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8.6/10
Into the Water (Paula Hawkins)

Nel Abbot was found dead in the river, just a few short months after the death of her daughter’s best friend Katie in similar circumstances. Nel had lived in Mill House by the river her entire life, and most of her memories pretty much revolved around this dark and forbidding body of water, particularly ‘The Drowning Pool’. It’s a place of secrets, mysteries and witchcraft. Nel was completely obsessed with stories of ‘troublesome’ women who had lost their lives in the ‘Drowning Pool’ including a 14 year old girl pronounced as a witch during the Witchfinder Trials in the seventeenth century. Nel leaves behind a daughter, (15 year old Lena) who appears to harbour secrets of her own, and she’s just one of many in this small town of Beckford. It’s a small town with big secrets. The tragedy brings Nel’s sister Jules back to the place she swore she’d never return to. She’s Lena’s only family now, but they’ve never met and relations between the two are somewhat strained to say the least. The narrative is told from many viewpoints, with each chapter being devoted to a different character. I particularly enjoyed the way this worked, as it gave…

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9/10
Find Your Why: A Practical Guide to Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team (Simon Sinek)

“Our struggles are the short-term steps we must take on our way to long-term success.” Have you ever found yourself thinking about what your purpose in life is? That is probably the number one important question you should be asking yourself now. It might not be a question you think about every day, but it is an essential one for you to figure out. Whether you think you have figured out your purpose in life or not, the book I’m going to analyze today will no doubt help you to narrow down and put into comprehensive words what your ‘Why’ is in life. It did for me. As you read on, take note that if you have already read ‘Start With Why’ then most of these examples and exercises from ‘Find Your Why’ will make complete sense. If you own ‘Find Your Why’ but haven’t read ‘Start With Why’, the exercises in ‘Find Your Why’ will be less effective in the ‘Why Discovery’ process. It’ll be much better for you to read ‘Start With Why’ first since ‘Find Your Why’ is the companion workbook to ‘Start With Why’. SIDE NOTE: You might be wondering why these two books didn’t come…

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6.9/10
My Plain Jane (Cynthia Hand)

This was such a clever twist on the “true” events behind Jane Eyre! The general idea is that Jane Eyre and Charlotte Bronte are friends at Lowood school when Mr. Brocklehurst is murdered. A team from the Society for the Relocation of Wayward Spirits comes along, led by Alexander Blackwood. He’s got his own reasons for wanting to hire Jane as a seer, but I won’t spoil that part of the story. Basically, Jane can see ghosts and has the potential to be a Beacon, yet she’d much rather be a governess. So through a series of fortunate (or unfortunate) events, she conveniently ends up as a governess at Thornfield Hall… The twists on the original story ranged from hilarious to straight up clever, but I think my favorite parts were the little details in each character. I loved how Charlotte had a notebook where she wrote down all of the rumors and good lines friends said… it just seemed like such a writer thing to do. The little boy who’s a SWRS agent and is all “I see dead people” was pretty funny too. This totally felt like a British comedy sketch of a murder mystery! I reallllly hope…

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8.3/10
Since You’ve Been Gone (Christa Allan)

It’s interesting to me how some people who’ve gone through a difficult death in their life can read books about characters who are going through similar feelings, while others cannot. I can see where both ways would be very natural. Right after my mother passed away, I don’t think I could have read a story such as this, I would have been way too emotional. But now? Now I completely connected with Olivia and so much of what she deals with emotionally in this story! I’m not sure I would have even wanted to try this book prior to experiencing a loss in my life. Maybe, maybe not. But either way, I’m so glad I tried it now. It was really the emotions that Olivia goes through, from anger and frustration to grief and heartache to all the myriad of feelings that are almost indescribable even to the one feeling them, that captivated me throughout this novel. Emotions are so very personal and we never know how we’re going to react to certain situations. Olivia’s emotional upheaval felt very real to me, they fluctuate and come and go, they don’t even make sense sometimes, which is very true to life.…

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8.3/10
The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future (Chris Guillebeau)

The $100 Startup is a very interesting and eye-opening read: many of the people featured just got going with something rather than giving it a great deal of advanced study. The book would have benefited by going deeper into each story — I wanted more about exactly HOW some of them got started, what obstacles they met along the way, and how they overcome those obstacles. In particular, I was intrigued by the story of Naomi Dunford, who apparently launched an online empire from nothing (Ittybiz) by offering to brainstorm with people for $250 a pop. Apparently people were willing to hire her for this right away… how did THAT happen? The author also undoubtedly encountered some people who tried to launch a “$100 startup”, failed, and wound up concluding that this life was not for them. Those cautionary tales would have offered some good lessons to anyone considering the approach the book recommends. In fairness, much of that information could be contained in the materials the author sells on his website. The $100 Startup gives a valuable introduction to the idea of starting a business on a shoestring, and planted at least one idea-to-be-seriously-explored in this reader’s head.   …

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8.7/10
The Tattooist of Auschwitz (Heather Morris)

I tattooed a number on her arm. She tattooed her name on my heart. In 1942, Lale Sokolov arrived in Auschwitz-Birkenau. He was given the job of tattooing the prisoners marked for survival – scratching numbers into his fellow victims’ arms in indelible ink to create what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust. Waiting in line to be tattooed, terrified and shaking, was a young girl. For Lale – a dandy, a jack-the-lad, a bit of a chancer – it was love at first sight. And he was determined not only to survive himself, but to ensure this woman, Gita, did, too. So begins one of the most life-affirming, courageous, unforgettable and human stories of the Holocaust: the love story of the tattooist of Auschwitz.    Support this site by buying the book through the links below. Thank you very much!    Buy now on eBay    Buy now on Amazon

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7.5/10
The Kicking the Bucket List (Cathy Hopkins)

Mum always knows best… The stunning debut for fans of Celia Imrie and Dawn French. Meet the daughters of Iris Parker. Dee; sensitive and big-hearted; Rose uptight and controlled and Fleur the reckless free spirit. At the reading of their mother’s will, the three estranged women are aghast to discover that their inheritance comes with strings attached. If they are to inherit her wealth, they must spend a series of weekends together over the course of a year and carry out their mother’s ‘bucket list’. But one year doesn’t seem like nearly enough time for them to move past the decades-old layers of squabbles and misunderstandings. Can they grow up for once and see that Iris’ bucket list was about so much more than money…    Support this site by buying the book through the links below. Thank you very much!    Buy now on eBay    Buy now on Amazon

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7.9/10
The Beekeeper’s Promise (Fiona Valpy)

Heartbroken and hoping for a new start, Abi Howes takes a summer job in rural France at the Château Bellevue. The old château echoes with voices from the past, and soon Abi finds herself drawn to one remarkable woman’s story, a story that could change the course of her summer—and her life. In 1938, Eliane Martin tends beehives in the garden of the beautiful Château Bellevue. In its shadow she meets Mathieu Dubosq and falls in love for the first time, daring to hope that a happy future awaits. But France’s eastern border is darkening under the clouds of war, and history has other plans for Eliane… When she is separated from Mathieu in the chaos of German occupation, Eliane makes the dangerous decision to join the Resistance and fight for France’s liberty. But with no end to the war in sight, her loyalty to Mathieu is severely tested. From the bestselling author of Sea of Memories comes the story of two remarkable women, generations apart, who must use adversity to their advantage and find the resilience deep within.    Support this site by buying the book through the links below. Thank you very much!    Buy now on eBay…

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7.6/10
Girl with a Gun (Kari Bovee)

This novel stars a young Annie Oakley when she first joins Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show as a fifteen-year-old sharpshooter. She needs to money to support her mother and two younger siblings since the mother seems to only make bad choices in men since she became a widow. The current candidate is a drinker who has brought the family home near foreclosure. The Show is a hotbed of secrets and jealousies. Annie’s new and sudden popularity with the public has made for former star Frank Butler jealous. Also jealous is Twila who happens to be Bill’s long-time lover. Twila brings her surrogate daughter Lillie Smith who is another sharpshooter. Lillie hates Indians, drinks too much whiskey, and seems to bring a new cowboy to their shared tent every night which makes her very different from Quaker Annie. When Kimi, Annie’s dresser and Native American, is found dead leaving behind a half-breed baby, Annie is sure she was murdered though the investigations says she died of natural causes. While Annie investigates, she is also being courted by Frank Butler and Derence LeFleur who is an older, married man who was influential in getting Annie the job with the Show. Frank is…

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6.1/10
Little Bee (Chris Cleave)

Escaped from a refugee center, lost in London, Little Girl, a Nigerian teenager, comes knocking on Sarah’s door. The two women hardly know each other. They met two years ago in Nigeria. Today, while one tries to escape the terrors of the past, the other tries to rebuild her life that has shattered. With a subtle suspense, Chris Cleave draws the portrait of two women who will find in the heart of the tragic the part of the wonderful.    Support this site by buying the book through the links below. Thank you very much!    Buy now on eBay    Buy now on Amazon