Ten Books on my Autumn TBR

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the wonderful The Broke and The Bookish. For this week’s list we are listing ten books that we aim to read this coming season. I’ve decided to go for books that have been on my kindle for quite some time. Let’s hope I knock some of these books off the TBR this Autumn!

Book images go to Goodreads

Dark Places- Gillian Flynn

Dark Places

I’m really looking forward to Dark Places after hearing such wonderful things about it. Then I’m all caught up with Gillian Flynn’s books!

Behind The Scenes- Dahlia Adler

Behind the Scenes (Daylight Falls, #1)

I have heard such wonderful things about this book, so I have no idea why I haven’t got around to reading it yet.

Flat-Out Celeste- Jessica Park

Flat-Out Celeste (Flat-Out Love, #2)

I have loved the Flat-Out books, so goodness knows why I haven’t got around to this one yet!

How Hard Can Love Be?-Holly Bourne

How Hard Can Love Be? (The Spinster Club, #2)

I loved the first book, but haven’t read the next yet! Holly Bourne is a great writer so this is bound to be good.

P.S. I Still Love You- Jenny Han

P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #2)

To be honest, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the first book, but I’m intrigued to see how it follows up with the next instalment!

The Half Life of Molly Pierce- Katrina Leno

The Half Life of Molly Pierce

I have been meaning to read this book for quite some time now. I’m hoping that by reminding myself it’ll totally happen?!

Don’t Touch-Rachel M. Wilson

Don't Touch

I totally forgot about this book. The cover is stunning and the synopsis really intrigues me.

The Promise of Amazing-Robin Constantine

The Promise of Amazing

I’ve heard mixed things about this book, but sometimes a book like this is just what I need in busy times.

Uninvited-Sophie Jordan

Uninvited (Uninvited, #1)

I really enjoy dystopian/thriller reads and this one looks like my sort of thing. I’m not sure why I’ve held off.

The Swap- Megan Shull

The Swap

This book looks like a cute read! I hope to get around to it this Autumn.

What is on your Autumn/Fall TBR? Please feel free to leave a link to your post and I’ll stop by!

Little Girl Gone

Little Girl Gone

How did I get it?:
It was a gift!

Synopsis:

A baby goes missing. But does her mother want her back?

When Estelle’s baby daughter is taken from her cot, she doesn’t report her missing. Days later, Estelle is found in a wrecked car, with a wound to her head and no memory.

Estelle knows she holds the key to what happened that night – but what she doesn’t know is whether she was responsible…

Thoughts:

I’m a little bit fed up of every psychological thriller being compared to Gone Girl and The Girl On The Train. It’s boring and uninspired. That aside, I did really like the sound of Little Girl Gone, so I found some time to get stuck into the book. I don’t think it’s the best psychological thriller I’ve read but it was definitely well considered and had an interesting subject matter.

Little Girl Gone starts with Estelle Paradise waking up one morning and finding that her little baby Mia has disappeared from her cot. What’s strange is that her nappies, clothes, bottles etc. have also disappeared. Mia goes to the police station but doesn’t actually end up reporting her daughter missing. We later read of Estelle being involved in an accident. She is found with a wound to her head and amnesia. She can’t remember what has happened to Mia and whether she might be involved. The media, of course, have a field day with speculation because Estelle never reported Mia’s disappearance. They begin to blame both parents for their involvement. Estelle goes into a psychiatric unit in order to unravel the truth with the help of a therapist. A lot of information is given to the reader through flashbacks.

I thought Little Girl Gone was a fascinating look at postpartum psychosis. I began to wonder through the use of flashbacks whether Estelle was in some way responsible for Mia’s disappearance. I believe that’s what the author wants you to believe. I certainly didn’t trust Estelle. I do love an unreliable narrator.

I really felt like the author explored the mind of a new mother experiencing postpartum psychosis. I really felt for Estelle and I believe that was down to Alexandra Burt’s writing of a new mum on the edge. I also despaired at the lack of support around for Estelle. It’s so easy to feel negatively about Estelle, especially as you read about some of her darkest thoughts and moments.

For me, the book was too long. Towards the middle of the book I think some of the ‘big reveal’ really slowed down the pace of the story. My interest waned by then. I certainly wasn’t as gripped or invested in the characters at the start. Therefore, even though I would still recommend this book to psychological thriller fans, I don’t think it’s anything stand out in a very populated genre.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

Not a stand-out in the genre, but a good psychological thriller with an unreliable narrator!

A Week In The Life Of A Primary School Teacher: Testing times…

Every Sunday (hopefully) I shall be posting a personal post about my life as a primary school teacher. I currently work at a primary school teaching Lower Key Stage 2. My training posts on this subject were really successful and so therapeutic for me, therefore I’ve decided to continue posting on the topic. I will not be naming any children, or the school where I work. If personal posts aren’t your thing then feel free to skip these posts. I won’t mind! Bookish goodness returns as normal Monday-Saturday!

This week seems to have flown by. I can’t believe that we’re already halfway through this half term. My class are starting to settle now and are definitely beginning to push the boundaries. With this in mind, I’m going to make sure I stamp down on behaviour this coming week. Nothing has been horrendous, they’re just starting to see how far they can go, how far they can push me…

I am, of course, finding time to read to my class. Our current class book is The World’s Worst Children by David Walliams. We’re over 100 pages into the book and they keep on asking me to read to them!🙂 This makes me a very happy teacher. We’ve also read Stone Age, Bone Age and Stone Age Boy for our topic. We have been studying The  Pied Piper of Hamelin in Guided Reading. We’re due to finish that this week with a written outcome…hopefully. I’m crossing my fingers…

This coming week will be busy for me. There’s so much to pack in. I’m going on a professional development course this week. I’ve also got my performance management tomorrow. Argh! The first one. I better get thinking of targets…

Down With The Shine

Down with the Shine

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
Another Little Piece
(Don’t You) Forget About Me

Synopsis:

Make a wish…

Lennie always thought her uncles’ “important family legacy” was good old-fashioned bootlegging. Then she takes some of her uncles’ moonshine to Michaela Gordon’s annual house party, and finds out just how wrong she was.

At the party, Lennie has everyone make a wish before drinking the shine—it’s tradition. She toasts to wishes for bat wings, for balls of steel, for the party to go on forever. Lennie even makes a wish of her own: to bring back her best friend, Dylan, who was murdered six months ago.

The next morning gives Lennie a whole new understanding of the phrase be careful what you wish for—or in her case, be careful what wishes you grant. Because all those wishes Lennie raised a jar of shine to last night? They came true. Most of them came out bad. And once granted, a wish can’t be unmade…

Thoughts:

I really enjoy Kate Karyus Quinn’s writing. I can imagine that she’s an author you really get on with or you don’t really ‘get’ her books. Kate’s books are highly original and quirky. I absolutely love that about her books, so when I saw that she had a new book out, I immediately bought it without reading the synopsis. I thought that Down With The Shine was a good book. It had me gripped and although I felt it started to slow pace midway through, I was still highly engaged in the story and wanted to know what was going to happen next!

Down With The Shine is a magical realism story aimed at the YA genre- I do think other readers would enjoy this book too. I certainly did. It started off incredibly dark, but it seemed to get lighter along the way despite some terrible things happening. It centres around Lennie, who finds out she can grant wishes using her Uncles’ moonshine. Prior to Lennie finding out she could grant wishes with the moonshine, she goes to a party and grants some wishes…some very dark and some very strange wishes. Lennie then has to deal with the consequences of those wishes and tries hard to rectify the utter chaos that she has made.  If I’m being entirely honest, I would have liked to read more about Dylan, Lennie’s friend who had been murdered. Despite that, I found myself racing through the story, eager to find out if Lennie was going to sort things out.

I really enjoyed Lennie as a character. I think sometimes ‘outcasts’ in YA are so overdone, but Lennie was an exception to this. She’s a fun character with some sass. I also really enjoyed reading about many of the side characters. The only thing I didn’t really get on board with is the relationship between Lennie and Smith. I didn’t like the way Lennie acted around Smith and didn’t really ‘get’ the attraction to him.

As I mentioned, Down With The Shine, is highly original, much like Kate’s other books. It’s such a strange but fun story which I think is worth giving a go.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Another wonderful original story from Kate Karyus Quinn!

Fairy Tale Friday: A Cheerful Temper

This fairy tale is all about a character that inherits their cheerful temper from their father who was a cheerful chap. The character’s father was a hearse driver, so could have easily not been cheery. However, when everyone saw him even though he was in all black and infront of a hearse, they couldn’t help but smile at him.

The character tells us all about how he reads an intelligent paper which tells him everything he needs to know. He believes that the paper gives him everything he needs to know any anything. He tells us how he likes to the churchyard to explore and find out the history of people in the churchyard. It continues with the character’s analysis of gravestones.

It was an odd little tale, not one that stands out for me, but it was interesting to read!

Next Fairy Tale- The Little Match Girl

The Girl In The Blue Coat

The Girl in the Blue Coat

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
Stray

Synopsis:

An unforgettable story of bravery, grief, and love in impossible times

The missing girl is Jewish. I need you to find her before the Nazis do.

Amsterdam, 1943. Hanneke spends her days procuring and delivering sought-after black market goods to paying customers, her nights hiding the true nature of her work from her concerned parents, and every waking moment mourning her boyfriend, who was killed on the Dutch front lines when the Germans invaded. She likes to think of her illegal work as a small act of rebellion.

On a routine delivery, a client asks Hanneke for help. Expecting to hear that Mrs. Janssen wants meat or kerosene, Hanneke is shocked by the older woman’s frantic plea to find a person–a Jewish teenager Mrs. Janssen had been hiding, who has vanished without a trace from a secret room. Hanneke initially wants nothing to do with such dangerous work, but is ultimately drawn into a web of mysteries and stunning revelations that lead her into the heart of the resistance, open her eyes to the horrors of the Nazi war machine, and compel her to take desperate action.

Thoughts:

There’s something about World War II books that really intrigue me. I find them so desperately sad, but at the same time I love to read about that time period, especially when delivered in a sensitive yet believable manner. These books always tug at my heart-strings and this book really was no exception.

The Girl In The Blue Coat follows our protagonist Hanneke. Hanneke has experienced great loss as she has lost her boyfriend who was a soldier during the German invasion of Amsterdam. Hanneke feels guilty because she convinced him to enlist. Hanneke feels empty without her first love so she throws herself into supporting her family. Hanneke begins to work in the black market, getting items for her neighbours and selling them on. As the story progresses, Hanneke becomes a part of the Resistance, beginning to help others and alongside this Hanneke begins a search for a girl in the blue coat (a young Jewish girl that a neightbour was hiding!)

Hanneke is such a great character. I loved reading about her because she was so headstrong. I really liked that there wasn’t anything stand out about Hanneke. She could easily have been anyone. That’s what makes her such a special character. She’s ordinary, yet does incredibly brave things for others. There are fascinating characters throughout which makes The Girl In The Blue Coat a pleasure to read.

Monica Hesse has clearly done her research when it comes to subject matter. Everything was so realistic and I feel like she captured the time period perfectly.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A well researched, thought out YA historical read!

Talking About ‘The Widow’ with Bibliobeth

The Widow

How did I get it?:
I borrowed it from Beth!

Synopsis:

When the police started asking questions, Jean Taylor turned into a different woman. One who enabled her and her husband to carry on, when more bad things began to happen…

But that woman’s husband died last week. And Jean doesn’t have to be her anymore.

There’s a lot Jean hasn’t said over the years about the crime her husband was suspected of committing. She was too busy being the perfect wife, standing by her man while living with the accusing glares and the anonymous harassment.

Now there’s no reason to stay quiet. There are people who want to hear her story. They want to know what it was like living with that man. She can tell them that there were secrets. There always are in a marriage.

The truth—that’s all anyone wants. But the one lesson Jean has learned in the last few years is that she can make people believe anything…

CHRISSI: Discuss the interaction between Kate and Jean and the ethical limits of investigative journalism.

BETH: First of all, I loved how we got to hear the story of The Widow through a number of different viewpoints i.e. The Reporter (Kate), The Widow (Jean) but also The Detective and The Husband so there were a lot of individual voices with their own particular clues as to what was going on. The interactions between Kate and Jean were among the most interesting – Kate is not a terrible person in her own right but she is hell-bent on getting the story she feels she deserves and is very good at manipulating people, especially those who may be slightly weaker than herself so that she gets what she wants. It’s not that she doesn’t care about Jean or her feelings but she realises that she cannot get too emotionally involved as it may cost her the story and at the end of the day, she’s there to do her job. Journalists can often be thought of as vultures, especially in more emotive cases when vulnerable people are hounded and I think, in a way they have to switch off from the more “human” aspects to be able to get a story.

BETH: This is Fiona Barton’s debut novel. How do you think it compares to other debut novels you have read recently?

CHRISSI: Ooh good question. I have read some very good debuts so far this year. I do think Fiona Barton’s stands out as a decent debut. I’ve read quite a few psychological thrillers now, as you know, some of which have been debuts. I feel like it stands up well to other debuts. It’s definitely memorable. It’s made me want to read more from the author.

CHRISSI: Fiona Barton is a former journalist. Do you think that has influenced her writing style?

BETH: I hadn’t realised this previously but looking back on The Widow, I believe it can only have been an advantage for the novel. It is told in short, snappy, very readable chapters that certainly made me want to read “just one more” before closing the book for the night! The style of writing itself was thrilling and although I didn’t particularly warm to any of the characters they were all fascinating enough to keep me reading until the end.

BETH: What are your opinions on the character of Jean? Did you feel sorry for her?

CHRISSI: Another interesting question Beth, you’re rolling them out today. I was very confused with the character of Jean. At times I wondered what she had gone through with Glen. I knew there was something more to the story than first met the eye. During some points of the story, I thought Jean was quite a weak character. I felt like Glen had some sort of hold over her. Then I started to doubt her. I felt sorry for her in some ways but towards the end of the story my feelings began to change towards her. I don’t want to spoil it, so I won’t say anything else. She really was a mixed bag character for me.

CHRISSI: Did you find this book predictable in any way?
BETH: I’m not sure whether predictable would be the right word. I don’t think the author is deliberately keeping anything from us, everything seems to be somewhat out in the open and fairly easy to interpret. I guessed quite early on which character(s) had done wrong, it was just exactly what they did and to what extent that was hidden until the end.

BETH: Do you believe that Glen really loved Jean?

CHRISSI: That’s a hard question to answer because I don’t feel we really ever hear much from his perspective. I would hope he did love Jean, but there’s no real evidence to show this. He certainly doesn’t act like someone madly in love. He comes across as very controlling.

CHRISSI: We read widely in the genre, how does The Widow compare to books in the genre?

BETH: Ooh, yes we do love a good psychological thriller! For me, it holds its own against other books in the genre, I loved the plot-line, the way it was written from multiple viewpoints, the jumping back and forward in time, the characterisation and the exciting final reveal. It’s everything I look for in a thriller and I look forward to reading more from Fiona Barton.

BETH: Would you read another book by this author?

CHRISSI: Yes, I would. I loved the short and snappy chapters and the overall plot.

Would we recommend it?:

BETH: Of course!

CHRISSI: Yes! 3.5 stars