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Wednesday 6 December 2017

Christmas Book Gift Guide 2017!

I say this every Christmas but books really do make the best presents. I've limited the selection this year to just fiction, non fiction/autobiographical/celebrity books and thrillers. Mostly because these are the main genre of books I've read myself this year so I can easily give my opinions but also because I'm smothered with a head cold and can't think straight. If there's anything glaringly obvious that you think I've missed, do let me know (I'm still buying one or two last Christmas presents and I always welcome help!).
I've tried to include only books that I've read myself but there's one or two in there that I've bought, haven't started yet but have heard that they're excellent.


Eleanor Elephant Is Completely Fine
This was a big seller this year. I read it during the Summer (full review HERE) and loved it. It deals with complex issues like child abuse and mental illness but with a truly endearing and loveable protagonist that will make you want to reach into the book and give a big hug to. This is an emotional roller-coaster of a book; I cried and laughed many times. 

The Break
This is the latest from everyone's fave, Marian Keyes. It just won the best fiction award at the Bórd Gáis Irish Book Awards and rightly so. I've read this one but I'm way behind on my book reviews so I'll lay out the general idea here; Amy and Hugh have been married for years. They have teenage children and are happy. At least that's what Amy thinks. Hugh decides he wants a break from their marriage and plans to go travelling around the world. Without Amy. Free to sleep with other women. Amy now has to work full time, look after the family on her own (including her own full-on parents and siblings) and come to terms with effectively being single all of a sudden. This is a great read, Amy is a lovely, personable character and this is classic Marian Keyes. A lovely gift to find under the tree!

Oh My God What A Complete Aisling
Another I have yet to review, I wasn't even aware of the Facebook page with the same name (I joined it after reading the book and then swiftly left again; too much squabbling) but there was already a big following for the Oh My God What A Complete Aisling way of life. This is the novel; Aisling is a country girl, working in Dublin. She loathes notions and wants nothing more than to settle down at home with her boyfriend and get married, at last. He, unfortunately has different ideas and Aisling has to build a new life for herself with new flatmates, old friends, a stressful job situation and a family illness to deal with. This is a really pleasant read; everyone I know that's read it has enjoyed it and identified with one of the characters. it's very well written. 

Little Fires Everywhere
This was my book club choice for this month. I read it mostly on the plane to and from California and found it a really well written, easy to read and interesting book. It flows beautifully and Celeste Ng is an author I definitely want to read more from- I love her style of writing. The Richardsons are a relatively normal family living in an affluent suburb of Cleveland. Elena is the matriarch of the family and lives her life very much by the rules- she thinks that's how you succeed. Single mum, artist and free spirit, Mia Warren and her daughter Pearl arrive into town and shake everything up. All the Richardson kids fall for Pearl and her mum but Elena turns on Mia when she gets involved in a local adoption and Elena decides to do some investigating into Mia's murky past, with dire consequences for everyone. 

Small Great Things
I haven't read a Jodi Picoult in years so this was a surprisingly enjoyable and gripping read. Ruth is a delivery nurse in a maternity hospital in the US. She's experienced and good at her job and arrives into work as usual to take over the care of a new mum and her baby. The couple instantly demand a new nurse- Ruth is black and they are racists. Things go from bad to worse when the baby has a medical emergency and Ruth is blamed. She finds herself in court, defending not just her actions, but also her skin colour. This is a really interesting and thought provoking read. 

The Alice Network
I just bought this for 99p on Kindle, I'm pretty pleased with myself cause this was a bestseller this year and may well be a future book club read. This is an ideal choice for fans of historical literature. Jumping between 1915 and 1947, focusing on female characters going into world war one and coming out of world war two and the secrets that connect them.

Non Fiction

When Breath Becomes Air
The story of a neurosurgeon who had to come to terms with being a patient himself after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. A surprisingly uplifting book. Full review HERE

What Happened
The 2016 US election from Hillary Clinton's perspective. I just finished this one on Audible, read by the woman herself and I enjoyed it- it's obviously politics heavy but that along with feminism interest me so it's not surprising I liked it. It may be a bit full on otherwise!

The Gospel According To Blindboy In 15 Short Stories 
This is actually a collection of short stories that I haven't read yet but knowing the madcap humour of the Rubberbandits, this offering from Blindboy Boatclub should be brilliant!

Hunger: A Memoir Of (My) Body
I haven't read this one but I did read my first Roxanne Gay book this year and I loved it- she's an amazing writer. She released Hunger this year; a memoir about food, weight and self-image. This sounds depressing but honestly, her writing is so worth it. I can't wait to read this one.

Dear Ijeawele, Or A Feminist Manifesto In Fifteen Suggestions
This is a short read but one of those books that you could dip in and out of again and again. This is a letter of advice from author and feminist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie to her friend on how to raise her baby daughter to be a strong, independent woman. I feel like every new parent (and everyone else too) should read this. 

David Sedaris: Theft By Finding
Author and comedian David Sedaris is hilarious. This is a collection of diary entries of his from 1977 to 2002. There's plenty of laughs in here, full review HERE.

Bonus suggestion; Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks (yes, THE Tom Hanks)


Magpie Murders
I've only started this on Audible but loving it so far. Susan Reyland is an editor, just given the new manuscript by a bestselling crime writer to read. It's an homage to Agatha Christie; old school big country house, disturbing murder in a sleepy English village. So far, so in-keeping with the author's style of writing but as Susan reads on, she's convinced there's a real life murder detailed in the manuscript. 

Stillhouse Lake
This one took me by total surprise this year- Gina is a normal housewife, with two children and a loving husband. Her life gets completely turned upside down however, when it's revealed that her husband is a brutal and sadistic serial killer. Although Gina knew nothing about it, the internet does not believe her and her and her kids are forced to go under cover and live their life on the run. They start to settle somewhere until a young woman is found dead near their home. It starts to look like a copy-cat of her husbands has caught up with them. This is a serious thriller that you won't be able to put down!

Final Girls
This is part horror, part thriller. I loved this one and read it in record time! Full review HERE

Roanoke girls
Another brilliant thriller, disturbing at times but again, another proper page turner. Review HERE

The Kind Worth Killing
I loved this one. Perfect for anyone who really enjoys psychological thrillers. There's lots of books claiming to be psychological thrillers but that don't quite meet the mark- not the case here! Full review HERE.

The Dry
I also just got this one for 99p on Kindle (absolute book bargain hunter) and is another bestselling thriller released this year. FBI agent, Aaron Falk is called back to his hometown for the funeral of his best friend, Luke, who 20 years ago was his alibi when he was accused of murder. It looks like there's more to Luke's death than first appears and with that, long buried lies from Aaron's past start to come to the surface. 

Bonus suggestion; All The Missing Girls. Another great thriller, review HERE!

And that is the lot! 
Have you read any of these?
Have you any other good suggestions?
To the comments!

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