Thursday, 29 December 2016

What I've Read This Year | Goodreads Challenge

If you don't know I'm addicted to reading and likewise: Goodreads. I only signed up to Goodreads this February when I bought myself a Kindle; I love that you can save books you have read and review them, as well as finding new ones you may enjoy. I've also loved setting myself a yearly target of books to read, it's so satisfying to tick  them off one by one. 

This year I set myself a target of 52 books, which equates to one book a week. When setting my target I knew this would be challenging, but I was optimistic that I could read this much in a year and I did! I thought I'd share with you my 5 favourites ones (in no particular order!).

One Day - by David Nicholls

15th July 1988. Emma and Dexter meet on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways. So where will they be on this one day next year? And the year after that?

I absolutely adored this book, there were so many ups and downs and no spoilers but it's one of the only books that have left me in floods of tears! This novel deeply affected me, I haven't read anything in a while that has touched me this much; thank you David Nicholls for such a wonderful, heartbreaking read.

The Girl on the Train - by Paula Hawkins

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She's even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life-as she sees it-is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It's only a minute until the train moves on, but it's enough. Now everything's changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

This book was an incredibly good and fast-paced psychological thriller. It deals with issues like alcoholism, not being able to get pregnant and domestic abuse in a way that felt so raw and real to me. It was a little slow at the beginning to set up the story; once the main plot started it really took off and I was completely absorbed and engaged. I highly recommend this book to those who enjoy thrillers!

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - by J.K. Rowling

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn't much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

I picked up a copy of this book shortly after it was released and I hadn't managed to get tickets to see it in the West End... but I finished this within a couple of hours! It was everything I could have hoped for, even though it's not what I expected; I'm glad I was able to read it without any spoilers. It left me buzzing for a few hours after finishing it, I couldn't sleep, and that just says something about how good it was. I'm just jealous of everyone who has/is seeing the play...!

Dark Places - by Gillian Flynn

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in "The Satan Sacrifice" of Kinnakee, Kansas. She survived - and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club - a secret secret society obsessed with notorious crimes-locates Libby and pumps her for details. They hope to discover proof that may free Ben. Libby hopes to turn a profit off her tragic history: She'll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club-for a fee. As Libby's search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started - on the run from a killer.

As I loved reading Gone Girl, I thought I'd try another book by Gillian Flynn and similarly it definitely didn't disappoint! I read this within the day and it's a book that will stay with me forever. It left me speechless from the psychological roller coaster it took me on. Sometimes I almost found myself too scared to carry on reading, but so captivated that I couldn't put it down...! Gillian Flynn is an amazing writer; when I thought I had guessed the ending she took it another way and ended in a place I never thought it would. The book is outstanding and I highly recommend it.

House Rules - by Jodi Picoult

Jacob Hunt is a teen with Aspergers syndrome. He's hopeless at reading social cues or expressing himself well to others, though he is brilliant in many ways. But he has a special focus on one subject - forensic analysis. A police scanner in his room clues him in to crime scenes, and he's always showing up and telling the cops what to do. And he's usually right.

But when Jacob's small hometown is rocked by a terrible murder, law enforcement comes to him. Jacob;s behaviours are hallmark Aspergers, but they look a lot like guilt to the local police. Suddenly the Hunt family, who only want to fit in, are directly in the spotlight. For Jacob's mother, Emma, it's a brutal reminder of the intolerance and misunderstanding that always threaten her family. For his brother, Theo, it's another indication why nothing is normal because of Jacob. And over this small family, the soul-searing question looms: Did Jacob commit murder?

Ever since reading My Sister's Keeper when I was younger, I've been a big fan of Jodi Picoult, reading everything of hers that I could get my hands on. I love the way Picoult writes, she makes it flow so smoothly and knows how to rip your heart out and make you want more. House rules had everything I could want, it was an exceptional character-driven story that made me cry, laugh and captivated me right to the end. As with the other Jodi Picoult novels I've read, her extensive research allowed me to learn a great deal about a particular topic (in this case forensic science and autism) which I truly admire.

What books have you read that you've loved? I'd love some book suggestions and if you have Goodreads, feel free to add me here. Thanks for reading,

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