Monday 1 February 2021

Reading Round Up 2021 #5

 Before I began to write my round up for the week just gone, I honestly thought that I hadn't really read that much.

The reason I thought that was because we went and got ourselves a puppy last week and that of course takes up a lot of time (check out my Twitter profile for some puppy spam).

So I actually have not one but five books to share with you this week. Let me know in the comments if you've read any.

The Last Goodbye by Fiona Lucas 5 out of 5 stars

Spencer was the love of Anna’s life: her husband, her best friend, her rock. She thought their love would last forever.

But three years ago, Spencer was tragically killed in an accident and Anna’s world was shattered. How can she ever move on, when she’s lost her soulmate?

On New Year’s Eve Anna calls Spencer’s phone number, just to hear his old voicemail greeting. But to her shock, someone answers…

Brody has inherited Spencer’s old number and is the first person who truly understands what Anna’s going through. As her and Brody’s phone calls become lengthier and more frequent, they begin opening up to each other—and slowly rediscover how to smile, how to laugh, even how to hope.

But Brody hasn’t been entirely honest with Anna. Will his secret threaten everything, just as it seems she might find the courage to love again?


What a hopeful book this is.

This is a story about love, about grief and all the emotions in-between.

When Anna tragically loses her husband she struggles. Every day blending into the next, she never quite comes back to life again. Until one night when yet again she finds herself dialling Spencer's number yet again (just to hear his voice) only this time someone answers.

That someone is Brody. He too is in the midst of grief, a man filled with sadness and guilt.

Fate or just pure luck?

Either way this seems to be the start of both of them finally moving forward, all it took was for someone to listen, to truly hear what they had to say rather than friends and family who think they know how they should be feeling and acting.

This story was both heartwarming and heartbreaking all at the same time. Watch out for my full review in March.

Last One to Die by Cynthia Murphy 5 out of 5 stars

Young, brunette women are being attacked in the city of London.

16-year-old, Irish-born Niamh has just arrived for the summer, and quickly discovers that the girls being attacked look frighteningly similar to her.

Determined to make it through her Drama Course, Niamh is placed at the Victorian Museum to put her drama skills to the test, and there she meets Tommy: he’s kind, fun, attentive, and really hot! . . . Nonetheless, there's something eerie about the museum.

As the two strands of present-day serial attacker and sinister Victorian history start to collide, Niamh realises that things are not as they seem. Will she be next?


What a ride I've just been on.

Cynthia has done a fantastic job of writing an edge of your seat novel.

A brilliant mix of YA and the supernatural, seamlessly weaved together to create a fast paced story that will have you thinking OMG more than once.

Girls are being attacked, injured and even murdered.


What could they have possibly done to deserve such a cruel fate?

The only link is to a girl called Niamh. She's been near these girls, even talked to them but the only thing they all have in common is that they all look like 'Irish girl' (Niamh).

The only question on everyone's lips.

Who's next?

This is a real cat and mouse type of read, throw in a paranormal element and you've got yourself a fantastically terrifying thriller.

I was lucky enough to win a copy from the author via Twitter and I'm pleased to say that this a book that lives up to the hype.

Excellent storytelling. Perhaps don't read after dark!

Poison in the Pills by August Raine 4 out of 5 stars

There wasn't a blurb that I could find at the time of writing this post so instead I shall just share my thoughts on the novel with you. Although I first must thank the author who kindly provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This I think would come under the genre of medical thriller (if that even exists).

The story follows protagonist Jack Bright as he struggles to prove the cause of a new epidemic called the Itch that unfortunately has been quickly spreading across the country.

A believed cause - what has been put out in the mainstream media is the known hallucinatory drug called Dose and because of this there is an active ban against it, much to a lot of the publics dismay.

Scientists (including Jack) have been working solidly on a cure for the Itch but when trials go wrong and test subjects begin to die, it becomes clear that they've got it wrong well at least Jack believes this is the case.

All becomes more sinister and worrisome when people involved with the trial start to 'disappear'.

As Jack gets ever close to the truth of it all, he finds himself caught up in a web of lies, deceit and danger. Can he uncover the truth without anyone else losing their lives?

I applaud August for this book as he self published it and over all it is a gritty concept that leads to a fast paced, frightening novel.

There were moments that I felt weren't needed, a relationship that wasn't necessary to the storyline and a few pieces of dialogue that stilted the flow of the book.

I'd say there is scope for this book to become the first in the series. I would quite like to see more from some of the characters. It feels like their stories have just begun.

Over all a good book with potential to be even better.

Lost Property by Helen Paris 5 out of 5 stars

Dot Watson has lost her way.

Twelve years ago her life veered off course, and the guilt over what happened still haunts her. Before then she was living in Paris, forging an exciting career; now her time is spent visiting her mother's care home, fielding interfering calls from her sister and working at the London Transport Lost Property office, diligently cataloguing items as misplaced as herself.

But when elderly Mr Appleby arrives in search of his late wife's purse, his grief stirs something in Dot. Determined to help, she sets off on a mission - one that could start to heal Dot's own loss and let her find where she belongs once more... 


Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin Randomhouse/Transworld books for my ARC of this wonderful book.

Lost Property is not the book I was expecting.

I gained so much from reading this novel.

This is a story that is poignant and purposeful.

In this tale we follow Dot, this is a woman who cares deeply for her family, for her friends and in fact for anyone who should have the luck to cross paths with her.

She works for TFL in lost property, carefully sorting out and looking after items that have unfortunately been parted from their owners. I instantly felt warmth when reading about Dot, her nature was so gentle and giving.

What started out as quite a slow yet witty story turned into something a lot more necessary (in my opinion) as we get more detail about Dot's own personal life, the moments in time in which she's experienced. From her mum's gradual change with dementia, to the mental health issues that her late dad suffered so silently with.

I got the sense that this novel is disguised as something simpler but wrapped within those more carefree moments are deep, meaningful memories. And what I learnt as I read was that how each of us remember things is entirely different, what one person could deem as a good memory, another could have captured moments that were perhaps not quite as positive.

But however we see our past, it doesn't make any of those feelings less important or significant.

Dot inspired me.

Her attitude towards life was refreshing and it was a joy to see her feelings of guilt and grief being transformed into something more hopeful. The journey she takes herself on is one of self discovery and what she discovers is something that money can't buy. clarity and forgiveness (to herself).

A uniquely, compelling debut read that left me wonderfully satisfied.

Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey 5 out of 5 stars (would like to give more)

I’ve been in this life for fifty years, been trying to work out its riddle for forty-two, and been keeping diaries of clues to that riddle for the last thirty-five. Notes about successes and failures, joys and sorrows, things that made me marvel, and things that made me laugh out loud. How to be fair. How to have less stress. How to have fun. How to hurt people less. How to get hurt less. How to be a good man. How to have meaning in life. How to be more me.

Recently, I worked up the courage to sit down with those diaries. I found stories I experienced, lessons I learned and forgot, poems, prayers, prescriptions, beliefs about what matters, some great photographs, and a whole bunch of bumper stickers. I found a reliable theme, an approach to living that gave me more satisfaction, at the time, and still: If you know how, and when, to deal with life’s challenges - how to get relative with the inevitable - you can enjoy a state of success I call “catching greenlights.”

So I took a one-way ticket to the desert and wrote this book: an album, a record, a story of my life so far. This is fifty years of my sights and seens, felts and figured-outs, cools and shamefuls. Graces, truths, and beauties of brutality. Getting away withs, getting caughts, and getting wets while trying to dance between the raindrops.

Hopefully, it’s medicine that tastes good, a couple of aspirin instead of the infirmary, a spaceship to Mars without needing your pilot’s license, going to church without having to be born again, and laughing through the tears.

It’s a love letter. To life.

It’s also a guide to catching more greenlights - and to realizing that the yellows and reds eventually turn green too.

Good luck.


Alright alright alright.

If I could I would give this book all the stars and then some.

Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey is not your typical celebrity tell it all.

This is a memoir that is candid, meaningful and inspiring.

As I read it was like Matthew was right there in the room with me. He is a spiritual, forever positive man, who doesn't just focus on the here and now or even the end goal.

Instead he looks to the journey. Those moments in time that shape us, he always takes the time to search for the deeper meanings, to truly understand.

He celebrates life, even those redlight moments because eventually they lead to those all inspiring greenlights.

If you only read one book this year, let it be this one!

I'm currently reading Early Morning Riser by Katherine Heiny (kind of apt seen as that's what I am). Do let me know either here or via social media what you've been reading lately.

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