In my attempts to stop hoarding books, I’ve become a whole lot better at passing books on to friends or sticking them in the pile for the charity shop. What this means, however, is that I’ve been forgetting to keep my copies to photograph for my blog posts. It’s not the end of the world, and I can definitely work around it, but it’s making my decision to write my reading updates more often that little bit harder to fulfil!
My usual roundups tend to be quite long, as in the past I’ve been sharing them every 3-4 months, and I can read a lot in that time. I’ve still read a lot since my last update, but this will hopefully be a bit quicker than my usual posts! My reading has definitely taken a more academic turn since the start of term, so I probably won’t have as many good books to share over the next few months, but I’ll definitely be making these as regular as possible with my fluctuating reading habits.
I read a lot of thrillers or books that are generally quite intense, so sometimes I just like a bit of “fluff”. My mum suggested that I should read My Not So Perfect Life as the main character worked in branding, so I did.
Katie Brenner is forever longing for a new, better life. Social media is full of glamour, but Katie’s life is not. Just as she’s finding her feet in her career and personal life, Katie’s world is tipped upside down and she retreats far from the bustling city of London to recoup.
This was a pretty typical Sophie Kinsella novel. It’s the kind of thing I love to read by the pool in the sunshine, and it makes for a nice little escape read. Again, I didn’t love the main character, as she was a bit petty – downright nasty at points. It was an easy enough read, but not particularly noteworthy. I did enjoy the underlying themes of insecurity and social media, definitely something I could relate to.
If you’re new here, then you might not be aware of just how much I love Sarah Knight. I wish I’d had her books sooner because they’ve been brilliant guides for navigating life. I was very kindly sent the Get Your Sh*t Together Journal by Quercus, and as soon as it arrived I threw myself into the activities.
The Get Your Sh*t Together Journal is full of tips and activities for streamlining your life and being more organised. It’s a great accompaniment for the rest of her No F*cks Given Guides, as it summarises the key concepts from the original trilogy well. The practical exercises are good for consolidating her process (Sarah’s approach to to-do lists changed my life), but some of them took up too many pages in the book.
I don’t really like “activity” books, and I hate writing in books, so I didn’t love this as much as I could have. I loved the original Get Your Sh*t Together book SO much, and this didn’t really add anything new. I do think it would be a great catch-all gift for someone who needs a little pick me up (or a kick up the backside), but it’s not as strong in comparison to the other books.
Excitingly, Sarah Knight has a new book due out at the end of this year. Calm the F*ck Down sounds like it was made for me, to be honest. Good thing I’ve got it preordered!
Hayley gave me a stack of books earlier this year and this was the first one I read from her selection. I’d read a couple of Lauren Oliver’s books before, albeit quite a while ago, and did really enjoy her work, so thought this was worth a read.
Panic is a game that changes lives. Every summer, the seniors in Heather’s town take part in it, hoping to reap the rewards this high stakes competition brings. Heather never imagined she’d join the competition, but things change and she decides to fight for her chance to win.
Again, this was very much an easy read, and it had me hooked throughout. I read it in the space of an afternoon as I just had to find out how it ended. Unfortunately, all of the tension and buildup throughout was let down by a disappointing ending. There were a couple of plot points that just confused me with their unrealistic nature (if you read it, you’ll know what I mean), but it was overall a good book to spend an afternoon with.
I thought I was going to love this book – it’s exactly my sort of thing, but I just couldn’t get into it. It Can’t Happen Here is eerily reminiscent of our current times, with a vain, fear mongering, anti-immigrant “celebrity” who runs for president – and wins. He promises to make America proud, but it takes a much darker path.
The plot was great, but I do tend to struggle with older books. It’s quite a typical “classic”, with long chapters dedicated to setting the scene before the action really happens. It was a slow burner for me, but I am really glad I read it.
After reading two of Ruth Ware’s books earlier this year, I was excited to get stuck into another. The Lying Game is quite similar to Friend Request, now that I think about it. A text message arrives in the small hours of the morning, and Isa drops everything to return to the village where she spent the most significant days of her life. 17 years later, something terrible has been found on the beach, and all of Isa’s darkest secrets are about to come to light.
I love a good psychological thriller, but this was a bit of a slow burner for me. Again, all of the main characters were pretty unlikeable (this is becoming a theme here), and it just lacked a certain something for me. It wasn’t a bad book, it just wasn’t great. I think Ruth Ware’s other books, In A Dark Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10, had raised my expectations a bit too much and it fell short in comparison.
I asked for some book recommendations after getting some Amazon vouchers for my birthday, and Amy suggested I read The Last Time I Lied. This was yet another book about a woman revisiting her dark past, this time following Emma’s return to the summer camp where she last saw her friends. Will she find out what really happened to them?
I loved this. It had the perfect amount of tension and suspense throughout, peppered with plenty of twists and turns to always keep you guessing. It was really well executed, with a brilliantly eerie setting. I highly recommend giving it a go if you enjoy a good thriller!
Over the summer I took part in one of those international book swaps that you always see floating around on Instagram, and this was one of the books I received. I was never a big fan of Carrie Fletcher, so it wasn’t a book that was on my radar before, however, I reached for it on another one of those days when I needed something quite lighthearted. I say lighthearted, I definitely cried at this one.
Evie Snow is 82 when she dies, but when she gets to heaven she discovers that she has some unresolved secrets to deal with before she can pass on to her resting place. This was a lovely little read, but a little bit too twee for me at points. The names are a bit ridiculous, and I was never quite sure how to feel about the “magical realism” combination. The lack of a clear time period was a bit distracting too, although probably intentional. Overall, it was fine. Nothing hard hitting, nothing too unbearable. It was maybe a little bit too childish for me, and just not my style.
If you listen to the same podcasts I do, you’ll have no doubt heard of Playing Big. It had been mentioned so many times by people that I really admire, so I just had to give it a go. I decided to choose this for the Blog & Beyond Book Club read in September, just to give me a proper excuse to get stuck in.
Playing Big is all about teaching women to have the confidence to do bigger things, and I loved it. Some parts did drag out a bit longer than I would have liked, and my reserved “Britishness” did cringe a little at how “American” it could get, but it really helped me approach my insecurities in a new way. It taught me how to reframe some of my bad habits, down to the way I speak and the way I study. I’m not going to exude confidence overnight, but the simple act of reading this book has gone a long way in persuading me to trust myself more.
I only finished Playing Big at the weekend and I haven’t had a moment to pick my next book, so I’m not sure what I’ll go for next! Anything is better than Strategic Management though, I can tell you that much now.