My 5* reads of 2017

As a follow up to yesterday’s 2017 reflection post (you can catch up with this here) today’s post goes into a little more detail about my reading and books I read in 2017.  I love this Goodreads infographic >>

Although my average rating was 3.6 (am I a harsh marker?) I’ve rounded up my 5* reads of 2017, of which there were 7, in one handy bite size post.  So here they are:

Holding by Graham Norton

I listened to this as an audio book and it’s quite darkly humourous, especially with Graham’s narration; the characters swear quite a lot and it just made me laugh in the context it was used.  I think it would make an excellent drama and was surprised that I enjoyed it so much given its celebrity author.

Full review:  Holding

Book links: Goodreads | Amazon 

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

Everything worked in this book: the style, the pace, the writing, the characters, I can’t really think of anything I didn’t like or could fault and it doesn’t come as any surprise that the author’s background is as a police officer as the police investigation came across as incredibly authentic.

Full review: I Let You Go

Book Links: Goodreads | Amazon

He Said She Said by Erin Kelly

I thought this book was brilliantly written although somewhat slow in places that I wanted it all to move on a little quicker but I couldn’t fault the drama, the tension and all the twisty bits down to the last sentence.

Full review: He Said She Said

Book links: Goodreads | Amazon


The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

So very late to the party with this book and in all honesty I probably wouldn’t have picked it for my book club choice had it not been made into a TV drama.  Thought-provoking, shocking and truly disturbing, a definite must read.

Full review: The Handmaid’s Tale

Book links: Goodreads | Amazon


I See You by Clare Mackintosh

Clare Mackintosh makes a second appearance in my list with a 5* rating for her second novel.  The social media culture allows us to put our whole lives online if we so wish so when you get scenarios in books like these it’s easy to feel how realistic they are.

Full review: I See You

Book links: Goodreads | Amazon


The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

If I could award 6* this book would certainly be worthy!   There are parts of this book that are truly awful because of the subject matter but this is just an outstanding novel.

Full review: The Underground Railroad

Book links: Goodreads | Amazon


The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

Oh Flora I miss you and your antics!  I think Flora is my favourite character from books read last year, I loved her style and her attitude and empathised with her situation.  Hopeful and heart-breaking – what more could you want!

Full review: The One Memory of Flora Banks

Book links: Goodreads | Amazon


So there we have it, my top rated reads of 2017. 

Have you read any of these? Any top picks you would have added?

#BookReview: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

What’s it about?

The Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function: to breed. If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire – neither Offred’s nor that of the two men on which her future hangs.




My thoughts

Seriously…what can I say about this book that hasn’t already been said!!?

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from it but the buzz around the Channel 4 TV adaptation had me picking up a copy for our book club read which overall was received quite well.

I have to admit I didn’t love the writing style.  I much prefer to read with speech in quotation marks, rather than just pages and pages of block text – on a first glance this would really put me off.  Having said that, on this occasion I found it quite easy to read, not the heavy going slog I had honestly expected from one of the books everyone should read.

It’s probably been said so many times this was just so thought-provoking and shocking! This Government sanctioned abuse was just downright horrifying.  Made even more so because even though it was written in 1985 some of Atwood’s thoughts are still so relevant today.  This may sound strange given it’s of a futuristic nature; it’s just so cleverly written the content doesn’t date it and feels as though it could have been published yesterday.

I had such admiration for Offred’s character; her fear and courage jumped off the page and her astounding strength of character truly makes her one of the best female characters ever written and that I’ve ever read.

I’m also loving the tv adaptation and the additions to the plot they’ve made.  Seeing it on screen actually makes the whole idea seem so much darker and terrifying.  And Elisabeth Moss is just incredible in it.  Although a lot of what’s happened isn’t explained in the book or tv series, it just is what it is, and so you’re left to draw your own conclusions; such as, how many States has this affected or is it the whole of the US? Where are the Colonies and do they actually exist or is this a story that is fed to the Handmaid’s to keep them under control? Are those that were sent to the Colonies actually dead? What caused the War that led to this regime? Maybe these questions will be more explored in the second series…..Loved it, 5*, read it if you haven’t! 🙂

Book links: Goodreads | Waterstones | Amazon

Author links: Twitter | Website

Small print for info
Source: Purchased
No of pages: 324
Publisher: Vintage