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Love it or Hate it: Jane Eyre

Have you ever noticed how some books seem to drive a wedge between people? You check the reviews and find almost no middle-of-the-road ratings. Instead people either seem to love it or hate it. Well, welcome to the Love it or Hate it post category! Each month, we’ll pick one book to review and two contributors will […]

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The One Memory of Flora Banks Emily Barr

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The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr
Published in: 2017
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: ★★★
Find it here: The One Memory of Flora Banks

This ARC was provided by Penguin Random House (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis from Goodreads: Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. Her mind resets itself several times a day, and has since the age of ten, when the tumor that was removed from Flora’s brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend’s boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Miraculously, this one memory breaks through Flora’s fractured mind, and sticks. Flora is convinced that Drake is responsible for restoring her memory and making her whole again. So when an encouraging email from Drake suggests she meet him on the other side of the world, Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step toward reclaiming her life.

With little more than the words “be brave” inked into her skin, and written reminders of who she is and why her memory is so limited, Flora sets off on an impossible journey to Svalbard, Norway, the land of the midnight sun, determined to find Drake. But from the moment she arrives in the arctic, nothing is quite as it seems, and Flora must “be brave” if she is ever to learn the truth about herself, and to make it safely home.

Book Worm’s Thoughts: I was intrigued by the premise of this story about girl who has no short term memory and it was an interesting read. I really liked Flora’s character and her coping mechanisms, which seemed very realistic. There were other parts of the book, however, that just felt completely unrealistic given what we are told about Flora’s family background. Don’t get me wrong, certain things needed to happen for the story to occur, but I think a less dramatic action than travelling to the Arctic alone would have been both more in keeping with the back story and more believable for the reader.

I did enjoy  the slow build up. Since Flora can remember nothing outside of kissing Drake, she constantly needs to remind herself, and hence the reader, what has actually happened to her. There are actually several hidden clues throughout the narrative that show us that things are not exactly as Flora remembers them. We, the reader, can work out the clues, but Flora herself has no idea. These reminders also mean that a lot of the actual narrative is repetitive as Flora consults her notebook, her hands, her arms, and her phone to remember who she is, where she is, and why she is there. The repetition is not a bad thing because it immerses the reader in what it is like to be Flora.

Flora is a great character who comes across as a mix between a vunerable 10 year old and a 17 year-old who is desperately trying to be an adult. She swings between these two ends of the spectrum, at times desperate for her parents and at other times desperate to be herself. I generally liked the secondary characters, however,  all too nice (with the exception of one) and as such there was no feeling of tension. There are sad situations and hints of complicated family relationships and issues around guilt.

Overall, this is a gentle read which ends on a message of hope and has the potential for a follow up book. I think it would be great to see what happens to Flora and the people around her.

Who would like this? The target audience is YA and I would say this would appeal to girls in the younger teen range due to its gentle feeling and lack of sex and violence. For the adults amon,g us I would recommend this to those with an interest with memory loss and coping mechanisms as well as family dynamics and the effects of guilt.

Want to try it for yourself? You can find a copy here: The One Memory of Flora Banks

We want to hear from you! Have you read this book? What did you think? 

Mini Reviews: 1001 books to read before you die

We have quite a backlog of reviews so to clear the backlog and keep us on track for our regular posts, we’ve decided to do a few mini reviews to share our abbreviated thoughts on some of the books we read last year. Here is our first installment focused on 1001 books. Our next series of mini reviews will be for non-list books. Let us know if any strike your fancy. Read more

The Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan

2017 is off to a good start for me, at least in terms of books. I’m participating in Litsy’s A to Z challenge (I’m admittedly obsessed with Litsy after finally discovering all the cool things over there) and since I’m mildly compulsive with respect to the order of how I complete challenges, I started off the year with “A.” Thus, The Association of Small Bombs by Mahajan was my first selection of the year.

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1001 Book Review: The Story of the Stone Cao Xueqin

 

Over the course of 2016 Book Worm and made our way through the 5 volumes of The Story of the Stone by Cao Xueqin. Considered to be one of China’s four great classical novels, it was written in the 18th century during the Qing Dynasty. I finally completed the last volume in December. Here are our reviews of this important Chinese Classic… Read more

Anticipated 2017 books

I have to say good riddance to 2016, one of my least favorite year in my lifetime for a variety of reasons. 2017 is bringing new books by some heavy hitters. Although many may disagree, I found 2016 to be a good year for books and I enjoyed quite a few books that came out. I’m hoping 2017 brings even better selections. Book Worm and I are looking forward to several upcoming releases. Keep reading to find out which books we are each looking forward to reading and scroll to the bottom for a selection of 2017 releases. Read more

2016 Readers Room Recap

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It is finally time for our final monthly recap of 2016! Find out which books were favorites and which were duds. We’ll end our wrap up with a a list of books due out this month and a glimpse of our upcoming content for next year. We also want to hear from you so let us know what you read this month and what are your reading goals for 2017.
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Read Around the World: Lithuania

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It’s been a while since we have done a Read Around the World post. This month we are lucky to have a guest blogger (Inga from readingaread) joining us to share her thoughts on her home country and her literature. Make sure to stop by and visit her blog.

I pass the baton over to her and she will take it over from here. Please visit her blog and check out her recommendations. Make sure to scroll down and see her photos at the bottom! Read more

Worst books of 2016

We recently posted our top 10 list of books published in 2016. This week we’re letting you in on our least favorite reads of 2016. I do feel kind of bad listing a worst of 2016 list however, this list is subjective and really just a reflection on which books we read during 2016 (not necessarily those published in 2016) that we didn’t particularly enjoy or with which we didn’t really connect. Many of these books will be ones that lots of readers love. What do you think or our list? Read more

1001 Book Review: Oranges are not the Only Fruit Jeanette Winterson

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Jeanette Winterson just came out with a new book this holiday season. She is one of our favorite authors and it just so happened that Book Worm and I were reading her first novel at the time of her latest release. Here are our thoughts about Oranges are Not the Only Fruit. Read more