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Angie Thomas – The Hate U Give

Beautifully written, raw, passionate and hard-hitting, and heart-breaking that this book is inspired by real experiences, far too many real experiences.

“Brave doesn’t mean you’re not scared, Starr. It means you go on even though you’re scared.”

I don’t even know how to go about reviewing this book, as I’m so far removed from the realities of this story that I would feel kind of like an interloper. I feel this book is (and already has been) such an important book in terms of drawing more attention to these injustices.

When you hear about it on the news, it feels so matter of fact and so distant that it doesn’t always hit you in the way it should, but this book was so full of emotion that I felt like I was with Starr every step of the way and feeling every feeling with her. I’m not ashamed to admit I cried multiple times reading this book.

There’s been so much hype given to this book in the press and in the awards, and usually that would make me reticent to pick it up, but I really feel like this book needs to be read by as many people as possible. I’m not saying it can change the world, but it sure can make people think differently and be less quick to judge.

My rating: 5/5Average rating: 4.56
438 pages. Published in: 2017
Read in Paperbackon 6th June 2018

Milly Johnson – The Birds and The Bees

I read a blog post that Milly wrote this week about how so-called ‘chick-lit’ is always overlooked by celebrity book clubs, in favour of ‘proper literature’. And I really don’t know why. I love Milly Johnson for the fact that you can completely lose yourself in the story and it becomes a movie in your mind.

Yes, you can pretty much always tell how the story is going to end, but I honestly don’t care, because for me it’s all about the journey of how you get there, and Milly’s books are never predictable.

I loved the characters of Stevie and Adam, and Jo and Matthew were so well written that it was really easy to hate them. Milly definitely has a knack for writing characters that are so up themselves that they just can’t see how horrible they’re being to the people around them.

I was on tenterhooks for the entire book waiting to see if Adam and Stevie would see through the lies that they had been fed by their delightful ex-partners and see how perfect they were for each other.

I binged this book in one day, the first day of our holiday. I was up 3 hours before anyone else so enjoyed the peace and quiet and binged almost the whole thing before breakfast. Another book really well written by Milly, I’m just disappointed that I’ve almost read them all now – good job there’s a new one coming out just before my birthday!

My rating: 5/5Average rating: 4.16
440 pages. Published in: 2011
Read in Paperbackon 3rd June 2018

Liz Flanagan – Eden Summer

So first of all, Eden Summer was maybe not the best name to choose for a book – I just searched on Waterstones website to get a link to the book and it turns out Eden Summer is the name of an erotic fiction writer – so if you tell people you’re reading Eden Summer and they give you a funny look, you know why!

I picked this book because it was set in Hebden Bridge and I like reading ‘local’ books. I’ve been going through a bit of a Young Adult spell at the moment so this kind of appealed to me for that reason too.

Unfortunately, I just didn’t really get on with the book, the style of writing was just not for me. The book starts off with Eden going missing, and then most of the rest of the book is told via flashbacks, and sometimes flashbacks from within flashbacks. I felt like it really affected the pace of the story for me – we were getting so much information of the history of the book, but none of the drama of Eden actually being missing.

I got to the end of the book and I was a little bit disappointed that nothing more happened, it just felt like a complete anti-climax at the end. Probably more a fault of it being aimed at teenagers rather than more dramatic novels I’ve read like The Girl on the Train, but I was expecting more.

I’m not going to say don’t read it as I can see how other people would enjoy it, but it just wasn’t for me.

My rating: 2/5Average rating: 3.68
289 pages. Published in: 2016
Read in E-bookon 13th – 19th May 2018

Milly Johnson – A Summer Fling

Ah Milly Johnson, I could read you forever. As usual, this book was brilliant from start to end. The kind of book that I start reading and it turns into a lovely film inside my head, and I don’t realise how long I’ve been reading until I’m 200 pages in and my back is hurting from sitting in one place for too long!

One of my favourite things about Milly’s books is that they’re set in Yorkshire and all her characters are so lovely and relateable. Sometimes when I’m reading ‘chick-lit’, I find the characters so different from me that I can’t empathise with them at all, but I always feel like I could be best friends with the characters that Milly creates.

This book was no different. Despite the 5 main ladies being such different characters, I could imagine sitting with them in The Rising Sun and having a drink and a gossip.

The other thing that Milly has a complete knack for is creating the perfect ‘bad guys’. The men who are complete idiots and don’t deserve the lovely ladies they’ve got. The men never seem exaggerated, but you despise them all the same.

But that just leaves room for the nice guys like Vladimir or Niki to come in and sweep the lovely ladies off their feet, when they finally realise how lovely they are.

This book was like literary girl-power. All the ladies teaming up together and having each other’s backs to get them out of the bad situations they were in and make them finally happy again.

Love love loved it. Devoured it in less than a day because I just needed to know what was going to happen.

My rating: 5/5Average rating: 4.21
484 pages. Published in: 2007
Read in Paperbackon 13-14th May 2018

Diksha Basu – The Windfall

Right up to the very end, I was loving this book, but the ending left me feeling a bit cold which really changed my impression of the whole book, dropping my overall rating from a 4 to a 3.

The book felt to me like Hyacinth Bouquet and Keeping up Appearances on steroids. I’ve never known someone so desperate to appear like he has more money than his neighbours than Mr Jha. To go to the point that you will openly insult your son and call him useless and his work rubbish just so that you look better to your neighbours makes you pretty sad to be honest.

Mr Jha and his wife have recently come into a lot of money, and Mr Jha has decided that they need to move from their family home surrounded by their friends, so to a nicer house on the other side of Delhi, surrounded by other wealthy people. Mrs Jha is not so certain, and you can tell as the book goes on that she would just much rather be back in her small apartment (despite its foibles) and have her friends near her. Money can’t fix loneliness.

Without giving away too many spoilers, one of the funniest things for me was when Mr Jha realised that his insane competition to look richer than his neighbour might have all been a waste of time. I mean, getting a sofa that was studded with crystals might have looked nice, but if you can’t sit on it without inflicting pain, what is the point?!

As well as Mr and Mrs Jha, the book splits perspective between their son Rupak who is at school in America, and Mrs Jha’s friend Mrs Ray. I loved that we could see the story from multiple sides, as it meant that you got a better feeling of how ridiculous it all was.

Unlike most books I’ve read with multiple perspectives which devote a chapter at a time to one character, this book seamlessly switched from one character to another, sometimes mid sentence. It was a bit jarring at first, but once I got used to it, it was great. It meant that you could see the exact same events from multiple perspectives without splitting the book up into tiny chapters.

As I mentioned at the start, I knocked a point off this book for the ending which was just a total let-down for me, I was expecting something more and it felt a bit like it fizzled out. I still can’t decide how exactly I would have preferred the book to end, but just with a bit more of ‘something’ than it actually did.

My rating: 3/5Average rating: 3.56
306 pages. Published in: 2017
Read in E-bookon 9th-12th May 2018
Nick Page - A Nearly Infallible History of Christianity

Nick Page – A Nearly Infallible History of Christianity

So if you look at the Goodreads data on when I started and finished this book, you’ll see it has taken me a ridiculously long time to finish reading it. I’d like to point out that this definitely isn’t a reflection of the book, it’s just that I started off only reading the book when I was in the bath, and I don’t get to spend much time in there!

However, over the past week I’ve finished the last half of the book and it has been fantastic. The author has a way of blending the history with comedy to make the book entertaining as well as full of facts. I never really got on with history at school as I found it a bit boring, but this book made sure I was never bored and I learnt so much from it – if school history lessons had been like this, I might have paid more attention!

The book starts 2,000 years ago (as you may have guessed), and covers everything from the Nicene creed, through to the reformation, the abolition of slavery and the ordination of female priests. How the author managed to pack so much information into so few pages is beyond me, but I never felt ‘short-changed’ on information.

Interspersed throughout the book are little ‘fact files’ about important people in Christian history, along with little cartoon sketches which added to the ‘comedy’ side of the book without taking away from the seriousness of it too.

Nick Page - A Nearly Infallible History of Christianity

I would really recommend this book to anyone interested in learning a broad overview of Christian history, you will most likely find areas that you want to learn about in more depth – I certainly did. I’m now reading ‘A Nearly Infallible History of the Reformation’, in part because of how interesting I found the reformation part of this book, and in part because I want to read more by this author.

My rating: 5/5Average rating: 4.28
464 pages. Published in: 2013
Read in Paperbackon 13th September 2016 – 9th May 2018
A Court of Frost and Starlight

Sarah J. Maas – A Court of Frost and Starlight

I was really quite excited about this book coming out having read the first three in the series over the new year. But when I started reading the first reviews coming through on Goodreads, I was a little apprehensive and the reviews weren’t great.

The reviews did prepare me for the fact that this is a novella between the original trilogy and the planned new trilogy to connect the two plots together, so at least I wasn’t expecting a full novel, but I was still left wanting more at the end – less than 300 pages just didn’t seem like enough.

Saying that, I didn’t feel like there was a huge amount of plot in this book compared to the first three – now that the war is over, there wasn’t too much action – it was a lot more focused on relationships than fighting. Not that it was a bad thing, I did enjoy seeing relationships develop more in many ways, even though not all relationships went in the direction I had hoped.

A word of caution – this was the first book in this series that actually had a warning on the back about mature content not suitable for younger readers (which I think really should have been on the others too), but I would definitely agree that the book was quite adult in places. In fact, I think it would be pushing it to include this in the young adult genre which is usually applied to books aimed at 13+ it seems.

Some reviews weren’t happy with this content, but I did feel like it fit quite well in the story-arc, I mean Feyre and Rhys are now mated/married and it seems like a natural turn for the book to take, especially given other decisions they make towards the end.

I can’t wait for book number 5 now, I’m just hoping it will be a bit more action-packed than this novella.

My rating: 4/5Average rating: 4.2
272 pages. Published in: 2018
Read in Paperbackon 6th-8th May 2018
The Wolf Wilder - Katherine Rundell

Katherine Rundell – The Wolf Wilder

It’s been a while since I read this book, so forgive me for a short/probably slightly rubbish review. I’ve been so busy that since I read this book I just haven’t found much time to sit down and write the review, and I haven’t read another book in almost a month. Not much good for my Goodreads Reading Challenge, which I’m now 7 books behind on!

After reading another Katherine Rundell book not too long ago, I thought I’d give this one a try since it was available on loan from the library. The start of the book felt very familiar to me, like I’d read it before, but as the book went on, I realised I hadn’t (or at least I’d never made it to the end). I just didn’t click with this book and didn’t get on with it as much as The Explorer – which I gave a 5 star rating.

I loved the fairytale element to the story, the world that was described on the pages felt almost magical, the descriptions of the land around Feo were beautiful. But it was Feo herself that was distancing me from any kind of connection with the story – a headstrong young child, she assumes she is always right and ends up making the same mistakes over and over again, which was infuriating, especially when she kept putting the people she loved in danger.

All in all, not my favourite book, but still giving it 3 stars for the magical world that I got to spend time in.

My rating: 3/5Average rating: 4.04
329 pages. Published in: 2015
Read in E-bookon 1st-8th April 2018

Allan Stratton – The Way Back Home

Urgh. I don’t know if I’m just way older than the target demographic for this book, but I just could not get along with it. I’m guessing it was aimed at teenagers who may be able to relate to the main character, Zoe, but I just found her a whiny brat throughout the whole book and it completely spoilt it for me.

I think it’s supposed to be played as Zoe the wild child going on this grand adventure and somehow reuniting the family and making everything right in the world, but all I could think about was how selfish Zoe was being.

Her grandma has dementia and she’s finding it hard to live alone (although she doesn’t realise it herself), so Zoe’s parents place her in a care home so she can be looked after. But Zoe decides that her grandma shouldn’t be in a care home, she should be “free”, so she decides to take her on a trip across Canada to visit her estranged son.

I think we’re supposed to think Zoe is a hero for trying to rescue her grandma from the evil parents, but the only thought running through my mind was how naive she was.

Unfortunately, this is my first 1 star review of the year. Maybe other people would enjoy it more than me (it does have a 3.85 average on Goodreads), but it just wasn’t for me.


My rating: 1/5Average rating: 3.85
266 pages. Published in: 2017
Read in E-bookon 15th-16th March 2018

Chelsea Sedoti – As You Wish

Imagine if you had one wish, and you knew for sure that it would come true. What would you wish for? Money? Beauty? Success? Love?

But what if you had already seen generations of people make their own ‘one wish’ and you could see the toxic affects it had on their lives? Would you still be so eager to make that wish?

For Eldon, that’s his reality. He lives in Madison, a place where each citizen can make one wish on their 18th birthday and it’s guaranteed to come true. But Eldon’s life has been heavily influenced by the consequences of his mother’s wish when she was 18, and he’s dreading his.

All his friends are excitedly discussing theirs, or they knew for months in advance what they would wish for, but Eldon just doesn’t know. He knows what his mother wants him to wish for, but he also knows it wouldn’t have the outcome that she wants.

I was taken on so many turns on this book that I honestly couldn’t decide what Eldon would wish for. I did find it got slightly teenage and brooding in points, but there we were also many places where it was pretty spot on as well.

“Wishing either gets you everything or nothing. And it’s a gamble everyone is willing to take.”

“Eldon, we all mess up. No one should measure their worth by how often they screw up. What matters most is how a person deals with the aftermath. How they grow and change.”

Including this one which was so relevant for me right now that I actually had to stop and have a little cry.

“When someone dies, it doesn’t just take them. It takes a piece of everyone who ever loved them and everyone they ever loved.”

I think I’d give this book 4 out of 5. The idea and most of the execution was great, but I just feel like it was a bit juvenile in places.

My rating: 4/5Average rating: 3.49
432 pages. Published in: 2018
Read in E-bookon 9th-13th March 2018

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