Thursday 5 January 2017

Precious Paperbacks // Quarterly Book Review

So here it is, a shiny new year upon us, as good an opportunity as any to reflect and review upon all manner of things- our personal achievements, our professional ambitions or how about a quarterly book review discussing the books I read during the months of October, November and December? You're in you say? Well then, let's crack on shall we?

Idaho by Emily Ruskovich     5 * {320 pages}

Never before have I read a book with such heart breaking tragedy that was told with so gentle a hand. In one swift movement the crushing reality of the severity and sheer loss is revealed yet rather than thrashing this about for dramatic effect it is delicately delivered with emotion and tenderness. This book is one to savour. Set time aside for this novel and indulge in time spent inside it's pages, allow it's harrowing story to wash over you and fill your mind with the beauty of Emily Ruskovich's words (and for a debut novel to boot!)

This journey of a novel follows one woman's need to piece together the puzzle of an otherwise regular family's tragic past, whilst living within their bitter, confused present and her moral struggle with forging their future. Idaho is a novel about loss and violence, love and forgiveness. Easily one of the best books I read in 2016.

Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley by Charlotte Gordon    5 * {672 pages}

This book! Another wonderful read. I devoured it despite it's rather weighty stature and genuinely didn't want it to end!

Not only was this a content rich book, jammed to the brim with interesting facts and true events, snippets of these women's lives laid bare, private letters and diaries exposed and their personal and professional accomplishments discussed and dissected but it is also written exquisitely. It is all too often a biography or piece of non fiction forgets the importance of delivery and simply bores with a list of dates and events; Gordon offers a most fascinating insight into the lives of writer, philosopher and fore front advocate of women's rights Mary Wollstonecraft and her daughter Mary Shelley (most well known for epic gothic novel Frankenstein), bizarrely similar despite never having known each other. I found this book addictive and informative and will be hunting down both further works about these two women and other pieces by Charlotte Gordon. A most sincere recommendation!

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J K Rowling    5 * {652 pages}

If you've read one of my quarterly book reviews before (like this one, this one or this one perhaps?), then you will know that shockingly at 30 years of age I am still making my way through the Harry Potter series for the very first time. A long story short, I rather stubbornly avoided the books upon their original release as I was convinced they were over hyped and probably babyish... Hahaha! What an idiot!! I then, along with everyone else, fell in love with the movies but was afraid to start the series just in case it didn't compare to the big budget movies... Once again I was wrong! So here I am, entering my third decade on this crazy planet and making my way through one fan-blooming-tastic Hogwarts wonder at a time- and this wee pickle was one of my favourites yet! I won't offer a synopsis as you either already know and love the story dearly or you certainly won't be wanting me to spoil the books for you if you've yet to make the worthy pilgrimage. Just simply do the damn thing!

Wildflower by Drew Barrymore     3.5*

I listened to the audio book version of this and really enjoyed it's light entertainment value whilst pottering about in my sewing room. I also love the fact that as well as it being an autobiography of Drew Barrymore's life, she narrates it herself in her ever charming, although sometimes 'actory' way. This book won't be winning any literary prizes nor does it reveal any ground breaking mindfulness but it is a sweet, insightful and highly entertaining read- especially if you grew up with her movies, like I did! I would recommend this to all true Drew fans and even to readers seeking inspiration to continue the path towards self development and that you're never too old to achieve big things.

Sterf Twee Keer / Die Again by Tess Gerritsen    4* {320 pages}

I award myself double brownie points for reading this bad boy in Dutch, but boasting aside this was a fantastic story! Quick paced thriller that flits between a dramatic and horrifying event on safari in Botswana and the dream team Rizzoli and Isles back in Boston cracking the case.

This was my first Tess Gerristen book, despite my mum having read most of her work and being a bit of a fan of the show, nevertheless upon opening this novel I was sucked into it's sufficiently nail biting story line and the cleverness with how the story is split. Not a huge book and certainly a page turner, I urge you to pick this one up, I certainly intend to delve deeper into the Gerritsen archives for more cop-drama drama!

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicles #1) by Patrick Rothfuss    4.5* {662 pages}

Hurray for ginormous fantasy books!

As ever, I'm late to the party with this epic series but am happy to announce that I really really enjoyed it! I loved the story and how it is told, I enjoyed the magical world and all the wondrous details throughout and fell in love with the characters and the setting, whole heartedly. I will admit that I didn't find it easy to break into, with all of the names and different elements that make up this great story but once I had my concentrating hat on and was a chunk of the way in I simply devoured it!

The story follows the life and all it's twists and magical turns of our main character (who goes by many names) and boy what a life he's lead! Cleverly paced, weaving backstory with current occurrences, this is one delightfully set out book and is really truly jam packed with adventure, high fantasy and some truly glorious characters! I can't wait to get stuck into the next instalment and see where this tale takes me!

Queen Elizabeth's Wooden Teeth: And Other Historical Fallacies by Andrea Barham    3* {192 pages}

Super interesting little book and a great one to whiz through as a palate cleanser but I found it rigid and not particularly reader-friendly, between all the facts and figures. It has some classic myths to bust and some corkers you may never have come across but lacks a certain charm in it's presentation.

All in all, I was super happy with the last few books I read and can't wait to dive into my to-read pile, this year! I'm purposefully not setting any rigid goals or lists this year as I'm too much of a mood reader to comply with any pre-planning! Plus, I'm not a fan of the weird pressure to rack up a high number of read novels just for the end figure, I enjoy my chunky books a bit too much! So this year I will be picking and choosing as I go and as ever, I will be sure to share with you those books that stand out from the crowd and any reviews along the way! What climbed to the top of your favourites pile from this Winter? Are you a seasonal reader delving into colder climates and festive settings or do you follow a different reading rhythm? I'd be intrigued to know how you pick your next book, too!


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