Posts Tagged With: love

The Host. – Stephenie Meyer.

Synopsis from the back of the book.

Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of their human hosts while leaving their bodies intact, and most of humanity has succumbed.

Wanderer, the invading “soul” who has been given Melanie’s body, knew about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the too vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn’t expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

Melanie fills Wanderer’s thoughts with visions of the man Melanie loves–Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body’s desires, Wanderer yearns for a man she’s never met.As outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off to search for the man they both love..

My thoughts.

When I first picked this up, I wasn’t too sure about it. I had read Stephenie Meyer’s other books; Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn. Although I enjoyed these previous novels, I’m not the only one that says that some parts dragged on.. and that some of the writing style was far from perfect. I thought this might be the same with The Host, hence my reluctance to read it. In the end, after putting it off by reading some of my other books before, I just went for it, in the hope that I would enjoy the novel better than those previous.

***

I have to say that I was certainly not disappointed. The story is a little slow to start off with, but you soon become caught up with the characters, and you soon forget the slow start. In this story, an ‘alien race’ of parasites has taken over the planet, using humans as hosts and leaving only a handful of human rebels behind. While the humans fought a good fight, in the end, well, they lost. The main plot follows Wanderer, a soul who has been recently inserted inside a human host. Her host is called Melanie Stryder, and she turns out to be apart of the human resistance. We find out that Melanie had attempted to commit suicide after discovering she was trapped by the alien invaders. She threw herself down an elevator shaft, only to be later healed by ‘The Healers’, and then deemed as a viable host.

***

Melanie’s presence is known to her new host almost immediately, and the two battle for the upper-hand. Resistant hosts are rare. Needless to say that Wanderer controls the body but Melanie’s thoughts and memories are hard to suppress. Wanderer is to find at report any info that she learns about resistence from the humans, from Melanie. However, Melanie makes it extremely hard for her to do so. Wanderer does know that Melanie left behind two people she loved most: her little brother Jamie and the love of her life, Jared. Wanderer does discover the band of human rebels led by Melanie’s Uncle Jeb and she spends most of the story in captivity with them. She, of course, receives a lot of interest from the human rebels, whether things turn out for her or not, you’ll have to read the book to find out.

***

The story maintains a nice tension throughout its 625 pages. I worried for the outcome of these characters, which shows that I was caught up in everything they did, with each turn of the page. The epilogue seemed to hint at a sequel, which makes my very intrigued about what will happen next. I’d recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys a journey packed with love, tension and emotion.

9/10.

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New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

new-moon

Synopsis:

I stuck my finger under the edge of the paper and jerked it under the tape. ‘Shoot,’ I muttered when the paper sliced my finger. A single drop of blood oozed from the tiny cut. It all happened very quickly then. ‘No!’ Edward roared …Dazed and disorientated, I looked up from the bright red blood pulsing out of my arm – and into the fevered eyes of the six suddenly ravenous vampires. For Bella Swan, there is one thing more important than life itself: Edward Cullen. But being in love with a vampire is more dangerous than Bella ever could have imagined. Edward has already rescued Bella from the clutches of an evil vampire but now, as their daring relationship threatens all that is near and dear to them, they realise their troubles may just be beginning …

This book is the second in the Twilight sage by Stephenie Meyer. In this book Edward leaves, in a bid to protect Bella, although he is not hugely successful. Whilst he is away, to fill the void he has left, Bella starts spending more and more time with Jacob Black. But little does she know, he has a secret of his own… Around Forks at the time there are many mysterious killings, and the sightings of werewolves. Bella soon learns she is still being hunted, and that Jacob’s secret is as deadly as Edward’s. The book sees heartbreak, reunion, werewolves, hatred, vampires, extreme sports and love – plus a trip to Italy!

Before reading this book I read many reviews and comments made by people stating this book is not as good as Twilight or the next book, Eclipse. However, although I agree that this book is not quite up to the standard of Twilight, this book is gripping and exciting. I read this book in two days, and it is a 600 page book. Meyer writes in an accessible and exciting way. Although there was not as much spine-tinglingexcitement as Twilight, when vampires met head-to-head, there were moments of anxiety.

I enjoyed how Meyer developed other key characters, such as Jacob Black. I liked his friendship with Bella, but I felt once we knew his secret he was insensitive to how much Edward meant to Bella, and just how much she was hurting. I didn’t like how he changed when Edward returned, but I loved how he protected her when he could. As also, Bella was easy to relate to, and when her heart broke, so did mine. Of course, my favourite character is still Edward. In my opinion, there was not enough of him in this book, but I could plainly see why and I think his absence has helped to build up a climax which I am looking forward to reading in the next book.

Although not as good as Twilight, I would thoroughly recommend this book. It was a quick, easy read. I loved it and couldn’t put it down. I have many questions left and I am eager to read the next book in the series. These are top-class books and well worth getting your hands on.

9/10

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Twilight by Stepahnie Meyer

twilight

Synopsis:

When 17 year old Isabella Swan moves to Forks, Washington to live with her father she expects that her new life will be as dull as the town. But in spite of her awkward manner and low expectations, she finds that her new classmates are drawn to this pale, dark-haired new girl in town. But not, it seems, the Cullen family. These five adopted brothers and sisters obviously prefer their own company and will make no exception for Bella. Bella is convinced that Edward Cullen in particular hates her, but she feels a strange attraction to him, although his hostility makes her feel almost physically ill. He seems determined to push her away until, that is, he saves her life from an out of control car. Bella will soon discover that there is a very good reason for Edward’s coldness. He, and his family, are vampires and he knows how dangerous it is for others to get too close.

I was nervous to read this book due to the fame surrounding it, but actually, I loved it. I was gripped from the start. All the characters affected me. It took me little more than a day to read it. The story was exciting and breath-taking. I loved how Meyer went against the grain of traditional vampire characteristics, and there were no coffins or garlic in the book. The writing was fluid and gripping. The story is easy tofollow and engaging.

The story follows Bella as she moves to Forks to live with her Dad. Not the most popular girl in Phoenix, she is surprised by the reaction she gets in this new town. Except, there is one family who avoid her, theCullins . Yet they are the most intriguing, especially Edward, who is Bella’s lab partner. He stays away from her, making her think he only has feelings of hate for her, until a van skids on ice and nearly kills her. He saves her and then disappears. She doesn’t understand, so takes up her own investigation into Edward and his family. This leads her into a world of love, fear, blood, fantasy andexcitement.

I really connected with Bella; her hate for gym and her clumsiness, and of course her intrigue. It was genuine and easy to believe. And I think I fell in love with Edward too. He was gorgeous, and his love and protection of Bella was beautiful. Hard not to be drawn into that world.

Although essentially a vampire story, it is also a high school love story, and actually believable. This is a book aimed at young people, but I recommend everyone to read it. I don’t have a bad word against it. This is the first in a four-part series, and I can’t wait for the next installment. One of the best books I have read so far this year.

10/10

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Can You Keep A Secret? by Sophie Kinsella

can-you-keep-a-secretSynopsis:

Emma is like every girl in the world. She has a few little secrets.

Secrets from her mother:
1.I lost my virginity in the spare bedroom to Danny Nussbaum while Mum and Dad were downstairs watching Ben Hur.

…From her boyfriend:
2. I’m a size twelve. Not a size eight, like Connor thinks.
3. I’ve always thought Connor looks a bit like Ken. As in Barbie and Ken.

…From her colleagues:
4. When Artemis really annoys me, I feed her plant orange juice. (Which is pretty much every day)
5. It was me who jammed the copier that time. In fact, all the times.

…Secrets she wouldn’t share with anyone in the world:
6. My G string is hurting me.
7. I faked my Maths GCSE grade on my CV.
8. I have no idea what NATO stands for. Or even what it is…

…until she spills them all to a stranger on a plane. At least, she thought he was a stranger…

This is another gem from Sophie Kinsella. This is pure chick-lit, a light, fun read, humorous and heart wrenching. Emma, the protagonist, is flying from Glasgow to London after a dreadful work meeting. She is a nervous flyer, who was upgraded to Business Class. When the plane hits turbulence she believes she is going to die, and that the handsome American stranger in the seat next to her is the last person she is ever going to see. So she tells him everything – all her secrets and innermost thoughts and feelings. And then they land safely and Emma thinks she will never see him again – until he turns out to be the founder of the company she works for, and he is checking out the London offices. The story follows Emma as she adjusts to having Jack around all the time, struggling with her family, facing unbearable humiliation, love, friendship and revenge.

As ever, Kinsella kept me gripped. Her writing is fluid and engaging. Her characters were similar to those in the Shopaholic Series but I still connected with them. I loved Emma and her brutal honesty on the plane, and how the poor girl had to suffer the consequences. I was willing the best for her, and felt her humiliation and pain with her. Her flat mate Lissy founded gorgeous – what a lovely person to have around. Her other flat mate, Jemima was a hilarious character, with a warped way of viewing the world, but hilarious all the same. There were some vicious characters who I didn’t like as well – which is important to a good story.

Kinsella looks at the use of secrets in relationships. Although this is predominantly a chick-lit book, we do what can happen if you keep secrets. Relationships fall apart, there is a lack of trust and people often get it wrong. Once someone has been hurt through secrets they can be tarnished forever, as was the case with Conner, who turned into a bit of a wet lettuce – insecure and paranoid. However, being a light read, most things turned out OK in the end.

I really enjoyed this book. I laughed and felt pain, I was emotionally connected to Emma and wanted the best for her, and I recommend this book if you like quick, fun reads. The only complaint I have is there was a fair amount of swearing. Apart from that, this is a good novel.

8/10

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Blue Smoke by Nora Roberts

blue-smoke

Synopsis:

Reena Hale grew up with an intimate knowledge of the destructive power of fire. When she was a child, her family’s restaurant was burned to the ground, and the man responsible was sent to jail. The Hale family banded together to rebuild, and Reena found her life’s calling. She trained as a firefighter and then as a cop, always with the end goal in sight: to become an arson investigator. Now, as part of the arson unit, she is called in on a series of suspicious fires that seem to be connected-not just to each other, but to her. And as danger ignites all around her, Reena must rely on experience and instinct to catch a dangerous madman who will not stop until everything she loves has gone up in smoke.

I really enjoyed this book. I had never read Nora Roberts before, but I already have two others lined up. Catarina Hale first experiences fire when to get revenge, Joe Pastroelli burned down the Hale family restaurant, Siricos. Pastroelli is taken off to jail, in front of the neighbourhood and his own son. Having experienced the adrenaline fire produced, Reena trained up on the arson unit in Baltimore. Yet someone is out to get revenge on her – setting fire to all around her, from buildings to lovers. We follow Reena as she tries to second guess the man tormenting her and prevent her whole life, herself including, going up in smoke.

This book had me gripped right from the beginning and by the end, with so much excitement on the last few pages, I could not put this book down. Never did I get bored. I was hooked, and trying to work out the arsonist’s next move too. The anticipation of finding out what was to burn was intense. It was interesting that right from the start we know who is after her – it really isn’t hard to work out – but then as Reena doesn’t know until 100 pages towards the end; in fact it takes her a while to realise she is being targetted, there is a new and exciting level of dramatic irony.

I loved the Hale family. They are a big, Italian family, firmly rooted in the neighbourhood and loved by all. They all look out for each other and protect each other. I loved Xander, Reena’s younger brother, because despite his age, he always had Reena’s back, and saved her on many occassions. I loved Bo, the next door neighbour. It took me a while to figure him out, but he comes through for her and won’t desert her even though he is in danger. And I loathed the arsonist and really wanted to see him taken down. All the characters sparked a response from me, which I think is important in a book.

There was a fair amount of sex, and plenty of bad language, which I didn’t like, but that aside, this was an incredible book. Exciting and engaging. Robert’s writes a fantastic story. I highly recommend this book.

9/10

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The Other Side of the Stars by Clemency Burton-Hill

I received this book from Headline to review.

the-other-side-of-the-stars

Synopsis:

An unforgettable story of a young woman striving to find herself amidst the glitz and glamour of the film world.

Actress Lara Latner is enjoying a golden summer – her new play is the toast of London’s West End, and she and her boyfriend Alex are setting up their first home together.  But when her agent calls with an extraordinary opportunity – her potential break into Hollywood – she is plunged into turmoil.  For the part, the lead in an American remake of a classic French film, is the role that made her mother, tragic actress Eve Lacloche, a legend.  Lara does not know what to do.  How can she bear to leave Alex, and their precious home for the months of the shoot? How can she ever hope to measure up to Eve’s luminous performance? But perhaps it is only by stepping into her mother’s shadow that Lara can hope to truly understand her, and to lay the past to rest.

This is Burton-Hill’s debut novel, and if all her books are to this standard, she will have a long writing career in front of her. The story follows Lara from London to New York and Paris in pursue of her dream – acting. However, her latest, and biggest role to date is to play the lead in the film that was her mother’s masterpiece. On this journey of acting and self-discovery, she learns a lot about her family, in particular her mother, and some shocking secrets. The book is split into parts, some of the parts are set in the present, others in the past. One section is about Eve, her mother. This gave a wonderful insight into her and her own struggles, which we then saw revealed in more detail through Lara’s discovery.  I liked the way this broke up the book and gave glimpses at what might have happened.

I liked Lara. She was a girl with a tragic past, seemingly trying to do the right thing, even if she got that wrong. She worked hard, was honest and open, and I felt I connected with her. I was cheering her on and there were times I wanted to yell at her for making bad choices. In fact, all the characters were well written, and I liked all of them. I was interested in them all and the role they played in this story.

Burton-Hill writes about challenging issues as well; such as depression over a decade ago, when people did not know that it was an illness, and the effect that had on sufferers. Also about long distance relationships, what death can do to a family, and of course, we get a glimpse into the acting, Hollywood world.

My complaints are few. The first, was the Epilogue was a touch predictable, and not really necessary I felt. The second, was I felt the mention of Facebook was a little cheesy. And the third is the amount of swearing and smoking – both of cigarettes and joints – I felt both were a little too much. Other than that, I really enjoyed this book, and it is a wonderful début novel.

8/10

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Going Home by Harriet Evans

going-homeSynopsis:

Home should be a place where you can relax, escape your worries and hide away in comfort with your family. Not for Lizzy Walters, where a summer at home means juggling family secrets and confronting old flames. Some families warm your heart. Lizzy’s makes her head spin. Home – For most it’s a place of calm and safety. For Lizzy Walter, things are a bit more complicated. Keeper House – a cherished old place deep in the countryside – has always been the heart of the Walter’s universe. There, Lizzy can escape from her London life and ease her heart and mind. But trouble is on the horizon. For a start, her entire family are hiding something. Then the Love of Her Life makes an unexpected reappearance – just when she thought she was starting to get over him. And now Keeper House itself is in peril. By the time the Walters gather for a summer wedding, the stakes have never been higher – for Lizzy, for her family and for love!

This is the first Harriet Evans book I have read and I enjoyed it. This is a chick-lit book like many others. However, although similar to other books in this genre that did not spoil the book. This book follows Lizzie through heartbreak, possible loss of the house she grew up in, work and family secrets. The book had me hooked and I am glad I read it. 🙂 Possible predicting ending, but a fun book. I liked how my opinion of the characters changed as more of the story unfolded and I liked the hint of history and heritage, this added a different depth to the book that other chick-lit books don’t have.

My favourite character was Tom. He is Lizzie’s cousin and a lovely, often humorous character. His big confession was great! He looked out for his cousins and friends, great guy.

I loved Evan’s descriptions of Keeper House, what a lovely place. I want to live there! I could picture it and the surrounding area. Evan’s wrote in a wonderful way that I thoroughly enjoyed.

There was a noticeable amount of swearing in the book, and everyone seemed to smoke, but other than that I can’t think of any complaints.

If you like chick-lit books, you will really enjoy this. It is not overly cheesy, and the story kept me engaged. This was a great book 🙂

8/10

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Alphabet Weekends by Elizabeth Noble

alphabet-weekends1

Synopsis:

The fabulous new novel from the No 1. bestselling author of “The Reading Group” and “The Tenko Club”. Love lessons from A – Z. A is for Affection – between childhood best friends; between their parents; between brothers and sisters. B is for Brokenhearted – Natalie when the boyfriend who was meant to propose dumps her just before Christmas. Her mother when she realises what her life has come to. Lucy, as she thinks of ending one relationship, and maybe beginning another. C is for Chemistry – Could Natalie and Tom have it (and what does it actually mean, anyway)? Number One bestselling author Elizabeth Noble’s new novel is a tender, funny novel about love in all its guises.

This is a typical chick-lit book, predictable and fun! I loved the idea of a list of dates starting with the letters of the alphabet. That is just a genius idea! And some of the ideas were great 🙂 I might have to try the Alphabet Game myself.

The characters were the normal chick-lit characters – the family, friends and lovers. However, I liked them all. They made for enjoyable reading. I liked Tom most. He was a solid, faithful friend, who would drop anything for Natalie. Strong and reliable – the type of guy you can’t help but like.

The story does explore family, illness, depression (very well actually) and affairs. All were done well, all looked at the consequences of our actions. She writes sensitively and well.

I do have a couple of complaints. Firstly, the swearing. There was quite a bit, which I didn’t like. Sex was very descriptive, which made me a bit uncomfortable. The other problem was there were a lot of characters, and sometimes I felt lost and confused, trying to work out who was who, and who was related to who. Other than that, I enjoyed this book.

7/10

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The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

the-notebook

Synopsis from Amazon:

Set amid the austere beauty of the North Carolina coast, The Notebook begins with the story of Noah Calhoun, a rural Southerner recently returned form the Second World War. Noah is restoring a plantation home to its former glory, and he is haunted by images of the beautiful girl he met fourteen years earlier, a girl he loved like no other. Unable to find her, yet unwilling to forget the summer they spent together, Noah is content to live with only memories…until she unexpectedly returns to his town to see him once again. Like a puzzle within a puzzle, the story of Noah and Allie is just the beginning. As it unfolds, their tale miraculously becomes something different, with much higher stakes. The result is a deeply moving portrait of love itself, the tender moments and the fundamental changes that affect us all. It is a story of miracles and emotions that will stay with you forever.

This is a story of love, illness and heartbreak. I would categorize it as chick-literature I think.

We follow the story of Noah, who fell in love with Allie and never got over her. She returns and we see how love develops and how their life unfolds. This book is so touching, the love is so strong and moving. It is beautiful.

I think my favourite character was in fact Allie’s Mum, as she comes through for her daughter, there is a different sort of love there, and that too is wonderful. The bond between a mother and daughter is often strong, and that definitely came through in this book.

Complaints? Not many 🙂 The story of their relationship as young lovers ended quite abruptly and then we went from a detailed story to glimpses of the past through letters, I would have liked the story to have continued in the detail it had been in. Although a lovely story, I did feel Noah was maybe a little bit too obsessed with Allie, by the end it was a little too much. And the ending, well that too was abrupt, and I was surprised the story finished, I was expecting more. However, all that aside, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

8/10

And as a note on the side, this has been made into a film, and I would recommend that too. Slightly different from the book but heartbreaking and lovely anyway.

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Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris

five-quarters-of-the-orange

Synopsis taken from Amazon:

Beyond the main street of Les Laveuses runs the Loire, smooth and brown as a sunning snake – but hiding a deadly undertow beneath its moving surface. This is where Framboise, a secretive widow named after a raspberry liqueur, plies her culinary trade at the creperie – and lets memory play strange games. Into this world comes the threat of revelation as Framboise’s nephew – a profiteering Parisian – attempts to exploit the growing success of the country recipes she has inherited from her mother, a woman remembered with contempt by the villagers of Les Laveuses. As the spilt blood of a tragic wartime childhood flows again, exposure beckons for Framboise, the widow with an invented past. Joanne Harris has looked behind the drawn shutters of occupied France to illuminate the pain, delight and loss of a life changed for ever by the uncertainties and betrayals of war.

What a lovely book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and found it hard to put down. There is so much that can said about it. It is full of intriguing recipes, which might be worth trying out. Harris looks into many issues, including love, childhood, death, war, secrets, family and mental illness, yet none of it is so daunting it is a hard read. All are dealt with well and sensitively, and add depth to the book.

There is action all the way through the book, right up to the last page. The descriptions were so thorough I felt like I was there with Framboise.  The narrative does jump around from childhood to middle age and back to childhood again, however this did not bother me at all, I felt it fitted right in with the story.

My favourite character has to be Paul, slow Paul who actually is quite a sly dog, I loved him and found myself growing very fond of him. As the book progressed on and we delve more into the recipe book I felt more and more sorry for the Mother, a misunderstood and ill lady. I think Harris wrote her wonderfully.

The only complaints I can think of were there were a lot of characters with similar names, and I forgot who was who, and there was also some writing in French and German that I didn’t understand which wasn’t translated. Apart from that, this is a superb book.

9/10

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