Book Review Roundup #3

Well hello, there you gorgeous humans. You can see by the title above that we won’t be talking about makeup or skincare today! It’s time for another book review round-up and these posts are terrifyingly long. So grab your snacks and your coffee and settle in! PS. If you want to read Part 1 and Part 2 – Then click on their names.

Let’s go!

Everything is F*cked – Mark Manson

We live in an interesting time. Materially, everything is the best it’s ever been—we are freer, healthier and wealthier than any people in human history. Yet, somehow everything seems to be irreparably and horribly f*cked—the planet is warming, governments are failing, economies are collapsing, and everyone is perpetually offended on Twitter. At this moment in history, when we have access to technology, education and communication our ancestors couldn’t even dream of, so many of us come back to an overriding feeling of hopelessness. What’s going on? If anyone can put a name to our current malaise and help fix it, it’s Mark Manson. In 2016, Manson published The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck, a book that brilliantly gave shape to the ever-present, low-level hum of anxiety that permeates modern living. He showed us that technology had made it too easy to care about the wrong things, that our culture had convinced us that the world owed us something when it didn’t—and worst of all, that our modern and maddening urge to always find happiness only served to make us unhappier. Instead, the “subtle art” of that title turned out to be a bold challenge: to choose your struggle; to narrow and focus and find the pain you want to sustain. The result was a book that became an international phenomenon, selling millions of copies worldwide while becoming the #1 bestseller in 13 different countries. Now, in Everthing Is F*cked, Manson turns his gaze from the inevitable flaws within each individual self to the endless calamities taking place in the world around us. Drawing from the pool of psychological research on these topics, as well as the timeless wisdom of philosophers such as Plato, Nietzsche, and Tom Waits, he dissects religion and politics and the uncomfortable ways they have come to resemble one another. He looks at our relationships with money, entertainment and the internet, and how too much of a good thing can psychologically eat us alive. He openly defies our definitions of faith, happiness, freedom—and even of hope itself. 

I’ve talked about Mark Manson’s first book earlier and how much I freaking loved it, his second book is no exception! I literally pre-ordered it I was that keen. His writing style is pure gold! The way he tells a story, every concept he explains, and that sarcasm as well! He doesn’t try to be funny it flows so naturally. So so so good!

Not bad people – Brandy Scott

Three friends, thirty years of shared secrets, one impulsive gesture .. and a terrible accident. When friendship goes bad, someone has to pay. For fans of Liane Moriarty and Robyn Harding. It’s New Year’s Eve. Three thirty-something women – Aimee, Melinda and Lou – best friends for decades, let off sky lanterns filled with resolutions: for meaning, for freedom, for money. As the glowing paper bags float away, there’s a bright flare in the distance. It could be a sign of luck – or the start of a complete nightmare that will upend their friendships, families and careers. The day after their ceremony, the newspapers report a small plane crash – two victims pulled from the wreckage, one a young boy. Were they responsible? Aimee thinks they are, Melinda won’t accept it, and Lou has problems of her own. It’s a toxic recipe for guilt trips, shame, obsession, blackmail and power games. They’re not bad people. But desperate times call for desperate measures. 

A very slow read! The chapters were long and the story took its time. I didn’t mind it (it had twists that I didn’t see coming) but I wasn’t overly into the book. I did enjoy how it rotated between different characters and different points of view but it wasn’t by any means my favorite.

The truths and triumphs of Grace Arethton – Anstey Harris

Grace, Nadia and Mr Williams see each other at work every day. But it will take a crisis for them to finally reveal the truth about themselves. Grace is 40 and in love with David. Her life is about to fall apart in the most shocking of ways. Nadia is 17 and furious. She knows that love will only let her down: if she is going to succeed it will be on her own terms. Maurice Williams is 86. He has discovered a lot about love in his long life, and even more about people. And yet he keeps secrets. Sometimes you have to hit the bottom in order to find a way back. And sometimes you need a friend, or two, by your side when you triumph.

I really enjoyed this book! It was quite refreshing in the way the story played out and wasn’t by any means predictable. I feel like it’s an anti-love story but not in a bitter way, more in an empowering sort of way. It’s not always about boy meets girl, they fall in love yadda yadda. The chapters aren’t short but not overbearing and the story didn’t drag on. I also enjoy any story that takes place in Paris.

The choice – Edith Eger

In 1944, sixteen-year-old ballerina Edith Eger was sent to Auschwitz. Separated from her parents on arrival, she endures unimaginable experiences, including being made to dance for the infamous Josef Mengele. When the camp is finally liberated, she is pulled from a pile of bodies, barely alive. The horrors of the Holocaust didn’t break Edith. In fact, they helped her learn to live again with a life-affirming strength and a truly remarkable resilience. The Choice is her unforgettable story. It shows that hope can flower in the most unlikely places.

I’m a massive fan of Historical fiction (particularly set in Nazi Germany / Holocaust. This story was written by an actual Holocaust survivor and while many focus on surviving the concentration camps/what happened there this transcends that and follows the main character for many decades afterward. I feel like it’s half a story about the Holocaust / A self-help book about psychology. I immensely loved this book and it’s one I highly recommend even if you aren’t into historical fiction. It also gives examples outside of surviving the Holocaust and I seriously feel like it’s a book about survival, psychology, and freedom.

Wonder – R.J Palacio

“Wonder” is the funny, sweet and incredibly moving story of Auggie Pullman. Born with a terrible facial abnormality, this shy, bright ten-year-old has been home-schooled by his parents for his whole life, in an attempt to protect him from the stares and cruelty of the outside world. Now, for the first time, Auggie is being sent to a real school – and he’s dreading it. The thing is, Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, underneath it all? Through the voices of Auggie, his big sister Via, and his new friends Jack and Summer, “Wonder” follows Auggie’s journey through his first year at Beecher Prep. Frank, powerful, warm and often heart-breaking, “Wonder” is a book you’ll read in one sitting, pass on to others, and remember long after the final page.

This was quite an easy read, almost heartbreaking but yet so beautiful. Definitely shines a light on the topic of bullying. The chapters are short and I flew through the book quite quickly (considering now with work it takes me longer to read a book). As it’s written for younger audiences it was a bit juvenilely written but I still enjoyed it.

One hundred names – Cecila Adhern

Internationally bestselling author Cecelia Ahern’s One Hundred Names is the story of secrets, second chances, and the hidden connections that unite our lives-a universal tale that will grip you with its emotional power and mesmerize you with its magic. Scandal has derailed Journalist Kitty Logan’s career, a setback that is soon compounded by an even more devastating loss. Constance, the woman who taught Kitty everything she knew, is dying. At her mentor’s bedside, Kitty asks her-what is the one story she always wanted to write? The answer lies in a single sheet of paper buried in Constance’s office-a list of 100 names-with no notes or explanation. But before Kitty can talk to her friend, it is too late. Determined to unlock the mystery and rebuild her own shaky confidence, Kitty throws herself into the investigation, using her skills and savvy to track down each of the names on the list and uncover their connection. Meeting these ordinary people and learning their stories, Kitty begins to piece together an unexpected portrait of Constance’s life. . . and starts to understand her own.

I freaking loved his book and it didn’t take me long into the book to realise this. I can’t put my finger on what made me instantly loved it but when a book is written so well it feels effortless to read. The pages flowed, the plotline kept me engaged and it had a beautiful ending. I also loved a flawed made character who starts out as not a very great person but shows how a person can evolve (and it does this in a non-cheesy way). After this book I picked up a lot of books by this author and can’t wait to read more!

The Deep – Alex Rogers

From one of the world’s pre-eminent marine biologists – and a scientific consultant on the BBC’s Blue Planet series – comes a dazzling account of the wonders that lie beneath the ocean’s surface, and an empowering vision of how we can protect them. Fewer people have been to the deepest part of the ocean than have been to the moon. Even now, the vast majority of this wilderness – which covers over 70% of the planet and forms its largest ecosystem – has never been seen by human eyes, let alone explored or investigated by scientists. Yet our oceans contain perhaps 90% of all life, and the physical and biological processes within it are critical to supporting our existence on Earth. Professor Alex Rogers has spent the past 30 years studying life in the deep ocean. In this book, he takes us on an epic and utterly unforgettable voyage to an alien world, and brings us right to the edge of what is known about our oceans today. Introducing us to glittering coral gardens, submarine mountains and a range of bizarre and breathtaking sea creatures, many of which he discovered first-hand, Rogers not only illustrates the ocean’s enormous and untold impact on our lives, but also shows how we are damaging it catastrophically through pollution, overfishing, and the insidious and global effects of climate change. Imbued with the author’s infectious sense of wonder, and replete with stunning photography of underwater life, The Deep is a magisterial study of a world we are only just beginning to understand – and a profoundly hopeful call to arms for us to reshape our relationship with it, before it is too late.

You guys should know by now I’m a total geek when it comes to learning about the ocean. I’m a massive fan of the Blue Planet II documentary and this book is associated with that. You learn a lot about the ocean and how much help it needs. What I love most about this book that it has this story telling aspect to it. You learn a lot about the authors childhood love for the ocean and you get insight into experiences on a ship down to in a courtroom where environmentalist action is being taken. There are a few chapters that are very technical, particularly environmental policy but if you are an ocean nerd like me you’ll love this book!

Me before you – Jojo Moyes

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick. What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane. Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that. What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.

I hadn’t watched the movie to this book but I knew how it was going to end based on what I heard about the movie. Nevertheless I loved the story! I loved the way the plotline flowed, how Louise was portrayed and I just found myself going through this book easily. It is heartbreaking so be warned, this movie will turn on the water works. There is an also part two and three to this series which I have sitting on my shelf ready to read!

The girl in the letter – Emily Gunnis

1956. When Ivy Jenkins falls pregnant she is sent in disgrace to St Margaret’s, a dark, brooding house for unmarried mothers. Her baby is adopted against her will. Ivy will never leave. Present day. Samantha Harper is a journalist desperate for a break. When she stumbles on a letter from the past, the contents shock and move her. The letter is from a young mother, begging to be rescued from St Margaret’s. Before it is too late. Sam is pulled into the tragic story and discovers a spate of unexplained deaths surrounding the woman and her child. With St Margaret’s set for demolition, Sam has only hours to piece together a sixty-year-old mystery before the truth, which lies disturbingly close to home, is lost forever… Read her letter. Remember her story…

This story had a creepy and eerie tone to it but it keeps you on the edge of your seat waiting to see what happens next. I generally avoid creepy books because I’m a wimp but this isn’t scary to the point you’ll be creeped out long after. It contains twists you don’t see coming and it was definitely an enjoyable read. I finished it quite quickly, despite work only living me with my commute to-from + weekends to read.

All the light we cannot see – Anthony Doerr

A beautiful, stunningly ambitious novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II. When Marie-Laure goes blind, aged six, her father builds her a model of their Paris neighborhood, so she can memorize it with her fingers and then navigate the real streets. But when the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure’s agoraphobic great uncle lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall. In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, is enchanted by a crude radio. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent ultimately makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, All the Light We Cannot See is his most ambitious and dazzling work.

This was a pretty average read. Two stories were occurring simultaneously and there were confusing time jumps. It’s one of those books where you read the blurb and think it sounds incredible but the plot line moved quite slowly. It’s set in the time of Nazi Germany and one of the main characters is a blind girl. It was interesting reading a book from the point of view of a character who couldn’t see, but plot-line wise I struggled to stay engaged.

Looking for Alaska – John Green

“If people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane.” Miles Halter’s whole life has been one big non-event, until he meets Alaska Young. Gorgeous, clever and undoubtedly screwed-up, Alaska draws Miles into her reckless world and irrevocably steals his heart. For Miles, nothing can ever be the same again. Looking for Alaska brilliantly captures the exquisite painful joy of living and loving. Poignant, funny, heartbreaking and compelling, this novel will stay with you forever.

You can never go wrong with a John Green novel! This was a read where I had no prior knowledge of the storyline nor did I watch any movie first. I was actually able to enjoy the plotline without knowing how it was going to turn out. The book isn’t divided into chapters but into 2 parts – ‘before’ and ‘after’ so you know a major event is coming which keeps you turning the pages. I do prefer books with chapters but my brain just likes parts to be numbered. It was quite an easy story to read but not juvenile. I love these kind of stories following a previously complex read as I of course don’t disrupt my reading streak but I give my mind a break by switching to a light read. It’s a beautiful story and I really enjoyed it because it free from cheesiness and cliché.

And that wraps up this LONG ASS post. If you made it all the way through then you are a trooper! Have you read any of the books I mentioned here today? What books have you been reading lately? Drop a comment and let me know! I love you guys and I’ll see you all in the next post.

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10 Comments

  1. Jenna

    January 8, 2021 at 11:03 pm

    These books sound really awesome – I don’t have a book checked out at the library right now, so I really want to see if my library has them.
    Jenna ♥
    Stay in touch? Life of an Earth Muffin

    1. The Makeup Aficionado

      January 9, 2021 at 7:28 pm

      Definitely worth looking int 🙂

  2. Chloe

    January 9, 2021 at 1:33 pm

    Some of these sound like really good reads! Thank you for sharing 🙂
    Chloe X https://www.chloepryce.com/

    1. The Makeup Aficionado

      January 9, 2021 at 7:28 pm

      Thank you! Any time. x

  3. Katie

    January 10, 2021 at 11:49 am

    I was thinking about getting Not bad people… but after your review I think I may read into it a bit more before picking it up! Thanks for your short and sweet reviews!

    Katie | katieemmabeauty.com

    1. The Makeup Aficionado

      January 15, 2021 at 8:36 pm

      I was so excited about it when I picked it up, it’s not a terrible book but it’s very slow and the plot line moves very very slowly. x

  4. Danielle Beautyblog

    January 10, 2021 at 11:55 am

    I’ve only read Me before You but i watched the seriesof looking for alaska haha i hope I read more this year! xx

    Danielle’s Beauty Blog 

    1. The Makeup Aficionado

      January 15, 2021 at 8:37 pm

      I’ve been in a slow reading slump lately so I’m trying to priortize it more on weekends (because that’s when I get the bulk of reading done) – Weekdays it’s just my commute to and from work

  5. Lenne Zulkiflly

    January 10, 2021 at 1:18 pm

    I love Looking For Alaska! You’re so right, one cannot go wrong with John Green novels xx

    lenne | lennezulkiflly.com

    1. The Makeup Aficionado

      January 15, 2021 at 8:41 pm

      Just the way he writes his novels – nothing beats it!

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