October’s Books #BookReview

Well well well well! October is done and that means it’s nearly the end of the year! I’m still suffering tiredness, but reading is always my go-to for relaxation, so I’ll always make sure I have something on the go! Possibly not as many books as usual on the list, but there are some good uns!

The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ever since I saw a trailer for the movie, I wanted to read this book. What with all the #BlackLivesMatter stuff going on and apparent race-fuelled hate crimes, I was interested to read this story, written by a young Black American woman, about a girl caught up in the tragedy of a senseless killing by a police officer.
Starr Carter is sixteen, and is already very aware of gang culture, and the dangers that living in the ghetto put you in.
Her family make the decision to send her to a school away from the horror of shootings and gangs, but it doesn’t mean she is protected.
In The Hate U Give, we see a girl who witnesses not one but two horrific shootings, in her life, where she loses her best friends. Both are truly senseless losses of life, with one being a drive-by shooting, where the victim was only ten, and in the wrong place at the wrong time. The second is marred by the fact that a cop opens fire on a young black youth because he ‘thinks’ he was a danger.
The story shows Starr’s journey to fight for justice for her friend, who may have made bad decisions in his life, but who was a true innocent, and a victim of Police brutality.
I’ve read many reviews of this book, and most applaud how this sensitive topic has been approached. There are a few that mention disappointment, because yes, racism is a thing, and something that causes hell, but racism isn’t exclusively white on black.
Racism is unfortunately global.
White on black. Black on white. White on brown. Brown on white. Black on black. Brown on brown… you know where I’m going.
This book is an account of the feelings of a young black woman who loses her best friend because of a senseless shooting by a white cop. Of course, it’s going to be filled with hate for the police, and the white officers. But isn’t that a form of racism in itself?
It took me a little while to get totally into the book, but I was engrossed after the first 50 pages or so. You get a view of the thoughts of someone who is right in the middle of the situation, and their thoughts on many issues, from #BlackLivesMatter, to gang culture and drugs too.
What you take from the book is up to you.
What I took was that it’s all about education, or lack of.
A white officer only knew the stereotypes and was fearful of a couple of black teens. Instead of reading the situation, he reacted with a gunshot because isn’t that what this black kid would do to him?
But then again, all white people aren’t the same. Starr has a white boyfriend in this story, and the reverse stereotypes that the black community have of white people are also shown, in how Starr’s family and friends react to Chris initially too.
A thought-provoking read, that’s for sure!

Dishonoured

Dishonoured by Sofia Hayat
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I picked up this book, thinking it would be a harrowing recount of a terrible life…
Sad to say, I, unfortunately, didn’t feel that at all.
Sofia Hayat is apparently a household name.
Not in my household.
And I live in Gravesend, the place she was born and brought up in. I started this book, and a sense of connection formed when I read that she was born in Gravesend.
I felt a little sorry for her as she recounted the events of her childhood, but I’m afraid she lost me as soon as she left her family.
A bit of a self-indulgent book, where it was all about hearing of her encounters with famous people, and others telling her how wonderful she was.
This could have been such a powerful book, if it had been written with more sympathy and details of the emotions she went through during her childhood. A couple of chapters at the end of the book to show her success would have sufficed.
Definitely not a recommended read by me, I’m afraid to say… And she made Gravesend out to be much worse than it actually is.. and no, it’s not named because people who died from the plague were buried here…

Another Love (No Greater Strength, #3)

Another Love by Amanda Prowse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh my goodness, Amanda Prowse!
Every time I think you can’t find another situation to write about, you go and surprise me and do it again!
I’ve slowly been working my way through Amanda’s back catalogue and Another Love was a seriously touching story.
Alcoholism is indeed an awful illness that affects each and every member of the family of that person suffering.
I wanted to cry with Romilly the repentant mother and wife. I wanted to slap Romilly the drunken idiot who couldn’t say no. But most of all, I wanted her to conquer her addiction.
Some people don’t realise just how much alcohol can play havoc with a family, and this book hit the nail on the head.
Thank you Amanda, for a really powerful story.

So Lucky

So Lucky by Dawn O’Porter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, what can I say?

Absolutely fantastic book!
I urge all women to read this and know that none of us is perfect. No one has a perfect life. No matter what is portrayed on the outside, there is always some inner struggle beneath.
We follow three women, each with their own secret, struggling to make life work, and trying to make sure no one on the outside is aware of their issues.
From body image to mental health to marital issues, so much is covered in this brilliantly written story.
Honestly, I have already recommended it to a couple of friends with whom the whole concept will resonate.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins UK for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Olive Kitteridge (Olive Kitteridge, #1)

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Okay, so I read this book as I had the sequel, Olive, Again, to read as an ARC.
I’m not sure I quite understood everything that went on.
A lot of head-hopping within the stories, all a bit more depressing than the last.
Sorry… I just didn’t get it…
Having said that, I don’t have much luck with Pulitzer prize winners. I struggled with American Pastoral too!

Olive, Again (Olive Kitteridge, #2)

Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I made sure I read the first book about Olive, before reading this, and I found it interesting, but disjointed.
This brought me to Olive, Again with a little trepidation.
It was another mish-mash of different character stories, with Olive as a connection, and also a real eye-opener into Olive’s journey through her twilight years.
I’d say this was a lighter book, than the first, which I found quite dark in places. I felt that Olive had softened with age, and it was interesting to read her thoughts as she grew older,
It definitely gave me an insight into how someone who is at the tail end of life might be feeling.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Books UK for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

True to Me

True to Me by Kay Bratt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have followed Kay Bratt for a while now, and have read one or two of her books, which I enjoyed immensely. AI jumped at a chance to read True to Me, as it sounded like another fantastic story.
And I wasn’t disappointed.
Quinn Macguire is a woman suffering loss. The loss of her mother, and the loss of the idea of a father who she never knew. The loss of herself.
On her deathbed, Quinn’s mother tells her a secret that has been eating away at her.
This leads to Quinn going on a journey of self-discovery with the aid of DNA testing, and boy, what a journey!
The majority of this book is set in Maui, and I want to go now, so vivid were the descriptions of the settings.
Quinn definitely finds the answers she was after, but not before undertaking a tumultuous, emotional journey towards them.
I loved the characters she met on the way, some who will stay with me for a long while, and I do hope to read more about Quinn and her new life after finding herself!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Published 10th December

A Wedding in December

A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sarah Morgan always has the ability to move me in a way not many other authors do.

In a Wedding In December, we meet Rosie White, who has been swept away in a whirlwind romance with Dan, culminating in an extremely fast proposal of marriage, followed by a date set mere weeks in advance. but who wouldn’t love it? A magical December wedding in Aspen, with the snow falling and all your family around?

Well, for a start, quite possibly her parents. Struggling with a secret of separation which they have hidden from their daughters for the last few months, Maggie and Nick wonder how are they going to get through a whole wedding, playing the charade of the happily married mother and father of the bride?

And what about the sister? Katie is a doctor in the A & E department of a busy London hospital. Being ten years older than her romantic sister, Rosie, she has worries and doubts of her own about whether this wedding should even take place, based upon her sister’s past and her own present.

So, will this wedding happen? Well, I shan’t spoil it for you, suffice to say the journey towards the end of this story is far from smooth, but I felt a true sense of satisfaction by the time I reached the end page!

Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Lost Ones

The Lost Ones by Anita Frank
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

OMG! WOW!

I don’t think I can do this book justice, honestly!
Mysteries, thrillers, not usually my thing. I do love stories set in the past though.
And from the first few pages, I was totally hooked!

It is 1917 and England is in the midst of the war, Stella Marcham is grieving for the loss of her fiance, Gerald. Her family is concerned about her mental stability and rather than send her to some asylum that many grieving women were incarcerated in, she is shipped off to visit her sister, Madeleine, who is expecting her first baby, and living at her husband’s large mansion in the countryside,
From the moment Stella arrives, with her maid, Annie, at Greyswick, there is a strange feeling about the house.
Inexplainable happenings spark a chain of investigations and events that uncover some deep, dark secrets that were once buried within the house, and the memories of its inhabitants.

A truly gripping read. I cannot recommend it enough!

Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Christmas at Rachel’s Pudding Pantry

Christmas at Rachel’s Pudding Pantry by Caroline Roberts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

You’ve got to love a good Christmas based festive story, and I enjoyed the light read that Christmas at Rachel’s Pudding Pantry provided.
I haven’t read the first book, but this wasn’t an issue, as the story works as a stand-alone as well.
Rachel and her mother Jill are rallying around, keeping the family farm going, as well as setting up a new business, the Pudding Pantry, in an old barn, trying to plug the hole of the loss of Rachel’s father a couple of years before.
The lead up to Christmas is quite quiet, and Rachel isn’t sure they will even survive as a business.
But with the gentle encouragement of beau, Tom, a neighbouring farmer, the creative charm of Eve, Rachel’s best friend, and the effervescence of her five-year-old daughter Maisie, Rachel comes up with an idea that may just swing the farm’s fortunes.
But it’s not all smooth sailing. Wayward sheep, unwanted exes, inclement weather and illness all find their way to hamper Rachel’s plans.
Will she be able to keep her farm, and romance afloat?
You’ll have to read the book to find out!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Impulse for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

A Fire Sparkling

A Fire Sparkling by Julianne MacLean
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, what a beautiful book!
I have always loved stories that have connections with the war, and family sagas that reveal secrets, long-buried, so as not to hurt or harm anyone.
In this beautifully crafted story, Gillian comes away from her fiance’s house, after learning of his deceit, to her father and grandmother.
Eager to forget her troubles, she is quickly sucked into learning a whole new past that her grandmother experienced, but had hidden from the world, and all but a handful of people.
I can’t tell you more, because I would hate to spoil the story, but a definite recommended read!
There is romance, tragedy, and it will ignite a yearning for the ‘right; ending to be the one you read!

So, Peeps, tell me which one appeals to you!


May’s Books #Book Reviews

I can already tell you that this month will not be an epic month like last month! But I can assure you what I read was quality! Are you ready to find out? Nine books, is still pretty respectable, isn’t it?

The Road She Left Behind

The Road She Left Behind by Christine Nolfi

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Christine Nolfi has penned a beautiful story here, dealing with family, secrets, loss, discovery and forgiveness.
I was swept into the life of Darcy Goodridge straight away, intrigued by why this woman was on the run from her past, her old life, for the last eight years.
Over the first few chapters, the story unfolded and we were introduced to characters who you fell in love with. Samson, the ray of sunshine who attaches himself to Darcy, despite her not wanting reminders of any pasts she has forgone, Rosalind, Darcy’s mother, a scary character, who is full of misconceptions. Emerson, the nephew she left behind – but who is crying out for a mother’s love, and Michael. Darcy’s childhood best friend who she had to leave behind – twice.
A wonderful tale filled with twists and turns, and secrets that prove you shouldn’t really hide things you think you know… because they may just not be the truth…
Many thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishers for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Published – 11th June

The Things I Know

The Things I Know by Amanda Prowse

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I do love Amanda Prowse and her books. Ever since I read the first one, I have been hooked, and I was really looking forward to this new one.

Delving into the mind and world of Thomasina, or Hitch, as she is known, and reading about her meeting Grayson, and falling in love, felt like a privilege.

I have to commend Amanda for executing the nuances of this novel with such sympathy and grace. The thoughts and feelings of someone with a disability, but a person who is like everyone else, someone who wants her own life, and to be able to do everything others do, without the limitations that have been imposed upon her by her own loved ones.

That, and her capture of a person on the spectrum, someone whose thought process is so very different to the majority of the world.

And their love story.

I was hooked. I loved Pops and Mum, and I adored Thom and Gray!

One of my favourite quotes from the book – ” I like the way you care for my daughter and, for the record, I happen to agree with you. I think she’s pretty perfect too.” Thomasina’s Pops.

There’s a lesson in this – in the end, anything is possible – you just have to make that first step towards change.

Many thanks to NetGalley, Amazon Publishing and Amanda Prowse for an ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

Published 11th June

An Unsuitable Woman

An Unsuitable Woman by Kat Gordon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Just seeing Kenya in the description was enough for me to want to read the book!

You see, my family, both my parents were born in Kenya to Indian Immigrant parents, and I have spent many a summer going there to visit.

It was great to read names of places and to be able to picture them and to know the names of the tribes mentioned, and the descriptions of some of the places, and animals…

But I’ll tell you a secret… I was never told of the Happy Valley set, and the indulgence, and the debauchery!

This story is set between the years of 1925 and 1937, following the life of 14-year-old Theo Miller who moves to Kenya with his family for his father’s job heading the railways. He gets caught up in the antics of Freddie and Sylvia, and their little Happy Valley band, wanting to be accepted by them, and dreaming of being just like them. ( I must ask my parents if they were aware of the goings on of the Happy Valley Set… My mum went to a British boarding school out there, so you never know…)

Though his thinking is not always aligned with theirs: their views of British supremacy, and how they are making the lives better for the natives, by keeping them in their place clash with Theo’s sister Maud, who is appalled by the double standards, choosing to try and fight for natives rights and those of the natural farmers in the area.

An interesting read.

Many thanks to NetGalley, Harper Collins UK and Borough Press for providing me with an ARC. in exchange for an honest review.

Published 31st May

Stories for South Asian Supergirls

Stories for South Asian Supergirls by Raj Kaur Khaira

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
An absolutely wonderful, inspirational collection of biographies celebrating the South Asian superwomen out there, some already known and some lesser-known, but no less inspirational.
What a brilliant book to show our girls what they can aspire to be!

What Have I Done? (No Greater Love #2)

What Have I Done? by Amanda Prowse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another gripping story from one of my favourite authors, Amanda Prowse.
Not my favourite, but a good read nonetheless.
Kathryn Booker does something pretty despicable at the beginning of the book, but, as you get into the story and continue with her on her journey, you realise that she had a very good reason for acting as she did.
A woman caught in the web of domestic violence; both physical and mental abuse piled upon her, and the pressure of acting like the perfect, happy wife and mother to the rest of the world takes its toll.
Then finally, Kathryn becomes Kate again – the woman she was always meant to be.
I loved the build-up and the to-ing and fro-ing of the timeline so you gradually found pieces to the jigsaw of Kate’s life and saw how it led her to where she ends up.
That said, I was a little disappointed in her children, though they start to come through at the end, and then I wanted the story to carry on more, so I knew more about how the whole situation affected them and their relationship with their mother. A sometimes disturbing account of a woman’s journey through abuse and fighting her way out of it.

Three-and-a-Half Heartbeats (No Greater Strength, #6)

Three-and-a-Half Heartbeats by Amanda Prowse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another Amanda Prowse book means I know I need to gear up for a shed load of emotion, and this was no different.
It is always the case when I read a story about the loss of a child…
And I don’t mind admitting that I actually sat in the car, waiting for my son to finish his cricket training, reading this book, and had to wipe away tears…
Grace and Tom Penderfold have all they could want, a wonderful marriage, a beautiful home and a precious child, with Grace bringing in the income, and Tom being the amazing house husband and daddy… until tragic circumstances rip their child, Chloe, from them.
A heart-rending story exploring the changes that loss can wreak upon couples after the loss of a child, and also a story of hope.
The added benefit of educating the readers about the dangers of a potentially fatal condition, Sepsis, makes this a truly gripping read.
Having had to have emergency surgery 13 years ago because of the possibility of septicemia, this hit home even harder.
Definitely a recommended read.

The Other Half of Augusta Hope

The Other Half of Augusta Hope by Joanna Glen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started to read this debut novel from Joanna Glen, but one thing I can tell you. I was not left disappointed at all.

We follow the story of Augusta Hope, one half of a set of twins: Julia and Augusta – two girls born on either side of midnight July 31st, meaning on was born in July and the other in August.

As can be the case, the girls were polar opposites in many ways, from appearances and personalities to likes and interest, but they still had that twin pull.

We are taken to Burundi as well, a little known African country, which has captured Augusta’s interest from a young age, and meet Parfait and his family, caught in a country suffering from bloodshed.

How the lives and stories of these two characters intertwine, is a testament to the brilliance of the author, and I did wonder… ‘Who actually was the other half of Augusta Hope?’ at the end.

Definitely a recommended read.

Many thanks to NetGalley, Harper Collins UK and Borough Press for granting me a wish with this ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

Published 13th June

Half a World Away

Half a World Away by Mike Gayle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Maybe I should be ashamed to admit this, but Half a World Away is actually my first Mike Gayle book.

And I’m pretty sure it won’t be my last.

What a journey I went through, reading this story of Kerry and Noah, two extremely different individuals who are linked in the most basic of ways – by blood.

Life caused these two siblings to be separated,

We have Kerry bumping through life on the low roads, through foster care and children’s homes, before finally living an independent life, becoming a mother to Kian, but never forgetting her baby brother, who was separated from her.

Then there is Noah, cruising along the highroads, married, a barrister, a father, and living a life far removed from his real beginnings

The reason that Kerry finally reaches out to her brother is revealed slowly, and in such a manner that it makes the readers heart break.

I don’t want to go into the details, but I was hooked. it didn’t take me long to become fully immersed in Kerry and Noah’s story, and accompanied by tissues, snacks and copious cups of tea, I finished the book in a haze of emotions.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for providing me with an ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

Published 13th June

Becoming Dad

Becoming Dad by J. C. W. Helmkamp
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A highly descriptive account of a journey through both the seas and fatherhood.
Reading this, I could picture the scenes, smell the salt (and diapers, on occasion) and taste the whiskey that William encounters on his sailing journey of a lifetime, connecting him with his father, and allowing him to reminisce about becoming a dad.
It’s good to read of a man who isn’t afraid to show emotion too!
Definitely worth reading to find out whether William reaches his destination, and how he handled early fatherhood, and beyond!

And there you have it!

I shall be reading more, between writing reports and finally getting to that edit of mine, so chat soon!

Have you read any of the above? Let me know!






My interactive peeps!

Peeps are reading in…

Flag Counter
%d bloggers like this: