mrschristine.com

2021

No One Can Change Your Life Except For You by Laura Whitmore

Published January 1, 2023

No One Can Change Your Life Except For You by Laura Whitmore

There are some good nuggets of self help in here, great wisdom and advice for living your best life. It’s written very well in terms of approachability and friendliness, Laura’s great, chatty, lovely personality shines through. I just feel like it’s a bit of a muddle of thoughts thrown down on the page, which have been tried to be wrangled into different chapters and themes but are still quite messy. Topics jump around, particularly in the first chapter/introduction style, and I sometimes think they haven’t all been explored to their full depth. But, if you can live with that, it’s a great book with lots in there to think about, and some examples from Laura’s own life to make it relatable and worth reading.

Flora's Travelling Christmas Shop by Rebecca Raisin

Published December 28, 2022

Flora's Travelling Christmas Shop by Rebecca Raisin

I quite enjoyed the other books in this series featuring Van Lifers travelling around in their little vans and having cosy encounters with their movable bookshops and bakeries. This one was similar but featuring a new set of characters as Flora left her life behind and started over in a Christmas shop campervan in Lapland. It’s a nice rom-com with funny moments and plenty of fun characters to follow around.

And Away... by Bob Mortimer

Published November 30, 2022

And Away... by Bob Mortimer

I was a bit nervous going into this book because having seen Bob Mortimer on Would I Lie To You, I wasn’t sure how full of fanciful stories this was going to be, with little reality. But actually the author upfront says it’s 90% true and the areas where there are some fibs are highlighted. And that being the case, it’s a really great memoir. I loved how it was structured, jumping back and forth in time between Bob discovering his heart problem and then the recovery from open heart surgery, to working through the details of his early life, his time as a solicitor, and meeting Jim Moir and becoming Vic and Bob.

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Published August 30, 2022

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

I’ve been playing catchup with Andy Weir books - having loved the Martian a bit more than is healthy, I was less bothered by Artemis, so a lot of pressure was on this most recent one. Thankfully, I liked it a lot more than Artemis, but it did take quite a while to get going. The mystery of the amnesia was interesting but I wasn’t sure it was going to sustain the book. Thankfully, after Rocky arrived, it was really great - I loved the way the pair learned about each other, how to communicate, and ultimately how to save their planets. They worked together and it made me feel slightly positive about humanity as a whole. Great book.

Silverview by John le Carré

Published July 25, 2022

Silverview by John le Carré

I’m relatively new to this John Le Carre journey so it’s a bit odd to be reading this, his last book, at this point. However, the title just called out to me. The book was basically finished before the author died, and it was polished by his son before release. I thought the writing was incredible and the characters are so well drawn… but I’m not sure I understood the point of it. What was the story, what was the plot? Review suggest it was showing the author’s disillusionment with the security services but, I don’t know, I think I just missed it all. It’s short though, so nice to just revel amongst these odd characters for a while.

Before & Laughter by Jimmy Carr

Published June 1, 2022

Before & Laughter by Jimmy Carr

This is more of a self-help book than I was imagining, although it made a nice change from the traditional memoir that follows a chronological story from birth to school to success. Instead, Jimmy kicks off with advice right from the start, and whilst structuring it around his journey through life so far - including the death of his mother, taking over Bruce Springsteen’s dressing room, and of course, that tax situation. It was really good, very readable, and with plenty of wisdom that you want to take on board.

The Best Things by Mel Giedroyc

Published April 9, 2022

The Best Things by Mel Giedroyc

Hmm, this one is a real shame. I love Mel so much and the writing is so wonderful, it was very easy to read. I listened to the audiobook and read by the author with great style and excellent characterisations. It’s just that the characters are truly awful, all of them, with no redeeming qualities from start to finish. It’s a riches-to-rags story but it isn’t until right at the last minute that anyone even contemplates the idea of getting an actual job to help them out. I don’t know that these characters would be easy to swallow at any time, but in the current difficult financial situation for much of society… it really doesn’t go down well.

Date Night by Jeffery Deaver

Published March 27, 2022

Date Night by Jeffery Deaver

This was one of those twisty short stories that Deaver does so well, but this time it’s an audiobook read by the marvellous David Harbour. I whipped through it super quickly. Interesting insight into death row and how people campaign against it regardless of the crimes and the feelings of the actual criminal themselves. The twist ending didn’t quite work in my head but I got the vibe and I do love the twists when they come.

Feel Your Way Through by Kelsea Ballerini

Published March 12, 2022

Feel Your Way Through by Kelsea Ballerini

I listened to the audiobook, and hearing Kelsea read these in her own voice with her own cadence was exactly the way to experience it. Occasionally a burst of emotion would crop out - stories of food disorders and the school shooting she witnessed are brutal but beautifully told - and I just whipped through the book. Wonderful.

The Beauty of Living Twice by Sharon Stone

Published March 1, 2022

The Beauty of Living Twice by Sharon Stone

I don’t really know a lot about Sharon Stone, I’ve only seen her in a couple of films and missed the time when she was super-stardom. I didn’t know she’d been ill, either, but this book dives right in from that moment, and then dips back and forth in time to tell the story of how she got there and how she recovered afterwards. If I’m honest, there were a few times I wanted to stop reading because I just couldn’t properly get engaged… but I had to get to the end because it’s so beautifully written, and ultimately quite optimistic about a difficult life.