Charity Shop book haul

I recently visited my local charity shop and discovered they had some great books up for sale at great prices! The deal was 3 books for €5. I bought 3 books in my last charity shop haul post which you can view here:

  1. Educated
  2. The Greatcoat
  3. Rebecca
  4. To all the boys I’ve loved before
  5. P.S I still love you

This time around I bought 5 books. ( I know its only two more books than my last charity shop book haul but still, that’s 5 more books added to the never ending to-read pile)

Educated by Tara Westover


Tara Westover and her family grew up preparing for the End of Days but, according to the government, she didn’t exist. She hadn’t been registered for a birth certificate. She had no school records because she’d never set foot in a classroom, and no medical records because her father didn’t believe in hospitals.

As she grew older, her father became more radical and her brother more violent. At sixteen, Tara knew she had to leave home. In doing so she discovered both the transformative power of education, and the price she had to pay for it.

I remember seeing Educated listed as one of last years to-read books. It’s fairly recent and I don’t usually go for these kind of books. And yes it’s pretty cool me and the author have the same first name.

The Greatcoat by Helen Dunmore

It is the winter of 1952, and Isabel Carey is struggling to adjust to the realities of married life in Yorkshire. Isolated and lonely, she is also intensely cold. And her husband – a doctor – is rarely home.

And then one night she discovers an old RAF greatcoat in the back of the cupboard. She puts it on her bed for warmth- and is startled by a knock at her window.

Outside is a young man. A pilot. And he wants to come in …

When I read the synopsis for The Greatcoat, I knew I had to buy it. Plus it’s by Hammer and being a horror fanatic, how could I resist?

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Working as a lady’s companion, the heroine of Rebecca learns her place. Her future looks bleak until, on a trip to France, she meets Max de Winter, a handsome widower whose sudden proposal of marriage takes her by surprise. She accepts, but whisked from glamorous Monte Carlo to the ominous and brooding Manderley, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. And the memory of his dead wife Rebecca is forever kept alive by the forbidding housekeeper, Mrs Danvers …

I haven’t seen the film Rebecca but I have often heard my mam saying how it’s easily one of the best horror movies she’s seen. I read the synopsis and loved how creepy the plot sounded and was anxious to know how the book turned out. Who knows? It may become one of my favourite horror books.

The all the boys I’ve loved before by Jenny Han

Lara Jean Song keeps love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her – one for every boy she’s ever loved. She can say anything she wants, because the letters are for her eyes only. Until the day they’re sent out.

I really wanted to read To all the boys I’ve loved before after seeing the Netflix adaptation. I was delighted to get 2 books from the trilogy and look forward to reading them.

P.S I still love you by Jenny Han

I’m not going to write the synopsis for this one incase I spoil the first book for those who haven’t read it. P.S I still love you is the sequel to the first book, to all the boys I’ve loved before.

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My Anxiety Handbook by Sue Knowles, Bridie Gallagher and Phoebe McEwen – book review

Synopsis

For 12 to 18-year-olds with anxiety, this anxiety survival guide will help you learn to recognise and manage symptoms and overcome your biggest worries. This book helps you understand the ins and outs of your own anxiety, and challenge the difficult patterns you may get into.

Co-written with a college student who has experienced anxiety herself, it is a relatable and straightforward guide. As well as providing tried-and-tested advice and exercises that are proven to reduce feelings of anxiety, it includes recovery stories from young people who have managed their symptoms successfully. It includes chapters on sleep, exams and transitions.

Overall Plot

“My Anxiety Handbook” is the first self-help book I’ve read this month. I flicked through the book briefly in the library and it seemed like a straightforward, easy to read self-help book. There was a lot of text throughout the chapters which was thankfully broken up by various illustrations. The first few chapters focused mainly on what anxiety is, how one gets anxiety and ways to tackle anxiety.

These chapters were fairly straight forward and the authors gave a good explanation of anxiety that the reader can easily understand. There were some great tips and tricks throughout the book on how to tackle anxiety (going for a walk, meditation, good night’s sleep etc.) all of which are mentioned quite a lot in many anxiety based books.

Opinion

Maybe it is because I’ve read many anxiety/depression books in the past and I’ve gained a deep understanding of anxiety but I felt as though much information that was mentioned in the book I knew already. Chapters such as school, college and exam stress, discussed tips for exams all of which I have seen in various books such as this one.

However, I quite liked the “Tackling Worries” chapter. I might even give the worry box idea a go as it sounds quite interesting. I also like the addition of personal experiences throughout the book. I felt like I could relate to what some of the students spoke about and how they are managing their anxiety. The personal experience sections covered many different events that caused anxiety for students such as bullying, stress, feeling out of place etc. The students were of different ages, some in their early teens, and some in their early to late 20s.

Conclusion

This was a nice informative self-help book. Unfortunately, to me I felt that I had heard a lot of the information before whether by books, films, guest speakers etc. Only some of the information was new to me. While I could relate to some of the students stories about their struggle with anxiety, in my opinion this book is much more geared at early teens (ages 14-17).

If you haven’t read an anxiety book before or you would like to learn more about it then I would highly recommend this book as it gives great tips on how to reduce feelings of anxiety. I would rate “My anxiety handbook” 3 stars.

Where’d you go,Bernadette by Maria Semple – book review

Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.com

Synopsis

Bernadette Fox has vanished.

When her daughter Bee claims a family trip to Antarctica as a reward for perfect grades, Bernadette, a fiercely intelligent shut-in, throws herself into preparations for the trip. But worn down by years of trying to live the Seattle life she never wanted, Ms. Fox is on the brink of a meltdown.

And after a school fundraiser goes disastrously awry at her hands, she disappears, leaving her family to pick up the pieces–which is exactly what Bee does, weaving together an elaborate web of emails, invoices, and school memos that reveals a secret past Bernadette has been hiding for decades. Where’d You Go Bernadette is an ingenious and unabashedly entertaining novel about a family coming to terms with who they are and the power of a daughter’s love for her mother.

Plot summary

When I heard that “Where’d you go Bernadette” was being made into a film (released in March 2019) I knew I had to read it. The book is focused primarily on Bee, a young fifteen-year-old girl who happens to be very intelligent for her age. There is also Bee’s relationship with her mother Bernadette, an agoraphobic who was once a thriving architect.

As mentioned in the synopsis, Bee gets straight A’s in her exams so she suggests that the family take a trip to Antarctica. Bee, dad and Bernadette begin to prepare for the trip as a serious of events occur throwing the whole Branch household upside down.

Opinion

I would first like to mention that the synopsis is a little misleading. You expect Bernadette to disappear fairly early on right? Wrong! She doesn’t disappear until part 5 which is about half way through the book.

The author mentioned an internet security storyline in the beginning which I liked. She emphasised the dangers of the internet, hackers and the types of information hackers can easily get a hold of. It’s scary stuff indeed.

I flew through the first half of the book. It was mostly composed of emails and letters so it was easy to read. After part 5, the book became a bit complicated. I didn’t really feel anything towards the characters and I began to lose interest in the storyline.

Conclusion

I wouldn’t say this was “one of the year’s best books”. It was okay but it wasn’t great. While I enjoyed up until part 5, the book went a bit bland after that. All in all, I would give “Where’d you go Bernadette” 2.5 stars.

Tender is the Night by F.Scott Fitzgerald – book review

Sometimes it is harder to deprive oneself of a pain than of a pleasure.

Set on the French Riviera in the 1920s, Tender is the Night charts the captivating lives of American Dick Diver and his wife Nicole. The pair are the epitome of chic, living a glamorous lifestyle and entertaining friends at their villa.

Young film star Rosemary Hoyt arrives in France and becomes entranced by the couple. It is not long before she is attracted to the enigmatic Dick, but he and his wife hold dark secrets and, as their marriage becomes more fractured, Fitzgerald laments the failure of idealism and the carefully constructed trappings of high society in the Roaring Twenties.

There are three books (parts) within ”Tender is the Night”. Book 1 of “Tender is the Night” was nicely written. In the beginning, we are introduced to young film star Rosemary Hoyt as she arrives in France accompanied by her mother. Rosemary has only been a celebrity the past 6 months but people already recognise her. Rosemary meets Dick Diver for the first time in chapter 2.

Dick’s wife, Nicole Diver, is described later on in chapter 4 just as Rosemary becomes infatuated with Dick Diver.

I enjoyed reading book 1 but sadly, the story went quickly downhill as book 2 began. There were several times where I found myself wanting to skip pages and to try and figure out where the remainder of the book was headed.

The final parts of the book seemed like an attempt by Fitzgerald to finish the 315 + page novel but in doing so, gradually let the plot slip through his fingers. However, I think the ending was a good and well-structured end to the novel.

Conclusion

I was looking forward to reading “Tender is the Night” after reading Fitzgerald’s most successful novel” The Great Gatsby” which I loved. However, if you are looking to compare the two novels, then I am afraid you may be disappointed.

Charity shop mini book haul

Today’s post is a little different. Recently, I decided to start writing about all-things budget-friendly alongside other niches and came up with lots of ideas but I thought why not start off with a mini book haul on a budget?

So I bought three books from my local charity shop. (I plan to have bigger book hauls at a later stage). The books were priced at €2 each or 3 books for a €5! The majority of the books were brand new (Eason’s sticker was still on some of them) and some were listed as my to-reads on my Goodreads account. I’m really excited to read them but for now, here are the three books I bought accompanied by their synopsis.

Into The Water by Paula Hawkins

Synopsis

‘ I need you to call me back. It’s important.’

Just days before her sister plunged to her death, Jules ignored her call.

Now Nel is dead. They say she jumped. And Jules must return to her sister’s house to care for her daughter, and to face the mystery of Nel’s death.

But Jules is afraid. Of her long-buried memories, of the old Mill House, of this small town that is drowning in secrecy…

And of knowing that Nel would never have jumped.

Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín

Synopsis

It is Ireland in the 1950s and for Eilis Lacey, as for so many young Irish girls, opportunities are scarce. So when her sister arranges for her to emigrate to New York, Eilis knows she must go, leaving behind her family and home for the first time.

Arriving in a crowded lodging house in Brooklyn, Eilis can only be reminded of what she has sacrificed. She is far from home – and homesick. Then, just as she takes tentative steps towards friendship, and perhaps something more, Eilis receives news which sends her back to Ireland. There she will be confronted by a terrible dilemma – a devastating choice between duty and one great love.

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

Synopsis

Sara has never left Sweden but at the age of 28 she decides it’s time. She cashes in her savings, packs a suitcase full of books and sets off for Broken Wheel, Iowa, a town where she knows nobody.

Sara quickly realises that Broken Wheel is in desperate need of some adventure, a dose of self-help and perhaps some romance, too. In short, this is a town in need of a bookshop.

With a little help from the locals, Sara sets up Broken Wheel’s first bookstore. The shop might be a little quirky but then again, so is Sara. And as Broken Wheel’s story begins to take shape, there are some surprises in store for Sara too…

I look forward to reviewing these books but until then I hope you enjoyed this post and thanks for reading x

Similar posts: http://lifeisanadventure.ie/2019/04/02/charity-shop-book-haul/

Oh my God, What a complete Aisling by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen – book review

*review may contain spoilers

Synopsis

Aisling is 28, and she’s a complete Aisling.

Living ‘Down Home’ with Mammy and Daddy, she commutes to her good pensionable job in Dublin and stays two nights a week with her boyfriend of seven years, John.

But Aisling wants more. She wants the ring on her finger. She wants the hen with the willy straws. She wants the grand big house with the utility room of her dreams.

When a week in Tenerife doesn’t result in a proposal, Aisling decides she’s had enough. It’s time for a change.

A new start, a love triangle (well, more of a square) and some home truths force Aisling out of her comfort zone and into a life she never imagined. 

Review

I saw this book in various bookshops and famous Irish authors saying it was “hilarious “and “moving”. So since the character Aisling was nicknamed the Irish Bridget Jones, I thought I’d find out for myself what all the hype was about. Needless to say, I was very disappointed.

This was a highly overrated book. There’s a ton of Irish phrases on nearly every page but the thing about these Irish phrases, nobody says them anymore. Even my father is from the country and he doesn’t say half of the stuff Aisling was on about. It seemed like an attempt to fill up the entire 272 page book.

If you ask me it seems like Aisling doesn’t have a clue what she’s doing. She doesn’t know what she wants in life or who she wants to be with. First she wants to get married and then later on she doesn’t know if it’s for her or not. Aisling is very indecisive.

Aisling breaks up with her boyfriend of 7 years but proceeds to want to know his every move. Who he’s with and what he’s doing at all times. (Bit stalkerish to be honest).

Conclusion

The repetitive mention of the GAA really made me consider closing the book there and then. It was so annoying. Not every Irish person is involved in the GAA.

There wasn’t really any love triangle/square in this. It was just Aisling deciding who she liked and then comparing that person to her ex John.

There was no character development. Characters such as Piotr, Aisling’s brother and Donna seemed to be thrown in for the sake of it. I didn’t really like Aisling’s character. Aisling was overly emotional, indecisive and did I mention a low key stalker as well? The book was full of Irish clichés. (Oh the cringe). Overall, I’m disappointed with how the book played out.

Who’s Afraid of Mr Wolfe? by Hazel Osmond – book review

Some spoilers may be present in this review

Synopsis

Ellie thinks she’s in love. But then, she doesn’t know Jack…

Ellie Somerset loves her career – obsessed boyfriend Sam and she loves her job as an advertising copywriter. But Sam is always at work and her fresh ideas keep being overlooked.

Her life gets more complicated when new boss Jack Wolfe – Heathcliff in a suit – arrives at the agency. With his brooding good looks, trademark scowl and plans for a change, he challenges Ellie to smarten up and prove herself.

To Ellie’s horror, she finds herself both repelled and attracted to the sexy and dangerous Jack. But this particular wolf has an awful lot to hide…

Who’s afraid of Mr Wolfe? Not Ellie. Not until it’s far too late.

Overall Summary

I spotted this book in Dealz for about €2.  This book was originally €7.77 in stores. The cover was just so sparkly and pretty. I read the synopsis and thought well, this sounds good.

In the beginning of the book we are introduced to Ellie Somerset. She’s coming up with an idea involving singing knickers for a campaign which is quite bizarre.

Her co-worker Lesley (also her best friend) is mentioned in the introduction along with other co-workers such as Hugo. The co-workers discover they have a new boss named Jack Wolfe who Hugo has mentioned he’s afraid of.

Ellie works as an advertising copywriter and is hoping to get a promotion for her hard work. Alongside her friend Lesley, they come up with a song for their knickers campaign. Some of the board members think it’s absolutely ridiculous but Jack Wolfe quite likes their idea.

Jack begins to challenge Ellie which nearly almost ends in the pair bickering and Jack being the arrogant boss with a mysterious past. We learn fairly early on that Jack likes to sleep around.

He charms women and sex is always the end goal. But this time something is different, he is very attracted to Ellie but as her boss there’s nothing he can do as his feelings grow progressively.

Ellie can’t stand him always taking a dig at her but later on she seems to grow more and more attracted to the enigmatic Jack. The spark between them is undeniable and the two eventually reveal their lust for one another.

Review

The first half of the book was very well – written. Ellie is a feisty, determined character and is not afraid to speak her mind. The chemistry between Jack and Ellie was enjoyable to read as well.

Reading how the constant bickering plays out reminded of a somewhat old married couple but in this case, the two characters would eventually need to give in to their feelings for one another.

The second half of the book was an utter disappointment. The once determined heroine was now an overly emotional, desperate woman who felt she needed Jack to love her.

Jack continued to sleep with other women and frankly, treated Ellie like shit. And the most annoying part, Ellie let him treat her badly. She was so desperate to be loved by Jack even when he continued to manipulate and insult her that it was difficult to finish the novel without skipping pages.

 Overall, this book had a lot of potential but sadly the second half of the book was disappointing.