Books I’ve Read in 2019 #2 – Book Reviews

by AmyBroad

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This year has been a big book reading year for me, what with travelling and working in New Zealand I have had a lot of spare time on my hands! I think I am now onto book number 26, which is probably the most I have ever read in one year, and we’ve still got a few weeks left to go of 2019. I have discovered new authors that I want to read more of, and even ventured out into autobiographies and non-fiction. Even though we are so close to the end of the year, I want to do one final instalment after this so keep your eyes peeled for that! I hope you enjoy these mini book reviews of the last ten books I have read, let me know if you have read any of these too…

The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister’s Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine by Lindsey Fitzharris

So, we start off this batch of mini book reviews with quite an odd choice with a pretty long title and quite a niche subject! This factual book follows Joseph Lister, a surgeon practicing in the late nineteenth-century. At this time surgery was a pretty risky business, anaesthesia wasn’t widely used and there were high mortality rates after surgery due to infection and hospital disease. But thankfully along came Joseph Lister, eager to discover the reason for such high infection rates after surgery. He formed the theory that germs were the cause of infection and figured out how to treat it. And after many many years of experiments and doubt from other surgeons, managed to transform hospitals and surgery that is recognisable to us today. This book of course won’t be interesting to the majority of people, but as a lover of gory details I really enjoyed it. I remember learning some of this in history at school, but I can now appreciate learning this again as an adult how things would be very different today without this discovery. 4/5

Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn O’Porter

This was my first book by Dawn O’Porter, and one that has made me want to read her other work too! It is based on two fifteen year old schoolgirls, Renee and Flo who despite being very different become friends. Renee becomes obsessed with Flo’s older brother and Flo is always hiding her friendship with Renee from her other controlling friend. Reading it really did remind me of being at school myself. When some sort of drama would happen in your friendship group and you think things will never get better ever again! But of course it always turns out OK. I definitely need to get around to reading her other books next. 3.5/5

The Visitors by Catherine Burns

If i’m not sure what to read next, I know I can always fall back on a thriller. There haven’t been many that I haven’t enjoyed, and this one didn’t disappoint either! Marion and John are siblings in their 50’s that live together in an old house left to them by their parents. Marion has always been very timid, and does not want to anger her brother who has shown violent characteristics throughout his life. She knows he is up to something in the basement, but why does he spend so much time down there? The story is slowly uncovered as we learn more about the siblings and their pasts. This isn’t your average ‘who committed the crime’ kind of thriller. The way we slowly learn more about Marion and when we eventually find out what is in the basement makes the ending even more twisted. 4/5

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

City of Girls is by far my favourite book out of this selection, so if you only read one make it this one! It is written from the perspective of Vivian Morris, an elderly American woman looking back on her life from the age of 19. Coming from a wealthy family, she was expected to act a certain way, but after being kicked out of college she moves to live with her Aunt in New York City in the early 1940’s. Aunt Peg runs a theatre company, and Vivian uses her incredible sewing skills to make costumes for the performers. She is soon enough swept up into partying every night with showgirls and having sex with countless men. But it all goes pear-shaped when she is involved in a sex scandal and has to go back to her family. She nevertheless plucks up the courage to move back to New York, where we follow her through the city in wartime and through old age. 5/5

book reviews 2019

The Day We Met by Roxie Cooper

If you are after a heartfelt love story, look no further. The story begins in 2006 where Stephanie and Jamie meet at an art retreat, they form an instant connection but they are both in relationships. They carry on with their normal lives until they meet again at the same retreat the next year. They both form strong romantic feelings for each other but agree to only meet once a year, and go back to their partners after the weekend is over. The story follows the growth of their relationship over the course of a decade, and of course you will have to read it to find out if they end up together! I demolished this book in 24 hours, I just had to find out what happened! 3.5/5

The One by John Marrs

I absolutely love the idea of this book…it is set in the modern day where a website exists called Match Your DNA. You send in your DNA and they use it to find the one person in the world that you are genetically made for, your Match. The book follows five people all in different walks of life that have just been sent their match results. And of course, none of these matches come without their fair share of drama. Even though I think the idea behind this book is really original and I sped through it in a matter of days, I feel that it could have been a whole lot better than it was. Each chapter focuses on one of the five people who have found their match, and every chapter ends with a cliffhanger. Then, the next chapter carries onto the next of the five characters, and you have to wait another five chapters to find out what happens to each character, if that makes sense! I just found it quite frustrating having to read through other chapters that I wasn’t so invested in to get back to my favourite characters! Also, every storyline had so much drama, it felt it wasn’t needed. I could kind of predict what was going to happen, as it followed pretty generic plots! Overall, loved the initial idea of the book, but it could have been executed much better! 3/5


The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I had seen people rave about this book, but I hadn’t really twigged that it was from the same author as Daisy Jones & The Six. A book I loved, and due to the amazing story telling thought was a true story for far too long! I eventually got around to reading this one, which in my opinion was even better than the other! The story starts with a magazine reporter who out of the blue is asked to interview Evelyn Hugo, an old Hollywood movie star, for her biography. We follow Evelyn’s story as she grew to fame in the 50’s, until she eventually decided to quit the business in the 80’s. Throughout her lifetime she managed to marry seven men, some for love, others for necessity. And of course there is a lot of drama and a few surprises along the way! A truly enjoyable book, I will definitely be keeping my eye out for the next instalment from Taylor Jenkins Reid. 4.5/5

Sirens by Joseph Knox

I don’t think there is a simple way to describe the plot of this book. So all I will say is that it is a thriller, based on a disgraced undercover detective who has infiltrated a drug enterprise whilst also trying to rescue a politicians daughter. This book has received so many good reviews, and personally I don’t understand why. I am probably in the minority here but I just found the plot rather confusing and way too complicated. I was just left at the end feeling…meh, which is not really what you want after investing time into reading a book! 2/5

How Do You Like Me Now? by Hollie Bourne

How Do You Like Me Now is based on a best-selling author who seems to have it all. She is always meeting fans of her famous self-help memoir, and seems to have the perfect life and perfect boyfriend. But as she is entering the early years of her thirties, everyone around her is either getting married or popping out babies. Even though her own relationship is seemingly perfect, her boyfriend won’t even discuss marriage or kids! After being together for six years she has to make the brave decision whether to stay with him or find happiness elsewhere. This was a nice easy read, which was exactly what I wanted and I even had a few laugh out loud moments along the way. 3/5

Gotta Get Theroux This by Louis Theroux

I haven’t read many autobiographies in my time, but as a massive fan of Louis Theroux documentaries I thought I would give this one a go. I believe this is his second book, where the reader learns how he progressed through his career in media. He writes in detail the behind the scenes of both his early and more current work, along with some witty anecdotes. As a fan of Louis I enjoyed having more insight into his life as well as his personality. However I was personally hoping for more laughs, but maybe I shouldn’t have expected that from him, he is a documentary presenter after all. 3/5

For more 2019 book reviews, make sure to read my previous book post here!

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Lesley 8th December 2019 - 6:16 am

Great to see more of your reviews, like the look of The butchering Art and The City Girls. As you liked the butchering art you should read ‘Unnatural causes’ a top pathologists account of all the post Mortems he has performed in high profile cases, even Princess Diana’s death, it’s really good I would recommend it, gets great reviews.

AmyBroad 10th December 2019 - 10:06 am

Thank you! I’ve added that to my reading list for sure!

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