Saturday 3 June 2017

A Wrap Up: May 2017

Hi, and thanks for stopping by.

Today's post is going to be my May 2017 wrap-up. I have to admit, it's been a slightly slower month, reading-wise, for me, and that's down to one thing and one thing only: exams. I've been revising since April, but this month things really got serious, so I had less spare time to read (although the last week or so I've been making up for lost time). Nevertheless, I did get through some great books - here they are! (Be aware of any spoilers if you're looking to read these titles!)

Lucy inglis’s crow mountain
5 stars

I absolutely loved this book. I got it out from my local library but since have bought my own copy, because I enjoyed it that much. It's a dual-perspective narrative, with each of the narrative voices being from totally different time periods, living weirdly parallel lives. The American setting was perfect, the chemistry between characters was very well created and the ENDINGS of both tales completely ruined me! Such an interesting structure and concept - I'd highly recommend giving this one a read!

James patterson’s first love
4 stars

This story follows the close friendship of Axi Moore and Robinson, who run away from home to take a road trip across America. They both have troubled home lives. As the story unfolds, we learn that they met on a children's cancer ward where they were both patients. I described the story as Amy and Roger's Epic Detour meets The Fault in our Stars. I really enjoyed this book - it was beautifully written.

Leila rasheed’s cinders and sapphires (at somerton #1)
3 stars

This novel was a period story, based at Somerton House, following the Averley family and their staff. I was really pleasantly surprised by the issues raised and explored in this book, such as feminist ideas of the suffrage and women's education at university level and homosexuality, even if they were more so used just to push the plot, as opposed to make a huge political point. There was plenty of drama and a wide variety of characters in this book. I think for me it lacked any characters who I really connected with and also lacked romantic chemistry

Cassandra clare’s lady midnight (the dark artifices #1)
4 stars

I have to admit, I've never read Cassandra Clare's The Mortal Instruments series (although I did watch and enjoy the first film - I love Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower) but when I saw Lady Midnight in a supermarket, I figured I'd pick it up because it sounded so interesting and I'd heard lots of amazing things about it. I thoroughly enjoyed the reading experience and despite it being over 650 pages long, it was a surprisingly easy read. I thought the chemistry between Emma and Julian was brilliant and palpable (without taking over the entire story) and there were so many other loveable, funny characters, too. I'm definitely planning to read The Mortal Instruments now, too.

Amanda brooke’s the affair
3 stars

This is the story of a 15 year old girl called Scarlett who has been having an affair with a married man who's she refuses to name. We hear the narratives of both men's wives and also Scarlett's own thoughts/stories about her "relationship" with this man (her sections were the most powerful parts of the novel for me). The major issue I had with this story was the revelation at the very end. You go back and forth throughout the entire story between two "suspects" shall we say, although anybody could be a potential, but when we finally find out who Scarlett's been having an affair with, I was so underwhelmed!! As this is essentially the entire point of the novel, it lost serious brownie points from me.

Belinda bauer’s the beautiful dead
3 stars

This is the story of Eve, a TV crime reporter who catches the attention of a sadistic serial killer, who either wants her to join him or become one of his victims. Honestly, I found the killer's narrative chapters (which were fairly few and far between, in fairness) to be just bizarre to the point of ineffective, as well as melodramatic (perhaps that was the idea, but it was just odd to me). I certainly found it to be a creepy read, but not a particularly great one. I enjoyed Eve's narrative and her funny, no-nonsense personality and the storyline involving her father was sad and with Joe, the romantic potential was subtle and well-written.

Nicola moriarty’s the fifth letter
4 stars

I absolutely adore Liane Moriarty's books, that's no secret, and when I discovered that she has several sisters who are also successful authors, I was really excited and intrigued!! The premise of The Fifth Letter has similar vibes to Liane's writing, and if you enjoy one, you'll definitely enjoy the other. There was plenty of good humour and great build-up of tension, that never became melodramatic. The fragments of "the fifth letter" and the writer's thoughts was really subtle and suspenseful - expertly done, I'd say. Not quite sure that the revelation was as good as the rest of the book to be honest, hence why it didn't quite reach the 5 stars mark.

Jenn bennett’s alex, approximately
5 stars

Sen-bloody-sational, easiest five stars I've given in months. I adored Jenn Bennett's last novel Night Owls, which I reviewed here, and Alex, Approximately did not disappoint. I don't want to say too much about it here, because I have a full review coming up very, very soon, but just take my word for it for now: Jenn Bennett is a YA goddess and if you haven't read her books, you're seriously missing out.

Wendy walker’s all is not forgotten
4 stars

This book was much different, and much better, than I thought it was going to be. I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting, but it really exceeded my hopes for it. This story follows the rape of a teenage girl in the woods at a house party in America and the drug given to her (and other victims of PTSD) to remove the memories. The narrative is told by her therapist, which was a super clever way of telling the story, in my opinion, with some serious twists and turns in his voice. The revelation at the end was very clever and I found it so engaging to discover how everybody was linked. If you like a mystery, you'd love this book. As it follows a lot of teenage characters (as well as adults) you might find it a slightly easier way to get into adult fiction, but be aware, as ever, of the difficult and graphic handling of rape.

Jesse andrews’s Me, earl and the dying girl
3 stars

I ended up being so disappointed by this book. It's not that it was bad, I think my hopes were just too high. The first 2/3 or so were really funny and I enjoyed Greg's narration style even though I wasn't a big fan of him as a character. The last 100 pages or so were a real struggle, though. Nothing happens, it just felt like a lot of babbling, almost. I did enjoy Earl's character and actually I think my favourite was Greg's mother.

Ruth ware’s the woman in cabin 10
3 stars

I've read one other book by this author ("In A Dark Dark Wood") which I also enjoyed on a similar level to this one. In both, the first 200 pages or so were full of mystery and intrigue and both books had really interesting locations/situations (this one, a cruise ship's maiden voyage and the first, a hen weekend in a cabin in the woods) but for me, when the action really picked up and revelations were made, the interest really died down. Not a bad thriller, but not a great one either.

Emma cline’s the girls
4 stars

This story is a fictionalisation of the Charles Manson cult, set in 1960's America. As you can imagine, it was suitably dark and twisted, but I found Emma Cline's unusual writing style to be so engaging. The sense of setting, especially when visiting "the ranch", was incredibly strong and sensory. Evie's paranoia and desperation as a teenage girl was palpable and her adoration of Suzanne was so sad, with an obviously inevitable ending. I also enjoyed the current day sections and Evie's interactions with the teenagers whose house she was staying at. I would highly recommend this one, but obviously be warned (lots of drugs, sex, violence etc.)

Jane corry’s my husband’s wife
3 stars

This book disappointed me for quite a few reasons, the main one being that I was excited to see the prison setting, the dynamic between prisoner and lawyer and that part of the story was over before halfway (and even when it was part of the story, it was only mentioned every now and again!) I was far less interested in the marriage dynamics between Lily and Ed or Carla and her mother's secrets. I should have read up on the book a little more first perhaps! Also Joe wasn't attractive or charismatic AT ALL. I understand he reminded Lily of Daniel, but that was just made it even weirder to me, to be honest.

Ann brashares’ the last summer (of you & me)
2.5 stars

This book thoroughly irritated me. The whole point of it was that it was supposed to be a nostalgic, beachy read about two people who have always secretly loved each other being reunited at their childhood summer haunt and falling all over again. Let's be real though, if the two love interests are INCREDIBLY IRRITATING, what's the point?! Paul was just a complete asshole (and I did not understand why Alice found him attractive AT ALL) and Alice herself was so self-pitying, such a self-conscious martyr and her sympathetic comments about her sister Riley really annoyed me. Riley was the story's saving grace; I cared about her storyline a lot, and its conclusion was perfectly poignant. 

e. lockhart’s dramarama
3 stars

Something I really enjoy about E. Lockhart's books is that they all seem to have pretty unique storylines and settings, and this one was no different. I really enjoyed the "drama camp" location and the way in which the challenges they faced at camp drove the plot forward. However, I found myself cringing away from the majority of the characters, unable to connect or sympathise with them. Demi started off with great potential, but just ended up seeming like such a crappy friend, to me.

Till next time


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