The Book Corner: Recent Reads 2017, Part 4

I can’t quite believe that we’re almost into September and I’m here sharing my fourth reading update of 2017. I know I say this every year, but still, how does this happen? Where does the time go? So let’s talk reading and books. There’s something so wonderful about escaping away to world of mystery, intrigue and adventure. I feel like it’s been a great couple of months for me on the reading front. Today’s reading update contains some cracking stories. There’s real-life and history, YA and children’s stories, and mystery and crime thrillers to tell you about.

 

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Mad Girl by Bryony Gordon

This book is a must read. Yes I know that I say this about at least one book each month, but that doesn’t stop it from being true! Mad Girl is an incredibly funny and honest read about Gordon’s mental health and how she lives with OCD and depression. So many people waxed lyrical about this book, so I took it with me on a day trip to the beach and devoured it in two sittings. It’s laugh out loud funny, and it really made me, as a reader, think properly about mental health. I’ve realised how lucky I am and also how I used words like ‘crazy’, ‘OCD’ and ‘depressing’ in totally the wrong way. So it’s an informative and educational book too. Reading this book also made me checkout the Mad World podcast, which is where Gordon chats about mental health with a new guest every week. Week one saw Prince Harry take the guest spot, and although I haven’t listened to that one, I do highly recommend listening to the series. Highlights for me were Will Young, Jeff Brazier, Sean and Reuben Fletcher and Dame Stephanie Shirley.

The Secret Life of Bletchley Park by Sinclair McKay

This one has been on my TBR pile for years so when I planned my trip to Bletchley Park in June I knew that the time was right to start this book. I only read two chapters before my trip so I didn’t really spoil anything for myself. And actually reading the book after my visit was probably the best idea as I was then able to picture how everything fitted together. Obviously this is a non-fiction book, but it doesn’t feel like an overly complicated educational read. The book is divided into chapters about specific things. So you read all about the social side of Bletchley in one chapter, but then the next one might be about the Bombe machines or a particular hut at the park. Each chapter is about 10-15 pages, so I was able to read a chapter or two during my commute, dipping in and out as and when I could. 

The Nowhere Man by Gregg Hurwitz

Number three on today’s reading update is The Nowhere Man, this is the follow on from Orphan X, which is a firm favourite of mine. After the cliffhanger of the last book we’re back with Evan Smoak as he struggles to help those in need. Once again there are no shortage of twists and turns in this book. The Nowhere Man is just as gripping as Orphan X and, if anything, it left me with even more questions unanswered.  I wouldn’t be surprised if these books were made into a film or TV series soon. There’s no shortage of fight scenes, gun battles and explosions which would work incredibly well on screen. For now I’ll just have to make do with book three – when it arrives.

Local Girl Missing by Claire Douglas

This story follows Francesca as she returns to her hometown after 20 years when the remains of her missing best friend are discovered. What follows is Francesca’s hunt to discover what happened to Sophie all of those years ago. I liked this book, I was intrigued by the story and was somewhat invested in the character. However, the ending seemed rushed. I swear the reveal was all over in five pages, which was a little disappointing. I think when you’ve waited for something for nearly 300 pages you hope it is explained fully and dissected further. But that’s one small issue. 

Don’t Let Go by Harlan Coben

This is another classic Harlan Coben thriller with twists and surprises at every turn. The main character Nap, has dedicated his life to solving the mystery surrounding the death of his twin brother and his brother’s girlfriend fifteen years ago. He’s also searching for his missing girlfriend, who disappeared the same night.

What follows is a search for the truth, which uncovers conspiracies and secrets that have been hidden for years. I was immediately hooked into this one, the mystery pulled me straight in and I felt myself drawn to Nap and keen to see him uncover the truth. The final reveal at the end was a good one, I’d put pieces together, but I needed to have certain points filled in for me. Which is the way I like it as I like to figure things out, but I don’t want it to be too obvious that I miss the surprise at the end! I always find Coben’s books really quick to read, I tend to race through them because I’m totally gripped and just can’t put the book down. So it’s no surprise to me that I finished this one in a day.

 

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Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

Next up on the reading update is a YA tale from Jennifer Niven. I picked this book up on a whim and totally fell in love with both main characters. Jack is the popular guy at school who is hiding a secret from everyone. And Libby who was once known as “America’s Fattest Teen” is heading back to high school after home-schooling. After a school prank the pair end up doing community service together, and what follows is a lovely story. One that I could not put down. I completely and utterly fell in love with the character of Libby. She’s brave and courageous and everything you want your main character to be. Seriously, can we all channel Libby and her outlook on live? The world would be a marvellous place.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

With the new film out soon I wanted to make sure I read this book before it was Disney-fied. Considering this is a classic, I’ve actually not heard of it before. I guess I was too busy reading The Babysitter’s Club as a child to try something new? Which is a shame as it sound like the sort of book that I would have loved as a child. Unfortunately I didn’t love it as much as a thirty-something year old. It’s an intriguing story of space travel and family and friendship, but it all seemed too easy to me. I guess I was judging it as an adult, but I can’t really help that. I think this book will make a lovely film though.

Freshers by Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison

The fact that it’s been fourteen years since my own Freshers week is unbelievably scary. But let’s not think on that!

Anyway Freshers follows Luke and Phoebe through their first year at university. We follow them through the crazy time of Fresher’s week and into their first term. Where they navigate lectures, living in halls, making friends and finding their place in York, and the world. The moments of snapchat and whatsapp made me realise just how different uni would have been if I had been a little bit younger or technology progressed a little faster. It’s crazy how quickly things change. There were moments in this book that had me laughing out loud on the tube. But there were also those that had my eyes tearing up. There are some heavier topics in this book, it’s not all about the fun and games. Also that ending!

So there we have it, what I’ve been reading over the last eight weeks. To get a more up to date idea about what I’m reading head to GoodReads. And check out previous reading update posts for 2017 (Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3).

Laura xx