has the girl-next-door factor you need in a chick-lit novel. The sixth book in the series – a must for shoppers everywhere!

Suitable for: Fans of Paige Toon, Lindsey Kelk, Jane Costello, Marian Keyes, Shopaholic, Madeline Wickham…..

7) Moriarty – Anthony Horowitz

When I was in high school, Anthony Horowitz was easily my favourite author – The Power of 5 and Stormbreaker are still some of my favourite book series so when I stumbled across this in Waterstones, I knew I’d have to read his new ‘Sherlock Holmes’ books. With characters exciting and addicting anyway, Horowitz’ fast-paced style will have you finishing both Moriarty, and the first novel in the series, House of Silk before 2014 is over!

Suitable for: Fans of The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, Divergent, Stephen King, Sophie Mckenzie

8) Only Ever Yours – Louise O’Neill

One of the best books I’ve read this year. Only Ever Yours is a gripping, unusual novel which will have you awake all night – until you finish. Incredibly thought-provoking, really making you think about how we are as a society.

Suitable for: Fans of Mean Girls, Uglies

9) Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

Another from the to-read bookshelf. Easily one of the best films from this year, Gone Girl will get inside your head and stay there long after you read the last page. Creepy and intense, Gone Girl keeps you guessing until the very end.

Suitable for: Fans of Stephen King, Crime novels….

 

Paige Toon – Baby Be Mine

Baby Be Mine was the first official sequel Paige Toon wrote, as all of her books provide a small link with another story, but this was an official sequel. I’m really glad she did it because the former, ‘Johnny Be Good’ ends on such a cliffhanger that, pretty much the whole of her readership was singing out for one and luckily for me, I read Johnny Be Good just after Baby Be Mine came out so was able to find out instantly what happened next!

Synopsis:

Previously…

As a catch up to those who haven’t read Johnny Be Good yet, Meg worked as Johnny Jefferson’s (famous rock god, womaniser and alcoholic, sometime drug addict) live in Personal Assistant. The pair eventually had a romantic thing going on but after Johnny repeatedly slept with other women in front of Meg, she left LA and moved back to London, where she ended up staying with Christian, Johnny’s best friend. They entered a romantic relationship but Meg still loved and missed Johnny, so when he came to ask her to come to LA with him as his girlfriend, Meg said no out of love for Christian, but they still slept together. At the end of Johnny Be Good, Meg found out she was pregnant – but had no idea which of the two was the father.

In Baby Be Mine…

Barney, Meg’s son has just turned one, and Meg is now sure he’s Johnny’s as he is the spitting image of his rock-star father with his blonde hair and piercing green eyes. But Christian hasn’t worked it out yet, and Meg’s too scared to tell him. After Johnny shows up at Christian’s parents house and sees a photo of Barney – he knows instantly and Meg is forced to tell Christian the truth. With Johnny just out of rehab, with an addict for a girlfriend, Meg isn’t sure she wants Johnny to be in Barney’s life… and then they both return to LA…

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Review:

Baby Be Mine is often criticised for the slow start, I do agree with that but I think the problem is, Paige wanted Baby Be Mine to be acceptable as a stand alone novel and to do that you have to continually revisit the events of Johnny Be Good. Taking that out, I really enjoyed getting to read more about my favourite Paige Toon characters.

We see a much more mature side to Meg in this novel, and Paige gets all the credit for developing the character and how much she’s changed since becoming a Mum. I admired the way she stands up to Johnny and Dana in a way that she wouldn’t have done in the last novel. Paige did well also with Christian, however much you felt sorry for him, he was a flawed character and in many ways wasn’t the Dad that Meg wants for Barney – not that Johnny was either, in fact neither of them were perfect.

Baby Be Mine still had the romance and drama that occurs in Paige Toon’s other books, as we saw with Johnny’s anger towards Meg dating actor, Joseph Strike an

I felt like there was a lot more charged passion in this one, whereas in Johnny Be Good, it all seems to hit at the end, on Johnny’s side anyway.

I can’t really talk about this without creating a lot of spoilers but I found the ending really satisfying. The last few chapters just assured to me how much certain characters had changed and how wonderful this little family could be. I’m especially ecstatic that we got an update on them in ‘Johnny’s Girl’ and now Paige Toon is producing a young adult book series about them.

Another brilliantly romantic novel from Paige Toon!

Rainbow Rowell – Fangirl

With her latest novel, Landline released earlier this month – I decided to read one of Rainbow’s earlier novels, rather than the widely popular, critically acclaimed Eleanor and Park – I chose Fangirl.

I was drawn to it instantly when I bought it, the blurb spoke of a girl going through her first year of University, like myself and being a writer of fan fiction. Something that, when I was in High School, I had dabbled in writing, and read pretty regularly; so the story was quite suited to me.

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Synopsis:

Fangirl is about twin sisters, Cather and Wren, who have always been pretty much inseparable – until they start Uni (or College as it is in the States). Where Wren wants to break free and party, mingle and have the ultimate College experience, Cathy just wants to do as they’ve always done: spend time together and write Simon Snow fan fiction. A heartfelt story about sisters, growing up and the College experience!

Review:

I read Fangirl in three days. I did enjoy it, maybe not quite as much as I thought I would, but I did. I read it whilst abroad, with hot sun, no wifi and endless days spent on sun loungers, it was kind of inevitable that Fangirl would be read relatively quickly. What I’m trying to say, is that perhaps, if I’d had the ordinary distractions of everyday life, I probably would have struggled to persevere on with it in parts.

The plot was decent, not unputdownable as such, but exciting and did hold my attention. What I struggled with, was the constant threads of the Simon Snow pieces, whether Cath was reading them to Levi or writing them, I found the amount of pages spent on that rather pointless – when the time could be spent further advancing the plot of the actual novel we were reading.

I understand why they were used though, as fan fiction was such a key part of the story, just personally, I found them irritating.

The characters were developed well, particularly Cather and Wren, but also Levi and Reagan. I very much enjoyed seeing the relationships develop, particularly Cather and Levi, and Cather and Reagan.

I like the uniqueness of the idea, as to my knowledge there aren’t many other novels which have such a basis on fan fiction.

Jess Rothenberg – The Catastrophic History of You and Me

I’ve loved books ever since I was small, to the extent that as a small child one of two tantrums which occurred (one being the standard Toys R Us one that all toddlers have), the other being in the library. Me and Mum had already been in there for five hours when she had finally had enough. I hadn’t. Clinging onto the book box, Mum holding my feet – I think then she knew I’d always be a book lover. But along with that, I have a tendency to buy a book as a source of comfort, whenever I’m in doubt about things happening in my life. This was one of them for me.

I didn’t read it immediately though, saving it for my beach, sun, all-inclusive holiday to Tenerife. And so it was by the pool, on a blazing hot day, that I read ‘The Catastrophic History of You and Me’.

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Bree is fifteen and has just died. Of a broken heart no less. Her boyfriend broke up with her and after suffering from a minor heart condition for most of her life, her heart literally splits into two. But it isn’t over. With her guardian angel in the form of Patrick, another dead being, who helps her to get revenge on her ‘killer’ ex. But things get tricky when Bree discovers her boyfriend has moved on, but with someone she never expected.

Although taking a little while to get into, I did enjoy this book. I am a huge fan of books which look at life after death and the twists and turns which Bree and Patrick encounter I revelled in.

The twists and turns were pleasant, as it started out as a fairly straight-forward, predictable story, but then twisted into much more intense territory.

I liked the suspense of it, the moments where I found it so gripping that I was forgoing chances to cool off in the infinity pool to just find out what happened. That is good writing.

A stunning debut novel, will definitely look out for more of her writing.

Paige Toon – Pictures of Lily

England, Singapore, Sydney, Los Angeles, Amsterdam, Paris, Vienna, New York, Bejing…just a few of the amazing locations Paige Toon has used in her novels. And I’ve fallen in love with them all, despite having visited very few as she seems to take us there. Pictures of Lily, in contrast to the three written before it, is not quite so varied with locations. With both Johnny be Good and Chasing Daisy having main characters having to travel for their career, Pictures of Lily is more focused on Australia, from Adelaide to Sydney to be precise, and I fell deeply in love with Australia again as I read it.

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Synopsis:

Lily’s boyfriend Richard has just asked her to marry him. It should be the most amazing moment of her life, except her heart is somewhere else. With other man to be precise, ten years previously. The prologue introduces us to Richard’s proposal, and then for the beginning of the novel we are ten years earlier, with Lily, fifteen years old having been dragged from her London home to Adelaide, Australia to live with her Mum’s latest boyfriend. Lonely and homesick, Lily starts work at a local conservation park, and there she meets Ben, 28 years old and on paper completely wrong for her but she still falls for him. Back in present day, Lily has to let Ben go in order to move on with Richard…but can she ever forget the one that got away?

Review:

Pictures of Lily is unputdownable, literally. From start to finish I was totally sucked into her life. When I first started the book, I worried that from the point of view of a fifteen year old girl, the first part of the book would be almost unrelatable for me, let alone Paige Toon’s more middle aged fans but everyone remembers being fifteen and in love, whether its as deep as Lily’s love for Ben or not and the early parts of the book are actually what I enjoyed most.

Set at what I felt was a slower pace than her previous novels, notably Chasing Daisy where things develop a lot faster, it was a nice change to watch romance and the plot unfold in a different way.

For fans of Paige Toon, Pictures of Lily is also fantastic because it we get an insight into the life of a couple from Paige’s first novel, Lucy in the Sky as Lily’s fiancee Richard is best friends with Nathan. Its done in such a way that you don’t have to read Lucy in the Sky to read Pictures of Lily but it is a nice bonus for us hardcore Paige Toon fans.

Pictures of Lily is the ultimate ‘the one that got away’ story and from its torn heart opening to incredibly romantic ending, remains a love story through and through.

Paige Toon – Chasing Daisy

As any followers of my blog will be aware, I am a HUGE Paige Toon fan and am currently re-reading all of her books before I read her latest release, Thirteen Weddings. The first time I read Chasing Daisy, I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy it as much as I had her other books as its set mainly around the Grand Prix and I have never really followed motor racing… how wrong I was.

Synopsis:

Daisy and her best friend Holly are front of house girls for a formula one racing team, travelling the world with sexy racing drivers and your best friend for company sure sounds amazing right? Well it is, except Daisy is in love with Will – one of the teams race drivers but unfortunately for her he already has a girlfriend, a childhood sweetheart nonetheless, and Daisy’s crush just won’t go. You’d think Daisy would be wise enough to stop crushing on people involved in her work after her last encounter, with a Mr Johnny Jefferson nonetheless (yes the very same from Paige’s previous novel, Johnny Be Good). Luis, the other racing driver for the team who Daisy has a serious dislike for doesn’t approve of Daisy’s crush, and nor for that matter does Holly but she’s one to talk….

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Review:

As I said earlier, I didn’t think Chasing Daisy would be my cup of tea initially but having already read Lucy in the Sky and Johnny be Good, I figured I’d give it a go..and I’m very glad I did! Paige makes it so that even though much of the central parts of the story are set on the racing grounds, its more about whats happening with the characters than in the actual races (except where Will and Luis are involved of course!).

I’ve spoken before about my love of the location descriptions that Paige features in her novels, and in Chasing Daisy it takes it to a whole new level. As the story is centred around the Grand Prix and formula one racing, there is loads of exotic locations that they visit and Paige really makes you feel like your there with her descriptions.

The main characters in this novel also, all had me drawn in. I mean, I related to Daisy a lot naturally as the novel is set in first person and it would be difficult not to! But also Holly, Will and Luis, feeling drawn to each character and different times through Daisy’s close relationships with them. From beginning to end I feel each character is developed and overcomes something, for example Luis seems to be a bit of an ass in the beginning but by the end you find yourself doing a complete 180 on his character. Nice plot twist Paige!

I will just add, you will need a packet of tissues and maybe make sure your reading it when you have a couple of days off – you’ll need to read it in one go! Strongly recommend to any girl or woman out there!