Reader Confessions Tag

I found this tag on a post by Caitlin @ wordsandotherbeasts and thought it looked fun.

 

1. Have you ever damaged a book? 464164

Not through lack of care, although it depends on how you define ‘damaged’. There’s always that sinking feeling when you take a book out of your bag to discover the cover has bent back, followed by anxiously trying t flatten it back down again. The only book I can say was truly damaged, was my original copy of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I read it so many times that the cover fell off and half the pages fell out. I’ve since bought a new copy!

2. Have you ever damaged a borrowed book?

Absolutely not! Although I don’t borrow many books, the number one rule of borrowing is to return it in the condition you received it in. You should treat it with the care you would a library book.

3. How long does it take you to read a book?

This all depends on the circumstances, the type of book, and whether I’m enjoying it or not. If I’m on holiday, or have a completely free weekend, I can average around 250 pages a day – sometimes more if the book is really gripping. If I’m busy, or I’m not enjoying it very much, I struggle to read more than 50 pages a day. On average, I read a book a week – I’ve read 23 books so far this year, so that’s about right.

4. Books that you haven’t finished?

I was very guilty of this at school. I hated A Level English Lit, and didn’t do very well in it, mainly because I hated everything we were required to read. Enduring Love by Ian McEwan is an example that immediately springs to mind. Reading like this, rather than simply for pleasure really put me off picking up a new book for quite a while. I like to read what I’m in the mood for, not what someone forces under my nose.

I’m also terrible for classic novels. I’ve tried Pride and Prejudice, Withering Heights and The Great Gatsby, among others, but I just can’t get into them. I feel like such a fraud as a book lover for only really reading modern books, but they’re simply not for me.

5. Hyped/Popular books that you don’t like?

There are so many, I can’t list them all. I have never understood the hype around John Green. I absolutely hated The Fault in Our Stars; it was gimmicky, predictable and annoying. Looking for Alaska wasn’t much better, but at least I didn’t hate it, and I never got past the second chapter of Paper Towns before I wanted to throw it across the room. He just writes the same unbelievable ‘cool’, mysterious and quirky characters in every book, with the same ‘I know how young people speak’ language that is so irritating. He simply uses different names and circumstances, sticking a different philosophical title on the front. Maybe I’m past young adult fiction, as I probably would’ve loved these books six or seven years ago, but I really do not get it.

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Another book I thought was so overrated is One Day by David Nicholls. I really don’t get what all the fuss is about. It was fine, with a light, easy-to-read story, but it was no masterpiece. The characters were annoying and the ending possibly the most ridiculous ending to a book I’ve ever read.

6. Is there a book you wouldn’t tell anyone you were reading?

No, I don’t think so. Why bother reading a book if you’re going to be embarrassed about it?

7. How many books do you own?

Too many to fit on my bookshelf. I have piles and piles of them under my bed, with nowhere else for them to go. My dream is to have a house with a dedicated library, or just a room large enough to have huge wall to wall bookshelves.

8. Are you a fast reader or a slow reader?

I think I’m a fairly fast reader in terms of actual pace, although I’m definitely not the kind of person who can read more than a book a week. I tend to read about a page and a half per minute. I’m not sure whether that equates to fast or slow. See question 3 for more details!

9. Do you like to buddy read?

I don’t really know what this means. I usually swap books with both Juliet and my mum, but we’ve never read anything at the same time. I like to read things at my own pace. For this reason, I think I’d struggle in any sort of book club. I like the idea of it, as I do enjoy the community aspect of reading, with book bloggers and Goodreads, but I don’t like to be told to read something if I’m not in the mood for it.

10. Do you read better in your head or out loud?

Definitely in my head. I do a lot of reading on trains, to and from visiting my boyfriend in London, so reading aloud would just be weird. I do sometimes mutter, or mouth it to myself if I’m really, really into a passage.

11. If you were only allowed to own one book, what would it be and why?

I’d have to say my copy of Winnie the Pooh. It really is my all time favourite book and has meant so much to me both as a child and an adult. If anyone out there has never read the original Winnie the Pooh book, along with its sequel The House at Pooh Corner, I absolutely implore you to, regardless of your age. The stories are just truly magical, hilariously funny and touchingly beautiful. I can’t stand the Disney version because it really fails to capture what is so special about these stories.

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I won’t tag anyone in particular, but feel free to steal this from me, and let me know. I’d love to read everyone else’s answers.

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My Favourite Authors – Gillian Flynn

For an author that I only discovered around 18 months ago, Gillian Flynn has quickly become one of my favourites. Like most people, I read Gone Girl due to the buzz surrounding it at that time, and then decided to see if she had written any other books. Fortunately for me, she had, and they were equally as good.

One of the things I love about Gillian Flynn, is that she doesn’t mess around. She never tries to skirt violence or gore, she really goes for it. These books are truly disturbing, without ever needing to venture into the outrageous or supernatural as many authors of this genre feel the need to do. I’m absolutely not one for horror films; in fact, I avoid them like the plague. I’ve also not really read any books of that genre, although I would like to read some Stephen King.

I don’t want to confuse people. These books aren’t horror, they’re thriller, but Flynn pushes the boundaries of the thriller genre to the absolute edge. I think this is why I love them so much. They’re not scary and they don’t keep me up at night, but they are extremely twisted and unnervingly creepy.

She also writes characters that are really flawed, whilst still managing to make them relatable and believable. There are no perfections and no happy endings; just raw personalities and relationships. She writes real people, with real problems, rather than pretend real people, with pretend real problems, that is so often seen in other writing. In other books, we often simply aspire or pretend to relate to the characters, whereas in Flynn’s novels, we are actually a little bit embarrassed that we see so much of ourselves in them. This is helped by her really snappy language. She is a fan of the short sentence, and this helps to not only make her novels fast-paced, but also to make them dry, witty and seeping in sarcasm. All are written in first person, and the protagonists’ internal monologues are so similar to my own in style, that I probably shouldn’t admit to it.

To date, she has published three novels and one short story, with two of the novels having subsequently been made into feature films.

Sharp Objects

Sharp Objects is Flynn’s first novel, first published in 2006. It tells the story of Camille, a journalist forced back to her home town to investigate the mysterious murders of two young girls. Having been estranged from her mother for many years, Camille finds herself back in her childhood home in Missouri, with her 13 year old step-sister, who she barely knows. As she begins her investigation, Camille is forced to battle the demons of her past in order to discover the truth.

I think this is my favourite of all Gillian Flynn’s novels. It is so creepy, I can’t even put it into words. Camille has had one extremely messed up life, and the relationship she has with her family is what makes this book so compelling.

It has so many twists, and I really did not see the shock ending coming.

9/10 – Almost There

Dark Places

I would say that Dark Places is my least favourite of Flynn’s novels, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t think it was great. This is probably the most graphic and gory; I’m not sure I’d like to watch the film for this reason.

Libby Day was seven years old when her older brother, Ben, was jailed for murdering her mother and two sisters, due to the evidence that she gave. Twenty five years later, a group of people, or cult, contact Libby for information about her family’s murder. They are convinced that Ben was not guilty of the crimes he was jailed for, and are determined to free him.

I think the main thing that a didn’t like in this book, in comparison to the other two, is that there is no big twist. It is written more like a conventional crime novel, and I sort of guessed what would happen at the end. That being said, I still really enjoyed it. I’ve read quite a few reviews from different people that say this is their favourite Flynn novel, so maybe it’s just me. It wasn’t as weird and creepy as the others, but I suppose other people aren’t as in to that sort of thing.

8/10 – Solid

Gone Girl

Like most people, this was the first Flynn novel I read, and the one that got me hooked on both the author and the genre. Before I read this book, I was more into romantic historical fiction, and young adult stuff, but this really converted me.

I’ll not give a proper synopsis for two reasons. The first reason is that most of you have probably either already read it, or seen the film. The second reason is that if you haven’t read it, I really don’t want to give anything away. It’s really important that you haven’t got a clue what’s going to happen, otherwise it won’t be as good. All I’ll say is, Nick wakes up on his fifth wedding anniversary, to discover that his wife, Amy, has disappeared. That’s really all you need to know.

Once again, it is the characters that make this so good. We really have no idea idea who to trust, because pretty much everyone has some sort of negative, dickish quality. There is no ‘good guy’ here, only people who are slightly better than others. Yet, every character is enthralling and keeps you gripped to the last page.

In hindsight, I think I actually preferred Sharp Objects to Gone Girl. Maybe because I don’t like hype that surrounds books, because I’ve often been underwhelmed by bestsellers. Fortunately, I read Gone Girl well before the film came out, so it wasn’t quite as hyped as it eventually became. I don’t know. This book is great, and everyone should read it.

Regarding the film, it really is a good and loyal adaptation. I wasn’t keen on Rosamund Pike as Amy, but other than that, it stayed true to the book and I enjoyed it. Of course, a film is never a substitute for a book, and if you have only seen the film, I implore you to read the book too.

9/10 – Almost There

The Grownup


The Grownup is a short story, of which you can read my full review here.

7/10 – Something Missing

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall, I really can’t wait for Flynn’s next novel, although it seems like she’s focusing more on TV and film at the moment. This is a genre I never would have dreamed i’d enjoy, considering I hate anything horror and gore, but I’m now hooked and would chose a thriller over anything else.

Holiday Reads

As you probably know from my previous posts, I’m going on holiday on Wednesday. I’ll be spending a whole week on the tiny Greek island of Halki, which has a population of about 300 people. There are no cars on the island; no noisy tourists; nothing to annoy me, or distract me from a week of uninterrupted exploring, relaxing and reading. Anyone who knows me, knows that Greece is one of my favourite places to go on holiday, mainly for the beautiful scenery and, more importantly, the food. I’m already dreaming of all the lamb, fresh seafood and gyros that I’m going to be eating. And Greek salad. And wine. The above picture and the feature picture were taken on our last Greek adventure to Zante, and although I’m expecting the sea to be just as beautiful, the holiday will be totally different. I’m so ready for a relaxing week away; I’ve been counting down the days since we booked it several weeks ago!

img_0269I suppose I should move away from the holiday itself, and focus more on the books I’ll be taking with me. I normally read around three books in a week, but I’ll be taking four, just in case. I also like to start the first book a day or two before we go. I find it difficult to read whilst flying, and I also find the first few chapters of a new book the most difficult to concentrate on, so it helps if I’m already into the book when I get on the plane. The first book I’m going to read is Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith. I read the first two books in the Coroman Strike detective series, The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm, last year – the latter while I was on holiday – and I’ve been eagerly awaiting the paperback release of Galbraith’s latest installment. Although I’m a massive J. K. Rowling fan, I really like to view these books as something completely separate. Basically, these books are great because they’re very well written mystery/crime novels, NOT because they were actually written by my favourite childhood author.

img_0226The second book was more tricky to decide. My original choice was The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, but now I’m not sure. I’m only going to take one psychological thriller with me because I want to vary the genres, mainly to ensure I don’t get bored, as once I’m there, there’s no changing my mind! I made the original decision before I went out and bought lots of other psychological thrillers, and now I have a large selection to choose from. I almost think it might be better to take one that I’m not as bothered about, mainly because that means I’m forcing myself to read it, rather than putting it off for months. I’ve had The Bones of You by Debbie Howells under my bed since around February/March and I still haven’t gotten round to reading it, so there’s my choice. Honestly, I’m not really sure why I haven’t read it yet. Other things have just taken precedence and it just kept getting pushed to the bottom of the pile. The average rating on Goodreads is only 3.69, so perhaps that’s one reason I’ve been putting it off, however from the snippets of reviews I’ve read, it sounds like it’s quite fast-paced and has a strong opening, so that suits me. As long as I can dive straight into it, I won’t have a problem.

img_0305For my third book, I’d like something completely away from the thriller/crime/mystery genre. I love historical fiction, but have been neglecting it a bit lately, so I decided to choose something I’ve wanted to read for a long time. I actually feel a bit guilty for buying more books, because I already have so many, but I have an Amazon voucher that needs spending, so it couldn’t be helped. I’ve gone for The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. It’s got really good reviews on Goodreads, and sounds exactly like my sort of thing. My only issue is that it is set in World War Two France, similar to All the Light We Cannot See. The story sounds completely different though, so I’m sure it’ll be fine. I’ve not read a book that I really, really love in a long time, and it’s usually historical fiction that gets me, so I’m quite hopeful for this one.

Finally, as long as it arrives in time, I will be taking my latest Goodreads Giveaways win, The Singles Game by Laura Weisberger. I’m not expecting much from this, other than for it to be a really light, easy read. I liked The Devil Wears Prada, so I’m sure I’ll mildly enjoy this too. I might not even get round to reading it, but it’ll be ideal for the plane home if I do. If it doesn’t arrive, then…erm…I’ll have to think of something else.

Overall, I just can’t wait for a week in the sun, and as much reading as I can possibly cram in. It’s been too long since I spent the whole day with a book in front of my face.

 

Currently Reading and Dilemmas

I’m in a bit of a dilemma. I’m currently reading The Missing by C. L. Taylor, and I think I’ll be done by tomorrow. I’m absolutely steaming through it, not necessarily for all positive reasons, and I now have a gap of 4-5 days before my holiday. (Holiday Reads post coming soon!) Honestly, I expected this book to last me the whole week, but the unexpected good weather has had me laid in the garden, reading constantly since Sunday. Therefore, I haven’t planned my next book. I’m not even sure I can fit another book in. I like to start a book the day before I go on holiday; I don’t like taking one that I’m already halfway through, so I have until Monday, or five days, to finish whatever I read next. That’s assuming I do get The Missing finished tonight. If I don’t, then you can scrap and ignore this post.

Of course, 5 days is a perfectly reasonable time to read a book in, and I don’t have any plans this weekend, other than packing, so I do have time. The problem is choosing something that I know will be an easy read. I don’t want to have to rush something to get it finished by Monday. Ideally, as I’m reading a thriller at the moment, I’d like to balance it out with something different, but that also means risking it not being fast paced. At least I know a thriller is likely to be suspenseful, and I’ll not want to put it down (assuming it’s good, of course). I’ve decided to go with Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin. I bought this a week or so ago, and it is a book I’ve been looking forward to reading for a while. It has good reviews on Goodreads, and is described as being very suspenseful, so hopefully this will suit my needs perfectly. It’s also 423 pages long, which is one of the shorter books on my TBR list.

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Now onto what I’m actually reading at the moment. I received The Missing as a gift for my birthday, along with C. L. Taylor’s other two thrillers. This is the most recent of the three, and the one with the best average rating on Goodreads, so I thought it was probably a pretty good place to start. The synopsis is as follows:

When fifteen-year-old Billy Wilkinson goes missing in the middle of the night, his mother, Claire, blames herself. She’s not the only one. There isn’t a single member of Billy’s family that doesn’t feel guilty. But the Wilkinsons are so used to keeping secrets from one another that it isn’t until six months later, after an appeal for information goes horribly wrong, that the truth begins to surface.

Claire is sure of two things – that Billy is still alive and that her friends and family had nothing to do with his disappearance.

A mother’s instinct is never wrong. Or is it?

Sometimes those closest to us are the ones with the most to hide…

Sounds great. Exactly my sort of thing, with a concept I haven’t read much of before; a missing child. Anything with the word ‘secret’ in it immediately draws me in and unlocks the curious and nosy child in me, and this sounds like it’s full of them.

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As I’ve already said, this is such an easy read. I suppose that is helped slightly by the weirdly large font that is used. Really, it is huge and the pages fly by really quickly. I saw this, because I’m not sure the plot itself is what is keeping me reading. It is, that’s harsh. The plot is fine, I’m just not absolutely loving it, nor am I at that edge of my seat. I do want to keep reading and I do want to find out what happens, I’m just not gripped. Perhaps a twist is coming? I’m not sure.

The characters are good. I’m finding Claire as relateble as a 40 year-old woman with teenage children can be to a childless 22 year-old, but the family unit as a whole is making me uncomfortable. Maybe I’m supposed to feel like that? Everyone is keeping secrets from each other, but that’s not really the thing I don’t like. I’m a little confused by their relationships, and the language they use to speak to each other. Conversation seems forced and a little too formal. Maybe that’s intentional, but I’m not sure.

It’s not putting me off reading Taylor’s other two novels, but I’m not as gripped as I hoped. Maybe the last 150 or so pages will be better. I’ll find out tonight and report back.

Where Should I Buy Books?

This is a question I have been debating for a while. We all hear about the decline in the bookshop and how we should avoid supermarkets and big sites like Amazon, in favour of local independent bookshops. Of course, I am all for this. Bookshops are a place of wonder and magic; a place to spend hours just browsing among other book lovers. There’s also nothing like discovering new books you would never have found on Amazon, without hours of scrolling through pages.

The main problem I find with independent bookshops, as is the main issue with most people, is the price. It is so tempting to simply order them online when there is an abundance of 3 for £10 offers flying about. Consider that in comparison to the average paperback in a bookshop costing around £7.99. Unfortunately for me, my reading habit is too large for me to afford spending that sort of money on each book I read. I am also the sort of person who likes to own a physical, personal copy of a book. I don’t really like borrowing from friends, or lending my own out. Maybe that’s a selfish attitude, but I get very attached, particularly to favourite books.

I have read 17 books so far this year. Had I paid bookshop prices for all of these, I would have spent £135.83. Add to that the possible 15-20 more books I will read this year and the cost is starting to get out of hand for someone in a fairly low paid job.

In actual fact, of those 17 books, five were borrowed from friends, six purchased from Amazon, two received as gifts, one purchased from Waterstones and three won on Goodreads Giveaways. So I’m exaggerating. I only actually spent money on seven of them, although one book in my ‘To-Read’ pile by my bed is from Amazon, with several others being from Waterstones.

One thing I have been trying to do recently is buy all books that aren’t part of the 3 for £10 Amazon offer, from a bookshop. I like to use Waterstones, as there aren’t any independent bookshops near to where I live, which is a shame. Using their ‘buy one get one half price’ offer, books can end up only costing around £6 each, which is still possibly too much for me to spend on every book I buy, but for now it will have to do. Some books are also cheaper in Waterstones; mainly ones that aren’t in the charts or being mass produced. I often see books for £10-£11 for a paperback on Amazon, but only the standard £7.99 from bookshops. It’s always best to check you’re getting it from the cheapest price, especially if you can support a bookshop in the process.

I also love spending time just browsing in bookshops, and always try to purchase something while I’m there (although I often have to talk myself out of it, again for financial reasons). I went into Waterstones recently and ‘accidentally’ managed to buy three books, costing me a total of around £15. One was half price, and the other two were on the ‘buy one get one half price’ offer. I suppose I can’t really complain about £5 per book, and I didn’t think twice about paying for them. One of the reasons I bought the books that I did, was through the recommendation of the lovely shop assistant, who took the time to chat to me about the sort of books I like, and then recommended ones he had read himself with enthusiasm. Now, I know he was only doing his job, and he may have been exaggerating slightly for the sale, but this is just something you don’t get if you buy online. I was happy to have the chance to chat with a fellow book lover. I would honestly love to work in a bookshop, if only it paid better!

It also depends on what kind of books you like to read. I only ever read fiction, but for those who enjoy non-fiction books, it is, more often than not, much cheaper to buy on Amazon. Non-fiction coffee table type books can be over half price when bought online, something hard to ignore when they are often £20+. I faced this issue while at university. I needed to buy lots of books for my assignments, and most likely saved hundreds by buying used copies from Amazon.

Overall, I think I am doing what is best for me. I try my best to buy from bookshops when and where I can, but do often have to succumb to Amazon, where things can be considerably cheaper.

Where do you buy your books?

Review – Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

I’ve wanted to read this for a while, but have put it off in favour of my new-found love for thrillers. I finally borrowed a copy from Juliet (Not Capulet) a couple of weeks ago and decided now was finally the time to read it. I suppose I was also ready for a break from thrillers!

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes tells the story of Lou, a twenty-six year old, still living with her parents, who is made redundant from her job at the local cafe. After a trip to the Job Centre, she is sent to work as a helper for a disabled man. I say helper, rather than carer, because as she discovers at the interview, she is simply to provide company for the man. The man, Will, is a quadriplegic, after being involved in a motorcycle accident, and is confined to a wheelchair, with no use of his arms or legs. After a suicide attempt, Will has made the decision to end his life through assisted dying.
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I’d normally avoid books about disabled people, or illness. This stems from my deep hatred for The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I really hate the way some authors like to pretend they know what it’s like to be the disabled/ill person, and end up being too sympathetic towards them, allowing their disability to define them. I could write pages and pages of everything that’s wrong about The Fault in Our Stars, but I’ll save that for another post.

For this reason, I was rather apprehensive about reading Me Before You. Thankfully, I didn’t have any of my usual issues. I think it really helped that this is written from Lou’s perspective. Jojo Moyes doesn’t pretend to know what’s going on in Will’s head, and that’s really important. It also helps that Will isn’t portrayed as being some kind of angel perfect person. In fact, at the beginning, he is a complete and utter dick. Just because someone has a disability, it doesn’t automatically make them a nice person, and that is shown here. You don’t love him, or necessarily feel a huge amount of sympathy for him at this point. Yes, it is important to respect his condition and the struggles that come with it, but like I’ve already said, a disability doesn’t have to define someone, it doesn’t change who they are as a person, and we shouldn’t view somebody’s personality any differently than we would an able bodied person because of this. That might be a rather controversial view, but it is one that I feel is expressed in this book, and one that I agree with. This is also something that Will as a character struggles with. He resents being treated differently, and he doesn’t want his condition to define him as a person. Unfortunately, in his mind, it does. It is a huge part of who he is and how he lives, but it is important to remember that he is so much more than that. He is an intelligent person, capable of making his own informed decisions.

I suppose what I’m trying to say, and I’m not articulating it very well, is that Moyes does not use his disability as a gimmick. It is not there for shock value, or as an attempt to be quirky and daring. It’s much more subtle and raw in delivery. This book isn’t really about the disability itself, it is really only a catalyst for the morals that Moyes is trying to portray. It is more about the fine line between right and wrong; and how things can be perceived differently by different people in different circumstances. People deal with things in completely different ways.

I have recently read quite a few comments and reviews, expressing the opinion that this story promotes the idea that life with a disability is not worth living, and that an able-bodied person cannot possibly have an opinion on this sort of issue. I have many problems with this, I don’t know where to start. Firstly, many of these people are basing their opinions on the movie synopsis and trailer, having not read the book and not knowing the full story. I do not believe this book promotes any of those ideas, and that is the whole point of the story. This is a story about one individual, it is not a representation of the entire disabled community. How can anybody, including other disabled people, have an opinion on how someone else should live (or not, as the case may be). This is entirely Will’s decision; only he knows how he feels, and only he can make that choice. I suppose that is the key word here – choice. Everyone is different, and everyone deals with things differently. It is not anybody’s place to make that decision for someone else. In Will’s case, it is not up to his family, or Lou, to change his mind. This is his decision, and his decision alone, and that is what this story is about.

Apologising for my rant and moving away from the disability aspect of the story, I really enjoyed the writing style. Lou’s narrative and way of speaking reminded me of myself, and I’ve not read a book like that in a long time, probably not since I was reading young adult stuff. I was truly absorbed in her as a character. Will was also very charming, reminding me of a young Hugh Grant in a sort of irresistible way. It was such an easy read, and all of the characters were so realistic. I loved the secondary characters of Lou’s family; the chapters of her at home constantly making me laugh. For these reasons, it was a very difficult book to put down. Other than a slight pause for my birthday weekend, I absolutely raced through it in a couple of days and enjoyed every page.

I have to admit, I was expecting this to be slightly milder chic-lit, but it was actually so much more than that. The story really made you think, and is one that will stay with me for a while. Although the ending was slightly predictable, that wasn’t really a problem. The love story aspect of this isn’t what makes it such a good book. The predictability of the story also prevented me from getting overly emotional. I didn’t cry, which was a shock for me, as I’m usually quite a soppy reader. That being said, I was very moved.

I am definitely interested in reading more Jojo Moyes, and I will be purchasing the sequel to Me Before You, After You, as soon as it is released in paperback later this month. I’ll also probably see the film. I think this will transfer really well onto screen, as the prose is almost screenplay-like in style. I’m only hoping they remember what this book is really about, and resist the temptation to turn it into a soppy love story.

8/10 – Solid

Monthly Round Up – May

This month started off with the huge struggle that was The End Game by Raymond Khoury, but it actually ended up coming to a rather nice close. I didn’t actually end up following the plan of ‘Next Books To Read’ that I listed in April’s round up, but I have made a start on it, and I’m hoping to tick off at least two more books before my holiday in two weeks.

I have only managed to get through two and a half books this month:

  1. The End Game by Raymond Khoury – 7/10 Something Missing
  2. My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry – 8/10 Solid
  3. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – Not finished yet

After the minor disaster that was the first two weeks of the month (I won’t go into that any more, I’ve blabbed on too much about it already!), I ended the month with two great books. My Husband’s Wife set me straight back on track, with its fast-paced, gripping narrative. This was exactly what I needed and I’m excited about reading again, after a very minor dip.

I’ve also just had a really busy birthday weekend, meaning I haven’t managed to finish Me Before You, like I had expected to. I’m about two thirds of the way through, so I should be done by tomorrow.

I’m finally going to get through the two that have been sat under my bed for months, The Bones of You by Debbie Howells, and When the Doves Disappeared by Sofi Oksanen. They’re both around 300 pages long, so hopefully I’ll get through them pretty quickly. Maybe. I might read on of the books I got for my birthday, as I’m due a gritty thriller. (See my list of birthday books here)


I am very conscious that the majority of the books I received for my birthday are thrillers, so I’m going to have to alternate between them and other things, so I don’t burn myself out. I do have a few chic-lits lying around, so maybe I’ll read a few of those in between, as a thriller detox.

I have also almost decided on my holiday reads for this year. I’m going to Halki, a tiny island just off the coast of Rhodes, which has a population of about 300 people. I’m hoping for a week of pure relaxation, undisturbed reading and, of course, wonderful Greek food! I usually get through around three books in a week when on holiday, so I’m planning on choosing three quite different ones to add a bit of variety. I know I’m definitely taking Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith, but I’m still undecided on the others. I’ll get back to you.

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I know that We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver will be the first thing I read after I get back from my holiday. I’m not sure why I’ve reserved it for then, but I do want to be able to take my time with it. It’s a book I’ve wanted to read for a while, so I don’t want the pressure of finishing it before I go away to ruin it for me.img_0271

This month has been a month of Goodreads Giveaways wins. I’d even go as far as saying I’ve won too many, which I never thought could be possible. I have won four books, and I’ll admit, none of them are ones I’m too bothered about. I’ve now started trying to only enter ones I know I’m going to be excited about reading, however I am worried this will drastically lower my chances of winning. I have won:

  1. The First Days of August by Alan Froning. I think I’ve already mentioned this in a previous post, but it’s some kind of medical thriller so I might enjoy it. It also hasn’t arrived yet, so I’ve got a while before I need to read it.
  2. No Man’s Land by Simon Tolkien. Yep, the surname is correct. This is by the grandson of the famous J.R.R. Tolkien. I’ve not read any of the Lord of the Rings novels, but I do love historical fiction, particularly set during war, so I have high hopes. My only slight worry is that it’s very long. Almost 700 pages.
  3. Diamond Men by Doug Macdougall. I’m not entirely sure what this one is about, but it’s written by a geologist and sounds like it might be some kind of thriller. I’m a little apprehensive to be honest.
  4. The Singles Game by Laura Weisberger. I’m more excited about this one, because I have read The Devil Wears Prada, and it is a bit of a guilty pleasure book. I did, however, try to read the sequel and gave up after a few chapters because it was so terrible. This should be an easy read, nonetheless, so I might take it on holiday, if it arrives before then.

Next month’s round up should be a good one. I usually steam through several books when I’m on holiday, so I’ll have a batch of reviews and thoughts to report. I’m hoping to extend my Goodreads Challenge target of 25 books by the end of this month (I’m on 17 at the moment), to 30. I hate setting myself a challenge I might not complete, so I like to extend it when I get close, maybe at around 22 or 23 books. I know that sort of goes against what the challenge is about, but I don’t care. I also don’t want to feel pressured to meet an outrageous target, and therefore end up rushing through books that I should be taking my time with.