Before I went travelling I would use my blog as an online reading log of sorts; sharing my book reviews with you was a way of keeping track of what I'd read and hopefully encouraging some dialog around reading and recommendations.
Do let me know what you thought about any of the following; I'd love to know what you thought! And as ever, if you can recommend any must-reads, please leave a comment on contact me on twitter.
The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett - 5/5
I loved this read - I felt the highs and lows of Eva and Jim's stories and found myself laughing out loud, crying, and everything in between.
Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult - 5/5
Psychics, elephants and a murder mystery, what's not to love? I'd not ready any Picoult for a long time - I can find them a bit samey. But this one I really enjoyed, even if it was a bit far-fetched!
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - 4/5
Another great read - essentially a story of love, but with interesting discussions around race, culture and ethnicity. You can take the Sociologist out of the classroom...
The Hypnotist's Love Story by Liane Moriarty - 5/5
Yet another easy, enjoyable read by Moriarty. I loved The Husband's Secret, and this lived up to expectation, and then some. The title undersells the book, as is actually a fairly intense story of an ex-partner turns stalker.
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins - 5/5
It took me a while to get on board with this one (pun intended), partly because it was only available in hardback for so long. But when I finally got hold of a copy it hooked me, and I whizzed through it in just a few days. I'm intrigued to see the film next week!
Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill - 3/5
I really struggled with this one, and only started to enjoy it towards the end. I'm not a big fan of stories set in the future, and (for me, at least) the underlying message was a little lost in strange language and elaborate settings.
The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult - 5/5
A moral, ethical and historical dilemma - as Jodi Picoult often does so well. I do love a story set in the Nazi Germany period, and found this compelling.
A Hundred Pieces of Me by Lucy Dillon - 5/5
A life cleanse for the main character, and a pretty life-affirming read... in my opinion, at least! I really enjoyed this.
A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding by Jackie Copleton - 3/5
A family affected by the bombing of Nagasaki, this is a really sad (but slow-moving) read. I enjoyed it, but it felt laboured at times.
While My Eyes Were Closed by Linda Green - 4/5
Yet another thriller about a woman's child going missing (there seem to have been so many of these out in the last year?) but far better than similar books I've read. An interesting plot twist.
The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson - 4/5
A ridiculously far fetched murder mystery, but one that is fast paced and easy to read. I enjoyed it, but did find myself laughing in incredulity more than once!
Under a Silent Moon by Elizabeth Haynes - 5/5
I actually listened to the audiobook rather than reading this, but enjoyed the thoroughness in the murder investigation and character development. Maybe it was because it was read aloud to me, but they felt so real!
The Girls by Lisa Jewell - 5/5
An easy read about a group of kids growing up in a close-knit neighbourhood with a communal garden, until one of the girls is found unconscious in said garden. I found myself blaming a different person for her 'attack' each chapter!
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman - 4/5
I found this to by a bit slow-paced, but became totally hooked and couldn't put it down! It reminded me of Gran Torino (with Clint Eastwood), Scandi-style. I found the end of the book so sad and quite embarrassingly blubbed like a baby on a boat full of hungover teen traveller-types in Bali.
After You by Jojo Moyes - 4/5
No where near as good as Me Before You, but as a stand-alone story it was a nice read. Worth picking up, especially if you read MBY, but don't expect it to be as emotionally rousing.
The Bones of You by Debbie Howells - 5/5
Another very good murder mystery that found me changing allegiances each chapter!
You and Me, Always by Jill Mansell - 4/5
My first Mansell read which lived up to expectations; easy to read with believable characters - the perfect holiday book. Set in the Cotswolds, it definitely made me miss home comforts whilst in Indonesia!
The Wrong Girl by Laura Wilson - 1/5
I think this was a couple of quid on Kindle, and I wish I hadn't bothered. Awful. I persevered in hope it'd redeem itself with a great ending, which it sadly did not. Disappointing!
Disclaimer by Renee Knight - 4/5
An unexpected success! After the last book I was in a bit of a reading 'funk', but Disclaimer dragged me out. An interesting story with a believable plot twist, I enjoyed trying to guess the outcome and what actually happened.
Summer at Shell Cottage by Lucy Diamond - 3/5
What I see as a typical summer holiday type book; set on the British coast, with a family hiding a secret. Multiple secrets, in fact. It was nice to read, with a satisfying ending and relate-able characters. I did find it missing something though.
Landline by Rainbow Rowell - 3/5
A phone which teleports you back to your teenage past? Yeh, it was a time-travel-type novel, but nothing on The Time Travellers Wife. I think Rowell's books are aimed at young adults. None-the-less, it was unoffensive and fairly enjoyable to read.
And I think that's it! Twenty-one books over the course of six months... it's not particularly impressive, but there were waves to catch, tans to be worked on and cocktails to be drunk. A hard life, indeed.
What do you think - agree? Disagree? I'd love to hear from you. I'd also love some recommendations. Comment, tweet or email me - I'll be forever grateful!