Sunday, 18 October 2020

My 2020 Reading Challenge - Update #4

Books marked * were either sent via Netgalley to review or as a PR sample but all views are my own
Already it's time for a fourth reading update! It doesn't even feel that long ago I shared the last one but I have somehow managed to get 8 books ahead of my goal according to goodreads. These posts are already long enough anyway as I just LOVE talking about books but now I seem to be reading more than ever, there might be a few more of these roundup posts than I had originally planned. If you're new to my blog then let me explain. Each year I set myself a reading goal and this year I'm aiming for 100 books. Every few months I share the latest books I've read along with a mini review. It's a nice way for me to look back at the end of year on how much I read and pick my favourites and it's also hopefully a way for me to recommend some really great books to you! Let's get started.
3 books on gold mirrored dish next to orange glass pumpkin and DW Home candle

You Let Him In by JA Andrews* - ⭐

I always feel so harsh giving a book 1 star but this was just not for me at all. I actually quite liked the different perspectives throughout which can sometimes be a bit confusing if not done well but apart from that I just didn't enjoy it. I found the dialogue between characters so wooden and there was no excitement, nothing that made me feel as though I was reading a thriller.

Breathless by Jennifer Niven* - ⭐⭐

Whilst I hadn't read anything from Jennifer before I'd heard good things about her previous novel All The Bright Places so I was really excited to get started on this. It took me a little while to really get into it and I found Jennifer's writing style quite different to books I've read before. Whilst there were things I liked about it and I enjoyed the more romantic and emotional scenes between Claude and Jeremiah, I didn't ever get fully hooked in by the story.

Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney - ⭐⭐⭐

I read Normal People by Sally Rooney earlier this year and I'm still obsessed with it so whilst I wanted to love Conversations With Friends just as much, I was aware it had a lot to live upto. The thing with Sally Rooney's books is that you tend to either love them or hate them, or that's how it seems for a lot people. I definitely wouldn't say I hated this but I also couldn't say I loved it either. It was okay and I enjoyed some of the moments between Frances and Nick but other than that, I found it a bit of a slog to get through.
Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney held up in front of bookshelf

The Diary of A Young Girl by Anne Frank - ⭐⭐⭐

How do you even go about reviewing a book like this? It feels harsh to give it less than 5 stars but at times I found myself skipping and skimming parts so I don't feel I can give it more than three. I thought it was a really interesting read that really allows for you to find out how Anne was feeling and the reality of having to stay hidden for such a long amount of time. Fascinating but heart-wrenching at the same time.

The Mistress by Jill Childs* - ⭐⭐⭐

This held my attention right from the very first page! I had no idea where it was going to go and it surprised me several times throughout. I didn't particularly like any of the characters and I felt there was something off with most of them. Whilst it started off great though, the ending felt a little bit flat. It didn't really shock me and I think some chapters needed a bit more detail. A brilliant opener though and worth a read if you like domestic thrillers.

The Bench by Saskia Sarginson* - ⭐⭐⭐

Wow, this was emotional! In alternating chapters, we hear Sam and Cat's love story, one that spans over 30 years. They're pulled apart and brought back together over the years but with completely different lives, is it ever going to be the right time for them? The concept of this reminded me a lot of books like Five Years From Now and One Day In December so I knew I was going to like it. It did take me a little while to warm up to the characters at first but by the end I was in tears. A really lovely read.

In Case You Missed It by Lindsey Kelk - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The first five star in a while! I just absolutely adored this! I think it might be the first book I've read by Lindsey Kelk but it won't be the last. I found Ros really relatable and I loved the Bridget Jones vibes I got when she's with her group of friends. It was funny, romantic and uplifting. Just the sort of book I needed! Can't wait to re-read at some point.

The Minute I Saw You by Paige Toon - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I waited a long time for this to be released after Covid initially delayed it and it didn't disappoint! Somehow Paige just gets it right every single time. I could have never predicted where she was going to take the main characters, Hannah and Sonny, and it went down a much deeper route than her books usually do so it really did surprise me. Paige has tackled some really tough subjects and brilliantly so too. She's written it in such a way that she gets the importance of the subjects across and really allows you to understand how each person is feeling but it's still light with the perfect amount of romance. Not what I expected at all compared to her previous books but just as good!
The Minute I Saw You by Paige Toon on bookshelf with books in background

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I got into this way more than I expected to. I don't think there was anything particularly that really wowed me and I wasn't shocked by the culprit but I still really enjoyed it. It was such an easy read,
short chapters, likeable characters, just something really different to thrillers I've read before.

So Lucky by Dawn O'Porter - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

God I loved this! So raw and believable. I just wanted to hug each of the characters and I was rooting for all of them throughout. I've not read something so funny yet powerful and relatable in a long time. Brilliant.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I've seen this advertised as one of those 'books you must read!' and given it's historical fiction, something I really enjoy, I'm not sure how I managed to hold off for as long as I did. I did have high hopes for this and I don't think I loved it quite as much as I thought I would but there's no denying it's a fantastic book. It's obvious how much research Kristin has done by the amount of detail throughout and by the end the characters just felt so real to me. The ending had me in tears and I can't wait to see the film adaptation next year.

The Wife by Shalini Boland* - ⭐⭐⭐

I love how fast paced this was! From the very first page, it's full speed ahead and I was captivated immediately. I had no idea what was going to happen and throughout I was questioning every single character. I had a feeling a few characters weren't as they seemed and I didn't find anyone particularly likeable apart from Zoe's dad but I still couldn't have predicted the shocking ending. I think I read the whole book in about an hour because I just couldn't put it down.

A Perfect Paris Christmas by Mandy Baggot* - ⭐⭐

I might have given this two stars but that's not to say I didn't enjoy it. I loved the relationships and friendships in this book and I think Mandy has written a book really thought provoking. It made me emotional quite a few times! I did find it quite slow in parts though and it just seemed to take ages for any romance to really get going.

Don't Tell Teacher by Suzy K.Quinn - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This was such an interesting book! I'm always after thriller recommendations and this is one that kept coming up again and again and boy am I glad it did. The premise is so unique and led me to believe all sorts of things that could be happening at the school but it completely surprised me and went down a path I could never have guessed. So so good.

Not The Type by Camilla Thurlow - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

My first non-fiction book in a long time and maybe the only one this year so far? I was a big fan of Camilla when she was on Love Island a few years ago, just because she seemed so normal and down to earth and her relationship with Jamie was just lovely to watch blossom. I was really intrigued by this because she's had such a varied life! The book documents her experience working in landmine disposal, her charity work, feminism, anxiety and obviously her time on Love Island. A really interesting read. I'd have loved to listen to the audio version of this actually.
Not The Type by Camilla Thurlow held up in front of bookshelf

The Island by C.L. Taylor* - ⭐⭐

I'm a big fan of C.L. Taylor so I was really excited to receive a copy of her first young adult release. The Island has a great premise and pretty much gets going straight away. It doesn't take long for the characters to realise something is going on with the island and they might not be safe so it definitely gets tense very quickly. I was intrigued by all of the characters but because there were so many of them, it was hard to keep track of who was who and their relationships to one another. I also thought the ending was a bit anti-climatic.

Finding Grace by K.L. Slater - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

K.L. is fast becoming a firm favourite author of mine. She writes psychological thrillers and each one I've read so far has been exactly what you want in a book like that. Finding Grace was tense, unpredictable and full of really surprising twists that I didn't see coming. So far The Apartment is still the best I've read from the author but this is definitely up there as one of her better ones.

The Flip Side by James Bailey* - ⭐⭐

I thought this started off really well with Josh having just being dumped (after proposing on New Year's Eve) and I was really intrigued to see where this would take him next but about a quarter of the way through, I just lost interest. I didn't find it quite as funny as the reviews made it out to be but maybe I'm just missing something? A good premise and likeable characters but just not for me.

Be Careful What You Wish For by Vivien Brown* - 

Unfortunately I really didn't enjoy this. I didn't feel there was any tension throughout and by the end I just thought did anything even happen? Definitely didn't feel like a thriller.

All About Us by Tom Ellen* - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This was the perfect book to start giving me that festive feeling. It had some really poignant moments throughout yet was so funny at the same time and I loved so many of relationships throughout, not just the romantic ones. It had a time travel/sliding doors element to it aswell which isn't something I'd usually look for in a book but it worked so well in this.

The Phone Box at the Edge of the World by Laura Imai Messina - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This was so emotional. It's based on the true story of a phone box in the small town of Otsuchi in northern Japan, an area that was devastated by the tsunami, that people travel to so they can talk to loved ones they have lost. The phone isn't connected to anything but people believe their words are carried by the wind to their loved ones and it provides a great deal of comfort to so many. The book follows Yui, a woman who lost her daughter and mother in the tsunami who becomes a regular visitor to the phone box and there she meets Takeshi, a man who not long ago lost his wife. It's a beautiful story of love, loss and grief.

The Secret by K.L Slater - ⭐⭐⭐

K.L. Slater can't do much wrong in my eyes. I've enjoyed every book of hers I've read so far so The Secret was no exception to that. I do think there was one character at the end who didn't quite get the comeuppance she deserved but I liked the direction the book went in overall.

The Cows by Dawn O'Porter - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Like So Lucky by Dawn O'Porter, quite quickly I really found myself really enjoying the writing and feeling like it was a comfortable read that I could just take my time with. It had 3 different women with their own stories whose lives all cross paths towards the end, again just like So Lucky and I enjoyed that but there were definitely parts of this that made me a little uncomfortable. It's hard to explain but one character's actions didn't sit right with me near the end and that took away from the enjoyment of it a little. Can't deny Dawn writes great books though, I'd definitely read more from her in the future.
The Cows by Dawn O'Porter held up in front of bookshelf with books and small pumpkin in background
So that's all of the books I've got through over the last couple of months! I'd love to know if you've read any of the ones I've mentioned and your thoughts on them?

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beautyqueenuk said...

I’m a crime thriller reader with the odd chick lit thrown in and I’m about 6 books off my Goodreads goal for 2020 x

Beautylymin said...

Wow, you've read so many books! I'd really like to read both Dawn O'Porter books and also Camilla Thurlow's book - I'd imagine that it's very interesting x


Jenna H. said...

Looks like a bunch of really great books! I'll have to see if my local library has any of them :)
Jenna ♥
Stay in touch? Life of an Earth Muffin

jennyinneverland said...

Love reading these book wrap ups from you! I really want to read The Cows. I’ve heard great things about that one! I’ve never been able to really get my teeth into C.L Taylor novels. They all sound brilliant but I find them all a bit flat and lacking any shock factor personally!

Heather Nixon said...

I love reading book reviews! x

Alice Anne said...

Ahh you have so many of my favourites here! I finished the Paige Toon last week and loved it so much. She's one of my faves xx

Kelly~Diane said...

You've mentioned some great books. I love Lindsey Kelk books but haven't read all of them.

Sophie said...

I haven't read any of these but there are a few here that I've seen lots of positive reviews on. I've hit my Goodreads target for the year, not sure whether to up it or not! x


J A Andrews said...

Thanks for taking the time to read my book though, even if you didn't enjoy it :)

However, I have just discovered your Salted Caramel Brownie recipe and I will be all over that!!

Little Miss Mel said...

Oh wow, you’ve read so many. Definitely makes me want to read more and I’ve found some recommendations in this post too.

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