Friday 13 September 2019

2019 Reading Challenge | Books 41-45 Round-Up

It is long overdue but I'm finally back with another book round-up, this time with books 41-45. I say long overdue because a) I last wrote a book round-up almost two months ago, and b) I'm way past book 45 - I've almost finished 49! I'll be doing my next round-up very soon after this one!

I have a lot of Netgalley books to get through so all of the books in this round-up have been ebooks so no pretty pictures, I'm afraid!

The Morning After The Wedding Before by Laura Ziepe - 1/5

"Did she really say 'I do'?!

Emma is getting married! She knows it should be the happiest time of her life, but she can't help feeling she's marrying the wrong man. 

So when she wakes up on her wedding day with a ring already on her finger, she panics - who did she marry last night?
I really struggled with this one.

The story follows three friends - Emma who is getting married to Charlie, Holly who has recently separated from her partner and father of her two children and Kim, a married mother of two. They are in Las Vegas for Emma's upcoming wedding.

Each chapter switches between the stories of the three ladies, with a bit of an insight into what is happening in their relationships. I found it hard to like any of the characters, mostly because I found them all a bit bland. I did enjoy Kim and her husband Andy's story though. It also seemed very long-winded and the switch from present time to a flashback took effort and it wasn't as seamless as I'd like it to be.

Emma is a blogger/social media influencer and, as a blogger myself, it really wound me up how many times it said that she got "freebies" or "free stuff". It isn't free. You have to put time and effort into your posts. It is a collaboration between you and the brand. I disliked this so much that it almost made me stop reading.

A lot of it was clich√© and I saw it coming. I was happy with the ending but it's just not one for me. 

The Guilty Friend by Joanne Sefton - 4/5

"One of them is dead. One of them is lying.

Alex, Karen and Misty were an inseperable trio at university. But when Alex died suddenly, the remaining two friends could no longer look each other in the eye, knowing they both had a part to play in her death.

Thirty years later, Misty and Karen have long since moved on with their lives. But when Karen thinks she sees her former friend alive, she soon becomes obsessed with a past she thought she'd left behind.

Before long, the perfect life she's built for herself begins to unravel, and it seems as though history might just be repeating itself...

Can Karen keep her secrets hidden? Or will her guilt tear an innocent family apart?"

This was really hard for me to get into at the start and it took me over a week to finish it when usually I could complete a book in about three days.

The story follows Karen, a widowed mum of three girls, and Misty, a doctor specialising in working with patients with anorexia. They are old friends from university. It's told in present time with flashbacks to Karen, Misty and their friend Alex's time in university around 1989. We learnt that Alex had anorexia and subsequently died. It also transpires that in real time, Karen's daughter Tash also has anorexia.

It was a slow burner and it wasn't until I was around 70% in that things really started to pick up and boosted its rating for me. The epilogue left me reeling.

Whisper Network by Chandler Baker - 4/5

"Sloane, Ardie, Grace and Rosalita have worked at Truviv, Inc for years. The sudden death of Truviv's CEO means their boss, Ames, will likely take over the entire company. Each of the women has a different relationship with Ames, who has always been surrounded by whispers about how he treats women. Those whispers have been ignored, swept under the rug, hidden away by those in charge.

But the world has changed, and the women are watching this promotion differently. This time, when they find out Ames is making an inappropriate move on a colleague, they aren't willing to let it go. This time, they've decided enough is enough.

Sloane and her colleagues' decision to take a stand sets in motion a catastrophic shift in the office. Lies will be uncovered. Secrets will be exposed. And not everyone will survive. All of their lives - as women, colleagues, mothers, wives , friends, even adversaries - will change dramatically as a result.

This is such a great book that I feel like everyone needs to read.

The story follows four women; Sloane, Ardie and Grace, employees at a company called Truviv, and Rosalita the cleaner. The CEO of the company, Desmond Bankole, passes away and tipped to take over is Ames Garrett.

The ladies are worried about this as there are whispers about Ames having sexually assaulted quite a number of people, some of these ladies being victims themselves, so they decide to come forward with their stories.

What follows is the outcome, how women are treated when they come forward with an allegation, how women in business are treated by men and actually, by other women too.

Each of the women's stories are so deep and it's very well written, with things like depositions and police statements peppered in between chapters.

Stone Cold Heart by Caz Frear - 4/5

"He told me he was innocent of his girlfriend's murder. 
He told me his wife was out to get him.
What he didn't tell me was why. 

He has a history of cheating.
He attended the party where his girlfriend was murdered.
And so did his wife.


Can I find the truth in the lies?"

DC Cat Kinsella and her partner Luigi Parnell, who work for the London Metropolitan Police, are assigned to a case where Naomi Lockhart is found dead in her flat. All signs point to Joseph Madden, employee at The Grindhouse coffee house, who Cat Kinsella has had a brief conversation with before about some concerns that he had with his wife's behaviour.

The story follows the Met piecing together information, conducting police interviews and, like any good crime thriller, it's packed full of twists.

This is the second book in the Cat Kinsella series but only the first I've read. We learn a bit about her personal relationships which have probably been discovered in the first book but it was easy to follow along. I love that the ending sets up for a third book. 

Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton - 4/5 

"Brisbane, 1983: A lost father, a mute brother, a mum in jail, a heroin dealer for a stepfather and a notorious criminal for a babysitter. It's not as if Eli's life isn't complicated enough already. He's just trying to follow his heart, learning what it takes to be a good man, but life just keeps throwing obstacles in the way - not least of which is Tytus Broz, legendary drug dealer.

But Eli's life is about to get a whole lot more serious. He's about to fall in love. And he has to break into prison on Christmas Day to save his mum."

This book is fantastic and it's so easy to see why it has so much hype surrounding it.

It is a memoir of sorts (the author states that it's around 50/50 facts and fantasy) - the main character Eli Bell being based on Dalton himself - alongside his mute brother August (Gus), his drug user mother, her drug dealer boyfriend and his babysitter, the real life prison escapee Arthur 'Slim' Halliday.

It's a fantastic coming-of-age story, following Eli and how he navigates his world between the ages of 13 and 18. Those last three chapters were brilliant and had me hooked to see what would happen. 

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