Monday, 18 January 2021

Reading Round Up 2021 #3

 Here we are.

Another week gone.

More time spent reading (well not as much time as I'd like). Which of course means I must update you with another reading round up.



I haven't managed to read quite as much as past weeks as the book I've now started reading is over 600 pages long and I don't know about you but when I see a larger book, my reading speed seems to automatically decrease.

Anyway here are the books I did manage to read:



The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides 5 out of 5 stars

Alicia Berenson lived a seemingly perfect life until one day six years ago.

When she shot her husband in the head five times.

Since then she hasn't spoken a single word.

It's time to find out why. 

                                                                                                                                                                          

This was a book that I had seen many rave reviews about but somehow I just never got around to reading it. However, I was gifted a copy at Christmas (just gone) which meant it was time for me to experience this book for myself.

The pace was slow and methodical. Each chapter expertly executed. The depth and detail of the settings, characters and events both past and present were well researched.

The whole time I was reading, there was an eerie undercurrent that kept a certain tension with every turn of the page.

That ending!

It left me with my mouth wide open, utterly speechless.

Well played Alex Michaelides, I never saw it coming until it was hitting me in the face. Even the word genius doesn't seem to do it justice.

As Alicia felt captive in her own body, I felt captive to Alex's words.


Her Last Holiday by C.L. Taylor 3.5 out of 5 stars

You come to Soul Shrink to be healed. You don’t expect to die.

Two years ago, Fran’s sister Jenna disappeared on a wellness retreat in Gozo that went terribly wrong.

Tom Wade, the now infamous man behind Soul Shrink Retreats, has just been released from prison after serving his sentence for the deaths of two people. But he has never let on what happened to the third suspected victim: Jenna.

Determined to find out the truth, Fran books herself onto his upcoming retreat – the first since his release – and finds herself face to face with the man who might hold the key to her sister’s disappearance. The only question is, will she escape the retreat alive? Or does someone out there want Jenna’s secrets to stay hidden? 

                                                                                                                                                                          

It's hard to rate this as there were bits that I loved whilst other parts that for me just didn't work. The story itself sounding intriguing. I love the back and forth of past and present.

Little snippets slowly being revealed, adding to the tension and the mystery.

However I just didn't gel with any of the characters. None of them seemed rounded enough (if that's the right way to say it), they just didn't draw any emotion from me.

I persevered as the book as a whole was ok but the ending lost me.

Over all an OK read, which I'm sure many will actually enjoy. This just wasn't the thriller for me.


The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin 5 out of 5 stars

Life is short - no one knows that better than 17 year-old Lenni Petterssen. On the Terminal ward, the nurses are offering their condolences already, but Lenni still has plenty of living to do.

For a start, she has questions about her fate she needs answers to, and stories yet to uncover.

When she meets 83-year-old Margot, a fellow patient in purple pyjamas offering new friendship and enviable artistic skills, Lenni's life begins to soar in ways she'd never imagined.

As their bond deepens, a world of stories opens up: of wartime love and loss, of misunderstanding and reconciliation, of courage, kindness and joy.

Stories that have led them to the end of their days.

                                                                                                                                                                          

I'm almost a loss for words at this book.

This story is pure beauty. Within the pages we are introduced to 17 year old Lenni, a teen girl who is wise beyond her years and then there's Margot, who at 83 years old has many stories to tell.

A novel filled with a lifetime of stories. I'd recommend having a box of tissues handy because all the feels are contained within this book.

Brimming with kindness, Lenni and Margot is charming, touching and honest. I found myself unknowingly smiling throughout.


The Hunter by L.J Shen 3.5 stars out of 5

Hunter

I didn’t mean to star in a sex tape, okay?
It was just one of those unexplainable things. Like Stonehenge, Police Academy 2, and morning glory clouds.
It just happened.
Now my ball-busting father is sentencing me to six months of celibacy, sobriety, and morbid boredom under the roof of Boston’s nerdiest girl alive, Sailor Brennan.
The virginal archer is supposed to babysit my ass while I learn to take my place in Royal Pipelines, my family’s oil company.
Little does she know, that’s not the only pipe I’ll be laying…

Sailor
I didn’t want this gig, okay?
But the deal was too sweet to walk away from.
I needed the public endorsement; Hunter needed a nanny.
Besides, what’s six months in the grand scheme of things?
It’s not like I’m in danger of falling in love with the appallingly gorgeous, charismatic gazillionaire who happens to be one of Boston’s most eligible bachelors.
No. I will remain immune to Hunter Fitzpatrick’s charm.
Even at the cost of losing everything I have.
Even at the cost of burning down his kingdom.

                                                                                                                                                                           

It was hot, raunchy and almost explicit in places (which I won't lie, I loved!)

However it wasn't a blow your socks off read.

Don't get me wrong, I loved the banter between Hunter and Sailor but the story line wasn't overly original.

It was good for what I needed, an easy (steamy) read.

And I'd happily read the rest of the series. 


Gratitude by Delphine de Vigan 4 out of 5 stars

The blurb is in French on Goodreads so I will update this post with it when I can.

Gratitude is a short, sad - yet hopeful tale, which looks at the idea of thanks, being thankful and how we go about showing such gratitudes.

The story is rather brief but it packs a punch.

This novel follows three separate characters. Michka, an elderly woman who is now confronting aphasia (difficulty with language/inability to remember or use words correctly. Marie, a younger lady, who I infer to be someone who wasn't just a neighbour, but perhaps Michka thought of as her responsibility over the years and now the tables have turned in that relationship. And then there is Michka's speech therapist, who works with her in the care home in which she now resides.

They say don't judge a book by its cover and this is definitely the case here. I assumed what was within the pages would be a dark, thrilling tale. However what I discovered was something that was much more poignant.

What I read was extremely authentic. Throughout I experienced feelings of hopefulness, fondness (of Michka and her speech therapist's friendship) and tenderness.

What makes this book even more impressive is the fact that it has been translated from French. The book flows perfectly.

There was a real depth to the words that Delphine used, the characters emotions lifting out of the book as I read. It was heartwarming to see such devotions to others. That glimpse of kindness that more of us should show to one another.

In the end I was smiling through slow tears because yes Gratitude does contain grief but it also presents us with truth, love and a real sense of calm.

Gratitude is a quietly beautiful read.


My current read is The Mask of Mirrors. The first in a magical trilogy, it is set to be a brilliant fantasy tale. 

What has your favourite book been recently?

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