Tuesday, January 25, 2022

56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard

56 DAYS AGO

Ciara and Oliver meet in a supermarket queue in Dublin and start dating the same week COVID-19 reaches Irish shores.


35 DAYS AGO

When lockdown threatens to keep them apart, Oliver suggests they move in together. Ciara sees a unique opportunity for a relationship to flourish without the scrutiny of family and friends. Oliver sees a chance to hide who - and what - he really is. 


TODAY

Detectives arrive at Oliver's apartment to discover a decomposing body inside. 


Can they determine what really happened, or has lockdown created an opportunity for someone to commit the perfect crime?




This was recommended to me by Nicola on Twitter as part of my 12 Friends 12 Books challenge. I’m so glad I listened to her and picked it up. 


At first I was a bit dubious about reading a book about the Pandemic, but that wasn’t going to put me off. The book starts off a little slow, they meet in a supermarket queue, and end up on a few dates. There are subtle hints that Oliver isn’t telling Ciara everything about himself, so when he suggested they move in for lockdown (seeing as they are 2 separate households and can’t visit each other), it got me worried. 


This was actually a really good thriller, one that could have very easily happened during the lockdown which made it so much more scary! I’d recommend it to anyone who loves a good mystery as it keeps you guessing the whole way through. There was at least 3 things that I thought I knew but turns out I didn’t. 




Tuesday, January 18, 2022

To Kill A Mockingbird Graphic Novel by Harper Lee, adapted and illustrated by Fred Fordham

 

A beautifully crafted graphic novel adaptation of Harper Lee's beloved American classic, voted the #1 Great American Read 2018. 'Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.' A haunting portrait of race and class, innocence and injustice, hypocrisy and heroism, tradition and transformation in the Deep South of the 1930s, Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird remains as important today as it was upon its initial publication in 1960, during the turbulent years of the Civil Rights movement. Now, this most beloved and acclaimed novel is reborn for a new age as a gorgeous graphic novel. Scout, Jem, Boo Radley, Atticus Finch and the small town of Maycomb, Alabama, are all captured in vivid and moving illustrations by artist Fred Fordham. Enduring in vision, Harper Lee's timeless novel illuminates the complexities of human nature and the depths of the human heart with humour, unwavering honesty and a tender, nostalgic beauty. Lifetime admirers and new readers alike will be touched by this special visual edition


To Kill A Mockingbird is one of my all time favourite reads. When I saw this Graphic Novel I knew I wanted to add it to my collection immediately. This is a big book, heavy but absolutely stunning. The illustrations really bring the story to life. Fred Fordham has done an amazing job, and I loved looking through it. It’s been a while since I’ve read To Kill A Mockingbird, and reading through this Graphic Novel brought it all back to me. 


I love Atticus Finch, I love how he believes in people, he doesn’t judge people by how they look, their race, how much money they have. He just takes them for who they are. Jem and Scout are great characters, they are totally innocent, and I love how Scout is just so young but knows so much more than you’d think. I think the ending just shows how innocent she really is, when she takes Boo’s hand and takes him outside, she just see’s a friend.


The injustice, racism, hatred, and violence in the story is so huge, and so real. I can’t imagine living in the times of segregation etc, but there is still so much of this stuff going on in the world today. It’s not right.


If you haven’t read To Kill A Mockingbird by now (and you should have), why not try the graphic novel, it’s brilliant, and one I’m definitely keeping hold of and passing along to my daughter. 




Tuesday, January 11, 2022

No Honour by Awais Khan

In sixteen-year-old Abida's small Pakistani village, there are age-old rules to live by, and her family's honour to protect. And, yet, her spirit is defiant and she yearns to make a home with the man she loves. 

When the unthinkable happens, Abida faces the same fate as other young girls who have chosen unacceptable alliances - certain, public death. Fired by a fierce determination to resist everything she knows to be wrong about the society into which she was born, and aided by her devoted father, Jamil, who puts his own life on the line to help her, she escapes to Lahore and then disappears.


Jamil goes to Lahore in search of Abida - a city where the prejudices that dominate their village take on a new and horrifying form - and father and daughter are caught in a world from which they may never escape.


Moving from the depths of rural Pakistan, riddled with poverty and religious fervour, to the dangerous streets of over-populated Lahore, No Honour is a story of family, of the indomitable spirit of love in its many forms ... a story of courage and resilience, when all seems lost, and the inextinguishable fire that lights one young woman's battle for change.




I grabbed this book on publication day, and put it on my shelf…. And it stayed there since. I have no idea why I didn’t pick it up sooner as I was glued to the pages. It came highly recommended by my friend Sarah, and she was bang on with how good it is.


I knew about honour killings, I think we’ve all heard about them. But this book gave me so much more knowledge on this awful tradition. Pakistan has the worlds highest rate of Honour Killings, and I just can’t believe this still happens, that some people think this is ok. It’s not ok.


The story is based on Jamil, and his daughter Abida. The book starts rough, and the first scenes really got to me, I cried and was heartbroken. Then we get to know Abida and her family a little, and see what happens to take her down the awful route of escaping the village. My heart was in my mouth so many times, there was one scene in specific where 

I honestly thought it was a dream and turned out not to be. 


Awais has written this book with so much compassion. You want to stop reading as it’s just awful what is happening, and not easy at all, but you want to keep going too as you just know Awais has done such a good job. The book is filled with so much fear, terror, and pain, but the love is something that sticks out so much. Jamil and her father have a beautiful relationship, and I pleaded for it all to work out for them.


If you haven’t read this, you need to. Such a brilliant book, full of twists and turns, emotion and heartbreak.




Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart

Born under different stars, Protestant Mungo and Catholic James live in the hyper-masculine and violently sectarian world of Glasgow's housing estates. They should be sworn enemies if they're to be seen as men at all, and yet they become best friends as they find a sanctuary in the pigeon dovecote that James has built for his prize racing birds. As they find themselves falling in love, they dream of escaping the grey city, and Mungo works especially hard to hide his true self from all those around him, especially from his elder brother Hamish, a local gang leader with a brutal reputation to uphold.


But the threat of discovery is constant and the punishment unspeakable. When Mungo's mother sends him on a fishing trip to a loch in Western Scotland with two strange men whose drunken banter belies murky pasts, he will need to summon all his inner strength and courage to get back to a place of safety, a place where he and James might still have a future.




I received a lovely physical proof of this from the publicist at Pan Macmillan, and also an e-arc on netgalley, all in return for an honest review (and, I have had it on pre-order for ages, a signed copy too!).


Ok so everyone pretty much knows now that Shuggie Bain is my favourite book, and I tell everyone who hasn’t read it that they need to. When I heard the news about Young Mungo, I knew I had to read it and was so excited when Camilla gave in to my cheekiness and sent me a proof (thank you).


I started reading Young Mungo as my first book of 2022. I read a few pages the first night, a few more the second, then devoured the last ¾ of the book in one day! I couldn’t put it down. Douglas Stuart writes with so much love. The book is filled with it, yet so much heartbreak too. 


Young Mungo is 15, but he seems so much younger. My heart broke for him so many times during the story, I cried for him, and cheered him on. The book gives you so many emotions, it easily flips you from sadness to happiness in the same sentence. I loved the other characters too, James seems like a proper little Jack the lad, quietly mischievous, but not very noticeable to others. Jodie was one of my favourites. I love how much she cared for Mungo, she practically raises him, she’s like a mother to him. But their mother is also there, when she’s there. A strange one for sure, but as you read you see how she is in the situation she is and why, and even though sometimes you hate her, you also feel sorry for her. But Hamish, Mungo and Jodies older brother, wow. I pictured him so clearly. A bully with a secret heart. 


The scene with the fighting had me on edge, my heart was in my throat. I will say no more. But the last third of the book was the best, it had me glued to the pages and I honestly didn’t move until I finished it all. 


I’ve since been nursing a book hangover, and need Douglas Stuart to wrote another very quickly! Please read this book, it’s amazing, heartbreaking, warm and beautiful. And if you haven’t read Shuggie Bain already, why the hell not?! 


Thank you Mr Stuart for another amazing book that will stick in my mind for a long long time.




Saturday, January 1, 2022

22 in 2022

Happy New Year!!!

I’ve had a little change with the blog header, and my templates etc, looks a bit better I think. So its a new year, I hope 2022 is good to you all.

I’m doing a few challenges this year and I’m actually going to try this time! 2021 challenges failed big time. Here’s my first one, 22 in 2022:

πŸ’œ Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart

πŸ’œ Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage by Heidi Swain

πŸ’œ The Salt Path by Raynor Winn

πŸ’œ No Honour by Awais Khan

πŸ’œ P.S I Still Love You by Jenny Han

πŸ’œ Paper Towns by John Green

πŸ’œ The Duke and I by Julia Quinn

πŸ’œ A Promised Land by Barack Obama

πŸ’œ Freckles by Cecelia Ahern

πŸ’œ A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins

πŸ’œ The Storyteller by Dave Grohl 

πŸ’œ The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

πŸ’œ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling

πŸ’œ  The Island by Victoria Hislop

πŸ’œ Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

πŸ’œ The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 

πŸ’œ The Young Team by Graeme Armstrong 

πŸ’œ The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood 

πŸ’œ Ghosts by Dolly Alderton 

πŸ’œ True Crime Story by Joseph Knox 

πŸ’œ Will by Will Smith 

πŸ’œ To Kill A Mockingbird Graphic Novel by Harper Lee


I’ll cross them off as I go, you can keep an eye on my progress on my challenge page at the top of my blog :)







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Paper Towns by John Green