Tuesday, 16 May 2017

A Little Book Haul

I love a good book haul. I love watching them on BookTube and I love buying my own books. It's a book lover's vice: continually buying books and adding them to their ever growing physical TBR shelf. A few books on my wishlist took my fancy and so I bit the bullet and ordered them; telling myself that I would read them sooner rather than later. Will I live up to this pledge? Who knows, but this is only a little book haul so I can forgive myself.

THE MUSE by Jessie Burton (2016)

I read Burton's debut novel The Miniaturist last year and completely fell in love with it (review uploaded here if you fancy having a read), but The Muse I haven't gotten around to purchasing until now. I think it's because I know it will be so different to its predecessor - no rich seventeenth-century Amsterdam setting which completely sucked me in to the story of The Miniaturist. But I'm intrigued by Burton's second novel even if I was a little tentative to pick it up at first. I know very little about its premise but I enjoyed her writing style in her debut and I've heard good things about her second novel. This is one I'm thinking of starting next month.

MORANIFESTO by Caitlin Moran (2016)

I love Caitlin Moran. I love her humour and her wit, I love her sharpness and her unapologetic brilliance, and more to the point, I love her Twitter account. The woman is brilliant. I read her debut non-fiction How to be a Woman a few years ago and I've never nodded my head in agreement at a book more. It was exactly the kind of read I didn't know I'd been missing. Moranifesto is Moran's newest contribution to the literary world: a collection of columns, essays, and general ramblings about life, from topics such as the blitheness of the rich, to the evilness of modern day printers. I've since started reading it, and it's laugh out loud funny in parts, so keep an eye out for my review in my wrap up at the end of the month. 

LIBRARY OF SOULS by Ransom Riggs (2015)

Oh hey, remember how unimpressed I was with Hollow City in my last wrap up? Well I went ahead and bought the final book in the trilogy like I inevitably thought I would. I've made it this far in the series so I feel like I should finish it, even if I do have some problems with the story. I enjoy the world and the storytelling enough to see how it all ends and I have to admit, this is one of the more unique contributions to the YA genre I've seen. 

DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME by Angela Readman (2015) 

Short story collections are fast making their way in to my mainstream reading and this latest contribution to my collection sounds especially good. I find I tend to enjoy short stories that are a bit on the wacky side and these stories are packed with magical realism. I'm excited to dive in to Readman's collection very soon.

These books all may be new on my shelves but I intend to get to them fast. I've already started one of them so I'm true to my word for the time being. Keep an eye out for my upcoming reviews to see what I make of all new reads. Until next time, feel free to check my latest reviews here

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

April Wrap Up: Six Mini Book Reviews

Sometimes life gets in the way and you end up posting your monthly reading wrap up over a week in to the new month... April was a busy month for me but I still managed to get good lot of reading done and I read some brilliant books in April. So here we go:

Quirk Books  428 pages

Last years I read the much acclaimed Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children. I quite enjoyed it and I was interested enough in the story to continue with the series, so I picked up Hollow City of Amazon's Three Paperbacks for £10 deal and got reading. I guess you could say I'm glad I read it - it's certainly an original idea, but I wasn't blown away by it. Partly this has to do with my own tastes and the fact that YA fiction just isn't really my jam anymore. I found the romance to be underdeveloped and unnecessary, while the story's use of time travel as a plot device created to many continuity errors. It's set the UK in 1944 and at one point the phrase "Her Majesty" is used when it was actually George VI who was monarch during war time. 

Something about the story kept me reading though because I've since bought the final book in the series (Amazon three for ten, thank you very much). I guess I thought I've got this far, I might as well finish what I started.

Overall rating: 2 stars

Chicken House  288 pages

In my opinion, Millwood Hargrave's second novel surpasses her debut. The Island at the End of Everything is a beautifully touching story about love and friendship set in the Phillipines at the beginning of the last century. It was sent to me by The Bookbag for review and I already have a full review uploaded here if you want to know more about it. This was a great story to start the month and I highly recommend Millwood Hargrave's work. 

Overall rating: 4.5 stars

Vintage  252 pages

This was my non-fiction pick for April and boy, it was a good'n. Paul Kalanithi's memoir has been doing the rounds on BookTube and Bookstagram for a while now and it's certainly become popular since its publication. Kalanithi tells his own story about his battle with cancer, how he and his family dealt with the difficulty of fighting such an illness, and how his medical education and philosophy allowed him to think about his illness. It's a poignant read and delicately written - Paul Kalanithi was certainly a brilliant man, in both intelligence and bravery. A lot of the medical jargon went over my head but the way he writes this book and how he explores his ideas on life undoubtedly make this an exquisite read. 

Overall rating: 3.5 stars

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (2012)
Bloomsbury  352

I bought this on a a bit of a whim in Waterstones which is something I very rarely do. It was hardly a whim really considering it had been on my GoodReads TBR for a little while, but I found a copy whilst I was browsing and sat down and read the first couple of chapters in store. Liking what I read I purchased it and carried on reading it for the rest of the day because this book gives me the escapism I crave when I'm reading. I know very little about Greek mythology but that didn't take away the pleasure I had in reading this thrilling story. It's ripe with raw emotion and follows the love between Patroclus and the legendary Greek hero, Achilles. I actually was planning to read For The Most Beautiful by Emily Hauser in April which also chronicles the Trojan War - I will certainly get around to it at some point because this story was beautiful and it left me with a sudden urge to read Homer's Illiad.

Overall rating: 4 stars

The Borough Press  464 pages

I wasn't even alive in the summer of 1976 but this book gave me all the nostalgic feelings. Set in an English avenue during the hottest summer on British records, ten year olds Grace and Tilly go in search of their missing neighbour in the hope of finding out what happened to her. In their search they discover many other things about the rest of their neighbours - hidden secrets and lies which has blinded this quiet little suburban street to prejudice and injustice. This was a wonderful story that delicately deals with society and friendship with a mystery at its core. If you're looking for an easy, quintessentially English read then I highly recommend checking this out. I thoroughly enjoyed this and will be looking out for more of Joanna Cannon's work in the future.

Overall rating: 4.5 stars

Fitzcarraldo Editions  182 pages

This weird little book was one of two short story collections that came in the May Moth Box and as soon as I opened it, I couldn't wait to get started with this one. Camilla Grudova's magical collection is grotesque and dark - and I mean that in the best way possible. Recurring images of tinned food, decay, sewing machines, and mirrors run throughout each of these stories, threaded together by Grudova's unique style. As with most short story collections, some I enjoyed more than other and I think my favourite was the opening story - Unstitching - in which women un-stitch themselves in order to free themselves. They're highly imaginative and I loved the recurring motifs and themes throughout, yet some of the stories were just a little too weird for me. 

Overall rating: 3 stars

So, another good reading month in all! I think the variety of books I read last month really kept it interesting which is something I'm going to try and keep up each month. Happy reading, fellow book lovers! 
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