The first six months of this year have been very productive on the reading front for me! Last year, my goal was to read twenty seven books and I made it – just. This year, I have already read nineteen books, which is a lot for me. I can largely attribute this to needing to read ten books for uni, but also to trying to take advantage of opportunities to read when I otherwise might do something else less meaningful. I definitely could still read more than I do in place of the mindless videos I watch or social media scrolling, but I am happy with having completed as many books as I have so far.
Today I want to talk about three of my favourite books that I have read in the past six months (I won’t include one particular book because it is a reread but it is most definitely a favourite and that is The Gracekeepers, which you can read my review for here).
I had to read this novella for uni and I am so glad! I watched the movie years ago and I thought it was very good, but wow, the book hits hard!
Ennis del Mar and Jack Twist, two ranch hands, come together when they’re working as sheepherder and camp tender one summer on a range above the tree line. At first, sharing an isolated tent, the attraction is casual, inevitable, but something deeper catches them that summer.
Both men work hard, marry, and have kids because that’s what cowboys do. But over the course of many years and frequent separations, this relationship becomes the most important thing in their lives, and they do anything they can to preserve it.
This story surprised me with its power; I was absolutely not expecting the effect it had on me. Because I had watched the movie, albeit many years ago, I knew the gist of what happens. But the writing is amazing and I was drawn in completely (I nearly missed the start of a tutorial at one point of reading it because I lost all sense of time!). The relationship between the two men is beautiful and the character development is done so well. It is a short book and I think this works well, but because it is so good, it could definitely have been enjoyable as a longer piece too (though sometimes I feel shorter stories are more striking and this plot does suit it).
This is an important story that looks at the need for understanding, love and equality. It truly is a profound piece of writing, and I can see myself rereading this multiple times.
I gave it 4 stars, though I am now wondering why I knocked off a star!!
Peggy and Me
This was the first book I read in 2018 and it got the year off on the right foot! This is a very funny account of Miranda Hart’s life with her dog, Peggy (I have a full review about this book here). I laughed so much – I think the most I have ever laughed while reading a book. I don’t think you need to be a dog-lover to enjoy this book, though perhaps it makes it even more relatable and heart warming when you know what kind of things these mischievous and gorgeous creatures get up to! It’s a lovely, light and easy read. I have heard that the audiobook is great as Miranda narrates it herself. This book is definitely worth the time she spent rewriting the whole thing after someone stole her computer!
I Let You Go
For a while I had seen that a lot of people were reviewing this book but I constantly confused it with “Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro, and because I have seen the movie of that book, it wasn’t high on my list to read (the movie is great; I just like to read books first). So I was skipping over reviews and not really taking in that they are very different stories. Finally, I cottoned on, and I am glad I did!
I Let You Go is a thriller, and as I have been dipping my toe further into the genre in the past year, this was a great one to add to the list and propel my interest in suspense and mystery style books.
In a split second, Jenna Gray’s world descends into a nightmare. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of a cruel November night that changed her life forever.
Slowly, Jenna begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating.
This book is amazing. There are a lot of great twists; one in particular made me feel like the book had done a complete 180 and is definitely one that makes you gasp! The story is told from two points of view and changes with each chapter, which is a style I really enjoy. One is from the perspective of Jenna who is dealing with life after an awful event, and one is from that of a detective in Bristol who is trying to solve a crime. I didn’t love the detective’s chapters but that was mainly because I felt like some of it was a bit cliche. However, upon finishing the book, I realised that the author used to be a detective, so perhaps it is more true to life than I first thought.
Be aware that there is strong violence and abuse at times, and deals with some tough topics. However, the intrigue and drama of the story really hooked me in and I definitely recommend it to thriller and crime lovers, and also to those wanting to test out the genre. I gave it 5 out of 5 stars.
What have been your favourite books so far this year? I would love to know, and why you enjoyed them. Let’s chat!