Tuesday 1 November 2016

Cosy Up // Quarterly Book Review

Good evening friends! Is it me or do we seem to have skipped the crisp, sunshiny Autumnal mornings and dove straight into Winter? It is super chilly right now, perhaps making up for that gorgeous lingering warmth we had in September... Never mind. What better way to hide from the weather than by snuggling up with a page or two of a really great book?! Here's a flash back of my reading progress from the months July through to September for my quarterly book review. If you're as nosey as I am then you can find my previous two book reviews here and here for some recommendations!

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North     4 * {405 pages}

Well, that was original! This book covers a lot of ground... story wise, content wise and time-line wise! Jam packed full of spy action, time travel, historical politics with a sprinkling of science and romance. An unusual mixture that just works.

After reading the first page of this I was so intrigued and couldn't wait to find out more. I did however, struggle slightly getting into it for the first couple of chapters but once I reached about a third of the way in, that was it, I was sold! Incredibly intelligent novel with a frighteningly realistic element of sci-fi, one for the history/ science buffs!

One by Sarah Crossan    5 * {434 pages}

Oh this book! Such a beautifully written sorrowful story that struck such nostalgic notes with me as I was led through the tangled web of teenage emotions.

This book was my first encounter with a novel written in prose and despite it's alternative format I found it worked so cleverly for this particular story. I flew through the book as the chapters are so short but loved the swift speed with which the plot unfolds and enjoyed devouring every bitter sweet emotion along the way. It read more like a diary entry than a poem, which also lends to the building of the characters and connection between them and the reader. A controversial subject, (click on the link above for an in-depth summary of the story- I hold a strong 'no spoilers' rule here!), but handled with such care and genuine humanity. Curiosity of the unknown led me to pick this book up originally, but before you know it you are so deeply invested in the story and the characters that you find yourself relating to the 'regular' adolescent agonies and allowing this familiar air to guide you through the story, rather than a morbid intrigue in just one specific part of the plot. A sweet and touching tale you will whip right through.

Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk     3 * {208 pages}

Ah Chuck Palahniuk, the master of controversy and honest delivery- I can't seem to get enough of this guys work. Some what schizophrenic, considering my previous review, but that simply reflects my warped mixture of a bookshelf. Being a mood reflective reader, I reached for this snappy book for a quick and dirty fix, a palate cleanser as you will. Not to divert praise from this novel- I really enjoyed it and found it hilarious as well as uncomfortable- a classic combination from Palahniuk.

As far as short stories go, this one flits from varying points of view during the filming of a final hurrah from a retiring porn star, aiming to set a new world record. If that doesn't draw you in then perhaps this book isn't for you. Not my favourite of Palahniuk's but it certainly entertained and bridged a gap between genres.

Bird Box by Josh Malerman     5 * {480 pages}

Dang, this book! Quite simply- brilliant!

This book is moody and dark and almost uncomfortably stingy with it's revealing of what the heck is going on, to the point when you are quite literally perched on the edge of your seat begging for some rational answer to this excruciating building of tension and suspense. I truly endorse jumping into some books without a foretold premise or summary and highly encourage going into this one blind. Full of painfully twisting atmosphere and clever and original story, pure survival and desperation- this one will leave you with goosebumps!

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin    4 * {448 pages}

Ahh this novel is a classic for a reason. Such a wonderful, fully rounded story with a glorious mix of characters- some witty and brutally honest- Elizabeth, others traditional, stifled by societal etiquette of the time and down right stuck up- Darcy and others idiotic yet sweet; just a truly colourful and believable account of life during this hard nosed era.

A heart felt romance of the truest kind with scandal and tragedy, the game of flirtation played by naive new comers, all the while steeped with the suffocating traditions of England during the 1800s. A delightful, beautifully told story that is a must for any lovers of historical drama speaking forth and true of it's era whilst maintaining a poets delicacy.

The Little Friend by Donna Tartt    5 * {624 pages}

One of my favourite books of the year. I took my time reading this tome of a book and rather than being put off by it's enormity (typically me to purchase it in hardback...), I embraced it's lengthy story and actually found myself not wanting it to end. The perfect book to fall into and truly enjoy every page of.

This is a nostalgic tale of childhood and family dynamic following a bitter, painful tragedy and shines a light on the tangled mess left after, how a whole neighbourhood is affected and shows the awkward shadow one inevitably walks under whilst growing up in this wake. Heart breaking, honest, beautiful and all encompassing- this story had me by the throat. Highly recommend!

How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran     4 * {320 pages}

Read. This. Book.

Despite it's title this book is a must for women and men alike! It is frank as it's ever likely to get and as a result of that sends the message across whilst having you roll across your living room crying with laughter. As a fellow Brummy I can relate to Moran's brilliant account of such cringe worthy anecdotes, her bold and often uncomfortable honesty draws you in, her fabulously forth right opinions and her ability to leave you gagging on the awkward moments allow you to truly relate in most every way!

This book has a very important and always ever message but doesn't box you across the ears with out dated politics, rather it slaps you across the face with the honest truth! I have never highlighted as many sentences before as I did whilst reading this, I laughed way too loudly in public whilst reading this on the train and I have recommended it to nearly everyone I've come across since!

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs     3 * {352 pages}

I am struggling to review this book as I have double edged opinions of it. Firstly I found this a great follow up to the original book in the series, full of adventure and misfortune, the wonderfully unusual characters were further embellished whilst introducing new equally as bonkers characters to round out this sequel, but... I didn't really enjoy it as much as I had hoped. I don't think this is a fair reflection of the book, more perhaps that I didn't fully gel with the first novel and therefore was left wanting more from the second. I believe that a fan of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children will love this edition to the series as it really is packed to the brim with mishaps and big dramatic entanglements, I just didn't feel it. It all seemed too easily solved moving from one issue to the next without much exhaustion. A fun book with fantastic characters but perhaps would have been better saved for another moment.

I just cracked open the stunning Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley by Charlotte Gordon and I have to say, I can't put the book down! A perfect accompaniment to my escapism into the world of radically free thinkers and Gothic tales; besides the stunning colours of fall framed by my window, is a plate full of these ridiculously easy/ delicious cookies! Here's to a happy Autumn of reading!

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