Wednesday 13 November 2019

My 2019 Reading Challenge - Update #4

It's that time again. Another roundup of my 2019 reading challenge. In case you somehow didn't know, I set myself a goal of reading 30 books this year, and I'm currently at number 87 so it's safe to say I've achieved far more books than I could have ever imagined! I honestly don't know how I've done it and it's going to mean setting myself a higher target next year I think, but I've thoroughly enjoyed reading such a variety. I've already done 3 roundup posts so far instead of doing one mammoth one at the end of the year and you can find those here - 1, 2, 3. So let's get on with the latest set of books I've got through over the last few months.
photo taken from above, 3 books facing up on gold mirrored tray with candle next to it and red and white swirl ornament

The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

It's pretty obvious from my review of this that I absolutely adored it! Nicola Yoon is like the queen of young adult books, and I really did love this just as much as Everything, Everything. Nicola has taken a simple boy meets girl story and turned it into something so fresh and unique. I loved the film too.

The Rumour by Lesley Kara - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Rumour had been on my to read list for a long time so I was really hoping it would live up to the hype, and wow it did. Such an intense thriller with a great storyline and an ending that will stay with you afterwards. I did find it a little overwhelming the amount of characters there were at points but they were all pretty vital to the plot.

We Met in December by Rosie Curtis - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

From the cover alone, this looked so similar to One Day In December by Josie Silver and the plot was actually kind of the same too, not that I'm complaining. A classic will they, won't they love story and you all know how much I love one of those. I don't think I was quite as invested in the characters as I have been in books like this from Paige Toon and Giovanna Fletcher but still a great read.

What You Did by Claire McGowan - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This really took me by surprise actually. For a thriller I actually thought it started off pretty slow and I did find myself thinking, will I be able to finish this but when I say it picked up the pace later on in the book, I truly mean it. I had absolutely no idea where it was going to go from one chapter to the next and I thought it was really interesting for a woman's husband and best friend to be pitted against each other.

Dream A Little Dream & Dream A Little Christmas Dream by Giovanna Fletcher - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I've read the majority of Giovanna's books now and she is just an author that gets romance so right. I loved her previous books Billy & Me, and Some Kind Of Wonderful, just to name a few but Dream A Little Dream was beautiful. I did find the dream sequences a little over the top sometimes but I adored the main characters Sarah and Brett and the short story follow up, Dream A Little Christmas Dream was a lovely way to end their story.
Dream a little dream by giovanna fletcher on pink background

The Escape by C.L Taylor - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

C.L. Taylor is quickly becoming one of my favourite thriller/mystery authors. I'd heard great things about her books on Twitter & Instagram, and I mean very high praise and with that there's always a worry that maybe you just won't quite get it like others do or your expectations won't be fulfilled but the first book I went for by this author, The Escape was mindblowing! Literally an on the edge of your seat type thriller with characters you just want to scream at! Insanely good.

The Girl Next Door by Phoebe Morgan - ⭐⭐⭐

I got onto a bit of a roll with thrillers and as I spotted The Girl Next Door for just £2 on Amazon, I thought I'd give it a whirl. Unfortunately I didn't love it. It didn't quite pack as much of a punch as The Escape or a few others I'm about to mention, and I thought the ending was a little predictable.

Sleep by C.L. Taylor - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The latest release from C.L. Taylor and I couldn't resist it after loving The Escape so much. This was based in a remote B&B in Scotland and I loved picturing the scenery. Straight away it felt creepy and the suspense just grew and grew from the first few chapters. I was utterly gripped and read it ridiculously fast.
sleep by c.l. taylor in front of bookcase

Maybe This Time by Jill Mansel - ⭐⭐⭐

Finally something a bit more lighthearted! I wanted to absolutely love this but it was just kind of okay. It was one I'd seen around a lot and kept meaning to grab it but now I'm glad I just spent 99p on kindle rather than a fiver on the actual paperback. I quite liked the characters but so much happens straight away that I found there was hardly any tension or buildup and from then on I was just thinking, okay so how are you going to fill this book because you've just revealed everything on the blurb. A little disappointing.

Who Did You Tell by Lesley Kara - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This one didn't quite grip me at the start like The Rumour, also by Lesley Kara did but as I got about a quarter of the way in, I found myself getting really interested. This book tackles the topic of addiction, alcoholism and loss which I wasn't expecting but I like that it's so different from The Rumour, and there was a good sense of unpredictability about it. Would definitely recommend if you've read The Rumour and enjoyed it.

The Lodger by C.L. Taylor - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Can you tell I've become a fan of C.L.Taylor? I really don't think you can... Anyway, I signed up to her newsletter and if you do, you get a free copy of her short story The Lodger. As you might guess, it's not very long so it's a great snappy one to read in one go, which I do like sometimes. The thing I find with short stories is that I obviously want more by the end of it, there's never quite as much detail as I'd like. Regardless, it was still a pretty great thriller and it's just only made me want to pick up some of the author's previous books that I've not yet got round to.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I have many thoughts about this book but no idea how to articulate them properly. This was the book everyone seemed to be talking about over the Summer so I had high hopes. And it's not that it didn't fulfil them, it did, it's a fantastic book but I just never connected with the characters. The plot of a man being wrongly accused and going to prison for years, leaving his wife with their best friend, a man who has also been in love with her for a long time, seemed like it could make for something really heartwrenching. At times it was, and I definitely felt for each person because who knows how they'd cope in that situation, but I didn't find anyone particularly likeable. I know not every book will have characters you love but with a story like this I expected to feel more or to care more about the outcome.

Truth Hurts by Rebecca Reid - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

God, this book was good! I wrote a big review of this so I won't go on too much but Rebecca Reid knows how to write a good drama. It's not that it didn't have elements of a thriller novel, it did but it wasn't a book full of twists and turns. It was quite a slow burner so could have easily become quite boring and tedious to read but somehow it just kept me hanging on. The premise was fantastic, a new couple who decide to never talk about their past, and just that alone is enough intrigue to get started with as everyone wants to know why they both wanted that. I'm still not over the ending.

Saturdays At Noon by Rachel Marks - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Nothing at all like books I reach for but I am SO glad I read it. It had relatable characters that weren't afraid to show their struggles which was so refreshing and just offered something different to many other books. Jake and Emily, two people who would never usually interact find themselves thrown together at anger management class, and whilst this wouldn't usually jump at me as something I need to read, there was something really special about this. It took me a little time to warm up to Jake but I think each character was written so well.

Unfollow Me by Charlotte Duckworth - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Well this definitely made me have a think about how much I share on social media! This follows a vlogger/social media influencer who one day deletes her Youtube channel, Instagram, pretty much every social media account she's ever had. Loyal followers are in shock and can't figure out where she's gone and why she'd do this. What comes next is an intense story on how dangerous the online world can be. Who is really watching us? How much can people find out just from an Instagram photo? Is everyone that's following us doing it for the right reasons? Tense, scary and thought- provoking. Honestly, a brilliant book.

My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing - ⭐⭐

This book actually really annoyed me, which might sound silly but after seeing so many fantastic reviews, I expected something groundbreaking. Unfortunately as this is part of the Richard and Judy Book Club, at the very start they introduce the book, and go on TO GIVE THE WHOLE STORY AWAY. It told me all the of the twists! Just from the blurb, you get nothing really, you could go into it with no idea what's going to happen, but for some reason their review has been put at the start. Before I knew what I was reading, it was too late. From then on I kind of thought throughout 'well I know the twist now, I know where this is going, I know who to suspect'. A real shame as otherwise I might have rated it higher. I mean, I still found it a little disappointing, but that just totally ruined it for me.
Unfollow me by charlotte duckworth laid on yellow blanket

The Holiday by T.M. Logan - ⭐⭐⭐

This was another book I went into with high expectations, it seemed like my kind of thriller. A woman who suspects her husband is cheating with one of her 3 best friends, and they're all on holiday together. We get thrown in pretty quickly so I was a little sceptical in how the rest of the book was going to get filled, and I kind of just don't really understand why it went in the direction it did. There were a lot of red herrings that didn't always quite work and I never actually liked any of the characters so I didn't really have anyone to root for. A really great premise but just not what I expected.

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn - ⭐⭐⭐

As mentioned in my 5 TV shows I've binge-watched recently, I got through the series of Sharp Objects ridiculously quick so I was really intrigued in how the book would compare. I read Gone Girl, also by Gillian Flynn a while ago and I think the film absolutely did it justice, but this time I actually preferred the show to the book. I'm not quite sure why but I just couldn't get into it and I didn't actually find there was that much more detail throughout compared to the TV program which you would expect. It's a book that deals with tough subjects so not one for everyone.

The One We Fell In Love With by Paige Toon - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

God, I adored this book! Paige Toon does it again. I've actually almost got through the entirety of her collection which I'm a little sad about, but one that I only picked up recently was The One We Fell In Love With. Three sisters, all in love with the same boy, but only one can have him. It was a classic pull on your heartstrings book by Paige, but I just never get bored of them. Some really sad moments throughout, a big twist halfway through which surprised me and a lovely ending.

One Week Til Christmas by Belinda Mitten - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I'm all about the festive stories at the moment! I keep getting drawn to books very similar to One Day In December but so far none have quite been on the same level. That being said, One Week Til Christmas was a stunning read. Set in London, Isobel and Tom literally crash into each other at a bus stop, and sparks fly, but they only have one week until Isobel flies back to Melbourne. I loved their little love story and how quickly it started and throughout I really wasn't sure if this would be something that at the end of the week would be over for good, or if they'd really met for a reason and this was true love. I adored references to Winter Wonderland, the West End, the London Eye, the Southbank Market, just so many places I've been and love more than I could say so it felt really special to be almost reliving it and walking these places with them.

The Two Lives Of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The second novel from Josie Silver, the author of One Day In December which I just mentioned, and wow was it emotional. Again, not quite up there with One Day In December but it did make me cry from the first chapter. I actually cried for the majority of the book. Lydia loses her fiance in a car crash so life as she knows completely changes, but whenever she takes a sleeping pill, she gets to enter an alternative universe and be with Freddie again so boy does that take you on an emotional rollercoaster. She can either keep going down this dangerous road to try and spend as much time with Freddie as she can in this other life, or somehow pull herself through it and see what life has left to offer, and I just couldn't help but agonise over the decision with her. I absolutely dread to think how I would cope. It's a beautiful story that really makes you question so much about yourself and your relationships, and it's also an important reminder to always tell people how much you love them.

Through The Wall by Caroline Corcoran - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This was tense from the very first chapter! Two neighbours Lexie and Harriet, who whilst may not have ever interacted with each other in real life, know everything there is to know thanks to the likes of social media. Both with struggles going on, Harriet not able to get over her ex, and Lexie unable to get pregnant, both become obsessed with one another and their seemingly perfect lives, wanting it for themselves. Through The Wall is a chilling story of how we never really know if what's put out online is the truth. Strangely relatable at times.

Rewrite The Stars by Emma Heatherington - ⭐⭐⭐

This started off incredibly well and I got Paige Toon vibes from it, a really powerful love story of two people who are meant to be but might never make it. I adored Charlotte and Tom and the chemistry between them was palpable but I can't help but be a bit annoyed at where the story went afterwards! I love that there was drama and it wouldn't be a story without a bit of will they, won't they but I didn't like how Charlotte allowed other people to dictate her life for so long, and almost gave up her dreams because of worry over what people would think. I found the ending very bittersweet and I just think the characters deserved a bit more.
rewrite the stars by emma heatherington stood up. Holly to the left, small silver christmas tree on right side
So, I hope you managed to get through all of that! I'm in shock that I've read so many books this year, but as there's still a few months left of the year, I'm kind of hoping to get to 100 now. I'm hoping to do another round-up post late in December then I'll be deciding my top books of 2019!

Have you read any of the books I've mentioned?

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Caz / InvisiblyMe said...

Ooo brilliant round-up! I read a CJ Taylor novel in the past but I can't for the life of me remember what it was. I did like it though so I'll have to check this one out!
Caz xx

Heather Nixon said...

I haven't read any of these but there are a couple on my list x

Lady Writes said...

I want to take some reading time over Christmas to try some of these x

jennyinneverland said...

Wow what a mega list of books you've got through, well done! My Mum's just finished reading Sleep and she absolutely loved it x


Ellen said...

You’ve read so much! I’m glad you enjoyed most of them!

Sophie said...

87 is so impressive! I read Truth Hurts after reading your review and finished it in one afternoon, I absolutely loved it! x


Sarah said...

Great job on reading so much this year! I haven`t read any of the books listed here, but I have heard of some of them. I look forward to seeing which ones you pick as your favorite read for 2019.

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