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Are you looking for book recommendations? If so you have come to the right place.
The question I get asked the most is ‘what are my favourite books?’ So I finally decided to make a list.
This List doesn’t include all of my favourites but it does include the ones I have enjoy the most recently.
And my most favourite book ever is still The Summer That Melted Everything.
So are you ready for my book recommendations?
By Sally Rooney
This is one of the best books that I’ve read in a very long time. It’s not often that people can write the mundane well and make it relatable, by Sally Rooney has managed to do just that.
Normal People follows the lives of Connell and Marianne as they navigate through their final year of school, their life at university and how they just can’t stay away from each other. I loved how real these characters were, both flawed in their own unique ways, they were very much ‘normal people’.
Even though I did enjoy reading about both characters, I favoured Marianne because I absolutely despised the way that Connell used her in the beginning of the book. I’m a pretty unforgiving person, and I certainly didn’t forgive him for that. His parts of the novel were a little tainted for me because of this. However, saying that, it didn’t stop me feeling sorry for him when he went through his depression. I really did feel for him and wanted him to get through it. And I actually did quite like him. That’s what was so special about this book, that these characters were so human and so imperfect. They were real people. I could see them being at my university!
Marianne was troubled, very troubled, but I adored her. I loved her artsy energy and the fact that she talks about things more deeper and more meaningful. She’s the kind of person that comes into your life and you never forget. Connell didn’t deserve her, in my opinion. But this book is complicated because you want them to end up together, even though you know that it’s not going to work out, as it has done many times before. Basically, this book plays with your emotions and you can’t decide how you feel about them or their relationship.
If you’re someone who likes to read books that are plot driven, then this really isn’t the book for you because nothing big or extraordinary happens. It follows normal people and their normal lives. This book is character driven and they are done so well. This book also has a lot of sex in which I wasn’t really expecting, so if that’s something that bothers you, I’d also stay away from this one.
Overall, I think this is an incredible book. The characters felt so, so real to me and I was completely invested in their normal lives, wanting them to succeed and be happy even if it wasn’t with each other. If you’re looking for a really quick read where you can get lost in the characters, then I highly recommend you pick this one up.
Little Fires Everywhere
By Celeste Ng
Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve finished a book. I couldn’t find one where I got that feeling of thinking about the characters when I’d put the book down. But with Little Fires Everywhere, it’s like they were calling me back.
Putting this book broadly, it’s about People. It’s about the people who live in Shaker Heights and the lives they lead. Shaker Heights is a place all about appearances. The lawn must always be perfectly mowed. The houses all have to be certain colours. There’s some weird rules regarding garbage. Children can walk to school without having to walk across busy roads. It’s a town full of rich ‘good’ people, a town mostly full of the elite. That is, until Mia and Pearl arrive and a custody battle for a Chinese-American baby ensues.
Celeste Ng is very good at making you, as a reader, like the characters you should like and dislike the ones you should dislike without making it obvious. My absolute favourite character was Izzie, as she hated everything that Shaker Heights, and her family, stood for. The character description of her wearing Dr Martens was all that I needed to know she was the total opposite of what Mrs Richardson wanted her daughter to me. Izzie also had one of the most powerful lines in the whole book, where she asks Mrs McCullough if she knew the birth name of the Chinese-American baby she had adopted. (Spoiler: she did. And changed it to Maribelle, showing that she really does not give a damn about May Ling’s birth culture.)
There’s a huge moral question that runs throughout this book: does the birth mother have a right to get her baby back after she has given it up or should the baby stay with the adopted parents? I was tossing between the two, until Mrs Mcullough said the way she was going to get the baby to connect with her birth culture was by hanging traditional tapestries and taking her to their favourite chinese restaurant. Oh, and the baby’s first solid food was rice! I’m on the side of the birth mother, but the trial ends how you think it will.
I also became deeply fascinated with Mia as a character. I wasn’t expecting to find her back story so interesting, but that became my favourite part of the entire book.
I have to admit, that I found the first 100 pages a little hard to get through. The build up was a little slow, but once I got into this book I was REALLY into it. I enjoyed this much more than I thought I would and I really can’t wait for the series adaptation, it has potential to be brilliant.
By Yrsa Daley-Ward
The Terrible is about Yrsa Daley-Ward’s life growing up in England with her mother, grandparents and her younger brother. It’s about losing yourself and finding yourself. And oh, it’s about the terrible things too.
Yrsa’s writing captivates me in a way that only certain writers can do. I really felt her words, and I wanted to keep reading and never stop. It’s the kind of book that transports you into the writer’s world, which was at times really difficult to read. You come away from this book feeling like you have been on a journey with Yrsa and got to witness the parts of her life that had the most impact on her. What a strong person she is.
I’d never read any of Yrsa’s poetry before reading this book, which is written in different forms such a poetry and novel format. But I definitely will be reading more of her works now! Yrsa’s writing is very powerful.
If you’re a fan of poetry and memoirs I would really recommend this book to you. It’s definitely not a book that gives you a ‘feel good’ feeling, but it’s more like you’ve shared a human experience with someone rather than being whisked off to another land. I personally loved this book, but it’s definitely is not for everyone.
by Lisa Taddeo
I have to admit that it wasn’t an immediate love affair with this book. There was a time when I put it down before I gave it another chance. But it took that second attempt to really get into it and love it. The reviews for Three Women tend to be on either sides of the extreme; one being an adoring love for it and the other detesting it. I think I lie somewhere in between. I really, really liked it. I really did and it has probably been one of my favourite reads of the summer (and is definitely my all time favourite cover!) but there are a fair amount of things I didn’t like about the book also.
Three Women follows the sex lives of three ordinary women with very different stories but they all revolve around one thing; how much the men in their lives suck. These women are known by Sloane, Lina and Maggie, whose stories are based on real events over a decade. Like many books with more than one narrative, I enjoyed some more than others. Maggie, for me, was the stand out narrative. I felt the most invested in her character and in her story. Lina, I thought, started out strong but for me she got more and more insufferable and the more I wanted to shake some reality into her. THE MAN IS TRASH LINA. LITERAL TRASH. I also found that I didn’t really connect with Sloane’s story. Perhaps because I couldn’t find anything in her that I could relate to. But none of these narratives were ‘bad’. They all had distinct stories, all of which were very raw and very real tales about female desire, which I haven’t seen done in this way before.
In terms of writing, for the most part I thought it was beautifully written. Until I came across a sex scene, and there was a lot of them (plucking? really!?). I found Lina’s sex scenes particularly difficult to read, as there were some descriptions that I thought were a bit unnatural and some imagery that was, in my opinion, pretty gross. But hey, whatever you’re into, Lina. Part of me thinks this might have been intentional, that these scenes were supposed to make you feel uncomfortable in some way. But at least there weren’t any male writers badly describing the female body. So at least that was a plus.
This book definitely isn’t for everyone. If you’re more of a plot driven person, you might find Three Women a bit long and slow. There’s also not much of an ending, much like with reality, life just goes on. There isn’t any closure which could be frustrating for some readers.
Overall, despite the things I didn’t like about this book I really enjoyed it. I’m still thinking about it days after reading it and I think it will stay with me for a long time. I think it’s the type of book that will open doors for similar works, and I highly recommend that you read this book if it sounds like something you would enjoy.
By Cormac McCarthy
(this review contains spoilers)
It’s actually been a really long time since I’ve read a book by a male author. And this is the first one of Cormac McCarthy’s works that I’ve written and wow, was this book astounding.
Very simply, this book follows the story of a father and son (who remains unnamed throughout) as they travel down to the coast in a hope to survive the post-apocalyptic wasteland. It’s very rare that I can read a book in one day without having to step away for breathing space, but I read this book is under 10 hours. I was completely hooked, I was so invested in these characters and the mystery that surrounded them and the situation, I completely adored it.
On paper, this is not the kind of book I would usually read. It leaves you with a lot of questions and not a lot of answers, you don’t get much back story in terms of the characters and you get no context into how this apocalypse happened. But McCarthy somehow made none of that matter to me. The only thing I cared about was the ‘now’; how the apocalypse happened became irrelevant, and the fact you know so little about these characters is what I loved so much about this book. The man and the boy could’ve been anyone.
In the reviews, many people had problems with the written style and his use of grammar, or lack thereof. This didn’t bother me at all, in fact I thought the way the book was written grammatically gave a huge insight into the man’s personality. It did take me a couple of ‘chapters’ (there aren’t any) to get used to it, though but for readers who like a lot of structure with their books, this maybe one that you struggle with.
I might go as far to say that The Road has become one of my all time favourites. In fact, I will go as far to say that. I’m just completely in awe of how I became so invested in these strangers, and how heartbreaking their journey was. I just adored the boys compassion for people, even though this cruel world is all that he has ever known.
This is the type of book where you know that the ending is going to be heartbreaking. There is no making it out of this book alive. I pretty much knew how this book was going to end in a sense, but that didn’t stop me from reading it and it didn’t stop me from crying. I can only hope and pray that the boy ended up with good guys who are carrying the fire, and not the more gruesome end that haunts the back of my mind.
The Colour of Bee Larkham’s murder
sARAH j hARRIS
The Colour of Bee Larkham’s murder follows the story of 13-year-old Jasper, an autistic boy who has face blindness and synaesthesia. He is convinced that someone has murdered Bee Larkham, but no one believes him.
I’ll start off by saying that this is a truly unique book. A combination of his autism, face blindness and synaesthesia creates a character like no other and a really interesting narrative. The way that Jasper describes the colour of people’s voices is really enjoyable to read. As a reader, you truly love Jasper. I created a bond with him extremely quickly and really felt his intense emotions during upsetting scenes.
The story is also incredibly intriguing. All the while you are kept o your toes and you never truly know what is going on until the very end. You can guess, of course, but you are never completely certain if you are right or not. I have to admit, there were times when the story was a little slow and dragged on a little bit for my liking, but it wasn’t something that I couldn’t get through. The way the ending was handled also wasn’t particularly my favourite and I think the climax should’ve been different, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that this is a really, really good book.
By Fredrik Backman
I have to admit that this isn’t the sort of book I would usually pick up. In fact, if my mum hadn’t read it before me I probably wouldn’t have picked it up at all. For me, the blurb didn’t do the book any justice at all. I can’t stress enough how brilliant this book is and how gorgeous the writing is.
I’ve been reading a lot of new books lately and a lot of them are quickly becoming favourites. Bear Town is one of them. It follows the story of an Ice Hockey town and what happens after their star player is accused of rape. As you can guess, the trial doesn’t go in the victim’s favour.
I’ve never seen someone write the mundane as well as Fredrik Backman. The majority of the book was just following the character’s lives and apart from the rape at the party, nothing massively huge happens. But I was completely hooked. I feel in love with all of the characters in their own little ways (apart from the rapist. No matter how much I tried I just couldn’t get passed what he did.) and I really felt like I was in the town, looking at the world unfolding around me.
I really can’t recommend this book enough. This is perhaps the best-written book I have ever read and I can’t wait to read the sequel.
BY Tiffany McDaniel
Tiffany McDaniel is the author of one of my all-time favourite books, The Summer That Melted Everything, so I was so excited when she reached out to me personally to send me an ARC of her upcoming book ‘Betty’ being released August 18, 2020. With it being based on the life of her mother (Betty) who’s father is Cherokee and her mother is white, I was really intrigued. I mean, the story couldn’t be more heartbreaker than The Summer That Melted Everything, right? I was wrong.
To say that this book was heavy is an understatement. You won’t come out of this book feeling good. My heart took a real pounding reading this book and the ending left me crying. But Tiffany McDaniel’s writing is some of the most captivating I’ve ever read. I really feel like I’m reading a story, and despite how awful much of the events that happened were, it was told so beautifully.
The book very much feels like it was Betty and her father against the world and they were the only ones who truly understood each other. Unlike her siblings who are white-passing, Betty took after her Cherokee father and was subsequently a victim to some awful racial abuse, even some microaggressions from her own siblings and mother. The book takes you through Betty’s life up until she’s 18 years old, and you do get the sense that you’re watching her grow up into a strong, forward-thinking, feminist woman of the 1970s. And she definitely didn’t have an easy life. I’m not sure how much of her story is based on true events but wow, even just one of the things that happen to her or her family would be enough to break a person.
This book is a case of I didn’t like most of the characters as people, but I liked them as characters. I understood why Alka (her mother) was the way she was, but it didn’t make the way she sometimes treated Betty feel any nicer to read. A lot of things in this book were tough to read. I even had to skip over a section involving cats and kittens. I didn’t really care much for any of her older siblings, but I adored her father as a character. I could feel how much Betty adored him and how much he adored her back, even though it is even pointed out in the book and they never directly say ‘I love you’ to each other. Their relationship was just so beautiful and I just knew how much she worshipped him. I would’ve loved to have known her father.
Yes, this book is very hard to read and can often be quite graphic, but I really, really enjoyed reading about Betty’s life and what she’s endured. It’s a book I would read again once I’ve emotionally recovered, and I never reread books.
If Cats Disappeared From The World
by Genki Kawamura
Sometimes it’s nice to read a novella instead of a 400-page novel, especially if you’re finding that you’re in a bit of a reading slump or don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to reading at the moment. This book was perfect for that.
If Cat’s Disappeared from the World is a book about a man who is told that he has a week to live and gets visited by the devil. He strikes a deal with him, that he will get an extra day to live if he makes one thing disappear from the world. With the unnamed protagonist’s agreement, the devil makes phones, movies, and clocks disappear from the world. However, when the devil suggests making cats disappear from the world, the protagonist couldn’t agree to it.
Let me tell you, I bawled my eyes out at this book. I have never felt so much emotion and so much attachment to the characters (especially the talking cat Cabbage!) in such a short space of time.
I have to say, this has become one of my all-time favourite reads. I adored everything about this book. Yes, the book is about someone dying, but that isn’t what is so sad and what moved me so much about it. He gave up the chance to live for his cat, and that’s something which makes me feel emotional just thinking about it.
It was the voice of the whole book that made me love it even more and made it so easy to read. It was oozing with sarcasm from every single character and sometimes even had me laughing and crying at the same time!
Conversation with Friends
BY Sally Rooney
Sally Rooney sure does have a knack for creating really annoying characters, but ones you can’t help but be invested in.
It’s for this reason that Sally Rooney is one of my favourite writers. She has an incredible ability to create very real, flawed characters. She creates normal people (shameless pun) and manages to make quite normal situations so compelling that you’re unable to put the book down.
I wasn’t sure what I was expecting when I started reading this book, but Conversations with Friends definitely surpassed what I thought it was going to be. It’s much more engaging than the blurb makes it out to be.
Conversations with Friends is about best friends and ex-girlfriends Frances and Bobbi and the married couple Melissa and Nick. And no one is ever really happy in this book. And they’re all quite annoying in their own special ways, but I enjoyed reading about them nonetheless. The story is told from Frances’ perspective, and I actually saw a lot of myself in her, as I strangely do with Sally Rooney’s characters. I did find myself yelling at her and her decisions in my head, though. And telling her over and over again to stay away from Nick. Who definitely isn’t as interesting as Frances thinks he is. You can do better, girl.
I really did enjoy this book though. It’s an effortless read and one that I really struggled to put down. I was so sucked into their world that when I wasn’t reading the book, I was thinking about the book and once I finished it, I didn’t really know what to do with myself. These are the types of characters that leave a mark on you.
If I had to compare it to Normal People, I would say that Normal People is slightly better because I liked those characters a bit more. But Conversations with Friends is definitely still worth a read.