Books | January in books…

This year one of my goals is to read more.  Last year I read ONE book!  I know, shocking right?  I spend most of time looking at a phone instead.  I am also fully aware that I’m a hypocrite – as I encourage my children to read for their school work and development, when I myself was wasn’t setting the right example.

So, 2020 – my goal is to read 20 books.  And to be seen reading books by my kids.  To actively encourage them more, and show how fun and relaxing the process is.

This January is surprised myself by reading not one but FOUR books!  I found that I enjoyed going to bed at 9pm, setting in for a few hours of reading.  What I hadn’t expected was that I would enjoy reading so much that it could be 2am before I turned off the lights!

So, what have I read?

Conversation with friends – Sally Rooney

Frances is twenty-one years old, cool-headed and observant. A student in Dublin and an aspiring writer, at night she performs spoken word with her best friend Bobbi, who used to be her girlfriend. When they are interviewed and then befriended by Melissa, a well-known journalist who is married to Nick, an actor, they enter a world of beautiful houses, raucous dinner parties and holidays in Provence, beginning a complex ménage-à-quatre. But when Frances and Nick get unexpectedly closer, the sharply witty and emotion-averse Frances is forced to honestly confront her own vulnerabilities for the first time.

I found this book initially difficult to get on with. I found the protagonist a bit of a childish arse! I didn’t like the affair, or how selfish she was. But then I realised I didn’t actually have to like her. Once I got over that, I found the book fairly enjoyable.  When Frances breaks down her ego and begins to actually feel, I found the book far more interesting.

The Confession – Jessie Burton

One winter’s afternoon on Hampstead Heath in 1980, Elise Morceau meets Constance Holden and quickly falls under her spell. Connie is bold and alluring, a successful writer whose novel is being turned into a major Hollywood film. Elise follows Connie to LA, a city of strange dreams and swimming pools and late-night gatherings of glamorous people. But whilst Connie thrives on the heat and electricity of this new world where everyone is reaching for the stars and no one is telling the truth, Elise finds herself floundering. When she overhears a conversation at a party that turns everything on its head, Elise makes an impulsive decision that will change her life forever.

Three decades later, Rose Simmons is seeking answers about her mother, who disappeared when she was a baby. Having learned that the last person to see her was Constance Holden, a reclusive novelist who withdrew from public life at the peak of her fame, Rose is drawn to the door of Connie’s imposing house in search of a confession . . .

I loved this book.  After reading Jessie Burton’s previous two incredible novels, this one didn’t disappoint. I enjoyed the moving backwards and forwards through the two decades, the 80’s in LA and present day in London. Vivid in colours and well written it shows how love can be held among all generations.

Stardust – Neil Gaiman

Life moves at a leisurely pace in the tiny town of Wall – named after the imposing stone barrier which separates the town from a grassy meadow. Here, young Tristran Thorn has lost his heart to the beautiful Victoria Forester and for the coveted prize of her hand, Tristran vows to retrieve a fallen star and deliver it to his beloved. It is an oath that sends him over the ancient wall and into a world that is dangerous and strange beyond imagining.

This book was actually one of Rufus’ Christmas presents, it was sat in a pile in his bedroom and I thought I’d read it before him.  If you love Gaiman’s other books, and a bit of fantasy and folk lore then this one is for you.  A very quick read. I read it in two nights.

A girl of ink and stars – Karen Millwood – Hargreaves

Forbidden to leave her island, Isabella dreams of the faraway lands her cartographer father once mapped. When her friend disappears, she volunteers to guide the search. The world beyond the walls is a monster-filled wasteland – and beneath the dry rivers and smoking mountains, a fire demon is stirring from its sleep. Soon, following her map, her heart and an ancient myth, Isabella discovers the true end of her journey: to save the island itself.

A beautiful book about two young girl’s adventure to discover their island and save it from a mysterious dark force.  An easy quick read, this book kept me awake til the small hours to finish it.

Four books in January.  I’ve already started my first book of February and hope to read two books this month.

Please please give me your book recommendations. I love adventures, a bit of a mystery – something that I can’t put down. Thank you!

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