Paige Eades

UK Personal and Lifestyle Blog

Six Books To Read Next

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Phew! This is going to be a long one; so I'd grab your cuppas, and settle in. 

For those who didn't know; I'm a bit of a fiction bookaholic. (You can check out all my other book related posts here) Crime, psychological thrillers, historical fiction, young adult, romance, mystery, dystopian - you name it, I've probably given it a go. I know many of you will be the same; especially in lockdown when we've all got an abundance of time - and stalking some fellow bloggers on Twitter I realise how much people like nosing to see what others are reading (or maybe that's just me...who knows eh?)

In the UK; all the 'non-essential' retail shops opened last Monday; so I decided to pop in a bit later on in the week to see what was on offer - whilst flaunting my gift card (the feeling of superiority of heading to the till with loads of items and then whipping out that gift card bad boy at the last second is second to none - mini celebration to the fact you still have all your money! How wonderful) and thought I would show you what I thought were the best picks. 

Let me make a small disclaimer; I'm not Superman (I know; I know; I'm just as disappointed as you) so haven't read all of these wonderful literary works to give full reviews. However; I have had a flick through some and am aiming to give my first thoughts - for those interested in the full review once finished; you can look at my Goodreads account, which is also ever so helpfully linked in the book icon just above my lil smiley picture to your right!

Don't you love when things are that easy πŸ˜‰ (shameless self promo done; lets get on with the post)

The Librarian of Auschwitz* (Antonio Iturbe, translated by Lilit Zekulin Thwaites)

Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the TerezΓ­n ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious books the prisoners have managed to smuggle past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the secret librarian of Auschwitz, responsible for the safekeeping of the small collection of titles, as well as the ‘living books’ - prisoners of Auschwitz who know certain books so well, they too can be ‘borrowed’ to educate the children in the camp.

But books are extremely dangerous. They make people think. And nowhere are they more dangerous than in Block 31 of Auschwitz, the children’s block, where the slightest transgression can result in execution, no matter how young the transgressor…
I had a slight little panic whilst writing this that one of those annoying, sticky 'buy one, get one half price' labels was on the front; but by some miracle I have subconsciously managed to avoid showing it in the photographs. Oh the struggles of being a blogger eh? 

I picked this up after it reminded me of a great book I read (and I'm sure you have too) called 'The Tattooist of Auschwitz' - the similar name rang a bell and encouraged me to give this one a go. In fact; The Librarian of Auschwitz is recommended for those who enjoyed The Tattooist of Auschwitz, so that is a good point to note. 

The Holocaust is such an important period of history to read about and learn from; and works that capture a glimpse of life during those horrific times really capture me. This is based on the true story of Dita Kraus; and although I don't usually pick up 'non-fiction' style books, this one was different. I can't wait to get my teeth stuck into this one. 

The Beekeeper of Aleppo* (Christy Lefteri)

In the midst of war, he found love In the midst of darkness, he found courage In the midst of tragedy, he found hope.

Nuri is a beekeeper; his wife, Afra, an artist. They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo - until the unthinkable happens. When all they care for is destroyed by war, they are forced to escape. As Nuri and Afra travel through a broken world, they must confront not only the pain of their own unspeakable loss, but dangers that would overwhelm the bravest of souls. Above all - and perhaps this is the hardest thing they face - they must journey to find each other again.

I have to admit; this one was picked out by my boyfriend but as soon as I read about it, I knew he had made a good choice. At first glance; this seems another one of those books that is a touch different from my usual style; but I think it's good to expand and experiment with different genres and themes to broaden your horizons (I am well aware that I sound like a teacher; maybe this lack of university during lockdown has got me channelling them - oops) 

The reviews on this state that it is one that will move you; and I'm excited to get invested. More often than not I will opt for a lighter read, but taking up a deeper, and more emotional piece is a welcome change and addition to my collection.

If You Could Go Anywhere* (Paige Toon)

How do you find where you're going, if you don't know where you're from...

Angie has always wanted to travel. But at twenty-seven, she has barely stepped outside the small mining town where she was born. Instead, she discovers the world through stories told to her by passing travellers, dreaming that one day she'll see it all for herself.

When her grandmother passes away, leaving Angie with no remaining family, she is ready to start her own adventures. Then she finds a letter revealing the address of the father she never knew, and realises instantly where her journey must begin: Italy.

As Angie sets out to find the truth - about her family, her past and who she really is - will mysterious and reckless Italian Alessandro help guide the way?
Paige Toon is a name I've seen recommended all over the internet as a alternative to Joyo Moyes so I thought it was about time I read some of her literature work myself. 'If You Could Go Anywhere' is one of Toon's recent releases - she has had one release since this one, so I am excited to see how I get on with this. 

I'm excited to see how Toon adopts the change between what I am assuming to be the UK to Italy; and whether the Italian authenticity is upheld. It seems like a YA romance piece; which is always a pleasurable read and will provide some lighter content in comparison to the previous two. I'm getting 'holiday book vibes' if that is even a book classification - so perhaps this will make up for the lack of pool side lounging whilst basking in the sun. Some may say that expecting a book to do all that is asking a lot - me? Maybe I'll just keep dreaming. 

books to read next

The Last Letter From Your Lover* (Joyo Moyes)

When journalist Ellie looks through her newspaper's archives for a story, she doesn't think she'll find anything of interest. Instead she discovers a letter from 1960, written by a man asking his lover to leave her husband - and Ellie is caught up in the intrigue of a past love affair. Despite, or perhaps because of her own romantic entanglements with a married man.

In 1960, Jennifer wakes up in hospital after a car accident. She can't remember anything - her husband, her friends, who she used to be. And then, when she returns home, she uncovers a hidden letter, and begins to remember the lover she was willing to risk everything for.

Ellie and Jennifer's stories of passion, adultery and loss are wound together in this richly emotive novel - interspersed with real 'last letters'.
I wanted to pick this up for two reasons; (a) Joyo Moyes is a personal favourite author and, (b) after reading and thoroughly enjoying 'The Giver of Stars', one of her other historical fiction pieces, it was time to explore some similar works. Moyes' style of writing is beautiful; descriptive and emotional; yet holds such an ease of passage to her literature that it makes the words just flow. 

The concept of letters travelling through time really intrigues me; and I'm wondering how the time switch is going to work. Will it be smooth? Will it be subtle? Or will it be super complicated or patronisingly obvious leaving me wanting to tear my hair out? It's a journey on which we will wait and see. 

Things in Jars* (Jess Kidd) 

London, 1863. Bridie Devine, the finest female detective of her age, is taking on her toughest case yet. Reeling from her last job and with her reputation in tatters, a remarkable puzzle has come her way. Christabel Berwick has been kidnapped. But Christabel is no ordinary child. She is not supposed to exist. As Bridie fights to recover the stolen child she enters a world of fanatical anatomists, crooked surgeons and mercenary showmen. Anomalies are in fashion, curiosities are the thing, and fortunes are won and lost in the name of entertainment. The public love a spectacle and Christabel may well prove the most remarkable spectacle London has ever seen.

Things in Jars is an enchanting Victorian detective novel that explores what it is to be human in inhumane times.
Doesn't this just lure you in? I love the Victorian era; if only just from Horrible Histories re-enactments from CBBC days (although, saying that, I'd happily rewatch them now) so this intrigued me - I'm excited to immerse myself in this world. Does anyone else remember themselves being a massive fan of Jacqueline Wilson's 'Hetty Feather' series - maybe this will be a more mature setting, but in similar style? 

For lack of a better term; I'm hoping for a bit of Victorian 'girl-power' - it will be nice to see, especially in a historic setting. Kidd's work is something I have never read, of heard of, before so it will be refreshing to adapt to a new (to me) author and see how I engage with this. 

The Familiars* (Stacey Halls) 

In a time of suspicion and accusation, to be a woman is the greatest risk of all...

Fleetwood Shuttleworth is 17 years old, married, and pregnant for the fourth time. But as the mistress at Gawthorpe Hall, she still has no living child, and her husband Richard is anxious for an heir.

When Fleetwood finds a letter she isn't supposed to read from the doctor who delivered her third stillbirth, she is dealt the crushing blow that she will not survive another pregnancy. Then she crosses paths by chance with Alice Gray, a young midwife. Alice promises to help her give birth to a healthy baby, and to prove the physician wrong.

As Alice is drawn into the witchcraft accusations that are sweeping the north-west, Fleetwood risks everything by trying to help her. But is there more to Alice than meets the eye? Soon the two women's lives will become inextricably bound together as the legendary trial at Lancaster approaches, and Fleetwood's stomach continues to grow. Time is running out, and both their lives are at stake. Only they know the truth. Only they can save each other.
Quick side note before I begin; is it just me that is voicing that opening line as the dragon from Merlin? If you have no idea what I'm on as you haven't watched Merlin; give it a go, one of my favourites! 

This sounds so interesting; and again - is that genre of historical fiction which I am really enjoying recently. For me; it takes me out of the present world where everything is suddenly so different - instead being immersed somewhere that feels magically different. Obviously it goes without saying that covers don't mean a lot, but this one is what initially attracted me to the book - that gold leaf style detailing is just gorgeous. 

What do we think? Will you be adding any of these to your 'to-read' list? Have you got any other recommendations? 


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