Friday, 30 January 2015

My January Reads

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I've decided to do my book reviews a little differently this year; as I tend to devour several books a month I found it too tricky to keep up with individual reviews so instead I'll briefly outline the books I've read each month, and give them a star rating to make it simple.

So here's what I've been reading in January:

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult - I am a huge fan of Jodi Picoult books so when I spotted this in the library I couldn't wait to get stuck in.  As usual Picoult chooses a tough subject that challenges assumptions and opinions.  It is the story of Peter Houghton, a teenage boy who has been picked on at school since his first day at kindergarten, and the decision he makes to enter his high school and in nineteen minutes kill ten people and wound several more.  Picoult offers the story from various perspectives: we have that of Peter, as well as his parents, Judge Alex Cormier and her daughter Josie (who is pivotal to what took place on the fateful day), the detective dealing with the case as well as Peter's attorney.  If you are familiar with Picoult's work then this won't disappoint.  It is fast paced, and keeps you thinking until the very last page.  
Star rating: **** 


The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton - James bought me this book for Christmas and although I wanted to read it there and then, I managed to put if off for a little while longer!  During a summer birthday party at her home in the countryside, 16 year old Laurel Nicolson is daydreaming in her tree house when she is witness to a shocking event which challenges everything she ever thought about her mother, Dorothy.  50 years later, the family gather at her childhood home to celebrate Dorothy's 90th birthday and Laurel realises that it might be her only chance to discover what really happened that day, and why.  This book flicks between the present day and Dorothy's story which takes place in the 1940's and beyond.  Hers is a story of how three perfect strangers could meet and impact upon each other's lives and how one simple decision can throw everything we know up in the air.  
Star rating: ****


The Seafront Team Rooms by Vanessa Greene - This is the story of how three women from very different backgrounds come together when they least expect it and have a real impact on each other's lives.  There is journalist Charlotte who is charged with the job of finding Britain's best tearooms in order to prove she is worthy of being editor, Kat, a single mother who is desperately trying to keep herself afloat and whose only sanctuary is the Seafront Tea Rooms in Scarborough and Seraphine, a young French girl who has taken a job as an au-pair in an attempt to escape something back at home.  Quaint, enjoyable and easy to read.  This was my first of Vanessa Greene's books but I will definitely be hunting out her others.  
Star rating: ***


Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - I am actually taking part in Claire's A-Z of Authors (although I am still waiting for my B to arrive at the library!) and this was my first choice.  I have often considered picking it up, especially as I've read Sense and Sensibility and Emma but just never got around to it.  I'm sure you don't need me to tell you the story...so I will just say that I absolutely loved it.  Witty, charming and with the ever amusing sparring between Elizabeth Bennett and Mr Darcy, I am a real fan for sure.  
Star rating: *****

Welcome to Rosie Hopkins' Sweet Shop of Dreams by Jenny Colgan - I only discovered the wonderful Jenny Colgan last year and made it my aim to read as many of her books as possible so this was the next instalment.  Rosie Hopkins is working an an auxiliary nurse in London, living with her boyfriend Gerard and generally thinking that life is pretty great.  Then she gets a call from her mother asking her to go to the tiny village of Lipton in Derbyshire to help her elderly Aunt Lilian sort out the sale of her sweet shop.  Rosie immediately pictures life in the countryside as boring and dull but finds she couldn't be more wrong.  Alongside discovering Rosie's exploits in the village and following her gradual realisation that maybe there is more to life than London we also step back in time to the 1940's when Lilian was just a teenager, helping to run her family's sweet shop during WWII and the many brave sacrifices she made.  I adored this book and am not surprised it is an award-winner.  If you like light-hearted, romantic fiction with a few recipes thrown in for good luck then this is a great read. 
Star rating: ****

Have you read any good books this month?  Let me know if you've got any recommendations as I always love to discover new authors.

Linking up with Read With Me and A-Z of Authors.

9 comments:

  1. I am doing this too during 2015 so thanks for the inspiration for some February reads! I haven't read the seafront tea rooms yet so I'll be adding that to my library list!
    I read some amazing books during Jan (lots of great Christmas presents) so have a look at my Jan post if you want some inspiration. (http://www.dreamingofthecountry.com/2015/01/janaury-reads.html) Have you read What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty? That was my definite favourite!

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  2. Some good recommendations here! Nineteen Minutes is one of my favourite Picoult books, although it's a while since I read it. I find her books a mixed bag because whilst they are always well written, and every possible plot hole tied up, sometimes the entire plot is just so implausible it grates - House Rules is a notable example! I've only read one Jenny Colgan, again some time ago, and didn't enjoy it massively, but I like the sound of this one so may give it a go.

    I've just decided this year to start writing about books on my blog, so I'll be checking back to see what else you read a recommend! My favourites this month were probably The Photographer's Wife by Nick Alexander and Glasshopper by Isabel Ashdown

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  3. I find the same with Jodi Picoult books. I picked one up in a charity shop yesterday and had to put it back as the story was just so unbelievable!

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  4. chantelle hazelden2 February 2015 at 09:48

    I love a good Jodi picoult book!! Not heard of the others, love the sound of The Secret Keeper. thanks for sharing with #readwithme x

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  5. Thanks Rachel, will take a look :)

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  6. Really like the sound of the Jodi Picoult book. will have to put that on my to read list. and also the Secret keeper sounds good too. #readwithme

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  7. I love Jenny Colgan's books - so very good. although I haven't read this one!
    #readwithme

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  8. Wowzers! Impressed by your reading abilities Jess! Isn't Pride and Prejudice fabulous?! You must watch the BBC adaptation now that you've read it... its the best. Looks like there's some other good ones here too... Might have to check some of them out for later letters!! #AtoZAuthors

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  9. Pride & Prejudice? One of my favs! You must delve into Wuthering Heights next if you havn't discovered it already. #readwithme

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I love to hear from people who've taken the time to read - do leave a comment :)