1984 by George Orwell (2.5/5)
I'll be honest, I only read 1984 out of a sense of duty. It's a book that is referenced constantly during conversations, in film and tv etc, so I felt the need to give it a go. If you haven't read it then I'll say that I admit that I do see the importance of it, but I can't say that I enjoyed it excessively. It was an enlightening read but not really as gripping or engaging as I was expecting. (Sorry if I have offended anyone).
The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber (4/5)
This book is all about character development. The Crimson Petal and the White follows a tenuously associated group of people in 19th Century London - from poverty stricken whores in brothels (i.e. Sugar) to the affluent middle class (i.e. William and Agnes Rackham). The plot is very much just following the everyday lives of these people, so at 800+ pages long you have to stick at it. But once you're into it, it really allows you to enter the world of the characters, feel their feels, and makes you sad to leave them when it ends.
The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett (4/5)
The Versions of Us really resonated with me, and the strange stage of life I am currently in. It follows three versions of the life of Eva and Jim, who meet in their university years at Cambridge. Each version follows a different path of what could've been, and all three swallow you up (if you can keep up with which version is which). By the end you find yourself comparing the three versions of Jim and Eva's lives together or apart, thinking about which was the best. But essentially it reveals the speed of life, which opportunities you should take for yourself, what could have been, and in a way the existence (or non-) of fate. Basically, if you're twenty-something, read it.
Dark Places by Gillan Flynn (3/5)
Being another novel by Gillian Flynn (the author of the incredibly successful Gone Girl), I was immediately compelled to read Dark Places. However, I was naive to think it would be the same... In this equally dark book, the protagonist is a troubled 30-something woman, Libby Day, whose family were murdered when she was seven years old - and whose brother is still in prison for the crime. The story enters Libby's troubled life just as she begins to doubt that her brother is guilty, and the lengths she goes to to find out the truth. A bit of a murder mystery mixed in with a troubled personal story as well. A good read, but it's no Gone Girl.
A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson (5/5)
I should start by saying that the sister to this book, Life After Life, was incredible - and so was A God in Ruins. Kate Atkinson can turn a phrase like few others can, and she has the ability to make ordinary life situations gripping. But that's not all this book is about; it jumps between phases of Teddy Todd's life from his childhood at Fox Corner to 'Teddy's War' as an RAF pilot in WWII, to his old age and last days. It shows you all aspects of his life, as well as an incredibly convincing and compelling insight into the war and its impact on the young people who served in it. An absolute must read.
I'm always looking for more books to read, so please leave any recommendations in the comments!