By Char Shields - April 01, 2020

Welcome to my first monthly book club where I show you the books I've been reading throughout the month. I'll be reviewing them and talking through my favourite aspects of the books, similar to what I do on my Bookstagram: charemilyreads.

Star Read of the Month: Unfollow

Starting off with my favourite read of the month: Unfollow by Megan Phelps-Roper.
Megan tells a beautiful and powerful story of how she left her family and broke free of her life-long indoctrination by the Westboro Baptist Church. They're people who I absolutely despise, especially after watching Louis Theroux’s documentaries on them. However, I found myself feeling sorry for some family members, and I was able to see a more human side to them. Not to say that what they’re preaching is in any way humane.

I felt for the children who have had to face years of abuse. The women who are oppressed daily by the men and elders of the church. That’s who I feel sorry for. The majority of the members didn’t choose to live their lives this way, they just had the misfortune of being born into it.

The most important point the author made was how we change people’s minds through conversations, not through anger and hate. Her own change of heart was a result of friendly, intellectual conversations on Twitter. It made me want to open my mind and heart to those who have different viewpoints to me, no matter how horrific I found them.

If you too want to open your mind and hear about a completely different world, or you have an interest in the Westboro Baptist Church for whatever reason, whether you think their points are good or just plain awful, then you should definitely read this book. It’s interesting, heartfelt and hard to put down.

5/5 Stars.

Painfully Relevant Series: The Maze Runner

A book series I want to suggest is the Maze Runner by James Dashner. However, these post-apocalyptic novels are perhaps a little too close to home right now, especially the first prequel which focuses on how a deadly virus is spread (I recently found out that there's a second prequel too). 

These books are set in a world that has been ravaged by sun flares which have birthed a deadly virus which attacks the brain. A small percentage of the population are immune and must now fight for their freedom. 

If you love dystopian novels such as The Hunger Games, then these books are for you. They will have you gripped to the edge of your seat. I started the series back in college and found myself staying up all night to read. Just be cautious if you're thinking of reading these right now as they can lead to some painful existential crises, especially with what's going on in the world. And The Kill Order is quite bloody with explicit details of rather monstrous things happening to the characters.

4/5 stars. Would be 5 if it was less gruesome... I'm not a huge fan of blood and gore.

Not For Me: Holding up the Universe

One book I was unable to finish this month was Holding up the Universe by Jennifer Niven. 

The novel  centres around Libby and Jack. Libby struggles to fit in as no one can look past her weight, whilst she deals with losing her mum a few years ago. Jack is hiding a huge secret from the world: prosopagnosia, a condition which means he's unable to recognise faces. The people he loves are unrecognisable to him.  

Then Jack meets Libby. And their worlds change.  

It's a shame because I thought the story was beautiful. However, it really just wasn't for me. If you're a young adult fiction fan then you'll probably love this book by the author of All the Bright Places. It has relatable characters and a great plot. The only problem I found with it is that the story moved too slowly for me. Ever since my heart has been drawn to dark crime and thriller, I'm not as big of a fan of YA as I used to be. 

Even though I wasn't in love with it, I think it still deserves a mention in the first month of book club. I give it 3/5 stars.
Throwback: Die Again

He left her for dead. But she came back. 

I've recently started reading Keeping the Dead by Tess Gerritsen but as I'm not far through it yet, I decided to review one of her other books I read a few years ago: Die Again.

After a serial killer strikes a group on an African safari, Detective Jane Rizzoli and Forensic Pathologist Maura Isles are investigating a murder in Boston. It soon becomes clear that this killer has been at work for years, and the 'safari killer' could be linked to this death.

This was the novel that brought me into the world of crime fiction. Honestly, I really didn't think I would get on with it, but I fell in love. The plot was so clever, jumping between Africa and the US. The story flowed perfectly and every chapter left me desperate to know what happened next.

5/5 stars.

That's it for the first month of book club! Stay tuned for April's.

Until the next time,


  • Share:

You Might Also Like