I’ve been meaning to write more blog posts about reading; my all-time favourite books, how I make the time to read etc, but with keeping up with my goal over on Goodreads and posting mini reviews on my Twitter and Instagram accounts, my blog has taken a bit of a backseat.
Last year, I read 60 books and I was super proud of myself to get back into reading. I’m a huge bookworm but it was making the time to concentrate on a book that I found the hardest. The reading challenge on Goodreads really pushed me to tick those books off my list and to make some time for myself.
So this year I thought I’d up the numbers, so I’ve attempted to read 75 books this year *eeeeee*! Instead of rounding up the books that I’ve read throughout the year, I thought I would write up a blog post on books I’d read so far this year. They won’t be an in-depth review or anything but just a mini review, whether I thought the book was worth the read and my rating out of 5 stars.
I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was a super interesting idea to use white lies as the basis of the story, as most people think they are harmless. Even though the characters weren’t particularly likeable in my opinion, I thought the overall plot was good (even if it wasn’t super realistic!). It was one of those books that had me flipping to the beginning to check some details and I love it when a book makes me do that; it usually means that the author has connected the plot twists which is always a good thing!
I love chick-lit, it’s one of my favourite genres to read. It’s not for everyone but I read to escape everyday life and to me, there is nothing better to escape with than a juicy drama-filled read, and Jill Mansell is one of my favourite chick-lit authors. This book was one of the first books I read by Mansell, and it was so easy to read. The plot was simple, yet kept you turning the page and had you rooting for all of the characters. There was real development in the characters and although you can kind of see the ending coming, it’s satisfying at the same time.
I wasn’t expecting to like this book so much. It was such an empowering and interesting read. It follows the parallel lives of Rumi and Shams of Tabriz in the 13th century (based on the real story) and a housewife called Ella in the modern day who is a book editor working on a report on a book by Aziz Zahara. I thought it was fantastic how Shafak wrote various chapters using so many different characters’ voices; they all resonated with me in some way even if I couldn’t fully understand it. I loved the female voices in particular; but the forty rules are so relevant and although she didn’t write the rules herself, the parallel stories connected them and I found it very powerful.
4. Faking Friends by Jane Fallon
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a big fan of chick-lit and Jane Fallon may be the queen of it. This book was exactly what it promised it would be: well-written, funny and a shit ton of drama! The characters were well-rounded; I was almost rooting for the main character’s best friend (I said almost!), and the plot wasn’t dissimilar to what you see in soaps, but I still loved it. It was back-stabbing, bitchy and brilliant. If you haven’t read anything by Fallon before, I’d start with this one!
I read Morris’ debut novel last year (The Tattooist of Auschwitz) which was so beautifully written; doubly brilliant because it focused on the true story of Lale Sokolov. Ever since Morris wrote about Lale’s friendship with Cilka, I loved her and her bravery, there was so much more to her story.
This was her second novel which explored the story of Cilka (as you can probably guess from the title of the book), and her journey following Auschwitz. It was heart-breaking and hard to read at times, but it was also empowering to see how tough these women had to be and what they had to go through.
‘She was the bravest person I ever met.’ – Lale Sokolov, The Tattooist of Auschwitz
I don’t need to mention my love for chick-lit again do I? No I thought not! Sophie Kinsella is a wonderful writer, her books are always so easy to read that I usually finish them within a day or two and most of the time, her characters are well-developed. In particular, I loved this book and its plot. It wasn’t about a romantic relationship (although it does have elements of it), it was more focused on the main character who has an Instagram feed full of her ‘cool’ life which couldn’t be more opposite to her reality. I think a lot of people would be able to relate, with the way that most of society uses social media nowadays – Kinsella may not have intended it, but it was actually very thought-provoking for me.
This book took me a little while to get into, I was quite bored for the first few chapters because the pace of the book was quite slow. However, as it went on, I became intrigued to see what the big secret was (I did guess halfway through just sayin’) so the plot wasn’t perfect for me personally, but I have to say that it was enjoyable just the same. The setting of the elderly people’s home made me feel really sad, especially as the story flips between the main character Florence having fallen and waiting for someone to check on her. After I read this book, I found out that Cannon used to work in the NHS so her focus on mental health issues are written from a great perspective!
Another Jill Mansell book and this one has been my favourite story of hers so far. I loved the characters a lot and who doesn’t love a plot about an irresistible man that you’re not allowed to date? It’s like the forbidden fruit honey! Although we all know how that ended so maybe that’s a bad example… I loved the setting of the book too, there’s nothing like a quaint town where everyone knows everyone’s business. All of the subplots were great too, there was so much going on but it all added up and I really enjoyed it.
I was so excited to read this after it had been recommended to me a few times, as well as seeing the film adaptation on Netflix. I wish I could say that it didn’t disappoint… but it did. Apologies to anyone who loves this book, but quite frankly it was pages and pages of mooning over someone who didn’t deserve the attention in my opinion. The continued mentions of art and literature just became pretentious and tiring, I found myself counting down the pages until the book finished!
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a huge fan of Kinsella’s work and even though this book felt much more like a YA genre (bring back Jacqueline Wilson’s best work), I still really enjoyed it. The book follows Audrey’s mental health journey and the dark glasses that she can’t seem to take off. It was a really serious topic which Kinsella made into an easy read.
Ever since I discovered Jane Fallon, I ordered about 5 of her books because I was so obsessed! Her books are so addictive; I always want to carry on reading and the plot-lines can be so over dramatic but that’s part of the magic of her books. This was no different; I mean what would you do if the married man you’d been sleeping with four years decided he was leaving his wife and moving in with you? There were some cringeworthy moments, but Fallon’s writing was on point and I was howling at some of the awkward encounters.
12. Thinking Of You by Jill Mansell
I think this may have been my favourite of Mansell’s books so far (well aware that I sound like a broken record with my chick-lit reviews – #soz), the plot had me dying with laughter at times and I liked how it showed both Ginny and her daughter’s lives without making it really confusing. I can imagine a lot of (especially single) parents would feel so lonely once their child goes off to Uni so it was quite empowering to read about how Ginny tackles her loneliness and everything that happens in-between.
This was quite a disappointing read from one of my favourite authors; I read the blurb and felt like it was going to be super interesting. A married couple get told they have 60+ more years of marriage left together and start panicking so decide that they should start introducing surprises into their marriage with disastrous results. I couldn’t relate to the main character, she just wasn’t a very nice person to be honest. The plot was OK, I’ve read better from Kinsella!
14. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Where do I start with this book? Possibly one of the greatest books I’ve ever read, I can’t even begin to describe how much I adored it. It’s not the easiest book to get into personally, it took a few chapters for me to get into the swing of things, but when I got there it was just fantastic. It’s all about A Man Called Ove (duh) who is a self-confessed grump of a man, who has a kind heart but doesn’t like to show it. I don’t want to give away too much but it had me sobbing by the end, I just wanted to give each and every character a big hug. AMAZING!
15. No Way Out by Cara Hunter
I really like Cara Hunter’s books; I’ve been trying to read them in order as they follow the same set of police detectives and their personal lives are included within the plot so it’s easier to read when you know what’s going on. This was written really well, it kept me intrigued until the end – her books are always SO interesting, think of them like police dramas focused on one particular case with all hands on deck. This particular case followed a house fire whereby two small children were pulled out of the wreckage, the detectives have to find the parents and most importantly, who started the fire and why?
Which books have you been reading recently? Feel free to recommend me some in the comments below!