I took a little break from books in the middle of last year as I felt like I was in a reading rut, however, boy-oh-boy have I made up for it so far in 2020!
This first book was one that I got for my birthday in November (yes it’s been that long!).
Over the Top by Jonathan Van Ness
Who gave Jonathan Van Ness permission to be the radiant human he is today?
No one, honey.
The truth is it hasn’t always been gorgeous for this beacon of positivity and joy. Before he stole our hearts as the grooming and self-care expert on Netflix’s hit show Queer Eye, Jonathan was growing up in a small Midwestern town that didn’t understand why he was so…. over the top. From choreographed carpet figure-skating routines to the unavoidable fact that he was just so gay, Jonathan was an easy target and endured years of judgement, ridicule and trauma – yet none of it crushed his uniquely effervescent spirit.
Over the Top uncovers the pain and passion it took to become the model of self-love and acceptance that Jonathan is today. In his revelatory, raw and rambunctious memoir, Jonathan shares never-before-told secrets and reveals sides of himself that the public has never seen. JVN fans may think they know the man behind the stiletto heels, the crop tops and the iconic sayings, but there’s much more to him than meets the (queer) eye.
For those of you who are also OBSESSED with Queer Eye, you will LOVE this book. I want to be JVN’s best friend, you will laugh, you will cry and you will live your best life reading this book (Honey!).
Star rating: 5/5
Next up is the heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, beautiful book that is…
Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris
Her beauty saved her life – and condemned her.
In 1942 Cilka Klein is just sixteen years old when she is taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp. The Commandant at Birkenau, Schwarzhuber, notices her long beautiful hair, and forcer her separation from the other women prisoners. Cilka soon learns that power, even unwillingly given, equals survival.
After liberation, Cilka is charged as a collaborator by the Russians and sent to a desolate, brutal camp in Siberia known as Vorkuta, inside the Arctic Circle.
Innocent, but imprisoned once again, Cilka faces challenged both new and horribly familiar, each day a battle for survival. Cilka befriends a woman doctor and learns to nurse the ill in the camp, struggling to care for them under unimaginable conditions. And when she tends to a man called Alexandr, Cilka finds that despite everything, there is room in her heart for love.
I am still in awe of Heather Morris’ ability to take you straight into the lives of victims and survivors of the Holocaust. This is the second in the incredible series, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is the first.
I couldn’t put it down and would read it again in a heartbeat.
Star rating: 5/5
Recommend: Yes, you should definitely pick this one up.
Next up is…
Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
For a while, Daisy Jones & The Six were everywhere. Their albums were on every turntable, they sold out arenas from coast to coast, their sound defined an era. And then, on 12 July 1979, they split.
Nobody ever knew why. Until now.
They were lovers and friends and brothers and rivals. They couldn’t believe their luck, until it ran out. This is their story of the early days and the wild nights, but everyone remembers them differently.
The only thing they all know for sure is that from the moment Daisy Jones walked, barefoot, on to the stage at the Whisky, the band were irrevocably changed.
Making music is never just about the music. And sometimes it can be hard to tell where the sound stops and the feelings begin.
Ugh… I’m still annoyed at this book. I really, really, REALLY wanted to love it from the first page. However, it took me a while to get into it.
I couldn’t get on with Daisy, she’s marmite. You either love her, or you hate her. I, unfortunately, hated her.
That’s not to say that the book isn’t brilliant, it really is, and my disliking for Daisy Jones made reading it even better as I was able to relate to the other characters.
Star rating: 3.5/5
Recommend: Yes I do, and let me know what you think in the comments!
Next up is a re-read but I still think it counts.
High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
Do you know your desert-island, all-time, top five most memorable split-ups?
Rob does. He keeps a list, in fact. But Laura isn’t on it – even though she’s just become his latest ex. He’s got his life back, you see.
He can just do what he wants when he wants: like listen to whatever music he likes, look up the girls that are on his list, and generally behaves as if Laura never mattered.
But Rob finds he can’t move on. He’s stuck in a really deep groove – and it’s called Laura.
Soon, he’s asking himself some big questions: about love, about life – and about why we choose to share ours with the people we do.
Star rating: 4.5/5
Recommend: Yes, I am a huge fan of Nick Hornby, and this one does not let him down at all!
Lastly, I read…
The Silence by Daisy Pearce
She’s broken. She’s vulnerable. She’s just what Marco was looking for.
Stella Wiseman was a child TV star, but there’s nothing glamorous about her life now. Alone in her thirties, she’s lost her parents and her friends and she’s stuck in a dead-end job. But just as she hits rock bottom she meets Marco, a charismatic older man who offers to get her back on her feet. He seems too good to be true.
She appreciates the money he lavishes on her. And the pills. But are the pills just helping her sleep, or helping her avoid her problems?
With Stella’s life still in freefall, Marco whisks her away to a secluded cottage where she is isolated from everyone except him. But the closer he pulls her, the worse she gets. He tells her it’s all in her head, and she just needs time away from the world.
No longer sure what’s real and what’s not, Stella begins to question whether she was wrong to trust Marco. Was she wrong to trust herself? Is the one person she thought was fighting for her survival actually her biggest threat?
Star rating: 5/5
Recommend: Yes, if you love psychological-thrillers then you will LOVE this!
Keep an eye out for reviews for some of these coming up!
Let me know if you’ve read any of these!