Book Reviews

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

So, a month or so ago I was looking through the Kindle book charts and downloaded a few books from there, mostly ones where the cover caught my eye. I figured if it looked pretty and it was in the charts, it had to be good! I don’t get through many books so I don’t keep in the loop with what’s on trend, if I did I would amass a to-read list that I wouldn’t get close to finishing! The point I’m trying to make is that I had no idea what kind of book Red, White & Royal Blue was until I got stuck into it.

It’s an adorable romance centered on Alex, the President’s son (FSOTUS) and Henry, Prince of England. It wasn’t love at first sight, not quite anyway. Alex can’t stand Henry, and an argument gone wrong leads the two of them falling into a cake at a huge event, sparking a PR nightmare. The two are forced to spend time together and flaunt their (fake) friendship in front of the press in order to calm the controversy – but their hatred for each other turns to love.

I’m a sucker for the enemies to lovers trope, it’s my guilty pleasure so I adored that aspect of this book. I just wasn’t a huge fan of the rest. The characters are really well written, they’re so easy to love even though they aren’t perfect people, and the dialogue is sharp and witty, I laughed out loud at a few of the lines. It was when the politics took a bigger presence that things went a little wrong for me.

Maybe it’s because I’m just not into politics, but it just felt like everything else took a back seat and I just wasn’t as interested in it. Still, it was a great read and like I said, the dialogue is so great – I’d love to see this turned into a movie!

Book Reviews

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

When you aren’t able to go on a foreign holiday yourself, why not read a fictional story about a couple who go travelling all the time? That won’t feel like rubbing salt in the wounds, right? In the words of Ross from Friends, “I’m fine!”. No seriously, I am. I think. I finally got a return to work date. It’s going to be part time for a while, 40% of my hours spread across 5 days which is going to be ridiculous, but it’s a start, I guess. You’re here for a book review though, aren’t you!

People We Meet on Vacation is a delightful little romance novel by Emily Henry. Poppy and Alex met by chance in college and mostly hated each other at first. Poppy is a dreamer and a wild child, always setting her sights on her next destination. Alex is a home boy with ambitions of his own, but is much happier sat by the fire with a book. Their differences make them the best of friends when it comes to travelling together, and despite Alex getting into a serious relationship and Poppy bagging herself her dream job, the two always find the time to go on a summer vacation together. That is until one fateful trip where something happened to leave them not speaking at all for years.

What happened? We as the reader don’t get to find out until much later into the story, but what we do know is that Poppy is struggling in life now and thinks her broken friendship is the straw that broke the camel’s back. Somehow she convinces Alex to join her for one more trip, and there they find themselves forced to face what happened between them and work out whether their friendship can survive.

This book is less to do with the people that Poppy and Alex meet on vacation and more about them and their relationship. There are some fantastically weird people they meet along the way, that’s for sure, but this is very much a romance story. I don’t mind that, and they are an ADORABLE couple (think Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in terms of sarcasm and banter) but I wanted just a little bit more from the story for me to truly love it.

Still – it’s a really good read and if you’re lucky enough to jet set away on vacation yourself sometime soon, this is a fine choice for something to read whilst sipping cocktails.

Book Reviews

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Can you hear that? It’s the sound of a bell ringing, followed by someone chanting ‘shame, shame, shame’ because I got myself stuck in a YA murder mystery fiction novel. Look, I’ve read a timeless classic (Fahrenheit 451) and a hugely loved novel (Where the Crawdads Sing) in the space of a few months, so allow me some trash to reset myself, okay?

One of Us Is Lying is described as The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars, and it’s more than a fair comparison in my opinion. A group of teens find themselves in detention together in an unusual circumstance, and one of them dies there. The nature of their death is suspicious and foul play is suspected, but which of them did it?

It would make an excellent Netflix TV show for sure. I can’t help but compare it to 13 Reasons Why and look at the success that show had. I could actually cast the 13RW actors for this group in my head whilst reading. They’re an interesting group of characters and how they develop is easily the best thing about the book. You can’t help but root for them all which makes the fact that one of them is probably a murderer all the more unsettling. I didn’t think it was any of them!

One of Us Is Lying is the first book in a series of 3. The sequel, One of Us Is Next is already out, and the final book, One of Us Is Back is due for release in 2023. I can’t bring myself to read the 2nd book yet because it’s far too long of a wait for the final conclusion! Without spoiling anything though I will say that the first book has a satisfying enough conclusion to be perfectly acceptable as a stand-alone novel.

Book Reviews · Movie Reviews

Book vs Movie: Fahrenheit 451

You all know I’ve been reading more this year, and I’ve tried to write a little review for every book I’ve read. For the Hidden Gems challenge I watched 3 Michael B. Jordan movies including Fahrenheit 451. It was an alright movie, but I knew it was based on a hugely famous book from the 1950s and I was intrigued to find out more about this fictional version of our world and find out the differences. I know there was already a movie adaptation made in 1966 that’s supposedly better than the 2018 version, but after not loving the recent movie and not loving the book either, I can’t dedicate any more time to it!

So, if you’ve never experienced Fahrenheit 451, I’ll give you a brief summary. Firefighters don’t put out fires anymore, they burn books. Why? They’re banned, in a bid to make us all happier. It’s deep, and would I be right in thinking it was studied in schools across the pond? We had to read Of Mice and Men 451 times in the UK.

book-vs-movie-fahrenheit-451

What I really wanted to get across was just how different the book and the recent movie are! There are characters in the book that don’t even exist in the movie, meaning the plot has changed dramatically. The movie is of course more stylish, and manages to showcase just how powerful and revered these firefighters are with the use of television, the internet and social media. That’s a huge plus for the movie for sure. I also much preferred the movie version of the main character, Montag, and I promise that has nothing to do with Michael B. Jordan’s looks!

My biggest struggle with the book was the writing style. It felt like every single sentence was written as though it were a meaningful, deep poem, and so pages would go by and I wasn’t sure what, if anything, had even happened. It made for a really slow read.

If you’ll forgive me for being a bit stupid, the question I was left with after watching the movie was this – if the firefighters don’t put out fires anymore, who does?! I was hoping the book would answer that for me. What I learnt from the book was that in this version of our world, houses are now made to be fireproof. Great, okay. So what about forest fires? Car fires? Your house might be build of fire-proof materials but if you burn your dinner too badly you’re still going to set fire to everything inside it, who deals with that?

And here’s the most annoying part, a part of me still wants to watch the 60s movie. Maybe that will finally give me answers…

Book Reviews

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

I don’t read a lot of books, and when I do read, I like to explore a range of genres and authors so it’s rare for me to explore an author’s work past 1 novel. However, Liane Moriarty is the brains behind Big Little Lies, the book that went on to become a hugely successful TV show. I’m yet to watch season 2 (so little time!) but I was completely sucked into the mystery of season 1 so it’s definitely on the to-do list. I’ve also read Truly Madly Guilty, another of Moriarty’s novels. Whilst I didn’t love it, I could appreciate the author’s talent for spinning and unraveling a mystery so I knew I wanted to read more.

Although it isn’t one of her more recent books, I ended up choosing The Husband’s Secret. It’s been in my Goodreads list for a while now and seems to be one of the best rated books in Moriarty’s collection. 550,000 reviewers can’t be wrong, surely? The Husband’s Secret starts with introducing a host of characters, who all seem vastly different to begin with, but whose stories merge as the book goes on.

Cecilia lives a seemingly perfect life, great husband, great kids, successful business, beautiful house. Until she comes across a letter, written by her husband, addressed to her to read in the event of his death. She doesn’t open it – but when she mentions the letter to her husband, his reaction isn’t what she was expecting.

I feel like I shouldn’t really tell you much more, because there are lots of twists along the way and I might accidentally reveal things without meaning to. Just know that I highly recommend it! My biggest issue with Truly Madly Guilty was that there was clearly a big reveal that was building up, so much so that when the cat is finally out of the bag, it feels quite anti-climatic. This isn’t the case with The Husband’s Secret. I didn’t see the twist coming, so I was shocked but not actually surprised. However – that moment is just the start, and the drama kicks up a storm after that point.

I’m being really cryptic, aren’t I? It’s so tough to discuss stories like this without giving things away! Just know that if you’re a fan of the genre, this is one you’ll want to read.