What I’ve been reading

I know there’s a lot of book reviews flying around following lockdown, which encouraged reading to become most people’s favourite hobby whilst stuck at home. I felt I was missing out so thought I would jump on the bandwagon as I’ve managed to read a lot this year. I’ve tried to vary my genre and read a wide range of books as I usually stick with the same crime or thriller theme.

Me before you by Jojo Moyes, 5/5

Summary: A romance novel about quirky Louisa Clark who loses her job in a tea shop and takes on a new job as a caregiver for cynical Will Traynor, a paralysed man following a motorbike accident. It follows how they change each other’s lives as they develop a bond with each other.

Starting with my favourite. I watched the film a few years back and loved it but never gave the book the time of day, due to my book collection lacking the romance genre. As mentioned, I decided recently to open my mind to different genres and give it a read. I’m not just saying it but this has become my favourite book, hence the 5 star rating from myself. I read it so quickly as I was so engaged with the story and enjoyed every word and I would happily read it again and maybe again. I loved that it stemmed away from the typical romance storyline and zoomed in more on the emotional aspect of two completely different people with different outlooks on life, building a bond with each other. If you want an easy, happy read that involves romance, then this is the one. And even better, there’s a trilogy of them!

Normal people by Sally Rooney, 1/5

Summary: Based in Ireland, set about a complicated relationship between teenagers Marianne and Connell. Following their journey from meeting at school to university and the complex friendship between them as they weave in and out of each other’s lives.

I wasn’t actually interested in reading this book at first but after reading Me Before You I wanted to continue with the romance novels and after hearing a lot of rave about the tv programme, thought I’d give it a go. I’ll be honest, I didn’t love it. Straight away I was put off by the most minor aspect, the speech wasn’t in speech marks, not sure why this was and made it hard to separate the text. I actually found the storyline so back and forth and frustrating that it wasn’t enjoyable for me and personally, I never saw much point to it. I don’t mean to be harsh but I was sadly disappointed by this. Others may love this type of story but it wasn’t for me unfortunately, and I must admit, I would say the same about the programme.

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams, 4/5

Summary: Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. The story also follows her journey through heartbreak and the effect it has on her mental health.

I saw this book recommended a lot as an educational resource for reading about racism towards black people. The story stems around Queenie’s every day life in which racism occurs in circumstances, as a white privileged person, you wouldn’t always have noticed as racism. It also focuses mainly on the effects in which heartbreak has on her mental health. I really enjoyed reading this book, it was written with a humorous aspect to lighten the read, all the while, educating myself in noticing so many things which are offensive to black people and from the perspective of someone coping with their mental health. It’s written really well and perfectly depicts reality. I would definitely recommend giving it a read.

My sister, the serial killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite, 3/5

Summary: Set in Lagos, Nigeria, you read the story through the eyes of Korede, about how she protects her younger sister Ayoola, despite her being a serial killer.

This is slightly more in the usual genre I like to read, although this was very different. Another very easy read which I read quickly, mostly because the words didn’t quite fill the whole page and chapters were very short. I enjoyed the storyline of this book but I think I enjoyed this book more because of how easy it was to get through rather than the going ons. I didn’t find it went too much into depth of a lot of things and left you to work it out. However, if you want a light touch book, then this one is exactly that.

Where the crawdads sing by Delia Owens, 4/5

Summary: Kya, also known as the Marsh Girl, has been left to raise herself with nature, from 6 years old. Following her growing up and encountering romance, mystery and murder as fingers point to her following the death of Chase Andrews.

I saw a lot of people mention this book and I can see why. At first I read the blurb and straight away thought it was a murder mystery, which is my ideal type of book, until I got reading and realised it isn’t as such. You follow the journey of a young woman who’s been left alone her whole life and how she finds love whilst being outcasted by people, leading to her becoming the point of blame for a murder of a popular man. It’s really beautifully written, perfectly describing nature to conjure an image up in your mind whilst you read. It took a few chapters to feel fully engaged with the story but once I was in, I was hooked. The author really draws you in to the character and attach yourself as you feel for her. It’s another one I would highly recommend and really loved reading.

The silent patient by Alex Michaelides, 5/5

Summary: A shocking psychological thriller of a woman’s act of violence against her husband, who hasn’t spoken since, and of the therapist obsessed with uncovering her motive.

Possibly one of the best thrillers I have read. Thrillers is my favourite genre, especially one with a good twist, and this one did not disappoint. It can be quite common to read thrillers where the twist is easily guessed. However, this one I far from expected. I was so impressed with it, I had to tell my boyfriend the whole story afterwards (knowing he wouldn’t then read it himself of course, not one to spoil a book!). It is all told from the therapists perspective and immerses you into the story without throwing twists here and there to keep you reading. I had to give it a 5 because it is possibly up there with being the best crime novel I’ve enjoyed.

I’d love to hear if you’ve read any of the above books and your thoughts on them, whether you agree or disagree with my reviews. I couldn’t fit all the books I’ve read in this post, however I’ve listed some others below and my ratings of them if the above doesn’t take your fancy!

  • Cilka’s journey by Heather Morris, 4/5 – Very heart wrenching story of the real horrific event, quite an emotional rollercoaster, not for those who like an uplifting read.
  • The Nanny by Gilly Macmillan, 3/5 – An easy thriller however I didn’t find myself fully gripped and the twist a little lacking.
  • Detective Kim Stone series by Angela Marsons, 4/5 – I read these as an in between book as they’re so easy and quick but I love the suspense and build up to find out the crime twist and will be sad to finish.
  • Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce, 4/5 – Quite a dark story with a lot of suspense which I really enjoyed and ended with multiple unexpected twists.
  • The flat share by Beth O’Leary, 5/5 – Another romantic novel I loved (clearly a sucker for them). Such an enjoyable and happy read.