Tag: Books: Contemporary


Review: Everything Beautiful Began After

Posted 25 May, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Everything Beautiful Began After
By: Simon van Booy
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

Rebecca is young, lost and beautiful. A gifted artist, she seeks solace and inspiration in the Mediterranean heat of Athens – trying to understand who she is and how she can love without fear. George has come to Athens to learn ancient languages after growing up in New England boarding schools and Ivy League colleges. He has no close relationships with anyone and spends his days hunched over books or in a drunken stupor. And then there is Henry, an accomplished young Welsh archaeologist who spends his days devotedly uncovering the city’s past as a way to escape his own – a past that holds a secret that not even his doting parents can talk about.

As these three lost and lonely souls wander the city, a series of chance encounters sets off events that will forever define them, in this powerful portrait of friendship and young love.

I have been eyeing this book for years, I don’t know why I didn’t pick it up sooner. I suppose I figured last year that it was high time I picked the book up so here I am, having read it at long last and reviewing it.

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Review: The Love Song of Queenie Hennessy

Posted 12 May, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy
By: Rachel Joyce
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

When Queenie Hennessy discovers that Harold Fry is walking the length of England to save her, and all she has to do is wait, she is shocked. Her note had explained she was dying. How can she wait?

A new volunteer at the hospice suggests that Queenie should write again; only this time she must tell Harold everything. In confessing to secrets she has hidden for twenty years, she will find atonement for the past. As the volunteer points out, ‘Even though you’ve done your travelling, you’re starting a new journey too.’

Queenie thought her first letter would be the end of the story. She was wrong. It was the beginning.

Ideally I had planned to re-read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (review) but as I was partly in a reading slump and just started reading the first pages of a few books on my TBR pile, this book grabbed my attention from the get-go. The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy I should note is a companion novel of sorts, unfolding simultaneously as Harold Fry is making his pilgrimage to see Queenie in person.

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Review: Beartown

Posted 24 April, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

Beartown
By: Fredrik Backman
Format/Source: Advanced Reading Copy courtesy of Simon & Schuster CA

Winning a junior ice hockey championship might not mean a lot to the average person, but it means everything to the residents of Beartown, a community slowly being eaten alive by unemployment and the surrounding wilderness. A victory like this would draw national attention to the ailing town: it could attract government funding and an influx of talented athletes who would choose Beartown over the big nearby cities. A victory like this would certainly mean everything to Amat, a short, scrawny teenager who is treated like an outcast everywhere but on the ice; to Kevin, a star player just on the cusp of securing his golden future in the NHL; and to Peter, their dedicated general manager whose own professional hockey career ended in tragedy.

At first, it seems like the team might have a shot at fulfilling the dreams of their entire town. But one night at a drunken celebration following a key win, something happens between Kevin and the general manager’s daughter—and the next day everything seems to have changed. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected. With so much riding on the success of the team, the line between loyalty and betrayal becomes difficult to discern. At last, it falls to one young man to find the courage to speak the truth that it seems no one else wants to hear.

Fredrik Backman knows that we are forever shaped by the places we call home, and in this emotionally powerful, sweetly insightful story, he explores what can happen when we carry the heavy weight of other people’s dreams on our shoulders.

I read A Man Called Ove (review) last year and greatly enjoyed it. I’ve been meaning to read his other books, but in the meantime I kindly received an advanced reading copy of his latest novel, Beartown. This book will be available on 25 April 2017.

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Review: Love, Rosie

Posted 15 February, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 6 Comments

Love, Rosie
By: Cecelia Ahern
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

What happens when two people who are meant to be together just can’t seem to get it right.

Rosie and Alex are destined for each other, and everyone seems to know it but them. Best friends since childhood, the are separated as teenagers when Alex and his family relocate from Dublin to Boston. Like two ships always passing in the night, Rosie and Alex stay friends, and though years pass, the two remain firmly attached via emails and letters. Heartbroken, they learn to live without each other. But destiny is a funny thing, and in this novel o f several missed opportunities, Rosie and Alex learn that fate isn’t quite done with them yet.

I’ve often seen Cecelia Ahern’s books floating around but never thought to pick them up, really. I did see the movie adaptation of this book earlier this year, which I thought was a cute enough watch, but when I saw the eBook on sale, I decided to pick it up and see how the original story compared (also, goodness knows I need some light reads peppered throughout my TBR pile; I’ve amassed a lot of hefty and chunkster titles lately). Contains some spoilers ahead (if you’ve seen the movie, you’re good)!

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Review: Close Enough to Touch

Posted 13 February, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

Close Enough to Touch
By: Colleen Oakley
Format/Source: Advanced Reading Copy courtesy of Simon & Schuster CA

One time a boy kissed me and I almost died…

And so begins the story of Jubilee Jenkins, a young woman with a rare and debilitating medical condition: she’s allergic to other humans. After a humiliating near-death experience in high school, Jubilee has become a recluse, living the past nine years in the confines of the small town New Jersey house her unaffectionate mother left to her when she ran off with a Long Island businessman. But now, her mother is dead, and without her financial support, Jubilee is forced to leave home and face the world—and the people in it—that she’s been hiding from.

One of those people is Eric Keegan, a man who just moved into town for work. With a daughter from his failed marriage who is no longer speaking to him, and a brilliant, if psychologically troubled, adopted son, Eric’s struggling to figure out how his life got so off-course, and how to be the dad—and man—he wants so desperately to be. Then, one day, he meets a mysterious woman named Jubilee, with a unique condition…

Close Enough to Touch is an evocative, poignant, and heartrending exploration of the power and possibilities of the human heart.

The premise of this novel fascinated me so much that I requested an ARC to read. This book will be available on 14 February 2017.

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