• Liv Appleton

The Bookshelf: Snowflakes and Serial killers

At the beginning of this year I felt exhausted (who didn't?!) and I decided rather than choose a load of resolutions that I know I'm not likely to see through, I would write a list of 'wants'.


These are things I want to do in order to improve my mental health and feel accomplished rather than things I 'have to do' just to say I fulfilled a resolution.


One of those 'wants' was to read at least 20 books this year.


From what I have seen on social media, it seems quite a lot of us want to read more books in 2021 too, so I thought we could do it together!


This is new series will be updated with book reviews throughout 2021.


I hope it will give you some ideas for books to add to your own 'to read' list and start conversations about books that you're reading!


My taste in books is as eclectic as my music taste, so this will be fun!


Here is what I have read so far!


Book 1: 'Killing for Company - The Case of Dennis Nilsen' by Brian Masters



I think most of us have been bitten by the serial killer/true crime drama bug during this pandemic!


If you enjoy learning about criminals, psychology or you watched the ITV drama 'Des' you may be interested in the book that inspired the TV show.


I'll be honest, it is quite a lengthy read - it took me quite a while to get through - but if you find criminal psychology interesting, I reckon you'll enjoy 'Killing For Company'.


Be aware this book is not a casual read or for the faint of heart.


If you're familiar the the case of Dennis Nilsen, you will know that they were quite brutal and this book does go into gory details.


*Spoiler Alert!* - the end of the book is dedicated to suggesting potential motives for Dennis' crimes, from psychological disorders, religion, politics and discomfort surrounding his sexuality, which was genuinely fascinating.


'Killing For Company' is not the type of book you fly through or skip and scan.


It is full of information that is thought-provoking and rather terrifying.


Reading Recommendations

Avoid reading in the bath - when you start reading this book, you will understand!


I would get a cosy blanket, sit somewhere quiet without distraction with a comforting brew and maybe have a Disney movie to hand for after your reading session - it is quite a dark read...



Book 2: 'Dangerous Secrets - The Story of Iduna and Agnarr' by Mari Mancusi



Let's move on to something a little more light-hearted, shall we?


If you're a Frozen fan, you NEED to read this!


You may be forgiven for thinking that this is a children's book.


It is suitable for children, yes, but even if this had nothing to do with 'Frozen' or Disney, I still would have been obsessed with it.


It tells the tale of Elsa and Anna's parents, starting with how they met and basically covers the story right up until their ship is capsized in the first movie.


Queen Iduna has been given an incredible storyline and to be honest is a complete badass.


If you've watched 'Frozen 2' you will know that Iduna was originally a member of the Northuldra, but the film didn't really explain how she came to know Agnarr and live in Arendelle.


I love the fact that Mari has avoided the typical 'princess tale' and made Iduna a completely self-sufficient character, that is intelligent and strong-minded.


She has made Iduna an inventor and engineer before she becomes Queen and perfectly describes the transition from childhood friendship to adult romance without the typical cringe-worthy clichés.


I also love how Mari has managed to fit in so many nods to the film without them seeming forced and explained them further, which has made me look at both films very differently.


'Dangerous Secrets' added new depths to two films that I already loved!


Reading Recommendations

This is definitely a night time book in my opinion. Put on your comfiest pyjamas (bonus points if they are frozen themed!).


Grab a hot chocolate and snuggle down to explore Arendell and the Enchanted Forest before bed.

Book 3: 'The Burning Chambers' by Kate Mosse



If you're a fan of history, 'Les Miserables' or Game of Thrones, you will enjoy this book.


'The Burning Chambers' is set in 16th Century France (I know 'Les Miserables' is set in the 19th, but bear with me) when the Catholics and Protestants (known as Huguenots) were at war with one another.


This book has it all - plot twists, shock betrayals, a badass female character, torture chambers, romance and a 'Les Miserables' style battle with students, barricades and muskets (you could listen to 'Do You Hear The People Sing' in the background and it would work!).


The way Kate creates her characters is extraordinary in my opinion - they are so memorable you feel like you have met them.


The book jumps around a lot from different destinations and time periods, but it is skillfully achieved, so you don't find yourself confused.


The sequel, 'The City of Tears' is out now, so I will have to add this to my bookshelf.


Reading Recommendations


Run a bath. Throw in your luxury bath oils, bubble baths and/or bath bombs.


Pour a glass of your favourite tipple and get lost in the streets of 16th Toulous, Puivert and Carcassonne.


Watch out for inquisitors, evil priests and devilishly handsome Dutchman...


Currently Reading...

My current read is 'The Tattooist of Auschwitz' by Heather Morris.


It's a fictional novel that has been sort of bent around a true story and it isn't hard to see why everybody has been raving about it!


As you can tell by the title, it isn't the cheeriest subject matter, but Heather has brought such an important and tragic topic to life in realistic.


I'm enjoying it so far, though I do feel some parts of the love story are a bit idealistic, for example I can't really imagine a Nazi officer allowing two Jewish campmates to have a hut to themselves to...erm enjoy each other's company...intimately.


However, maybe this was the case?


I'm halfway through so I'll let you know my thoughts on the novel as a whole in the next edition of 'The Bookshelf'.


What are you currently reading?

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