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Laura
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 VIII

Yes! Your favourite post is back! It’s time for another Book Wrap Up. It’s going to be a shorter one (I think) than the last couple because you’ve been pestering, probably because you want some recommendations for isolation (understandably). So here they are!
I have had a really mixed month or so of reading. Smashed through a couple of books SUPER quick, than others took me a few weeks (which is much longer than it usually takes takes me).

Separation Anxiety by Laura Zigman*

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
 
Judy never intended to start wearing the dog. But when she stumbled across her son Teddy’s old baby sling during a half hearted basement cleaning, something in her snapped. So: the dog went into the sling, Judy felt connected to another living being, and she’s repeated the process every day since.

This is the first book in a while that just wasn’t for me. I see the appeal - a fun and light topic that I am sure some people can really relate to. However, the writing style just wasn’t for me. It was a bit bland for me and I just couldn’t get into it....


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The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley*

Rating: ★★★★☆
 
"Everybody lies about their lives. What would happen if you shared the truth?" This is the question that Julian Jessop, an eccentric, seventy-nine-year-old artist, poses within a pale green exercise book that he labels The Authenticity Project, before leaving it behind in Monica's Café. When Monica discovers Julian's abandoned notebook, not only does she add her own story to the book, she is determined to find a way to help Julian feel less lonely.

What will follow is a quirky story of all sorts of different people coming together. A story of love, friendship and real-life experiences.

It took me a really long time for me to read this book (two weeks - which is VERY long for me). I found it was a slow starter, but picked up as it went on. It did have all the important mixes to a good book - a little bit of love, a few lies and a whole lot of journeying. If you are not a fan of a story that changes character, then this will NOT be for you, because the story jumps from character to character. It is a really unique little story and I did really enjoy it. I wouldn’t put up there with my favourite books, but a lovely book!
 


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Like Mother, Like Daughter by Elle Croft*

Rating: ★★★★☆
 
Kat's children are both smart and well-adjusted. On the outside.

Kat has always tried to treat Imogen and Jemima equally, but she struggles with one of her daughters more than the other.

Because Imogen's birth mother is a serial killer. And Imogen doesn't know.

Let’s start by saying that I finished this book in one day. I just sat and read and read and read. It was great! It was the first thriller that I have picked up in a little while and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Not too creepy, but with a few twists and turns to keep you guessing. I had a feeling that the revelation at the end would be the way it was - I just had this feeling that it wasn’t all as it seemed. It’s not the most unique and brilliant thriller that I’ve ever read, but it kept me hooked until the final page and I really enjoyed it. Would definitely recommend if you are looking for a thriller that isn’t going to leave you with nightmares. Do be aware that it does deal with crimes against children though, so the topic is not going to be for everyone.
  

  
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Rules for Being a Girl by Candace Bushnell and Katie Cotugno*

Rating: ★★★★★

Marin has always been good at navigating these unspoken guidelines. A star student and editor of the school paper, she dreams of getting into Brown University. Her future seems bright, and her charismatic English teacher is always there to admire her writing. But one day Bex takes it too far, leaving Marin shocked and horrified. Had she led him on? Surely she did... It was clearly her fault... But when Marin finally works up the courage to tell the school, they brush it off, claiming that she’s making it up.

Suddenly Marin’s future doesn’t look quite so bright...

This. Is. Brilliant. It is the second book, in a matter of weeks, that I’ve read dealing with the topic of teacher/student boundary slippage (and much further) and of course it sent my teacher instincts to the ‘amber amber amber’. It makes me DEEPLY uncomfortable, which is absolutely should. Then, has it was brushed off as Marin’s fault, it made me DEEPLY angry. So furious. But what follows is a beautiful, empowering piece of writing of women and girls taking charge. That the ‘rules’ that have been set for girls are not ok. And that brings back the joy in me. It left me feeling so proud of Marin. I think it is such a powerful book for young women - showing how banding together is important and that it is so important to speak out and not be bound by societal constraints. Plus, I also loved the little side love story (and left me hopeful it would continue).
 


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The Wives by Tarryn Fisher 

Rating: ★★★☆☆

** spoiler alert ** Thursday’s husband, Seth, has two other wives. She’s never met them, and she doesn’t know anything about them. She agreed to this unusual arrangement because she’s so crazy about him.

But one day, she finds something. Something that tells a very different—and horrifying—story about the man she married...

Ok. Where do I start with this book. Let’s start at the beginning. The beginning and first half of the book is absolutely brilliant! I was hooked. I read the first half in maybe an hour. I could not put it down. Tarryn sets the book up brilliantly - with this sense of mystery about who these other two women are. Who would agree to this kind of relationship?! Then the second half starts and I kind of get sucked into this twist of mental illness, but I kept going ‘no...there’s got to be some other story...’. But then that never went away and I was honestly VERY let down. It was the most anti-climatic plot twist. I wanted something that left me with goosebumps....

So it left me in two minds - I loved so much of the book....but the ending really let it down for me...
 

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The Loudness of Unsaid Things by Hilde Hinton*

Rating: ★★★☆☆
 
Miss Kaye works at The Institute. A place for the damaged, the outliers, the not-quite rights. Everyone has different strategies to deal with the residents. Some bark orders. Some negotiate tirelessly. Miss Kaye found that simply being herself was mostly the right thing to do.

This was a really interesting book. If I could give it 3 and a half stars, I would, because for the most part I really enjoyed the story. It was written from a different perspective and I loved how it viewed the world from a child's perspective - with innocence that grows into uncertainty. However, I found the jumps to 'The Institute' with Miss Kaye, confusing because (and maybe I missed something in my reading) I just didn't understand the connection - and it wasn't really made clear until right at the end.

Now, let's chat about the ending very quickly. I am going to try and do this without giving away too many spoilers. I liked it, but I hated it at the same time. The story of Susie ended abruptly hooked me immediately. I had to now what happened. And it came out in a way that fits the title brilliantly - something that is just unsaid, but you know is there. However (another however, I'm sorry), I didn't love the jump back to The Institute, because, as I said earlier, I haven't been loving The Institute sections. It logically made sense for the story to do this, but I just felt a bit underwhelmed.

Despite the ending and some aspects of the book, I thought it was beautifully written and I really enjoyed Hilde Hinton's writing style. I just wish I loved it a little bit more than I did.

 

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Unpregnant by Jenni Hendriks

Rating: ★★★★☆

Seventeen-year-old Veronica Clarke never thought she would wish shed failed a test until she finds herself holding a thick piece of plastic in her hands and staring at two solid pink lines.

I have just gone and read a couple of reviews on this and it seems that I might be different to the majority in my thoughts on this book because I really enjoyed it. Yes, it deals with some intense topics - teenage pregnancy and abortion, amongst a few others - but it's done so in a really nice way where it's fun and real. It puts a teenage girl in what can be a very real situation for so many people in the world (not necessarily how it happened, but the fact that it did) and plays how the whole process of dealing with it - the fear of her parents and friends finding out, the feeling of being alone and then the actual decision to have an abortion or not. I think it's great that comedy has been bought in, but tied in with hard emotional situations. Is it my favourite release in the last year? No. But I really enjoyed it despite of that!


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The Lost Love Song by Minnie Darke*

Rating: ★★★★☆

This is the story of a love song ...

In Australia, Arie Johnson waits impatiently for classical pianist Diana Clare to return from a world tour, hopeful that after seven years together she'll finally agree to marry him. On her travels, Diana composes a song for Arie. It's the perfect way to express her love, knowing they'll spend their lives together . . . Won't they?

Then late one night, her love song is overheard, and begins its own journey across the world.

Another lovely book that I finished in a day. If I'm honest though, until about the last third of the book, it was only going to get 3 stars. I found the opening slow and overally musical, like she was trying to add in extra musical words to remind you that this was a book about music (and that's coming from a musician). But then these little love stories started to appear as the music travelled the world and I loved those (I almost want a whole side story just for Evie and Felix please). As Arie and Evie started to open up, I too, started to be drawn into their love story.

While it hasn't been my favourite story that I've read in a while, it is still a really lovely story of love, and I loved this idea of music (being a universal language) travelling all around the world and helping others to find love as well!
  


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A Good Neighbourhood by Therese Anne Fowler*

Rating: ★★★★★
 
In Oak Knoll, a verdant, tight-knit North Carolina neighborhood, professor of forestry and ecology Valerie Alston-Holt is raising her bright and talented biracial son. Xavier is headed to college in the fall, and after years of single parenting, Valerie is facing the prospect of an empty nest. All is well until the Whitmans move in next door―an apparently traditional family with new money, ambition, and a secretly troubled teenage daughter.

As the fighting begins, the families fail to see the romance blossoming between their children.

This book is incredible. I have no doubt that it will end up being a best seller, with a film being released in the future, winning awards and basically being one of the best books released in 2020 (if ever). I was blown away and couldn't put it down. There are so many layers to it. What starts as a love affair between two teenagers, in an almost Romeo and Juliet scenario, with parents who are suing each other over the house that was newly built. But at the core of it all, is an honest and scary view of religion, race and how young girls should be raised. With a third person narrator (who I must say sounds very posh and I was all for it), we get the story told from the perspective of all the characters, with some terrifying things being thought of by each (hello Brad, I'm looking at you).

This is a heartbreaking story, so relevant and moving in its depiction of racism. It should make you sit up and listen. It is dark and terrifying, and it's a world in which so many people still live. It is this core principle that I think makes one of the best books that will come out this year. Cannot recommend everyone reading this book enough...
 


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Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales*

Rating: ★★★★★

** spoiler alert ** Summer love...gone so fast.

Will Tavares is the dream summer fling―he's fun, affectionate, kind―but just when Ollie thinks he's found his Happily Ever After, summer vacation ends and Will stops texting Ollie back. Now Ollie is one prince short of his fairytale ending, and to complicate the fairytale further, a family emergency sees Ollie uprooted and enrolled at a new school across the country. Which he minds a little less when he realizes it's the same school Will goes to...except Ollie finds that the sweet, comfortably queer guy he knew from summer isn't the same one attending Collinswood High. This Will is a class clown, closeted―and, to be honest, a bit of a jerk.

The last time he gave Will his heart, Will handed it back to him trampled and battered. Ollie would have to be an idiot to trust him with it again.

Right? Right.

I have heard a lot of descriptions of this book as a LGBTQI version of Grease, which I would say that there are a lot of comparisons to. But it is also an AMAZING book in and of it's own right. I finished this book in one day because I couldn't put it down. It is such a lovely story of teenage love in a confusing world of hormones and identity. It has so many cute moments - Ollie and Will falling in love, Ollie making friends at a new place. But it also deals with some dark and heavy topics - the grief and anxiety of watching someone die, and the challenge of identity and coming out of the closet.

Despite the heavy, it will fill your heart to the brim! It is such a sweet little book and I cannot recommend you reading it enough!
 
 


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Going Under by Sonia Henry

Rating: ★★★★★

Dr Katarina 'Kitty' Holliday thought that once she finished medical school and found gainful employment at one of Sydney's best teaching hospitals that her dream was just beginning. The hard years, she thought, were finally over.

Well Kitty was in for a rude shock wasn't she...

I love love loved this book! After reading Adam Kay's books, and watching a lot of Grey's Anatomy, I have been a little hooked on medical stories, and this one fit in perfectly. With a mix of love and heartbreak, while trying to navigate professional boundaries at work, all while trying to save patients and learn how to be a doctor. While I am not in the medical industry, it felt like a very honest and raw portrayal of what it is like being a junior doctor. It does get deep and dark and so sad, but I absolutely loved it. Easy to read and a beautiful story.
 
 


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Jane in Love by Rachel Givney

Rating: ★★★☆☆

'If Jane Austen had the choice between the heart and the pen, what do you think she would do?'

At age twenty-eight, Jane Austen should be seeking a suitable husband, but all she wants to do is write. Forced to take extreme measures to find a man, she finds herself in modern day England, where horseless steel carriages line the streets and people wear very little clothing. She forms a new best friend in fading film star Sofia Wentworth, and a genuine love interest in Sofia's brother Fred, who has the audacity to be handsome, clever and kind-hearted.

As she starts to fall in love, her books start to disappear. She must find a way to stop herself disappearing from history before it's too late.

It honestly just didn't wow me. I haven't really read much Jane Austen (only one book that I had to read for uni), but I have always liked the idea of her stories. This just kind of bored me though. I had this battle with myself half way through where I wanted to put it away, but I also knew that I had to finish it (because I hate not finishing a book). It's a lovely story of love, but I just found it slow and very typical and honestly....Jane annoyed me a little bit....

I really wanted to love this book, but it sadly just wasn't for me.
 


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And that, my friends, is it! Some real winners and some big downfalls. This wrap up had it all. 

As always, I'd love to hear what you are reading, so let me know in the comments below. Always on the hunt for more books to read!







 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*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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