Recent Reads 2018, Part 4

So right now I’m in Australia having (hopefully) an excellent time and catching up with some of my all-time favourite people. That’s why this blog has been a little low on posts recently, because while I planned to get lots of posts written and scheduled in, life didn’t quite go according to plan. Work and life and, let’s not pretend otherwise, packing got in the way! Oh well, never mind. Anyway, here I am with a reading update.

 

Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson **** 4 stars

Meet Me at the Museum was an unexpected book for me. It was the work book of the month just as I finished reading The Handmaid’s Tale and needed something completely different – so I picked it up. And absolutely loved it. It’s written in the form of letters between Tina in England and Anders a museum curator in Denmark. It’s a gorgeous tale of friendship, life, regret and love. I honestly could have read these letters for ever. I highly recommend you add it to your reading list.

How Do You Like Me Now? by Holly Bourne **** 4 stars

This book is so relatable. It’s honest and funny and brilliantly written and I was hooked from the start. The characters were intriguing and their actions sometimes flawed, but understandable. The way that social media was portrayed was so truthful and it made me think about how I use it. I will definitely be recommending this book to all my friends.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley.*

The Fix by David Baldacci  *** 3 stars

I love David Baldacci books. They are the perfect detective mystery novel that I sometimes need in my life. The Fix is book three in the Amos Decker series which sees FBI detective Decker witness a random killing outside the FBI headquarters. From then on Decker and the rest of his special investigations team race to uncover what happened, and why, before something even worse happens. I really really want to pick up book four in this series now. Perhaps one for the plane journey to Australia.

Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart **** 4 stars

Grace and Fury is set in dystopian world where women have no rights. Sisters Serina and Nomi have no choices in the world, they will either become Graces (essentially a concubine for a member of the royal family) or servants. Both have trained their whole lives to take up their roles, but when something unexpected happens things quickly take a turn, leaving both of them fighting for their lives in very different ways. The dedication at the front of this book reads “For every woman who has been told to sit down and be quiet… And who stood up anyway.” which probably gives you an indication that this is about feminism and fighting for what is right. I can’t wait to read the next in the series – be warned the ending leaves you wanting so much more.

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld **** 4 stars

This is a modern retelling of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and I should tell you right now that I am not a fan of Pride and Prejudice. Not at all. I just cannot stand the book or the characters – sorry! But I have been wanting to read Eligible for a while because I was intrigued and I wanted to try it and see. Well I’m pleased I did, because I really, really enjoyed the book.

Set in Cinncinati Liz and Jane return from New York City to their family home after their father suffers a heart attack. From then on their mother is trying to set them up with the eligible doctors from the local hospital. The characters in this are so excellent, I mean some are hideous, but it still works and they’re believable. The story has the same bare bones as Pride and Prejudice but it’s also quite different, and I liked it a lot more than the original.

The Whispering Skull (Lockwood & Co., #2) by Jonathan Stroud *** 3 stars

The Whispering Skull is book two in the Lockwood & Co series. Lockwood & Co is an agency specialising in psychic investigations, and this time around they’re investigating a haunted mirror.

I first started this book back in January or February and just could not get into it. It’s 450+ pages and after 100 pages I just wasn’t feeling it. So I put it down and read something else. Then after finishing Eligible I decided to give this one another go and of course I was promptly hooked. Book two has everything you want from a kids paranormal detective series – there’s ghosts and ghouls, old stories to uncover, plenty of adventure and new friends to make. I’m now trying to stop myself from buying book three and four until I clear a bit more space on my bookshelves. It’s hard though as I really want to join Lockwood, Lucy and George on their next mad mission!

The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill  ***** 5 stars

When I heard that Louise O’Neill was doing a retelling of The Little Mermaid, but with a feminist twist, I knew that I wanted to read it, and I knew it would be good. What I didn’t expect was that it would be this good. I raced through this book in one sitting because I just couldn’t find a convenient place to stop. The main character (or mermaid) Gaia is struggling to understand why her mother left her, trying to meet her father’s exacting standards and dealing with a betrothal that she just doesn’t want. On her fifteenth birthday she is finally allowed to break the surface and see the world above the sea. But what happens then will change everything forever.

The Beautiful Dead by Belinda Bauer  **** 4 stars

Eve Singer, a TV reporter, covers crimes and murders in London. After covering a gruesome murder she realises that there might be a serial killer at work. And even worse that the serial killer may just be obsessed with her. This is the second book that I’ve read by this author. The other one Rubbernecker is on my list of all-time favourite books. The Beautiful Dead doesn’t disappoint. I was utterly gripped from the start, and I found myself reading this at every opportunity. The crimes are hideous, the suspense is perfectly written and the characters are intriguing and fully formed.

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid *** 3 stars

In a war torn city Nadia and Saeed meet and fall in love. As the destruction of their city increases doors begin to appear all over the city that are said to transport people all over the world. Will Nadia and Saeed take a chance and step through one of the doors? If they do where will it take them and what will happen next? At just over 200 pages this was a super quick read for me. I thought it was a fascinating look at migration and the choices we make.

The Day of the Accident by Nuala Ellwood  *** 3 stars

Maggie wakes up in hospital to the news that her ten-year old daughter Elspeth died in the same accident that caused her coma. As Maggie tries to come to terms with this news she discovers that her husband has disappeared, she has nowhere to live and she’s now receiving letters from her dead daughter. With the help of two new friends Maggie tries to find out what really happened on the day of the accident. This was a definite page-turner for me, I absolutely raced through the book willing Maggie to uncover the truth. There are some big twists and while I did guess the main one I still enjoyed it.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley.*

Private Princess by James Patterson & Rees Jones  ** 2 stars

The latest book in the Private series sees the elite investigation firm called in to help a British princess find a missing friend. From London to Brecon the team attempt to track down the missing woman. Is she in hiding, is she in danger and what secrets is the princess hiding? I’ve missed a few books in this series, so maybe that’s why I was less bothered by this book. I don’t know. It had the same suspense and cliffhanger chapter endings but it wasn’t as gripping as I was expecting. Maybe I’ve just grown out of this type of book? I guess tastes change over the years.

Phew, so there you have it, my recent reading list. It’s another 11 books for me over the last 10 weeks. Which takes me up to 40 books so far this year. So I’m pretty certain that my challenge of reading 50 books in 2018 is going to get a giant tick next to it – and pretty soon! Tune in next month for another round of my recent reads updates.

Laura xx