Synopsis

Sabine is a girl with a secret. Sure all teenage girls have secrets. Boys they are crushing on; homework or tests that they have not studied for or cheated on but these pale in comparison to Sabine’s secret. If Sabine’s secret is found out then she would be in some serious trouble.

You see, Sabine has two lives. In both worlds she is a normal teenage girl, in both she is 18 and in both she is ready to graduate. One world does seem better than the other and Sabine seems determined to just live the one life. However, her plans for this are knocked on their head when she falls in love.

Review

Between the Lives is a quirky entry into the dystopian YA fiction genre that has garnered much popularity over the past few years. Actually, I would go as far as to say that it is an innovative approach to storytelling. Initially, I was dubious as to how this would work and I was waiting for a crack to appear in the story to make me start to disbelieve and/or lose interest in the characters but

Shirivington manages to create to very real but very separate worlds as well as giving her protagonist Sabine reason enough to be unhappy with her existence. She draws upon the power of societal roles to create an impression of ease, and equally, discomfort – i.e. how being popular in high school and coming from money can be seen as a privilege whereas in her other life Sabine doesn’t have the same style of upbringing.

Overall, Between the Lives is a very interesting read with a good strong and likeable protagonist who you do empathise with. The story does throw you a lot of twists and often at breakneck speed. However, I did guess parts of the ending before they happened which isn’t a bad thing but did make me wonder if it could have been written differently. If I am totally honest, I would have liked Between the Lives to have been the beginning of a series and I genuinely think Shirvington could have accomplished that with a different ending.

Between the Lives by Jessica Shirvington is available now.

BTL-UK

Synopsis

Can two people from different worlds be together? It seems that maybe they can. When Ben’s PR company take on Effy’s cause as part of their charity scheme the two seem like polar opposites; Ben, the high flying executive with the fancy apartment and expensive car and Effy, the driving force behind a new charity to fund the set up of hospitals in the desperately deprived Uganda.

Yet despite their differences, these two fall for each other, they fall hard. As with life, the course of true love never runs smoothly. A secret about Ben’s job threatens not only their relationship but all the hard work that Effy has done.

Can Effy and Ben survive this?

Review

Jessica Thompson has only bloody done it again. I absolutely loved her first two books (This is a Love Story and Three Little Words) and I have waited ever so patiently for the release of Paper Swans. The wait was worth it.

Thompson, somewhat ironically, has a flawless way of writing flawed characters. She does so in a way that you cannot help but empathise with them. Ben is essentially a mess. Broken by events of his past that he hasn’t ever dealt with and yet his so called perfect life would lead anyone to believe that he doesn’t have a care in the world. Effy is a beautiful girl who sees the good in everything…until that thing lets her down. She wants things to be perfect, to right and good and when Ben shows a tiny chink in his armour she feels too let down to carry on. It takes the full story for them to both realise perfection isn’t something that you can achieve.

With Paper Swans, Thompson had me chuckling away to myself, getting angry and telling the characters off and also swooning at the loveliness of certain chapters. What she also manages to do is raise awareness of a serious topic. The theme that runs throughout this novel is one of mental health and the stigma attached to it. What Thompson tries to do, and in my opinion does quite successfully, is show that it isn’t a certain stereotype that can suffer with mental health problems. She shows that the world of mental health covers a wide spectrum and none of us are immune to needing a little help from time to time.

The symbolism of swans was really clever especially when used as an allegory for Ben who seemed to be gliding through life seamlessly whilst working his backside off just to stay afloat. And with the swans, who mate for life, representing the ever lasting love that he wants to have with Effy was seamlessly interwoven into the story and once again shows Thompson’s skill.

Thompson’s stories are beautiful, romantic and full of heart but more than that they have the backbone of contentious issues which distinguish her stories from those of her contemporaries.

Paper Swans by Jessica Thompson is available now.

 

Synopsis

Can two people from different worlds be together? It seems that maybe they can. When Ben’s PR company take on Effy’s cause as part of their charity scheme the two seem like polar opposites; Ben, the high flying executive with the fancy apartment and expensive car and Effy, the driving force behind a new charity to fund the set up of hospitals in the desperately deprived Uganda.

Yet despite their differences, these two fall for each other, they fall hard. As with life, the course of true love never runs smoothly. A secret about Ben’s job threatens not only their relationship but all the hard work that Effy has done.

Can Effy and Ben survive this?

Review

Jessica Thompson has only bloody done it again. I absolutely loved her first two books (This is a Love Story and Three Little Words) and I have waited ever so patiently for the release of Paper Swans. The wait was worth it.

Thompson, somewhat ironically, has a flawless way of writing flawed characters. She does so in a way that you cannot help but empathise with them. Ben is essentially a mess. Broken by events of his past that he hasn’t ever dealt with and yet his so called perfect life would lead anyone to believe that he doesn’t have a care in the world. Effy is a beautiful girl who sees the good in everything…until that thing lets her down. She wants things to be perfect, to right and good and when Ben shows a tiny chink in his armour she feels too let down to carry on. It takes the full story for them to both realise perfection isn’t something that you can achieve.

With Paper Swans, Thompson had me chuckling away to myself, getting angry and telling the characters off and also swooning at the loveliness of certain chapters. What she also manages to do is raise awareness of a serious topic. The theme that runs throughout this novel is one of mental health and the stigma attached to it. What Thompson tries to do, and in my opinion does quite successfully, is show that it isn’t a certain stereotype that can suffer with mental health problems. She shows that the world of mental health covers a wide spectrum and none of us are immune to needing a little help from time to time.

The symbolism of swans was really clever especially when used as an allegory for Ben who seemed to be gliding through life seamlessly whilst working his backside off just to stay afloat. And with the swans, who mate for life, representing the ever lasting love that he wants to have with Effy was seamlessly interwoven into the story and once again shows Thompson’s skill.

Thompson’s stories are beautiful, romantic and full of heart but more than that they have the backbone of contentious issues which distinguish her stories from those of her contemporaries.

Paper Swans by Jessica Thompson is available now.

 

This week was a week of good books. I managed to make my way through the majority of my TBR pile from last week and I managed to read two of my own books that were not specifically for review (although technically I did review one of them but you know what I mean).

This week I read:

The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories by Marina Keegan

What Would Mary Berry Do? by Claire Sandy

The Library of Unrequited Love by Sophie Divry

The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger

The Atlas of Us by Tracy Buchanan

Every single one of them was brilliant in their own way. What I have noticed about myself through reading this selection of books is that my taste in literature has matured over the past few years. Don’t get me wrong I do enjoy a good light hearted chick lit but a lot of the books that I have read lately have been a lot weightier. The themes and plotlines are dark, twisty and a lot of the time they are unresolved. So, Kudos to me and my reading maturity.

This week’s TBR pile looks a little like this:

Paper Swans by Jessica Thompson (Physical Copy)

Between the Lives by Jessica Shrivington (NetGalley)

A Song for Issy Bradley by Carys Bray (NetGalley)

Boy About Town by Tony Flectcher (Physical Copy)

Chelsea Bird by Virginia Ironside (NetGalley)

I hope you all have a really good reading week.

L x x

Synopsis

How far would you go for the one you love the most? The clever tagline that graces the front cover of The Atlas of Us makes you instantly think of far off places and adventures but it also means how much would you do for those you love.

For Louise Fenton this means travelling halfway across the world to a disaster area to find her mother Nora who was in Thailand when the tsunami struck.

Meanwhile, Jay, a journalist is looking for his friend Claire Shreve who was also there on that fateful day. Both of the ladies seem to be connected but neither Jay nor Louise knows how. It is through Louise’s determination and desperation to find her mother that this heartbreaking family mystery gets uncovered.

Review

It has been an awfully long while since a writer has had my pulse racing but that is exactly what Tracy Buchanan’s The Atlas of Us managed to do. The drama and drive of this novel created a feeling of panic and urgency within me as I read from chapter to chapter, voraciously talking in the story and getting mad at my own eyes for not being able to read any more quickly.

The storylines were so delicately woven and each time a new plot twist happened I was genuinely shocked; I didn’t see any of them coming and, believe me, there were plenty to choose from. The characters, though each ultimately flawed in some way were easy to root for. For example, Milo seemed so beaten by life, constantly trying to do right by everyone but ultimately letting himself down; Louise just wanted to fix the past but time and ultimately a natural disaster prevented her from doing so.

Overall, The Atlas of Us does everything a good book is supposed to do. It held my attention, it had me genuinely worried for the outcome of the characters – heck it even had me cheering them on to bigger and better things and Buchanan managed to take me to far off distant places that I have no other way of knowing. I travelled with this book from the confines of my own bedroom. The Atlas of Us is a truly accomplished novel.

The Atlas of Us by Tracy Buchanan is available now.

The atlas of us pb font