Monday 15 July 2019

2019 Reading Challenge | Books 36-40 Round-Up

I'm so late with this round-up, I've actually just recently started book 43! In this post, I'll be sharing books 36-40 of the year. You can catch up with my other posts here: 1-5, 6-10, 11-15, 16-20, 21-15, 26-30, 31-15. I'd also love it if you'd come add me on Goodreads!

I Looked Away by Jane Corry - 5/5

"Every Monday, 49-year-old Ellie looks after her grandson Josh. She loves him more than anyone else in the world. The only thing that can mar her happiness is her husband's affair. But he swears it's over now, and Ellie has decided to be thankful for what she's got.

Then one day, while she's looking after Josh, her husband gets a call from that woman. And just for a moment, Ellie takes her eyes off her grandson. What happens next will change her life forever.

Because Ellie is hiding something in her past.

And what looks like an accident could start to look like murder..."
Going into the book, I assumed it would be a simple story about a woman looking after her grandson, her taking her eye off him for a moment and him getting into trouble. It is so much deeper than that.

The story follows Ellie, grandmother to Josh, and her entire life story. From losing her mother as a young child, her father remarrying, gaining a baby brother and an accident which changes everything to meeting her husband and having her own children.

We also follow Jo, a homeless lady who is travelling around, just trying to get from day to day safely. Both of their stories tie together. It's such a compelling read tackling the issues of homelessness and PTSD.
A Summer To Remember by Sue Moorcroft - 4/5

"WANTED! A caretaker for Roundhouse Row holiday cottages.

WHERE? Nelson's Bar is the perfect little village. Nestled away on the Norfolk coast we can offer you no signal, no Wi-Fi and - most importantly - no problems!

WHO? The ideal candidate will be looking for an escape from their cheating scumbag ex-fiancé, a diversion from their entitled cousin, and a break from their traitorous friends.

WHAT YOU'LL GET! Accommodation in a chocolate-box cottage, plus a summer filled with blue skies and beachside walks. Oh, and a reunion with the man of your dreams.

PLEASE NOTE: We take no responsibility for any of the above scumbags, passengers and/or traitors walking back into your life..."

I read this one quite quickly as was an easy, feel-good book.

Clancy's life in London goes to pot as her relationship breaks down and she loses her job, so she decides to move to tourisy town Nelson's Bar. Her cousin Alice half-owns a house there with Aaron, the brother of her ex-fiancé Lee (who she left at the altar six years ago) as he bought his share.

Alice has been travelling since so Clancy decides to take the caretaker's job for the holiday rental cottages, meaning she can stay at the house free of charge.

There is a lot that goes on in the little village and it seems like she can't escape her past either. 

The First Breath: How Modern Medicine Saves the Most Fragile Lives by Olivia Gordon - 3/5

"The First Breath is the first popular science book about the pioneering fetal and neonatal medicine bringing a new generation into the world - a generation of babies without precedent, who would not have lived if they had been born only a few decades ago.

Olivia Gordon explores the female experience of medicine through her own personal story and sensitive, intimate case histories of other mothers' high-risk births. She details the relationship mothers develop with doctors who hold not only life and death in their hands, but also the very possibility of birth.

From the dawn of fetal medicine to neonatal surgery and the exploding field of perinatal genetics, The First Breath tells of fear, bravery and love. Olivia Gordon takes the reader behind the closed doors of the fetal and neonatal intensive care units, resuscitation rooms and operating theatres at some of the world's leading children's hospitals, unveiling the untold story of how doctors save the sickest babies."
This is a really informative book about how far we have come with regards to medical procedures involving babies in utero. It is packed full of information so, to me, it reads more like a long article or research project.

It didn't capture me in the same way that Adam Kay's This Is Going To Hurt and Leah Hazard's Hard Pushed: A Midwife's Story, books in a similar vein, did and I found it hard to get into at first. I'd put it down a lot in favour of doing something else.

It's obvious that the author has done a lot of research into the pioneers of some of the procedures that are outlined, and the things that they have been able to do are amazing.

It's Not You It's Him by Sophie Ranald - 4/5

"New Year's Eve. The most overrated night of the year, right? I have to get through a night of enforced fun, drink all the prosecco and talk about new beginnings. But I don't want new beginnings. I want my old beginning back.

It's been ten days, two hours and forty-three minutes since Tansy got dumped. Two heartbreaking weeks since Renzo, who made her weak at the knees and dizzy with excitement, found out Tansy's secret - and ended it on the spot. 

Since then, she's spent every evening scrolling through their old photos, drunk texted him twenty-six times (he stopped reading after five), and lost count of how many packets of Kleenex she's cried her way through.

That's where Operation Get Renzo Back comes in. She ropes in a new wing-woman, maxes out her credit card and accidentally-on-purpose bumps into him at every opportunity. Oh, and she finds a fake boyfriend, as you do...

But while she's busy pretending, Tansy's plan is thrown a major curveball. She has to learn the hard way that it's not her, it's him - and that sometimes, a break-up can end up being the making of you.
I was almost giving this a middle-of-the-road three star rating until the very end.

Renzo, Tansy's boyfriend of six months, has broken up with her following a secret being divulged by Tansy. She vows to win him back but I hated her character at this stage because of the lengths that she was willing to go to and the sheer desperation.

Renzo is a prat. That's all there is to say about him.

I did love the secondary characters and their relationships, and Tansy really won me over in the end. The plot was good and I liked that issues such as anorexia, gambling/financial abuse and the usage of sweatshops in the fashion industry were touched upon.
The Missing Wife by Sam Carrington - 4/5 

"You think you know those closest to you. You are wrong...

A sleep-deprived new mother approaching her fortieth birthday, the very last thing Louisa wants to do is celebrate.

But when her friend Tiff organises a surprise party, inviting the entire list of Louisa's Facebook friends, Louisa is faced with a room full of people she hasn't spoken to in years - including someone she never expected to see again: her ex-boyfriend Oliver Dunmore.

When Oliver's wife Melissa goes missing after the party, everyone remembers the night differently. Someone knows what happened to Melissa, and Louisa is determined to find them. But the truth could be closer, and the deception more devastating, than she'd ever imagined..."
Louisa is turning 40, married to Brian, with a teenage daughter and a newborn baby. Her best friend Tiff conspires with Brian to throw a surprise party for Louisa, with Tiff inviting lots of people from Louisa's Facebook friends list because Louisa doesn't really talk about her past and the people who were in it. We learn that she has disassociative amnesia regarding an incident that happened in her late teens.

One of the party attendees is Oliver Dunmore, Louisa's ex-boyfriend from her college years. After the party, Louisa starts having patchy flashbacks but can't piece together what happened. A couple of days after the party, it turns out that Melissa, Oliver's wife, has gone missing but no one at the party can even remember seeing her there.

This is so well-written and I couldn't put it down. I was desperate to see how everything would tie up together. I wasn't sold on the ending but it was an enjoyable read nonetheless!

Have you read anything good recently?
Wednesday 10 July 2019

What I Won - June 2019

I actually dreaded coming to write this post because wins have been so thin on the ground lately, and I was sure I didn't have very much to share. Are any other compers finding it hard to win this year?

Here is what I did manage to win in June:

Facebook Wins
A bottle of Opihr gin, a gin book, four Double Dutch mixers and two bags of The Ice Co ice 

Instagram Wins
King Dice Funko Pop

Molang house playset 

Set of Teamsterz cars
Twitter Wins
C.S Lewis themed books 

Case of Walkers Max Strong Jalapeño and Cheese crisps

Web Wins 
A copy of Giraffes Can't Dance 

Magazine Wins
Ariana Grande Cloud perfume

Num Noms toys

I'm really pleased that I managed to win some toys to put away for birthdays as that's what I mentioned that I wanted to win last month. Now for some Amazon vouchers!

Did you win anything nice last month?