Saturday, 14 June 2014

128. Lifestyle // Holiday Reads

As mentioned in my previous post, I've just returned from an amazing week in the Algarve, which was spent sunbathing, swimming, eating delicious food and - of course - reading.

I'm always looking for inspiration and recommendations of books to take with me on holiday, so I thought I'd share the books that I read and enjoyed this summer, with you. I managed to get through seven books in seven days, so I'm going to share a few of them with you today...

The Three by Sarah Lotz*

I was kindly sent Sarah Lotz' new book to review (thank-you!) Now, I'm not usually into thrillers/mystery and I hate conspiracy theories, but I loved this book. 

The gist of the novel is that four passenger planes crash, on four different continents, all within 24 hours. Strange? Yup. Want to know something even stranger? Somehow, three out of the four planes have only one surviving passenger, and on each plane it's a child. 
Through a series of different mediums, from online messages, newspaper articles and interviews, we are exposed to the aftermath of the devastation and these mysterious children who have survived. As the story progresses, each child begins to exhibit bizarre and unnerving behaviour, which leads to many conspiracy theories, such as believing the children are aliens, or it's a sign of the rapture, being thrown about. 

With a huge international media interest, the children and their families are forced into hiding, but this cannot save them from the public - especially those who believe that these children are not just children - and the public's trust, as well as these children's guardians faith, begins to waver. 

I literally could not put this book down; it's intensely gripping, wonderfully written and so interesting. Although the ending is rather ambiguous, it really makes you think. I'd whole heartedly recommend this book to anybody, whether you like thrillers or not! 

The book is available to buy on Amazon or you can check out the trailer here

I was recommended this book and, at first glance, it appeared to be just my cup of tea! I love books set in different countries and cultures, as I enjoy reading about people from all walks of lives, and hearing a side of a story that I'd never normally be exposed to.

The protagonist in this biographical novel, ex-hairdresser Debbie, leaves her comfortable but unexciting live in America, and travels to Afghanistan to help in any way she can. Within a short amount of time, she realises that she loves the country and it's people, and wants to help the women there as much as she can.

It is from this dream, that the Kabul Beauty School is born. Debbie sets up a beauty school, enabling local women to gain a qualification, earn money and, most importantly, their independence in a country where women are severely repressed. 

However, as you'd expect, it isn't all plain sailing and Debbie and the other characters, whom you really warm to throughout the novel, have many trials and tribulations to overcome. We hear the stories of many of these Afghan women and it's wonderful to hear it from, what is essentially, their perspective.

I have to admit that I didn't particularly enjoy this book, despite the glowing recommendations from friends and online. There was something about the authors style of writing that just didn't appeal to me - it just didn't seem like it was written by a 'writer,' if that makes any sense! I did love to hear about these women's struggles and how they overcame them, however and I believe that this book will be an enjoyable read for many people.

I recently read (and loved) Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, which you can read my review of here, so I couldn't wait to get stuck into Purple Hisbiscus when I spotted it on my mums bookshelf.

I managed to get through this book in just a few hours as I could not put it down, here's why... Set in Nigeria, the story revolves around a fifteen year old girl, Kambili, who lives with her wealthy, generous but controlling father, a religious fanatic and businessman, her subsmissive but supportive mother, and her brave, protective brother. 

Kambili's life is meticulously controlled and organised by her father, to the extent that she has no social life, has allocated time for prayer, study and even listening to the radio, and has seen very little of the outside world, beyond school, home and the church.

It isn't until Kambili and her brother are sent to stay with their Aunt, that their perceptions and desires begin to stray from what their father has taught them. Laughter, freedom and love, fills their Aunt's house and they find themselves exposed to emotions that they hadn't experienced within their fathers' strict, regimented world.

It's a beautiful story about love and growing up, but with religion, abuse, war and even murder, added into the mix. It's a realistic, emotive and touching story that I'd urge anybody to read.


  1. The three sounds like a pretty awesome book & a very interesting read! It's the one that stands out to me most :) xxx

    1. The Three was definitely one of the best books I read whilst I was away. I can always post it out to you, just let me know! xox