Chemistry by Weike Wang

This is not the book I expected to read. I picked it out thinking it was going to be full of nerdy humour and there is certainly some of that here.

“The optimistic sees the glass half full. The pessimist sees the glass half empty. The chemist sees the glass completely full, half in liquid state and half in gaseous, both of which are probably poisonous.”

But what really makes this book something special is the beautiful description of the central character’s struggle with life’s (and parental) expectations, a stalled career and a failing relationship. The depression and loneliness is heartfelt and emotional. Another unusual but welcome aspect to this story is the way everything just kind of continues on – there’s no great cathartic Moment or Turning Point – life just goes on to the incredibly sudden end of the book.

Reading this back I’m really not making the points I want to – just get it, read it (it’s only short) and you won’t be disappointed I promise!
5/5

 

* I received a free kindle edition of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review *

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How to Lose a Marathon A Starter’s Guide to Finishing in 26.2 Chapters by Joel Cohen

Loved this book! The author strikes the perfect balance between being funny, inspirational and informative. The humour is smart and self-deprecating, if you were going to train for a marathon Joel is the kind of training partner you’d pick. He also takes the time to run through equipment and training routines with practicality and common sense and explains a lot of pre-race phenomena that could otherwise be very disconcerting when first experienced.

Then we come to the final chapters: The Marathon itself. The author describes both the night before and the day of the race with realism (makes sense, since he did it) and honesty. There’s no attempt to hide how difficult the race is but most refreshingly there’s also no attempt to glorify and exaggerate his achievement, the author is remarkably free of egotism, particularly for a successful tv comedy writer. As a result the reader isn’t overwhelmingly intimidated by the authors experience and this seems like something within reach of all of us, a feeling I’m sure he hopes everyone feels upon finishing this book. I also applaud his rant about the running elite’s disparaging attitudes to people who finish the Marathon in such a slow time that they feel it shouldn’t count. As he rightly points out its far more of an achievement for someone who’s just done what they thought was impossible than to someone who just shaved a few seconds off their previous PB and EVERYONE who crosses that line is a winner (despite the fact that makes the book title look stupid)

* I received a free ebook of this title from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review *

Perfect by Cecelia Ahern

perfect-by-cecelia-ahern

This book is not released until May 2017 so I will not give a full review at the publisher’s request.

A worthy follow up to Flawed but not as suspenseful as there is much less question of the side characters motives. While there are moments of genuine danger for Celestine they are few and the book reaches a very predictable conclusion that I found inevitable from the previous book. 

SPOILER ALERT!!

Most frustratingly that conclusion could have been reached without most of the events in this book if Celestine had realised along with the rest of us that the footage was OBVIOUSLY in the Snow Globe and just gotten her father to broadcast it.

3/5

I received a free ebook of this title from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

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We DARE you to not like this book – NetGalley

When I got an email from NetGalley saying that their latest ARC was LOVED by everyone who reads it and they challenged me not to enjoy it I started to dismiss it as marketing nonsense. Then I read further: The Breakfast Club with murder you say?

I had some trepidation over how closely the tale would mirror a film I loved and possibly be too derivative but I needn’t have worried, while the device of teen stereotypes being stuck in detention with a strict teacher is used at the start the story soon continues in its own original form and is not confined to the school halls.

The author chooses to tell the tale with chapters from the point of view of each of the main characters, each time exploring their lives a little deeper and exposing their secrets. I have to say at this point that the author does a great job of giving each character a specific voice and life. It’s done so well in fact that I’m sure that the reader will soon find a favourite character to root for….just as I’m sure that it might not remain the same character by the time they reach the end of the book.

The characters all develop well, individually and together and the author is to be credited for not making the mistake of making the romances and twists too forced or farfetched. I must say the police were bloody useless however and I felt they could have been given a little more intelligence. I also felt that the stereotypes still weren’t completely broken by the revelations, particularly in the case of the Jock.

A well paced, well developed story with convincing and sympathetic characters and sufficient twists in the tale.

4/5

I received a free Kindle edition of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Future’s Ending by Gene Michaels

An interesting collection of short stories exploring how the post apocalyptic future could pan out. 

Some of the stories suffer a bit from the format in my opinion and the endings can feel rushed or frustratingly open ended but overall the stories are well written and paced. There’s also a good variety of concepts here, although some will feel familiar too anyone who reads or watches a lot of science fiction. 
3.5/5
** I was sent a free kindle version of this book by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review **