At the beginning of September I announced a new blog series, What I’ve Been Reading. At the end of each season I will be rounding up the books I have read during that three month period and discussing them. My goal is to read 50 books throughout the duration of the year, which roughly equates to one a week.
Here’s the first roundup:
#1: The Singles Game – Lauren Weisberger
Anyone for tennis? First off, I’m a huge fan of the cover of this book. It’s girly and the camera doesn’t pick it up but the gold bits are reflective. Lauren Weisberger, New York Times bestselling author (The Devil Wears Prada, Revenge Wears Prada) gives us a dishy tell-all about a tennis prodigy who changes coaches and begins making headlines on and off the court. Charlie fires her coach following a devastating loss and injury and becomes Todd Feltner’s first ever female player. He has strict rules and a game plan to turn Charlie into a ruthless competitor. Charlie travels the globe, plays charity matches, models in photo shoots and walks the red carpet, all with sexy Spaniard, Marco Vallejo at her side. Can the illusion last or will Charlie turn her back on Todd and her new lifestyle? The detail and knowledge about the tennis tournaments is well written but the plot didn’t seem realistic. The ending wasn’t predictable though and it was nice to stay hooked until the end. Not a bad read but nothing particularly memorable.
#2: A Walk In the Park – Jill Mansell
Lara Carson returns to Bath after eighteen years. Her best friend Evie is getting married and Lara’s ex-boyfriend, Flynn, turns up at the wedding which doesn’t end up going ahead. It’s not long before Flynn discovers the reason Lara left all those years ago, she was pregnant with his child. Lara has to juggle sharing her daughter with Flynn, looking after Evie and coming to terms with her feelings for Flynn – could there be a spark after all that time? The storyline is well written but I wasn’t a big fan of the ending. It was predictable and left me wanting more, it didn’t feel complete. I did enjoy the book overall and I will consider other books by Jill Mansell.
#3: What I Did On My Holidays – Chrissie Manby
I absolutely loved this book! It was laugh out loud funny and a really easy book to read. The plot wasn’t one I’d read before and the storyline was succinct but still well developed. The book follows Sophie Sturgeon and her upcoming trip to Majorca. The night before she’s set to leave, her boyfriend and meant to be holiday companion, Callum, dumps her. Sophie decides to hide in her London flat with her sister and recreate the ultimate fake break. The results are hilarious and prove things don’t always go as planned, much like real life. Sophie is a lovable character who wants the best for everyone and a character who by the end of the book is not afraid to act in her best interests.
#4: It Started With Paris – Cathy Kelly
This is one of my favourite books on the list! The cover is really cute and you can tell straight away there’s going to be romance running through it. At the beginning you’re introduced to a lot of characters but as the story goes on it makes sense and you see how they tie in together. The book begins with a young man proposing to his girlfriend at the top of the Eiffel Tower. Things don’t only begin to change for the happy couple, but for their friends and family back in Ireland too. The tales of all characters are weaved in together and it gave me a sense of a small town where everyone knows everybody else, in a good way. The core love theme is really sweet and while it’s not always smooth sailing it’s a very real part of life. The ending wasn’t predictable and left me feeling happy. Matters were resolved and I wasn’t left with any questions. I highly recommend this book – it is lengthy but certainly wasn’t boring, there was always something happening to hold my attention.
#5: The Beginner’s Photography Guide – Chris Gatcum
The first non-fiction offering! As you may know I purchased a Canon 700D DSLR camera in July and I try to get my camera out as much as possible. I know the basics and do use manual mode but I thought this book would have some great tips and tricks. I flicked through it in one afternoon and in all honesty didn’t find it that useful. There were sections that only apply if you have multiple lenses and camera accessories and equipment and I thought if you are a true beginner, chances are you’re not going to have those. The book was an easy read and I did learn a few things but it’s not essential if you’re a DSLR user.
#6: Dead Man’s Folly – Agatha Christie
I have watched many an episode of Poirot in my time but this is the first of Agatha Christie’s stories I have read. David Suchet does such a magnificent job playing Hercule Poirot, he plays the part beautifully and he was what I could picture as I read the book. I enjoy mystery stories and I really liked this one because it was short and didn’t get confusing. I can see why a lot of people are fans of Agatha Christie. I would love to read more of her Poirot mysteries, they’re easy to read and it’s nice to throw mystery in amongst what I normally read.
#7: Poirot and Me – David Suchet
This book was so sweet. I read it immediately after Dead Man’s Folly and it tells of such a happy, momentous period of David Suchet’s life. He played Poirot on screen for 25 years and got to fulfill his dream of bringing all 70 stories to television. The book focuses on Suchet’s Poirot years but he also talks of other acting opportunities, funny moments and small snippets of his family life. Throughout the book you can feel the joy he felt playing Poirot and on many occasions describes Poirot as his friend. If you are a fan of David Suchet or Poirot you won’t regret reading this!
#8: Beautiful Messy Love – Tess Woods
I didn’t enjoy this book. The story is broken down into chapters each featuring one of four main characters. The connection between the characters, essentially two couples is established early on. I did like reading the viewpoints/perspectives of each character and that there wasn’t repetitive content and the same story told four times. I didn’t find the humour funny and I found some of the ‘nitty gritty’ immature. The sexual moments were very blatant, I’m no prude but there was nothing left to the imagination. The title gives off this sweet, love story vibe and the plot doesn’t represent that. My least favourite of the finished fiction books.
#9: The Love of a Lifetime – Melissa Hill
I saw this book in a store earlier in 2017 and knew instantly I wanted to read it. It is a classic love story and follows main character Beth and her passion for Hollywood movies. Beth and her boyfriend Danny have been together for seven years but has their initial romance settled into something more predictable? Following an anonymous coffee delivery at work Beth is led on a treasure hunt using clues from rom-com movies. The big question is, is it Danny or new work colleague Ryan? The book did keep me guessing all the way through although I did have an inkling who the mysterious man turned out to be, the ending was not what I expected. The ending plays an important role to a key part of the story and is very clever. Loved this book!
#1. Better Together – Sheila O’Flanagan
This book will not be included in the count for Spring as I didn’t finish it. I started reading the book but straight away I couldn’t get into it. I did feel sympathy for the main character, Sheridan, unlike a few reviews I read on Good Reads and didn’t find her annoying as some readers did. I got about 200 pages into the book (large print edition) before giving up and deciding not to carry on reading it. The storyline was slow, nothing seemed to happen and the sports journalism element of the story wasn’t appealing to me. I don’t know if the book would have had more romance if I had continued reading but I wanted romance to be prominent from the start. This is one of the first books in a long time I haven’t finished and stopped reading part way through because it didn’t pique my interest. I would be interested to hear whether any of you have read this book and what your thoughts are.
Total number of books read = 9.
I got off to a slow start but was making better progress by the end of September. I am in a routine with my job now and try to make time for reading everyday. At this stage it’s too early to tell if I’ll reach my goal of 50 books but it’ll be fun trying!
Have you read any of the books mentioned in this post? Do you want to?