This Week In Books #153

I am joining in with the lovely Lipsy from Lipsy’s Lost and Found’s feature which highlights our week in books. I shall be sharing what I’m reading now, then and next! I won’t be showcasing my new books as I do that on a Saturday. I’m really excited by this feature as I loved sharing my recent reads.

Book images go to Goodreads!

NOW

Now You See Her

I’ve just started this book for part of the ‘Talking About’ feature that I do with Beth. All good so far! I’ve heard great things about it.

THEN

A Spark of Light

I had mixed feelings about this book. I’m glad I read it though. My review should be coming out within the next week or so.

NEXT

Fat Girl on a Plane

I heard that this book was a lot of fun, so I thought I’d give it a go!

What are you reading this week? Let me know!

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Top Ten Rainy Day Reads

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It’s all about love of lists, love of literature and bringing bookish people together. 

This week, we are thinking about rainy day reads. Those books that are perfect for curling up with inside when the weather is horrendous outside. I’ve decided to pick books that are easy to read, fast paced and totally binge-able.

Click on the book image to get to the Goodreads page!

A List of Cages

This book surprised me. I don’t think I’ve seen it enough around the blogosphere. Such an important story to be read. I highly recommend it.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

If you’re avoiding this book because of the hype, please don’t! I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

I bloomin’ loved this book! I really didn’t expect to like it as much.

The Silent Patient

One of my favourite reads of this year! I highly recommend this book.

The Flower Girls

I’m into my thrillers, as you can see and this one is so worth curling up with!

Apple of My Eye

This one had me totally gripped!

What If It's Us

Two of my favourites…writing together. This romance is so easy to get involved in.

Nice Try, Jane Sinner

I think this book is highly original!

A Sky Painted Gold

Such an atmospheric read. I was really impressed by this book.

A Thousand Perfect Notes

Ooh, this is an intense but SO good read. I can imagine that this could be easily read in a few hours. It’s gripping.

Tell me about your favourite rainy day reads! Feel free to leave a link to your post and I’ll stop by.

The A-Z Of Me- Part 2

I came across this post through Nicki. The original post comes from Splodz and The Urban Wanderer. Like Nicki, I thought I’d split this post too, so it didn’t become too long. Here are my answers! To look at A-M please check my first post HERE.

N is for Naples. I’d like to visit one day.

Picture from Getty Images

O is for outdoor learning. Something I’m passionate about in my teaching.

P is for pyjamas. I love getting comfy in my pjs and reading!

Q is for quirky. I love the word. I love teaching children that are a little bit quirky!

R is for rabbit. One of my favourite animals.

S is for sloth. They’re so cute. Don’t deny it.

T is for theatre. Another passion of mine.

U is for university. I’ve been twice (or three times if you count dropping out of a PhD!)

V is for variety. I feel like the range of books I read now is much more diverse than it used to be.

W is for walking. So far this year, I’ve walked over 100 miles. I do it to increase my fitness and clear my mind.

X is for xylophone! Ha. This is such a stupid one, but I used to love to ‘play’ the xylophone when I was at primary school.

Y is for YALC. I’ve been two times to this book convention in London. It was a big achievement for me because I feel very uncomfortable in crowds.

Z is for zany. Another word I love. Why don’t we use that word more often? I can tell you that I teach a few zany children at the moment!

Talking About ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ with Bibliobeth!

Nine Perfect Strangers

How did I get it?:

I bought it!

Synopsis:

One house. Nine strangers. Ten days that will change everything . . .

The retreat at health-and-wellness resort Tranquillum House promises total transformation.

Nine stressed city dwellers are keen to drop their literal and mental baggage, and absorb the meditative ambience while enjoying their hot stone massages.

Miles from anywhere, without cars or phones, they have no way to reach the outside world. Just time to think about themselves, and get to know each other.

Watching over them is the resort’s director, a woman on a mission. But quite a different one from any the guests might have imagined.

For behind the retreat’s glamorous facade lies a dark agenda.

These nine perfect strangers have no idea what’s about to hit them . . .

CHRISSI: There’s been mixed reviews of this book. Did that affect your opinion going into the story?

BETH: I hadn’t actually realised there had been mixed reviews until you told me – haha! I’m a huge fan of Liane Moriarty although I’ve only managed to read a couple of her books – the incredible Big Little Lies and The Husband’s Secret (although I have Truly Madly Guilty on my shelves). I have to be honest and say that because of that, I probably look at the author’s work through rose-tinted glasses and was determined to keep an open mind, ignore the haters and try and make up my own mind about the novel as I read my way through.

BETH: I found Moriarty’s dry wit brought something a bit more interesting to this story. Do you agree?

CHRISSI: Interesting question. I think without dry wit this book would have puzzled me even more. I think it made the story more cold? If that makes sense. It wasn’t a heart-warming story. It was almost clinical for me. I hope that makes sense, I know what I mean. I felt like the way in which the book was written, didn’t really make you feel for the characters. It was almost like Liane Moriarty was making fun of her own characters.

CHRISSI: Why do you think the author chose to tell this story through multiple perspectives? How would it have changed your view of each of the characters if the story had been told through just one voice?

BETH: I always love a story told through multiple perspectives. You get a much more rounded view of the situation as it happens and a true view of each individual personality. I think if it had been told through one voice, you would have that individual bias of how just one character saw a situation and other people around them. It does make it more exciting too – especially if you’re not a fan of a particular individual but you’re keen to get back to another one’s point of view.

BETH: Who was your favourite character in Nine Perfect Strangers and why?

CHRISSI: Oh wow. This is a tough question because like I said in my previous answer to your question, I felt like I didn’t feel for any of the characters. That disengagement meant that I didn’t have a favourite character. I guess, if I had to pick I would pick Yao because I found him the most intriguing.

CHRISSI: Discuss the pros and cons of the retreat’s ban on technology and social media. What do you think the author is saying about the effects they have on society?

BETH: I’m not sure about the author’s personal views on social media and technology but I find it crazy sometimes how much they take over our lives. Obviously having blogs, we probably spend a good deal of our free time on social media. I know I post a lot on Instagram, try to blog hop every day and re-tweet other bloggers posts every day but I can also remember a time when we didn’t have the internet and I got my kicks by watching Top Of The Pops on a weekday night and recording the TOP 40 off the radio on Sunday afternoons! In a way, the fact that we have constant access to information (and funny animal videos which I have a particular fondness for!!) has isolated us slightly from those around us and I do try to restrict the time I spend on my phone and have normal, face to face conversations too. From the point of view of Nine Perfect Strangers though, it is fascinating to watch how individuals cope when these things we now take for granted are taken away from them.

BETH: I sympathise with your struggle to give this book a rating. Why do you think you’re torn in this way?

CHRISSI: I think it’s because I wanted to love it. I love Liane Moriarty’s writing and I know she is highly thought of. I also really enjoy reading her ideas. I just felt for me this book was too ridiculous and unbelievable. Not every book has to be believable, but something like this got too far fetched for me. I wanted to love it, I didn’t hate it…so I’m somewhere in-between. I think if I could have connected with the characters, then it might have been completely different.

CHRISSI: Would you ever go on a retreat like Tranquillum House? Why/Why not?

BETH: Maybe not EXACTLY like Tranquillum House haha. However, I could see myself doing something like this. I love the idea of getting away from the world and learning new techniques to relax. As long as I had a big pile of books to accompany me, I think I would quite enjoy a retreat like this. For now, I’ll take pleasure in my reading holidays to Malta with you my sister! 🙂

BETH: Would you read another book by this author?

CHRISSI: Yes! I do like her writing and I’m not put off at all.

Would we recommend it?:

BETH: Yes! 3.5 stars!

CHRISSI: Yes?

Restore Me (Shatter Me #4) *spoilers for previous books*

Restore Me (Shatter Me, #4)

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

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Shatter Me

Furthermore

Synopsis:

Juliette Ferrars thought she’d won. She took over Sector 45, was named the new Supreme Commander, and now has Warner by her side. But she’s still the girl with the ability to kill with a single touch—and now she’s got the whole world in the palm of her hand. When tragedy hits, who will she become? Will she be able to control the power she wields and use it for good?

Thoughts:

I was really worried when I heard that the Shatter Me series was going to get another book. I really enjoyed the trilogy and I was anxious that it might not live up to expectations. I know not everyone likes this series, but there’s something about it that really captures my attention. I find it utterly readable. Now, this review might seem a bit short and vague, but I really don’t want to ruin it for those that haven’t read it yet, so I’m going to try and keep it as brief as I can.

Restore Me picks up not long after Ignite Me. Juliette has taken over the Sector 45 and has been named the new Supreme Commander. She has Warner and needs to get her sh*t sorted out. Understandably, Juliette is struggling with the enormity of the task. There’s so much she doesn’t know and secrets are starting to be revealed. Secrets that could turn her whole life around. The world in which this story is set is pretty terrifying and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better…

I loved that we were introduced to some new characters and met up with some others from the previous books. I absolutely loved that Warner and Juliette narrated this instalment. I used to be on neither ‘team’ but over the series I’ve really come to love Warner. I’m really excited to see where this story goes.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Bring on Book 5! Not something I usually say… but I’m excited!

Fairy Tale/Folk Tale Friday- Tale End

My retelling/review of this tale comes from my Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales by Theresa Breslin and Kate Leiper.

This is the last tale in my Scottish Folk and Fairy Tale book. I’m sad to see it finish as I’ve loved reading these tales.

Tale End centres around Kirsty MacLeod who is an ordinary girl. Every single thing about her is ordinary. Kirsty had long red hair that would be brushed out and braided by her mother and father.

One day when Kirsty was walking, she saw a fox in the middle of a bridge. The fox thought she looked good enough to eat and approached her. The fox asked where she was going. Kirsty was a smart girl and didn’t think the fox needed to know. The fox offered her to go and visit him in his den but she firmly told him no. He tried to entice her by saying that should could play with his darling baby cubs. The fox was getting cross so came out with a cunning plan.

He told Kirsty that he was sad that he might not see his cubs again. He said he was afraid of running water and couldn’t go over a river by himself. He asked if he could hold on to the end of her plait in order to get across. Kirsty thought about this and told him that he could do so, but must shut his eyes so that he didn’t see the running water. She would give him the end of her plait to hold.

The fox agreed and thought that when he had hold of her plait, he would not let go and drag her into his den. When Kirsty was sure the fox’s eyes were shut, she gave him the end of his won tail. The fox cheated and peeped a tiny bit, he saw the red fur and assumed it was Kirsty’s red hair. Kirsty told him to hold tight and he did. He pulled and pulled until his own tail broke off. He howled in pain, wondering what on earth had happened to him. Clever Kirsty told him that he’d reached the end of his tail! 🙂

It Only Happens In The Movies

It Only Happens in the Movies

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

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Standalone

The Spinster Club 

Synopsis:

Audrey is over romance. Since her parents’ relationship imploded her mother’s been catatonic, so she takes a cinema job to get out of the house. But there she meets wannabe film-maker Harry. Nobody expects Audrey and Harry to fall in love as hard and fast as they do. But that doesn’t mean things are easy. Because real love isn’t like the movies…

The greatest love story ever told doesn’t feature kissing in the snow or racing to airports. It features pain and confusion and hope and wonder and a ban on cheesy clichés. Oh, and zombies… YA star Holly Bourne tackles real love in this hugely funny and poignant novel.

Thoughts:

I have been meaning to get around to this book for ages, so I made sure I had time for it recently. Holly Bourne is a terrific YA writer and I highly recommend reading her books if you haven’t done so already. I devoured It Only Happens In The Movies and I’m going to make it my mission to read the books I haven’t read of Holly’s by the end of the year.

It Only Happens in the Movies centres around the main character named Audrey. She has a summer job at the local, fancy cinema. Audrey has always been into drama, but when her own personal drama got too much with her ex boyfriend, she decided to not audition for the school musical and throw herself into her job. Her job was also an escape from her home life. She’s dealing with the aftermath of a messy divorce in her family. She’s concerned about her mum’s mental health after the divorce. Audrey has so much going on in her life, that her job helps her concentrate on something else. The trouble is, Audrey has become so jaded about love. She scoffs at romance movies and believes love like that only happens in the movies. Audrey meets Harry, a film maker, at her job and their relationship goes from strength to strength. Drama follows Audrey though and it’s not long before secrets begin to affect their relationship.

Romance does play a huge part in this story, but it was an interesting take because I felt it was more focused on how the relationships developed despite the struggles that both Audrey and Harry had in their own lives. They were both facing struggles but somehow managed to get together despite their own family drama. I thought I was going to predict where this book went, but I didn’t. I don’t want to spoil it, but it’s not your typical romance ending and I bow down to Holly because of that. It’s real and raw and that’s what I want from my books.

Holly is also one of my favourites because she talks about issues that are often neglected in many YA reads. I loved how it addressed how movies have unrealistic expectations about romance. So many romance movies have either unhealthy or controlling relationships and they put this out as something ‘normal.’ That’s a big no.

It’s not all doom and gloom though. There are some laugh out loud moments alongside some very poignant and heart-breaking moments.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Holly Bourne isn’t your average YA writer. Her books are a lot deeper than you’d expect and she’s not afraid to show that life can be messy. Highly recommended!