For 2018 I kicked off my reading challenge with a goal of 35 books. I’m on track at the moment with over 400 listed in my ‘to-reads’. But! Not all books are created equal, here are my 5 star rated reads for the year so far:
Educated by Tara Westover
This book blew my mind. I had to keep pinching myself to remember this was not fiction. This is Tara’s life, and she was only born two years after me. At times, the gruesomeness of this book made it difficult to read, it’s very descriptive and visually colourful. But the perseverance to go from no schooling to a Cambridge PhD, and resisting a family who spent majority of their time preparing for the End of Days. I will not forget this book.
Watermelon by Marian Keyes
Classic Marian Keyes. I thought everyone had read a book by Ms Keyes, but apparently not! As when I mentioned it to people and said it was one of her best (and first) no-one seemed to know about it. Claire is left by her husband the day after giving birth to their first daughter. Overweight and feeling sorry for herself she returns to her home in Dublin, with her chaotic, shambles of a family, and survives on a lifestyle of getting drunk, sleeping and shouting at everyone who tried to help. Of course a strapping, young lad steps in as a love interest and the book is then tough to put down…
This book (even though I’ve now read it 3 times) always makes me laugh out loud. Literally.
The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland
I originally picked this book up out of interest due to it’s Australian setting (and our moving here). Alice is forced to leave her home after a tragedy when she’s 9. She moves in with her grandmother, whom she doesn’t know, and learns the language of Australian native flowers. I’m not a gardener, in the slightest, but the journey at the heart of this novel sucks you in. I didn’t expect to give it a five star rating but it grabbed me.
This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel
I’ve not read a book like this before and I absolutely adored it. Claude is the youngest of five boys. But Claude wants to be a girl and wear dresses. This story is magical, how the family show their support and rally around. His secret is kept for years within the family, until one day it all comes out…
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
This book is a classic, and it’s now especially well known since the HBO telly series came out. Although, I still haven’t watched the series as it’s bloody scary. The book didn’t scare me as much as it’s only my imagination (and no scary background theme music pulsing along). How quickly this book unfolds though; women losing their jobs, their money being frozen, submitted to a life of surrogacy, but forever a slave. The pace and ease in which it slides are scary.
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
Wow. Eye-opener. Inspired by a true story and set in the early 1940’s in the southern states of the USA, Before We Were Yours follows one family of five children who live on a river boat with their parents. Life is bliss and the river is home. Until the pretty, blonde haired, blue eyed children are taken by a group of strangers and sold to an orphanage known for it’s cruelty. The children do all they can to stay together and not be sold to rich, baron couples across the country who have no clue the children’s parents are alive and well.