Review: The Rosie Effect

I had originally read the first in the series The Rosie Project. I had loved it and was happy to hear there was a sequel.

Except part of me wishes I didn’t read the second book. It ruined the happiness I felt for the first book and Don and Rosie’s relationship. I loved Don as a character, although he has his flaws (and he has many), I just wanted to take him under my wing as he tried to salvage his marriage and tried his hardest in his own way to fulfil the baby project.

There were still brilliant scenes in which Don gets himself in trouble by just being himself as usual. But this time it felt like the humour was lacking. It was also hard to like Rosie because of her behaviour. It’s a shame she was made into the raging hormonal crazy pregnant lady.

Overall it wasn’t an awful book, but because I loved the first one so much, my expectations were a little too high for the sequel which led to disappointment. It was nice to revisit their lives a couple of years later (for me, not them) and I enjoyed the ending. I just can’t decide whether ignorance really is bliss in this case…so three owls.

ThreeOwls

Annmarie xoxo

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Review: Hummingbird and the Bear – Nicholas Hogg

I originally picked this book up at a charity shop a couple of years back, but have only gotten around to reading it now.

I think the main reason I didn’t feel comfortable about this book was because it was based on adultery. It was only at the end of the book did I feel bad for everyone, well nearly everyone, but mostly Jenni. It wasn’t the ending I was expecting, so I have to hand it to Hogg for that.

I did think it was written well, and I loved that the chapters were short as I often read on my commutes into/out of work, so it’s always annoying when I have to get off the tube and I’m midway through a chapter, or worse – a page. Even though I disagreed with the book morally, the way it was written did keep me gripped and interested until the end.

I give it two owls.

TwoOwls

Annmarie xoxo

Review: Starter for Ten – David Nicholls

Now I love gameshows, have always been a huge fan of them, still love flicking through Challenge to watch old gameshows. But one show I’ve never been able to get into is University Challenge. It’s one of those shows that makes me feel really stupid, and it’s an achievement if I can get one of the question right.

The book had me laughing throughout, mainly at Brian’s faux pas, especially when he’s around Alice’s parents. It also got me very reminiscent of my freshers year at University. From the parties in halls, to going to lectures and feeling like you’re completely stupid and wondered how you got there as you stare blankly at the slides not understanding a word of what the lecturer is talking about. I think he captured freshers really well. I couldn’t stand Alice though. I kept wanting to protect Brian from her knowing how the story was inevitable going to end for him. I loved Rebecca’s sass. The only negative was that I felt the ending was very abrupt.

I didn’t know that it was adapted into a film, until I started this review. Now of course I was going to watch it because…James McAvoy. 😉 It was really good, and I didn’t feel that the film ruined the book. Yes parts of it was missed out but it didn’t have a huge impact on the story. Although I’d say the film made Spencer into the main bad guy (excluding Patrick).

I give this four owls.

FourOwls

Annmarie xoxo

Review: Us – David Nicholls

The first review of the year, about the last book I read last year!

I started this book sometime in October / November? But I couldn’t get into it. There was a long pause where I honestly forgot it existed until mid-December, and it laid underneath a pile of French textbooks. I didn’t have that sense of urgency. The need to turn to the next page at the end of a chapter because I had to know what was next. The internal battle of deciding to read on and sacrifice sleep, or to listen to the voice of reason and get my arse into bed!

I think I probably owe finishing it to the long commutes on public transport and trying to escape from the feeling of being trapped as a sardine on the tube or bus.

I don’t know if it’s because I loved ‘One Day’ and so expected this book would be on par with it. But I couldn’t support any of the characters, there was no one I wanted to root for. Even if the obvious choice was Douglas. Originally I felt sorry for Douglas, it felt like he was always the scapegoat, always the bad guy when it came to Albie and Connie. Although much of Albie’s behaviour could probably come under the norm for a teenager, he was very manipulative in the sense of playing his parents against each other. But at the same time I found Douglas’ personality infuriating as well, cocky even as if his upbring and logic was above that of his artistic wife and son. It was just obvious from the start that a rigorously structured tour through Europe with your partner who wants a divorce and your son who hates you was never going to end well!

I can’t fault the writing, it was well written. Although I did feel a little self concious reading a chapter entitled ‘sex dungeon’ on a crowded bus! I don’t know if it was Nicholls’ intention to create unlikeable characters. A way to show realistically marriage isn’t a fairytale, and when it breaks down it can be ugly and no one’s perfect, no one’s faultless. I did enjoy the parts where they were travelling, and wish the book was mainly that and less about the characters.

I give this book two owls.

TwoOwls

Annmarie xoxo

Noughts and Crosses series – Malorie Blackman

As well as Harry Potter, the Noughts and Crosses series was my favourite books growing up. I remember my best friend at the time reading the first book when we were 11 and wanting to eagerly read it too, so went to the bookshop and used my book tokens to purchase not only the first book but all three (talk about a risky investment!).

I was immediately hooked on Sephy and Callum’s story. Set in a dystopian universe, with history reversed – crosses (blacks) ruling society and noughts (whites) previously enslaved. There was something that really struck me about these books. It was the first very real teenage book I had read. Although it was a story predominately about love, there was also: racism, discrimination, hate, terrorism, politics, gangs/postcode wars (something you used to hear a lot about in London when I was a kid), and addiction.

One reason for this is:

Do I feel this is appropriate subject matter for Young Adults? Yes, I most certainly do. The assertion by some individuals that ignorance in our children and young adults is preferable to knowledge and debate is astounding, not to mention frightening. No, I’m not saying that anything goes when it comes to children. Stories have to be age appropriate. This is not so much a question of subject matter but a question of how a particular story is told.

Malorie Blackman

All the characters were really powerful, but flawed, like humans are and their lives were complex with actions neither black or white just vast fields of grey. Just as real life is like. Though there were obviously evil characters (Jude), for some reason, you can’t help but pity him. Knowing society is complicated and by continuously being let down since a child by those in power, its no wonder he becomes the person he is.

The character that resonated with me the most was Callie-Rose. Being mixed race myself, I know what it feels like to be both black and white, and neither at the same time. I remember growing up you’d get stupid questions such as ‘if you had to choose a line to be under black or white, which one?’ and not having an answer because I didn’t classify myself as more of one than the other. There isn’t a line down the middle of me that separates the two races, nor am I a zebra. My school friends used to mock me (friendly banter) as I tick the ‘other’ ‘other mixed-race’ box whenever a form asks that question. But I like it, it adds a bit of mystery to me, it also makes me more unique!

One thing I always wonder is how different my life would be if Noughts and Crosses was real (I know, racism hasn’t been abolished and is still very real). In the 22 years of my life (nearly 23), I’ve only had one racist remark thrown at me. Although it shouldn’t have offended me as I’m not even of that race, I was still taken back by it.

Even though it’s been 11 years since I first read these books, they’ve still stuck with me.

Annmarie xoxo

Review: If I Stay – Gayle Forman

I wanted to read this book because I kept seeing the trailers for the film pop-up earlier in the year and thought it looked interesting.

On a day that started like any other…
Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, adoring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices. Then, in an instant, almost all of that is taken from her. Caught between life and death, between a happy past and an unknowable future, Mia spends one critical day contemplating the one decision she has left—the most important decision she’ll ever make.
Simultaneously tragic and hopeful, this is a romantic, riveting and ultimately uplifting story about memory, music, living, dying, loving.

Except I didn’t really enjoy it. It was definitely an easy read, partially because there’s not that much going on. The reason I probably didn’t enjoy it though is that I’m probably not it’s target audience. I’m not a chick-flick type of person. I could understand if you were a teenage girl into chick-flicks why you would love this book. Especially the way her and her boyfriend would do anything for each other, to the point where he pulls idiotic stunts in an ICU…ahem I mean romantic? Usually I become very emotionally invested in fictional characters, but I honestly couldn’t care less about the main characters following the accident.

Not surprisingly I give this book, one lonely owl.

OneOwl
Annmarie xoxo

Review: The Rosie Project (Book)

Eleven pages, that’s all it took for me to love this book.

Don Tillman is an Associate Professor of genetics at the University of Melbourne, he is a man who runs a tight schedule, a creature of habit and tends not to beat around the bush. He has traits of Asperger (although not explicitly mentioned, it’s also hinted to him). To fans of The Big Bang Theory he is Sheldon!!

Don wants to get married. To find his wife he creates an elaborate questionnaire, designed to find his perfect wife, and limit social faux pas caused by the highly ineffective world of dating.  However, Rosie a tardy, vegetarian barmaid who smokes is thrown in as a wild card, and Don’s world is suddenly turned upside down. There’s one thing he is sure of though, Rosie is not the one.

I loved this book, I couldn’t put it down. *Spoilers*

The book reminded me a little of Pygmalion/My Fair Lady/Pretty Woman, with the transformation of Don into a suitable partner. However, I loved that Rosie never once wanted to fix Don. She loved him for all of his little quirks. She’s also tough and confidence, and Don and Rosie complement each other in so many ways.

I loved when they were in New York, I really want to travel in that style. Can I have someone like Rosie as a travel buddy please?

One of the interesting things was reading a romantic book written from a man’s perspective, instead of the usual female. I couldn’t help myself fan-girling at moments when I thought Rosie and Don would get together.

Funny enough, if Don was Sheldon, would Rosie then be Penny? Not sure (as much as a love Sheldon and Penny) it would work…Penny would kill him one day…unless Amy caught onto this all first and killed Penny.

Annmarie xoxo