read // 9


The Museum of Extraordinary Things // Alice Hoffman
I've started to really enjoy books with a fantasy element to them; this book is a sort of hybrid with elements of Elijah's Mermaid and The Night Circus, so if you enjoyed either of those I'd recommend giving this a read.  The Museum of Extraordinary Things has two protagonists - web-fingered 'living wonder' Coralie alongside photographer running from his past, Eddie - and intertwines both of their stories.  It was written beautifully with wonderful embellishments to help set the scene, although at times this made it feel like a 'big deal' to read and required extra concentration.  It's set in early 1900s New York and features two historic fires within the story; I really enjoy historic fiction and loved the way fantasy was fused with a real place and period of history.  Stylistically, I didn't like the long chapters in this book, nor the fact that half of each chapter was written in italics as a form of flashback, setting the scene with details of each main character's past.  Towards the last third this story really gathered steam and became hard to put down; I found myself disgusted with certain characters, empathetic of others and gripped by the storyline.  A really enjoyable read.
Rating: 4/5

Paris for Two One // JoJo Moyes
This book is part of Galaxy's Quick Reads series and certainly was that.  95 pages of whimsical fun, this was the perfect amount of chick lit for me and worked really well as light relief in between heavier reads.  It's the classic girl-gets-dumped--girl-meets-new-man tale, set against a backdrop of Paris and having just returned from France it felt nostalgic and set the scene well.  If you're not a fan of drawn-out romcoms then perhaps pick this up.  Especially when you consider it only costs £1!
Rating: 3/5

The Versions of Us
I've said it hundreds of times; a book that spans a long time-frame is my ideal.  The Versions of Us is a sliding doors-type affair across the lifetimes of Eva and Jim who meet at uni in the '50s.  It looks at the decisions made and how they affect the rest of Eva and Jim's lives, and ultimately how the fates of two people can be intertwined regardless of their autonomy.  On paper, this sounds like my dream book.  In reality, not so.  It was really hard to read, with each chapter telling a different 'version' which more often than not were nearly impossible to keep up with.  Landmark events (birthdays etc) stay the same in each of the three versions, but I found myself having to do a brief re-cap before each chapter and almost wishing that I'd kept notes to help distinguish between the stories.  It was very well written, with the characters believable and well-rounded.  I just wish perhaps it had been set out differently on paper.
Rating: 3/5

Dead Man Talking // Roddy Doyle
Another of the Quick Reads series, I read this whilst eating breakfast one Sunday.  It was weird.  Not other word for it. Pat meets up with Joe, a friend he fell out with long ago, on the night before Joe's funeral.  What ensues is a claustrophobic, repetitive story with no logic to it.  Even before this event, the plot left a lot of unanswered questions and unexplained detail.  I could picture this book translating well into a film, but it did nothing for me.
Rating: 1/5


  1. I love books set in 00s-20s New York so would love to read Hoffman's, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. I love the magical elements of all Hoffman's work, particularly this one. There's just something about the era that makes it work.


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