Book Reviews November 2020

Hello! Hope you are keeping well and looking forward to Christmas! Unfortunately I decided I wouldn’t take part in Blogmas this year as I’ve got so much on. I will try and do it next year. I will do my usual monthly posts and here is one of them.

During November we had the national lockdown part 2 so I’ve managed to read quite a few books. I usually choose books that I know I’m going to enjoy and its fair to say I enjoyed each and everyone of these books, they were all brilliant!

Here’s what I read this month:

Gemma Malley- The Declaration– The first part of the trilogy- When you can live forever by taking a tablet and nobody needs to die. What would happen if we lived forever? Would our life choices change? Who would we become? Set in the year 2140 in England, this chilling dystopian tale explores issues of overpopulation, global warming and the ethics of immortality. A drug called Longevity has made life without death a reality for the masses—but driven humanity to the brink of a catastrophe.

Gemma Malley- The Resistance– The second part of the story of Anna and Peter, involved in a struggle not only against the authoritarian government but also against his own family. In a world where nobody dies, Peter and Anna are Opt Outs – they choose not to live for ever . . . but is that enough?

Gemma Malley- The Legacy– The third part of the trilogy- A virus is sweeping the country, violently killing thousands with nothing to stop it. Someone holds the key to revealing the truth, the truth that will change everything.

The Declaration, The Resistance & The Legacy- Gemma Malley

My Review

Wow I’ve just finished the last part of this three-part book trilogy. It was epic. It all came about because of a trip to the charity shop, I just love to get bargain books and support a charity. Nothing could prepare me for what I’ve just read, not even the pandemic. A glimpse into a dystopian 22nd Century, but one that our scientific research is probably capable of creating in the future. An end to all illness and the promise of eternal life. With technology advancing as fast as it is, the cloning of animals, body parts being manufactured and new drugs being discovered each year this trilogy really gets the cogs turning.

In the year 2030, a scientist creates Longevity, a drug which prevents death but does not halt the aging process. People continue to have children although there are no longer any deaths, and this quickly leads to over population. As a result, in the year 2065, the Declaration is introduced. This is a document which must be signed before an individual is allowed to take Longevity, and in doing so they agree not to have any children. There are exceptions to this. For example, wealthy politicians may take the drug and still have children.

Many people are resistant to the Declaration. They still want to have families, but cannot give up the chance to live for an eternity. Children born to these individuals are offensively referred to as “Surplus”. In some countries, the Surpluses are killed the moment they are born, but in countries such as Britain, they are taken from their parents at birth to live in “Surplus Halls.” They are taught that their existence is a crime against Nature, and that the only way they can atone for their parents’ sins is through hard and constant labour. Obedient Surpluses can rise through the ranks at Grange Hall to become a “Valuable Asset.” Valuable Assets are allowed to go and work as servants in the homes of Legals (non-Surplus citizens). This trilogy follows Peter and Anna, two surplus children.

During the final book there is a virus that is sweeping the country, killing thousands in a grim and horrifying way, they appear to die from the inside out. Is there something wrong with the drug or is it something more sinister? Its a brilliant, thought provoking story of advances in technology versus global pandemics, which when read during a pandemic can really mess with the mind. I loved it from start to finish! Luckily the book I got from the charity shop was the first of the trilogy, so I ordered the other two to read straight after.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Lana Grace Riva- The Existence of Amy– Amy has a normal life. That is, if you were to go by a definition of ‘no obvious indicators of peculiarity’, and you didn’t know her very well. She has good friends, a good job, a nice enough home. This normality, however, is precariously plastered on top of a different life. A life that is Amy’s real life. The only one her brain will let her lead. A fictional story that depicts the reality of mental illness behind a perception of normality.

The Existence of Amy- Lana Grace Riva

My Review

This book followed the story of Amy. Amy has a normal life. That is, if you were to go by a definition of ‘no obvious indicators of peculiarity’, and you didn’t know her very well. She has good friends, a good job, a nice enough home. This normality, however, is precariously plastered on top of a different life. A life that is Amy’s real life. The only one her brain will let her lead. A fictional story that depicts the reality of mental illness behind a perception of normality. This story had me hooked from the beginning, I could relate to it so much from an anxiety and mental health point of view. It really helps if you are going through a similar thing yourself. Attention to detail was very good, I felt all the emotions as Amy went through them. It took me back to experiences I thought I’d blocked out. A great easy to read book! Not a self help type of book, just a real account of someone going through mental health issues ranging from every day thoughts to depression and breakdown.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Katie Burton- Calm By The Christmas Tree– (this was an e-book) Christmas is a magical time of the year. In fact, some would go as far as to describe it as the most wonderful time of the year. One of the best parts about December is the build up to Christmas. Let your inner child be indulged, as you join author Katie Burton for her debut collection of short stories and pieces of flash fiction in the lead up to one of the busiest times of the year.

Calm By The Christmas Tree- Katie Burton

My Review

I loved that this book is written by one of the bloggers I follow, 14 short stories to kick off the festive spirit. This book was such a delight to read, it made me feel so festive and Christmassy and the stories were fab. The collection of short stories had so many twists and turns to them. Really enjoyed reading this and if you are looking for some light-hearted content to read whilst you enjoy a cuppa, this is the book for you. Katie’s writing style is brilliant and I hope she releases another one in the future.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Rebecca Serle- In Five Years– Dannie falls asleep only to wake up in a different apartment with a different ring on her finger, and in the company of a very different man. The TV is on in the background, and she can just make out the date. It’s the same night – December 15th – but 2025, five years in the future. Four and a half years later, Dannie turns down a street and there, standing on the corner, is the man from her dream from five years ago. Who has a five year plan? Will this book be as interesting as it sounds, will all be revealed?

In Five Years- Rebecca Serle

My Review

I read this on my kindle and it had me hooked from the beginning, I didn’t want to put it down until I knew what happened. It was a bit of a mystery as to why she wakes up 5 years in the future but when it finally revealed the ending it was one of such bittersweet feelings. Some of the story had me laughing, some had me crying and the rest was heart-breaking- don’t read this in public. It really was the most heart-breaking book I read this year!  It wasn’t the type of love story you expect, such a moving beautiful, intelligent story about friendships and love. The characters in this book were written so good and the friendship between Dannie and Bella is so beautiful to see. Where do you see yourself in five years? This is the question a lot of us ask ourselves at some point throughout our lives. Dannie has everything, a high flying career and is about to have a massive important interview of her life for the career of her dreams. Her boyfriend just proposed and after having a few glasses of champagne to celebrate she falls asleep fulfilled and happy. But what happens when she wakes up is all so confusing for her. Brilliant book, one I’m glad I had the chance to read, a book like no other.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Lia Louis- Somewhere Close To Happy– A letter arrives one day from Lizzie’s first love, Roman. A letter dated the day he disappeared, 12 years before. As Lizzie uncovers the secrets of the letter, she discovers what really happened the year her life fell apart – and all avenues lead back to Roman. Lizzie James thought she was happy, or somewhere close to happy, at least. Now she’s not so sure.

Somewhere Close to Happy- Lia Louis

My Review

Both Lizzie and Roman had difficult childhoods, leading them to have mental health problems of their own. The storyline really tugged at my heart strings. The need for Lizzie to find Roman after he disappeared all those years before was so strong and I didn’t feel settled that he was missing from her life, he was the only one who really understood her after all. This book covers relationships, love and loss in a really sensitive and gentle way. It was a good storyline but quite confusing at times, I did struggle in the beginning but I’m glad I stuck with it.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Lucy Diamond, The Promise (NetGalley) due out Feb 2021 – When Patrick Sheppard suddenly and tragically dies, he leaves behind a family in pieces. Zoe has lost the love of her life. Ethan, Gabe and Beatrice have lost their larger-than-life dad. There’s a hole where Patrick should be and none of them can see a way forward. For Patrick’s brother Dan, though: his mission is clear. He needs to help the Sheppard’s to find some sort of happy again, and he makes a promise to himself to try and come close to the man Patrick was. But as he immerses himself in the frantic school run, dishing up tea and sorting the bills, Dan begins to see he might not have known the man Patrick really was, underneath it all. His brother was keeping secrets. Juggling his heartbroken family and the catastrophic truth that could break them all over again, Dan has to face what he’s been keeping from himself all this time: what really happened on the night that Patrick died.

My Review

I read this book via Netgalley and immediately fell in love with the characters. Lucy’s writing focuses on bereavement and the process around this, it was well documented. Loss and love from different points of view was explored with great detail. Grief brings a variety of feelings and these were well written into the book. I love the way Lucy writes, it’s easy to follow and the storyline was one that a lot could relate to. I read it over two days as I couldn’t put it down, it went straight in with the storyline- some books take a bit to get into. The Promise is released in February 2021 and I look forward to seeing other reviews. I recommend this one.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Lucy Diamond- The Beach Café– Evie’s beloved aunt Jo dies suddenly in a car crash, leaving Evie an unusual legacy – her precious beach café in Cornwall. 

The Beach Café & One Night In Italy- Lucy Diamond

My Review

I love the way Lucy Diamond writes, I’m now on a third book of hers and they are so easy to read. You get to know the characters straight away and they are so loveable. I read this book over a weekend and I felt like I’d been to Cornwall for the weekend. The description of the place was just amazing and the storyline was fab. The perfect escapism book! Lucy talks about love and loss in such a way you feel how the characters are feeling. Not sure why but the ending made me cry, only a few books do this to me. It was partly the storyline but also brought back memories of family holidays in Cornwall. I lived one last one through Evie. This book made me think that you can do anything if you put your mind to it, even if its something you have never done before, as long as you have the right people around you.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Lucy Diamond- One Night In Italy– With love affairs blossoming in the most unlikely places, and hard decisions to face, it’s going to be a year that Anna, Catherine and Sophie will never forget.

My Review

This wasn’t quite what I was expecting but I loved the characters and the storyline. You really get to know them from their lives before they all met and following their friendships as they go through their lives. This is the third book I’ve read from Lucy Diamond and I really love her writing style. Engaging and easy to follow. Catherine says goodbye to her children who are grown up and heading off to university, she returns home to a new life she never imagined. She feels like she is starting all over again. Then there’s Anna who has recently discovered her father who she has never known. Then there’s Sophie who has returned from her many years abroad to see her ill father. The three women meet through the Italian language course they all decide to be a part of. I thought it would a novel set in Italy, but unfortunately it isn’t. However, I was pleased to see parts of Sheffield mentioned through the book. Its quite strange a few of the books I’ve read recently have mentioned Sheffield and Doncaster which are local to me.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Of the 18 books I had on my November TBR List, I managed to read these ten. The books I didn’t read will appear on my December (Christmas Edition) and January (New Year Edition) TBR Lists.

My December 2020 TBR List and book reviews will contain lots of Christmas books so look out for that!

Have you read any of these books, are there any you want to read?

Let me know in the comments.

I have not been compensated in any way for this post. My products were ordered by me and paid for out of my own money and all opinions are my own. I only recommend products and services I trust.

NetGalley helps publishers and authors promote digital review copies to book advocates and industry professionals. Publishers make digital review copies and audiobooks available for the NetGalley community to discover, request, read, and review.

10 thoughts on “Book Reviews November 2020

  1. Wow amazing! You sure made use of the lockdown well reading all these books! Gonna check out these books specially the Gemma Malley trilogy. It sounds interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Omg that trilogy sounds amazing! I’ll be added quite a few of these recommendations to my already long list of books to read!!x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the sound of The Declaration. I’m definitely adding that to my TBR list. I love anything dystopian and it kinda reminds me of the premise of Suicide Club which was one of my books of this year. Great post and reviews!

    Liked by 1 person

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