Friday, 22 April 2011

Guest Post and Review:The Last Good Place of Lily Odilon

Firstly, I wrote a rather person guest post for the lovely Clover, which can be found here. I'm still not finding myself on the right track reading-wise but I am getting some reading done so it's better than nothing.

book cover of   The Last Good Place of Lily Odilon   by  Sara Beitia
This was a rather random acquisition of mine, I'd seen it mentioned somewhere online and then decided to purchase the e-book whilst at a loose end last week. Rather unusually for me I bought and read this book within a matter of days, whereas a lot of the time I am 'desperate' to read a certain book only to have it sit neglected for eons until it's the 'right' time to read it. Anyway, I found the combination of the intriguing premise, good title and moody cover were not to be resisted.

Lily Odilon shifts between the present and the recent past and fills in gaps as it goes. All of the events unravel from Arthur's perspective, and I found it refreshing to read a YA from a male perspective. The action revolves around the enigma of Arthur's girlfriend Lily and her mysterious disappearance in the middle of the night.

There were several compelling parts of this book and a couple which were less so. I really liked piecing together a picture of Lily, as although at the centre of the book she is only seen through the memories of others and even by the end of the book I didn't feel like I was under her skin. I liked this because it was exactly the kind of character Lily was shown to be throughout, a damaged and unstable girl that had that certain something.

I also loved the use of memory and the 'gaps' in Lily's memories that contribute a lot of suspense to the story. It's difficult to go into detail about this aspect without giving away parts of the story but I liked seeing the fragile side of Lily and how she hid this from others, and I thought her diary was an excellent prop.

The things I didn't like so much were the rushed ending and generally the character of Arthur. He was only developed in relation to Lily so while we heard plenty of back story for her there was hardly any real personality behind Arthur and while I get he's meant to be a normal guy propelled into a crazy situation he was too cowardly and indecisive for me. The ending brings my rating for the book down from a 4 out of 5 to a 3.5 because after waiting for the whole book to find out what had happened to Lily there was such a rushed ending it fell massively flat.

I definitely enjoyed this book and it does tackle some tough subjects and it has some real moments of tension, but an extra 20 pages to explain things more would have created a more lasting impression for me.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Jenny Colgan-Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe

book cover of   Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe   by  Jenny Colgan

Apologies for my lack of posts lately, I haven't been writing because I haven't been reading, or at least finishing books. I must have read a bit of about five different books but nothing stuck for me. Thankfully the book drought seems to be over as I finished this rather delightful book today.

'Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe' is Jenny Colgan's twelfth book and the first of hers I've read. Aesthetically it is such a pretty book and I love the title too. About 6 years ago I read a wonderful book called 'Sophie's Bakery for the Broken Hearted' by Lolly Winston and when I discovered this book I hoped I'd find something similar. Although the story here is more gentle it's certainly engaging and completely absorbing.

The story centres around Issy, a rather wallflower type character who has inherited her love of baking from her Grandfather. When she gets made redundant from her job as an estate agency, she decides to invest her redundancy money into starting her own business. The chapters are integrated with tried and tested cake recipes which I loved, and as the book progresses the reader gets to follow Issy on her journey to success.

Like all good girlie stories there is a suitably hopeless lovelife with a completely vacuous git as well as a rather dreamy alternative with some interesting baggage. Issy's friend Helena and colleagues Pearl and Caroline are always on-hand with both sage and, often unwanted, advice. As 'Meet me at the Cupcake Cafe' is a rather long book I felt I could really get immersed in the story and the pacing felt just right. Issy's business doesn't go from zero to hero overnight and this made the story completely credible. Issy is a really easy to like and everyday character and her Grandfather is lovingly developed.

This book definitely put a smile on my face (as well as making me desperate to try all of the cakes it mentions!) and got me out of my reading slump. I really want to attempt following one of the recipes now and I would definitely recommend this to anyone who likes romantic stories, particularly if you share my sweet tooth!

Four Stars

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Guest Post

I've helped out with 'Translation Month' at Mostly Reading YA's blog, my review is here if you care to take a look:
I will have some reviews coming up this week but I've fallen into a bit of a book slump so things are moving rather slowly.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Branching Out A.K.A My First Manga

So every now and then I surprise myself by reading something 'outside the box' on a whim and really enjoying it. I like to think my tastes are pretty varied already but I sometimes get into a bit of a genre rut and need something new to work its magic on me. After reading several fantastic books in a row recently I stumbled over what to read next. I spotted this new volume, (which combines the first two books), and was taken in by the black cover and black edges. Sometimes a pretty cover is just enough y'know?

So, the story? It goes something like this. Light Yagami is a model student and a seemingly ordinary teenager until a twist of fate lands a Shinigami death god's 'death note' into his lap. The death note in question is a notebook which, once you record a person's name in it they die. As the books progress the reader discovers more 'rules' of the death note and ways the owner can control the deaths and their victims.

As Light becomes increasingly addicted to the control the death note gives him a parallel story begins to develop chronicling the police investigation into the deaths of multiple criminals all over Japan (all victims of Light's death note of course).

I was hooked by the questions 'Death Note' raises about right and wrong. After all, at least initially Light's victims are criminals, many of whom are murderers so he sees his act as a positive one for the country and regards himself as the saviour of humankind. As Light becomes consumed by his power and control things slip and the line becomes more blurred.

Although this omnibus ends in the thick of the action I can't wait to read more and I'm glad I broke out of my mould! As a result I've also borrowed a few graphic novels from the library so I can rediscover those too.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

March in Books

I haven't posted anything for over a week, I have been reading but I haven't felt compelled to review anything so while I wait to feel inspired I thought I'd do an overview of March instead.
Here are the books I managed in March:


I really enjoyed almost all of the books I read this month so it's been a good one, although I usually find if I'm not enjoying a book I'll just put it aside in favour of something else, life is just too short to read books I'm not committed to !
My favourite reads this month were 'Rockoholic' by C. J Skuse and 'Anna and the French Kiss' by Stephanie Perkins. At the moment I'm in two minds about if it's worth reviewing 'Delirium' because I've seen so many reviews of it already, but I might do some mini-reviews and include it there.

At the moment I don't have any concrete plans for my reading in April, but as I have 10 days off work I'm hoping I can tackle one of the lengthy books I've been postponing!