|001: Away from You by Kay Langdale|
001: Away From You
When Monica is offered a three-month placement in LA, she knows that for the sake of her career she must accept it - even though it means leaving behind nine-year-old Ruby, toddler Luca and her husband Daniel.
She hires Ursula as a housekeeper and nanny during her absence, although the older woman is oddly reluctant to agree to a childcare position. What is the dark secret in Ursula's past, which has left her so closed-off and reserved? Will her growing attachment to Ruby bring it to the surface? And will Monica regret leaving the children in her care?
The characters were all well-written and believable and my heart broke a little for Ursula as we found out more about her story. Ruby came across as a very inquisitive child trying to find her way in the world without her mother, whilst she was working away.
|002: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell|
Eleanor is the new girl in town, and she's never felt more alone. All mismatched clothes, mad red hair and chaotic home life, she couldn't stick out more if she tried. Then she takes the seat on the bus next to Park. Quiet, careful and - in Eleanor's eyes - impossibly cool, Park's worked out that flying under the radar is the best way to get by. Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall in love. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you're 16, and you have nothing and everything to lose. Set over the course of one school year in 1986, Eleanor & Park is funny, sad, shocking and true - an exquisite nostalgia trip for anyone who has never forgotten their first love.I don't know if I even needed to include the above information. I think everyone and their dog has heard of this book lately, so when I was in Waterstone's lately with a voucher to spend, I picked it up to see what all the hype was about.
I sort of liked it, but not hugely. Eleanor and her family seemed as though they'd been lifted straight out of a Jacqueline Wilson book. I sort of liked Park but he seemed a little mean. Their relationship was a slow-burning one and I didn't really understand what brought them together in the first place; it all just seemed a little unlikely.
The twist was, I thought, a little predictable and left things at a bit of a loose end, which I found somewhat disappointing.
|003: Starter for Ten by David Nicholls|
It's 1985 and Brian Jackson has arrived at university with a burning ambition - to make it onto TV's foremost general knowledge quiz. But no sooner has he embarked on 'The Challenge' than he finds himself falling hopelessly in love with his teammate, the beautiful and charismatic would-be actress, Alice Harbinson. When Alice fails to fall for his slightly over-eager charms, Brian comes up with a foolproof plan to capture her heart once and for all. He's going to win the game, at any cost, because - after all - everyone knows that what a woman really wants from a man is a comprehensive grasp of general knowledge...Starter for Ten is a comedy about love, class, growing-up and the all-important difference between knowledge and wisdom. Are you up to the challenge of the funniest novel in years?
I must admit I only read this because it came free on my iBooks app with my latest phone update. I've read One Day in the past (spoiler alert: I wasn't a fan) but nothing else from Nicholls.
Starter for Ten follows Brian's life through his first year of university and onto the University Challenge team, which along with drinking as much beer as he can and going to parties, seems to take up most of his time.
I found his socially awkward nature endearing (I imagined a cross between Adrian Mole and that kid from The Inbetweeners with the briefcase) but his obsession with Alice a little irritating once it was evidently clear that she wasn't interested. He didn't seem as smart as perhaps he ought. Most of the characters were mildly irritating and opinionated, but I guess that's fairly representative of university students through the ages.
What have you been reading lately? Any suggestions?