Books I’ve Read Lately 2018 Part 2

Books I've Read in 2018 Part 2

This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay

I kept seeing this book in Waterstones & heard so many people saying how good it was so I knew I had to read it too. It did not disappoint & lived up to every good review I’d read. I loved it and was completely gripped from beginning to end. This book is the diary entries from an NHS Junior Doctor from 2004 until 2010, I laughed (a lot), cried and quite often gasped out loud at almost every page. This is an eye-opening, honest and quite often shocking account of working on the front line in the NHS from a Junior Doctors perspective. I loved the way is written and I won’t give anything away but I cried and laughed in equal measures. It is heartbreaking to think our NHS staff are working almost 100 hour weeks at the expense of their mental and physical well-being. I urge you to add this book to your reading list, I think it should be a mandatory read for everyone.

The Salt Path by Raynor Winn

The Salt Path by Raynor Winn

Another true story and an account of a middle-aged couple who find themselves in a situation beyond their control and completely out of their depth. This book gave me the sobering realisation that we are all only ever one step from losing everything, I found this humbling and inspiring. I felt like I was walking with Ray & her husband Moth every step of their journey. This story will lift your spirits, inspire you to embrace the unexpected and reminds you to be a little kinder to people you meet along the way. I found this book to be a quick read and I recommended it to my Mum who also really enjoyed it too.

Stalins Daughter

Stalin’s Daughter by Rosemary Sullivan 

I am completely fascinated by Russia and always gravitate towards books about its rich history and culture. It’s a country that has been through so many changes and it’s people have so often triumphed over adversity. I couldn’t wait to read this book when I heard about it.

Stalin’s Daughter by Rosemary Sullivan is an in-depth account of the little princess of the Kremlin who never escapes her father’s legacy. Svetlana endures so many tragedies in her early life, most at the hands of her brutal father Josef Stalin but after his death, she learns more about the extent of his reign of terror and makes the decision to defect from Russia.
Then begins a life of emotional turmoil and her constant search for peace that sadly never came. This is an emotional account of Russia’s most important defector. I found it heartbreaking that she wasn’t able to become her true self. The world just wouldn’t allow her to be anything other than Stalin’s Daughter and that was such a heavy burden to bear.

Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor E Frankl

This book by Viktor E Frankl who is a Holocaust survivor and a leading psychiatrist explores what keeps people from giving up & what gives a life meaning and purpose. He talks about his time in Auswitch and how the people who managed to survive the longest were the ones who refused to succumb to depression or a broken heart but instead had an attitude of hope which gave their life meaning and purpose. They were the ones that helped people at any cost even if they made the smallest difference, they were the ones that refused to give away their inner fight for survival. You learn a lot about the strength of the human spirit.  It is a very interesting book and one that makes me realise your attitude can have such a positive impact upon everything you do. If like me you feel like you’re stuck in a rut or having a low time of it, this book might help you focus and make some positive changes to the way you think and your ability to focus on the good.

The Missing Girl by Jenny Quintana

This is a book about solving a crime that happened years before, about understanding family lies and secrets that stop the truth from surfacing. It all centres around what happened to Gabriella 30 years ago and her sister Anna returning to the family home to finally put all the pieces of the puzzle together. I thought it was a little hard to follow in places but I couldn’t put it down and loved the twists and turns. If you like crime/mystery novels this is one to add to your reading list for 2018.

The Shadow of The Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

This is so out of my comfort zone and not the usual genre I go for, it is what I would call a crime/fantasy/thriller. Most people describe it as a gothic novel and I would agree. Set against the backdrop of post World War II Barcelona and centres around the enchanting Cemetery of Lost Books and what one boy discovers there. The Shadow of the Wind’ becomes a hunger to discover what really happened to its author Julian Carax to save those left behind. There is no quiet moment in this book, my heart was always in my mouth and I couldn’t put it down. It is enchanting, harrowing and the plot is so dark in places that I was scared to read it at night (what a wimp, I know). I enjoyed it from start to finish and want to read more books from Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

Bring Me Back by B A Paris

Bring Me Back by B A Paris

Now, this was a book I really did not enjoy, it was disjointed and odd. It is about the disappearance of a young woman 12 years ago & the odd things that start happening that question what really happened to her all those years ago. If she is dead or alive. I found the whole book far-fetched and not very well written. Not a book I would recommend at all!

Love and Other Consolation Prizes

Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford

I loved Jamie Ford’s debut novel ‘Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweetwhich was a lovely read and I so wanted this book to be as good but although I enjoyed it and loved the main character Ernest Young, I just felt the story wasn’t as gripping. It is set in Seattle and much of the plot centres around the fate of a young Chinese orphan who finds himself in an adult world and all that comes with that life. The story flits between Ernst as a young boy & as an older man and I quite like the way this is done. Although I wouldn’t say this is a must read I would say it is a nice, easy read.

The Fourteenth Letter by Claire Evans

This was the second book in this roundup which I wasn’t blown away by. It was quite boring in parts and often I felt the story was rushed. This is a story that will leave you with more questions than answers and I struggled to connect with any of the main characters. This is a book to avoid!

If you have any book recommendations please leave them in the comments, I’d love to hear them.

Books I’ve Read Jan – April 2017

The Books I've Read in 2017

 The Books I've Read in 2017

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman

This is the second book I’ve read from Fredrik Backman and I have to say I was a little worried it wouldn’t live up to ‘A Man Called Ove’, which was my favourite read of 2016. I quickly realised Britt-Marie Was Here was going to be a wonderful read. It is about a lady who after decades of hiding away from the world has developed a strong belief of how certain things should be done. She takes a job in Borg, a very small, run down & neglected town in Sweden where she in fact discovers her self worth. Britt-Marie makes friends with people that challenge her, encourage her and even fall in love with her and in return she gives the entire town hope. This book evokes such a mix of emotions but ultimately it is a story of letting go of the past, rediscovering your dreams and letting people into your heart. I urge you to add it to your reading list.

A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart

I wasn’t so keen on this book – I found it frustrating at times. It is about a young couple whose son has autism and through trying to learn to cope and navigate through the early years of his life they have stopped communicating as a couple and live very separate lives. The dad also struggles to connect with his son and finds it difficult to understand his world. Through the videogame Minecraft comes a bit of a breakthrough which proves to be the catalyst that helps this family to communicate and appreciate a new side to their son. The Dad Alex also realises that he has been holding on to a lot of pain from his childhood and it is stopping him from moving forward in all aspects of his life. I know this is a bestseller and has been well received but I just found it to have so many Minecraft references that it got a little annoying.

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

This story is mainly set in South Carolina and centers around a young girl named Sarah Grimke whose family are very wealthy and much like most wealthy families in America at this time (1803) own quite a few slaves. It follows her defiance to accept her 13th birthday present which is in fact a slave girl of the same age as herself named Handful. Sarah educates herself to a level that is not usual or accepted amongst women in America at this time and she longs to be the first ever female judge but that is a dream beyond what society can allow. Sarah and Handful struggle to understand the world and how cruel it can be, but they both find the strength to make a difference. This is a book about ambition, loss, pain but ultimately on all sides it is about the need to be free.

I was surprised to learn this story is based upon the Grimké sisters who were in fact real-life abolitionists and in a way you could say early feminists. I read this book really quickly and I want to read more from Sue Monk Kidd.

The Little Paris Book Shop by Nina George

This is a story about love, loss and friendship. It is heartbreaking and heartwarming in equal measures and if you have a romantic soul like me then you will love this story. It is mostly set on board a book barge in the centre of Paris and that in itself was enough to make me purchase this book. I love that the main character, Jean Perdu, doesn’t let people pick their own books, he chooses their books for them almost like a prescription from a doctor. It follows his journey to try and mend his broken heart and you’re taken along for the very scenic ride. I 100% recommend adding this to your reading list for 2017.

Most Recent Books Read in 2017

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

This thought provoking novel doesn’t hold back, it brings to the forefront subjects and situations that are still very much part of the modern world.  It talks openly, honestly about racism, discrimination and  privilege in America. I don’t want to give too much away as the story is gripping from the get go but this one book that brings you face to face with some very hard hitting situations that make you feel uncomfortable at times.

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

I read this book without knowing anything about it – sometimes that is how you discover some incredible reads although I am not too sure I would class this as one of those. The main characters, Wavey & Kellen, I thought had a very uncomfortable story to tell. At times I really rooted for them but more often than not I was unsure how I should feel about their relationship. For me this was a heartbreaking read and I was left feeling the main character Wavy was let down by almost everyone. If you’re looking for quite a shocking, coming of age novel then add this to your reading list.

In Order to Live by Park Yeon-mi

I’ve watched a few documentaries about people that have escaped North Korea but this account from Park Yeon-mi was so hard hitting. I had no idea that her struggle was going to get so much worse once they’d fled North Korea. This true story follows Park’s desperate, poverty stricken life first living under the dictatorship of Kim Jong-il in North Korea then as her family attempts the dangerous journey into China. It is incredible just what the human spirit can overcome and Park’s account of what her family had to endure in North Korea and then as defectors of the regimes will stay with you for a long time.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

This really reminds me a book I read last year called ‘All The Light We Cannot See‘ It is similar in that it is set first in Paris and then in rural France during the German Occupation of the Second World War. It follows two sisters that couldn’t be more different and we get to see the War from a female perspective. You get lost in the details and are quickly transported to the French countryside but the harrowing effects of the Nazi occupation are hard to ignore. The sisters are both trying to get through the War as best they can one desperate to make a difference and the other focused on staying safe. I sped through this and loved it just as much as I’d hoped, make sure you have a tissue to hand, as I think you will need it.

What have you been reading so far in 2017? Let me know if you read any of the books I have mentioned.

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