August Wrap Up

August Wrap Up

Hello lovelies!

I can’t believe its September already! August was a great book month for me, even if I failed to read most of the books on my TBR challenge. I read a total of 7 books which is less than I’d have liked but I have been seriously busy.

My August Reads:

 The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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My Rating: ★★★★★

You can read my review of this amazing book here.

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

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My Rating: ★★★★☆

You can read my review of this book here.

The Great Unexpected by Dan Mooney

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My Rating: ★★★★☆

You can read my review of this book here.

Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone

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My Rating: ★★★★☆

You can read my review of this book here.

Rust & Stardust by T. Greenwood

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My Rating: ★★★★☆

I decided not to review this book as the subject matter was quite serious and may be triggering to some readers. I wouldn’t say I enjoyed this book, but it was exceptionally well written and extremely compelling which is why I have rated it so high.

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Seek by Anthony O’Neill

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My Rating: ★★★☆☆

I will be posting my review of this interesting little read soon!

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

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My Rating: ★★★☆☆

I will also be posting my review of this best-selling thriller in a few weeks’ time.

I’ve decided not to set a TBR challenge for myself for September as I know I won’t stick to it. I already have a few books in mind that I want to read this month but I’m going to wait and see what I feel like reading after I finish each book. I also have a lot of ARCs to get through so hopefully, I will have a productive month!

Currently Reading: The Power by Naomi Alderman

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This book was on my TBR challenge for August and I’m finally getting around to actually reading it. I really hope it lives up to the hype!

Thanks for reading! Did you read any great books in August? What are you looking forward to reading in September? Let me know in the comments below!

REVIEW: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

REVIEW: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Hi lovelies!

Today’s review is on The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I have wanted to read this for so long and it was so worth the wait!

 

Good Reads Synopsis:

“Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.”

 

My Thoughts:

With every book that has such a huge following and buzz around it, there is always that doubt and worry that you won’t enjoy it. I think honest reviews are important, but I don’t like telling people I didn’t enjoy a book, especially one that so many people love.

Luckily for me, this book lives up to the hype. I would even go as far to say it surpasses the hype and I really don’t feel like I have the words to do this book justice. The Hate U Give is hands down, one of the best books I’ve read this year and potentially one of the best books I’ve read ever.

Watching Starr trying to figure out what she was going through, what she felt and how she would react to the situation was so powerful. The characters and the storyline were so well crafted and developed that the book became one of those unique fiction novels that is so real that it could be a non-fiction autobiography.

Whilst I was reading THUG, I was scrolling down my Facebook one evening and came across a news video of a police shooting of an unarmed black man in America. In the video, the family were making an emotional plea for justice and everyone stood around in T-shirts with the young man’s face and name on it. I had just read the part in THUG where Khalil’s friends and family show up to his funeral in t-shirts just like the ones on the video and just like that and it hit me how this fictional story is actually so many people’s reality.

I think that’s where this book stands out for me. It is a difficult read at times because of how close to reality it is. Fiction for many people is a way to make sense of the world and emotions both in writing and reading. It allows you to explore different scenarios and even create a world that you’d like to see but Thomas doesn’t give her readers this. There is no happy ending or justice for Khalil because that is unrealistic. On any given day you could scroll down your twitter feed and see some kind of news story or post about police brutality against black people in America. There is the same uproar every time and there are hundreds of tweets and posts calling for justice, but it just never comes. Those responsible are never held accountable and the cycle continues. I think it was so necessary and brave for Thomas to stick to reality with her ending. Obviously as a reader I wanted a different verdict and I wanted to believe that justice can be found, even if it is in a fictional world but I recognise the importance of the verdict and the lack of that resolution.

I also want to include some of my favourite quotes which I don’t normally do in my reviews but I’m making an exception for THUG! These are just a few quotes that stuck with me:

 

“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.”

 

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

 

“Fairy tale? No. But I’m not giving up on a better ending.”

 

THUG is one of those reads that will stay with me forever. I’m so glad I finally picked this up and I can’t wait for the film to be released!

 

Thanks for reading! Have you read THUG? Let me know what you thought of it in the comments below!

July Wrap-Up/ August TBR Challenge

July Wrap-Up/ August TBR Challenge

I can’t believe it’s August already! Time flys when you’re reading great books!

My July TBR challenge didn’t go amazingly well but I think it was a good start for my first month. I managed to read most of the books I set myself, but I got distracted by new purchases and I also joined NetGalley this month which put me off track. I read: 

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

 

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Read my review of this book here.

 

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

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Read my review of this book here.

 

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

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Read my review of this book here.

 

The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn

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Read my review of this book here.

 

The Last Wish of Sasha Cade by Cheyanne Young

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I will be posting my review of this beautiful book on here soon!

So I read 6 books in July which was more than I aimed for, but they weren’t all part of my July TBR challenge. I really enjoyed most of these novels, some a lot more than others as you will be able to tell from my reviews, so I think its safe to say that July was a good book month for me even if I failed to stick to my goals.

I have made my August TBR challenge a little bit more, well challenging as I think I underestimated how much I would be able to read in a month. The books on my August TBR Challenge are: 

The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

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The Power by Naomi Alderman

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Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge 

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Rust & Stardust by T Greenwood

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The Great Unexpected by Dan Mooney

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Dr Jekyll & Mr Seek by Anthony O’Neill

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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Kind of Cruel by Sophie Hannah

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These are a mixture of ARC’s and my own books that I’ve had on my TBR for a while so hopefully I do a bit better at sticking to my goal’s this month!

 

Thanks for reading! What did you read in July? Are you planning on setting a TBR goal for this month? Let me know in the comments below!

REVIEW: The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

REVIEW: The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

Synopsis 

‘Mrs Creasy disappeared on a Monday.

I know it was a Monday, because it was the day the dustbin men came, and the avenue was filled with a smell of scraped plates.

England, the summer of 1976 and the heat is blazing and Mrs Creasy is missing.

The avenue is alive with whispers, as the heat mingles with the swirling dust of rumours and long-buried secrets, bringing old resentments to the surface.

For ten-year-old Grace and her best friend Tilly the mystery is a welcome distraction from the usual round of summer holiday boredom and as the summer shimmers endlessly on, they decide to take matters into their own hands.

Yet as the cul-de-sac starts giving up its secrets, the amateur detectives will find much more than they imagined…’

 

Thoughts

This book started off brilliantly. The writing style was fun, the setting was a quaint British village, the characters were interesting, and the plot was intriguing. About a third of the way through the novel things started going downhill. The plot lost direction. Things were mentioned and never addressed or explained again and the ending! Don’t get me started on the ending!

I don’t want this to be an all-negative review because like said, this book started off really well. I found Cannon’s writing style really endearing and I loved the characters Grace and Tilly who were undoubtedly the books saviours. There is something just lovely and innocent to me about an adult book being told from a child’s perspective. In this book, it added humour, insight and a moral compass but unfortunately, Cannon did not stick with just Grace’s perspective. She switched randomly between different characters which took away from the novel in my opinion.

I cannot in good conscience recommend that you read this book because the ending left me so annoyed that I wouldn’t want to put any of you through it. I honestly considered for a moment that I’d missed a chapter or that some of the pages had fallen out.

The story did not come to a conclusion and for a book that markets itself as a quirky mystery, this is a HUGE flaw. I even had to go on the GoodReads comments page just to check if I was crazy or if everyone felt the same and there did seem to be a general consensus about the ending. One user even commented that they threw the book across the room after finishing it because they were so unhappy with the ending!

(Maybe this book had a higher/intellectual meaning to its ending and if it did, I’m sorry Joanne but that went completely over my head.)

It is a shame that this book lost direction because it had so much potential. I adored the writing style and I love a novel told from the perspective of a child but unfortunately, this book just fell at the last hurdle for me. That being said, I don’t think it would put me off reading any more of Cannon’s work in the future, but I will make sure I read some reviews first this time!

 

Thanks for reading! Have you read this book? What did you think of the ending? Let me know in the comments below!

My July Mini Book Haul

My July Mini Book Haul

Another first for me on my blogging journey and this time it’s my first mini book haul post!

let me set the scene for you all. It was a lovely day outside and I was having a tough week, so I thought I would go for a walk during my lunch break on Wednesday and pop into Waterstones to pick up a new book. One hour and £30 later, I was rushing back to my office with 4 new books and an even a longer TBR.

(Side note, how do people go into bookshops and only buy one book? Is that even a possible? If so, please share your secret with me!)

I am honestly so excited to read each of these novels and they were all inspired purchases based on reviews I’d read on here so thanks, everyone!

I really hope they all give up to the hype!

 

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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‘Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.’

I know. I know. How have I not read this yet? This was the ‘one’ book I was heading in to buy so this is right at the top of my TBR. I have read so many amazing review posts that have inspired me to buy this book (check out the most recent one I read on The Food and Book Life’s page!)

 

 

Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

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‘Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.

Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.’

I can’t remember where I first saw this book reviewed or who’s page it was on but it sounded interesting and I love the cover so I couldn’t resist.

 

 

A Sky Painted Gold by Laura Wood

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‘Growing up in her sleepy Cornish village dreaming of being a writer, sixteen-year-old Lou has always wondered about the grand Cardew house which has stood empty for years. And when the owners arrive for the summer – a handsome, dashing brother and sister – Lou is quite swept off her feet and into a world of moonlit cocktail parties and glamour beyond her wildest dreams.

But, as she grows closer to the Cardews, is she abandoning her own ambitions… And is there something darker lurking at the heart of the Cardew family?’

This purchase was inspired by The Book Moo’s recent post on this insanely beautiful book. LOOK AT THAT COVER!  

 

Floored by Eleanor Wood, Holly Bourne, Lisa Williamson, Melinda Salisbury, Non Pratt, Sara Barnard, and Tanya Byrne

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‘When they got in the lift, they were strangers (though didn’t that guy used to be on TV?): Sasha, who is desperately trying to deliver a parcel; Hugo, who knows he’s the best-looking guy in the lift and is eyeing up Velvet, who knows what that look means when you hear her name and it doesn’t match the way she looks, or the way she talks; Dawson, who was on TV, but isn’t as good-looking as he was a few years ago and is desperately hoping no one recognizes him; Kaitlyn, who’s losing her sight but won’t admit it, and who used to have a poster of Dawson on her bedroom wall, and Joe, who shouldn’t be here at all, but who wants to be here the most.

And one more person, who will bring them together again on the same day every year.’

I first heard about this novel on Twitter during a Q&A with the authors of this novel and then I just happened to stumble across it in Waterstones one my way to the till. I love books from different characters perspectives and this one has 7 different perspectives all written by different authors! It sounds amazing and I can’t wait to read it!  

 

Thanks for reading! Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think of them? Let me know in the comments below!  

REVIEW: The Woman in The Window by A. J. Finn

REVIEW: The Woman in The Window by A. J. Finn

‘Her husband’s almost home. He’ll catch her this time…

I myself am very interested. Not in her body – the pale ridge of her spine, her shoulder blades like stunted wings, the baby blue bra clasping her breasts: whenever these loom within my lens, any of them, I look away – but in the life she leads. The lives. Two more than I’ve got.

What did she see?

A chronic agoraphobic, Anna Jones hasn’t left her home in ten months. Spending her days and nights cocooned within the safety of her house, Anna retreats into the safety of the black and white films she binge-watches in the company of her cat and one-too-many bottles of wine. A former child psychologist, she used to have a busy life, a husband, a daughter. Now her husband has left her, taking their daughter with him, and Anna is left haunting the rooms of their house like a ghost, lost in her memories, too terrified to step outside.

Her one constant lifeline to the real world is her window, where she sits day after day, watching her neighbours. When the Russells move in, Anna is instantly drawn to them. A picture-perfect family of three, they are an echo of the life that was once hers.

But one evening, a frenzied scream rips across the silence, and Anna witnesses something no one was supposed to see. Now she must do everything she can to uncover the truth about what really happened. But friendless, isolated and under suspicion from those she wishes to help, will anyone believe her? And can she even trust herself?’

 

I need to stop reading this type of book because every time I do I am left with the same feeling. Disappointment.

This is not to say that The Woman in the Window is not a good book, it absolutely is. It is a captivating page-turner that has all the elements of a good thriller. That being said, it didn’t feel like anything new.

My mum recommended this to me as she’d just read it and she was singing its praises. Halfway through she asked me what I thought, and I aired some grievances that she didn’t necessarily agree with, so I’ll see what all of you lovely readers think.

My problem with this genre is that they always centre around some unstable woman who has a drinking problem or mental health problem or has been through something traumatic. I have honestly lost count of the books I have read that follow this general theme and it is starting to bother me. I know this is a brilliant tool that writers use to add suspense and layers to the plot as it creates an unreliable witness who no one believes, but it just feels tired to me.

I think near-enough everyone would agree that the best thrillers are the ones that are unique. The ones that stand out from the crowd and have a really interesting and different storyline from anything you’ve read before. I know that this is difficult as there are so many different crime and thriller books out there now, but shouldn’t we still be trying?

The ending or big reveal didn’t leave me ‘OMG’ shocked and maybe that’s just my problem with the genre in general.

To end this short review on a positive note, I did think Finn’s writing was brilliant, and I this book devoured it in one sitting so if you are into this genre then this is definitely the book for you!

Thanks for reading? Have you read this book? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below! 

REVIEW: The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

REVIEW: The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

‘I tattooed a number on her arm. She tattooed her name on my heart.

In 1942, Lale Sokolov arrived in Auschwitz-Birkenau. He was given the job of tattooing the prisoners marked for survival – scratching numbers into his fellow victims’ arms in indelible ink to create what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust.

Waiting in line to be tattooed, terrified and shaking, was a young girl. For Lale – a dandy, a jack-the-lad, a bit of a chancer – it was love at first sight. And he was determined not only to survive himself, but to ensure this woman, Gita, did, too.

So begins one of the most life-affirming, courageous, unforgettable and human stories of the Holocaust: the love story of the tattooist of Auschwitz.’

 

To say I loved this book wouldn’t be the right words as its hard to love such a heart-breaking story but it was definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year. The story was inspiring but devastating and I would recommend reading this with a pack of tissues at the ready.

I have only read a handful of historical fiction books on the Holocaust, but I have been to the Holocaust museum in Berlin, I have walked through the memorial and read the stories. I have seen films and read articles and yet every time I revisit this, I am horrified and shocked at what happened all over again. It will never be an easy thing to read about and that is important. It is essential that Morris made sure that this book was difficult to read in parts even though it was a love story because that is Lale and Gita’s truth.

In Morris’ own words after the novel was published:

‘Lale repeatedly told everyone he met how he wanted his story to be told and spread far and wide, so that a Holocaust would never happen again. Through his, and other testimonies, we would learn and live by the words he said to himself everyday — if you woke up in the morning, it is a good day. He would say to me: as long as you try to live the best life you can, you are a winner.’

Lale was an exceptional character and from the research I’ve done since reading the novel, he was also an exceptional man. This is the most heart-breaking yet beautiful love story I have ever read. How these two people could live through and survive the horror that was the Auschwitz’s, and still be able to have hope for a better future is awe-inspiring.

One thing that really stood out to me in this novel was how limited the mention of Hitler by name was. Morris makes sure that the focus is on Lale and Gita and their story. We all know who Hitler is and what he did, but this is not about him, it is about two people finding love in the most desolate and hopeless of places. It is a story of resilience, loss, life and death.

Morris has captured this true story beautifully and I think she has done Lale and Gita’s story justice. I think this is an important read and although it was difficult at times, it is inspirational. Please read this story. You will not regret it.

Thanks for reading! Have you read this book? If so, what did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below!