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Welcome beautiful people! I am Laura, a beauty lover and chocolate addict. I love to share my thoughts on the best (and of course the worst) of all things beauty related.

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The Book Wrap Up: Vol VII

It's been a while, but I am back! I have been pretty quiet on the blog, but I am back with one of your favourite posts - my book wrap up! Below, you will find all the books I have read in 2020 so far, all 13 of them!
I have been really enjoying reading at the moment and I feel like I've read some really good books, and I am loving switching off and opening a good book. I have always enjoyed reading, but I feel like I'm hitting my stride at the moment! So lets just get into it!

Asking For It by Louise O'Neill

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

“My body is not my own any more. They have stamped their names all over it.”

It's the beginning of the summer in a small town in Ireland. Emma O'Donovan is eighteen years old, beautiful, happy, confident. One night, there's a party. Everyone is there. All eyes are on Emma.

The next morning, she wakes on the front porch of her house. She can't remember what happened, she doesn't know how she got there. She doesn't know why she's in pain. But everyone else does.

It's sad and scary that this is a story that is all too common today, but this book covers it all. This is one of those books that touches you and you won't forget it. Louise O'Neill writes so beautifully, and while this is a dark and heavy book, it is written so well. I finished it within a day it was written so well. One thing, from a book perspective, that leaves you a feeling incomplete is the ending. You don't really get one, which Louise wants to give you, because so many stories of people who have experienced this, we don't get to hear the end of their story. The ending was what made it four stars not five, mostly because I like my stories to be complete. I should say that it's a heavy book, but it is a good one that I would highly recommend reading, if you can stomach it.

Buy it now: Dymocks | Book Depository

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid*

Rating: ★★★☆☆

 ** spoiler alert ** Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living, with her confidence-driven brand, showing other women how to do the same. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains' toddler one night, walking the aisles of their local high-end supermarket. The store's security guard, seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, accuses Emira of kidnapping two-year-old Briar. A small crowd gathers, a bystander films everything, and Emira is furious and humiliated. Alix resolves to make things right.

(May be some spoilers sorry!) Ok, I might have gone into this book with slightly too high expectations. It’s very hyped and honestly it didn’t live up to hype for me. Don’t get me wrong, it was a great book that explored what the meaning of “family” truly is, but I just felt like there were a few too many things happening. There is the whole incident at the store, then there is Alix and Emira’s boyfriends history, Peter’s (Alix’s husband) weird comments on his TV show. There just seemed to be a lot happened that didn’t all connect easily.

It was a good book, but not good to the extent that the hype has been putting it up to. For me anyway! I know a lot of people have loved it!

Buy it now: Dymocks | Book Depository 

Hey Ladies by Michelle Markowitz and Caroline Moss

Rating: ★★★★★
Based on the column of the same name that appeared in The Toast, Hey Ladies! is a laugh-out-loud read that follows a fictitious group of eight 20-and-30-something female friends for one year of holidays, summer house rentals, dates, brunches, breakups, and, of course, the planning of a disastrous wedding. Written through a series of emails and DM’s, it is a relatable story.

I really enjoyed this book. so much that I finished it within a day. I wouldn’t recommend you reading this if you don’t enjoy a bit of humorous play of stereotypes. It takes the very typical women, who we all know at least one of, and expands on it in a hilarious and somewhat cringy way. You will end up hating the characters sometimes and laughing at them at other times. It’s great. Also a note on the design - I borrowed this from the library but would 120% consider buying it for how pretty it is 😍

Buy it now: Dymocks | Book Depository 

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain*

Rating: ★★★★☆
Diane Chamberlain writes a compulsive and gripping novel that skillfully weaves the stories of two women from the past and the present. In 2018, 22 year old Morgan is coming to grips with a tragedy from her past all while restoring a mysterious mural from a small town. In 1940, Anna Dale enters an art competition, this leads to her being offered the opportunity to paint an art mural for the Post Office in Edenton, North Carolina. What happened to Anna Dale? Are the clues hidden in the decrepit mural? Can Morgan overcome her own demons to discover what exists beneath the layers of lies?

While this book felt like it was SUPER long, I think I was just being a slow reader. It was written so well and I really enjoyed it. Sometimes books that move from present day to past can feel forced, but Diane Chamberlain keeps you hooked at the end of each chapter. While some bits in the middle felt a bit slow, from about two thirds in, I couldn't stop reading. Chamberlain throws in a diary with hidden secrets that blow everything out of the water. The ending was brilliant and not the ending I expected. However, it did leave me wanting more answers. I think I need a sequel.

Buy it now: Dymocks | Book Depository

My Best Friend's Royal Wedding by Romy Sommer* coming 16th April 2020

Rating: ★★★★★
Cocktail waitress Khara Thomas never expected to trade the dazzling lights of Vegas for European aristocracy but as maid of honour in the royal wedding of the decade she’s forced into an unexpected spotlight when her best friend marries a prince. She might just find that fairytales do come true…

I LOVED this book! It was such a good, quick and easy read! It was funny and easy to read. Yes, in form and structure it was your very typical romance novel - girl meets boy, girl doesn't really want boy, girl realises she wants boy, big problems happen and then they live happily ever after. However, it is still such a good read!

Pre-order now: Dymocks | Book Depository

Bowraville by Dan Box*

Rating: ★★★☆☆

A true crime story cannot often be believed, at least at the beginning. In Bowraville, all three of the victims were Aboriginal. All three were killed within five months, between 1990 and 1991. The same white man was linked to each, but nobody was convicted.

It was an absolutely devestating crime and it makes me so angry that so little was done to bring the culprit to justice. It took so long for anyone to even bat an eyelid over these three victims disappearing. However, I found the writing style really boring and hard to get in to. It just wasn't a winning book for me.

Buy it now: Dymocks | Book Depository 

She by HC Warner*

Rating: ★★★★☆

She’s everything he dreamed of. Isn’t she? Ben can’t believe his luck when the beautiful Bella walks into his life, just when he needs her most. Secrets, lies, vengeance, and betrayal are at the heart of this story about a family that is destroyed when their son brings home the perfect girl…

I have mixed feelings about this book. But let's work through from the beginning. Ben is heartbroken and finally finds a girl that he thinks can put his heart back together. She seems perfect. Until she's not. The first part of this book is absolutely amazing. I smashed through it so fast because I could not put it down. The second part was told from Bella's perspective. By this point I already hated Bella (strong feelings I know). This part made me hate her more, but was also hella repetitive and I honestly just wanted to fast forward to the ending. The ending was a bit typical of this style of book and left me wanting more - it was just very quick and rushed.

Long story short - there were bits I absolutely loved in this book (hence the four star rating) but there were also bits that left me wanting more.

Buy it now: Dymocks | Book Depository 

Mix Tape by Jane Sanderson*

Rating: ★★★★☆

You never forget the one that got away. But what if ‘what could have been’ is still to come?

Daniel was the first boy to make Alison a mix tape. But that was years ago and Ali hasn’t thought about him in a very long time. Even if she had, she might not have called him ‘the one that got away’; she’d been the one to run away, after all. Then Dan’s name pops up on her phone, with a link to a song from their shared past. What if ‘what could have been’ is still to come?

It took me a little while to get into this book. The first third or so didn't really catch me. I loved reading about them when they were at school - sucker for a little bit of love - but at the start I wasn't too interested in their 'present' lives. Not until they started getting in contact with each other. Once that happened, I couldn't stop reading. The story got heart breaking and hard, and then it made me angry, and then it filled my heart with joy. It was fantastic. By the end I was so in love that I pretty much forgot that I didn't enjoy the opening!

Buy it now: Dymocks | Book Depository   

This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay

Rating: ★★★★★

Welcome to the life of a junior doctor: 97-hour weeks, life and death decisions, a constant tsunami of bodily fluids, and the hospital parking meter earns more than you.

I bloody loved this book. It was witty and funny, but also gave you real insights into what it’s like working for the NHS. It is bloody horrendous and I have so much more respect for anyone that does it. It reminded me how fortunate we are in Australia. ANYWAY, back to the book. Adam Kay has such a great writing style that I learnt so much about medicine and the human body, all while have a laugh and feeling angry and every other emotion in between. If you haven’t read this, you need to!

Buy it now: Dymocks | Book Depository 


Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay

Rating: ★★★★★

Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas is the hilarious, poignant and entertaining story of the life of a junior doctor at the most challenging time of the year. With twenty-five tales of intriguing, shocking and incredible Christmas incidents, the British public will finally appreciate the sacrifices made and the challenges faced by the unsung heroes of the NHS.

Another fantastic book by Adam Kay. I think this one is even funnier than the first, and breaks your heart a little bit more. It makes me (again) take off my hat to all the nurses and doctors that work around the clock every single day to keep everyone alive all year round. It's brilliant!

Buy it now: Dymocks | Book Depository 

If You Tell by Gregg Olsen*

Rating: ★★★★★
After more than a decade, when sisters Nikki, Sami, and Tori Knotek hear the word mom, it claws like an eagle's talons, triggering memories that have been their secret since childhood. Until now.

This book is amazing. I often find true crime books a bit hit and miss. Some are great, others get so caught up in the details that it ends up boring you to death (pun unintended). This is one of the good ones, possibly even one of the best true crime books I’ve ever read. Greg Olsen writes in such a way that you are led in to believing that it’s just a story. Each component of the story told in such an eloquent manner, that while you are getting all the facts, it does feel just like a really good mystery/thriller novel - I think that’s what’s so brilliant about it. Yes, the crimes are horrendous and and awful and this book is not for the faint of heart. But if, like me, you love a good gruesome book than I would highly recommend it. It really does shed light on the awful torment the three sisters went through, with such care and grace. 

Buy it now: Dymocks | Book Depository 

Maggie's Going Nowhere by Rose Hartley*

Rating: ★★★★★

Maggie Cotton’s life is a hot mess.

In one day, she’s dumped by her boyfriend, disinherited by her mum, and kicked off the three-year degree course she’d stretched to a decade. And that was before she received the letter saying she owed the government $70,000.

But that’s no reason to grow up, is it?

Honestly, this was the perfect book to start the year off. Such a lovely lighthearted read that takes the tragedy of losing everything and makes it enjoyable. Maggie Cotton has hit rock bottom and has nothing left to lose. As she starts to realise everything she's lost and questions what she has left, she will start to realise the importance of living. It was such a beautiful story and I honestly loved every bit of it. Would highly recommend if you're after something a little bit lighter and easy to read!

Buy it now: Dymocks | Book Depository


My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell* (coming 10th March 2020)

Rating: ★★★★☆

Vanessa Wye was fifteen-years-old when she first had sex with her English teacher.

She is now thirty-two and in the storm of allegations against powerful men in 2017, the teacher, Jacob Strane, has just been accused of sexual abuse by another former student. Vanessa is horrified by this news, because she is quite certain that the relationship she had with Strane wasn't abuse. It was love. She's sure of that. But what if it's not that simple...

How do you write a novel that focus on a love affair between a fifteen year old and her teacher? A love affair that is actually predatory and wrong, but your main character believes it was all love? I don't know, but Kate Elizabeth Russell does it so well. I will admit, this is a DARK DARK book! As a teacher, it made me deeply uncomfortable, with so many red flags everywhere, but I couldn't put it down. I wanted Vanessa to see what was honestly happening to her. But then you are led to believe that made it was love....

This book was so well written, and I really enjoyed reading it. I only gave it four stars because it was a little too long - the last third could have been condensed way more. It is a honest and raw depiction of victimization and coming to terms with abuse. Russell does this brilliantly, she deals with the topic at hand in such a raw and visceral way. Where other authors may have shied away, she dug deep. I've heard some peg it as a modern day Lolita, but I think it is it's own brilliant work.

While I would highly recommend it, be aware that it is kinda intense. It deals with sexual abuse and  pedophilia, meaning it won't be for everyone! Just be aware about what you are getting into.

 Pre-order it Now: Dymocks | The Book Depository

* * *  

As I mentioned it's been a pretty good year of reading so far! I have been reading a few different books, which I have really enjoyed. Have you read anything exciting recently? Let me know in the comments below or if there is one in here that you want to read next.


*DISCLAIMER – Products with * have been sent for trial/review purposes. Although this product was sent for me to trial and review, all views and opinions are 100% honest. All opinions are based purely from my own experiences. The Life of Laura is not by a professional or expert. Please do not confuse my opinions with professional advice.
*AFFILIATE - this post contains affiliate links  


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