December 18, 2020

Linda’s end of year wrap up.

I will read about 150 books by the end of 2020, equal to the amount of books I read in 2019. Its been hard to select my top 10, and I think if I was to make the decision next week some of my choices would be different! I am delighted to feature some Irish authors in my top 10. I will list my favorites in no particular order.

 What Lies Between Us By John Marrs

My heart was in my mouth at times reading this, I absolutely love how John writes characters, I LOVE loathsome characters, and very few authors can write them the way I like them, John probably does it best.
I enjoyed this book from start to end, I loved the pace, and loved how the narrative switched between Nina and Maggie, but was never repetitive, I really enjoyed the forward and backward timelines, and how easy it was to follow.
The ending was superb, and I loved it. John’s ability to tell a story is fantastic, so much so I will always read his books without needing to read the blurb.
This was an easy 5/5 for me, and I would give it a higher rating if I could, I will be telling everyone to read this book. 



A Traveller At The Gates Of Wisdom John Boyne
I finished this book a few days ago, and it is still on my mind. I normally write my review minutes after I close a book, but think I have delayed writing this one as I didn’t know where to start, despite thinking more about this review than any other.
To cut a long story short, I absolutely loved this book. As a big fan of John Boyne, I was really looking forward to reading this, having previously said that nothing will ever beat The Heart’s Invisible Furies for me, well this came pretty close if not equal.
I loved the ambitious concept, it was like nothing I have read before. I love books that span a lifetime, so this hit the nail on the head for me.
This Irish author is such an amazing story teller, and no two books I have read by him have been the same.
An easy 5/5 for me. 
 

The Gift By Edith Eger

I read and reviewed 150 books in 2019, and if pushed to pick a favourite, The Choice by Edith was my favourite. I started The Gift with high hopes, even thinking this book is a 5 star book before I started, a thought I’ve never had prior to starting a book. This book lived up to my expectations in every way.

I started this book last night, and finished it today. I laughed and I cried, oh boy I cried, however this isn’t a sad book. Edith talks a lot about holding on to grief, and that opened the flood gates. Edith has the ability to make you think so much about life, in a book that you can read in one day.

This woman is my hero, a resounding 5 stars, and I would give it more if I could. I sense a massive book hangover coming on, and I will be thinking about this long after today. 
Take It Back Kia Abdullah
I am not sure where to even start with reviewing this book, because I don’t know if my words can do it justice, but I will try.
I received a review copy of this book but already had it on audio, so had planned on switching between reading and audio, however the narrators were so fantastic I just kept listening.
Jodie is a white teenager who’s face is disfigured, she accuses 4 Muslim boys of raping her. Throughout the whole book, the thing I struggled most with, was I believed them all at one time or another. I went back and forth from chapter to chapter as to who was telling the truth, and each chapter had me fully believing it, yet obviously someone was lying.
We also meet Jodie’s lawyer, a Muslim woman, we learn of her struggles too, wanting to support Jodie while those close to her fight her all the way.
This book is not for the faint hearted with scenes of rape, misogyny and racism.
With exceptional court room scenes, I could see this book being made into a fantastic movie.
Lastly, the narrators for this book are exceptional, I’m sure I would have loved it if I had read it but these narrators absolutely made this book for me.

Eudora Honeysett Is Quite Well Thank You Annie Lyons
I didn’t want to finish this book, because I didn’t want it to end. I loved every minute of it.
I am finding I love books with older characters, and Eudora Honeysett was just perfect. I loved the storyline, even though it was about the character ending her life in a Swiss clinic. I found myself willing the doctors to approve her request, and hoping at the same time her request would be denied.
Oh how I loved Rose too, the little pocket rocket of fun and energy.
The friendship between these two characters was just beautiful.
My own grandmother, and my eldest daughter are similar ages to the characters, so I pictured them as i read this book, and perhaps that added to the humor.
I found myself constantly smiling reading this book, yet suddenly had tears pricking my eyes due to the sensitive nature of this story.
When I got to 30 minutes left, I stopped reading, just needing to savor every moment, and afraid my heart would explode with emotion.
I will remember Eudora and Rose for a long long time. I alternated between reading and listening to this book, and the narrator was just fantastic, and really added to my enjoyment.

The Curator MW Craven
I love Tilly and Poe!!
OK, now I have gotten that out of my system, on with the review. I held off on reading this book, I got this book first so bought books 1 and 2 and I am really glad I read these in order.
I absolutely love Tilly, and I would read these books just for her. I love her quirks and habits, but equally love her friendship and working relationship with Poe.
I really enjoyed the cleverly written storyline, and was kept entertained and intrigued all the way through. Even the acknowledgements were fun to read.
I listened to books one and two and loved the narrator, and equally enjoyed reading this book. I am a firm fan of MW Craven and this brilliant duo. All the stars for this book, my favourite of the 3. 

Below The Big Blue Sky Anna McPartlin
This book is sequel to The Last Days Of Rabbit Hayes, and I can’t even say which book was my favourite.
I loved every single minute of both books. When I finished this book, I straight wanted their to be another book in this series, so we get to live with the Hayes family again. I loved them all, however I really loved Juliet, although she will always be bunny to me.
I totally enjoyed the Irish family dynamics in this book, every single character added to the beautiful story. I had a real soft spot for Rabbits dad, the chapters written from his perspective probably hit me the hardest.
I loved every minute of this book.

Fifty Fifty by Steve Cavanagh
Loved it! This book ticked every single box for me. Two sisters accused of murdering their father, both make a 911 call accusing the other.
This is book is part of the Eddie Flynn series, but being me, this is the first book of the series that I have read even though I own most of the rest of the series, it reads brilliantly as a stand alone.
I loved Eddie and Kate, and really enjoyed the alternating chapters, but what really got me interested was the chapters entitled She, told from the killers perspective, although you don’t know who this is.
I changed my mind so many times reading this, I just could not decide who the killer was. So many times I found myself smirking at how clever this book is, and that’s one of my bench marks for a psychological thriller.
I loved the court room scenes too. I could picture this whole storyline play out in my head. I am absolutely going to go back now and catch up on this series.

Has Anyone Seen My Sex Life By Kristen Bailey

This book was like a breath of fresh air. I really enjoyed it, and loved the narrator. I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline, although the book didn’t go how I expected it to, although not sure what I was expecting.
I loved the characters, especially Meg. I felt Megs character was so well written, she almost felt like a friend by the end of the book.
This book is not for the prudish, the whole book had an air of comedy even when dealing with lifes dramas.
This book is light and entertaining, and maybe even a little educational 😂😂


The Boy Between Amanda Prowse Josiah Hartley
This is a book that everyone needs to read. I feel like I have been on an emotional rollercoaster. I think most people have had their lives touched by suicide, and if you haven’t then you probably will in future.
I typically stear clear of books that claim there is raw emotion in them, so for me to say that’s what in this book is huge.
As a massive fan of Amanda’s books, this was one of my most anticipated reads for 2020. In her fiction Amanda has never been afraid to tackle huge and emotional topics, so I was expecting high emotion in this true life story.
I laughed I cried and I gasped reading this.
Both Amanda and Josh poured their hearts out on these pages, and I really think this book will be an important read to so many people.
As a mum to 3 young girls, and stepmum to a 27 year old, I felt all of the pain on these pages. My stepson is in final year of PhD, having had to swap courses after 1st year in college, I’ve probably only seen a fraction of how difficult it was for him at times.
This is one of those books that will stay on your mind for a long time after you finish it, and when I was done I really just wanted to give Amanda a hug!
Josh really left nothing unsaid, and I truly hope he continues to see life in colour.

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