Mini Reviews autumn

Here are some more mini reviews of books I listened to or read over the summer, but didn’t include in the 20 Books of Summer Challenge.

I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes With Death by Maggie O’Farrell narrated by Daisy Donovan

51Zcr6DZKIL._SL500_From Goodreads: “I AM, I AM, I AM is a memoir with a difference – the unputdownable story of an extraordinary woman’s life in near-death experiences. Intelligent, insightful, inspirational, it is a book to be read at a sitting, a story you finish newly conscious of life’s fragility, determined to make every heartbeat count.
A childhood illness she was not expected to survive. A teenage yearning to escape that nearly ended in disaster. A terrifying encounter on a remote path. A mismanaged labour in an understaffed hospital. Shocking, electric, unforgettable, this is the extraordinary memoir from Costa Novel-Award winner and Sunday Times bestselling author Maggie O’Farrell. It is a book to make you question yourself. What would you do if your life was in danger, and what would you stand to lose?”

Wow this was an amazing audiobook! The writing was gorgeous even though the subject matter was dark and sombre, but not depressing at all. It’s a short audiobook at  just under 6 hours long and I couldn’t stop listening to Maggie O’Farrell’s encounters with death. They not in chronological order so they jump around a bit but it didn’t matter as it was so compelling. I definitely recommend it if you enjoy memoirs on audio.

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To Die But Once (Maisie Dobbs #14) by Jacqueline Winspear
narrated by Julie Teal

to-die-but-once-1From Goodreads: “During the months following Britain’s declaration of war on Germany, Maisie Dobbs investigates the disappearance of a young apprentice working on a hush-hush government contract. As news of the plight of thousands of soldiers stranded on the beaches of France is gradually revealed to the general public, and the threat of invasion rises, another young man beloved by Maisie makes a terrible decision that will change his life forever.
Maisie’s investigation leads her from the countryside of rural Hampshire to the web of wartime opportunism exploited by one of the London underworld’s most powerful men, in a case that serves as a reminder of the inextricable link between money and war. Yet when a final confrontation approaches, she must acknowledge the potential cost to her future—and the risk of destroying a dream she wants very much to become reality”

It was lovely to listen to this as I love Julie Teal’s narration for this series. In fact if I had my way I’d only listen to this series rather than read it. Once again I’ve read out of order so I was a little confused with trying to remember some of the earlier incidents that were referred to, but it did help with the gaps I had with the later books. This was a really good mystery that was loosely based on the author’s grandfather,  a young painter during World War Two. I love how she takes stories from her family history and weaves them into her books.  

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Boy Giant: Son of Gulliver by Michael Morpurgo 
narrated by Akbar Kurtha

518RQNTYFRL._SL500_From Goodreads: “We were the truth of our own story. Me, and the two tiny people on my shoulder, in the middle of the sea…”  War has forced Omar and his mother to leave their home in Afghanistan and venture across the sea to Europe. When their boat sinks, and Omar finds himself alone, with no hope of rescue, it seems as if his story has come to an end. But it is only just beginning.  Because in the end, a little hope makes a big difference…
 A thrilling adventure inspired by the classic story of Gulliver’s Travels, this is also a gripping modern narrative of rescue and refuge, from a writer at the height of his powers. A book about breaking down walls, at a time when many are trying to build them. And a timeless reminder of humanity’s infinite capacity for good… even when those humans are very small indeed..

I love how Michael Morpurgo takes important real stories from the current affairs or history and writes them for children. This book is a retelling of Gulliver’s Travels, brought right up to date about a refugee boy from Afghanistan. It’s quite sad in parts and I can imagine might be scary for young children, but it’s an important story that needs to be told. I loved the narration by Akbar Kurtha a new-to-me narrator. He was fantastic at bringing the different characters to life, and particularly had me marvelling at his portrayal of one older female character’s voice! A really lovely story that I’m glad I listened to rather than read.

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 The Idea of You by Robinne Lee

41-BWwmN+KSFrom Goodreads: “EVERYONE IN THE WORLD KNOWS HIS NAME. BUT IT’S YOU HE WANTS. At thirty-nine, Solène Marchand is a devoted mother, a dedicated colleague and a considerate ex-wife. But it’s a long time since she’s felt like herself.
So when someone comes along who seems to see her – to want her – for who she really is, the attraction is instant. And so begins a jet-setting, earth-shattering secret love affair. But what if that someone is world-famous sex symbol Hayes Campbell? Captivating frontman of boy band of the moment August Moon – whose face is everywhere. Including Solène’s teenage daughter’s bedroom wall. Can Solène allow herself to fall for the boy the whole world wants? Or will she have to make a devastating choice?”

This book has been everywhere lately and I snapped it up for 99p following an email from Penguin. Where can I start? I didn’t realise it was erotica when I bought it, and if I had known I wouldn’t have bothered at all. I didn’t enjoy it, there was so much sex in it, too much for me that I ended up skipping whole pages because of it. I almost DNF’d at one point, but carried on skipping pages until it took a darker turn and Solène had to take a serious look at the relationship and her life choices. Some reviewers have bemoaned the ending but I liked it and thought it was the right one. I must admit being the mother of a 20 year old son, I didn’t find the relationship at all plausible, but then this book is total escapism, so maybe I shouldn’t have expected any traces of reality. If you like a bit of sex with your story this is definitely not the book for you, but if you like a bit of story and a whole lot of sex then go for it!

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