My Goodreads Challenge: Books I Read In 2019

So, I really sucked at reading last year, but it still beats the 9 I read the year before! It’s the small victories!

I really had to rush at the end of the year to read the last of the dozen, possibly it because I had a real mixed bag of books. Some I read were pretty disappointing, and I had to pause a few books although I usually don’t give up on a book. Let’s start with the worst and end with the best, just to create a little mystery (but feel free to scroll to the end!).

The Worst

The Beast Within by Serena Valentino ★★

This book is a sort of prequel to the Disney film Beauty And The Beast, the tale of why the prince became the beast. I didn’t like any of the characters, it didn’t tie in well with the popular film although it’s obviously based on it, and at times it just doesn’t make sense. It just feels a bit thrown together, like she had a report due in the morning and hurriedly wrote it after watching the movie.

Why Mummy Swears by Gill Sims ★★★

Why Mummy Swears confused me to start with. I thought it was the author’s story but soon realised that it’s a made up family. It is readable but just all a bit middle-class for my liking and I couldn’t relate to the constant moaning of the main character and the terribly cliched situations she found herself in.

Men Without Women by Ernest Hemingway ★★

I really wanted to like this collection of short stories but I really struggled my way through this book. I feel like it has gone completely over my head because it’s Hemingway and he’s one of the greats, but maybe he’s just not for me.

The Good

The Tattooist Of Auschwitz by Heather Morris ★★★★

I gave this book four stars as I really enjoyed it, however was disappointed to find that it’s not that historically accurate despite being based on a true story. Having been to Auschwitz last year I felt that the book gave a slightly rose-tinted version of life in the camp so I did a little research and found that the Auschwitz Memorial Research Centre has raised concerns over the authenticity of the facts.

The book is sold as fiction, and it is a wonderful love story which has you rooting for Lale and Gita throughout, but I would have enjoyed it more had it been more truthful.

The Extinction Trials by S M Wilson ★★★

This book was described to me as The Hunger Games meets Jurassic Park, and that sounded pretty good. It’s a good read, but just a bit too much like The Hunger Games or Divergent for me.

Birthday by Meredith Russo ★★★★

A fantastic insight into what it’s like for young people who don’t fit into societal “norms” and great to see Young Adult Fiction books dealing with real issues. Morgan and Eric are best friends who struggle to maintain their close friendship while navigating their teenage years conflicted by who they really are.

Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey ★★★

While reading Elizabeth Is Missing I felt confused, and I’m still not sure if that was the intention or not. The main character is Maud, an elderly woman with dementia who is confusing a mystery of her past with the present day when her friend Elizabeth vanishes. A really enjoyable book that keeps your guessing as you try to make sense of what you know.

Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh ★★★★

Anna has lost both her parents within months of each other, both suicides, both in the same way. She starts to question her parents’ deaths and soon realises that digging deeper puts her new family at risk. This was great all the way through with twists where I didn’t expect them, but I could not put it down at the end! My heart raced as I frantically read towards the end and wow, what an ending!

The Importance Of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde ★★★★

This book was a joy to read. So sassy, so funny, and a great lesson in why honesty is the best policy!

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens ★★★★

My all time favourite Christmas movie is The Muppet Christmas Carol, and after watching the 2019 version at Christmas on the BBC, I decided to find out which was closer to the true story! I love Dicken’s stories, made even more heart-warming as a result of his own rags to riches story. I hope to make reading A Christmas Carol an annual tradition.

The Best

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox And The Horse by Charlie Mackesy ★★★★★

This book is an absolute joy, a really beautiful parcel of perfect words and perfect illustrations.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak ★★★★★

It’s very rare for me to give books a five-star rating but this has got to be one of my favourite books of all time. It’s just so different to anything I’ve read before. I bawled my eyes out at the end, and the book tells you what’s going to happen, it warns you more than once, but that didn’t stop me! Narrated by Death, the book follows A young girl called Liesel, growing up with a foster family in Germany during the second World War after suffering great tragedy, and life is far from easy for her, her friends, and pretty much everyone else. I watched the film last night and bawled my eyes out at that too!

You can keep up with what I’m reading on Goodreads. Let me know your favourite books of last year, I need more reads for this year’s challenge!

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