At the start of 2018, I set myself a goal of reading at least one book a month. I’m delighted I managed to stick to it and have continued to do this in 2019. I had planned on posting a monthly ‘Book Club’ post to review each one as I read them but unfortunately, I wasn’t as committed to this goal. Instead, I thought I would do one big blog post now covering every book I read last year. Some I loved and some were big letdowns. If you’re looking for some reading inspo I have you covered!

Suspense

Find Her

by Lisa Gardner

Find Her was chilling and disturbing but a book I couldn’t put down! Flora Dane was held for four hundred and seventy-two days by a monster. She survived but forever changed. Now five years later Flora will not be a victim again, quite the opposite, she’s obsessed with cases of missing girls. The case of Stacy Summers particularly captures Flora’s interest. Stacy goes out having drinks at a bar and disappears. The last she’s seen is on a surveillance video being led away by a dark figure. That was three months ago, and Flora’s determined to find her. Unfortunately, her investigations put her in danger and she goes missing.

 

The Couple Next Door

by Shari Lapena

A baby is kidnapped while the parents are next door at a dinner party. Mayhem ensues and big secrets are revealed. It’s a captivating story, and I couldn’t put it down but I’ll admit I had guessed the ending which was a little disappointing. Despite that, the story isn’t bad and I look forward to reading more from Shari Lapena.

 

Accidental Heros

by Danielle Steel

A short read with a predictable plot and some cliches but overall a great entertaining story. The drama of the lives of the supporting characters really brings entertainment to the book with so many different life situations going on. If you enjoy TV shows like Border Security or Aircrash Investigations then you’ll easily get sucked in. The pace was excellent.

Into The Water

by Paula Hawkins

Sadly this book was a big disappointment. The Girl on The Train was addictive and shocking and I expected the same from Paula’s next book. There were way too many characters to keep track of, and an overall lack of suspense that made for a boring read that I gave up on. Maybe the story would have got better in the second half but I have read other reviews that didn’t give me much hope in this happening.

 

The Women In The Window

by A.J.Finn 

Maybe had it not been for the over hype I would have enjoyed the book more. But calling it the next Gone girl or Girl On The Train is a stretch! Although this seems like an unpopular opinion as its been a number 1 best seller for months now. I didn’t like the character, I’m bored of reading about self-destructive alcoholic women. I saw the twists coming and some parts towards the end just didn’t feel right. The book is being adapted into a film so I look forward to seeing that and maybe the story will be more exciting on screen.

Fiction

White Villa

by Emily Hourican

This book was the perfect summer read! Two weeks in White Villa, under the scorching Ibiza sun, is the last chance for a group of university friends to cut loose before they embark on their adult lives. What can go wrong? Just like Emily Hourican’s other book The Privileged, I really enjoyed it and loved some of the relatable Irish characters.

 

How Do You Like Me Now?

by Holly Bourne

I loved this book because it’s totally honest, to the point of being a little bit uncomfortable. The book is about Tori, an author who from the outside is someone that seems to have everything life has to offer. A great career, a great guy, a bestselling book, great friends, and inspiring millions. Little do people know what really is happening. The characters are unlikable, but that’s the point. If you’re in your mid 20’s to 30s it will feel brutally relatable in how it addresses what society expects of women when they reach a certain age. I can see myself reading this again at some point!

 

Only Ever Yours

by Louise O’Neill

If you haven’t already heard of Irish Author Louise O’Neill you may have been living under a rock. Her book Asking For It was so raw and upsetting, yet left me wanting to read more from this incredible women. It contains elements of The Stepford Wives, The Handmaid’s Tale and Mean Girls’ making it one of the more unusual and disturbing books I have read.

Freida and Isabel are two of many girls waiting to see whether they will be selected to be wives to wealthy, powerful men and go on to bear his sons. They have grown up in a school that teaches girls how to be pretty and, in the near future, will progress into one of three career paths: companions, concubines or chastities. They don’t get to choose which. Popularity comes with being the most beautiful and the girls are ranked based on how they look and how thin they are. Eating disorders are encouraged and the girls are given opportunities to judge each other constantly. It’s a bleak book with a powerful message.

A Ladder to the Sky

by John Boyne

It’s not that this story is bad, it’s actually brilliant. It’s just the hatred I had for the character that made it an upsetting read and left me feeling angry by the end. I don’t think any book has left me feeling so emotional which is probably evidence of how well written it truly is. I can understand why others love it, it’s such a unique and different story.

What do you do when you have the blind ambition to be a writer and while you can write, you just don’t have a creative idea in you? If you are the unscrupulous, narcissistic, slimeball named Maurice Swift – you do anything that it takes including stealing the stories of others and ruining their lives.

The Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy

by Kevin Kwan

This entire series has been the most entertaining books I’ve ever read. I loved them so much, it was a bonus that the first movie was also really great! The books are an escape into the fabulously filthy rich, with a mixture of humour and romance and characters to fall in love with. I also want to note how I was constantly hungry while reading these books. The descriptions of the food were tantalizing beyond belief, so much so I hope to visit Singapore this year to hunt some of the food down!

If you haven’t hopped on the bandwagon you need to. My only critique is that there isn’t a fourth book.

Non-Fiction

Sapiens

by Yuval Noah Harari

This is a hugely ambitious book; it takes a very broad approach, condensing huge topics into short chapters in an attempt to cover the development of our entire species. I liked it in the beginning but everything started to go downhill from somewhere in the middle of Part II. I grew tired of the author’s condescending humour and personal opinions. I had hoped this book would be intersting and educational but sadly it was only these things about 30% of the time. I didn’t finish this book.

 

This is Going to Hurt

by Adam Kay

This book was my favourite read of 2018! A funny collection of stories from a former doctor, some so surprising, or amusing that I had those hard-to-breathe-while-laughing moments. There are, of course, some very sad stories, including the one that led the author to decide he had to leave. It’s an eye-opening look into the NHS which will leave you with a new found appreciation for doctors and nurses. It’s an easy read that you won’t want to end!

Business & Selfhelp

Get Your Shit Together

by Sarah Knight

Sarah Knight manages to convey an important message with wit & personality. As with all her books, she focuses on getting control of your life with helpful, realistic tips that had me laughing. It didn’t change my life but it was a nice read to get me feeling motivated again.

The Brand Gap

by Marty Neumeier

This book is for those with an interest in marketing. It’s a small and easy read and although some of the information could be updated, its a nice concise book of good branding advice. I was a little underwhelmed given its reputation but would recommend it to anyone in need of a refresher or introductory course to branding 101.

How To Win Friends and Influence People

by Dale Carnegie

This is a benchmark self-help book published in 1998. I will admit there were pieces of ‘advice’ in this book that I didn’t agree with but overall found it to be a well-written book with a lot of good examples that get the messages across well. The stuff mentioned is pretty obvious and simple, but important and often ignored. Overall this book is a staple for any business and self-help bookshelf.

 

 

 

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