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message 1: by AnnaG (last edited Nov 18, 2018 03:24PM) (new)

AnnaG | 158 comments My second year on GoodReads - trying for 100 books this year. I like history, politics and romance and want to throw in some Classical/Ancient texts, nature and murder mystery/Crime this year!

Last year I had 9 Highlights and 43 5* books. Hoping for another great year.

HIGHLIGHTS
Enemy Coast Ahead by Guy Gibson The Last Rhinos The Powerful Story of One Man's Battle to Save a Species by Lawrence Anthony The Purpose Driven Life What on Earth Am I Here for? by Rick Warren The Message The Bible in Contemporary Language (Bible Message) by Eugene H. Peterson Mister God, This is Anna by Fynn Secrets of the Human Body by Chris van Tulleken Tribe On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger Thief of Time (Discworld, #26; Death, #5) by Terry Pratchett Interesting Times (Discworld, #17) by Terry Pratchett The Shortest History of Germany by James Hawes Kane and Abel (Kane and Abel, #1) by Jeffrey Archer The Parfit Knight (Rockliffe, #1) by Stella Riley The Story of the British Isles in 100 Places by Neil Oliver Girl, Wash Your Face Stop Believing the Lies about Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
Enemy Coast Ahead - Guy Gibson - A amazing eye-witness bird's eye view of WWII
The Last Rhinos: The Powerful Story of One Man's Battle to Save a Species - Another amazing mission from Lawrence Anthony
The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for? - Re-reading a decade later the best God-help book ever
The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language - An easy to read Bible that doesn't feel stilted
Mister God, This is Anna - An oddly uplifting memoir on family, purpose and alife well-lived
Secrets of the Human Body - Things you never knew about yourself.
Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging - How we can reduce PTSD in veterans
Thief of Time - Profound metaphysics in a laugh-out-loud caper
Interesting Times - Discworld on what it is to be civilised
The Shortest History of Germany - Sweep across 2,000 years of history in 200 pages
Kane and Abel - A epic family feud spanning two world wars and a financial crash
The Parfit Knight - Georgette Heyer reincarnated
The Story of the British Isles in 100 Places - Sweeping history of the UK & Ireland
Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies about Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be - Helpful advice on embracing life
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle - A classic murder mystery with a supernatural twist

ALL 5* BOOKS
The Matchmaker's Playbook (Wingmen Inc., #1) by Rachel Van Dyken Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman Son of Perdition by Wendy Alec 12 Rules for Life An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor Immortal Matchmakers, Inc. (Immortal Matchmakers, #1) by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff James Martin's American Adventure 80 classic American recipes by James Martin The True Story of Fake News How Mainstream Media Manipulates Millions by Mark Dice Hogwarts An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide (Pottermore Presents, #3) by J.K. Rowling Christian Reflections by C.S. Lewis A Caribbean Mystery (Miss Marple, #10) by Agatha Christie Chasing Hillary Ten Years, Two Presidential Campaigns, and One Intact Glass Ceiling by Amy Chozick Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1) by Marissa Meyer Regency Black Hearts Collection by Claudia Stone The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles, #2) by Marissa Meyer Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman Adrift A True Story of Love, Loss and Survival at Sea by Tami Oldham Ashcraft As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning (The Autobiographical Trilogy No. 2) by Laurie Lee The Less You Know The Sounder You Sleep by Juliet Butler Spitfire A Very British Love Story by John Nichol Shoe Dog A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE by Phil Knight The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck Dethroning Mammon Making Money Serve Grace The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book 2017 by Justin Welby The Shortest History of Europe by John Hirst King of the North Wind The Life of Henry II in Five Acts by Claudia Gold Letters to the Church by Francis Chan Idol (VIP, #1) by Kristen Callihan Managed (VIP, #2) by Kristen Callihan Fall (VIP, #3) by Kristen Callihan Tell Tale Short Stories by Jeffrey Archer


message 2: by AnnaG (last edited Nov 18, 2018 03:27PM) (new)

AnnaG | 158 comments NOVEMBER
Tell Tale Short Stories by Jeffrey Archer Tell Tale: Short Stories Jeffrey Archer ★★★★★
Fiction, Short Stories
Very good short story collection with every story having a twist/moral/interest. I especially liked the "Who Killed the Mayor?" story.

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle Stephen Turton ★★★★★
Fiction, Murder Mystery, Sci Fi
Aiden witnesses a murder and then has to solve it whilst inhabiting the bodies of different witnesses to the crime. It a murder mystery with a Dr Who-vian level twist about why the characters are in Blackheath in the first place.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman The Princess Bride William Goldman ★★★
Fiction, Fairy Tale
A Shrek-like retelling of a Disney fairy tale without the ogres, but with the knowing winks to the reader. It an engaging romp through a fairy tale world.

Milkman by Anna Burns Milkman Anna Burns ★
Fiction, Man Booker, Literary
Terrible book. Trying to be edgy she makes the book hard to read due to poor grammar and lacking in heart or interest by trying to remove specificity from her setting and characters.


message 3: by AnnaG (last edited Nov 18, 2018 03:22PM) (new)

AnnaG | 158 comments 2018 Reading Statistics
Genre:
Fiction: 81 - Romance (16); Murder Mystery (12); Fantasy (16); Literary (11); Family Epic (2); Thriller (5); Fairy Tales (2); Young Adult (3); Politics (4); Sci-Fi (1); Action/Adventure (3); Historical (1); Mystery (1); Classics (4); Short Stories (1)
Mainly Fiction: 3 - Politics (2); Cookery (1)
Non-Fiction: 71 - History (20); Nature (1); Science (11); Biography/Memoir/True Story (14); Classics (1); Cookery (2); Academic (3); Household (4); Politics (4); Christian (8); Self-Help (3); Culture (1)

Author:
Female: 67 Male: 83

Rating:
★★★★★: 45
★★★★: 36
★★★: 41
★★: 18
★: 9

Date Published:

2018 releases: 31
2010s: 77
2000s: 17
1970s - 1990s: 14
1940s - 1960s: 8
1910s - 1930s: 4
1900s and earlier: 6

Books by Month:
January: 18
February: 32
March: 14
April: 21
May: 14
June: 17
July: 14
August: 10
September: 6
October: 9
November: 4
December:


message 4: by AnnaG (last edited Nov 18, 2018 03:22PM) (new)

AnnaG | 158 comments All books by Genre:
Memoir/Biography:
True Crime Bones - Joe Tone; Molly's Game - Molly Bloom;
Survival Adrift - Tami Oldham Ashcraft; As I walked Out One Midsummer's Morning - Laurie Lee; Mortality - Christopher Hitchins
Autobiography Where Shall We Run to - Alan Garner;
History:
Ancient Caligula - Suetonius; Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire - Edward Gibbon; Ancient Worlds - Michael Scott
10th-18th C A World Lit Only by Fire - William Manchester; Young and Damned and Fair - Gareth Russell; Shakespeare - Germaine Greer; The Great Fire of London - Samuel Pepys; The Age of Louis XIV - Voltaire; King of the North Wind - Claudia Gold
WWI & WWII Enemy Coast Ahead - Guy Gibson; Where Poppies Blow - Jon Lewis-Stempel; Sons and Soldiers - Bruce Henderson; Spitfire - John Nichol;
Other 19th - 20th C Modern China - Rana Mitter; Hidden Figures - Margot Lee Shetterley; Black and British - David Olusoga; Empire of Cotton - Sven Beckert; Fascism - Madeline Albright;
General History of the World - Andrew Marr; Shortest History of Germany - James Hawes; Monsters - Simon Seabag Montefiore; Guns Germs and Steel - Jared Diamond; Shortest History of Europe - John Hirst; The Story of Britain in 100 Places - Neil Oliver; The Golden Thread: How Fabric Changed History - Kassia St Clair
Psychology, Science & Nature:
Psychology/Human Biology Testosterone Rex - Cordelia Fine; 12 Rules for Life - Jordan Peterson; Inferior - Angela Saini; Secrets of the Human Body - Chris/Xand Van Tulleken; Tribe - Sebastian Junger; Why we Sleep - Matthew Walker;
Conservation 6 Degrees - Mark Lynas; The Last Rhino - Lawrence Anthony; An Elephant in My Kitchen - Francois Maltby Anthony; Whatever You do, Don't Run - Peter Allison;
Physics Astrophysics for People in a Hurry - Neil De Grasse Tyson; Reality is Not What it Seems - Carlo Rovelli; This Book Will Blow Your Mind - New Scientist
Business & Economics: Moneyball - Michael Lewis; Shoe Dog - Phil Knight; Global Economic History - Robert Allen;
Philosophy: The Alchemist - Paul Coehlo; Essays on Love - Alain de Botton; Reimagining Britain - Justin Welby; Spinster - Kate Bolick; Jonathan Livingston Seagull - Richard Bach
Christian/Self-Help: The Message - Eugene Peterson; The Purpose Driven Life - Rick Warren; Christian Reflections - CS Lewis; Calm - Fearne Cotton; World Religions - Gerald McDermott; Simply Christian - Tom Wright; Mister God This is Anna - Fynn; Dethroning Mammon - Justin Welby; Letters to the Church - Francis Chan
Politics: Fire and Fury - Michael Wolff; The True Story of Fake News - Mark Dice; Chasing Hillary - Amy Chozick; Death of Truth - Michiko Kakutani; Divided - Tim Marshall
Cookery & Household: James Martin- French Adventure, American Adventure; Styled - Emily Henderson; A Life Less Throw-Away - Tara Button; The Plant Paradox - Stephen Gundry; The Luxe Life - Fleur de Force; Keeping House - Cindy Harris
Celebrity & Popular Culture: Scrappy Little Nobody - Anna Kendrick; The Vegas Diaires - Holly Madison; Playing to the Gallery - Grayson Perry;

Murder Mystery: Agatha Christie Elephants Can Remember, A Caribbean Mystery; Cat Among the Pigeons; One Two, Buckle My Shoe; Halloween Party Sophie Hannah Mystery of the Three Quarters; LJ Ross Dark Skies; MC Beaton Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death; Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo Roseanna; Ian Sansom Westmoreland Alone; Robert Galbraith Cuckoo's Calling; Lorna Nicholl Morgan The Death Box
Thriller : Paula Hawkins The Girl on the Train; Shari Lapena The Couple Next Door; BA Paris The Break Down; David Leadbetter Seven Seals of Egypt; Len Deighton SS-GB; Stephenie Meyer The Chemist; Jonas Jonasson 100 Year Old Man who Climbed Out of The Window and Disappeared; The Accidental Further Adventures of the 100 Year Old Man
Romance: Stella Riley - Parfit Knight, Mesalliance, Hazard, The Player Rachel Van Dyken - The Matchmaker's Playbook, Cheater's Regret; Anne O'Brien The Queen's Choice; Claudia Stone Regency Black Hearts Collection; Stephanie Laurens Lady Osbaldstone's Christmas Goose; Georgette St Clair Alpha Meets His Match; Mimi Pamfiloff Immortal Matchmakers; Kristen Callihan Idol; Managed; Fall
Sci Fi & Fantasy: Wendy Alec Son of Perdition; Aldous Huxley Brave New World; Becky Chambers A Closed and Common Orbit; Terry Pratchett I Shall Wear Midnight, Thief of Time, The Fifth Elephant; Interesting Times Marissa Meyer The Lunar Chronicles (Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Winter); George R R Martin A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms; Seth Graheme-Smith Pride and Prejudice and Zombies; Stephen Turton The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
Literary: Jon McGregor Reservoir 13, Even the Dogs; Dante Agliheri Circles of Hell; Gail Honeyman Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine; Jeffrey Archer Kane and Abel, Tell Tale; Juliet Butler The Less you Know, The Sounder You Sleep; John Steinbeck The Grapes of Wrath; F Scott Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby; Anna Burns Milkman
Fairy Tales/Re-tellings: Neil Gaiman Norse Mythology; Liz Braswell: As Old As Time, Once Upon a Dream; The Beast Within - Serena Valentino; Madeline Miller Song of Achilles; Stephen Fry Mythos; William Goldman The Princess Bride
Young Adult: Carve the Mark - Veronica Roth; Forever - Judy Blume; Every Day - David Levithan; JK Rowling Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable History, Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists, Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies ;
Poetry I Hate and I Love - Catullus
Random Generic: : Ian Mackenzie Feast Days; Chimamanda Adichie - Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun; Joanna Cannon The Trouble with Goats and Sheep; Sarah Winman When God Was a Rabbit; Michael Dobbs House of Cards; Robert Harris Conclave; Paula Byrne Look to Your Wife; Mark Lawson The Allegations; Cartes Postale from Greece - Victoria Hislop; James Joyce Dubliners; Katherine Heiny Standard Deviation


message 5: by Susy (new)

Susy (susysstories) AnnaG wrote: "My second year on GoodReads - trying for 100 books this year. I like history, politics and romance and want to throw in some Classical/Ancient texts, nature and murder mystery/Crime this year!

Last year I had 9 Highlights and 43 5* books. Hoping for another great year."


Sounds amazing Anna! Hope 2018 will be just as awesome!
Happy New Year!


message 6: by Blagica , Cheerleader! (new)

Blagica  | 12014 comments Wishing you the best of luck with your goal this year.


message 7: by AnnaG (last edited Feb 04, 2018 08:36AM) (new)

AnnaG | 158 comments JANUARY
Enemy Coast Ahead by Guy Gibson Enemy Coast Ahead Guy Gibson ★★★★★
Non Fiction, History, Memoir
Bomber command was a controversial part of WWII, but a highly necessary part. This book follows Guy Gibson from the start of the war to the dambuster raid and gives an amazing insight into how the bombers developed as aircraft, squadrons and pilots across those years. Well worth reading.

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman Norse Mythology Neil Gaiman ★★★★★
Fiction, Fairytales/Myths, Norse Myths
An easy to read compendium of Norse myths, written in Neil Gaiman's funny and engaging style. Very enjoyable.

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson Astrophysics for People in a Hurry Neil de Grasse Tyson ★★★★★
Non Fiction, Science, Cosmology, Physics
A short and accessible introduction to astrophysics with witty asides and insightful conclusions. The audiobook was very good.

The Matchmaker's Playbook (Wingmen Inc., #1) by Rachel Van Dyken The Matchmaker's Playbook Rachel Van Dyken ★★★★★
Fiction, Romance, Modern Romance
Wasn't expecting much from this book, but actually a fun couple and a good story - a more adult version of She's All That.

12 Rules for Life An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos Jordan Petersen ★★★★★
Non Fiction, Psychology, Self Help
A tour through psychology with some fascinating insights along the way. Quite high brow and academic, there's less direct suggestions that a typical self help book and more story-telling.
NB - Upgraded to 5*s as the advice in this book has really stuck with me.

Moneyball The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game Michael Lewis ★★★★
Non Fiction, Business, Sports
The story of how the Oakland A's outperformed their budget using statistics to beat bigger team. Interesting as a business book, slightly sad as a sports memoir.

Elephants Can Remember (Hercule Poirot, #40) by Agatha Christie Elephants Can Remember Agatha Christie ★★★ 1/2
Fiction, Murder Mystery
One of her later books and she was clearly running out of ideas a bit. The actual mystery at the heart of the story is an interesting one, but the wider story (a mother wanting to inherit from an adopted son?) makes little sense. Whilst it is a Poirot story, he doesn't really feature much and if you don't know the character already this isn't a compelling read in his series.

The Cuckoo's Calling, Vol. 1 by Robert Galbraith The Cuckoo's Calling, Vol. 1 Robert Galbraith ★★★
Fiction, Murder Mystery
This is mediocre murder mystery. There is much more focus on the central characters than they mystery at hand, which doesn't work for me - I just find all the chit-chat distracting.

Fire and Fury Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House Michael Wolff ★★★
Fiction, Politics, US Politics
Despite the author's claims, in my opinion this is only loosely linked to the truth and should be properly classified as fiction. It's an interesting gossipy read. Much like Suetonius...

Caligula by Suetonius Caligula Suetonius ★★★
Non Fiction, History, Ancient History, Classics
Tabloid journalist of the Roman Empire, Suetonius' gossip is terrifying and thrilling stuff. This translation isn't the most reader-friendly though.

Once Upon a Dream (Twisted Tales #2) by Liz Braswell Once Upon a Dream Liz Braswell ★★★
Fiction, Disney, Fantasy
A retelling of Sleeping Beauty inside Aurora's dream world. I generally dislike stories in dream world's as they are prone to "deus ex machina" plot lines - and this is no exception.

Testosterone Rex Unmaking the Myths of Our Gendered Minds by Cordelia Fine Testosterone Rex: Unmaking the Myths of Our Gendered Minds Cordelia Fine ★★
Non Fiction, Feminism, Biology, Psychology
A valiant attempt to show that there are only trivial psychological differences between men and women. It falls flat and doesn't prove its points, if anything it catalogues a considerable bulk of evidence that supports that there are real intrinsic differences between the sexes.

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon The Trouble with Goats and Sheep Joanna Cannon ★★
Fiction, Literary Fiction
I need to just stop reading literary fiction, it's dull and dreary and nothing happens - seriously - staring at Jesus on a drainpipe ??? Riveting stuff...

The Beast Within A Tale of Beauty's Prince by Serena Valentino The Beast Within: A Tale of Beauty's Prince Serena Valentino ★★
Fiction, Fantasy, Disney tie-in
An attempted re-write of Beauty and the Beast from Beast's point of view. Not in line with the movie, some really odd elements.

The Alpha Meets His Match (Shifters Inc., #1) by Georgette St. Clair The Alpha Meets His Match Georgette St Clair ★
Fiction, Romance, Paranormal
Not a great start to the year. I've read other books by this author and don't recall so much (gratuitous) violence against women. I guess this was published at the height of the 50 Shades madness. It's a pity because there are some good characters and underlying a solid plot, but the BDSM rubbish and rape scenes are just distasteful.

A World Lit Only by Fire The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance Portrait of an Age by William Manchester A World Lit Only by Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance: Portrait of an Age William Manchester ★
Non Fiction, Histroy, Medieval History, European History
An attempt by an author who would appear to hold Christianity in disdain to explain the thinking of European people over a thousand year period. Jumps around from generalisation to generalisation and doesn't offer a compelling narrative of what was really happening for my money.


Carve the Mark (Carve the Mark, #1) by Veronica Roth Carve the Mark Veronica Roth ★
Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Dystopian
The Divergent world was a clever series with great characters and an interesting premise. This new series is no where near as interesting, has a lot of gratuitous violence and I didn't care about the characters.


message 8: by Susy (new)

Susy (susysstories) Wow! You’re off to an amazing start Anna!


message 9: by Blagica , Cheerleader! (new)

Blagica  | 12014 comments Hoping you had fun getting lost in some pages in your first month!


message 10: by AnnaG (new)

AnnaG | 158 comments Thanks - it was a great month actually - varied and yet successful! Feb is off to a great start as well.


message 11: by Susy (new)

Susy (susysstories) AnnaG wrote: "Thanks - it was a great month actually - varied and yet successful! Feb is off to a great start as well."

👍 👍 👍


message 12: by AnnaG (new)

AnnaG | 158 comments THE WORST BOOKS OF FEBRUARY

I Shall Wear Midnight (Discworld, #38; Tiffany Aching, #4) by Terry Pratchett I Shall Wear Midnight Terry Pratchett ★★★
Fiction, Fantasy, Discworld
I haven't read the other 3 books in the series on Tiffany Aching, so didn't really understand a fair amount of what was going on. This isn't the strongest Discworld book by some distance however and didn't seem to be as clever and funny as Mort or Soul Music.

Bones A Story of Brothers, a Champion Horse and the Race to Stop America’s Most Brutal Cartel by Joe Tone Bones: A Story of Brothers, a Champion Horse and the Race to Stop America’s Most Brutal Cartel Joe Tone ★★★
Non Fiction, Narcotics, US/Mexico
Interesting true crime story of drug cartels on the US/Mexican border. Not fantastically written - jumps around a bit too much. The story itself is interesting, but the editorialising on the wider drugs war misses the mark somewhat for me.

The Queen's Choice by Anne O'Brien The Queen's Choice Anne O'Brien ★★★
Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance
A rather slow and dull story of the romance between Joanne of Navarre and Henry IV . I lost patience with it about 100 pages in and started to skim read. The characters never develop depth and the plot lurches rather than progresses.

James Martin's French Adventure 80 Classic French Recipes by James Martin James Martin's French Adventure: 80 Classic French Recipes James Martin ★★★
Non Fiction, Cookery
I like James Martin as a chef, but this book is so annoying - seriously how difficult is it to do a recipe per page with a picture of the dish opposite it. Cookery books should be useful. How are you supposed to find the recipe quickly without the picture? It's books like this that are killing the cookery market - the internet is a far superior way of finding French recipes.

A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers, #2) by Becky Chambers A Closed and Common Orbit Becky Chambers ★★★
Fiction, Sci-Fi
I wanted this to be a great book because the premise of an AI waking up in a body and trying to get used to it sounded great. However the book weaves two stories together which are just confusing and quite dull. Needed more plot and less literary pretensions.

Agatha Raisin and the First Two Tantalising Cases The Quiche of Death & The Vicious Vet by M.C. Beaton Introducing Agatha Raisin: The Quiche of Death/The Vicious Vet MC Beaton ★★
Fiction, Murder Mystery, Contemporary
Agatha Raisin is an unlikeable heroine who makes poor choices and is stuck in the middle of a convoluted plot.

Inferior by Angela Saini Inferior Angela Saini ★★
Non Fiction, Feminism, Science
Like the Cordelia Fine from last month, there is a deep contradiction at the heart of this book. Angela Saini is trying to simultaneously argue that women have something new and vital to contribute to science after centuries of patriarchal oppression and that women and men are fundamentally not very different - in particular they think in similar ways and men have no innate advantage over women.
These two stances obviously don't go together, if women and men are the same, what new contribution do women have to offer? If women are fundamentally different, maybe men can do some things better than women. Having just read Jordan Peterson's demolition of the patriarchy, this is a warped political polemic masquerading as science.

Forever by Judy Blume Forever Judy Blume ★★
Having loved Are You there God, it's me Margaret? and Here's to You Rachel Robinson, I wanted to read something nostalgic. Sadly, reading this as an adult, it's just dull. It's not as good as the other two, the characters are barely there and the plot de minimus.

The Great Fire of London by Samuel Pepys The Great Fire of London Samuel Pepys ★
Non Fiction, History, 1600s
Dreadfully dull diaries explaining the Great Fire of London. YAwn-inducing.

Cheater's Regret (Curious Liaisons, #2) by Rachel Van Dyken Cheater's Regret Rachel Van Dyken ★
Fiction, Romance, Modern Romance
Absolutely dreadful. After a good book by RVD last month, this was such a disappointment. The heroine is a psychopath who slashes the tyres on her ex-boyfriend's car, steals his stuff, humiliates him at work, nearly kills him by deliberately causing an allergic reaction, post a video of him drunk on the internet and yet... rather than running a mile from this menace to society and reporting her criminal activities to the police so they can lock her up - he decides to get back together with her.
Dreadful book, just dreadful.


message 13: by Susy (new)

Susy (susysstories) Ehhh, I hope there were some amazing books as well?


message 14: by AnnaG (new)

AnnaG | 158 comments THE BEST BOOKS OF FEBRUARY
The Last Rhinos The Powerful Story of One Man's Battle to Save a Species by Lawrence Anthony The Last Rhinos: The Powerful Story of One Man's Battle to Save a Species Lawrence Anthony ★★★★★
Non Fiction, Memoir, Nature
Lawrence Anthony is an amazing conservationist and an excellent writer. His passion for the animals always comes through and it is a joy to read. His missions always sound so fantastical, it's hard to believe that it really happened.

The Purpose Driven Life What on Earth Am I Here for? by Rick Warren The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for? Rick Warren ★★★★★
Non Fiction, Christian, Self-Help
I first read this when it came out 15 years ago. I had a profound impact then and re-reading it now I can see how much it did help me in the past. I am also picking up new things that matter to me now but didn't back in my teens.

The Message The Bible in Contemporary Language (Bible Message) by Eugene H. Peterson The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language Eugene Peterson ★★★★★
Non Fiction, Bible
This is a modern translation that is actual easy to read as a story. Historic place names are replaced with modern, convoluted references are simplified and it's much easier to understand the core message of the text without wacky Greek grammar obscuring the real meaning of the passage.

Christian Reflections by C.S. Lewis Christian Reflections CS Lewis ★★★★★
Non Fiction, Christian Philosophy
Thought-provoking as ever - I particularly found passages on evolution and faith resonated with me.

Son of Perdition (Chronicles of Brothers) by Wendy Alec Son of Perdition Wendy Alec ★★★★★
Fiction, Christian Fiction, Apocalypse
My favourite book ever is Terry Pratchett's Good Omens which has a perfect, humourous take on Armageddon, since reading that I have always enjoyed books about the Apocalypse - whether Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the Left Behind Series or other dystopia. This is a great book in that genre - action orientated, with good interesting characters and much mysticism. As long as you suspend disbelief on the conspiracy theory and just enjoy going with the flow its good fun and since (minor spoiler alert) it casts George Osborne as the Anti-Christ, what's not to like.

Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor Reservoir 13 Jon McGregor ★★★★★
Fiction, Literary Fiction
I swore off literary fiction last year due to a number of disappointments from last year's Man Booker long list - but this was an exception! The book focuses on a Yorkshire village where a girl has gone missing. Rather than a typical whodunit, it focuses on the atmosphere, the passing of time and the natural world around the village. Very moving.

The True Story of Fake News How Mainstream Media Manipulates Millions by Mark Dice The True Story of Fake News: How Mainstream Media Manipulates Millions Mark Dice ★★★★★
Non Fiction, Current Affairs, Media Studies
So initially I thought Mark Dice is a conspiracy theorist crank. His videos on YouTube are from a conservative point of view, but also mock political opponents rather than engage their opinions. This book is surprisingly informative though - highlighting some very worrying aspects of modern media companies and giving some historical context I was completely unaware of. I really hope the US sorts its media out. This is a doleful tale.

James Martin's American Adventure 80 classic American recipes by James Martin James Martin's American Adventure: 80 classic American recipes James Martin ★★★★★
Non Fiction, Cookery, American Cookery
A TV-tie cook book with some great comfort dishes. Looks good and easy to cook. Keen to give some recipes a try.

Immortal Matchmakers, Inc. (Immortal Matchmakers, #1) by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff Immortal Matchmakers Mimi Pamfiloff ★★★★★
Fiction, Romance, Paranormal Romance
I was expecting just a trashy romance with some paranormal powers and then this happened... It's great. Interesting characters, genuine conflicting emotions, I wasn't sure how the HEA was going to come, but it did!

Hogwarts An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide (Pottermore Presents, #3) by J.K. Rowling Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide JK Rowling ★★★★★
Fiction, Potterverse
I like the extra pieces of Harry Potter that JK Rowling has put out. Whilst yes they are ways of cashing in now the main series is done, this does feel like a fan-service book and expands areas I wanted to know about. Unlike last year's Cursed Child, it also fits with the universe rather than undermining it.

The Vegas Diaries by Holly Madison The Vegas Diaries Holly Madison ★★★★
Non Fiction, Memoir, Romantic Memoir
I read this immediately after reading Alain de Botton below and it has to be said Holly Madison seems to have a lot more self-awareness than he does, especially when it comes to relationships. Holly comes across as bubbly and driven. By the end of the tale, I genuinely wished her well in her future endeavours, by comparison, I felt that Alain de Botton's ex girlfriend had a lucky escape and was well-shot of him.

Essays In Love by Alain de Botton Essays In Love Alain de Botton ★★★★
Non Fiction, Memoir, Romantic Memoir
A Philosopher's dissection of a doomed relationship. The girl in question clearly had a lucky escape from being stuck with the author more permanently.

Young and Damned and Fair The Life and Tragedy of Catherine Howard at the Court of Henry VIII by Gareth Russell Young and Damned and Fair: The Life and Tragedy of Catherine Howard at the Court of Henry VIII Gareth Russell ★★★★
Non Fiction, History, Tudor Period
Interesting look at the Tudor court focusing in on Catherine's household. Her life is more of a subplot to a tour round the Tudor court, but there were some fascinating tid-bits.

A Life Less Throwaway The lost art of buying for life by Tara Button A Life Less Throwaway: The lost art of buying for life Tara Button ★★★★
Non Fiction, Household Organising
Good sensible advice on valuing quality and longevity in goods rather than fashion following. There are a number of useful exercises that can help a compulsive shopper like me.

The Age of Louis XIV (Everyman's Library #780) by Voltaire The Age of Louis XIV ★★★★
Non Fiction, European History, 17th Century
Most of my history reading focuses on Anglosphere countries, so it is interesting to read about Europe and see it from a perspective that did not know about the wars to come in the 19th and 20th centuries. This is a broad-reaching history and well worth a read.

House of Cards (Francis Urquhart, #1) by Michael Dobbs House of Cards Michael Dobbs ★★★★
Fiction, Political Intrigue, Commercial/Literary crossover
I've enjoyed both the BBC and Netflix adaptations of these characters and whilst the books aren't as good as the TV, they are very witty and wry. The behind the curtains look at politics as a murky swamp feels as contemporary today as ever.
Update - downgraded to 4* - I really wanted to like this book, but it's not 5*.

Six Degrees Our Future on a Hotter Planet by Mark Lynas Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet Mark Lynas★★★★
Non Fiction, Science, Ecology, Climate Change
10 years ago a journalist asked what was the worst that could happen with climate change and then listed in in ever increasingly severe stories. Even he realised that his - "and-then-we're-all-doomed-to-extinction" stories were so fantastically unlikely that he felt the need to caveat that they weren't going to happen. Interestingly, the main problems he did bring up have almost certainly now got technological fixes with advances in GM crops and so forth. What ten years ago would have been an alarming read, actually left me quite sanguine.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley Brave New World Aldous Huxley ★★★★
Fiction, Dystopia, Sci-Fi
The destruction of family, religion and social mores and division of humanity into different caste and enslaved populations is a frightening one, however the odd side stories with annoying characters like Lenina stops this short of being really great.

Westmoreland Alone (The County Guides #3) by Ian Sansom Westmoreland Alone Ian Sansom ★★★★
Fiction, Murder Mystery, Historical Fiction
This is the second I have read in the County Guides series and the characters are growing on me. A good substitute for a Poirot any day.

As Old As Time (Twisted Tales, #3) by Liz Braswell As Old As Time Liz Braswell ★★★★
Fiction, Fairy Tale, Disney
A twist on Beauty and the Beast that takes the story to a more action-filled whodunit rather than a romance at its focus. Its OK as a story, the characters follow the film which is great.

Dark Skies (DCI Ryan Mysteries, #7) by L.J. Ross Dark Skies LJ Ross ★★★★
Fiction, Murder Mystery
The next in the series of DCI Ryan. I don't like the baddie who used to date him that's been introduced - seems totally unnecessary. Quite a good plot, although a heat-seeking Typhoon jet and a chase on horse-back were a little convoluted.

Styled Secrets for Arranging Rooms, from Tabletops to Bookshelves by Emily Henderson Styled: Secrets for Arranging Rooms, from Tabletops to Bookshelves Emily Henderson ★★★ 1/2
Non Fiction, Interior Decorating
I'm thinking of re-doing my home, so bought a couple of books to see whether there were any worthwhile tips. I'm going to do some playing around with the suggestions in this book, some of which seems like good ideas. Will see if it helps.


message 15: by Blagica , Cheerleader! (new)

Blagica  | 12014 comments You are doing great! Hoping March is a smashing success for you.


message 16: by AnnaG (new)

AnnaG | 158 comments MARCH
A Caribbean Mystery (Miss Marple, #10) by Agatha Christie A Caribbean Mystery Agatha Christie ★★★★★
Fiction, Murder Mystery
I usually find Miss Marple a bit prim and annoying, but here she is on good form. The mystery itself is not the best ever, but the cast of supporting characters and plausible range of suspects is a good read.

Calm Working through life's daily stresses to find a peaceful centre by Fearne Cotton Calm: Working through life's daily stresses to find a peaceful centre Fearne Cotton ★★★★
Non Fiction, Self Help
This is a very pretty book covering techniques in staying calm such as mindfulness and monitoring your breathing. Useful in a crisis I suspect.

Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists (Pottermore Presents, #2) by J.K. Rowling Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies (Pottermore Presents, #1) by J.K. Rowling Short Stories from Hogwarts - JK Rowling ★★★★
Fiction, Fantasy, Harry Potter
More universe building from JK Rowling. I like being able to see more about the story and the world of the series. The section on Azkaban was very interesting.

Modern China A Very Short Introduction by Rana Mitter Global Economic History A Very Short Introduction by Robert C. Allen OUP Very Short Introductions ★★★★
Non Fiction, Academic, History
I enjoy the Very Short Introductions and these are two good entries to the series. It is interesting to read them together.

Rana Mitter over three chapters focuses in on the political, economic and human consequences of the 20m people who died of famine and the persecutions of the Cultural revolution. Robert Allen summarises the same period in one brief sentence: "Despite the gyrations in policy, including the Great Leap Forward, the subsequent famine and the Cultural Revolution, per capita income more than doubled [..which..] was no mean achievement."

Which only goes to show that economics is indeed a truly dismal science.

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Edward Gibbon ★★★★
Non Fiction, History, 1st Millenium AD, European History
A truly epic tale of the roman empire from Christ to the crusades. I've actually only got as far as Constantine and don't know if I will finish it, but it is a really thought provoking book and I think I need to pause and digest what I have read so far before starting the next section.

A History of the World by Andrew Marr A History of the World ★★★
Non Fiction, History, World History
I've more or less abandoned this book after 3 chapters. Might give it another go later. It's pretty simplistic in its tale of history and having just had a good go at Decline and Fall, the complexity of thought just isn't here.

Reimagining Britain Foundations for Hope by Justin Welby Reimagining Britain: Foundations for Hope Justin Welby ★★★
Non Fiction, Politics, Christian
A policy document that doesn't really make any recommendations as it sits so firmly on the fence about everything. It's notable that the Archbishop says we need vision and then provides the Catholic Church's advice - says a lot about the leadership and counsel the CofE provides to its flock.

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris The Breakdown BA Paris ★★★
Fiction, Thriller, Murder Mystery
My second book from BA Paris after the totally nonsensical Behind Closed Doors. She writes a pacy thriller which if you totally suspend disbelief is a good tale. Not dreadful, but not a book I'll remember very long.

Hidden Figures The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly Hidden Figures - Margot Lee Shetterley ★★★
Non Fiction, History, American History, Science History, 20th Century
I loved the film of Hidden Figures, but he book doesn't have as much character. Fundamentally, mathematics is not really a spectator sport. Even books about cracking enigma rely on the monumental consequences of shortening the war and the eccentric personalities of the Hut 9 crew to keep the attention. This story is interesting, but not compellingly told.

World Religions An Indispensable Introduction (Nelson's Quick Guides) by Gerald R. McDermott World Religions: An Indispensable Introduction Gerald McDermott ★★★
Non Fiction, Religion
This book is written for Christians to understand the theology of other religions and how they differ fro Christian understandings of God. It is detailed and illuminating, and a solid reference guide.

Monsters by Simon Sebag Montefiore Monsters Simon Seabag Montefiore★★
Non Fiction, History
A count-down of 101 obviously bad eggs rom history. There is no attempt to compare and contrast, to classify or properly contextualise - just 2-4 pages per person with some extra essays on related topics. It's dull to read and doesn't summarise or give the information in a digestable way.

The Seven Seals of Egypt (Matt Drake #17) by David Leadbeater The Seven Seals of Egypt David Leadbetter ★
Fiction, Action/Adventure
I got this in the Kindle monthly deal and it is the 17th in a series which I haven't read, so fair dos - he doesn't spend time building up the characters, but the plot was dreadful, the characters spend the whole time running from one archaeological site in Egypt to another after some Macguffin that even the main characters care about so little that they keep getting sidelined. Really disappointing.


message 17: by Blagica , Cheerleader! (new)

Blagica  | 12014 comments A book is a dream that you hold in your hand. I hope that April brings you many more five star reads. Do you have a stand out book so far this year?


message 18: by AnnaG (new)

AnnaG | 158 comments Thanks Blagica. I'd recommend any of my 5*books in the first comment. I think the top recommendation is The Last Rhinos by Lawrence Anthony. My favourite books from the last two years were Babylon's Ark and The Elephant Whisperer both by him as well.

He writes so passionately about animals and so beautifully about nature, but at the same time his books are about politics and adventure (usually ending up with him literally going into a war zone with special forces support...). He meets larger than life characters everywhere he goes and describes it all so vividly - definitely worth reading.

Do you have a favourite book so far?


message 19: by AnnaG (last edited May 05, 2018 08:47AM) (new)

AnnaG | 158 comments APRIL
Mister God, This is Anna by Fynn Mister God, This is Anna Fynn (Sydney Hopkins) ★★★★★
Fiction/Non Fiction, Spirituality, Family
I don't think I've been quite so affected by a book in a long time. This story was delightful and engrossing and genuinely thought-provoking. Highly recommended.

Secrets of the Human Body by Chris van Tulleken Secrets of the Human Body Christopher & Xand Van Tulleken ★★★★★
Non Fiction, Science, Biology
A fascinating look at the inner workings of the human bodies. Well-written and engaging and incredibly informative.

Tribe On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging Sebastian Junger ★★★★★
Non Fiction, Culture/Anthropology, Psychology
This book is about PTSD in veterans and how it could be reduced, but it's actually a much broader look at the importance of community, preventing freeloading and bringing people together.

Regency Black Hearts Collection by Claudia Stone Regency Black Hearts Collection Claudia Stone ★★★★★
Fiction, Regency Romance
A collection of 3 good romances with interesting, strong heroines and handsome, noble heroes. An afternoon well-spent.

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1) by Marissa Meyer Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles, #2) by Marissa Meyer ★★★★★ Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3) by Marissa Meyer ★★ Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4) by Marissa Meyer ★Lunar Chronicles Marissa Meyer Fiction, Sci-Fi Fantasy, Fairy tale re-telling, Romance
This is a great retelling of fairy-tales Cinderella with Cyborgs, Little Red Riding Hood with Werewolves, Rapunzel with mad-hacking skills - thoroughly recommended. The characters are well-written and have a real personality off the page. The characters/story recognisably reference the original, but take down a totally different route. Great series until the third book when it gets overly ploddy, the characters and plot stop making any sense and it all falls apart. Not sure if I would even recommend starting the series knowing now how it ends.

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena The Couple Next Door Shari Lapena ★★★★★
Fiction, Thriller
I don't usually read thrillers, but this was an intriguing set-up: a couple leave their baby at home to go to a dinner party next door and the baby gets snatched. There are a couple of twists in the plot that make sense and round the story off nicely.

Chasing Hillary Ten Years, Two Presidential Campaigns, and One Intact Glass Ceiling by Amy Chozick Chasing Hillary: Ten Years, Two Presidential Campaigns, and One Intact Glass Ceiling Amy Chozick ★★★★★
Fascism A Warning by Madeleine K. Albright Fascism: A Warning Madeline Albright ★★★★
Non Fiction, American Politics, History
No-one can argue that the American electorate were spoilt for choice in 2016 and reading these two viewpoints, overall I think the US voters plumped for the better of the two options they were given. It is fascinating to read Madeline Albright say that a fascist is someone who undermines democracy by evading the scrutiny of the press and also does not respect the public's vote. Whilst she obviously attributes this to Donald Trump, Amy Chozick demonstrates admirably that Hillary was dreadful in her treatment of the press corp, that she WAS crooked and surrounded herself with dodgy people. Both good to read, I'd recommend Chasing Hillary even if you are not that interested in politics, as a story on the perils of hubris it stands alone.

Sons and Soldiers The Untold Story of the Jews Who Escaped the Nazis and Returned with the U.S. Army to Fight Hitler by Bruce Henderson Sons and Soldiers: The Untold Story of the Jews Who Escaped the Nazis and Returned with the U.S. Army to Fight Hitler Bruce Henderson ★★★★
Non Fiction, History, WWII
This is the story of Jewish Germans who escaped the Holocaust and went back with the US Army. It contains harrowing details of the Holocaust and is a difficult, but compelling read.

Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Purple Hibiscus Chimamanda Adichie ★★★★
Fiction, Literary Fiction, African Fiction
I usually don't get on with literary fiction and this wouldn't have been an exception, apart from Chimamanda has an amazing way of writing about place and family that lifts this story and makes it well worth a read.

Roseanna (Martin Beck #1) by Maj Sjöwall Roseanna Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo ★★★★
Fiction, Nordic Noir, Police Procedural
I think I prefer murder mystery and figuring out the solution myself to Nordic Noir where the focus is on the atmospherics around a murder case, but this is a well-written mystery and I'm glad I read it as the start of its genre.

When God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman When God Was a Rabbit Sarah Winman ★★★
Fiction, Literary Fiction, Family Life
This book was a real shame. The writing is great - fun details and good asides. However, it seemed to go through the "literary fiction checklist" to prove it is woke - child abuse (tick); gay main characters (tick); murder (tick); premature death of a child (tick)

Shakespeare A Very Short Introduction by Germaine Greer Shakespeare: A Very Short Introduction Germaine Greer ★★★
Non Fiction, Biography, Literary Analysis
Interesting tidbits into Shakespeare's play and personal history. Not as good as some other OUP VSIs.

Conclave by Robert Harris Conclave Robert Harris ★★★
Fiction, Mystery, Commercial/Literary Crossover
Great to see a book about the Catholic Church not just taking a pop at it. Interesting plot with maybe a few too many twists, but a good read.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller The Song of Achilles Madeline Miller ★★
Fiction, Historical Fiction, Re-telling
Re-telling of the Iliad which doesn't add anything to the plot, just introduces an irrelevant character to see the story through. I think it's quite lazy to take an established story and just re-tell it straight without making it into something new or deeper. If she had written the exact same book, but based it in a fantasy world rather than Homer's novel, I'd have liked it much better.

Spinster Making a Life of One's Own by Kate Bolick Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own Kate Bolick ★
Non Fiction, Feminism, Sociology
A ridiculous attempt to argue that Spinsterhood is a positive experience by a) quoting women who later chose to get married and b) examining her own dull pointless life. If anything this is a manifesto for the benefits of marriage.

The Plant Paradox The Hidden Dangers in "Healthy" Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain by Steven R. Gundry The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in "Healthy" Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain Stephen Gundry ★
(Non) Fiction, Cookery, Food
A supposed scientific look at lectins in plants and the potential harm that is causing to our bodies. Maybe this doctor will look like a genius in the future, but much of the advice sounds like snake oil to me, I'd rather stick to the main stream view that whole grains are good and you should take drugs if they are prescribed by your doctor etc..


message 20: by Blagica , Cheerleader! (new)

Blagica  | 12014 comments “Reading brings us unknown friends” While the warm weather is coming I hope you make some new friends in May! Awesome job so far!


message 21: by AnnaG (new)

AnnaG | 158 comments MAY
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine Gail Honeyman ★★★★★
Fiction, Contemporary, Mental Health
I'm not sure why this book chimed with me so much, but the story of a lonely, damaged woman in Glasgow, facing up to life having gone through horrible circumstances is well worth reading.

Adrift A True Story of Love, Loss and Survival at Sea by Tami Oldham Ashcraft Adrift: A True Story of Love, Loss and Survival at Sea Tami Oldham Ashcroft ★★★★★
Non Fiction, True Story, Survival
The true story of a woman who got stuck on a boat alone in the middle of the Pacific for over a month after it was damaged in a hurricane. It's emotional and remarkable that she survived to tell the tale.

Molly’s Game From Hollywood’s Elite to Wall Street’s Billionaire Boys Club, My High-Stakes Adventure in the World of Underground Poker by Molly Bloom Molly’s Game: From Hollywood’s Elite to Wall Street’s Billionaire Boys Club, My High-Stakes Adventure in the World of Underground Poker Molly Bloom ★★★★
Non Fiction, Memoir
Molly Bloom comes across as a likeable, resourceful woman in the middle of a bunch of egotistical poker players with too much time and money on their hands. Interestingly, the film goes a different route to the book focusing on her home life, but the book is an good accompaniment to the movie.

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms (The Tales of Dunk and Egg, #1-3) by George R.R. Martin A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms George R R Martin ★★★★
Fiction, Fantasy, Games of Thrones
This is a side tale set before the Game of Thrones TV series. It has the same epic story-telling, but less blood and guts. I enjoyed it a lot and particularly liked Egg as a character.

Whatever You Do, Don't Run True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide by Peter Allison Whatever You Do, Don't Run: True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide Peter Allison ★★★★
Non Fiction, Memoir, African Travel
An entertaining set of stories from and African safari guide, not quite up to Lawrence Anthony's writing level and excitement, but an enjoyable read that really makes you want to go on safari.

The Allegations by Mark Lawson Mark Lawson Look To Your Wife by Paula Byrne Paula Byrne ★★★★1/2 / ★★
Fiction, Social Media, Current events
These books both touch on current social trends - The Allegations follows two men who get accused of sexual assault/bullying and despite no evidence, lose reputations and jobs - everyone involved in #metoo needs to read this book or something similar. Look to Your Wife take a more female perspective and shows a woman getting verbal abuse on social media for posting narcissistic tweets. The plot doesn't go anywhere really and I feel little sympathy for the protagonist who seems to bring most of her misery on herself.

SS-GB by Len Deighton SS-GB Len Deighton ★★★
Fiction, Parallel universe, WWII
Everything about this book feels a little half-arsed, from the cover that is quite clearly a mocked-up photo to the plot which is dull and plodding. The idea of what-if the Nazis had invaded the UK is an interesting set-up and had so much promise, but the end result is rather disappointing.

Lady Osbaldestone's Christmas Goose (Lady Osbaldestone's Christmas Chronicles #1) by Stephanie Laurens Lady Osbaldestone's Christmas Goose Stephanie Laurens ★★★
Fiction, Romance, Historical Romance
This novella is about one of the most interesting characters from the Cynster series, unfortunately, like several other recent Cynster entries it is quite toned down and less atmospheric than the original series. If you want a good romance start with Devil's Bride and make your way through the series.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho The Alchemist Paul Coehlo ★★★
Fiction, Spirituality, Fable
I bought this book off the back of the 68 million copies sold hype and I just don't get it. It's a nice story, there are some good lines in it, but it's nothing to write home about.

Playing to the Gallery by Grayson Perry Playing to the Gallery Grayson Perry ★★★
Non Fiction, Art
An engaging attempt to explain contemporary art from an interesting perspective. All this really did was confirm my long-held suspicion that "artists" are really snake-oil salesmen, but rather than con people into believing a worthless item is valuable, they say its worthless, call it art and the saps perceive value all by themselves... This book leaves me wondering how much money in the art world is really money laundering.

Circles of Hell by Dante Alighieri I Hate and I Love by Catullus Dante Agliheri/Catullus
Fiction, Classic Fiction ★★★
The Penguin Classics books are easy ways to dip into the best part of classical literature and these excerpts are well-worth reading.

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared Jonas Jonasson ★★
Fiction, Black Comedy, Literary
Jonasson has a very distinctive style which I quite liked in Hitman Anders, here the cast of dark and conflicted characters didn't hold my attention quite as well and the absurdity of the plot didn't work for me. It's a style you either love or hate.


message 22: by AnnaG (new)

AnnaG | 158 comments JUNE
Thief of Time (Discworld, #26; Death, #5) by Terry Pratchett Thief of Time Terry Pratchett ★★★★★
Fiction, Fantasy, Comedy, Discworld
Another amazing discworld novel, DEATH is the best character ever and this one also follows Susan who is my second favourite.

The Shortest History of Germany by James Hawes The Shortest History of Germany James Hawes ★★★★★
Non Fiction, History, German History, 0AD-21st century
A fast-paced dash through the changing borders and character of various states to have occupied the area currently called Germany - insightful and thought-provoking.

Spitfire A Very British Love Story by John Nichol Spitfire: A Very British Love Story John Nichol ★★★★★
Non Fiction, History, WWII
Heart-warming and heart-wrenching tales of Spitfires in WWII - the pilots, the dogfights, the technology. This gives a well-rounded picture and is gorgeously published.

As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning Laurie Lee ★★★★★
Non Fiction, Travel Diary, Memoir
Wonderfully written memoir of Laurie walking from UK to Spain and stumbling into a war. The nature writing is superb, the characters he meets are perfectly captured and the insight into the Spanish civil war is a sombre undertone.

The Less You Know The Sounder You Sleep by Juliet Butler The Less You Know The Sounder You Sleep Juliet Butler ★★★★★
Fiction, Literary Fiction, Russia
A novel based on a true story of Siamese twins in Russia in the 1950s - a fascinating perspective on life and on a on-going problem of how disabled children are cared for in Russia today.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins The Girl on the Train Paula Hawkins ★★★★
Fiction, Thriller, Family
An alcoholic nosy parker may or may not know something helpful to resolve a missing persons enquiry on the street she previous lived in. Among the problems of a blacked out memory, she also has been somewhat harassing her ex and his new wife who still live on that street. It's a good twisty story, pacily written with an ending that makes some sense at least of the action.

Even the Dogs by Jon McGregor Even the Dogs Jon McGregor ★★★★
Fiction, Literary Fiction
A very literary book that follows a courtroom drama and the separation between the courts and the messiness of real life. Interesting read.

Simply Christian by N.T. Wright Simply Christian Tom Wright ★★★★
Non Fiction, Christian
Clear explanation of the main doctrines of Christianity. Helpful for believers and not alike.

Every Day (Every Day, #1) by David Levithan Every Day David Levithan ★★★★
Fiction, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Young Adult
A coming-of-age tale for a spirit that every day possesses a new body. It's an interesting perspective and a good character study of how important is what's inside v out.

Reality is Not What it Seems The Journey to Quantum Gravity by Carlo Rovelli Reality is Not What it Seems: The Journey to Quantum Gravity Carlo Rovelli ★★★★
Non Fiction, Science, Physics
Unlikely the sleep book below, Rovelli provides a very good introduction to quantum mechanics that I didn't find too nerdy or patronising. It was helped by him clearly setting out at the start whom the book is aimed at and where his argument is going so that you can separate known science from speculation. If you are looking for an in-depth serious physics read, I'd probably recommend Forces of Nature (Brian Cox) or Astrophysics for People in a Hurry (Neil DeGrasse Tyson) ahead of this, but this is a good read.

Why We Sleep The New Science of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams Matthew Walker ★★★
Non Fiction, Popular Science
A look into the reasons for sleep and benefits of getting enough. A bit too nerdy to be self-help and a bit too pop-sci to be for those familiar with the topic and a bit too patronising to be pop-sci. I just wasn't sure what this book was supposed to be and suspect I will forget most of it.

The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer The Chemist Stephenie Meyer ★★★
Fiction, Commercial, Thriller
Not as good as The Host or The Twilight Series, this book follows a genius chemist who has been working for some evil part of the Deep State and finds herself running for her life. It seems a complete waste of resources for anyone to bother tracking her and the ending makes it no clearer why anyone would bother with her.

Cartes Postales from Greece by Victoria Hislop Cartes Postales from Greece Victoria Hislop ★★
Fiction, Romance, Short Stories
A perfect good intriguing romance set-up that is wasted on a collection of mediocre short stories - avoid.

Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick Scrappy Little Nobody Anna Kendrick ★★
Non Fiction, Autobiography, Celebrity
I don't usually bother with celebrity autobiographies and this confirms that's a good decision. I get that Anna is very young and doesn't have much to write about, but honestly the passages on her fairly mundane childhood aren't written-beautifully or illuminating on her character - she needs to cut to the chase far quicker and write about being a movie star.

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Half of a Yellow Sun Chimamanda Adichie ★★
Fiction, Literary Fiction, African Fiction
I genuinely don't know how this book won prizes or merited a film deal. It's OK, it's readable, but I just couldn't really get into the characters or the plot. I generally don't get on with literary fiction, so maybe I'm just not the intended reader, by I found this dull, overly long and wordy and slow.

Empire of Cotton A New History of Global Capitalism by Sven Beckert Empire of Cotton: A New History of Global Capitalism Sven Beckert ★★
Non Fiction, History, Industrial History, 17th C - 20th C
An exceptionally confusingly written attempt to unpick 4 hundred years of the cotton industry. The organisation of the book doesn't really help understand what happened and if I didn't already know the main drivers of the story, I would have been hopelessly lost.

Black and British A Forgotten History by David Olusoga Black and British: A Forgotten History David Olusoga ★★
Non Fiction, UK + Commonwealth History, 1700- Present
The title is false advertising, barely a single black, British person gets a mention. It's really a re-tread of the history of slavery and abolition. Interesting and well-written, but not a forgotten history or something that will tell you anything fundamentally new if you've done GCSE history.

The Death of Truth Notes on Falsehood in the Age of Trump by Michiko Kakutani The Death of Truth: Notes on Falsehood in the Age of Trump Michiko Kakutani ★
Non Fiction, Politics, Philosophy
I don't think the author of this book has any self-awareness at all, or has ever spoken with a Trump supporter or ventured outside of her echo chamber in general. Amongst other scattered insights in this book - apparently science should proceed by consensus, but when the hoi polloi support a policy, that's populism and therefore evil. She really does have a condescending view of anyone with Republican/right of centre views. I'm not American and don't have any strong feelings on Donald Trump's domestic or foreign policy agendas, but I really, really hope he wins in 2020 to put snotty journalists like this in their place.

If America's journalists woke up tomorrow and started reporting on the news wouldn't it be amazing? Not "What has Donald Trump just tweeted?", not "Isn't Donald Trump awful for keeping his campaign promises?", not "This random investigation has uncovered another tedious email sent from someone I've never heard of to someone else I don't know, but it mentions Ukraine and that's next to Russia!" and not "How can I insult the president in a new and exciting way?" How about DOING YOUR JOBS? You know, covering political developments that affect people's lives - what's going on with healthcare premiums? is there really a crime wave or is that just elements of the press sensationalising cases? are America's schools actually any good? are any of the new jobs worth having? Instead in this book, this holier-than-thou SJW has the temerity to castigate and insult people for being poorly informed. YOU'RE A GOD-DAMNED JOURNALIST START REPORTING THE NEWS TO PEOPLE IN A WAY THAT IS INFORMATIVE AND ENGAGING. STOP FILLING PEOPLE'S FEEDS WITH GOSSIP ABOUT IRRELEVANT DETAILS OF DONALD TRUMP'S TWITTER FEED OR PERSONAL LIFE.


message 23: by Blagica , Cheerleader! (new)

Blagica  | 12014 comments Hoping July is full of page turning and falling in love with a new book!


message 24: by AnnaG (new)

AnnaG | 158 comments JULY
The Parfit Knight (Rockliffe, #1) by Stella Riley The Parfit Knight + 4 more in Rockliffe series Stella Riley ★★★★★
Fiction, Regency Romance
These books captures the regency era in the same nostalgic way as Georgette Heyer, beautiful and lyrical and filled with interesting characters.

Kane and Abel (Kane and Abel, #1) by Jeffrey Archer Kane and Abel Jeffrey Archer ★★★★★
Fiction, Family Epic
Following the lives of two men across the 1929 crash, two world wars, divorces, murders, suicides and court cases, this is an epic picture of life turning out brilliantly and tragically at the very same time.

Shoe Dog A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE by Phil Knight Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE Phil Knight ★★★★★
Non Fiction, Business Memoir, Sports
Having just read Kane and Abel, this was a fascinating real life look at an entrepreneur setting up a big business. It's incredible how much luck was involved, despite all the author's talent and determination he could have lost it all so many times.

Dethroning Mammon Making Money Serve Grace The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book 2017 by Justin Welby Dethroning Mammon: Making Money Serve Grace: The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book 2017Justin Welby ★★★★★
Non Fiction, Christian
A reflection on how Christian's should look at money, what to do with it and how to manage it. As with most Anglican tracts it leaves the decisions on what is right to the reader, but raises the topic in a thought-provoking way.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck ★★★★★
Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny Standard Deviation Katherine Heiny ★★★★
Dubliners by James Joyce DublinersJames Joyce★★★
Fiction, Family, Literary Fiction
I read all three books in one day and found the contrasts interesting. Whilst set at very different times, they all focus on family interactions. Dubliners is short vignettes of people in Dublin. The stories are too short to engage with the characters, but the overall effect of the stories gives a flavour of family life in Dublin at the time- a solid community with religious faith. By contrast, Standard Deviation follows a married couple in New York in the present day going about their shallow little lives. You have plenty of time to connect with and understand them, but fundamentally they are ordinary people, slightly unpleasant, leading unremarkable lives. The Grapes of Wrath follows a family fleeing from foreclosure and starvation and seeking to make a life elsewhere. It succeeds where the other books let the reader down - developing the atmosphere of 1930s America, the characters of the family and throwing in "pacing" chapters to slow or speed up the narrative - truly a masterpiece.

Guns, Germs and Steel A Short History of Everybody for the Last 13,000 Years by Jared Diamond Guns, Germs and Steel: A Short History of Everybody for the Last 13,000 Years Jared Diamond ★★★★
Non Fiction, History, Pre-History
An attempt to boil down all human history to geographic factors. I prefer Prisoners of Geography as this book probably overstates its case, but well worth reading.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach Jonathan Livingston Seagull Richard Bach ★★★★
Fiction, Fable, Spiritual Story
A fable about a flock of seagulls and the meaning of life. Has to be read to be understood. Worth the time to read and the time to digest thereafter.

The Fifth Elephant (Discworld, #24) by Terry Pratchett The Fifth Elephant Terry Pratchett ★★★
Fiction, Fantasy, Discworld
Not the best of the Discworld books - this follows a diplomatic outreach to the dwarfs and a satirical take on the importance of community family and tradition. I'd not bother with this if you haven't already read and enjoyed dozens of Discworlds.
Cat Among the Pigeons (Hercule Poirot, #32) by Agatha Christie Cat Among the Pigeons Agatha Christie ★★
Fiction, Murder Mystery, Poirot
Disappointing Poirot mystery. Don't bother reading.


message 25: by AnnaG (new)

AnnaG | 158 comments AUGUST
The Shortest History of Europe by John Hirst The Shortest History of Europe John Hirst ★★★★★
Non Fiction, History, European History, 400 AD - 20th C
A succinct and accessible overview of European history. Not a revolutionary book or a comprehensive one, but a very good summary of key moments in Europe's modern history.

King of the North Wind The Life of Henry II in Five Acts by Claudia Gold King of the North Wind: The Life of Henry II in Five Acts Claudia Gold ★★★★★
Non Fiction, History, English History, Medieval
An interesting biography of an impressive English king with salacious goings-on, family drama and wartime victory.

An Elephant in My Kitchen by Francoise Malby-Anthony An Elephant in My Kitchen Francois Maltby-Anthony ★★★★
Non-Fiction, Conservation, Memoir
This book is by the widow of Lawrence Anthony whose books Babylon's Ark, The Last Rhinos and The Elephant Whisperer are amongst my all-time favourites. This book covers some of the stories from his wife's point of view and then the period since his death. It is a bit rambling in places, but still a fascinating look at running a game reserve.


The Luxe Life by Fleur de Force The Luxe Life Fleur de Force ★★★★
Keeping House Hints and tips for a clean, tidy and well-organized home by Cindy Harris Keeping House: Hints and tips for a clean, tidy and well-organized home Cindy Harris ★★★
Non Fiction, Home-Making, Fashion/Cookery
These two books were on offer at a cheap bookstore and both good value at £3 each. Fleur has some advice on make-up, hair dos and capsule wardrobes and then moves onto some very tasty sounding recipes and interesting DIY projects/gift ideas Cindy takes a more militant view on cleanliness in the home that is massively over-the-top. There are some useful reference lists on food storage, removing stains and care of surfaces, but otherwise that book will just make your cleaning regime feel inadequate!

The Accidental Further Adventures of the Hundred-Year-Old Man by Jonas Jonasson The Accidental Further Adventures of the Hundred-Year-Old Man Jonas Jonasson ★★★
Fiction, Black Humour, Politics
I didn't get on too well with the previous Jonasson books, but they have stuck with me more than other books I enjoyed more at the time of reading - if that makes sense. This one follows the adventures of Allan Karlesen from the film and book a few years back but focuses on 21st century politics rather than 20th century. It has some very funny scenes, but ultimately I'm not a huge fan of the style. If you read and enjoyed the previous outing, this should be up your street.

Mortality by Christopher Hitchens Mortality Christopher Hitchins ★★
Non fiction, Memoir, Death
I feel mean giving a memoir by a dying man a 2* rating, but I didn't find this very illuminating - unsurprising really I supposed as the author had other things on his mind while writing it. If you are looking for a Hitchins book, maybe try a different one.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby F Scott Fitzgerald★★
Fiction, Classic Literature, Romance
I genuinely don't know how this book has made it into the literary canon. The plot is like a bad Coronation Street or EastEnders special the characters don't behave like any humans I've ever met. Why do we subject schoolkids to this kind of tripe? No wonder so many people get turned off reading at an early age.

Ancient Worlds An Epic History of East and West by Michael C. Scott Ancient Worlds: An Epic History of East and West Michael Scott ★★
Non Fiction, History, Ancient History
I disliked this book specifically because the narrative jumped and repeated too much and also because it couldn't seem to cope with faith in the narrative. However, I also think this book was attempting to be "woke" focusing on global history to correct the errors of past historians who only emphasise European history, I don't think there's any imbalance to redress.

Of course books published in the UK have emphasised UK (or more broadly European) history. Those stories were (and still are) the most relevant stories for that audience to understand its own culture and heritage. Funnily enough, books published in China in Chinese emphasise Chinese (and more broadly East Asian) history. Ditto English books published in the US emphasise the historic roots of English-speaking Americans. Each nation's history books start recording other civilisations from when they become relevant to the story e.g. UK history takes notice of India from 18th-19th century. It is interesting to read about "the rest of history", as it were, but it's a fairly academic discipline.

History should have a purpose, it should create a personal investment and be of relevance to the here and now - understanding where one's family was from, what was happening on the land you inhabit, how did the ideas your society values come to be, why is there racial or sectarian tensions in your land. This type of grand-standing history that tries to provides a plain-text narrative of widely disparate cultures will just be an academic text to anyone who reads it, filed away as a series of factoids for use in future pub quizzes.


message 26: by AnnaG (new)

AnnaG | 158 comments SEPTEMBER
The Story of the British Isles in 100 Places by Neil Oliver The Story of the British Isles in 100 Places Neil Oliver ★★★★★
Non Fiction, History, British History, Ancient - 20th Century
A sweeping history of the British Isles with nature writing, archaeology, geology and sociology thrown-in. A great book and one of the highlights of the year.

Interesting Times (Discworld, #17) by Terry Pratchett Interesting Times Terry Pratchett ★★★★★
Fiction, Fantasy, Discworld
A romp through China, Discworld-style. The forces of civilisation are facing a barbarian horde assisted by the Great Wizzard (and experienced coward) Rincewind. Amusing and well-paced.

Letters to the Church by Francis Chan Letters to the Church Francis Chan
Non Fiction, Christian, Church Theology
A very helpful look at what being a member of a Church should mean and new ways in which being a Christian in a city can be facilitated.

The Death Box by Lorna Nicholl Morgan The Death Box Lorna Nicholl Morgan ★★★★
Fiction, Murder Mystery, 1930s
Dead bodies keep on appearing in a mysterious box across London. The plot is pacy and the characters well-rounded. For a book first published in the 1930s the dialogue has barely dated. Good classic crime.

Divided Why We're Living in an Age of Walls by Tim Marshall Divided: Why We're Living in an Age of Walls Tim Marshall ★★★
Non Fiction, World Geography, World History
A potted history of border disputes across the world, this isn't as illuminating a book as Prisoners of Geography or the flag book that followed. In fairness to Tim, however, he gives a balanced, journalistic take on everything from Israel/Palestine to US/Mexico and China's internet firewall. A good summary, but not a fascinating read.

The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah The Mystery of Three Quarters Sophie Hannah ★★★
Fiction, Murder Mystery, Poirot
An attempt to continue Poirot's story and provide new mysteries. Hannah writes very much in Christie's style, but the plot is below average for a Poirot novel.


message 27: by AnnaG (new)

AnnaG | 158 comments OCTOBER
Girl, Wash Your Face Stop Believing the Lies about Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies about Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be Rachel Hollis ★★★★★
Non Fiction, Self-Help, Christian
A really empowering self-help book on using positivity to accept where you are in life and to aspire to fulfil your dreams. Worth re-reading.

Idol (VIP, #1) by Kristen Callihan Managed (VIP, #2) by Kristen Callihan Fall (VIP, #3) by Kristen Callihan Kristen Callihan ★★★★★
Fiction, Romance, Contemporary Romance
Usually I wouldn't be too bothered by a rock star romance, but this series manages to tackle depression and loneliness and still be a happy-sunny piece of escapism. Superb series.

Mythos The Greek Myths Retold by Stephen Fry Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold Stephen Fry ★★★★★
Fiction, Myths and Legends, Greek History
A wry and entertaining look at the Greek Myths. Truly excellent.

Hallowe'en Party (Hercule Poirot #39) by Agatha Christie Hallowe'en Party Agatha Christie ★★★★
Fiction, Murder Mystery, Poirot
Another solid Poirot mystery.

This Book Will Blow Your Mind by New Scientist This Book Will Blow Your Mind New Scientist ★★★
Non Fiction, Science
Selection of articles from the magazine, a bit dull and disjointed, but OK for a holiday read


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