My Review: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

20170404I won’t lie. It took me a while to get into this novel but at the end of the day I have to say I really did enjoy it! I’ve heard a few friends mention that they didn’t care for it because they kept waiting for something to happen….maybe that’s why I did end up enjoying it so much…I finally stopped trying to figure out any surprises or to look for something to happen….let’s face it…the story itself is what is happening….from start to finish life and the end of life is happening….this is one of those rare books that you don’t have to look for the unexpected. You don’t have to follow a storyline of ups and downs…you just need to sit back and follow along in the life of the day of survivors of an epidemic that has wiped out the majority of Earth’s population.

However, if you think this is a novel about a post-apocalyptic world you would think wrong. This is a novel about what it means to be human. About what it means to remain human in the face of adversity…

I believe that with the success of this book that there will be a second novel….it would be wonderful if we are lucky enough for Mandel to grace us with another…I would love to hear more about Station Eleven. I would love for all the characters to meet up at some point…having said that, don’t go into this feeling you might be disappointed with a storyline that didn’t end….remember! This isn’t that type of book….

It’s well worth the investment of your time….

Review copy provided by Netgalley for an honest review

My Review: Missing You by Harlan Coben

18114060OKAY!!!!!!!! LISTEN UP!!!!! YOU!!!!! YEA!!!! YOU!!!!! What are your plans for today? Well…whatever they are, forget them…ditch them….change them….You need to be first in line to buy this newest thriller from Harlan Coben…..no, seriously…I’m not kidding! This was a fantastic read!!!! I think it might be my favourite Coben yet, and I’ve been a mad fan for years!

Here we have a story about Kat….a NYPD detective. After a close friend signs up the single Kat for an online dating service, she stumbles across an old flame. This one simple act, combined with the imminent death of her father’s convicted killer sets Kat off to question events in her past that have always remained a mystery…to ask questions that might be best left unasked….to seek answers she might not be able to live with…..along this road of discovery she also stumbles upon a questionable missing persons case….and from there all hell breaks loose….

And that is all I am going to spill…..

This novel has lots of puzzle pieces for you to figure out. Although you are able to fit the pieces together, piece by piece, you’re still unsure of what the overall picture is….you’re also missing that one very important puzzle piece…..even when it’s all solved, you still won’t see everything until the last possible minute….that’s right….you need to read this one to the end…..and just listen up….it’s worth your time and your trouble…..this is a heart racing read…the further you read, the more your heart is going to race….near the end, you’re certain to be fighting yourself to slow down and actually read the pages and not just race ahead to see what happens….

This is a solid 5 star read for me….It might not be the best book I’ve read but I wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up being the most suspenseful and exciting read of the year!

Have you cleared your calendar yet? Hurry up and read this one!

ARC provided by NetGallery for an honest review

My Review: The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

23346496This was a cute and often funny book. It was also predictable. I don’t mind predictable. Sometimes we all need that in our lives. Heck at one point the author points out that very thing. However, my complaint with this novel is that at times the author really seemed to “force” quirkiness into this novel. For me it felt almost as if Bivald sought out some quirky traits that everyone would love and forced them into the characters of the novel, instead of making characters that we would all love and filling them with quirky traits….I realise that for many readers there might not be a difference, however for me there was. That is where the book let me down.

Regardless of that I loved the story. So many wonderful quotes as well. Some of the quotes were well worth the time it took for me to read this novel.

I don’t know if this was a debut novel for Katarina Bivald or not, but regardless, it read like one to me….in saying that I hope I don’t take away from someone wanting to check out the book, because it simply means that I look forward to reading more by this author. I can’t wait to see her grow more confident with her talent and going with that. Perhaps she forced nothing and it’s just the way the book turned out…however, it’s something I expect won’t be there in future novels….

Perhaps, my review left you uninspired to pick up this novel. I hope not. It really was a fun read. To prove it I’ll hopefully tantalize you with some quotes, just so you know that Bivald really does have some promising talent…

Sara had never believe that you had to meet friends—many of her most rewarding relationships had been with people who didn’t even exist—

It’s funny, the way we talk about terrorism nowadays as though only Muslims and Arabs threaten our society. I’m afraid my understanding of terrorism was shaped long before September 11. It was the fear, the arbitrariness, the violence that affected people indiscriminately—even those who said they didn’t want to get involved or had no intention of fighting against segregation. For me, terrorism is still the image of white men, people active in society, standing over the charcoaled, lynched body of a black man and looking pleased with their work. John says I think about historic injustices too much. Maybe he’s right, but it’s just that it doesn’t feel historic to me. We never seem to be able to accept responsibility for these injustices. First, we say that’s just how things are, then we shrug our shoulders and say that’s just how things were, that things are different now. No thanks to us, I want to reply, but no one ever seems to want to hear that….That day I got him drunk, he said it was the first place he hadn’t felt afraid. Do you understand now? How can something like that be forgiven?

It was, in many ways, her dream bookshop. Not least because all the books had already been read. Books that had already been read were the best. She hadn’t always thought that.

Books or people you ask…I can’t for the life of me explain why I have the bad sense to prefer people. If you went purely by numbers, then books would win hands down. I’ve loved maybe a handful of people in my entire life, compared with tens or maybe even hundreds of books (and here I’m counting only those books I’ve really loved, the kind that make you happy just to look at them, that make you smile regardless of what else is happening in your life, that you always turn back to like an old friend and can remember exactly where you first “met” them—I’m sure you know just what I’m talking about). But that handful of people you love…they’re surely worth just as much as all of those books.

Finally, this gem…

There’s always a person for every book. And a book for every person.

ARC provided by NetGallery for an honest review

My Review: Unraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent

19099368 (1)One of the better books I’ve read in quite a while. You’re completely hooked from the first line…

I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her

What an opening line! The rest of the book does not disappoint. There really are no lulls in this story. The first chapter is told in Oliver’s voice and of course from the opening line we know what he has done.

So how many times have we wondered how someone could harm another person that they claimed to love? Have you ever heard something shocking about someone you know? Have you felt disbelief? Or are you completely unsurprised by their actions?

The rest of the book alternates between people who have known Oliver…either as child, teenager or an adult. All of their memories and encounters with Oliver paint a very complex portrait.

From the very start with Oliver’s nonchalant and matter-of-fact justifications we are left feeling very cold towards him. His lack of compassion and empathy is downright startling. It allows the reader to instantly hate Oliver and you have no problems at all distancing yourself from him.

As the book progresses and you see Oliver in different stages of his life…well, you can’t help but to be drawn in a bit closer to him….

Are people born bad? Or do events and experiences make them so?

At the end of this story you’re not sure if you hate Oliver completely or if a small part of you feels sorry for him. At some point I knew I can’t change my mind on my feelings….but I am stuck sat here and wondered if just one instance had been different….one turn different, what type of man would Oliver have turned out to be? Or is that really just more of Oliver’s nonchalant and matter-of-fact justifications trying to sway you? Even though he at no point makes any excuses for his behaviour…after all….it is what it is….

This is a disturbing read. But in such a good way. It was original. And best of all….it leaves the reader with shadows of the book haunting them long after the last page ends. Nugent has left me wanting more. I hope she graces us with another book soon. I didn’t really care for the ending…but that doesn’t bother me as much as it does some readers….after all….life doesn’t always turn out as you would like it either…

______________________________

After thinking about this book a couple of days I have one more thing to add….

I wonder if we’re meant to hate Oliver from the start….If his voice led off the story to make us bias towards him. Nugent has done a brilliant thing here….I mean, though out the rest of the story I found myself looking for the bad in Oliver. I was looking for him to burn a kitten in the woods whilst he was in school. I was looking for some type…any type of cruelty….to justify how I pictured him in my mind. To show me a hint of the man he was as he told his tale.

It wasn’t there….

I am reminded of studies I have heard about….how we label individuals. Even professionals. One example in a study had doctors pose as a mentally ill person. They were admitted to a hospital after they displayed mental health tendencies. After they were admitted, they dropped the act and were their normal selves. Even though they were sane and logical, the workers and the doctors refused to see them as anything other than mentally ill. They ignored the evidence that said this person is not mentally ill….and instead sought to justify the label of mental illness….

My random musings of all this is to just point out…..

Did I hate Oliver and think he is vile based on the label I placed on him from the start? Did I completely overlook the child that he was simply because of the man he became? If we had read the story in chronological order, would we feel different about the entire novel?

See!!!!!!!!!! That’s what type of book this is! It doesn’t leave you in peace…days later you will still be thinking about it and asking yourself questions…..

Just saying…..

Review copy provided by Netgalley for an honest review

Buy it now Unraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent

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