2020 Reading Challenge – What I Read in September & October

November 12, 2020Hels

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

Anne of Green Gables (L. M. Montgomery)

Hello! It feels like it’s been forever since I posted on here! The last few weeks have been absolutely crazy, and generally pretty rubbish, but I’ve finally got around to writing my reviews of the books I’ve read over the last few weeks! I ended October and started November with being knocked out by Covid, so I had a bit of time off reading as I just couldn’t concentrate, but I’m definitely out of my reading slump now!

Sweet Sorrow David Nicholls

Sweet Sorrow (David Nicholls) ⭐⭐⭐.5

In 1997, Charlie Lewis is the kind of boy you don’t remember in the school photograph. His exams have not gone well. At home he is looking after his father, when surely it should be the other way round, and if he thinks about the future at all, it is with a kind of dread. Then Fran Fisher bursts into his life and despite himself, Charlie begins to hope.

This was a really sweet, lovely read. I’ve always liked David Nicholls writing style, and this was no exception. I thought he made the characters relatable, and he wrote teenagers very well. There’s a good mix of typical teenage drama and some darker, more serious topics. It’s not a groundbreaking story, but it’s really enjoyable and charming.

The Kicking the Bucket List (Cathy Hopkins) ⭐⭐⭐

At the reading of their mother’s will, the three estranged women are aghast to discover that their inheritance comes with strings attached. If they are to inherit her wealth, they must spend a series of weekends together over the course of a year and carry out their mother’s ‘bucket list’.

But one year doesn’t seem like nearly enough time for them to move past the decades-old layers of squabbles and misunderstandings. Can they grow up for once and see that Iris’ bucket list was about so much more than money…

This was a pretty easy read, it was one of the choices for Beth’s Book Club. I read it quickly but I was never really ‘gripped’ by it – I struggled to relate to any of the characters and unfortunately I just didn’t really care about them. I found the writing a bit cringey at times, but I do think the plot idea was absolutely lovely, and it was really unique.

The Heatwave (Kate Riordan) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

When Sylvie Durand receives a letter calling her back to her crumbling family home in the South of France, she knows she has to go. In the middle of a sweltering 1990’s summer marked by unusual fires across the countryside, she returns to La Reverie with her youngest daughter Emma in tow, ignoring the deep sense of dread she feels for this place she’s long tried to forget.

This book is brilliantly written, switching between the 1970s and 1990s. I really like Riordan’s writing style and I found it really easy to immerse myself in Sylvie’s world. The first half of the book gripped me, it was one I stayed up late to read, and grabbed as soon as I woke up in the morning. I didn’t find the second half quite as enthralling, but it was good and I was really intrigued about where the story was going. There were a few things I expected to be more relevant to the story, and I was surprised at a few bits that felt a bit rushed/unfinished, but it’s definitely worth a read.

The Whole Truth (Cara Hunter) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

When an Oxford student accuses one of the university’s professors of sexual assault, DI Adam Fawley’s team think they’ve heard it all before. But they couldn’t be more wrong.

Because this time, the predator is a woman and the shining star of the department, and the student a six-foot male rugby player.

Soon DI Fawley and his team are up against the clock to figure out the truth. What they don’t realise is that someone is watching.

And they have a plan to put Fawley out of action for good…

Ahhh I love Cara Hunter and her D.I. Fawley series. The books have become much more police procedural than thriller (which is no bad thing). I have to say, the blurb threw me off completely as I felt like the sexual assault storyline was more of a sub-plot, but it was a really interesting one. As usual, the story is brilliantly written, and I love how the reader is given extracts from Twitter/podcasts/forums/WhatsApp groups etc which gives the book another level. The story felt very personal, with a great deal of it focussing on D.I. Fawley and his wife.

The Hating Game (Sally Thorne) ⭐⭐.5

Lucy Hutton and Josh Templeton hate each other. They work opposite each other and have become stuck in a never-ending game of one-upmanship, Lucy can’t let Josh beat her at anything – especially when there is a huge promotion at stake. But after an intense, earth-shattering kiss, Lucy begins to wonder if maybe she’s got Josh all wrong…

Ohhhh my. I had high hopes for this, and I know it’s a really popular book but I just couldn’t get on board with it. It reminded me a bit of The Unhoneymooners, there was so much back and forth, so much frustration but ultimately it was too obvious where it was going. Generally I think predictability in rom-coms is fine, but I spent so much time rolling my eyes, and basically the entire book was repetitive foreplay/not very well-written soft porn! It’s a quick, fun read, and if you like enemies to lovers stories I’m sure you’ll love it, but it just wasn’t for me!

The Child (Fiona Barton) ⭐⭐⭐

The Child Fiona BartonWhen a paragraph in an evening newspaper reveals a decades-old tragedy, most readers barely give it a glance. But for three strangers it’s impossible to ignore.

For one woman, it’s a reminder of the worst thing that ever happened to her.

For another, it reveals the dangerous possibility that her darkest secret is about to be discovered.

And for the third, a journalist, it’s the first clue in a hunt to uncover the truth.

I liked the plot of The Child, I thought it was clever and unique, but I couldn’t stand any of the characters. The story is mainly told from Kate and Emma’s perspective, with a few chapters from Angela, and the stories are woven together well, but I struggled to really care about them – they felt a bit too flat for me. There’s a (fairly predictable) twist at the end, but it wasn’t a very fast-paced story and there are a few too many coincidences for my liking.

The Perfect Couple (Jackie Kabler) ⭐⭐⭐

A year ago, Gemma met the love of her life, Danny. Since then, their relationship has been perfect. But one evening, Danny doesn’t return home. Gemma turns to the police. She is horrified by what she discovers – a serial killer is on the loose in Bristol. When she sees photos of the victims she is even more stunned…they all look just like Danny. But the police are suspicious. Why has no one apart from Gemma heard from Danny in weeks? Is she telling them the truth, or is this marriage hiding some very dark secrets?

I really enjoyed the first 3/4 of this book, but unfortunately I thought the “twist” let it down. The dual-narrative story is told from Gemma’s perspective, and Helena, the police officer in charge of the case. I think the story had potential, but never quite reached it. The actual writing is good and I thought the characters were well developed, it just didn’t have the right pacing or gripping quality I want from a good thriller!


What have you been reading lately?

2020 Reading Challenge

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