The Trick to Time by Kit De Waal was an emotional and beautifully written book. It tells the story of Mona, slipping backwards from the present day to the past. In the present day, Mona is about to celebrate her sixtieth birthday and this milestone has her thinking a lot about the past. She runs a business specialising in making dolls. She has friends and a good life, but there is sadness too from some tragedy in her past.
As a young girl, Mona grows up in Ireland, raised by her father after the untimely death of her mother. Like many young Irish people, she leaves Ireland for work, settling in Birmingham and meeting and falling in love with a young man named William. As the book goes back and forth between the past and present, you discover what happened between Mona and William and why Mona carries so much sadness around. Continue reading →
The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland is a gorgeous book inside and out. The cover is to die for and inside the book each chapter is named after a different wild flower and accompanied by a stunning illustration. Even if you never read this book, you’d want to own it based purely on its visual loveliness. So it’s good to know that it’s also a wonderful story.
This debut novel tells the story of Alice Hart, a young girl whose childhood is marred by a terrible tragedy that sees her mother, father and dog killed in a fire. Up until this point, Alice has grown up isolated on a property under the thumb of her abusive father. Alice is emotionally scarred by all that she has been through. Continue reading →
I haven’t been posting many reviews in the last couple of weeks because I’m six books into the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas. This series is epic in scale, and I’m loving it, but it’s dominating my reading time at the moment. I don’t want to do a book by book review because of spoilers but I will post something non-spoilery about the series soon.
So to combat my review drought, I have decided to look back at the past four months of reading and pick my favourite books in a few different genres. If you are looking for your next great read, feel free to click on the links below to go to my original review. Happy Reading!
Best Fiction/Literature Reads
1 Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fineby Gail Honeyman is a novel that deserves all the buckets of praise it’s getting. If you like books with a quirky narrator who is different from any other character you’ve ever read about, then this is a book that will warm your heart. I haven’t encountered a character like Eleanor before. The way she thinks and acts throughout the book had me laughing, cringing and pitying her. I also cheered her on as she opened up more to people and life.
My Verdict: Read this if you want to meet an unforgettable protagonist who gives you all the feels.
2. Still Me by Jojo Moyes is such a delightful read and the perfect conclusion to the three book series which began with Me Before You and continued with After You. I know it’s rude of me to recommend you read a book that is the third book in a series, but I am urging you to go and read the whole series. If you want to get your heart smashed to pieces and then stuck back together again then please give this series a read.
My Verdict: I don’t give starred reviews on this blog… if I did, this book would get 5 stars. I loved it!
3. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng is a novel that is popping up everywhere and it’s such a great read that is worthy of all the hype! It’s a story about teenagers, mothers, families, parenting, art, race, class, creativity and love, told from many perspectives. There’s also a court case woven into the story that will have you debating both sides.
My Verdict: An absolute gem of a book that is beautifully written.
Surrogate by Tracy Crisp is a powerful, beautifully written novel about two women from different generations and their experiences with family, personal relationships and motherhood. Set in Adelaide in the present and past, it follows the story of Rachael Carter, a young nurse who agrees to house-sit for a colleague, Dr Cate O’Reilly, and then becomes deeply involved in Cate’s quest to become a mother. It also tells the story of Mary Bowen, a young woman who finds herself pregnant after her boyfriend heads off to the Vietnam War and is forced to give her baby up for adoption.
Two stories, two women and two generations entwine in Surrogate and as the story develops Continue reading →
I didn’t like this Man Booker Prize winning book at all but I admire it as a piece of experimental literature. LincolnintheBardo by GeorgeSaunders was the strangest book I have ever read. It’s narrative structure irritated and distracted me. I started and stopped this book about ten times and reread a lot of books in between reading this. But finally I got to the end.
Lincoln in the Bardo tells the tale of the death of President Lincoln’s eleven-year-old son Willie and the imagined story of him lingering in a place between life and death. This bardo is inhabited by other spirits who wander restlessly through the graveyard where they were buried arguing with each other and recounting tales of their lives and disappointments.
President Lincoln greatly shakes up this world in between when he comes to the crypt at night to visit his dead son.
This is a highly imaginative book that is told via many different points-of-view. Continue reading →
I started 2018 reading Little Fires Everywhereby Celeste Ng. I had heard great things about this book so was very happy to get this as a Christmas gift from my husband. I am on a great reading roll at the moment and this makes the third book in a row that I have devoured.
At first I thought this was going to be a hard book to get into, but I dived into this without any effort and was sustained by a cast of interesting characters and a riveting plot that delved into the lives of the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots,’ the conformers and the free spirits.
Set during the time of Clinton’s presidency in Shaker Heights, Cleveland, a meticulously planned town, it follows the lives of the golden Richardson family consisting of two parents and four teenagers. Into their lives comes Mia Warren and her teenager daughter, Pearl, who rent a house from the Richardsons.
Mia is a struggling artist who moves from place to place and doesn’t like to be tied down. She has a mysterious past and I was pleasantly surprised when the story of her past was revealed. She is the opposite of Mrs Elena Richardson who was born and bred in Shaker Heights and likes everyone and everything to be in its place.
LittleFiresEverywhere is a story about teenagers, mothers, families, parenting, art, race, class, creativity and love, told from many perspectives. There’s also a court case woven into the story that will have you debating both sides as an affluent couple who can’t have a child of their own adopt an abandoned Chinese baby, only to have the birth mother come into their lives after a year and want her baby back. I couldn’t help but cheer at the outcome of this part of the plot, even though I felt for the other side.
I’ve never read any books by Celeste Ng before but I definitely will in the future. I can see why this book was the 2017 Winner of Best Fiction in the goodreads choice awards. If you haven’t already read it and you like quality fiction, give this a read.
Verdict: An absolutely compelling book worth a read.
If you have read (or watched) The Handmaid’s Tale or Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood and loved both, can I suggest a book I think you will like? It’s called The Natural Way of Things by Australian author Charlotte Wood and it very much fits into the same category.
I first read The Natural Way of Things very early on in its life (at manuscript stage) and it has since gone on to sell tens of thousands of copies (and counting) and win many literary prizes*. Having just finished watching Alias Grace on Netflix over the past week, it put this gem of a book back into my mind.
The Natural Way of Things has an intriguing premise—ten young women wake up after being kidnapped and drugged to find themselves imprisoned in a jail in the middle of nowhere. What is their crime and who has put them there? Soon you find out exactly what they have in common—each had a sex scandal with a powerful man made public—but does that make their imprisonment just? Each woman handles her incarceration in a different way as they are lorded over by two inept male jailers. When the food starts to run low, the tension rises.