Last year, I read a pityingly small amount of books – 20 according to my Goodreads account – and I think that the majority of them were in the last 3 months of the year. Since becoming a mum, reading has fallen by the wayside, so I set myself the goal of reading 52 books in 2018. I have started off a little slow but I am hoping to pick up the pace as I have picked up some really great books on Amazon over the last few weeks. I find that making time for myself throughout the day, and after A & E go to bed at night, really helps me to get time ‘away’ from the stresses of everyday life and who doesn’t love getting lost in a good book?
The Radium Girls – Kate Moore
One of my other resolutions for 2018 was to start a book club. I wanted the ability to talk to people face to face about books instead of online. It’s also a great excuse to get a group of friends together once a month. I am holding the first meeting next week and it was my book choice.
The Radium Girls is a true story set in the beginning of the 1900s about hundreds of girls who worked in the radium-dial factories and how their lives were destroyed and ended from the use of radium in the paint. Radium was hailed as this wonder drug, a cure for everything that ails you. People were drinking it, putting it on their bodies via skin creams and were painting their houses with it. Yet these girls – the Radium Girls – were ingesting it in horrifying quantities through the ‘lip, dip, paint’ method and were literally glowing from the dust that came off the paint. It wasn’t long before mysterious symptoms start to appear.
I had heard about the book through friends and I thought it would be a great first book, for our club. I’m not going to lie, it has be hard to read, in that I could only read the book for short periods as I was finding it heavy – if that makes sense? With that said, it was a fantastic read and honestly horrifying, at points. The one question that I kept coming back to is, why had I never heard of this before? Yes, it is nearly 100 years since the events of the book took place and yes we now know the dangers of radium but it is important that we learn from our mistakes and to learn from them, we need to be aware of them. The Radium Girls is frightening, gruesome and heartbreaking, but well worth your time.
This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of A Junior Doctor – Adam Kay
This was another book that I had seen recommended multiple times over the last few months. This book takes on the form of diary entries from the time that Kay qualified as a doctor until he quit after a catastrophic event in 2010. The book is laugh out loud hilarious yet it allows you to see the true conditions that junior doctors are put under. The life and death decisions that need to be made after 24 hours of no sleep. The many (many) additional hours that that doctors work yet are not paid for. The relationships that are stressed, strained and tested to the absolute limits and the absolutely insane items that people put in parts of their bodies. I could not stop listening to this book. Kay is a fantastic narrator and author. I think some books are better off listened to and this is definitely one of them. I know we are only 2 months into the year, but I do think this will be right up there with my favourite books of 2018.
Chaos, Desire and A Kick-Ass Cupcake (Sophie Katz #7) – Kyra Davis
Sophie Katz, best selling author and amateur sleuth, decides to take on a mysterious case that her P.I. boyfriend Anatoly has passed on because that is what Sophie does. But soon, people start to die and Sophie wonders if putting her life is really worth it just to have excitement in her life and a new book on the way. I am a MASSIVE Sophie Katz fan. I have listened to all the books on audio (Gabra Zackman who narrates is a genius, so much so, that she is my litmus test for narrators and I compare all audiobooks to her!) and I couldn’t wait for this to come out as I had missed the series, however, this definitely wasn’t my favourite of the series. I really missed Leah (Sophie’s sister) and I felt it was a bit more laid back than the previous books. With that being said, the last few minutes of the book really threw me and I absolutely cannot wait to get the next book. If you are looking for a funny, crazy, ‘mystery’ novel definitely give these books a try. Although they are stand-alone, I would recommend starting at the beginning as they flow well together.
Buy Here: Kindle
The Story of Our Life – Shari Low
For Shauna and Colm, it was very much love at first sight. Within weeks of meeting each other, they were married and spent the next 15 years building a life together. However, all of that was taken away from them and they had to reassess the last 15 years and whether they were just as happy as they had seemed to those on the outside. This was such a lovely story and whilst it was pretty obvious what was going to happen at the end, it didn’t force the story up to that point. Beware, you may shed a few tears throughout.
A Life Without You – Shari Low
Dee is 30 years old when she is killed in a senseless car accident. Her family, husband and best friend are distraught at her death. A life Without You focuses on how Dee’s family and friends cope with her loss. I enjoyed the perspective that this brought to death and how they grieve, learn to cope and eventually move on, after her death. There are a few surprises that I wasn’t expecting at the end and some which made me question the decision and loyalties of the characters, but it was an enjoyable, easy read.
Before I Go – Colleen Oakley
There is a slight pattern here in that Before I Go is the 4th book I have read about death and dying in 2 months. I am kind of stuck in the genre right now and although there is a lot of tears, I am enjoying it. On the eve of her third year in remission, Daisy finds out that not only is her cancer back, she has a very short time left. Devastated at leaving her husband, Jack on his own, she sets out to find him a wife to take her place and ensure that he is looked after. What I really loved about this book is that it is not really about finding Jack a wife, but about how Daisy copes with the fact that she will be dead before 30. She will never have children and will never see Jack again. Daisy goes through the stages of grief such as denial and anger and experiences probably every emotion possible. She holds her mother together and forces her husband to learn how to grieve. Before I Go is a great look at how the person with the diagnosis copes and processes a death sentence. A definite must-read.
Stillhouse Lake (Stillhouse Lake Book 1) – Rachel Caine
Gina was an average midwestern mother and wife. That was until a chance car accident at her home uncovered the fact that her husband was a serial killer and had been using their garage to torture and murder his victims. With her ex-husband now in prison, Gina has found a home in Stillhouse Lake and has a new identity as Gwen. Life is as normal as it can be until a body turns up in the lake under similar circumstance to that of her ex-husband, Melvin’s victims. Gwen is fighting tooth and nail to keep her identity a secret and her children safe, but soon the town knows that she is Gina. Not only that, but it seems that Melvin has found her too. I enjoyed this book as it took on a different premise to the books you would usually find in this genre. I appreciated everything Gwen was trying to do to keep her and her children safe and how she found it hard to trust people and was ready to leave at the first sign of trouble. However, Gwen herself drove me crazy. I am not sure whether it was the fact that she was constantly in fight or flight mode or whether the author tried too hard to make her tough and ready to fight, but there was just something about Gwen as a whole, that I could not take to.
Killman Creek (Stillhouse Lake Book 2) – Rachel Caine
Gwen obviously didn’t annoy me that much because as soon as I had finished Stillhouse Lake, I downloaded Killman Creek. At the end of the first book, Melvin had escaped from prison. Now it is up to Gwen to find him and kill him before he finds her. Throughout Stillhouse Lake, Gwen had formed a small, but tight circle of friends and in the beginning it is them who help her on her hunt for Melvin. Soon the internet trolls are back doing what they do best and Gwen ends up with no one to rely on but herself. Now that everyone has turned against her, will she have the strength and determination to find Melvin and kill him once and for all? The third book in this trilogy is released in October and considering how Killman Creek ended (no spoilers here!!) I am very curious as to how the next book will continue. Killman Creek was a more evenly paced book than the first as you could really feel the tension and determination that Gwen had to find Melvin and kill him. As I said, it will be interesting to see how the third book pans out later on in the year.
It’s Not Me, It’s You – Mhairi McFarlane
I don’t often abandon books, especially 42% in, but I just couldn’t go any further with this one. Delia and her boyfriend have been together for 10 years. One night, after she proposes, she finds out that he has been cheating on her. Delia feels that it was her fault that he slept with someone else, and she realises that life will never be the same again, she feels that too, is her fault. She spends her time between London and Newcastle and that is about as far as I got because there was just nothing happening in the book. The beginning of the book was really great and I was looking forward to seeing how events transpired, but when a whole load of nothing was happening, I just gave up. I have been reading reviews on Goodreads and it has an average of 3.89 and thousands of glowing reviews, so I think it was just me and the frame of mind that I was in when reading. I may end up returning to it and will let you know if I do.
I have some really great books on my Kindle for March and I have just been on an audible shopping spree so I am looking forward to spending more time reading this month. I would love to hear what you have been reading (any excuse to buy a book!) in the comments or you can find me on Twitter too!