MSB Book Club – January/February

The MSB Book Club gives their thoughts on the November/December reads and shares their ‘bookish’ resolutions for the new year.

November/December Books

The Book Club had three choices for their November/December reads. One of which was a festive read in the run up to Christmas.

Red White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

About the Book What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales? Alex Claremont-Diaz is handsome, charismatic, a genius – pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House ever since his mother first became President of the United States. There’s only one problem. When the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an altercation between Alex and Prince Henry, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse. Heads of family and state devise a plan for damage control: stage a truce. But what begins as a fake, Instagrammable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon they are hurtling into a secret romance that could derail the presidential campaign and upend two nations.

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

About the Book This is the story of Sam and Sadie. It’s not a romance, but it is about love. When Sam catches sight of Sadie at a crowded train station one morning, he is catapulted straight back to childhood, and the hours they spent immersed in playing games. Their spark is instantly reignited and sets off a creative collaboration that will make them superstars. It is the 90s, and anything is possible. What comes next is a decades-long tale of friendship and rivalry, fame and art, betrayal and tragedy, perfect worlds and imperfect ones. And, above all, our need to connect: to be loved and to love.

The Christmas Wish by Lindsey Kelk

About the Book Newly single lawyer Gwen Baker is hoping that a family Christmas – countryside, a mountain of food and festive films – will salve the sting of her career hanging by a thread and her heart being trampled on. Because everyone else has their life sorted: even Dev, her boy-next-door crush, is now a tall, dark and handsome stranger with a fiancée. She can’t help wishing her future was clearer. Then Gwen wakes up to discover it’s Christmas day all over again. Like Groundhog Day but with turkey. And family arguments. On repeat. As she figures out how to escape her own particular Christmas hell, Dev is the one bright spot. He might be all grown-up but underneath he’s just as kind and funny as she remembers. Maybe, just maybe, her heart can be mended after all. But how do you fall in love with someone who can’t remember you from one day to the next?

Staff Reviews

I read Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow. I have previously read Red, White and Royal Blue and The Christmas Wish both of which were 5 star reads for me. For Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow I would give the story 5 stars. It was very different from what I usually read and once I got used to the writer’s style, I really enjoyed the story. The book had me crying and laughing out loud and contemplating my own friendships and the love there which is very different from romantic loves. I would recommend this book to others.Rachael Payne, Solicitor *****

“I read Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow. Not something I would normally pick up, I am not and will never be a gamer, but I loved the book.  I couldn’t put it down, so I’d give it 4 stars.” Amy Tagoe, Senior Associate Solicitor ****

“I read The Christmas Wish. I didn’t expect to like this book as much as I did. I enjoyed the family dynamic and the development of the characters. An enjoyable read for the festive season! 4 stars.” Louise Murphy, Partner and Head of Social Housing and Regeneration ****

“I read The Christmas Wish. I don’t usually read any Christmas themed books so Book Club gave me a good impetus to read something for the festive season. I was immediately intrigued as myself and the protagonist share the same age and profession! The author is witty and the book was often genuinely funny and relatable. I also appreciated that it wasn’t entirely focused on romance and it draws on wider themes and issues. I would recommend it for anybody looking for a breezy and uplifting read this Christmas! 4 Stars” Michelle Summers, Solicitor ****

January/February Books

The Book Club have 3 choices for their January/February reads.  The book Club have taken inspiration from the winners/shortlisted of best books of 2023:

Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes (Shortlisted as British Books Awards Fiction Book of the Year 2023)

 About the book: So to mortal men, we are monsters. Because of our flight, our strength. They fear us, so they call us monsters’

Medusa is the sole mortal in a family of gods. Growing up with her Gorgon sisters, she begins to realize that she is the only one who experiences change, the only one who can be hurt.

When Poseidon commits an unforgiveable act against Medusa in the temple of Athene, the goddess takes her revenge where she can: on his victim. Medusa is changed forever – writhing snakes for hair and her gaze now turns any living creature to stone. She can look at nothing without destroying it.

Desperate to protect her beloved sisters, Medusa condemns herself to a life of shadows. Until Perseus embarks upon a quest to fetch the head of a Gorgon…

In Memoriam by Alice Winn (Winner of Waterstones Novel of year 2023)

About the book: In 1914, war feels far away to Henry Gaunt and Sidney Ellwood. They’re too young to enlist, and anyway, Gaunt is fighting his own private battle – an all-consuming infatuation with the dreamy, poetic Ellwood – not having a clue that his best friend is in love with him, always has been.

When Gaunt’s mother asks him to enlist in the British army to protect the family from anti-German attacks, he signs up immediately, relieved to escape his overwhelming feelings. But Ellwood and their classmates soon follow him into the horrors of trenches. Though Ellwood and Gaunt find fleeting moments of solace in one another, their friends are dying in front of them, and at any moment they could be next.

An epic tale of the devastating tragedies of war and the forbidden romance that blooms in its grip.

The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett (Winner of British Book Awards Crime and Thriller Book of the Year 2023)

About the book: Can you crack the Twyford Code?

Edith Twyford was once a world-famous children’s author, but now her only legacy is the rumoured existence of the Twyford Code: a series of clues hidden in her books leading to… what? No one knows – but that hasn’t stopped the speculation.

Steve Smith can trace nearly all the bad things in his life back to Edith Twyford. As a child he found one of her books, covered in strange symbols. He showed it to his teacher, Miss Iles, who was convinced it held the key to the code. Within weeks Miss Iles had disappeared, and Steve has no idea if she is dead or alive – or if she was right. Now he’s determined to find out.

But the Twyford Code hides secrets some would do anything to possess, and Steve isn’t the only one on its trail. The race is on to solve the mystery of the century. Could you get there first?

3 Very different genres for the Book Club to choose from.

Staff Bookish Resolutions for 2024

“My Resolution is to read 3 times a week” Louise Murphy

“My Resolution is to try to resist buying new books and to work through my ‘to-be-read’ pile instead – that way I can pass them on to others to be enjoyed!” Michelle Summers

My Resolution is to use a bookmark” Amy Tagoe”

“My Resolution is to try read more different genre books” Rachael Payne

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