More of Me – Kathryn Evans

Another young adult read! I heard about this book on twitter, it was recommended by an author I follow so bought it on my kindle for myself and my daughter to share. It has in interesting concept, Teva,  an apparently normal 16 year old, is hiding a big secret, there are several other versions of her at home. Each year on her birthday a new version is borne out of herself and the old one remains frozen in time. This year as she approaches 17 she is determined to stop this happening so she can carry on living and not be destined to a live trapped in her house watching the next version of herself take over. Part science fiction, part teenage romance and friendship story this is a good read. You get caught up wanting to know how and why it happens and if she’ll be able to stop it. It’s well written with each version of Teva feeling quite unique yet also the same. Although it sounds quite incredulous it actually doesn’t feel like that to read which is due to the skill of the author at creating such a real feeling character despite the strange science. We both enjoyed it, neither of us were raving about it but it was worth a read.

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Salt to the Sea – Ruta Sepetys

This was one of my teenage daughters holiday reads, I read it after strong recommendations from both her and my teenage son! It’s a fantastic read, it took me a couple of chapters to get into it but both of them assured me it was worth it and they were right! It follows four young people in Germany in 1945 as refugees flock to the coast in advance of a Soviet invasion. These four characters are all from different counties and backgrounds but each hunted by war. Their lives overlap as they make their way towards the boat they hope will take them to freedom, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Sadly the sinking of this ship is one of the lesser known tragedies of world war II resulting in the death of thousands of civilians. I loved this book, it opened my eyes to a side of the war I knew relatively little about but was also a compelling read with well written characters and storylines. I love when a book makes you want to go and find out more about something and this was definitely one of those books. A great read for teenagers and adults alike.

The Comet Seekers – Helen Sedgwick

Continuing with my holiday reads..not even halfway yet! This was a book I have had on my to read list since spotting it in the Edinburgh book festival brochure last year. I finally got it through the library before my holiday. Essentially telling the story of Roisin, a girl from rural Ireland with a passion for the skies, and Francois, a young French man brought up by his mother who is literally haunted by her past. The two meet in the present day at the beginning of the book in Antarctica under comet Giacobini. The book then travels back through their lives but only picking up when a comet is visible in the skies. In that way multiple stories are told covering many years and places and introducing many characters. There are stories of love and loss, hope and heartbreak. We can see how Roisin and Francois paths cross and they seem destined to be together. I really liked the concept of this book, it was really interesting learning about the different comets, many of which have happened in my lifetime yet only a few I had really been aware of. The individual  stories were very good but also worked well as part of the overall story. It’s beautifully written conveying the sense of the vastness of our world and the ties that bind and the delicate path that is often trod between the two. The characters all felt real and significant even those that are not main characters. It’s a great read, something a bit different, original and definitely making my good reads list. I’ll be looking out for other books by this author.

My Name is Lucy Barton – Elizabeth Strout

Another one I ordered from the library to take on holiday. Although it’s a hardback it’s quite slim and doesn’t feel like a lot of reading however it’s size is not indicative of it’s depth. It’s basically an introspective story of Lucy, mostly told during her time in hospital after she develops an illness following an appendix operation. Her estranged  mother turns up at her bedside and over the next five days their conversation and Lucys own reminiscences tell of her childhood in poverty, her family, her attempts to leave her past but her discovery that it is part of who she is and her perception of herself as a writer. It’s a gentle read with the words that are not said being almost as important as those that are. The relationship between Lucy and her mother is really interesting, with a significant undercurrent of love despite it never being vocalised. Lucy is a likeable and realistic character, it’s well written and is the kind of book that sticks in your memory well after closing it’s pages.

Her – Harriet Lane

I picked this up cheaply on the kindle after seeing it reviewed by another blogger. It sounded like a good thriller following the lives of Nina, a glamorous self assured artist, and stressed out mum of toddlers Emma, as they become friends. All is not what it seems though as Ninas motivation for befriending Emma is slowly revealed. Sadly this was a disappointing read. The characters were okay but the story just didn’t seem to go anywhere, I kept thinking something was going to happen but it never really did. The eventual climax seemed to appear all of a sudden and then didn’t even properly conclude! It was perfectly adequate for a day reading beside the pool but that’s about it!

The Keeper of Lost Things – Ruth Hogan

Another one I’d had my eye on! Laura works as a housekeeper and personal assistant to author Anthony in a charming house that she loves. When he dies he leaves it to her as well as an instruction to finish the job he started. Consumed with guilt over losing an important trinket that belonged to his fiancee who died many years ago Anthony has been trying to atone by collecting lost things in the hope he can reunite them with their owners. He leaves his house to Laura with the instruction that she try to reunite the many objects he has collected over the years. The book follows Laura as she tries to do this and subsequently finds purpose for her own life. Punctuated with the stories of some of the objects this is a delight to read. It’s uplifting, sweet and although possibly slightly contrived overall it’s a feel good, happy, perfect holiday read!

The Tidal Zone – Sarah Moss

The first of my holiday reads! I was able to get most of this one read on the plane. This was a book I had seen advertised on facebook and quite fancied so popped it on the kindle. It tells the story of a family following the seemingly inexplicable collapse of their eldest daughter. Told from the stay at home dad’s point of view it is an insightful read into the lives of people who suddenly find untimely death a tangible reality. A family whose life has changed in a thousand ways that most people would never even realise. Having experienced serious illness in our family I found this to be a really accurate read, although our situations were very different so many issues were similar. The book is interspersed with information about the rebuilding Coventry cathedral after the war which is interesting as well as serving to illustrate points about rebuilding life after devastating destruction.

It’s a great read with a warm and realistic heart.