I’ve just finished my 10th book for 2021, so rather than do full reviews of all of them I thought I’d get into the swing of things with a short review on books 1 – 9, and then kick off properly with a more in depth review of book 10. Otherwise I’ll forever be weeks behind and I’ll probably lose the will!

Book 1 of 2021

I started 2021 off with Cilka’s journey, by Heather Morris. This is a sequel to The Tattooist of Auschwitz, which told the true story of Lale Sokolov and Gita. Cilka was Gita’s best friend in the camp, but she had died before the story was written so whilst it is based on what was known about her, a lot is fictional. Nevertheless it was a book I couldn’t put down! Heather Morris is able to portray the horrors of Auschwitz and of the Vorkuta gulag in Siberia, where Cilka was sent after Auschwitz, incredibly well. I didn’t know that for some prisoners, hell continued after Auschwitz so this was eye opening. 5 out of 5!

Book 2

I absolutely loved this book! It’s modern fiction, about Amy who is obsessed with settling down, getting married and starting a family, because that’s what all her friends are doing. And then she gets dumped live on tv, on a new reality programme called The Shelf! It was an easy read and had me hooked, just as reality tv does! The characters have to complete ridiculous chauvinist tasks, but through them they learn about themselves and what they really want in life. It was funny and thought provoking, and a real page turner. Another 5 out of 5!

Book 3

Full Metal Cardigan is a must read for anyone who has worked in social care, particularly with people with learning disabilities or mental health difficulties. It was a hilarious, and at times toe curling read, with real life situations that many with experience in the field will have seen! I can’t recommend it enough!! 5/5

Book 4

Such A Fun Age is another modern fiction book, about a young black woman called Emira who is wrongly accused of kidnapping while babysitting a white child, and the events that follow this. It’s based in the USA and touches on Emira needing to find an employer that will give her medical insurance when she comes off her parents plan at 21, which was something I didn’t know about, and found interesting as a side story! The story focuses on some really important aspects of race and racism and I think it’s an important read. It took me a little while to get into, but a few chapters in I was glued! 5/5

Book 6

THIS WAS SUCH A GOOD BOOK!!!! Probably my favourite of the year so far. Ruth Jones is a brilliant script writer so it makes perfect sense that she’d be a brilliant author. Us Three is all about the friendships between Lana, Judith and Catrin, from child to adulthood, and everything that happens on the way. Each chapter is from the perspective of one of the girls and it keeps things moving nicely. There were moments when I laughed and moments that made me gasp. I had to keep putting the book down because I didn’t want it to end! And I definitely hugged the book when I’d finished. So good!! 5/5 and more!!

Book 6, 7 and 8

I wanted to read the His Dark Materials trilogy after watching the first series of the tv programme on the BBC. The trilogy tells the story of Lyra and her quest to find out what dust is, and why it’s so important. She meets lots of friends (human and otherwise) along the way, and what you might expect to be ‘good’ and ‘evil’ is certainly challenged. This is technically a children’s book, but it’s a quite a complex read! I found the first book, Northern Lights more difficult to get into, perhaps because I knew what was coming from the tv series. I was keen to move onto The Subtle Knife, and from there I was much more gripped! Philip Pullman has since written a further trilogy called The Book of Dust, which expands on His Dark Materials, and is on my wish list! Another 5/5!

Book 9

Finally, book 9 – The Silent Twins. This is an older book (published in 1986) and a true story, about identical twins June and Jennifer Gibbons who didn’t communicate with anyone other than each other, and created a strange and secret world. They were initially consumed with not being seen, leading them to do things like move and eat incredibly slowly (probably actually drawing more attention to themselves!), but later wanted to be noticed by boys in particular. Their inability to communicate with others sadly led to them being imprisoned in Broadmoor, for crimes that didn’t deserve it, with some notorious criminals and murderers! This wasn’t the best written book (probably due to when it was written), but it was fascinating and showed a real insight into the thoughts of the twins, from the huge amount of journals they kept and stories they wrote. 4/5

Thanks for reading!