A somewhat late reading round up for February – are we really reaching mid-March already?! But a great month for reading and I am pleased that I have managed to read so much for myself in a such a short month!
Still Me by Jo Jo Moyes
If you have already read the book Me Before You,or seen the film then you will be familiar with the story of Louisa Clarke. This is the third book in the series and although you don’t have to read them in order, in order to avoid plot spoilers, it probably makes the most sense if you do! Without giving too much away if you haven’t read the other books, this story takes off where the last book ended and follows Louisa to New York as she takes up a new job as a companion to the young wife of a wealthy businessman. Not really knowing what she is letting herself in for, she tries her best to do her job to the best of her abilities and in true Louisa Clarke style, with a dash of humor along the way. Throwing herself into the buzz of the city and embarking on fresh adventures, she also battles with her heart and what she has left behind in England. Louisa’s journey of self discovery continues through the complexities of the many new characters that she meets along the way and as she overcomes the many obstacles that life can sometimes throw at us. As usual, Jo Jo Moyes’ characterisation is realistic, funny, raw and emotional. New York is a city dear to my heart having honeymooned there so the book evoked lots of memories for me and left me desperate to want to visit there again!
Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao
Partly based in India and part based in America, this story follows the lives of two girls Savitha and Poornima. Both born into varying degrees of poverty, they strike up a friendship when Savitha is employed by Poornima’s father to work one of his sari looms. As their friendship develops, their small Indian village in which they live seems a little less claustrophobic and although an unwelcome arranged marriage is on the cards for Poornima, her destined fate no longer seems so gloomy. When an extreme act of cruelty separates the two girls, Poornima makes a decision to risk everything she has to find her friend again. The story alternates between the two characters as they make their way in the world that seems to offer them no respite. If you are looking for a light-hearted read and this is not it. This is not to say that it wasn’t an easy book to read, but it was a lot darker than I had envisaged. Sadly some of the hard hitting themes of the story are very much prevalent in our society today, making it not a story but a heartbreaking reality. This book is shocking and harrowing but at the same time beautifully written and full of hopeful expectation.
How Do You Like Me Now? by Holly Bourne
Having read a few of Holly Bourne’s books for young adults, I was really keen to read her debut novel for grown ups. The central character – Tori Bailey, appears to have it all. She is a bestselling author, motivational speaker, has a committed long term relationship and is brimming with confidence. However, things are not always as they seem and when her best friend and partner in crime Dee, makes a shock announcement she suddenly feels more alone than ever. What follows, is a raw and honest journey of self-discovery with touches of humour. Probably aimed more towards people in their thirties, just like the characters in the story, I still found the story relatable and enjoyed reading it nonetheless. A Sunday Times bestseller and a great ‘me time’ read.
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Just wow! I can’t believe it has taken me so long to read this book and it is now firmly on my list as one of my most favourite books ever. A re-working of Homer’s Illiad, the story is told from the voice of awkward young prince Patroclus. When Patroclus is exiled to the court of King Peleus and meets his son Achilles, an unlikely friendship develops. The two youngsters blossom into young men and their friendship deepens, much to the disgust of Achille’s mother who is a cruel sea goddess. When news reaches court that the beautiful Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped some difficult choices must be made as war beckons and Achilles’ tragic destiny looms. Madeline Miller successfully and convincingly interweaves the Greek gods and goddesses into the mortal world. The story is moving, heart breaking and informative all at the same time. This is a book that I would willingly read over and over. I am now completely obsessed with Greek mythology so expect some reviews of books in the same genre in due course!
Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M.Mc Manus
A fabulous page-turner of a book! Aimed at the Young Adult market but definately has crossover appeal for adults too. A super murder mystery/thriller set in High School. You can read my full review of this book this Fri-YA-y so keep a look out for the post!
If you have read any of these books, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. I am delighted to have found a new favourite book in the form of the Song of Achilles. I would love to know your favourite book titles. Do you have a top five? A top ten? Let me know and I will pop them on my reading list.