mrschristine.com

2016

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

Published September 5, 2022

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

This was an odd little memoir. Obviously Carrie is an absolute treasure and her writing is brilliant - witty and insightful, startlingly honest and cutting but also warm and endearing. However, the structure of the book felt odd, it’s in three main parts. The first is a fascinating look back at how Carrie got the role in Star Wars in the first place, at such a young age. Then there’s a big segment focused on notes and poems from a diary written during an alleged affair with Harrison Ford. And finally, a look at what it’s like being famous and getting older, and more removed from the part that you’ll forever be known for.

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

Published August 26, 2022

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

This was a good mystery thriller, following a family that gradually drift further and further apart as they get entangled with a new family until the ultimate dramatic accident occurs that brings everything to a head. The book dips back and forth in time, gradually unravelling more of the mystery until it comes to the conclusion. The only thing I didn’t like about it is that all the way through I couldn’t see how it tied in with the prologue… and it turns out that prologue chapter was a dream. A bit annoying. But it’s a good mystery, trying to guess what’s happening and why, and very interesting when it’s all revealed.

Belgravia by Julian Fellowes

Published August 10, 2022

Belgravia by Julian Fellowes

I watched Downton Abbey relatively recently and whilst it was alright entertainment, I don’t know that it grabbed me the same way it did a lot of the nation. However, I figured it was worth giving Julian Fellowes works a go in a different format - this time a book. At first, it did feel a little bit slow-going, setting the scenes and introducing a lot of characters. Not too many, but how they all fitted together was mind-boggling. At one point, I genuinely had to draw out a little family tree to get my head round it. But once I got past that, and as the action gradually drifted towards a conclusion - secrets being revealed and all the ramifications that followed - I was hooked! A fun read.

Courage to Soar by Simone Biles

Published May 27, 2022

Courage to Soar by Simone Biles

This is Simone Biles’s story of getting to the Rio 2016 Olympics and becoming one of the most decorated gymnasts ever. It’s a courageous story of dealing with whatever life throws at you and coming out stronger, fitter, faster, better - standing by what you believe in and making sure that you keep things fun even when the pressure is high. It’s a good story, told well, and an interesting first chapter in Biles’ journey. However, I do feel like there’s more to be told, after everything that’s happened post-Rio. Who knows if there’ll be another book, but if there is, I’ll be reading and highly recommending it, no doubt. These are inspirational stories from someone so young.

Death Sentence by Damien Boyd

Published January 27, 2022

Death Sentence by Damien Boyd

The next book in the Nick Dixon series and this one had an intriguing premise - a body found in one of those concrete pillboxes that were built along rivers during the war. So this one had a bit of military history and quite a lot of wrestling with legal concepts, but at the same time there was some levity in there too. I wasn’t so keen on the caving parts of it, went a bit too deep into that side of things (pun intended), but at the same time I like how the layers of the mystery slowly unravelled and led us to that really quite chilling conclusion. A good book.

Dead Level by Damien Boyd

Published January 23, 2022

Dead Level by Damien Boyd

This book wasn’t as much fun as the previous couple, mostly because the case was set in the murky world of politics and to be honest, I read to try and escape the governmental goings on. However, I did like the way this was set up, especially at the start with Jane taking the lead early on and Nick in the background having to deal with a cold case as a direct result of his actions in the previous book.

End to End by Alistair McGuinness

Published November 16, 2021

End to End by Alistair McGuinness

The story of an adventure cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats, a journey that many have undertaken but only a handful of written about. I loved the writing in this book, the day to day adventure which was about more than just cycling - it was about how the journey affected the riders, with various snippets of information about a few of the places passed along the way.

The Boy Who Could Do What He Liked by David Baddiel

Published August 29, 2021

The Boy Who Could Do What He Liked by David Baddiel

Another audiobook that I found in my Audible library and I have no idea why. Did I buy it? Was it a freebie at some point? Nevertheless, I gave it a quick listen and rocketed through it quickly. It’s good, a nice way to encourage kids to get out from under the stresses of daily life and stretch their imaginations a bit. A magical little story, that I think I would have loved as a kid.

Don't Stop Me Now by Vassos Alexander

Published August 14, 2021

Don't Stop Me Now by Vassos Alexander

I read fewer books about running than I used to, now that I no longer participate in the activity myself, but I can’t help but indulge every now and then. This is from the long-running sports broadcaster, most notably known for his stint alongside Chris Evans on Radio 2, and details his own foray into running - from the very tentative early steps to try and improve health, to a huge ultra-running challenge.

Cheer Up Love by Susan Calman

Published August 4, 2021

Cheer Up Love by Susan Calman

Another audiobook I raced through, with the lovely Susan Calman talking about her struggles with depression. It’s open and honest, candid in a way you would expect from Susan, but with the humour required to make it a light and lovable listen, despite the weighty and serious subject matter. Although Susan is clear about not giving medical advice and that everyone navigates their own mental health differently, there are some good tips on improving your outlook on life, and it’s always good to hear how someone manages to keep the crab of hate at bay.