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Review: The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks

Format: Audiobook finished 14 February 2020

Rating 4/5

I originally read this book in 2018 and wanted to throw it across the room when I got to the end but that is not a bad thing.

I can’t go into any detail discussing this novel as it would cause far too many spoilers. All I can really say is that the characterisations are superb and even though the events in this book all occur in one location, the book builds much wider worlds. 

I do not enjoy books (unless in a series) that have a poor or rushed ending or ones that don’t close things off. But this book breaks that rule and you are left with an open ending which serves to raise more questions than it answers. This is not bad, in fact I loved the book even more because of it, as it makes you think about the bigger picture and this story certainly lingers on well after finishing it.

The Bunker Diary is an extremely disturbing and creepy book and the idea of the story line sends chills down my spine. It’s a psychological thriller that’s actually quite scary at times.

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Review: The Boy Who Followed His Father into Auschwitz by Jeremy Dronfield

Format: Paperback finished 12 February 2020

Rating: 5/5

I have read several books about the Holocaust (fiction and non-fiction) but this one will stay with me. It has been the most graphic book that I have read about the atrocities that happened in the hands of the Nazi’s and the concentration camps.

This books details the story of the bond between father and son and the resilience they had, to stay alive from the cruelty and suffering in the concentration camps. This was a real eye opener for me as I discovered more about what happened then in other books I have read. This book was a real page turner for me and even though the subject matter is not to be liked, I couldn’t put this book down. 

Both a beautifully devastating and moving account from a Jewish family in Nazi occupied territory during the war. This was an incredibly detailed and well researched book; much of it is taken from the notes in the father’s diary and from eyewitness accounts.

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Review: Silent Scream by Angela Marson

Format: Audiobook finished 5 February 2020

Rating: 3/5

Whilst this was an enjoyable book I did struggle with keeping up with some of the plot lines. Also it greatly irritated me that everything that happened in the book seemed to link back to the main detective. 

  1. The book was focused on a former children’s home. Kim was a foster home child and has spent time in children’s home.

    2. There are two sisters in the story, they are twins. Kim was a twin.

    3. Someone is mentally ill. Kim’s mother is mentally ill.

Also the other officers on the job all fit a mould – the cheeky, wise cracking one, the computer geek, the good friend and then Kim, the harsh boss. 

I did however enjoy the forensic and archaeological elements of this book. As I said there isn’t much else to say apart from I enjoyed listening to the book but it won’t leave a lasting impression and I don’t think I’ll be in a hurry to read any future books in the series (mostly because I’m also reading the Roy Grace series by Peter James and it reminded me of those).

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Review: The Dakota Winters by Tom Barbash

Format: Hardback finished 27 January 2020.

Rating: 2/5

A quick, absorbing read at first, and I enjoyed reading it however there was no proper ending. It ended up feeling like a slice of someone’s life with a rushed bit at the end summarising what happened to the characters after the main section of the book finished. 

The last book I read like this was Normal People by Sally Rooney and I hated that book, firstly for the content and secondly for the writing style. The Dakota Winters is far superior to that book and I loved the insights into John Lennon’s life and the life of someone coming back from the edge. 

This book was entertaining to read especially because of the wide range of names – Teddy and Joan Kennedy to Johnny Carson and it was fascinating to read about the iconic Dakota building.

But at the end of the day it was another book that didn’t seem to have a purpose. It was refreshing to read a book without a bad guy but this certainly doesn’t reflect real life.

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Review: The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

Format: Kindle book finished 18 January 2020

Rating: 3/5

I enjoyed this book for about 60% of it and until that point it was creepy, mysterious, and then kind of book you can’t put down. Then there was a plot twist and I had to read some parts twice to make sure I hadn’t misunderstood.

Most of this story is from Thursday’s POV. The way Thursday is portrayed really makes the read feel for her and want to help her get out of her situation.  Thursday is wife number 2 of 3! We see her supposedly ideal life and understand that she went into her situation with her eyes wide open and that she seemed happy with the situation. Thursday is the legal wife, not the other two.

I didn’t like that the wives were all referred to by the day of the week that they go their ‘husband’ – it felt degrading and took away from who each woman was. But I’m guessing that’s how Seth (the husband) liked things.

I really enjoyed seeing Thursday’s downward spiral into obsession which progressed slowly. I think my favourite scene was when she ended up going out with a work colleague who confessed her situation to Thursday and Thursday in returned confessed about her situation. It felt like such an important moment of bonding between two characters.

There is a big an unexpected twist at the end and despite it being written very well, it left me wanting more and because of that I just didn’t like the ending – it felt like so much was missing.

I’m not sure if the entire book lived up to the hype around it but the first 60% certainly did and it definitely had me hooked enough to keep going until the end.

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Review: One Day in December by Josie Silver

Format: Audiobook finished 21 January 2020.

Rating: 4/5

Laurie sees a man outside her bus window one cold December day. They don’t say anything or do anything, just a lot of major eye contact. This however, is enough to make Laurie fall completely in love with a complete stranger. She searches for ‘bus-boy’ (as her and her best friend affectionately name him), she can’t stop thinking about him, she dreams of the day when they will meet again.

Then one devastating day her best friend and roommate, introduces her new boyfriend, Jack, to Laurie. She hopes they will become friends but little was she to know that her new boyfriend is ‘bus-boy’. The man that Laurie has been dreaming about for so long and who is now he is dating her best friend.

This book is filled with angst and heartbreak. It has moments of not wanting to hurt anyone and of wanting to finally be happy. This book follows Laurie, Sarah and Jack through a decade of their friendship. This is not your average, soppy love story, it’s an insight into the lives of 3 people.  The story is told by alternating between Laurie and Jack and their perspectives and these provide the reader with a glimpse into their innermost feelings and secrets.

I found this book to be addictive. I had to keep reading to find out what was going to happen and it’s a book that will touch your heart and make you believe in love.

My only issue was the ending, it completely left you wanting more and to find out what happened. However, the book was unputdownable and filled with all the elements of an easy read book –friendship, heartbreak, grief, starting over, and most importantly love.

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2019 Reading

When I started the year I set my reading goal to 36 which was 12 more than the 24 I read in 2018. I was sure I would be able to do this in time. In fact I hit that target in August and therefore I took the ambition choice to increase my target to 52 knowing that I had 4 months left of the year.

Well I was delighted that I exceeded my second target and finished the year having read 54 books. My reading was a combination of paperback, hardback, kindle books and audiobooks – they all count.

There were some brilliant books and some not so good books.

Highlights of the year include:

  • Verity by Colleen Hoover
  • The Familiars by Stacey Halls
  • The Year of Less by Cait Flanders (non-fiction)
  • Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls – this had me bawling my eyes out
  • Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – incredible debut novel
  • The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary – genius idea, excellent execution
  • Evidence of the Affair by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinsborough – a twist i never in a million years expected
  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • Lies, Lies, Lies by Adele Parks
  • The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Not all of the above were 5 star books but these were the most memorable.

I’m not going to detail my worst books of the year as what I like will be different to someone else and I don’t want to put someone off reading a book. However my most disappointing book of 2019 was The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware. I listened to the audiobook which I thought was done brilliantly and overall the story and the progress were really good until it got to the last 5% of the book and the ending was revealed. Had I been reading a physical book, I would have likely thrown it across the room. Very frustrating and disappointing.

There were of course a good few that i didn’t finish (DNF’d) and these were:

  • Good Omens by Terry Pratchett (loved the TV show though)
  • The Little Book of Big Change by Amy Johnson (non-fiction)
  • The Anxiety Solution by Chloe Brotheridge (non-fiction)
  • The Reunion by Guillaume Musso
  • The Self Love Experiment by Shannon Kaiser (non-fiction)
  • The Beast Within by Serena Valentino
  • My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal
  • Midnight Sun by Jo Nesbo

Mostly non-fiction, self help type books but i guess  you’ve got to be open to those books and in the right frame of mind and they just weren’t for me.

 

 

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Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas

Book Review:

Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay.

I was super excited when i found out that Adam Kay was bringing out a second book as i absolutely loved his first one. His first book deserved all the hype it got, it was filled with just the right level of humour, gross details, interesting facts and emotional situations. The first book had me laughing out loud, gasping and wanting to read sections to my hubby as i felt they were so good. I also lent by copy to two friends who loved it just as much.

So a second book, what could be better right? Well i’m afraid to say that this second book did not hit the mark. Now i knew when i ordered the book that it was a small book as many people who had received advance copies had mentioned this but i still ordered it but i was not expecting 142 pages.

Being so short i assumed the content would be the absolute top notch and would have the same effect as the first book but i was very disappointed. I read this in the few days after i had had surgery so was tired and this is why it took me four days to read it.

Yes, there were a few amusing stories but there was nothing like the extremes of the first book and overall i felt like this was just a book which gave Adam Kay the opportunity to moan about the fact that he worked on Christmas Day for so many years. Most people in the UK understand how crap rotas are for anyone working in the health or emergency services so we don’t really need reminding of this every few pages.

For me the funniest story was the one in the pub with the free pint of beer but even that didn’t have me laughing out loud, it produced just a mild inward chuckle.

If you can borrow this from the library or a friend, maybe give it a go but i certainly would recommend anyone parts with any money for this book.

Star Rating: 3 out of 10