Book Reviews: Almost Love | How To Say Goodbye | The Other Half of Augusta Hope | Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel

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Today I’m sharing some more of my mini book reviews of books that I’ve read and loved recently.

 

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Almost Love by Louise O’Neill

Almost Love is such a powerful novel, it’s one of the best portrayals of how a person can lose themselves in the midst of a destructive relationship. It follows Sarah in the before when she meets Matthew, an older man, and gets into a sexual relationship with him. This is alternated with Sarah a couple of years in the future when she’s living with a different man in a committed relationship. Sarah falls for Matthew very quickly, she has feelings for him and she wants to be with him. Matthew wants something else from Sarah and she makes herself into the person he wants. He does things she doesn’t like but she can’t say no because she wants to be perfect for him even when she’s hurt by him. I found this so hard to read because I could absolutely see my younger self in her. I think a lot of women will be able to. It’s obvious he will never give her what she wants but she believes this will change. Somewhat inevitably she begins to self-destruct. The pain and hurt from this relationship is something she carries with her, it’s damaged her. She then hurts others without meaning too because her self-worth is so low. Sarah isn’t always likeable in this novel but she is relatable. This is a novel that I haven’t stopped thinking about since I read it. It was a tough read at times but it’s absolutely worth reading!

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How to Say Goodbye by Katy Colins

This is a wonderful novel that I very much enjoyed. It follows Grace Salmon. She works at a funeral parlour and she goes above and beyond in giving her clients the very best send off. She spends her time researching the deceased so she can make each funeral service personal and special. Grace seems quite a lonely person, she’s so focused on her job. One day she sets up a group for people to come and ask a funeral organiser questions and while the first group isn’t as busy as she’d hoped, she does begin to make connections with people who all have something in common. Grace begins to talk about her own life and you start to really understand who she is and why she is so conscientious in her job. This is such a brilliant novel – it’s a fun, light read whilst exploring loss in a very real way. It’s such a talent to mix the two and I was so impressed with this book. I cried whilst reading it but I also laughed out loud. I can’t wait to read more of Katy Colins’ writing. I highly recommend this book!

 

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The Other Half of Augusta Hope by Joanna Glen

This is a beautiful novel! Augusta Hope is such a relatable character and I was rooting for her from the beginning of this novel all the way through. Augusta grows up with her twin sister Julia, but in between the chapters on their lives the novel also follows Parfait who lives in another part of the world and seems unconnected to the two sisters at first. This novel is all about finding the strength to get through the darkest of times, about accepting who you are in the wake of tragedy and finding happiness and contentment again. I don’t have enough superlatives to describe how stunning this book is, it really has made such an impact on me and I think it’s a book I will read again in the future. I particularly loved its exploration of fate, coincidence – about how in the aftermath of things we go over and over them and wonder if we could have known, could have acted differently. In the end it’s a novel about forgiving yourself for the things you couldn’t have known, couldn’t have changed. It made me cry, it made me smile and in the end I just felt really content. I highly recommend this book!

 

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Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel by Ruth Hogan

I loved Ruth Hogan’s first novel The Keeper of Lost Things so am delighted to say that this book lives up to it. This book follows Tilda in two timelines – we see her as a child as she’s struggling to understand the loss of her father and her struggling mother. This alternates with Tilda as an adult in the present now interested in re-visiting her past in the wake of her mother’s death. I really enjoyed this book, it’s very much character driven and you really get to understand Tilda and why she is the way she is. Through the novel we’re introduced to a wonderful cast of characters including the fabulous Queenie Malone! This book is a really emotional read at times but it’s also fun and beautiful… and there are plenty of surprises along the way too! It really captures life and I adored it. I recommend this one!

 

 

 

 

WWW Wednesdays (2 Oct 2019)! What are you reading this week?

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WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

 

What I’m reading now: 

Forget Me Not by Claire Allan

I started this one yesterday evening and am loving it! It’s such a good read with believable characters and a great plot!

Fiona and the Whale by Hannah Lynn

I’ve only read the first chapter of this one so far but I can tell I’m going to love it. I previously read another of Hannah’s books (The Afterlife of Walter Augustus) and it became a favourite so I’m really looking forward to reading this one.

Almost Love by Louise O’Neill

I’m still really enjoying this book but it’s definitely a book to be read slowly. It’s such a moving book and one that I think a lot of people will see elements of their younger selves in.

The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and the People’s Temple by Jeff Guin

I’m still finding this audiobook fascinating. I knew about this cult and how things ended for the people but I had no idea about how it was set up and how he got people to join. It’s so interesting and also utterly chilling.

The Eleventh Day by Anthony Summers

I’ve read a couple more chapters of this book this week and it’s such an interesting book. I know quite a bit about the account of how 9/11 was handled but it’s still eye-opening in parts to see how different the people in positions of power told the story of how and when decisions were (or weren’t) taken.

What I recently finished reading:

Dirty Little Secrets by Jo Spain

I read this entire book in one sitting this week as once I started it I just didn’t want to put it down. I very much enjoyed this and will be sharing a review once I’ve got my thoughts together.

The Carer by Deborah Moggach

I had an eARC of this one but decided to buy the audio book in a recent Audible sale. It was a brilliant novel to get absorbed in and I loved it even more than I thought I would. I recommend it!

Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson

I’ve been reading this book on and off for a week now and whilst I did enjoy it, it didn’t keep me gripped as much as I’d hoped. I’m not sure if I read it at the wrong time or if the book just wasn’t for me. I’d still recommend it if you like the sound of it though.

Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel by Ruth Hogan

When I Lost You by Merrilyn Davies

This is another book where I had an ebook but decided to get the audio so I could part-listen and part-read. I read this in one sitting too as it’s another book that had me engrossed all the way through.

The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh

I also read this book whilst listening along to the audiobook and I think I enjoyed it more for reading it like this. I’m not sure how I feel about this book yet, it feels like a book that I need to digest before trying to write my thoughts down.

How to Say Goodbye by Katy Colins

This is such a gorgeous book. It’s a combination of a really lovely story and an exploration of grief that is so real and yet never maudlin. I adored this one and I already want to read it all over again!

 

What I plan on reading next:

The Family by Louise Jensen

I’m a huge fan of Louise Jensen’s writing so am super excited to read her brand new thriller so am planning on picking it up this week at some point.

The Last by Hanna Jameson

I’m really embarrassed to have had this print ARC for as long as I have without reading it so whilst I’m trying to catch up with my review backlog I’d like to try and read this one this week.

Innocent or Guilty by A. M. Taylor

I got this book on NetGalley recently and have been so looking forward to reading it so am hoping to have chance to start it in the coming days.

The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce

This is another ARC that somehow got lost on my bookcase and I forgot all about it, which I’m mortified about. I’m definitely going to be reading this one soon as I love Rachel Joyce’s writing and this feels like it’ll be a real treat!

 

 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesdays or This Week in Books please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

WWW Wednesdays (25 Sep 2019)! What are you reading this week?

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WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

 

What I’m reading now:

How To Say Goodbye by Katy Colins

I was delighted to get an ARC of this book from NetGalley a little while ago as I’d read an interview with Katy and knew I had to get my hands on this book. I started reading it yesterday and I’m really loving it so far. I love the main character and how hard she works to give people the best possible send off. I’m really looking forward to getting back to this one.

Almost Love by Louise O’Neill

I’ve had this book on my TBR for ages and somehow haven’t managed to get to it. I finally picked it up a couple of days ago and am loving it! I’m trying to read it slowly because I want to take it all in – it’s quite eye-opening how much I can relate to this book when I think back over past relationships, particularly from when I was younger. I can see why so many people have raved about this book.

The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and the People’s Temple by Jeff Guinn

I’ve wanted to read this book for a really long time so when I realised I had a spare Audible credit this week I decided to buy it and I started listening right away. It’s a long audio book so it’ll take me a little while to read it but I’m finding it fascinating. I’m so glad I finally picked this one up!

The Eleventh Day: The Full Story of 9/11 by Anthony Summers

I’ve been reading this book on and off for a couple of months now but I’m really in the mood for non-fiction at the moment so am going to try and focus on this book over the coming week or so.

 

What I recently finished reading:

Lake Child by Isabel Ashdown

I love Isabel Ashdown’s novels so have been eagerly anticipating this new book. I picked it up yesterday and read it in one sitting! I really did love this book and will be posting a full review as soon as I can. In the meantime I highly recommend it!

Minimalism: Live A Meaningful Life by Joshua Fields Milburn

As some of you will know I’m obsessed with de-cluttering books and while I now seem to have my clutter under control (see my post on how the KonMari method changed my life) I can’t resist books on the subject. So I was really looking forward to reading this book but I have to be honest and say it was such a disappointment. It was all about health and relationships, with a huge amount of repetition about the writer’s own life. I did finish the book but I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re looking for a book about minimalism itself.

Postscript by Cecelia Ahern

I read PS I Love You when it was first published so have been eagerly anticipating this sequel ever since it was announced. I have to say that I loved this book, it was everything I hoped for and more. It made me smile, it made me sob and I adored it. I’ll be reviewing this one soon.

The Honeymoon by Rona Halsall

I had an ARC of this book but when I spotted it on Scribd I decided to listen to the book. I’m really glad I did as the audio was an enjoyable listen.

Chase Your Shadow: The Trials of Oscar Pistorius by John Carlin

I finally picked this book back up this week and finished reading it. I was shocked when marking as read on GoodReads to discover that I initially began reading it in November last year! I’m not sure why I put it down because it was such an interesting book following the trial of Oscar Pistorius but also looking at his childhood and his disability. There is also a wider look at how the law works in South Africa, which I found fascinating. I would recommend this book and am so glad I finally read it.

The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted by Robert Hillman

This is a beautiful slow novel that I really enjoyed. I’ve already written a mini review of this which will appear on my blog this week.

I Found My Tribe by Ruth Fitzmaurice

I’ve wanted to read this book ever since last year when I read the book Ruth’s husband Simon wrote. This is Ruth’s story as she explores her emotions around her husband’s Motor Neurone Disease diagnosis and how it changed their lives. She takes up swimming with a group of women in similar circumstances and this helps her to cope. I didn’t connect with this book as much as I hoped to but I did enjoyed it.

 

What I plan on reading next:

The Dangerous Kind by Deborah O’Connor

As I continue to try and catch up on my review books before the end of the year The Dangerous Kind is going to be my next read. I’m really looking forward to reading this book and think it will be one I devour!

The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh

This is another review book that I’m been keen to get to. I think this will be a slower read and I’m looking forward to that.

Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson

I’ve been so excited to get to this book and now I’m focusing predominantly on review books I’m going to make this book a priority for the coming days. I can’t wait to start it!

 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesdays or This Week in Books please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

A Brand New Book Haul (Stacking the Shelves)!

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and Reading Reality, which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week!

 

Birthday Books

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It was my birthday way back in January but I saved the book vouchers I got so that I could treat myself to some lovely books later in the year (it’s always nice to make a birthday gift last longer!). I finally spent the vouchers yesterday and got these three books! 🙂

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S by J. J. Abrams and Doug Dorst

This book has fascinated me for the longest time as it’s a novel with marginalia that also tells a story plus it has notes and postcards and maps inserted amongst its pages. I’m so excited to sit down with this stunning book!

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Spring by Ali Smith

I love Autumn and Winter so I really wanted to get Spring in hardback too so I’m delighted to have this one. It’s even more beautiful in real life than it looked in pictures so I’m happy to own this one. I plan on reading this one very, very soon!

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The Girl Aquarium by Jen Campbell

I’ve been hearing about this poetry collection recently and am fascinated by its exploration of women and disability so I couldn’t resist buying it!

 

Purchased Books and eBooks

The Last Stage by Louise Voss

I’m a huge fan of Louise Voss (and have been since her first novel was published!) so I couldn’t resist grabbing the ebook of this while it was on offer this week. I’ll still be buying the paperback when it’s out to add to my collection!

How To Change Your Mind: The New Science of Psychedelics by Michael Pollan

I’m fascinated by how our minds work and so this book has been on my radar for a few months. I’m in the mood to read it now so decided to treat myself this week.

The Boy Who Stole Time by Mark Bowsher

I first heard about this book on Linda’s Book Bag late last year and it’s been on my mind ever since so when I spotted it this week I simply had to buy it. I think this will be an emotional read so I’ll save it to read when I’m in the right mood but I am so looking forward to getting to it.

Someone is Lying by Jenny Blackhurst

I’ve seen some brilliant reviews of this book during the recent blog tour and decided that I simply had to get a copy. It sounds like such a gripping thriller and I can’t wait to read it!

The Mother’s Mistake by Ruth Heald

I saw a fabulous review of this book on the wonderful Meggy at Chocolate ‘n’ Waffles blog this week and I immediately bought a copy! I can’t wait to read this thriller so don’t think it’ll be on my TBR for very long!

 

Purchased AudioBooks

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Swan Song by Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott

I’ve been wanting to read this book for absolutely ages so when I saw the audiobook on a deal of the day on Audible this week I immediately clicked to buy. I’m really looking forward to listening to this book!

 

ARCs

Take It Back by Kia Abdullah

I read the blurb for this book and was so intrigued that I immediately requested it on NetGalley. I was thrilled when I got approved and I can’t wait to read this!

Forget Me Not by Claire Allan

I read Claire Allan’s first thriller and really enjoyed it so when I realised she had a new one due out I knew I had to read it. This one sounds really intriguing and I’m so looking forward to it.

The Wave by Virginia Moffatt

This book sounds so interesting – it’s a thriller set at a time when a tsunami is bearing down. I’m really keen to get to this one soon.

How To Say Goodbye by Katy Colins

I requested this book on NetGalley after reading a very moving article about the author and how she came to write this book. I think this will be a moving and also heartwarming read.

 


 

Have you bought any new books over the last week? Please tell me below. 🙂 If you join in with Stacking the Shelves please feel free to leave your link and I’ll make sure to read and comment on your post.