Book Reviews

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

I’m behind on my book reviews somehow so you’ll probably see two from me this week! I’ll start with Klara and the Sun, though. This was a read that was well out of my comfort zone, but seemed to be talked about so highly that my curiosity wouldn’t allow me to ignore it! Klara is an AF, or Artificial Friend, a robot designed to be a companion for a child. All AF’s have their own micro personalities and Klara is more observant than most of her kind. She’s fascinated by the window in the store of which she resides and she worships the sun and it’s healing powers.

What I liked most about this book is that it makes you work things out for yourself. There’s no explanation of what an AF is, why they were designed or what their main purpose is, we’re left to work that out for ourselves. It made the first couple of chapters a difficult read for me, but I prefer this approach than being spoon-fed information just for the sake of it. There’s a lot here that’s open for interpretation and although I’m not a member of any, I imagine it would be a great book of choice for a book club to read and then gather to discuss it’s themes!

Of course, it isn’t too long before Klara is purchased and she gets an owner and a home. This is where the story picked up the pace as we learn about Jodie and her health issues, as well as hints about a ‘procedure’ that children in this fictional world are often put through. The story is all told through Klara’s perspective which can get confusing at times, but it was interesting to read how she sees things.

I can’t say I loved Klara and the Sun though, to be truthful. There was a lot I enjoyed and found fascinating, but the ending wasn’t the revelation I was hoping it would be. I get the feeling that the point of the story is something much deeper, quieter and thoughtful but it was a bit lost on me. I’d still recommend it, though!

Book Reviews

Big Sexy Love by Kirsty Greenwood

I’m going to make a deal right now – once April rolls around I’m going to stop complaining about lockdowns and feeling miserable – I promise! Just give me 2 more days because, well, I already wrote the posts and complained in them. So, during the long and depressing month of March I felt the need to be cheered up and also for my next book to be something light, fun and easy to read at night. Scrolling through the books I already had on my Kindle I stumbled across Big Sexy Love by Kirsty Greenwood and it ticked all of my boxes.

Olive Brewster lives a simple but happy life – she works with two lovely ladies at the local market, lives happily with her brother and his (slightly overbearing) girlfriend, and has an amazing best friend named Birdie. The problem is, Birdie is dying. Olive has known this for a long time but one day in hospital Birdie is upset. She knows she doesn’t have long left and asks Olive for the biggest favour she’s ever asked. To fly to New York, track down Birdie’s old childhood love, and deliver a letter to him. Olive of course accepts, but she’s never flown before or even left the city she lives in, and she’s terrified.

Loads of reviews I read claimed that readers laughed out loud constantly whilst reading Big Sexy Love and honestly I have to ask – have you ever laughed out loud whilst reading? I can’t say I have. It’s not to say the book isn’t funny because it is, but Ii feel like it’s an exaggeration. Anyway, I really enjoyed this, it was exactly what I hoped it would be and it would work so well as a movie – please make it happen movie gods!

I’d file Big Sexy Love into the ‘airport reads’ box which I hope doesn’t sound demeaning, it’s just that it’s fast paced enough to read quickly and the story is nice and light hearted. It’s no surprise that there’s a very emotional part towards the end but overall it would make a great holiday read, or, like me, a nice way to pull yourself out of a bad mood!

Book Reviews

The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski

It’s been almost a full month since I last wrote a book review, because it’s taken me almost a full month to read my latest book! I’m a slow reader at the best of times but I also read exclusively at bedtime and I’ve been so tired lately I’ve only managed a few pages before my Kindle is literally falling out of my hands and onto my face. I promise it’s only tiredness that’s lead me to take so long to read The Last Wish though, I really enjoyed it!

The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski is the first book in a series of tales of Geralt, the Witcher. You might have already heard of the Netflix series starring Henry Cavil, and/or the series of hugely popular video games. I’ve poured hours upon hours into the latest game, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and as reluctant as I was to see the Netflix show – I gave it a go and was pleasantly surprised. I’ve heard only great things about the books and I’ve had The Last Wish on my kindle for over a year now since it was on sale, so I finally gave it a read.

This first book feels less a full novel and more a collection of side quests that Geralt finds himself a part of. It makes for really easy reading and fans of the show will enjoy the fact that it matches the first season quite closely. It has a strong resemblance to the detailed side quests that you find yourself on whilst playing the game. Geralt himself has a more much level head than I do when playing though, I’m so quick to take sides and the real Geralt really does take a step back. It’s going to make me think a little harder about my decisions when I next play the game.

As much as I’d lie to – if I read the entire collection of Witcher books it would most likely take me months and I’d like to read as wide a variety as possible. I’ll probably read the next book after a few others. All in all though I was impressed even though my expectations were already high. There’s something to enjoy for fans of the games, the Netflix show and even for readers who know nothing about Geralt!

Book Reviews

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

So far, so good, I’m still on track for my Goodreads Challenge of 20 books read in 2021! For my next book I chose something more out of my comfort zone. At the time of writing, Where the Crawdads Sing has been in the New York Times Best Sellers list for 120 weeks. Can you believe that? It wouldn’t actually matter to me what the book was about, something that good would instantly be on my radar.

In a quiet fishing village called Barkley Cove, a young girl known locally as ‘the Marsh Girl’ fends for herself after the rest of her family has left her. She’s smart and resourceful and manages to get by. Running parallel to her story is a murder case, that of Chase Andrews, a young man who was very popular in the village. As they always do, the two stories combine when the Marsh Girl (Kya) is found to be a suspect.

I found this book to be very slow and difficult to get lost in to begin with. I had to keep flicking back to the start of the chapters to try and remind myself where I was in the story’s timeline. A few chapters in though, it clicked and there were some nights I found myself reading until I literally couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore. Ii felt so desperately sad for Kya and the hardship that she’s suffered. Not many people would be able to endure what she did, but she kept going.

If you read here often enough you’ll know I’m a sucker for a mystery so you’ll believe me when I say I found the murder case and the trial the most fascinating part to read. I won’t give anything away of course but it was a really satisfying end with a final twist that shocked me. I can definitely see why it’s been so popular and I have no doubt that movie rights will be snapped up in due course. Well worth a read!

Book Reviews

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

I’m going to get straight to the point – I think I might have just found my favourite book of all time. No, that’s not saying much when you don’t read a great deal but never have I ever had such a wild experience with a book like this. If any of my family or friends happen to be reading this then prepare to receive a copy for your birthday or Christmas!

Trying to describe what Anxious People is all about is so difficult. First and foremost, it’s about people. A group of people who are brought together by chance, all with different stories and struggles. There are heavy themes of anxiety here but they’re woven so intricately through the story that if you didn’t know beforehand, it would just hit you like a ton of bricks on the last page. It’s a story that made me laugh, cry and feel frustrated all at once, and somehow, just somehow, it also features one of the best crime mysteries I’ve ever had the pleasure of losing sleep over.

It wasn’t smooth sailing to begin with. The book opens with a young police officer interviewing one by one a group of people who were recently released hostages. The first to be interviewed is an estate agent and oh my goodness is she irritating. I couldn’t quite believe the way this character was talking after just being let go in a hostage situation, it seemed bizarre. I actually struggled through the first third of the book and then a puzzle piece clicked into place and things made sense, and after that I was almost grateful for my insomnia because it meant I could read faster!

When you read about the problems each character is facing, there’s bound to be something for everyone to resonate with. For me, something was so similar to what I’ve experienced that reading it made my blood go cold. It was to do with being on anti depressants and how they dull out every emotion. The tipping point for this character to want to come off them was that they were unable to cry at movies and as daft as it might sound – that’s 100% how I felt when I was on them. Movies are my passion and realising that you can’t cry when watching something so moving is an alien experience.

I think I’ve rambled enough now so I’ll leave you with this: READ THIS BOOK!