7 Best Books for the New Year

To Love To Read, Uncategorized

I can’t believe we are already three weeks into the new year.  If you love the feeling of a fresh page that can come with a new year, why not settle down with an awesome book about new beginnings and starting over to inspire you in 2017!  Here are some of my favourite…

Unknown.jpeg1. The Woman Who Upped and Left by Fiona Gibson

One of the things I love about it is that although it is about new beginnings she doesn’t abandon her whole life to make it happen (despite the name), she discovers a new way to enjoy what she already has – although some much-needed changes are made along the way.  A book about fiding your own inner strength and making positive changes.

This book is  also wonderfully uplifting

 

 

Unknown-1.jpeg2. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

I have spoken about this book before.  It is moving and powerful and you may need some tissues at the ready.    The main theme of this book is identity and how much you identity is tied into your family and the people around you, as well as asking the question about if it is possible to ever really ‘start over’ again.

A moving book that is highly recommended.

 

 

Unknown-2.jpeg3. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

If you haven’t read the book then I am sure you have seen the movie with Julia Roberts (which I equally love).  This book is creative non-fiction and Gilbert’s personal experience of the year after her divorce.  Its honest and moving and will probably have you wanting to travel the world by the end.

Touching and inspiring novel.

 

 

images.jpeg4. The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez

This is a poignant and moving novel – especially in light of the recent inauguration and possible wall building – is about people moving to the United States of America as a way to make a new life and discover their place in the world.  Themes of family, identity and what it means to be an ‘American’ wrapped in a story about different forms of love.

A novel to make you questions why people do the things they do.

 

Unknown-4.jpeg5. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Ruben

This is a great book to start the year with.  Another non-fiction book in which Ruben decides to start the year making changes to her life to make herself happier.  Ruben does a new thing every month with each chapter showing what she does that month so you can try to emulate these ideas.  In my case I didn’t follow everything but picked out the parts that I knew would work for me.

Great read to motivate yourself.

 

Unknown-5.jpeg6. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Two books by Elizabeth Gilbert on one list – outrageous!  But if you write books about making changes and positive living, I guess that’s inevitable on this type of list.  I’m such a massive fan of this book, all about living creatively which is clearly completely up my street.  You don’t have to be in a creative industry or anything, this book is more about being creative everyday and is a great place to start bringing joy and creativity into your life.

Inspiring, creative living.

 

Unknown-6.jpeg7. Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Again, even if you haven’t read the book you may have seen the awesome film.  The plot is not a million miles away from Eat, Pray, Love in that its a woman trying to figure out what makes her tick after the loss of her mother and recent divorce.  Rather than travelling the world she hikes the Pacific Crest Trail in the USA, spending much time on her own to reflect and think.

Very honest and raw reflective memoir of change.

 

Please do comment below and let me know if you have read any of the books and what you think of them, and what books you would recommend that are around based around new beginnings or starting over.

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Book Review – Where’d You Go Bernadette? By Maria Semple

To Love To Read

If I could give this book 6 stars I would. It’s intelligent, thought-provoking and moving whilst being hilariously funny but my favourite thing about Where’d You Go Bernadette? is the unusual way the story is told. Through the paper trail of emails, faxes, letters, notes and Bernadette’s daughters opinions on the paper trail – all of which lead to Bernadette going missing.

I think that it is quite rare that you find a book that is a piece of good literary fictions as well as gripping and funny.  It says so much about the way we live now, rising questions like, what is privacy and what crosses the line during a time when so much about everyone is so readily available?  Brings up so many questions, I think it would make a fabulous book club book.

I so enjoyed this book, I just wish it had been double the length.

Happy Reading! Nx

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Book Review – One Million Lovely Letters by Jodi Ann Bickley

Any Human Heart, To Love To Read

I first heard about One Million Lovely Letters about a year ago when a friend sent me the link to the website.  I was beyond amazed by the concept – if you feel like you need a hug in an envelope, email Jodi Ann Bickley and she will handwrite you a letter to remind you how awesome you are.  See – amazing!

I looked for the website recently because I had a story idea that’s based on a similar concept.  When looking, I saw that Jodi Ann Bickley has written a book by the same name which was immediately ordered and quite literally devoured by me.

image1.JPGI think everyone should read this book.  It should be on the school syllabus.  It should be a staple in everyone’s lives, because it essentially reminds the reader that we all that have a choice to be a cloud or a ray of sunshine in someone else’s day.

Having said that, it’s not all “life is perfect, be positive and everything is completely fabulous all the time.” Jodi is beautifully honest about some pretty brutal emotional and physical difficulties and illnesses that she’s been/going through.  About how even when things are starting to go right, she still has personal hurdles to overcome.

This book reminds us that everything is not perfect – it never is – but we still have the option to be kind.

The story itself is captivating but the language used and they way the story is told is equally gorgeous.  The author is a poet (by day) and I think it really come across in the beautiful language and Bickley has an amazing way of drawing you in and expressing so much emotion through her words.

This book feeds your soul and is well and truly on my ‘favourite books of all time’ list.

My children (like me) think that getting post is the best thing ever but (again like me) they only get anything around their birthday.  About half way through the book, I decided to write my children (ages 6 and 4) letters to remind them how awesome they are.  I posted them and they were so excited finding them on the doorstep and even more excited when they realised it was from me.  It was so much fun getting to see their little faces as they read how much I love them.  They both have them under their pillows now.  Such a simple idea but it brought so much joy to all of us.  I implore you to do the same.  Write a letter to someone and let them know how awesome they are.

If you are feeling inspired by the concept, One Million Lovely Letters is currently collecting  letters from all over the globe to go into an exhibition so are asking lovely people to post lovely letters.  Here is Jodi Ann explaining all about it…

One Million Lovely Letters the book (plus Jodi and the whole One Million Lovely Letters concept) is a massive 5 out of 5 for me.

Get it, read it, share it – your life will only be inhanced by reading this wonderful book.

Happy Reading x

Book Review – A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding by Jackie Copleton

To Love To Read

Exquisitely wonderful is the best way to describe this book!

I was sent a copy of ‘A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding‘ by Jakie Copleton from THE Book Club (TBC) in exchange for an honest review and gosh… am I pleased I put myself forward to read it when they asked.

The novel opens with a bang!  Immediately there is a completly unexpected mystery.  The story is mainly set against the back drop of the atomic bomb being dropped in Nagasaki, Japan during World War Two, such an interesting period of time that I have rarely read about from this point of view and made a wonderfully and moving setting.  Centring on a woman who is reflecting on her life, the decisions she made and how they impacted on her family as a whole.  The story moves back and forth in time, through the woman’s memories, her daughters diary and letters written long ago, all of which slowly build a picture that helps solve the questions posed in the first chapter.

From about half way through, I could barely put the book down as the drama and momentum build with all the pieces of information starting to fall together and unraveling in surprising ways.  I loved reading about Japan during the second world war, learning so much about the country, customs and history through the beautiful descriptions Copleton includes throughout.
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A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding‘ is such a wonderful book and I would recommend for anyone to read it.

4.5 Stars from me.

Happy reading x

Book Review – The Woman Who Upped and Left by Fiona Gibson

To Love To Read

Hello all,

I just had to recommend this book to you all…

RomCom isn’t usually my genre of choice, favouring literature, drama and thrillers but as I was going on holiday I thought I go for something more uplifting and I’m so pleased I did.

Most importantly, it was still very well written, very important to me.  One of my favourite things was that good and bad things happened throughout the novel rather than that common – something goes wrong, everything turns out alright. I found this a much more interesting read and kept the novel a real page turner.

I thought this was the perfect summer read, very funny and thoroughly enjoyable. So lovely to have something uplifting to read after quite a lot of thrillers recently.

I have never read anything by this author before but have been busy downloading and starting reading everything else she has written I enjoyed it so much.

It’s also only 99p on Kindle at the moment and only £3.49 in paperback, so if you are looking for something interesting, well written, funny and uplifting, get downloading now!

51FEHxdIfLL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

 

Before We Met by Lucie Whitehouse – Book Review

To Love To Read

I haven’t posted a book review for a while.  The reason being, I have struggled to get into a book.  That was until Me Before You by Lucie Whitehouse.  This book moves at a quick pace (which I love), keeping you turning the pages as rapidly as you can.

before we met

Although it is building up to something, I was still taken by surprise by what the twist was and although I suspected the ending, its delivery was still surprising and not quite what I thought.  The narrative moves between the past and present and at some points I thought it could have been a little clearer when jumping between the two.

All in all a fantastic book that I would highly recommend – as long as you don’t mind being kept up late because you just need to read one more chapter!! 🙂

Happy reading x

Hot Days Summer Reading

To Love To Read

Laying on a sunlonger, feeling the heat, none of the day-to-day stuff to worry about, absorbed in a fantastic book – heaven!  It’s not quite that simple now I have children but still a little more time that normal.

A few lovely people have been asking me what I would recommend for them to read on holiday.  You can look at my ‘To Love To Read’ section and see the books I have read recently and loved and from there my favourites would be The Fault in Our Stars, The Shock of the Fall, A Single Breath and Precious Thing, but  here are a few others you might want to consider, plus what I will be taking with me on holiday.

My Recommendations

  • The Sea Sisters by Lucy Clarke – This was Lucy’s debut novel and also a Richard & Judy must read.  Set at gorgeous locations all over the world and with a twisting story to unfold, I think its a beach must have.
  • The Husbands Secret by Liane Moriarty – I devoured this book.  Makes you think, what secrets would you keep to protect the ones you love.
  • The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough – If you really want to get stuck into a long book, set in a different time and different continent but deeply emotional and heartfelt then I would recommend this old classic.

My Hot Summer Reads

  • Curious: True Stories and Loose Connections by Rebecca Front – I know Rebecca as an actress but it turns out she is also written some of my favourite comedy shows.  This is a book of witty tales from her life and I do love a good laugh, especially when reading on holiday so I am seriously looking forward to this book.
  • The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton – This has been on my book shelf for a while and given the size I just haven’t started it, holiday will be the perfect time to read this Man Booker Prize winning novel.
  • The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert – The author of memoirs Eat Pray Love and Committed has written her first novel which I am looking forward to reading.

What are you Hot Summer must have reads?  I am happy to be over optimistic about the amount of reading time so want to add a few more to the pile.  Let me know in the comments section…

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Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira – Book Review

To Love To Read

Just before I started reading this book, I had a conversation with a friend about the romantic notion of letters.  Letters of any sort have an enchantment that you just don’t get from emails or twitter. The thought of reading letters that were never intended to be read by the living amplifies that feeling even more.  It was that thought that made this book a must read for me and on that account it didn’t disappoint.

Love Letters to the Dead is a coming of age book that puts you right back into teen moments of uncertainty, regret and trying to figure out where you fit in the world.  As a teenager when you have no one you feel you can talk to, who better to speak to than the dead.  I didn’t realise that it was a ‘Young Adult’ book when I bought it, but I think many of the topics in the novel are still relatable.

 

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A pet-hate I have when reading is the narrator saying something along the lines of ‘if only I knew what was about to come’.  I love foreshadowing, but not when its just a statement which does happen a couple of times in Love Letters to the Dead.

I thought this book was a captivating read and would be especially enjoyed by young adults and as I mentioned, I loved the format of making the book a collection of letters.

I give this book 3.5 out of 5 x

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green – Book Review

To Love To Read

Oh my, where to start.  When I first started reading this book I nearly stopped when I realised immediately that the story revolves around cancer.  Only 18 months after going to war with cancer myself, not my idea of happy reading, no matter how good the story is.  But I was captivated, from the very beginning, even with a topic I actively avoid in books and films, I couldn’t put it down.

The-Fault-in-Our-Stars

 

Even in a book which seems so predictable, it surprises you.  Although cancer is the thread that holds it all together it is a book about love, family and optimism in the face of tragedy.  It is also very funny and gives a fantastic insight into the dark-humour side and dare I say ‘perks’ of cancer and into the mind of someone with cancer.  John Green captures it so well.

There is a line in the novel, “it would be a privilege to have my heart broken by you” and that sums up the book for me.  It is a privilege to cry over this book because its wrapped up in some much wonderfulness, warmth and love.

In short, I highly recommend you read this book!

4.5 out of 5