The Girl you Left Behind by Jojo Moyes


I love Jojo Moyes’ books, having read a couple of them in the past. I decided to read this because I like a good dual storyline and how the concept reminded me of what I’ve seen in Victoria Hislop’s books.


France, 1916: Artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his young wife, Sophie, to fight at the front. When their small town falls to the Germans in the midst of World War I, Edouard’s portrait of Sophie draws the eye of the new Kommandant. As the officer’s dangerous obsession deepens, Sophie will risk everything—her family, her reputation, and her life—to see her husband again.

Almost a century later, Sophie’s portrait is given to Liv Halston by her young husband shortly before his sudden death. A chance encounter reveals the painting’s true worth, and a battle begins for who its legitimate owner is—putting Liv’s belief in what is right to the ultimate test.



Firstly, one factor that made me enjoy the book quite a bit was the focus on WWI. Most modern fictional war books are WWII-centered or related. Because WWI happened so long ago I suppose it can be hard to create a plot line that can be tied properly together. This was not something Jojo Moyes let stop her. The dual storyline tells the story of two strong, righteous women who stand up for what they believe in.

The book starts out by telling the story of Sophie during WWI. I got into this story relatively quickly and became more invested the more I learned about her. The transition from Sophie’s storyline to Liv’s present day was a bit rough. It was an instant decrease in intensity which I found a bit jarring. Eventually, after all the introductions were made, the plot thickened and the story became captivating again. By the end I was so invested in both these women’s story I couldn’t put it down.

The characters are deep, well-developed and you grow to care about them all. Jojo Moyes is good at writing to induce emotions and she’s done it again in The Girl You Left Behind.

If you like Moyes’ other books, Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay or The Thread by Victoria Hislop, you’ll like this one. OR (PERHAPS SPOILER) if you like satisfying endings, this is a good one.






“The Upside Of Unrequited” By Becky Albertalli

Following Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and a recommendation from a friend, I decided to give this one a go as well.


Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?


Bilderesultat for the upside of unrequited fanartThe relatability level of this story baffles me. Albertalli has captured what it feels like when people around you are moving on and changing while you are not, which I’m sure many can relate to. The main character’s journey and her thoughts on relationships, friendships and other people in general were straight-up a relief to read. I loved it. It was so relatable. The characters were all well developed with their own strong personalities and stories. Specifically, the grandmother with all her bluntness and untimely homophobic, racist comments just added to the realistic feel of the book (and please do not let that discourage you, the old woman tries very hard).

In this day and age, I am always seeking diversity in the books I read, and Albertalli does not disappoint. She covers different sexualities, has multiple POC’s and deals with body image issues wonderfully. Also, the twin girls and their little brother were all conceived using a sperm donor, which is something I’ve never read about and it was fascinating to get a feel for the dynamic of the family.

Again, similarly to Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, this book is great. It’s classic YA, full of well-written characters, it’s hard to put down and the diversity of the book makes it all the more enjoyable. I recommend!

“I don’t entirely understand how anyone gets a boyfriend. Or a girlfriend. It just seems like the most impossible odds. You have to have a crush on the exact right person at the exact right moment. And they have to like you back. A perfect alignment of feelings and circumstances. It’s almost unfathomable that it happens as often as it does.” – Molly

“Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” By Becky Albertalli

Hi all!

It’s been a while, I’ve been busy with exams and then a big move, followed by the start of a new job. Now that I’m a bit more settled in, with more time to read, I will also be posting more. Hopefully. Because June was Pride Month, I have been looking for an LGBT+ friendly book with gay main characters and I landed on Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. It had quite a few good reviews on Goodreads and everyone seems to be reading Albertalli’s other book, The Upside of Unrequited these days(which I have now also started). There is a possibility this will just turn into a rant about the difficulty I have in finding good, well-written and relevant LGBT fiction, but I will try to keep this post about the book itself (I might go off a tangent in a separate post at a later point though).



Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.


This book is good. I really liked it.

First of all, the Simon character is a good guy. Fundamentally, he is likable, he has good friends and he’s coming to grips with his sexual identity without losing himself in the process. His friendships with Abby, Leah, and Nick were immensely fascinating to read. I sympathised with Leah as she was sort of pushed aside, and at the same time completely understood that Simon simply found another person he could connect with, which there’s nothing wrong with. (I’m happy to say that Leah will be the main character of Albertalli’s next book. Whoop whoop! Can’t wait to read more about her. You’ll feel the same way once you’ve read this one I promise.)

tumblr_nxfg1sijc21u8fbs9o1_500The primary love interest is Blue and his identity remains a mystery until the end. The buildup to his reveal had me on the edge of my seat and I struggled to put the book down. I simply had to get to the end! And it was worth it. YA books are great because they are easy to read and they hold an emotional significance and relatability that is easily felt. Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda is one of those books and will be left standing as one of my favourite YA books. Simon and Blue’s relationship is built gradually, intently and anonymously. The purity of their relationship and depths of their conversations were aspects I greatly enjoyed. I also recognised myself in Simon in that manner as I have built trust in the same way in the past.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is one of the better LGBT+ books I have read, it’s realistic, relatable and well-written. Overall, it’s extremely enjoyable, it is YA-y, fluffy, diverse and full of friendship. If you like books like I’ll Give you the Sun and Lola and the Boy Next Door, this is the book for you! 




“The Engelsfors Series” By Strandberg and Elfgren

The Engelsfors series has captivated me in a way no fantasy book has done in a long time. Every once in a while I read a book that is so vivid it feels as though I am not reading, but experiencing it myself. Strandberg and Elfgren have brilliantly constructed this universe and I am so thrilled to have had the pleasure of reading this series.



One night, when a strange red moon fills the sky, six school girls find themselves in an abandoned theme park, drawn there by a mysterious force. A student has just been found dead. Everyone suspects suicide. Everyone – except them.

In that derelict fairground an ancient prophecy is revealed. They are The Chosen Ones, a group of witches, bound together by a power, one which could destroy them all. But they soon learn that despite their differences they need each other in order to master the forces that have been awakened within them.

High school is now a matter of life and death. Because the killing has only just begun.


noje_27-01-15_haxorna-i-engelsforsThe main reason you should read this series is the characters. Each character is different and has their own well-crafted storylines that make them come to life in the most realistic fashion. The mundane issues they have as teenagers contrast their heavy world-threatening supernatural struggles. Anyone will be able to relate to someone in some way, which makes it feel as though the reader could be the one with the magical powers, and I absolutely love that.

The depiction of Vanessa and Linnea’s relationship is one of my favourite plot points. The way they progressed and gradually became more and more infatuated with each other is realistically written and plays a central role in the development of both characters. I find that LGBT+ storylines in books and TV-shows normally revolve around one person’s coming-out process, usually filled with a lot of angst and sadness. This storyline focused almost exclusively on their relationship and their feelings for each other, the way heterosexual couples normally are depicted.

What I enjoyed about this book (or maybe I shouldn’t have enjoyed it) were the graphic descriptions. Descriptions of sex, drug use, and violence are part of what makes the book feel more appropriate for older age groups. Sometimes I don’t enjoy reading books about people younger than me. If I’m feeling nostalgic it can be pretty pretty great, but most ofmap_engelsfors__c_karl_johnsson the time it makes me feel slightly sad that something extraordinary never happened to me. It’s kind of like the feeling you get when you find out a popular actress or footballer is actually younger than you and they are having all this success while you’re sat eating Doritos in bed. Anyway, the sex, drugs and violence descriptions make it feel like the series is for a more mature audience as well, which I quite enjoyed.

The book is fantastically written and a delightful page-turner. If you like fantasy then this book is definitely for you. 



“Two Sisters” By Åsne Seierstad

Hi there!

Åsne Seierstad is a Norwegian author and seierstad20c385sne20c20sturlason1journalist. She is especially known for her work on life in war-territories. She has written a few other books, one becoming a bestseller, depicting life during the war in Kabul. Her most recent book “To Søstre,” meaning ‘Two Sisters’ was published in October 2016 and has already won the Brage-award.

to-sc3b8stre-hoyThe book revolves around two sisters who decided to join ISIS in Syria. The topic is very relevant considering the events of today and gives insight into the world of Norwegian-Somalians. Seierstad has interviewed, researched and pried to get the information needed to produce this book. The parents of the two girls who travelled have bravely told their stories in the hopes that other parents and friends will be able to see the signs of radicalisation, which they did not see until it was too late. The book revolves mostly around the father of the girls, who goes to Syria to find them, but the oldest brother Ismal also plays a central role in telling the story. The girls themselves did not respond to the requests Seierstad sent, but stories from friends, family and teachers gave Seierstad a valid foundation to make assumptions about their lives.

Youth travelling to Syria to join ISIS has stagnated luckily, but a lot of youths have become88766074_88766073radicalised still, which to many is a hard thing to imagine. Seierstad has done her best to tell us how it happened and how different views on religion developed and unfolded in one family. The girls grew up in Norway, one of the most Western countries in the world. The state is widely secularised and inclusion of all religions is what we aim for. I am a white, middle-class full-Norwegian female who grew up in the most Norwegian street you can find. I rarely see this side of my own country, which has taught me a lot about Norway as well as what is happening in Syria.

The story is true, which makes it so much more emotional and incredible. Everyone should read this book. It is terribly important today. Seierstad tells the truth in a captivating yet simple way that fills knowledge gaps I know I have been needing to fill. Seeing what is happening in Aleppo right now it is clear things need to change. Everyone needs to understand what is happening. This book will help you.

Insight into Publishing – A Hachette Event


On the 16th of November, I went to London to attend Hachette’s Inside Story event. For those of you who don’t know, Hachette is a major publishing company, one of the famous Big Five, and they own imprints such as Little Brown and Orion.

Hachette is a company where I would love to work. I have a sheet of paper above my bed saying “HACHETTE” to remind myself that is where I would like to be one day. The books they  publish are of outstanding quality and as soon as I saw they were hosting this event I knew I had to apply.

The day is designed to give a broad introduction to the various processes and departments within publishing. Throughout the course of the day we were split into groups and created a book ourselves, which we pitched to a mock author and agent. Lunch was provided and they offered to take a look at our CV as well. It was also possible to grab a drink on the roof with various staff during the evening. The experience was very rewarding and has given me a lot to think about when it comes to pursuing a marketing career.

We were visited by people who held various roles in publishing both within and outside the company. Literary Agents, contract directors, editors, design, production, rights and licensing, sales, marketing and publicity were among the different categories. I will be discussing two of the areas below as those were among the most interesting to me.

The literary agent was Sheila Crowley who works for Curtis Brown and is the agent of famous authors such as Jojo Moyes. She is one of those people who you know is undeniably good at what they do and you could listen to for hours. Crowley stated that she viewed her role as a constant in an author’s life, to support and help them no matter what the problem might be, authors are after all what makes the business.

Most of the authors and books she takes on are through recommendations, but there are portals where authors can send in their scripts too.

She was also carefull to say that there is no one right answer to a success, books surprise and those who are most successful in the end might not be the one with the most promising premise.


As someone who studies marketing and is aiming for a job within that field I was the most excited about this bit. I always say I want to work on promoting things I am passionate about, and what am I more passionate about than books? Not much.

Bethan Ferguson who is the Marketing Director at Quercus came to talk to us about marketing. She stated that a marketer in the publishing is involved in every aspect of the process and it is necessary to be in contact and have conversation with everyone.

What is key when publishing a book is knowing EXACTLY where it belongs in the market. There can be no doubt as any marketing activity stems from this.

The marketing activities and promotion strategies are changing from traditional billboards to a more online presence. In other words, social media and digital marketing is where it’s at. Digital and social media advertising is an advantage because it is happening in real time and therefore it is possible to do tweaks to see exactly what works and not.


IS THIS FOR YOU?wp-1480273612203.jpg

If you’re interested in seeing if publishing is for you, I recommend you apply to the next event hosted by Hachette, because they are very good at organising it and they showed they really care about the future of publishing. The industry is wildly competitive and this day really put things in perspective for me, personally.

It does not matter what you study, all you need is a fresh mind and a passion for books.



“Happiness is Easy” By Edney Silvestre


I randomly found this book at a £1 sale in Waterstones. Simply put, I chose it because it was thin, about an advertising director, and Brazilian(Fact of the day:Mariana, the other half of this blog, is half Brazilian). I was drawn to the story and I found myself wanting to read more about the Brazilian society.

PLOT(from the book cover)

Olavo Bettencourt is an important man, a man of spin. With Brazil adjusting to the new idea of democracy, his PR firm holds the balance of power in its hands. Which has also made Olavo very rich, if not very popular.

Loathed by his trophy wife and admired in a web of political corruption that spreads from Sao Paolo to Switzerland, Israel and New York, Olavo is an obvious target for extortion. And what better leverage can there be but the kidnapping of his only son.

Except that child, on his way home from school in Olavo’s armour-plated car, deep into his colouring book as the gang closes in…

He’s not Olavo’s son.


I have mixed emotions about this book. I experienced it as pretty average to be honest with you. The story is interesting and keeps you on your feet, but I can tell it’s a book I’ll quickly forget once I’m done with it.

Ohappiness-is-easy-cover-e1404243528290ne storyline felt unnecessary as it didn’t truly cross paths with what was clearly considered the ‘main story.’ The way I see it, this specific storyline served as a backstory to further demonstrate one important point: Brazil is an difficult country for a poor person to live in and corruption is everywhere. Which, indeed, is quite an interesting storyline, but takes valuable pages away from the what I considered the ‘main’ plot.

The book criticises corruption and the Brazilian system and does so in an good way, but as a non-Brazilian I felt lost at times, especially when it was dealing with elections. However, I feel I have gained an insight into what Brazil is like, from an insider’s perspective, which makes it worth the read.
Mara was the character I was most intrigued by. She lived an unfulfilling life, while still having access to the things that supposedly make you happy. She goes through a change in this book that I quite enjoyed reading.




“The Ugly Teapot” By Fred Holmes

Author: Fred Holmes

Published: 30th of March 2016.

Pages: 205

Goodreads rating: 4.33


For a while now I have been wanting to read some light, easy-read fantasy. I was asked to review this book and it turned out to be exactly what I needed. Fantasy books are thrilling because they take you out of this world and into a new one. I was looking for an escape and I found it in this book.

PLOT(from Goodreads)aaeaaqaaaaaaaaj6aaaajdvinwflnmfhltg4ogitngi3yi04odc1ltq3zgy2ytblytqyyg

Fourteen-year-old Hannah Bradbury loved her father so much that she worried about him constantly. After all, he was a photographer who traveled to the most dangerous places in the world.

To allay her fears, each time he came home he brought her silly gifts, each one with supposed magical powers: the Seal of Solomon, the Ring of Gyges, even Aladdin’s Lamp. It was that lamp Hannah found the most unbelievable, for it looked like an ugly teapot. Nevertheless, her father assured her it was real, and made her promise to save her three wishes for something very special.

Then . . . six months later . . . the unthinkable happened. Her father was killed while on assignment to Baghdad. And so on the day of his funeral Hannah did something she never thought she would ever do.

She took out that teapot and gave it a rub . . .


This book is proof that your imagination can create wonderful things. Holmes has created a fantasy world that it was easy to get into and hard to escape. I was sat reading this book in my flat mate’s room and I kept giving him recaps because it was too intense to keep to myself. Nearly every chapter ends on a cliffhanger and I was unable to stop reading.

aladdindisneyWhat I thoroughly enjoyed was the presence of allusions. The author referred to Aladdin and Tarzan which made the whole story more elaborate and relatable, but I wish the Aladdin plot line could have been developed further. I am always happy when fantasy novels refer to legends and stories we as readers know, because it makes me feel more attached to the story and the characters.

There is a parallel storyline following Hannah’s mother as she struggles with some more adult themes. Where Hannah’s storyline deals with more child-related themes, having a more adult storyline is a good break. Especially as an older reader it was refreshing and served as a nice contrast.

The style in which this book is written makes it clear it is meant for children. I would say 10-12 year olds, but some of the descriptions I felt were too explicit for such a young reader. As in “slitting her throat” and “blood gushing” are quite harsh terms. The themes handled in this book are also quite adult centred, but are explained in a juvenile way which I believe will suit a young child well.

I like being surprised. This book definitely took me by surprise. It was a rollercoaster of emotions; sadness, happiness, elation, shock and relief were all feelings I experienced. Of course the book ended on a massive cliff hanger and I can’t wait to read next one!




‘Stoner’ by John Williams


Author: John Edward Williamsjohn-williams-stoner
Published: 1965 by Viking Press
Pages: 288
Goodreads rating: 4.27

Why did I want to read this book?

For the past two years or so I’ve seen this book everywhere. It kept showing up with it’s enticing covers and positive reviews and I found a deep desire to read it. Some called this novel ‘perfection.’ While that is a lucid term I felt drawn to it and that initial attraction bloomed into an admiration and affection that few books are able to create.

What is it about?

Williams begins the book by telling you how it goes. You know how it is going to end immediately, but that does not inhibit you as a reader. The following story is told almost painfully chronologically from his last days of school until his death.

Stoner leaves his parents’ farm to study agriculture at university. He then falls in love with English literature and so he never leaves the university. After graduating he goes on to teaching and doesn’t ever stop. He meets a girl, they have daughter, they buy a house, they life their lives, but it is not a successful marriage or a great life.

Williams’ great creation

Williams has written something ordinary so beautifully I can’t seem to stop thinking about it. His careful wording and honest, straightforward storytelling is compelling. Sometimes, I bookmarked a page solely because I wanted to reread a specific passage.

“Sometimes, immersed in his books, there would come to him the awareness of all that he did not know, of all that he had not read; and the serenity for which he labored was shattered as he realized the little time he had in life to read so much, to learn what he had to know.”

Stoner is remarkably unremarkable and so is his life. Still you are left with the feeling that things could not have gone any other way. All the characters are irrevocably themselves and there is no one to blame for whatever happens because it is simply who they are.

What was most painful while reading the book was Stoner’s relationship with his daughter. If there is one thing which is true in this book it is the fact that Stoner loved his daughter, Grace. He was her primary caretaker as his wife struggled mentally. When his wife came back after some time to herself she punished Stoner by keeping Grace away from him and turning her into someone she was not. The painful part was that Stoner let her. A quiet frustration blossomed and I wanted to yell at him – how can you let yourself be distanced so? Stand up to your wife. Take care of your daughter! –

At some point Grace stopped being her own person and painfully put her mother’s needs before her own. Nonetheless she sealed her fate the only way she knew how and ended up living a life dominated by quiet desperation. She was the person for whom I most hoped for a blissful life, but she was not destined for it. When Stoner is nearing his last days she comes up to visit and this is what he notes of her:

They talked late into the night, as if they were old friends. And Stoner came to realize that she was, as she had said, almost happy with her despair; she would live her days out quietly, drinking a little more, year by year, numbing herself against the nothingness her life had become. He was glad that she had that, at least; he was grateful that she could drink.


This is not a happy book. It is filled with disappointments that set deep marks in everyone involved. Its linear progression is unusual and refreshingly natural, while the plot is undoubtedly depressing. After finishing it I was left feeling melancholy, looking back on a life I never lived myself. I love books that can make me feel, and Stoner is one of them.








‘Quiet’ by Susan Cain

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop TalkingBilderesultat for quiet susan cain

Author: Susan Cain

Published: 2012 by Crown Publishers

Pages: 337

Goodreads rating: 4.02




Ever found yourself to be the quiet one in the group? Preferred a small clique to a large gang of friends? Liked brainstorming alone before discussing ideas in a group? If this sits right with you then chances are you are an introvert. Susan Cain’s book about the quiet ones has been praised and sold all over the world. I have always been labeled a quiet soul and I wanted to see what this book could tell me about myself.


There is no doubt our society praises the ones who are loud, who speak up in class and shout their opinions. In the business world, these people are the ones who are heard, who quickly make their way ahead. One of my main concerns when it came to choosing my degree was that I was too quiet. My teacher in high school expressed some concern too, that I was too quiet to get my ideas ahead. Not because I wasn’t capable or couldn’t provide an answer, but because that is simply the way the world works.


Cain has written an incredible book about the extrovert ideal that the West has created. She uses statistics, facts, and enthralling case studies to show that people who are introverts are successful people, because of their introversion, their quiet. The book’s main focus largely lies within education, business and the professional setting. It tells the stories of introverts who succeeded in business because they were introverted and of the people who struggled because they were.


The angle of this book is unavoidably on the side of the introverts. Cain praises those who are quiet and held back. Introverts are the ones who think harder, deeper, more detailed, take lower risks and listen more to their employees. Introverts should be on top of the world, but because extroverts are louder, they are the ones who make it there, even if they don’t have the best ideas. It is understandable that because introverts are the theme of the book it is their personalities that are exemplified and discussed, not extroverts’. When discussing one of two opposites it is virtually impossible to talk well of one without neglecting or overshadowing the other. Cain knows this and focuses on the introverted side, to which she does well.



Her book is well researched and reading it fills you with a need to absorb all the knowledge she is sharing. Most of the readers will presumably be introverts, looking for a confirmation that introversion is not an obstacle, as well as a sense of solidarity. Extroverts should read this as well, perhaps more so than introverts should. Understanding those that are different to us is difficult and reading this book will undoubtedly help the loud understand the quiet. One part of the book discusses how to create the best possible environment for an introverted child to thrive. This section is especially important and every parent, teacher, guardian should read it.


The reason Cain’s novel is so enjoyable is that it helps you define yourself. Whether you’re an introvert, pseudo-extrovert or extroverted you will most likely use this book to define your persona, whether you feel what Cain says about you is accurate or not. It is comforting to anyone ever labeled an introvert and will increase confidence in their own abilities. That being said, while reading the book it is important to remember that every person is more that a term. No person is completely extroverted in every setting and vice versa. Know that what you do does not need to fit into an introversion/extroversion-scale. Try to focus on developing yourself further, rather than to fit into one of the two booths.


What I want now is the equivalent book about extroverts. I really want to hear their side of their story. What are their success stories? How have they gotten to where they are?

What do you think?


“The secret to life is to put yourself in the right lighting. For some, it’s a Broadway spotlight; for others, a lamplit desk. Use your natural powers — of persistence, concentration, and insight — to do work you love and work that matters. Solve problems. make art, think deeply.”
-Susan Cain, Quiet