Book Reviews

Don’t You Forget About Me

I loved Don’t You Forget About Me so much. I’ve read a few of Mhairi McFarlane’s books before – and I’ve reserved two at the library to take on my upcoming holiday. She has this amazing ability to make each situation feel real as well as hilarious. This story tells the tale of Georgina – a nearly 30-year-old woman stuck in a rut. Due to personal circumstances, she quit university and stumbles in and out of disaster jobs for the next ten years. Her family is concerned with where she’s ended up and a disaster with her love-life makes her reevaluate some things. We learn that Georgina had an intense relationship with her first love at sixth-form but the flashback at the beginning leaves the story unfinished – how and why did the relationship end? Flash-forward and she’s forced to come face to face with him again, though not all is as it seems. We gradually learn that Georgina has suffered some traumas throughout her life and has to face up to her past. A subplot of the novel deals with Georgina coming to terms with a personal bereavement, and as I have personal experience with this, I found the way McFarlane talked about it spot-on; it really gave me some food for thought. There were a number of times that I properly laughed at loud with this book – it always happens when I’m on a packed train – and I encourage anyone to give it a go. It’s a hilarious and thoughtful story about first love and second chances. The fact that the title is a reference to one of my favourite 80s songs – and a regular mainstay at Ultimate Power – only made me love it more.



Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

Book Reviews

Oh my god, what a complete Aisling!

I absolutely loved this book by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen. It tells the story of 28-year-old Aisling, a small town girl at heart, who tries to survive in the big smoke of Dublin.

She is hilarious and as so many reviews have said, if you don’t know a girl like Aisling, it’s probably because you are one. I could see so much of myself in her – being a smallish-town girl myself with some Irish blood in me. Aisling is so sensible – the kind of girl that will always take a jacket with her (that sounds familiar to me) and definitely wouldn’t ever get a parking fine. I even had a Forever Friends duvet just like her. She gets herself into hilarious situations that had me laughing out loud on the train.  She’s such an endearing character that you’ll learn to love – an Irish Bridget Jones for the 21st century.

Anyone who has grown up in the country and moved to a big city will recognise the characters in Aisling’s hometown and remember the struggles as you try and shake off the country girl habits. Having a lot of Irish family meant that I understood a lot of the jokes and slang but I’m not going to lie, I did need to look up a few, but I now feel confident that I can speak the lingo the next time I visit the Emerald Isle. I can’t wait to read the sequel – there’s also talk of a film – as this was a hilarious and heart-warming read.

Photo by Amy Reed on Unsplash

Book Reviews

One Day in December

Don’t worry; this isn’t a winter or Christmas blog post. It just so happens that my next book review is a story that features some key moments in December, hence the photo choice. I absolutely fell in love with this book by Josie Silver. I read it every second I could on the train and on my lunch-break, desperate to get to the end and find out what happened. It’s the story of Laurie who falls in love at first sight – something she never believed in – and spends a year desperate to find her mysterious man. She finally finds him, although not in the way she expects to.

I constantly had my heart in my mouth throughout. I am a true romantic at heart so I was willing Laurie and Jack to get together, though I will not reveal if they did. The book does have a sense of One Day by David Nicholls about it as you follow the characters for nearly ten years and as One Day is one of my favourite books, you’ll hear no complaint from me.

The characters felt so real to me and every near miss that they had made perfect sense, though it does make you want to shout at them sometimes to get their act together. That first glance is so realistic and at the same time feels like something out of a classic movie. I really look forward to reading more by Josie Silver and if you love love stories, I highly recommend this book.

Apologies for my sporadic blog posts at the moment and thanks so much for sticking with me.

Book Reviews

The Cursed Wife

The Elizabethan thriller The Cursed Wife by Pamela Hartshorne is a change of direction from my usual genre. With the historical setting, I couldn’t resist. It tells the story of Mary and Cat as we slowly uncover their past and understand why their lives are irreconcilably intertwined. The theme of Mary being cursed follows her throughout the novel and is tied to the doll she keeps with her; this doll seems to have powers of its own and changes its expression to foreshadow events, a subtle but terrifying addition.

The trouble that Mary finds herself in is mostly not her fault and you really for her as she struggles to keep her perfect life together. It’s a story of self-fulfilling prophecy. The ending is at once heart-breaking yet undeniable; it also leaves the story open for a potential sequel. Cat is a character I find myself disliking the whole way through; I couldn’t find any redeemable qualities in her but could understand her situation at times.

The story is told from the perspective of the two women and it’s a great insight to see their different takes on the same event. If you like historical fiction and thrillers, I’d definitely recommend this book. Buy The Cursed Wife here.

Photo by Mitch Rosen on Unsplash


Book Reviews

The Trick to Time Review

I recently read The Trick to Time by Kit de Waal, if I could sum this book up in a few words it would be that it is an incredibly moving story and at times heartbreaking. Using a parallel timeline, we follow Mona on the eve of her 60th birthday as she reflects on her past. She runs a doll shop and also helps women cope with tragic losses; something she’s too familiar with. Some may dislike reading two timelines at once but I personally enjoyed it and find that each event complements another. It also shows the power of the story as I was willing younger Mona’s path to change even though I knew the eventual outcome.  There is a twist at the end of the book which took me by surprise which I’m sure was the aim.  There’s the reoccurring theme of missed chances throughout the novel with the story of Bridie back in Ireland and Mona’s potential suitor Karl. It’s a very thought-provoking novel and I feel it deals with the subject of loss very well. Setting part of it during the IRA bombing in Birmingham was a good touch, highlighting how Irish immigrants during this time in Britain would have felt. I would definitely recommend this book but would be wary as it does deal with the loss of children.

Photo by Aaron Kato on Unsplash

Book Reviews

Review of On The House


So here’s my first book review and it’s a positive one with a unique publisher. On the House by Helen Maskew was published last year by Unbound, a crowdfunding publisher that allows authors to raise money by talking to readers and sharing ideas. If enough people are interested in the idea, they can help contribute. I recently went to a talk at my town’s first Literary Festival and heard some great writers talk about their experiences. Even though they have all had success, they still explained how it’s such a demanding job. You can’t write one book and hope to retire with riches. Starting out you have to be able to work at the same time while facing rejection. So Unbound is great concept that I hope will continue. Onto the book.

On The House is thoroughly researched and well written social commentary on the hardships faced by everyday people in Victorian England. The novel starts with Edgar, the local landowner who becomes embroiled in the nearby workhouse. He slowly starts to see that not all is as it seems. He already dislikes the hypocrisy of his class and becomes a champion for social justice.  For a history lover like me, it was a joy to read as I could tell how much work had gone into making the novel as accurate as possible. This leads me to the only criticism that those unfamiliar or disinterested in the topic might struggle to enjoy or fully grasp the conext.  I loved the references to Charles Dickens as well as the Peterloo massacre which had a poignant connection to the unfair social system of the time.

With hindsight now we know the welfare laws weren’t fair or humane, unfortunately, something that still goes on today. There was an unexpected gruesome section that was a stark but enjoyable contrast to the rest of the story. The story came to a satisfactory ending which gave hope in a bleak time. I believe this is a planned trilogy and I look forward to reading more of these enjoyable blends of social commentary and a gripping whodunit.

Click on the book cover below to get the ebook from Amazon.

Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash

Book Reviews, Uncategorized

What am I reading?


As I list reading as one of my favourite things and I work in a library I thought it might be a good idea to talk about some of the books I have been reading. After a recommendation from a friend at work I have got into the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde. They would not have been my usual choice but I cannot recommend these enough. If like me you love books about books then these are perfect. Its set in an alternate 1980s which is very different but still recognisable to us, for example Germany won the second war and Britain was occupied for a number of years, time-travel and book-travel exists and most importantly of all literature is vastly more ingrained in culture than it is now. The first book involves the protagonist Thursday Next travelling into Jane Eyre which has a very different ending to the one we are familiar with. It’s an extremely funny book and spans multiple genres so there’s something in there for everyone. It’s full of literary references and jokes which is what makes me really enjoy it, so if you’re looking for something new to read The Eyre Affair is  a must. I am also valiantly ploughing through A Dance With Dragons (Game of Thrones), but as I’m a big fan of the tv show and watched that first it does take away some of the enjoyment when I reading bits that I already know the outcome of or they were omitted from the show (sometimes for good reason).  At work I constantly have bits of paper in my pocket from books that I have seen that look interesting, the list keeps getting longer but I don’t seem to have the time to read them. I would love to try some new things though so if anyone has any recommendations please comment as I love finding new books.

Emma: Some Sense and Ability, and a lot of Persuasion