My Favourite Reads of 2019

Yet again I’m a little bit late with this post, I meant to have it up before the end of the year, but better late than never. As has become tradition, I’m not doing a top 5 or a top 10 but instead I’m making up some award categories and choosing a winner. No prizes for the winners I’m afraid but thank you for the stories.

So without further ado the winners are…..Read More »

My Favourite Reads of 2018

I know, I know we’re quite a few days into 2019 so everyone is looking forward to their upcoming reads and posting their bookish resolutions but as is traditional I wanted to do a round up of my favourite reads from 2018. And, rebel that I am, I’m not doing a top 5 or a top 10 but instead I’m making up some award categories and choosing a winner. No prizes for the winners I’m afraid but thank you for writing such incredible books.

So without further ado the winners are…..Read More »

How Do You Like Me Now? by Holly Bourne : I Loved It

How Do You Like Me Now? by Holly Bourne
How Do You Like Me Now?
by Holly Bourne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow..this book!!! I read an ARC of this back in December and I am so happy I can finally start gushing over it.

Have you ever read a book that just speaks to you? This book was that for me. There is so much about it that is so real and so relevant and that I could really relate to. I wanted to just shout “YES!!!!”, it’s so completely and totally spot on. I like to highlight quotes as I read and can honestly say I’ve highlighted half of this book. It’s just so well written.


THE BLURB

‘Turning thirty is like playing musical chairs. The music stops, and everyone just marries whoever they happen to be sitting on.’ 

Who the f*ck is Tori Bailey?

There’s no doubt that Tori is winning the game of life. A straight-talking, bestselling author, she’s inspired millions of women around the world with her self-help memoir. And she has the perfect relationship to boot.

But Tori Bailey has been living a lie.

Her long-term boyfriend won’t even talk about marriage, but everyone around her is getting engaged and having babies. And when her best friend Dee – her plus one, the only person who understands the madness – falls in love, suddenly Tori’s in terrifying danger of being left behind.

When the world tells you to be one thing and turning thirty brings with it a loud ticking clock, it takes courage to walk your own path.

It’s time for Tori to practice what she’s preached, but the question is: is she brave enough?

The debut adult novel by bestselling author Holly Bourne is a blisteringly funny, honest and moving exploration of love, friendship and navigating the emotional rollercoaster of your thirties.


MY REVIEW

This was my first book from Holly Bourne (and the first adult book she’s written) but it won’t be my last. From the blurb I was expecting the standard chick lit or romcom type book that is all too common but this has so much more depth and realism to it than I ever could have anticipated.

As someone who is single and in their thirties (Edit: I was in my thirties when I read it so it still counts) I could relate to so much of this story. How it seems that at a certain age everyone suddenly starts getting married and having kids and how this creates a barrier between you. How scary the thought of being on your own, or never having children can be and how sometimes it feels like you’re losing at life if you’re not blissfully happy, married and popping out babies. How you can feel judged and inadequate for putting your career first, or for those with kids, for not being the right type of mother.

I don’t really like making comparisons but for me this had echoes of Bridget Jones Diary. It’s less of a romance but while Bridget was made to feel like there must be something wrong with her for being single by the smug marrieds, Tori is made to feel the same for not being a mother. Some of the things said to her are truly awful but I know from personal experience that it does happen. I could completely understand her jealousy and the feeling she had that she was trapped on the wrong side of a wall.

There are a number of other very relevant themes prevalent throughout this story. Our obsession with social media at the expense of enjoying the moment (if there’s no pictures on insta it didn’t happen), the endless quest for validation from a bunch of strangers on the internet, how success is determined by how many likes or comments something gets. It really made me question my own obsession with twitter and instagram. Tori may have driven me nuts with how obsessed she was with presenting the best image of herself, the idea that she has the perfect life and all the answers but really she was just an exaggerated version of a lot of us.

I did love the strong feminist vibe that runs through this book. I may not have loved Tori but I loved how she challenged those claiming to be feminists. One of my favorite moments was when she was on a panel with a man claiming to be a feminist, she may have been drunk but she was hilarious and absolutely spot on.

Her relationship with Tom made for some difficult reading and I absolutely hated it and kept praying she would end it but as the book points out starting over in anything is a much more daunting prospect in your 30s than in your 20s. There’s a definite feeling that you’re locked into the decisions and the path you’re on and just have to make the best of it.

If I had one minor qualm about this book and it is minor it’s that I just couldn’t understand Tom’s behaviour. He was just so horrible and manipulative. I can’t believe it was deliberate but I can’t accept that he didn’t know what he was doing.

I’ve probably made this sound like quite an intense read, dealing with heavy and depressing issues, but it’s not like that at all. There was the odd heartbreaking moment but there were more than a few that were hilariously funny, many of which involved best friend Dee (and often some kind of celebratory event). My personal favorite was a baby shower and some discussion over landing strips, I’m saying no more except that Tori is truly gifted at saying exactly what I would be thinking.

Thank you Holly Bourne for creating such a wonderful book and if you’re still reading after all of my waffling thank you too. If you can’t tell I absolutely loved it and would recommend everyone read this immediately. I kind of hope it’ll encourage women everywhere to maybe be a little less judgmental about how others choose to live their life.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC. As always all views are my own.

Review: The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart  Turton
The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
by Stuart Turton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. I think this book could be one of my favorite reads of the year and for the author’s debut novel is a seriously impressive feat of ingenuity.


THE BLURB

How do you stop a murder that’s already happened?

At a gala party thrown by her parents, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed–again. She’s been murdered hundreds of times, and each day, Aiden Bishop is too late to save her. Doomed to repeat the same day over and over, Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend–but nothing and no one are quite what they seem.

Deeply atmospheric and ingeniously plotted, The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a highly original debut that will appeal to fans of Kate Atkinson and Agatha Christie.


MY REVIEW

The overriding feeling from this book is of a classic Agatha Christie style murder mystery and it has all the best elements of this, a number of guests invited to a party on the anniversary of a tragedy, an isolated location, an absent host, old grudges and long held secrets and a general feel that nothing is truly as it seems. Added to this however is a Groundhog Day, or possibly more Quantum Leap, type element with main protagonist Aiden Bishop tasked with solving a murder before it happens by repeating the day over and over again in a series of different roles (hosts) each of which has some kind of link to the mystery.

It’s an absolutely brilliant and unique premise that adds an extra layer of complexity and intrigue to the story I wasn’t expecting. It’s a very intricately plotted mystery and one I would say requires all of your concentration (and probably a notepad to keep track of multiple characters and timelines) but it’s worth it. I read this over the course of a weekend while trapped indoors by snow (and a bit of a cold) and it worked so well as it allowed me to completely immerse myself in the very vivid and atmospheric world the author creates.

The setting feels a little Downton Abbey, with the country estate, Lord of the manor and servants dotted about but from the very beginning it is clear that all is not as it seems. There’s a feeling that there’s more going on than meets the eye and something dark and sinister lurking just below the surface. Something that also seems to apply to most of the characters who are never quite what they appear to be.

This is particularly true for Aiden who spends the story in the guise of someone else, making him a very intriguing character. Who he is and how he’s ended up in the position he’s in is just as much of a mystery as who the murderer is. He has no memories of who he was before and no knowledge of his hosts either and this is where it most reminded me of Quantum Leap (a show I was obsessed with as a teen). Aiden has to look in a mirror to discover what he looks like and slowly unravel who each of his hosts are, and they are a decidedly mixed bunch. Most would definitely not be considered your typical hero, they are downright horrid, and even those who seem initially good often have a little bit of darkness lurking inside.

There is certainly a lot to think about in this story and it’s really worth taking your time over. I very much liked the authors writing style and found myself highlighting sections here, there and everywhere partly in hope of solving one of the many mysteries but mainly because I just really loved it.

In terms of actually solving it, I did get bits here and there but I think that was mostly due to guessing just about everything and suspecting everyone rather than any kind of skill on my part. There are so many twists, turns and red herrings that I think even the most experienced sleuth would struggle. Although I should say that once the truth was revealed I could see the hints the author had scattered throughout and I have been very tempted to read it a second time to really appreciate it.

This book is certainly one of a kind and I even a few days later there are elements of it still buzzing around my head in the best possible way. If you like complicated mysteries and don’t mind a little bit of genre bending I can’t recommend this highly enough.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this. All gushing over this brilliant book is my own.

My Favorite Reads from 2017

Well no one can say I didn’t wait until the very end of the year to post my top reads of 2017. I think there may only be a few minutes left of the year but I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

2017 has been such a great bookish year for me. I’ve been lucky enough to attend a lot of bookish events, meeting a lot of my favorite authors and I’ve read 145 books, that’s around 48,500 pages. With an average rating of 4.0 stars there were a lot of brilliant stories making it really difficult to pick a top 10 so instead I’m hosting the third annual I Wuv Book Awards.  Essentially this means I’ve had a look at my favorite reads of the year and slotted them into some made up awards categories. There are no actual prizes I’m afraid but I will definitely be recommending these books to all I meet.

So without further ado the winners are…..Read More »

Review: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

A Gentleman in MoscowA Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Why did I put off reading this book? It’s a slow and quiet story but it’s absolutely beautifully written. It’s full of depth and meaning and such incredibly detailed descriptions that you become immersed in the world Towles creates.

I became far more invested in the lives of these wonderfully rich characters than I could ever have imagined. There’s not a lot of action but there were many moments that were incredibly heartfelt and just completely blew me away.

Read More »

Review: The Trespasser by Tana French

The Trespasser (Dublin Murder Squad #6)The Trespasser by Tana French

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The latest book in Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series is possibly my favorite so far. It’s not a fast paced story with action on every page (if you’re looking for that try a different author) but a character driven, complex murder mystery with some of the most intense scenes I’ve ever come across.

It definitely reminded me just what I love so much about her writing.Read More »

Best Books of 2016

I can’t believe that 2016 is almost over already. It’s definitely been an eventful year and I think one that’ll be remembered (although possibly not in a good way) for a long time to come. For me, I have to admit this year has mostly been about books as unbelievably I’ve managed to read 180 books over the past 12 months. This did include a few re reads and some novellas but essentially I’ve been so busy reading I’ve had no life 🙂

Lots of people post their top ten books of the year around this time but, as I couldn’t limit myself to just 10, I’ve decided to host the second annual I Wuv Book Awards. Basically this means I’ve had a look at my favorite reads of the year and slotted them into some made up awards categories. I’m afraid I can’t offer any actual prize to the winners but I will definitely be recommending these books to all I meet.

So without further ado the winners are…..Read More »

Book Review: Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares (Dash & Lily, #1)Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

My rating: 5 big fat santa stars

Where has this book been all my life? Why did no one tell me how good it was? I loved this book sooo much. I think it could be my all time favorite Christmas read

It’s very, very cute and innocent and extremely funny. I don’t think I’ve ever highlighted so many sentences in a story before or had such a difficult time trying not to laugh when reading on the train (scene when Dash goes to visit Santa, that’s all I’m saying). If you’re looking for the perfect book to get you in the festive spirit or even just a book to make you smile I’d definitely recommend Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares.Read More »