I’m not going to lie, I had some great fun creating this post and I’m hoping I’m not the only one who gets reminded of books from listening to songs! Some of the below are songs from the film adaptations of books, whereas others are just simply random!
Let me know if any of these resonate with you too, or if there are any other songs that remind you of books too!
Fleetwood Mac – Dreams
After reading and falling in love with Daisy Jones, I found a playlist on Apple Music that featured all the songs mentioned in the book.
One that really sticks to mind is Dreams by Fleetwood Mac. Every time I listen to this song, it takes me back to the day I read the book and makes me feel like Daisy Jones herself.
This song makes me instantly makes me think of Daisy and Gatsby. The film adaptation of The Great Gatsby is one of my favourite film adaptations. I wasn’t that much of a fan when it first came out, but since then, I have started to fall more in love with the film and especially the music.
I’m a big fan of Lana Del Rey anyway but this song has to be my favourite because of how it makes me feel.
This song. That baseball scene. The line ‘my monkey boy’.
This song instantly brings back the memories of being OBSESSED with the first Twilight film and the books back when I was a teenager and when every TV programme, teenage book and film seemed to be somehow about/related to vampires.
Do you remember those days too? Click here to have a listen.
The Stone Roses – She Bangs The Drum
When I was in high school, I had a cool English teacher who we studied Romeo & Juliet with. She was one of those really eccentric teachers whose classes were so different to the other classes I had. She always made them fun and I always looked forward to her class. She introduced She Bangs The Drum to us when we were reading about Romeo’s unrequited love for Rosaline.
I had no idea who The Stone Roses were but ever since then, I can’t listen to this song without thinking back to that particular class!
“There is so much more to roast beef than mere lunch. Each roast carries echoes of all the roasts that went before. No two gravy recipes are the same. Some families insist on peas; others stage a mutiny if a carrot is involved.
Why Did I Read This Book?
I saw this on Amazon and thought it looked like a nice quirky read. You know one of those lovely books where it doesn’t take much effort to get through it? After reading some harrowing and graphic thrillers recently, I thought that it would be nice to read something light and uplifting on a sunny day.
What Did I Think?
The first rule of Sunday Lunch Club is don’t make any afternoon plans. And it’s a good job that I didn’t have any plans the day I read it because I could not tear myself away from it. It’s a really easy, enlightening read and I felt attached to every single character.
What I loved most about this book was that every character has their own shit going on and when they get together, it’s like one big counseling session. It shows the strength of family and sibling love, as well as highlighting that every family has its problems and secrets.
The Piper family is far from perfect and is like one of many mismatched families in society, yet when they are all sat together, feasting on a delicious Sunday lunch, every single one of them is accepted and loved no matter what.
The book is written from the main character, Anna’s perspective. Her own story is both heart-warming and heartbreaking but the overall reason why I fell in love with her is that each member of her family confides in her. Whenever anything goes wrong in her siblings’ lives, Anna is there for them to rant to. She acts as the mediator in the book which cleverly allows us to get a deeper insight into each character’s story.
As a nice added touch, each chapter starts with a menu of food being served at that particular Sunday lunch. Some of the menus made me cry with laughter, whereas others simply made my mouth water. Each character has to host Sunday lunch at some point and what I think was clever by Juliet Ashton, was how each menu shows each character’s personality in the choice of food they serve.
After finishing the book, I created a little fun game that displayed some of the menus from the book for people to decide which one they love the most. Opinions were split, but I think the most popular ones were Lunch 2, 5 and 7. I’ve attached the pictures below for you to decide yourself. Let me know which ones make your mouth water too!
A Sunday roast is a comfort blanket made of meat, a link to the past, a reassurance that not everything changes.”
This is my first NetGalley read! How exciting right? If you don’t know what NetGalley is, it’s a place where you can request to read and review new books before they are released. This was my first one and I hope they are all as good as this.
What Did I Think?
I had a lot of fun reading this book. It’s been a while since I read a fun rom-com like this one, and I can definitely envisage it being made into a film sometime soon.
The book is about a woman called Minnie Cooper (I know, don’t laugh) and a man called Quinn who were born minutes apart at the same hospital on NYE. Their mothers met at the hospital and became each other’s birthing partners but that’s where their friendship drew to a close. Minnie and Quinn could not be more opposite and Minnie believes that she is jinxed as something always goes wrong on NYE/NYD.
2020 is no exception, yet she bumps into Quinn at the NYE party. The book basically follows Minnie on her journey of self-discovery, with some touching and heartfelt stories and events added in to keep you hooked.
I fell in love with all the characters, especially Minnie. I thought each of them had their own little quirks, but Minnie especially is who I felt closest too. She made me laugh, and she reminded me of myself in the way that she panics about everything. When even the slightest thing goes wrong, I can often find myself thinking that the whole world is against me, much like Minnie.
What I enjoyed most about This Time Next Year was that it isn’t just a love story. It explores other important topics such as controlling relationships, anxiety, environmental issues and also soul-searching. However, this book is VERY cheesy in some parts, so if you love a good cheesy rom-com, this is the book for you! Available in the UK from October, make sure you have a note in your calendar to go grab your copy.
“If it’s just the two of you. Just you, and whoever’s behind you. Whoever is chasing you. How fast could you run then? It doesn’t matter how fast. Because there’s always someone who can run faster.”
Why Did I Read This Book?
This was Beth’s Book Club’s Bonus Book for the month and I was so happy because I just love a good thriller. I had never read any of Clare Mackintosh’s books before but when this book was announced as the bonus book, everyone was raving about her and her other novels. After the last thriller we read being a little bit disappointing, I was hoping for good things from this book.
What Did I Think?
I think that I See You has everything a good thriller should have. I was hooked by the first chapter and I just wanted to keep reading so I could gather all the clues I needed to work out the culprit.
Now that I know the ending, I think there are little (tiny, I must admit) clues that Clare Mackintosh hides in the book. Once I finished the book, I could not believe the MASSIVE twist at the end, but since looking back on the book and discussing it during the book club meeting this morning, I can now see the little hints telling us who it was.
The book is told from both Zoe’s and Kelly’s perspective. This was a little confusing at first and it took awhile for my brain to get around the fact that chapters were being narrated by different characters. Zoe is terrified after seeing her picture used in an advert for a dating agency. A dating agency with a very different agenda, as the women pictured in the newspaper adverts are either robbed, raped or killed days afterwards.
This is where the character of Kelly plays an important role. With a police background and a job in helping to solve and prevent transport crime, Kelly is ultimately the only character who believes Zoe’s story and seems to be the only one taking her seriously.
This part of the story really annoyed me. How the people closest to Zoe didn’t believe her. How her husband and children just thought she was being overdramatic or going crazy. How her boss told her to take some time off work because her mind was elsewhere. If something creepy like this was happening to me, and it was being investigated by the police, I would expect my family to operate as my support network and take my allegations seriously.
I believe that Kelly’s narrative was important to the story because it wasn’t for her, would the investigation have ever gone ahead? However, I did find myself skim reading her chapters in order to find out what happened next in Zoe’s.
Clare Mackintosh also does a really great job of offering different perspectives of how victims of abuse, violence and criminality think. You may just assume that every victim wants justice, but some just want to try and erase that memory/event from their story. To move on and live life how they want without having to fight for justice every waking moment.
“Every victim deals differently with what’s happened to them; some are hell-bent on revenge, others want justice, some are looking for closure and some…some just want to move on.”
My opinion of who the culprit was changed throughout the book. I got a dodgy feeling from one of the characters from the very first chapters and events in the book were just providing more and more ammunition for my thinking being correct. I was even boasting to my boyfriend that I could be a police detective because I had guessed it right. Yet how wrong I was. Not only once but twice.
I really did enjoy this thriller and if you like a book that keeps you guessing, that makes you change your mind with every chapter, then this is for you. I love the way that Clare Mackintosh writes and I cannot wait to read her other books to see if they are just as good.
“Variety is important. Even the finest steak becomes dull when you eat it all the time.”
“A man also or a woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones, their blood shall be upon them.”
Why Did I Read This Book?
OK, I have to admit, the main reason I bought this book was because it is absolutely beautiful. The cover gets more and more detailed and exquisite the closer you look at it. It was quite a hefty book too but I have to say when I saw it in the shop, I was drawn to it. When I read the blurb, I fell more in love as it is written about something that is very close to home. Literally. I love any history but I specifically enjoy local history, so when I read the blurb and found out that it was about the Pendle witch trials, I got a little too excited about reading it.
What Did I Think?
I really enjoyed the story and I absolutely loved the character of Fleetwood. She has experienced a lot of things by the time we meet her in The Familiars. From losing her father at a young age, to being married off young to an old man, to being divorced and married to another rich man at the age of 12, to suffering with miscarriage after miscarriage. My heart breaks for her and you can feel the disappointment in herself when talking about her experiences.
When we meet her, she is yet again pregnant, and this time she’s determined more than ever to keep her and the baby alive. In those days, the ‘duty’ of a woman and a wife was to bear children and to produce an heir to keep the family name going. You can sense the importance of this from every character we meet, along with the despair of Fleetwood about not being able to fulfil her duty.
The book has a nice pace, with short chapters and each revealing something new about one of the characters. In my notes I’ve asked myself whether I like Fleetwood’s husband, Richard. In some parts of the story I admire how much he evidently loves and adores his wife but in other parts, I find myself disliking him. He is often too quick to disapprove of Fleetwood’s actions, even though she is doing her best to keep her, her baby and her friends safe.
We are introduced to a character called Alice later on in the book who helps Fleetwood back to health and gives Fleetwood the strength she needs to carry on. Yet you will have to decide for yourself whether she is a witch or not.
Although The Familiars is a fictional story, the character of Alice was actually a real woman who was arrested and held in prison as a suspected witch. What I love most about this story is that it is not entirely centred around the witch hunts themselves. We only hear about recent progress in the hunts and trials through conversations with friends that visit Fleetwood. I thought that this was a nice added touch by Stacey Halls, as it makes us understand what the general thinking of the public was when it came to witches. I loved finding out that Alice was in fact a real person, making the factual history of this local story feel closer to home than ever before.
I would highly recommend this book, it is a bit longer than I would have hoped for but Stacey Halls does a good job of keeping you interested. Her other book, The Foundling is out now and I for one cannot wait to read it. I’ve heard good things and bad. Some prefer The Foundling. Some people prefer The Familiars. I guess I’ll have to read it and let you know.
“She sticks her hand through the fence and wiggles her fingers on the other side. Her fingers are in el norte. She spits through the fence. Only to leave a piece of herself there on American dirt.”
Why Did I Read This Book?
I chose to read American Dirt because I had been waiting for it to be delivered for as long as I can remember (I think I ordered the book at the end of February). And when it arrived, it was even more beautiful than I imagined. It’s one of these new floppy hardbacks? I don’t know if you have any on your shelves but they are just gorgeous to hold and read so yeah, it had to be my next read.
What Did I Think?
First of all, I want to address the controversy surrounding this book. I hadn’t realised how split public opinion is of this book until tweeting about it being my current read and receiving an influx of people telling me that they either loved it or hated it. I couldn’t understand why people felt so strongly towards it.
So I read the book, waiting for something hugely controversial to slap me right in the face, and it just didn’t happen. The book is beautifully paced; the chapters are short and there’s always some sort of cliffhanger that leads you on to the next, the characters develop just right so the book doesn’t progress too quickly or too slowly, and lastly, I think the story is wonderful and Jeanine Cummins does a brilliant job of highlighting the dangers and sacrifices that migrants endure on their journeys to ‘freedom’. I think the ending was really touching in the way it highlighted that their lives were still in danger.
“That these people would leave their homes, their cultures, their families, even their languages, and venture into tremendous peril, risking their very lives, all for the chance to get to the dream of some faraway country that doesn’t even want them.”
So I was astonished to find out that the controversy about this book is due to the fact that it is written by a white woman, who is also not Mexican. OK. I understand it from both points of view. I understand that yes, Jeanine Cummins is not Mexican, and the way she portrays Mexico could be understood to be nothing but murder, drugs and gang violence. That the way she portrays life in Mexico is exactly that of the stereotypes associated with the country. And yes personally, being white myself, I would probably not set out to write a book about a black person living in London because I do not have personal experience of either and would therefore in my opinion, not portray the characters correctly. This is where the problem lies.
Yet, Jeanine Cummins in her author’s note at the end of the book draws upon the fact that she is white and that some people discouraged her to write this book because she apparently has no idea what she is talking about. She goes on to say that she spent endless days, months, years formulating her research for this book, spending time on the Mexico/US border, talking to families, citizens, and migrants on their experiences. So she didn’t just wake up one day and write American Dirt from the preconceptions in her head. She took the time to do the research and listen to people’s harrowing stories, in the hope that she could help retell their stories for all to hear.
I think she does a marvelous job in creating an encapsulating story that gives voice to those that are so often silenced by ludicrous xenophobic stereotypes and news stories. Would people find the same story to be more believable if the author was black or from Mexican heritage? Probably, and that just simply blows my mind.
Rant over, if you’re still here, thanks for listening haha! Seriously though, interesting read and one you should definitely check out!
“Though they all come from different places and different circumstances, some urban, some rural, some middle-class, some poor, some well educated, some illiterate, Salvadoran, Honduran, Guatemalan, Mexican, Indian, each of them carries some story of suffering on top of that train and into el norte beyond.”
“For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end.”
Why Did I Read This Book?
I have recently been debating whether I should start delving into the world of audiobooks. More and more I’m questioning whether I could listen to an audiobook whilst reading another book. I don’t read several books at a time and I admire anyone who can, but for me I find it hard to be engrossed in two books at the same time. However, I signed myself up for a free audible trial and I used one of my credits to download Becoming by Michelle Obama. I’d heard such great things about this book, and often come across quotes from Michelle plastered on every motivational social media account, so I thought I’d see what all the hype is about.
“Do we settle for the world as it is, or do we work for the world as it should be?”
What Did I Think?
I think what I liked the most about this book is how personal Michelle is. She doesn’t hold back on the raw truths of growing up, falling in love, studying hard, working even harder, and being First Lady of America. She is also very honest about her marriage with Barack and very open how their relationship was often tested by other commitments, politics and the heavy load that being a black woman in the spotlight comes hand in hand with.
I remember Barack being voted in as President of America. I remember listening to his inauguration on the radio; seeing the pictures in the newspaper and on TV. I remember when Osama Bin Laden was captured and how Barack was held as a hero. The first black President of the United States. Obviously being British, I have no idea what it was like to live under Obama’s presidency, but I think as a bystander from across the water, a lot of people are huge fans of Barack and how he seemed to stay very down to Earth and somewhat normal and personable.
It is no surprise then that Michelle’s account of her relationship with Obama confirms just how normal and dedicated Barack was. He wanted to make change in the world from a young age, working as a lawyer to be able to know first hand how he can use/change the law to help others.
However, enough about Barack. As I listened to the audiobook, I just loved Michelle’s voice. You could really tell how passionate she was at times, really getting her point across. You felt the emotion in her words. When she speaks of her family and Barack, you can feel just how much she loves them. You can hear the smile on her face.
There are some really touching moments in this book that have stuck with me. How she was so passionate about school and so dedicated to achieving the best. So scared of failure, I saw myself in her in some ways. When she failed her law bar exam, I felt her disappointment. Like Michelle, I’m absolutely terrified of failing anything and will do absolutely everything to make sure I don’t.
I also loved when she went to Nairobi with Barack and her experience of being an African American in Africa. She was constantly asked which one of her parents were white, showing us how she felt alienated in a place where her ancestors had originated.
When Michelle and Barack were desperately trying to get pregnant, you could feel her disappointment when yet another test comes back negative. You feel her frustration at having to struggle between wanting a child, but not wanting to let it affect her work. She talks about the battle that women go through, inevitably having to sacrifice work and other commitments/passions to ensure they are eating the right foods, taking the correct precautions and ultimately making the most of their most fertile days in the cycle, whilst men can go just about their daily business.
She frequently discusses how annoying it was when she was going to give public speeches and all reporters cared about was where her shoes were from or who designed her outfit. The constant struggle she went through to get her voice, and more importantly, her message heard was a recurring battle throughout the book and you could sense her irritation when she was recapping her experiences. But like most women in the public eye, their opinions and voice are constantly outshone by their appearance.
I really enjoyed listening to Michelle talk about her life, from childhood right through to sitting in a car with Melania Trump before her husband’s inauguration. She offers some really honest and real insights into the life of a politician and their families. I struggled to pick the best quotes from this book because there are so many. Every other sentence, I was like ‘Oh, that’s such a good quote.’
Definitely worth a listen/read.
“For every door that’s been opened to me, I’ve tried to open my door to others. And here is what I have to say, finally: Let’s invite one another in. Maybe then we can begin to fear less, to make fewer wrong assumptions, to let go of the biases and stereotypes that unnecessarily divide us. Maybe we can better embrace the ways we are the same. It’s not about being perfect. It’s not about where you get yourself in the end. There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice. And there’s grace in being willing to know and hear others. This, for me, is how we become.”
“And the final cut, the orange you have laid out on a plate. You pick up the knife, a sharp one, with a wooden handle, a steel-dappled blade, and you push it into the fruit. A half, a quarter. An eighth. The peel orange, the pitch white, the flesh bleeding out to red at the edges, a sunset spectrum. These are all the textures you need.”
Why Did I Read This?
This was the April book for Beth’s Book Club. I chose to read this later on towards the end of the month as our discussion was last Sunday, but I was so excited to tick this one off my list. Everyone had been posting their thoughts when they finished the book, so my excitement just rose higher and higher as the month went on.
What Did I Think?
This book is classed a thriller, and we discussed in the book club meeting whether we were ‘thrilled’ by this book. I guess I was? To be honest, I spent the majority of the book wanting to find out what was going on, hence why I managed to finish this in just over a day.
There are two stories at play and I found it hard to understand which was the main story. Is it the murder trail that our narrator Alison has been trusted to work on? Or is it Alison’s story and her relationships? If it is the latter, I don’t know if the murder trial had any relevance to the story. I didn’t feel like it added anything to Alison’s character perhaps until the very end.
I’m sounding really critical about this book but I promise you I did enjoy it. It’s one that keeps you reading on, as the chapters are short and something is revealed at the end of nearly every one. Of course, this just leaves you wanting more and more, so as far as thrillers are concerned, Blood Orange has all the right ingredients.
Once I finished this book, I was straight on my phone to text my best friend and tell her what I thought. She had already read this book and was impatiently waiting for my verdict. She told me that this book was unique in the fact that she disliked all the main characters and yet loved the story. And I felt exactly the same. I disliked Alison, our narrator, all the way through, perhaps only warming to her towards the end. She seemed to surround herself with controlling and manipulative men and that just didn’t wash with me.
Harriet Tyce really explores some really intense discussions surrounding domestic and emotional abuse, love, family and adultery. I think I did feel sorry for some of the characters as different events took place, but then I was back to disliking them when they, by their own accord, made matters worse for themselves. It was a mental battle!
All in all, I did enjoy this book and the twist at the end is incredible. Yet I’m wary of the fact that perhaps the only reason I enjoyed this book is because the ending had such a shocking impact; that all I can remember when I look back on this is the ending. Am I being too critical here, maybe, I’ll leave that one for you to decide on your own.
Oh, and when you do finish this book…don’t forget to re-read the prologue. It will all make sense then.
I was approached by the fabulous author of this book, Natalie Reeves Billing, to see if I would like a sneak preview. I was delighted to be given the opportunity and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love an illustrated children’s book from time to time.
What Did I Think?
My Mummy Is A Monster is the first book in the Monstrous Me collection and if the ones to come are as good as this one, I think I may have my new favourite children’s series.
The first part of the book focuses on the children who believe that their mummy is a monster because of all the ‘horrible’ things she makes them do. You know the usual things we hated as a child, such as brushing our hair, walking ANYWHERE and having to take a bath. We follow the children on a typical day and get to see exactly why they think their mummy is a monster.
Yet, perhaps what I love most about this book, is the second part. We now see the mummy and why she thinks her children are monsters! We see her struggle through a normal day, listening to the children moan at anything she asks them to do. This back-to-back child and parent perspective allows us to understand both sides of the story.
I really loved this book and the illustrations are just fantastic. I think Natalie Reeves Billing is so clever in creating such a unique book that shows there’s always two sides to a story.
It is available to buy on Amazon from May 5th and is one that surely every family in lockdown needs right now. There’s also a little interactive game you can play whilst reading to keep your own little monsters at bay.
When I asked Bookstagram to choose my next read, this book came out first with an overwhelming majority. It seems that the world is loving this book at the moment and I can see why. I also chose to buy this book because after falling in love with Daisy Jones & The Six, and therefore Taylor Jenkins Reid, I had to see what her other books were like.
What Did I Think?
I don’t know what I expected from this book. I guess I expected the same kind of format as Daisy Jones. With this book, there are two stories taking place. We obviously have the narrative of Evelyn Hugo, but we also have the narrative of the girl who is interviewing Evelyn, Monique Grant. Her story is not as developed as I would probably like, but we do learn some vital things about her and her background does provide the setting for why Evelyn must tell her story.
When I was writing my notes for this, I asked myself a number of times whether I liked the character of Evelyn, and I have to say that my opinion changed multiple times. Sometimes I loved her boldness and how she built herself up from nothing; how she escaped an abusive father and a life of hardship. She was fierce and simply took life by the balls (as she would say), never taking no for an answer. I admire anyone, especially any woman, who stands up to the world and says ‘OK, you want a piece of me? Come and get it.’
“When you’re given an opportunity to change your life, be ready to do whatever it takes to make it happen. The world doesn’t give things, you take things.”
Yet, there were times where I thought Evelyn was very weak and as I held the book in my hands, my blood was boiling at how stupid she was in some situations. Her life revolved around scandal and marriage, apathetically using people to get exactly what she wanted. And she played the system well, there’s no doubt about that. But in doing so, she lost so much vital time with the people she really truly loved because of her stubbornness and society’s expectations of her.
Homosexuality is discussed a number of times throughout the book and it is interesting to read the lengths that people would go to, to ensure their true sexuality stays perfectly hidden. With Evelyn’s story based on the glitz and glamour of Hollywood from the 1950’s to the present day, it is interesting to read about society’s and the press’ portrayal of homosexuality. Most people knew who was gay in the industry, but would either keep it to themselves (in fear that the dark secrets they were inevitably keeping themselves would be exposed) or would use them as a way of manipulating anyone they wanted. With homosexual relationships only being made legal in recent times, it is no wonder that these characters did ANYTHING to hide their true selves in order to keep their fame.
“People think that intimacy is about sex. But intimacy is about truth. When you realise you can tell someone your truth, when you can show yourself to them, when you stand in front of them bare and their response is ‘you’re safe with me’- that’s intimacy.”
With seven marriages, you would think that Evelyn was an expert on love and relationships. And maybe even heartbreak. I think my favourite husband has to be either Harry or Rex because these were relationships that allowed Evelyn to be who she truly was. Love is obviously a defining theme in this book and yet again, Taylor Jenkins Reid offers some beautiful text surrounding love and how it can be explained.
“Please never forget that the sun rises and sets with your smile. At least to me it does. You’re the only thing on this planet worth worshipping.”
There is a great twist at the end of the book too. I expected that there was something the book was leading up to but I didn’t expect the twist, which is always a great feeling. I always love it when you have no clue how the book will end.
Credit to Taylor Jenkins Reid again for creating yet another masterpiece. I really enjoyed this book and Jenkins Reid is slowly but surely becoming one of my favourite authors. If you were a fan of Daisy Jones & The Six you will undoubtedly love this book too.