The Code Girls by Daisy Styles - 5/5
I haven’t previously delved into historical fiction before in my spare time, so I felt this book was a really great starting point. I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed reading about World War two in the form of fiction. Although some of the topics were heavier than I was used to, the author still managed to make it easy reading most of the way through. The whole feel of the book had a cosy and warm hearted vibe to it, even though the setting wasn’t so uplifting.
The title suggests that there will be a lot of content about being a code girl which there was but the plot seemed to take a different direction for a good chunk of the story. Despite this, I liked where Styles went with the girls being employed to cook for the code girls, mainly because I loved learning about rationing, and this was done well in my view. The food descriptions for the time period seemed to set the mood, and made the book for me.
I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend by Cora Harrison - 4/5
I thought the concept of this book was a really good one, and I was keen to see as a reader if the author pulled it off. The book was set in the seventeen hundreds and focuses on Jane Austen in her adolescence, and her family at that time. The protagonist and narrator is Jenny, best friend of Jane Austen who tells the story in the form of her personal journal. Illustrations were included by Jenny’s character to make the book more accessible to children, but important topics were introduced to open up a discussion.
There was definitely a way about how you were supposed to behave in this period relating to gender roles. Much of this was interesting to learn about, but I felt with it being a children’s book, the author could have focused on the strength of the women more. Friendship plays an important factor, Jenny and Jane had a strong bond as they develop into maturity however it was very much centred on finding them a suitable man. Overall it was a different read for me, which opened my eyes to something new. I recommend this book if you would like to read about Jane Austen from a different angle or have an interest in the time period.
Tales from Titchmarsh by Alan Titchmarsh - 4/5
Titchmarsh’s personality comes across really well in this book with his dry wit, passion and in depth knowledge for gardening. It took me a little while to gel with the writing style but I certainly enjoyed hearing about his tales. I found the philosophical themes inspiring too. It’s quite a cosy read, with added helpful tips to get into the garden for yourself. This book encouraged me to keep going with my hobby and enjoy the process.
On Beauty by Zadie Smith - 5/5
This was probably one of the most accomplished books I’ve ever read and I look forward to rereading it again in the future. It’s the kind of novel, where you can get different things out of it every time you read it. Zadie’s wonderful writing style jumped off the page, and I cherished the reading experience. The plot was mostly character driven, and as a reader, these are the most enjoyable kind of books to me. This is the first book I’ve read by Zadie Smith, and I’m hoping to be captivated again by her.
The Time of Our Lives by Jane Costello - 4/5
I love Jane Costello because she is a reliable author and your always know what you are getting with her. I’ve read many of her books now and this one was one of my favs along with All the Single Ladies and Summer Nights at the Moonlight Hotel. Imogen and friends go on holiday to Barcelona but things keep going wrong with some laugh out loud moments. I knocked it down one star because Imogen’s work stresses cropped up often making it a less relaxing read. This was an addictive, humorous and fun book that I happily got lost in all the same.
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