This is Going to Hurt: Secrets of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay

 

This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor

Title: This is Going to Hurt: Secrets of a Junior Doctor
Author: Adam Kay
Series: N/A
Publication:  7th September 2017 by Picador
Genre: Non-fiction, medical, biography

Around the Year in 52 Books – A book about or inspired by real events

My Thoughts (2)

(Goodreads)

Welcome to the life of a junior doctor: 97-hour weeks, life and death decisions, a constant tsunami of bodily fluids, and the hospital parking meter earns more than you.

Scribbled in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends, Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurt provides a no-holds-barred account of his time on the NHS front line. Hilarious, horrifying and heartbreaking, this diary is everything you wanted to know – and more than a few things you didn’t – about life on and off the hospital ward.

My Thoughts

I was first introduced to this book when the author was in dictionary corner on 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown. He read snippets from his book and I couldn’t help but snort laugh. I had to buy it and definitely don’t regret doing so.

This book consists of extracts from a diary Adam Kay kept whist he was a Junior Doctor working for the NHS. The book is funny, heart warming, heartbreaking and, as he was an obs & gynae doctor, sometime disgusting.  It was eye opening to see just how many hours doctors are expected to do, on little sleep, food or toileting, to see the effect the job had on their families, their social lives and their mental health.

As it is a collection of diary entries, I will share my favourites.

“Three a.m. attendance at labour ward triage. Patient RO is twenty-five years old and thirty weeks into her first pregnancy. She complains of a large number of painless spots on her tongue. Diagnosis: taste buds.”

“I missed what the argument was about, but a woman storms out of gynae outpatients screaming at the clinic sister, ‘I pay your salary! I pay your salary!’ The sister yells back, ‘Can I have a raise then?'”

“‘In order to encourage use of public transport’ there is no staff car park at the hospital – an admirable sentiment that would land me with a two-hour-twenty-minute commute each way.”

“Prescribing a morning-after pill in A&E. The patient says, ‘I slept with three guys last night. Will one pill be enough?'”

“Sending a patient home from the day surgery unit following laparoscopic sterilization. I tell her she can have sex again as soon as she feels ready, but to use alternative contraception until her next period. I nod at her husband and say, ‘That means he has to wear a condom.’ I can’t quite work out why their faces are a picture of horror, melting like the Nazis at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. What have I said? It’s perfectly good advice, right? I look at them both again, and realize the man is actually her father.”

A book which will have you going through a roller coaster of emotions and leaving me with the feeling that maybe my work hours aren’t so bad as I thought. I already respected those who work in medicine but even more so after reading this.

My Thoughts (1)

4-stars

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You Only Live Once (Gracie Dart #1) by Jess Vallance 

You Only Live Once (Gracie Dart #1)

Title: You Only Live Once
Author: Jess Vallance
Series: Gracie Dart #1
Publication:  23rd August 2018 by Hot Key Books
Genre: Contemporary, YA, Fiction

Around the Year in 52 Books – A book with a warm atmosphere (centered on family, friendship, love or summer)

My Thoughts (2)

(Goodreads)

Gracie Dart has always worked hard and she’s got a wall covered with revision timetables and French verbs to prove it. But now GCSEs are behind her and she suddenly starts to think: what was the POINT of it all?

When Gracie thinks she’s dying of a disgusting tropical illness, she starts to worry she’s been wasting her best years being sensible. It’s like people say: you only live once – so isn’t it about time she started LIVING?
(OK, so the tropical illness turned out to be a fake-tan miscalculation. Anyone could make the same mistake.)

When Gracie decides to do something, she does it properly. Gracie Dart is about to live out her dreams. However embarrassing.

My Thoughts

This book is marketed at being good for fans of Geek Girl, which was completely spot on. It also reminded me a lot of Louise Rennison’s Georgia Nicolson books. It was funny and enjoyable with some strong themes of friendship.

The book starts with Gracie coming back from holiday after her stressful GCSEs and taking herself off to hospital as, she has Googled it, she clearly has a tropical illness and is dying. Being prepared, she wees into a tub, pops it into her handbag and gets a single bus ticket to the hospital. On the way the bottle breaks in her bag, soaking her in urine. After a few hours wait she sees the Dr, who she off loads onto like a therapist. It turns out she’s not going to die after all! After her near-death(ish) experiece she decides she’s going to live life to the full and stats pushing herself out of her comfort zone by riding a horse along a beach (kind of), bungy jumping (what could possibly go wrong?) and taking her Gran on an impromptu trip to Paris.

It’s told entirely from Grace’s point of view and the author gets the teenage girl’s voice and thoughts spot on; from the humour, to the insecurities, to the dating. It captures family life, both the ups and downs. It even covers cutting friends out of your life because a “better offer” comes along.

A wonderful, funny and enjoyable read.

My Thoughts (1)

4-stars

The Novice (Summoner #1) by Taran Matharu

Title: The Novice
Author: Taran Matharu
Series: Summoner #1
Publication:  5th May 2015 by Hachette Children’s Group
Genre: Fantasy, Teen + YA

Around the Year in 52 Books – An author’s debut novel.

My Thoughts (2)

(Goodreads)

When blacksmith apprentice Fletcher discovers that he has the ability to summon demons from another world, he travels to Adept Military Academy. There the gifted are trained in the art of summoning. Fletcher is put through grueling training as a battlemage to fight in the Hominum Empire’s war against orcs. He must tread carefully while training alongside children of powerful nobles. The power hungry, those seeking alliances, and the fear of betrayal surround him. Fletcher finds himself caught in the middle of powerful forces, with only his demon Ignatius for help.

As the pieces on the board maneuver for supremacy, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of an empire is in his hands. The Novice is the first in a trilogy about Fletcher, his demon Ignatius, and the war against the Orcs.

My Thoughts

As I read this book, Mark Twain’s famous quote kept running through my mind.

There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope.” – Mark Twain

This book is a mash up of lots of popular ideas, some not really changed at all, added to the interesting, but ultimately not unique, story.

Orphan and blacksmith apprentice Fletcher discovers that he has the ability to summon demons from another world. He travels to the Adept Military Academy, a school, to learn more about the art of summoning. He is put through training with commoners and nobility, and newly accepted elves and dwarves. They are told that they will be put in a competition against second year students and the winner will receive a promotion in the military.

The demons are essentially Pokemon. Some of the descriptions and names even remind me of Pokemon – but this is probably because they’re both based on mythological creatures rather than blatant stealing eg. Pheonix, Hydra and Hippogriff all come from mythology, hense the links to other series such as Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. The demons all have skills and can level up. Like Pokemon, they are separate entities to the summoner and can be controlled.

The part where I got frustrated was with the elves, dwarves and orcs. They were stereotypical of their fantasy-races and it was like reading The Hobbit film. The dwarves did the mining and rode on the back of boars. The elves were agile, graceful and rode on the back of giant elks and used bows and arrows. The orcs were the enemies and there was even a large, albino orc with red eyes.

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Add on that Fletcher’s an orphan, we all know his parentage will be someone important. Of course the nobility are mean because all rich people must be horrible, only commoners are nice people. A competition against second years and nobility, who have had years of extra practice, I wonder who’s going to win… groan.

I’m sure this author will achieve and write fantastic things in the future but this book was like reading fanfic rather than any original ideas.

My Thoughts (1)

2-stars

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

Genuine Fraud

Title: Genuine Fraud
Author: E. Lockhart
Series: N/A
Publication: 5th September 2017 by Delacorte Press
Genre: YA, Mystery, Thriller

Around the Year in 52 Books – A book set in Africa or South America.

My Thoughts (2)

(Goodreads)

Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains.
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.

My Thoughts

The story is told backwards, beginning with Jule on the run. She’s dressed up in disguise, calls herself “Imogen” and flees when she feels her cover has been blown.

The story is told in third person, by an unreliable narrator. This was one of the only positives I can think of with this book. The unreliability meant I questioned myself as to who I believed and who I felt sympathetic towards. None of the characters were particularly likeable but I think that’s the way they were meant to be portrayed. I also found them completely unrelatable and unlikable because of their attitudes, they were privileged young girls with a lot of money and time to waste.

Being told backwards means it’s quite obvious what has happened. We’re supposed to find out the hows and whys but this didn’t really build up much tension and I found it all very unbelievable and anticlimactic. Being marketed as a mystery, I expected SOME mystery or suspense. There was very little.

I get what E. Lockhart was trying to do and I commend someone for trying a different style but this didn’t quite work for me. I definitely preferred We Were Liars.

My Thoughts (1)

2-stars

 

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

To Kill a Kingdom

Title: To Kill a Kingdom
Author: Alexandra Christo
Series: N/A
Publication: 6th March 2018 by Hot Key Books.
Genre: YA, Fantasy

Around the Year in 52 Books –  A book that takes place on, in, or underwater.

My Thoughts (2)

(Goodreads)

Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

My Thoughts

This was easily one of the best books I’ve read this year and definitely lives up to the hype. It’s the type of book that keeps you reading until 2am. It’s the type of book that you find yourself thinking about when you’re not reading it. It’s the type of book that leaves you with a book hangover.

Firstly, I love that this is a stand alone fantasy book which seems to be hard to come by these days. The story is well told and wrapped up beautifully. Add on to that the fact that it’s a twist on The Little Mermaid and I was delighted before I even began. I say it’s a twist because this “mermaid”, who looses her siren song rather than voice, doesn’t want to be a human and bag a prince, she wants to kill him and take his heart.

I was hooked from the first page. The opening is one of the best I’ve read in a while.

I have a heart for every year I’ve been alive.

There are seventeen hidden in the sand of my bedroom. Every so often, I claw through the shingle just to check they’re still there. Buried deep and bloody. I count each of them, so I can be sure non were stolen in the night. It;s not such an odd fear to have. Hearts are power, and if there;s one thing my kind craves more than the ocean, it’s power.

The book flicks between the two perspectives;

Lira: the Siren princess, daughter of the Sea Queen who rules the sea kingdom, Diavos. Lira is also know as The Prince’s Bane due to taking princes’ hearts. Her mother is an abusive, manipulating tyrant and isn’t willing to relinquish her throne any time soon.

Elian: The royal prince set to inherit Midas, the city of gold. He is also a cutthroat sea captain, known as the Siren Hunter due to hunting down and killing sirens.

With some books I loath reading from a particular person’s perspective but I enjoyed reading both POV. I particularly loved the banter and the slow burning romance, which is something I don’t normally enjoy.

If you’re a fan of anti-heroines, slow-burning romance, strong friendships and banter, this is the book for you!

My Thoughts (1)

5-stars

Best Foot Forward by Adam Hills

Best Foot Forward

Title: Best Foot Forward
Author: Adam Hills
Series: N/A
Publication:   24th July 2018 by Hodder & Stoughton Ltd
Genre: Biography

Around the Year in 52 Books – A book you expect to make you laugh

My Thoughts (2)

(Goodreads)

Adam Hills was a quiet primary school kid with a prosthetic foot, who did all his homework and only spoke when spoken to. His dad sparked in him a love of comedy and together they’d spend hours watching and listening to the greats like Peter Sellers and Mel Brooks, so, when it was Adam’s turn to speak, he made sure he was funny.

Once he hit high school, comedy was Adam’s obsession (along with a deep love for the South Sydney Rabbitohs). While his mates were listening to Iron Maiden and AC/DC, he was listening to Kenny Everett and Billy Connolly. And when a report card came home with a comment praising his sense of humour, he was far prouder of that than his grades (his mum not so much).

Adam’s shyness and his missing foot never held him back, though wearing thongs was tricky. While other teens snuck off to meet girls and drink cheap booze, Adam snuck off to see a young Jim Carrey perform. After that, a steady diet of Rodney Rude, Vince Sorrenti and Robin Williams led this sheltered, virginal university student from The Shire to his first stand-up open mic night on his 19th birthday.

In Best Foot Forward, Adam describes his early years on the Australian comedy scene sharing gigs with Steady Eddy and Jimeoin, how he coped the first time he died on stage, his early-morning apprenticeship in radio, touring the world’s comedy festivals, the magic of Spicks and Specks and his hosting gig for the 2008 Paralympics that led to his ongoing hit UK TV show The Last Leg. Whoopi Goldberg, Barry Humphries, Billy Connolly, Kermit the Frog – Adam’s learned from the best. This charming, witty memoir is a lesson in following your heart, being positive and discovering that what makes you different also makes you unique.

My Thoughts

When I found out Adam Hills was writing a book it immediately went onto my instabuy list. I’ve seen all of his DVDs, been to see a recording of The Last Leg and went to see his last tour Clown Heart twice. I had high expectations for this book. Luckily, for me, it did not disappoint.

At the beginning of the book, Adam explains that this is a compilation of stories. They’re told in chronological order but don’t all necessarily link. The purpose of this is so you can pick the book up at any time and read a “wee” chapter. I personally loved this, especially as some stories then linked back later in the book.

As I went through the book, I turned over pages of parts that I enjoyed or made me laugh out loud. There are quite a few turned over. The book isn’t a laugh a minute but it’s not meant to be. There humerous stories, anecdotes and the occasional joke. Some of my favourite chapters included The Hardest Job in the World about a comic with a hard on for most of the set, Stumped about being asked if he has ever used his foot during sex, the whole section about Leeds and Reading festival and crowd surfing, and pretty much the whole section about the Paralympics.

One thing that some people may dislike is the listing of names. I took this as a if you haven’t heard of these people, look them up! I now have a nice list of comedians to look into (cheers). I also enjoyed playing my own little game of “seen them!” as I read through the names. I also found it really interesting to find out that he lived with Dara O’Briain for a while and was Ross Noble’s best man at his wedding. I adored reading about his friendship with Whoopi Goldberg and his meetings with Billy Connolly. I guess the world of comedy is like other industries where everyone knows everyone.

What I loved most about this book was that it gave me the same feeling that I get after watching his stand ups. It made me happy.

My Thoughts (1)

5-stars

I tweeted Adam Hills when I finished this book. I was SO thrilled that he replied!

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Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

Jar of Hearts

Title: Jar of Hearts
Author: Jennifer Hillier
Series: N/A
Publication:  2nd August 2018 by Corvus
Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Mystery & Thrillers
Trigger warnings: Rape and Domestic Violence.

Around the Year in 52 Books – A book centered around a secret

E-book and physical ARC provided, in exchange for an honest review, by Corvus.

My Thoughts (2)

(Goodreads)

Aged just 16, Geo’s best friend Angela disappeared without a trace. Years later, Angela’s body is discovered in the woods near Geo’s childhood home, revealed as yet another victim of the notorious serial killer Calvin James. Geo’s high-school boyfriend.

For fourteen years, Geo knew what had happened and told no one, carrying the secret until she was arrested and sent to prison. Why would any woman protect a man capable of committing such a heinous crime? Geo had her reasons…

To Geo, Calvin is more than a monster, a serial killer with no remorse. He is something else entirely. And while Geo did her time, Calvin escaped and went on the run. Now released, Geo is ready to start over. But then the bodies begin to turn up, killed in the exact same manner as Angela…

As chilling secrets are revealed, everything turns on what really happened one fateful night, almost 20 years ago. Is it too late for anyone, Geo included, to survive the truth?

My Thoughts

Originally, I was provided a sample of the book up to chapter 5. That was enough to get me hooked. This book is dark, gritty and gripping.

Throughout High School Geo, Angela and Kaiser were best friends and practically inseparable. Until the day Calvin James enters their lives and Angela disappears without a trace.

14 years later, sixteen year old Angela is found murdered. Her remains in pieces in the woods behind Geo’s house. Now a successful VP at Shipp’s Pharmaceuticals in Seattle, and engaged to the CEO, Geo looses everything as she and ‘Sweetbay Strangler’, Calvin James, are arrested.

Jar of Hearts is a well-written tale of friendship, obsession and murder. The story is fast paced and unfolds really well, keeping you gripped the entire way through. There are some graphic scenes that lead me to audibly gasp, something not many books can do, but they all had a vital role to the plot.

I’m sure that this book is going to be a best seller. Grab it now before they turn it into a TV series.

My Thoughts (1)

5-stars

 

The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green

The Smoke Thieves (The Smoke Thieves, #1)

Title: The Smoke Thieves
Author: Sally Green
Series: The Smoke Thieves #1
Publication:  May 3rd 2018 by Penguin
Genre: YA, Fantasy

Around the Year in 52 Books – A book featuring a murder

My Thoughts (2)

(Goodreads)

A princess, a traitor, a hunter and a thief. Four teenagers with the fate of the world in their hands. Four nations destined for conflict.

In Brigant, Princess Catherine prepares for a loveless political marriage arranged by her brutal and ambitious father. In Calidor, downtrodden servant March seeks revenge on the prince who betrayed his people. In Pitoria, feckless Edyon steals cheap baubles for cheaper thrills as he drifts from town to town. And in the barren northern territories, thirteen-year-old Tash is running for her life as she plays bait for the gruff demon hunter Gravell.

As alliances shift and shatter, and old certainties are overturned, our four heroes find their past lives transformed and their futures inextricably linked by the unpredictable tides of magic and war. Who will rise and who will fall? And who will claim the ultimate prize?

My Thoughts

I recieved this in my illumicrate about 6 months ago and have finally gotten around to reading it.

There are different points of view which the book flicks between: The Calidorian princess, Catherine. The Prince of Pitoria, Tzsayn. Catherine’s bodyguard, Ambrose. March, a servant to the prince who comes from a small area of land destroy by a war. Edyon, a thief whom March is searching for. And Tash, a thirteen year-old demon hunter.

Although the points of view were interesting (I particularly looked forward to Tash and Catherine’s) the book took a while to get going as it had to set each one up. I personally didn’t particularly enjoy March’s and for the most part of the book couldn’t see why he was even included but I’m sure he’ll play a much bigger role in books to come. I really wanted to know more about the demon smoke, especially with the title, but it took over half of the book before you really found out anything about it. Now that we have a grounding for each of the characters and they’re all in the same place, the second book may have more action and I may feel more for the characters. At the moment, I’m not feeling the chemistry or tention between some of the characters, and honestly wouldn’t even bat an eyelid at Ambrose being killed off.

The book is being sold as Game of Thrones for young readers. It’s no where near as complex or detailed as GoT and has far fewer points of view. It strongly reminded me of Morgan Rhode’s Falling Kingdom series with the points of view, arranged marriage between the two countries and ‘evil’ family members. I hope the next book in this series takes it own path and isn’t always in the two series’ shadows.

I’ll definitely be reading the next book in the series.
My Thoughts (1)

4-stars

 

Clean by Juno Dawson

Clean

Title: Clean
Author: Juno Dawson
Series: N/A
Publication:  April 5th 2018 by Quercus Children’s Books
Genre: YA

Around the Year in 52 Books – A book published in the last 3 years (2016, 2017, 2018) by an author you haven’t read before

My Thoughts (2)

(Goodreads)

I can feel it swimming through my veins like glitter … it’s liquid gold.

When socialite Lexi Volkov almost overdoses, she thinks she’s hit rock bottom.

She’s wrong. Rock bottom is when she’s forced into an exclusive rehab facility.

From there, the only way is up for Lexi and her fellow inmates, including the mysterious Brady.

As she faces her demons, Lexi realises love is the most powerful drug of all …

It’s a dirty business getting clean …

My Thoughts

This was so gripping I read it in one sitting.

It doesn’t hold back, tackling a range of subjects including drug addition, eating disorders, mental health, gender identity and friendship. It’s dark, humorous and gritty.

The story centres around Lexi, a Russian heiress, living in London. Her brother witnesses her downfall and takes her, against her will, to rehab. We follow her coming getting clean, coming to terms with her addiction and see how she got there.

Lexi isn’t always a likeable or relatable character. She’s rich, sharp, surrounded by toxic relationships which encourage her to make questionable decisions, and is determined. But as the story progresses she changes and grows and is a different person at the end of the story. It truly was wonderful to read.

The only thing I disliked about this book was the ending as it was too unrealistic and neat for my liking.

A brilliant read. This is definitely going to be in a lot of lists for top books of 2018.
My Thoughts (1)

4-stars

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3)

Title: A Court of Wings and Ruin
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #3
Publication:  2017 by Bloomsbury
Genre: YA, Fantasy

Around the Year in 52 Books – A book with a location in the title.

My Thoughts (2)

(Goodreads)

Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s manoeuvrings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit – and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.

My Thoughts

This review was really hard to write. After the ending of ACoMaF I just had to pick this up and read it straight away. Although I enjoyed it, I had really high hopes for this book and came out feeling like this is the weakest of the 3 books. That’s not saying it’s bad, far from it, but the other two books had me reading at ridiculous times and for hours on end, squealing and fangirling. This book had me more thinking, get to the point!

I’m finally completing this review almost 2 months after reading the book. Every time I sat down to write it, it was hard to think of what to say that hadn’t already been said before. I also found that the more I thought about the book, the harder it was to focus on the things I enjoyed, it was so much easier to pull out the things I disliked.

I was put off of this book more than the others as it is so ruddy thick! I was really frustrated as within the first 100 pages Fayre is undercover, which was great, except she kept doing something and then explaining it. We as readers are not dumb, surprisingly enough we can figure out what she was doing and why without being spoon fed.

In this book we see a lot more characters introduced and more locations, as they go to the different courts. I loved seeing all the different courts and hearing the Bone Carver and Weaver’s back story. The characters are a definite strength in this book, and series as a whole. We get a lot more back story to the main characters, and I just love how she’s able to write about Feyre’s raw emotions such as struggling with PTSD.

However, with more characters and places came greater pacing issues. I feel this book could easily have been a third of a book smaller, especially if you removed all the unnecessary sex scenes. If I’m honest, I’m writing this review about 7 weeks after finishing the book and I’m having to look up what happened because a lot of  it was just that unmemorable.

Taking the series as a whole, it would definitely be a solid five star. I will definitely be re-reading it again the future and it will be very interesting to see how my opinion on it changes with the re-read. Especially for the first book, knowing what I know now…

My Thoughts (1)

4-stars