SPRING READING WRAP UP

 Ok. Mixed review on this one. On the one hand, a lot of this book really spoke to me and not just because of the cat but also, that too. It is an unforgettable book for sure. A Room Called Earth is a multidimensional story of a young autistic woman whose radical views illuminate a new way of being in the world.

As night falls in Melbourne, Australia, a woman gets ready for a party. What appears to be an ordinary night out is, through her singular perspective extraordinary.

On the other hand, something from the book I need to get off my chest is this: There were quite a few phrases used which I honestly cannot believe got published at all. Firstly “meditation not medication” I mean?! What?! This is directly followed by the quote “feelings should be felt with not dealt with” and my sentiments toward this statement are the same. Not only do comments like this have the potential to make many people feel bad for taking medication in the first place when obviously they shouldn’t but it perpetuates the harmful narrative that people should “just get on with it”. Phrases like this coming from a neurodivergent voice make it harder for those who need medication just to survive feelings to get it in the first place.

Other than that, I did really enjoy the book.

Firstly. This is one of the best book covers on my shelf?!

Feyi is a young widow whose high school sweetheart Jonah, died tragically in a car crash five years before the novel begins. Since then, she’s been defined by her grief, consumed with survivor’s guilt, living with her best friend joy and keeping busy making her art, with no interest in romance.

The story follows her on her journey back in to the dating world. This is the kind of romance that I generally prefer: contemporary and character-driven. It’s very spicy, but there’s more to the story than just that. It is a fairly easy, quick read that delves into some much heavier topics.

I haven’t read any Lisa Jewell before and when I posted this last week I had so many messages saying she was the BEST thriller writer you guys have read. Honestly, I now have to agree.

The Night She Disappeared is one of those books you actually feel sad to finish. Both Beth and I read ahead on our buddy read because we simply could not put it down. If you are a thriller lover like us and have not yet read this one then I cannot stress enough, THIS is your next read.

The Night She Disappeared begins as many mystery/thrillers do – a young daughter (Tallulah) vanishes and a mother (Kim), frantic with worry tries to find her. The difference with this thriller is the emotive storytelling, riveting twists and insanely good characterization.

The story alternates between the present where Kim tries to find out what happened to her daughter, and the past from Tallulah’s perspective as she moves toward that fateful night. As the novel reaches its climax, the chapters get shorter in a frantic race between the two-Kim discovering the truth, and Tallulah living it.

Oh wow this book. Love and Virtue is one of the books I picked up on my trip to Australia and for some reason waited until now to read it but honestly within the first two pages l I knew that this novel was something special. New obsession.

If you’re based in the UK I don’t think this book is available here just yet but hopefully won’t be long because this is a 10/10.

Set in Sydney Love & Virtue follows Michaela and Eve who become friends during their first few weeks at university. Diana Reid has created masterful characters and dialogue within this story. They are just so believable and relatable, I feel sure that I know them.

The social commentary In this novel is SO insightful. My copy is absolutely covered in highlighter and dog eared pages. Not only was the analysis of human behaviour so accurate but it is described in the most eloquent way. Through this skill, the author has managed to explore issues of sexism in a necessarily approachable way. This is so refreshing and done without being annoyingly overt or preachy which is a common trend with female narrators. Reid’s subtlety is far more impactful, forcing you to reflect and come to your own conclusions.

We had a major flop here. I hate to say this but I think this book might be one of the worst mystery/thrillers I’ve read. Sorry 😒.

Steven has recently been released after more than a decade in prison. Rejected by the son who never knew him, lonely and at a loose end, he becomes increasingly obsessed with his former teacher Miss Iles and how she seemingly vanished while on a class field trip 40 years earlier. He decides to investigate, recording his findings through voice notes to his probation officer Maxine.

The fact Steven is using voice recordings means that the majority of the story is told in script format. I found this SO hard to follow. The story seemed to jump from scene to scene with little or no context or explanation. We both had to re-read large passages of the book to try and gather any kind of understanding.

What I will say is that the final section of the book (last 50 or so pages?) did improve. The narrative changed from Steven to his Max his son and it then became a little clearer and easier to understand. I did quite enjoy the twist at the end too. We all love a little twist.

 I went in to this book with REALLY high hopes. I loved The Hunting Party and The Guest List. They were both very fast paced, easy to read, little bit creepy. In short, what we love to see from a thriller. The Paris Apartment however did not thrill me. The first half of this book was nothing short of a slog. I couldn’t get in to it at all. It took me two weeks to read a third (I read the The Guest List in a day) so take from that what you will ✌🏻

To summarize the plot. On arrival at her half-brother Ben’s apartment in Paris, Jess discovers an empty flat. Ben is missing but his wallet, phone, Vespa and keys remain. As Jess starts to dig into her brother’s situation, the more questions she has. Ben’s neighbors are not particularly friendly and seem very reluctant to help locate her brother despite the strange circumstances.

The Paris Apartment is written in split narratives similar to the other two books by Lucy Foley I mentioned above. The chapters are short and the premise to the story is great but I’m sorry to say, overall this is a ‘don’t waste your time kinda book’ for me.

If you guys have been following me a while you’ll know that I am (unashamedly) an Isabel Allende super fan. So, of course I had to immediately pick up Violeta despite saying I will NOT buy anymore books in Australia, particularly hardbacks! Anyway; we move.

2020, in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic, Violeta, now a hundred years old and in her last days, writes to her grandson Camilo recounting her life story. She was born in Chile in 1920 during the Spanish Flu pandemic and lived through a century of war, depression, struggle, discrimination, love, loss, joy and accomplishment. Violetas story is exquisitely captured through the events of her country and her journey with family and friends.

If I didn’t know better, I would have thought I was reading a memoir; it’s so intimate and detailed. But then again, it’s another infamous, sweeping Isabel Allende novel and so I wasn’t really surprised to find the heart and soul of her main character, Violeta within these pages.

‘we are doing the best we can, we really are…’

This is one of the most unique books I’ve ever read. It is just so beautifully written.

Anxious People is a thought-provoking & absolutely heartbreaking read. It is a perfect mix of tragic and hilarious, believable and absurd. The whimsical yet humorous writing style on real subjects like suicide, anxiety and depression make this story remarkable in every way.

OK, so the blurb of the book says it is about a botched bank robbery, an open house, a hostage situation and that almost everyone in the story is an idiot- authors words. Does this sound like a must-read to you? No? It certainly didn’t to me either. But I read it because I am said ‘anxious person’ and since I saw @bethreadsfiction_ say it was one of the best books she has ever read, I had to find out why. I have no idea why it has taken me so long to pick up because wow, I loved it. Nor the blurb or my words can do it justice so if you haven’t read this yet I can’t reccommend it enough!

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