Tag Archives: non fiction

3096 Days – Natascha Kampusch Book Review

23 Jan

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Format – Paperback Book

Synopsis3,096 Days is the remarkable and shocking true account of the kidnap of Natascha Kampusch in 1998, who relives her traumatic experiences in this amazing true story.

On 2 March 1998 ten-year-old Natascha Kampusch was snatched off the street by a stranger and bundled into a white van. Hours later she was lying on a cold cellar floor, rolled up in a blanket. When she emerged from captivity in 2006, having endured one of the longest abductions in recent history, her childhood had gone.

in 3,096 Days Natascha tells her amazing story for the first time: her difficult childhood, what happened exactly on that fateful morning when she was on her way to school, her long imprisonment in a five-square-metre dungeon, and the physical and mental abuse she suffered from her abductor, Wolfgang Priklopil – who committed suicide by throwing himself under a train on the day she managed to make her escape.

3,096 Days is ultimately a story about the triumph of the human spirit. It describes how, in a situation of almost unbearable hopelessness, she learned how to manipulate her captor. And how, against inconceivable odds, she managed to escape unbroken.

My Thoughts – I’ve had this book on my shelves for a while and to be honest I’ve put it off a little bit due to the fact that its a true story and I cant quite imagine how traumatic it would have been for her.

Natascha was 10 when she was abducted and held captive for 8 years. Now while this is horiffic written down you you cant imagine the pain and horror she must have gone through. I have a 10 year old cousin and I just cant imagine her going through such a thing at such a young age.  I do remember this story in the newspapers – both when she disappeared and when she was found. However I wasnt aware of the cover ups that the police had done and quite how close she was to being found a couple of times.

This book was a very harrowing read – I cant imagine how she must have felt or what she had to go through at the time. It was also very shocking that her captor used to take her out in public but she couldnt do anything to leave or brake free until one day.

A very powerful read

Rating – 3/5

Strangeways: A Prison Officers Story – Neil Samworth – Book Review

17 Dec

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Format – Audiobook

Synopsis – Neil ‘Sam’ Samworth spent 11 years working as a prison officer in HMP Manchester, aka Strangeways. A tough Yorkshireman with a soft heart, Sam had to deal with it all – gangsters and gangbangers, terrorists and psychopaths, addicts and the mentally ill. Men who should not be locked up and men who should never be let out.

Strangeways is a shocking and at times darkly funny account of life in a high-security prison. Sam tackles cell fires and self-harmers and goes head to head with some of the most dangerous men in the country. He averts a Christmas Day riot after turkey is taken off the menu and replaced by fish curry and stands up to officers who abuse their position. He describes being attacked by prisoners and reveals the problems caused by radicalisation and the drugs flooding our prisons.

As staffing cuts saw Britain’s prison system descend into crisis, the stress of the job – the suicides, the inhumanity of the system and one assault too many – left Sam suffering from PTSD. This raw, searingly honest memoir is a testament to the men and women of the prison service and the incredibly difficult job we ask them to do.

My Thoughts – I downloaded this book as I enjoy reading real life non fictin but I’ve never read one that is from a Prison Officers perspective. This was a really good book – it was shocking at times the things that a Prison Officer has to go through in there jobs – somethings that they shouldnt have to deal with. He also talks about high profile prisoners that he has met – some of which I had obviously heard of – others not so much! it was a real eye opening book and really made me think about the realities of PTSD and other mental health conditions.

Rating – 4/5

Me Life Story: Sofa, So Good! – Scarlett Moffatt * Book Review *

16 Nov

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Format – Audiobook

Synopsis – Fact: Did you know, over its lifespan, your sofa will witness roughly 293 arguments and 1,369 cuddles? Hiya, my name’s Scarlett Moffatt and I love random facts. Almost as much as I love sitting on me sofa. You might know me best from my most famous and celebrated sit thus far on the I’m A Celebrity throne. You might also know me from all sorts of other seats, most especially my Gogglebox sofa. Well this book is my attempt at telling me life story through a whole series of them! So I’d like you right now to stop what you’re doing and take a seat, whether it be in the comfort of your own home, on the top deck of the bus, on the tube (so you don’t have to make eye contact with anybody) or on the throne of the house (a.k.a. the toilet). I want you to get comfortable and get ready to laugh, cry and maybe even learn a bit, as I chat to you about some of the highs and lows of me life. So grab a brew, settle down and let’s start from the very beginning …

My Thoughts – I downloaded this as it was on audible 3 for 2 and I enjoyed Scarlett when she was on I’m a celebrity get me out of Here! so I thought that this book would be quite interesting.

I didn’t actually realise until I was almost through the whole book that this was her second book but I enjoyed it all the same.

This book has different chapters about her life – all starting with a few facts about something in the book and then ending with a life lesson or moral – which I really enjoyed.

This book really changed my opinion of Scarlett – for example, I didn’t realise that she was badly bullied at school and having come all through tha it makes her the person that she is today. I totally get that as I was bullied horribly at secondary school – to the point that I developed anxiety and refused to go. I think that this should be a must read for anyone going through that as there is light at the end of the tunnel and it really does get better.

I also didn’t realise that she was really into books – something that obviously I also enjoy. I wish more people would admit there love for reading – I’m all for that!

Overall a really enjoyable read – it was funny in places, sad in places and she’s a real humble nice person. A really good book. She also narrates it which I thought was fab!

Rating – 4/5

The Diary of a Bookseller – Shaun Bythell *Book Review*

12 Nov

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Format – Audiobook

Synopsis – In these wry and hilarious diaries, Shaun provides an inside look at the trials and tribulations of life in the book trade, from struggles with eccentric customers to wrangles with his own staff, who include the ski-suit-wearing, bin-foraging Nicky. He takes us with him on buying trips to old estates and auction houses, recommends books (both lost classics and new discoveries), introduces us to the thrill of the unexpected find, and evokes the rhythms and charms of small-town life, always with a sharp and sympathetic eye.

My Thoughts – I downloaded this book as it was on the daily deal and I’d already got this book on my wishlist. This book is basically a year in the life of a man who owns a bookshop in Scotland. I found this book funny, sad, interesting, compelling all in equal measure. As a self-confessed bookworm I could see myself spending lots of money in a shop such as his. I found all of his anecdotes about his various customers and staff really funny.

It has made me think a lot about how I use Amazon though. Currently if I feel like ordering a book I tend to go on Amazon and order it through Amazon Prime. Having read this book I’m going to hunt out some local bookshops to me (I’ve just moved to a new area so not too sure whats about yet!) and browse their shelves more. He also runs The Random Book Club and I’m really tempted to join this too!

We are planning a trip to Scotland and I think that The Bookshop is definitely a place that I want to visit while we are there!

Overall an absolutely fantastic book that I was very sorry that had ended. I could have listened to many more years of this!

Rating – 5/5

This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diary of a Junior Doctor – Adam Kay

6 Sep

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Format – Audiobook

Synopsis – Welcome to ninety-seven-hour weeks. Welcome to life-and-death decisions. Welcome to a constant tsunami of bodily fluids. Welcome to earning less than the hospital parking meter. Wave goodbye to your friends and relationships . . .

Welcome to the life of a junior doctor.

Scribbled in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends, Adam Kay’s diaries provide a no-holds-barred account of his time on the NHS front line. Hilarious, horrifying and heartbreaking by turns, this is everything you wanted to know – and more than a few things you didn’t – about life on and off the hospital ward. And yes, it may leave a scar.

My Thoughts – I downloaded this on audible as I enjoy confession type books and I’d never/read or listened to one by a junior doctor. I found this book a wide range of emotions – some parts had me laughing out loud – the author has such a dry sense of humour that its amazing really. Also totally horrifinging in places realising how under stretched the NHS actually is and the horrific conditions that the NHS staff have to work in.

Also there is the detail of the medical processes that the doctor carries out – I’m due to have a C-section within the next 4 weeks and dont think that I should have listened to this book just before – but I’m sure mine will go ok!

Also there is te ending – I dont want to spoil it for anyone but it was totally heartbreaking and sad.

This audiobook was read by the author too which I felt was really good as you really got a feel for how he actually throught and felt. Overall a really good book that I would recommend.

Rating – 4/5

The Secret Barrister – The Secret Barrister Audiobook Review

28 Aug

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Synopsis -“I’m a barrister, a job which requires the skills of a social worker, relationship counsellor, arm-twister, hostage negotiator, named driver, bus fare-provider, accountant, suicide watchman, coffee-supplier, surrogate parent and, on one memorable occasion, whatever the official term is for someone tasked with breaking the news to a prisoner that his girlfriend has been diagnosed with gonorrhoea.”

Welcome to the world of the Secret Barrister. These are the stories of life inside the courtroom. They are sometimes funny, often moving and ultimately life-changing.

How can you defend a child-abuser you suspect to be guilty? What do you say to someone sentenced to ten years who you believe to be innocent? What is the law and why do we need it?

And why do they wear those stupid wigs?

From the criminals to the lawyers, the victims, witnesses and officers of the law, here is the best and worst of humanity, all struggling within a broken system which would never be off the front pages if the public knew what it was really like.

Both a searing first-hand account of the human cost of the criminal justice system, and a guide to how we got into this mess, The Secret Barrister wants to show you what it’s really like and why it really matters.

My Thoughts – I’ve recently got into listening to audiobooks as I travel a lot for work at the minute and this is probably the first one thats hooked me in.

This book is about a barrister who is almost blowing the whistle on what happens during the court and the justice system in the United Kingdom. I really found this fascinating as I had many of the misconseptions that were stated in the book. For example, that a barrister could lie if they knew there defendant was guilty. (They cant!)

It was also fascinating learning about the history of the justice system and how it has become what it has today. It was also very shocking the examples of miscarages of justice that have happened and probably will continue to happen due to budget cuts and people not doing there jobs properly.

This was a really good book and one that I would recommend. It was really well read too and I really enjoyed it.

Rating – 4.5/5

2018 – What I have read so far

22 Jun

Well its been so long since I posted a review that i thought I would ease myself back in with a little wrap up of what I have read so far this year. I havent read loads this year however according to goodreads I’ve read 12 of my goal of 52 books (one a week!)

I always used to read more but I am struggling to find the time with so much else going on in life but once i pick up a book then I really do enjoy it. I do wish that the book buying would curb a little but thats another blog post!

Here are my stats from the last few years – my worst reading year was 2014 – the year i fell pregnant with my first and only managed 18 books. I’m wondering if pregnancy does something to my brain to allow it not to read as much!

Books read 2010 – 56
Books read 2011 – 76
Books read 2012 – 76
Books read 2013 – 40
Books read 2014 – 18
Books read 2015 – 42
Books read 2016 – 37
Books read 2017 – 24

So on to what I’ve been reading this year.

  1. Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell. This was a book that had been on my wishlist for ages with all the hype surrounding it. I enjoyed it- however it wasnt a great memeorable book for me – but I do tend to find that with ‘popular’ books!
  2. The Party – Robyn Harding. This was ok. The plot was really guessable though but it was an easy book to get into.
  3. Mum to Mum – Coleen Nolan. Again an ok book but to me it was just an advice column that had been put into book form. It was quite good reading about her experiences as a mum as I do find that really interesting.
  4. The Excalibur Codex – James Douglas. This was a book set around King Arthur which I really found innteresting. This was a really good thriller book and Ireally enjoyed it.
  5. Roxys Baby – Catherine Macphail. I read this as it was on one or more of my reading challenges – I think maybe the Ultimate Teen Book Guide Challenge but I will check! I didnt enjoy this at all – I didnt think it was too well written or very likely a plot!
  6. The Legacy – Katherine Webb. I enjoyed this story and how the different generations of the family all blended up into one story.
  7. I Let Him Go – Denise Fergus. This was an absolutly harrowing read. My boy is slightly older than James Bulger was at the time of his disapearance and I can only imagine what his poor mother went through. A raw, emotional story written in a beautiful way.
  8. 2017:War with Russia – Richard Shirreff. My OH brought me this as he was listening to the audio version and he enjoyed this book. Its not my normal genre but i did really enjoy it.
  9. How to be Happy – Eva Woods. This is a really emotional story about a woman living with cancer and I have to say its changed my outlook a little. For example, if you are not happy with an area of your life – then change it. I understand that it is easier said than done more than most people but if you hate your job – change it. Unhappy in your relationship – change it. There is no point in life in moaning that you are unhappy but not willing to do anything about it. This book will stay with me for a long time.
  10. Howards End is On The Landing – Susan Hill. This has been on my TBR list for ages but again I idnt enjoy it loads. There is something about ‘classic’ books that put me off. Although the idea in itself is good – read your own books for a year. I just wish I could do it!
  11. Why Mummy Drinks – Gill Sims. I laughed out loud at this. A lot. This was brilliant. There are so many misconceptions about being a perfect parent and the author of this book hits the nail on the head perfectly. Most mums would love to give there kids a healthy breakfast whilst listening to an audiobook or something but the reality is you normally end up chucking coco-pops in front of them whilst they watch peppa pig – so you can wake up with a big mug of something caffinated to start your day! A really good truthful book.
  12. Baby Boom – Helen Wallen. This book is about 3 friends who are at different stages in there lives and its another book that I wish i had read during my first pregnancy. It was really good and would definitaly be one I’d recommend!

So thats all the books that I’ve read so far this year – i might go back and do some proper reviews on these but they are at least on here now!

I’ve got lots of ideas for other book related blog posts in the near future and I’m very excited to be writing again!