Thursday 21 November 2019

2019 Reading Challenge | Books 51-55 Round-Up

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It has been about two months since my last book round up as it is tough to find the time to read now that I am having to balance work with my blogging too. Anyway, here's my last five book reviews!

Take It Back by Kia Abdullah - 5/5

"It's time to take your place on the jury.

The victim: A sixteen-year-old girl with facial deformities, neglected by an alcoholic mother. Who accuses the boys of something unthinkable.

The defendants: Four handsome teenage boys from hardworking immigrant families. All with corroborating stories.

Whose side would you take?"

Wow. This books is definitely up there as one of the best books I've read this year.

Jodie is white teenage girl with facial deformities who accuses four of her male classmates of rape. All of the boys are Muslim. Before contacting the police, she informs Zara Kaleel, a former barrister now working as a rape counsellor. She is also Muslim.

The story is so deep and thought-provoking. You have Jodie who is used to being bullied and judged her whole life, the Muslim boys and how they are perceived in London and you also hear about Zara's background; how she had been shunned by her family for fleeing her arranged marriage and doing her thing and, in her words, not giving into oppression and standing up for herself.

As Zara is Muslim and on Jodie's side, prosecuting against four Muslims, the community in London turn against her in scenes that are so emotional and disturbing.

The court scenes are fantastically written and I honestly don't think I can fault this book at all. I am left wanting more.

Lies Lies Lies by Adele Parks - 4/5

"Daisy and Simon's marriage is great, isn't it?

After years together, the arrival of longed-for daughter Millie sealed everything in place. A happy little family of three.

And so what if Simon drinks a bit too much sometimes - Daisy's used to it, she knows he's letting off steam. Until one night at a party things spiral horribly out of control. And that happy little family of three will never be the same again."

I loved 'I Invited Her In' by Adele Parks so I was very excited to read her newest release.

Simon and Daisy are married with a six year old daughter called Millie. The story follows their relationship, the lies that each of them are telling and how everything comes out. It's so well written and at times you aren't sure what the truth actually is. 

There are so many great topics covered - infertility, alcoholism and controlling relationships, to name a few. The ending where we find out the absolute truth shocked me and I'm still not sure what I think about it!

Expectation by Anna Hope - 3/5

"Hannah, Cate and Lissa are young, vibrant and inseparable. Living on the edge of a common in East London, their shared world is ablaze with art and activism, romance and revelry - and the promise of everything to come. They are electric. They are the best of friends. Ten years on, they are not where they hoped to be. Amidst flailing careers and faltering marriages, each hungers for what the others have. And each wrestles with the same question: what does it take to lead a meaningful life?"

To me, this was just okay. It reminds me a lot of Sally Rooney's 'Normal People' and I really didn't get the hype with that one.

Lissa, Hannah and Cate have been friends for years and are now in their mid-thirties. Each chapter is told from the point of view of one of the three women with a few flashback chapters in between.

Lissa is an actress, still trying to make it and catch her big break. Hannah is in a long-term relationship with Nathan and they are struggling to conceive. Cate got married to Sam quite quickly after meeting and they have a baby; Tom. Each of the women aren't without their problems and it honestly just felt a bit boring for me. It's as though the book trundles along with no real excitement and I don't think it helps that I didn't really warm to any of the characters.

Gone by Leona Deakin - 4/5

"Four strangers are missing. Left at their last-known locations are birthday cards that read: YOUR GIFT IS THE GAME. DARE TO PLAY?

The police aren't worried - it's just a game. But families are frantic. As psychologist and private detective Dr Augusta Bloom delves into the lives of the missing people, she finds something that binds them all. And something that makes them very dangerous indeed.

As more disappearances are reported and new birthday cards uncovered, Dr Bloom races to unravel the mystery and find the missing people. But what if, this time, they are the ones she should fear?"

A great debut thriller!

Augusta Bloom is a psychologist and private detective who, at the beginning of the book, is having appointments with teenager Seraphine Walker who she believes to be a psychopath.

Parallel to this, we are told about a few people who have gone missing after receiving a card on their birthday which simply says "Happy first birthday. Dare to play?" One of the poeple targeted is Lana. Lana gets on Augusta's radar as she is friends with the sister of her colleague, Marcus Jameson.

The two work together to suss out why these particular people have been targeted and what they're doing. It is a jam-packed thriller with some fabulous twists, even if some are a bit unbelievable! It's very obvious that the author knows a lot about psychology. 

More Than Just Mum by Rebecca Smith - 3/5 

"Hannah Thompson loves her family beyond words...but sometimes she wishes they would recognise her as more than just 'mum'.

Eldest son Dylan is soon to be flying the nest, sixteen-year-old Scarlet keeps asking about penalties for worryingly specific crimes, they've forgotten World Book Day and Benji will absolutely not be Where's Wally again, and it's at least two days before she and hubby Nick can sit down for Wine Wednesdays...and even longer until Fizzy Friday.

Determined to find herself a job that she loves, earn a whole lot of money and to have her teenagers respect her as 'Hannah' as well as 'mum'; it might sound like a tall order, but she's a mum on a mission." 

More Than Just Mum follows 43 year old part-time English teacher and mother-of-three, Hannah Thompson. She is fed up with teaching a subject that wasn't her specialty and parenting teenagers so she tries to reinvent herself. 

Channelling her inner E.L. James, she attempts to write her own Fifty Shades-esque book.

Although the book is funny in parts, it trundled along with no real chase or climax.


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