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4 #beatthebacklist mini reviews

 

This is 4 mini reviews that I am trying to catch up on – they were all read last year. 3 Young-Adult and 1 mystery/thriller. These were all part of my beat the back list reads.

 

 

Beside Myself

Author: Ann Morgan

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Published: 12th January 2016

Genre: Mystery

Source: NetGalley

Date read: 23rd October 2017

Beside Myself is a literary thriller about identical twins, Ellie and Helen, who swap places aged six. At first it is just a game, but then Ellie refuses to swap back. Forced into her new identity, Helen develops a host of behavioural problems, delinquency and chronic instability. With their lives diverging sharply, one twin headed for stardom and the other locked in a spiral of addiction and mental illness, how will the deception ever be uncovered? Exploring questions of identity, selfhood, and how other people’s expectations affect human behaviour, this novel is as gripping as it is psychologically complex.

*I received a copy of this book from the Publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest opinion*

I love a family drama mystery and the synopsis instantly pulled me in. Identical twins that swap places! surely the mother would realise or friends and family? Apart from the twins being identical in appearance their personalities are very different. Helen is the devious one, she has loads of friends and is confident, whereas Ellie is perhaps a bit behind for her age and has some social problems. One day Helen thinks it will be fun to play tricks on people by swapping identities and seeing whether they can tell. Only for Helen this is the biggest mistake of her life as Ellie doesn’t want to return to her former self and starts to reinvent herself and be Helen permanently. This lead Helen’s mental health to spiral out of control and becomes instantly labelled as a troublemaker by family and friends as she constantly tries to tell them that they have swapped. Years later when Helen has been cast out by her family, it’s only when a tragedy occurs that she is swept back into the drama by meeting her sister’s husband and daughter.

This book got a little confusing for me, I was having a little of a hard time of trying to keep up with who was who. At times I was skeptical towards the plot as it felt unrealistic in parts.The Mother was just an awful human being and treated her children badly.. This was difficult to read as Helen had such a tragic life and everything and one seemed to be against her. I would recommend reading if you enjoy family psychological drama.

Overall I rated this book 3/5 stars.

 

Boy 23

Author: Jim Carrington

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Published: 19th November 2015

Genre: Sci-fi, Young-Adult

Source: NetGalley

Date Read:6th November 2017

Boy 23 isn’t in My Place any more. He can’t see The Screen, he can’t hear The Voice. Boy 23 is alone.

One dark night, Boy 23 is thrown in the back of the van and driven out of My Place – the only home he has ever known. He is abandoned in a forest with a rucksack containing the bare essentials for survival. Before the van drives away, a voice tells him he must run as far as he can. His life depends on it. Boy 23 has never known another human. Boy 23 has never even been outside. So who is he? Why do people want to kill him? And more to the point, who is the voice that wants to save him?

A hugely fast-paced dystopian page-turner which by the end will leave you in a state of shock. For fans of Chaos Walking and Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

I think this was one of the very first books that I requested on Netgalley and I can’t even remember why I requested it, it’s not really something that I would go for. However I requested and finally read it and now reviewing :). This is a science-fiction/dystopian Young adult book, it is hard to categorise as it felt like several genres. We follow this boy and he is known as Boy 23 and lives in ‘My Place’ he doesn’t have any human contact and has no idea of the outside world, he communicates with ‘The voice’ who tells him his schedule and is a role model of such.One night Boy 23 is bundled in to the boot of a car and dumped into the woods with a backpack and ‘the voice’ telling him to run as far away as possible. With never being outside before he doesn’t know foe from friend. Someone is out to get him but he needs to let the right people know that he exists before he is captured. This book was OK! It was fast paced with an air of mystery, however it took a long time for the big reveal and I was getting a little bored to be honest. The writing was not the greatest and the use of ‘Squizz’ and ‘yomping’ was way too much and started irritating the hell out of me. The world building was pretty non-existent, we knew that it was set in Germany but we didn’t get much more than that.

I rated this 2.75/5 stars.

No Shame

Author: Anne Cassidy

Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre

Published: 21st September 2017

Genre: Young-Adult Contemporary

Source: NetGalley and Publisher

Date read: 13th November 2017

The powerful companion to NO VIRGIN.

From the author of the critically acclaimed, LOOKING FOR JJ, shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize in 2004 and the Carnegie Medal in 2005.

Stacey Woods has been raped and now she has to go through a different ordeal – the court trial. But nothing in life it seems is black and white and life is not always fair or just. Suddenly it seems that she may not be believed and that the man who attacked her may be found not guilty . . . if so Stacey will need to find a way to rebuild her life again . . .

*I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and the Publisher in exchange for an honest review*

This is the companion novel to ‘No Virgin’ which I read in November 2016. This is the court trial that Stacey has to go through to get justice. She wants to see the man who raped her sent to prison and for him not to be able to prey on innocent young girls and carry out such a heinous act again. We see Stacey question herself whether she is strong enough mentally to go through with the trial and face her attacker once again. Stacey needs this to start rebuilding her life and looking to the future of university. She tries to convince another girl who has been attacked to go to the police to build a stronger case. I really think that both of these books could have been one book together than two separate novellas, However I did like seeing the court case and how brutal it can be when things are twisted and people appear to be something they are not. We still had her best friend included and the court case brought her family closer together. This again had powerful messages of seeking justice and support.

I rated this 3 out of 5 stars

 

The List

Author: Siobhan Vivian

Publisher: Mira Ink

Published: 7th April 2016

Genre: Young-Adult Contemporary

Source: NetGalley and Publisher

Date read:26th November 2017

An intense look at the rules of high school attraction – and the price that’s paid for them.

It happens every year. A list is posted, and one girl from each grade is chosen as the prettiest, and another is chosen as the ugliest. Nobody knows who makes the list. It almost doesn’t matter. The damage is done the minute it goes up.

This is the story of eight girls, freshman to senior, “pretty” and “ugly.” And it’s also the story of how we see ourselves, and how other people see us, and the tangled connection of the two.

*I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

This is the first time I have read anything my Siobhan Vivien, so I didn’t quite no what to expect. This is told by multiple characters attending high school. Every year a list is created naming the ugliest and prettiest girls – no-one know who creates this list but it can be brutal and we see the impact that it has on our characters and how they deal with bullying. I didn’t really like this story there were too many perspectives and I felt that nothing really felt resolved at the end. What I did like was that it allowed us to see how it affects people and how they are treated when something so superficial is posted around high school – the characters are at an impressionable age and something like this can scar you for life.

I rated 2 out of 5 stars

 

Thanks for reading

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I finally got my puppy!!!

So you may have noticed I haven’t posted in a while but this is due to me finally getting my long awaited Cockapoo!!!! He is a bundle of fluff and I love him so much but it’s like having a baby all over again.

I have done little reading over the last few days as I have to have eyes in the back of my head for the majority of the time.

I am currently reading World War Z by Max Brooks, it’s not what I expected and taking me ages to read it 😥.

So here is Dexter my bundle of fluffiness.

Thanks for reading

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February wrap up

February is done! I read a whopping 7 books last month which is unheard of as it’s the shortest month in the year obvs. I haven’t really changed my reading habits but I did read 1 book in a day. It was also my birthday month so stick around for my February haul. I knocked quite a few books off my TBR and I read 1 that wasn’t originally on it. Anyways less rambling and more on what I read.

Click on the covers to be forwarded to Goodreads.

This Is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor

Non-fiction book told from an Obs and Gyn registrar about the hardships of doctors working for the NHS and how it takes a toll of you personal life as well. This was really good, it was funny and also sad at the same time. I rated this 4.5/5 stars,

Sunflowers in February

YA, contemporary novel reminiscent of the lovely bones – very important topics delved upon. Some of it I liked whilst others not so much. I rated this 3.75/5 stars.My review here

Frog Music

Historical Fiction set in San Francisco in 1876 when there is a smallpox epidemic.I was in the mood for historical fiction but nothing really happens in this book, it’s very slow and a bit all over the place. I rated 2/5 stars.

The Belles (The Belles #1)

YA fantasy novel, following Camelia a Belle to the Royal family of Orleans. I really enjoyed this book and rated this 4.5/5 starsMy review here

When Breath Becomes Air

I read another non-fiction which has got a lot of praise for the writing and the honesty of his life and last moments. I found this really quite triggering and made me very anxious. However I rated it 4/5 stars.

 

Without Merit

My first ever Colleen Hoover book and I can see why people really don’t like this author. I didn’t hate it but I didn’t love it either. I didn’t like any of the characters, and I felt the love interest to be really pretentious..anyways I gate it a 2/5 stars.

A Snow Garden and Other Stories

This a collection of short stories that are all connected somehow, whether it be the characters or the settings. I have read 2 other of Rachel Joyce’s books and enjoyed them but this didn’t really interest me at all. I rated 2/5 stars.

 

Currently reading:

The Hate U GiveThe Light that Gets Lost

 

Quite a mish mash of books read this month. I am still trying to find that elusive 5 star read, hopefully it happens in the month of March.

How did you do in February? Did we read any of the same books?

Thanks for reading

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February TBR

I haven’t made a TBR list in quite some time and I feel like I need to get back to doing one to give me a bit more focus on the books that I want and need to read. This TBR is going to consist of about 10 books that I can pick from the month. I am never going to read all 10 but I can pick from what I feel like at the time. It will probably consist of several different genres and then that way there is going to be something that I will be in the mood for. These will be all books that are high priority and should have been read either a long time ago or is due to be released very shortly.

Enough with my rambling, lets look at the books that I want to read in February.

 

Sunflowers in FebruaryThe Hate U GiveThe Belles (The Belles #1)

Without MeritOther Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness

Sunflowers in February by Phyllida Shrimpton – Due to be published on the 8th February. – YA, Contemporary,reminiscent of the Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – YA, Contemporary – has so much hype surrounding this book and I must be the last one to read.

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton – YA, Fantasy – involves royal families and courts – interesting to see what this is like. This is to be released on 6th February

Without Merit by Colleen Hoover – Contemporary. This will be my first book by this author. I know a lot of people don’t like her books due the content but I am going in open-minded.

Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness by Peter Godfrey-Smith – non-fiction – I have heard Octopus are very intelligent animals and just interested in reading more about them.

 

When Breath Becomes AirThe Light that Gets LostA Snow Garden and Other Stories

Follow Me BackBe with Me (Wait for You, #2)

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi – Non-fiction. This is a beatthebacklist read, plus it won Goodreads choice awards in 2016.

The Light That Gets Lost by Natasha Carthew – YA – I don’t have great expectations for this book as it has a 2.55 average but this is another beat the backlist read.

The Snow Garden and other stories by Rachel Joyce – Short stories about Christmas – yes I know that christmas has past but I would still like to read this and it’s still cold enough.

Follow Me Back by Nikki Cloke – Ya story based around social media, another beatthebacklist book..I am trying to knock off as many as possible this year.

Be With Me by J Lynn AKA Jennifer L. Armentrout. Romance. I loved the first book in this series even though people having be saying how creepy Cameron is as he keeps asking Avery out. This for me is pure entertainment.

 

This is the 10 books that I will be picking from in the month of February. I should get to about 6 of them….let me know which books you think I should read first.

 

Thanks for reading

 

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January Book Haul

 

 

I have been pretty good this month, to be honest with you, I can’t believe it is the end of January already. February is my birthday month so expect more books soon. I got sent a book and received one as a gift…so not to shabby really.

Sunflowers in February

I received a copy of this book from Readers first, so thank you to them and Hot Key books. This picture does not do the cover justice the blue is a shiny foil and is so pretty. This interested me as it reminded me of ‘The Lovely Bones’ by Alice Sebold.

Lily wakes up one crisp Sunday morning on the side of the road. She has no idea how she got there. It is all very peaceful. and very beautiful. It is only when the police car, and then the ambulance arrive, and she sees her own body, that she realises that she is in fact… dead. But what is she supposed do now? Lily has no option but to follow her body and see her family – her parents and her twin brother start falling apart. And then her twin brother Ben gives her a once in a deathtime opportunity – to use his own body for a while. But will Lily give Ben his body back? She is beginning to have a rather good time…

 

Her Body and Other Parties

I was meant to get this for Xmas but it was being shipped from America and then got lost in the post so I have only just received this. I love short stories and this sounds right up my street.

In Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado blithely demolishes the arbitrary borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. While her work has earned her comparisons to Karen Russell and Kelly Link, she has a voice that is all her own. In this electric and provocative debut, Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women’s lives and the violence visited upon their bodies.

A wife refuses her husband’s entreaties to remove the green ribbon from around her neck. A woman recounts her sexual encounters as a plague slowly consumes humanity. A salesclerk in a mall makes a horrifying discovery within the seams of the store’s prom dresses. One woman’s surgery-induced weight loss results in an unwanted houseguest. And in the bravura novella Especially Heinous, Machado reimagines every episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a show we naively assumed had shown it all, generating a phantasmagoric police procedural full of doppelgangers, ghosts, and girls with bells for eyes.

Earthy and otherworldly, antic and sexy, queer and caustic, comic and deadly serious, Her Body and Other Parties swings from horrific violence to the most exquisite sentiment. In their explosive originality, these stories enlarge the possibilities of contemporary fiction.

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Guide, #1)

 

I caved and picked this up plus I got £10 free Amazon voucher…so it’s pretty much a freebie. This is one that I just keep hearing about everywhere.

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

 

Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned"

I saw this in the charity shop,had a quick skim read and thought I would have a read of it and see what it’s all about.

“There is nothing gutsier to me than a person announcing that their story is one that deserves to be told,” writes Lena Dunham, and it certainly takes guts to share the stories that make up her first book, Not That Kind of Girl. These are stories about getting your butt touched by your boss, about friendship and dieting (kind of) and having two existential crises before the age of 20. Stories about travel, both successful and less so, and about having the kind of sex where you feel like keeping your sneakers on in case you have to run away during the act. Stories about proving yourself to a room of 50-year-old men in Hollywood and showing up to “an outlandishly high-fashion event with the crustiest red nose you ever saw.” Fearless, smart, and as heartbreakingly honest as ever, Not That Kind of Girl establishes Lena Dunham as more than a hugely talented director, actress and producer-it announces her as a fresh and vibrant new literary voice.

 

They Both Die at the End

I have never read an Adam Silvera book and so I thought I would rectify that – though my daughter thinks the title is a major spoiler lol.

When Mateo receives the dreaded call from Death-Cast, informing him that today will be his last, he doesn’t know where to begin. Quiet and shy, Mateo is devastated at the thought of leaving behind his hospitalised father, and his best friend and her baby girl. But he knows that he has to make the most of this day, it’s his last chance to get out there and make an impression.

Rufus is busy beating up his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend when he gets the call. Having lost his entire family, Rufus is no stranger to Death-Cast. Not that it makes it any easier. With bridges to mend, the police searching for him and the angry new boyfriend on his tail, it’s time to run.

Isolated and scared, the boys reach out to each other, and what follows is a day of living life to the full. Though neither of them had expected that this would involve falling in love…

The Wizard of Oz (Oz, #1)

My Daughter actually bought this book but I too want to read it so I am adding it to the list. I loved the film as a child and would watch it constantly.

Follow the yellow brick road!

Dorothy thinks she’s lost forever when a tornado whirls her and her dog, Toto, into a magical world. To get home, she must find the wonderful wizard in the Emerald City of Oz. On the way she meets the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion. But the Wicked Witch of the West has her own plans for the new arrival – will Dorothy ever see Kansas again?

Death Note, Vol. 1: Boredom (Death Note, #1)Death Note, Vol. 2: Confluence (Death Note, #2)Death Note, Vol. 3: Hard Run (Death Note, #3)

I also bought the first 3 books in the  Death Note series from the charity shops but the black editions. I am trying to get into manga so hopefully I will love these.

Light Yagami is an ace student with great prospects – and he’s bored out of his mind. But all that changes when he finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by a rogue Shinigami, a death god. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies, and now Light has vowed to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil. But when criminals begin dropping dead, the authorities send the legendary detective L to track down the killer. With L hot on his heels, will Light lose sight of his noble goal… or his life?

Light tests the boundaries of the Death Note’s powers as L and the police begin to close in. Luckily, Light’s father is the head of the Japanese National Police Agency and leaves vital information about the case lying around the house. With access to his father’s files, Light can keep one step ahead of the authorities. But who is the strange man following him, and how can Light guard against enemies whose names he doesn’t know?

 

I think that is all the books that I purchased/received this month..not too bad methinks. What books did you get? Did we get any similar ones.

Thanks for reading

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My Top 10 Books of 2017

So in 2017 I managed to read 86 books! My Goodreads challenge says 85 but it’s incorrect…I definitely read 86. Out of that 86 books I only managed to read 7 five-star books. I feel I have got really stingy with my rating system or I just haven’t read enough good books. So some of these books are a 4.5 rating. Also this is a mixture of genres and they are not all 2017 releases.  5 of these books were released in 2017. I actually read 35 releases from 2017 and only 5 made it. This list is in no particular order as like always click on the covers to be forwarded to Goodreads.

I will link my reviews if there are any.

The Complete Maus (Maus, #1-2)

Kicking the list off with a graphic memoir, This is Vladek Spiegelman’s survival story of Auschwitz and the after effects of his time as a prisoner of Hitlers. The illustrations are all in black and white and is told from Art Spiegelman (Vladek’s son) and the relationship between them.This is very moving, raw and beautifully told in the form of mice.

 

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)

I finally decided to pick up this book and absolutely loved it, this is jam-packed with action and different characters. This such a good children’s book and I couldn’t pick fault with it. This is a great way for anyone to get interested in  Greek gods and myths.

 

Forbidden

OH MY GOSH this book!! This book is all about the taboo subject incest. You might be thinking you don’t want to read a book about this but you must. This story is so powerful and heart-breaking and I loved it with all my heart.Forbidden

 

None of the Above

This is another book that blew my mind! I was trying to read more diversely in 2017 and this was a book with an Intersex main character. This was another book that was powerful and thought-provoking. I had so many emotions whilst reading this.None of The Above

 

Caraval (Caraval, #1)Caraval was a beautiful book that is very reminiscent of the Night Circus. This a very atmospheric book and is a performance where the audience are the participants in an elaborate game set by the one known as the Legend.

My Sister Milly

This is a story told my Gemma Dowler of before and after Milly Dowler went missing. This is the family’s heart-breaking ordeal of what they went through from the police investigation and members of the public claiming they know things when they didn’t. This story spans over 10 years and is absolutely horrific what this family have been pu through.

The Heart's Invisible Furies

This is such an incredible book and John Boyne is a magnificent writer. He created the amazing character of Cyril Avery, a very awkward human being. This book had me laughing out loud but at times upset. It’s simply an amazing story of the life of Gay man in 1950’s Dublin.The Hearts Invisible Furies by John Boyne

 

A Quiet Kind of Thunder

Sara Barnard’s second novel is amazing, it has the great friendships and diverse characters, there is romance…it simply has it all.A quiet kind of thunder

Today I'm Alice: a memoir of multiple personality disorder

Another memoir added to the list. This is about Alice and how her coping mechanism for the abuse she received led her to create 9 different personalities. I have not read anything like this before and it was very interesting to read about someones experience and how it affects your life.

The Breakdown

This was released this year and I loved it. It was very fast paced and I didn’t know who to believe.  Whilst the ending was somewhat predictable it didn’t affect my opinion of the book and I thought it was cleverly crafted.

The Breakdown

 

What was on your top list of books for 2017? Did we have the same? Do you have any recommendations for me?

Thanks for reading