Considering I was prioritising Camp NaNoWriMo this month I have done so well on the reading front, I’ve even surprised myself!
End of Days (Penryn and the End of Days #3) by Susan Ee
When I was seventeen I started reading this series, and I fell head over heals in love with it. The conclusion to this dystopian trilogy, about the apocalypse, and arrival of hostile angels, defiantly lived up to my memories of the previous two books. The chemistry between Penryn, a girl desperate to survive, and angel, Raffe, is electric, and the plot constantly moving. Looking back I can definitely see whee this book as originally supposed to be six books, and I would have read them all. If you’re looking for a dystopian, forbidden romance, with plenty of action and angst, then please do your self a favour and pick up this trilogy!
Tin Man by Sarah Winman
I so badly wanted to fall in love with this book, and maybe I shouldn’t have been comparing it to Call Me By Your Name, but I just couldn’t help it. Tin Man is the story of Ellis and Michael, boyhood friends who may have had a chance at something more, who we meet later in life. The narrative switches between them as adults and as children without warning, making it daring on the reader, and confusing, especially as you’re not given a lot of information from the beginning. I think I must have a heart of stone, because I didn’t feel a thing for the characters, they just never felt tangible to me. I think I’ll stick to Aciman.
Beyond a Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake
This was FairyLoot’s pick for their April “Whimsical Journeys” box, and is a YA historical fantasy, set in Ireland 1035. Sometimes FairyLoot hits it out of the park, but sadly this was not one of those times, and this was just so one dimensional, and there’s never anything below the surface level plot. I feel like I was sold and enemies to lovers romance, but you never ever see this animosity between Leif and Ciara. It’s insta-love, with a couple of chapters of holding back, and it felt as though the author was more invested in the relationship that the plot, and for once, as a reader who loves a ship, it just didn’t work for me. I just wasn’t invested.
Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year One, The Complete Collection by Tom Taylor, Jheremy Raapack, and Mike S. Miller
I had super high expectations for Injustice going in, and I absolutely loved it, even more than I thought I would. Injustice is essentially the Batman v Superman film that we wanted to see, that we deserved to see, and that we didn’t get. The art was great, which I expected just form looking at the cover art. We all joker that DC is dark, and this is a dark story, there’s a lot of death, and injury, that feels heavy, like these characters aren’t just going to be able to walk away from this. However, it was balanced so well with scenes of levity, and reoccurring jokes, that the darkness didn’t weigh the story down. I can’t wait to get my hands on Year Two and see where things go from here.
Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death (Agatha Raisin #1) by M.C Beaton
I always say that I love cosy murder mysteries and this is a fabulous one! Agatha Raisin, recently retired, and now living the Cotswolds. She decides to enter the quiche competition (with a store bought quiche) and the judge ends up dead. This was so much fun, trying to unravel the mystery of who had done it. The writing was nice, and flowed, which made it a lot easier to read that the Daisy Dalrymple series, some of which I read a couple of months ago.The pacing was also really nice, a little on the slow side at times due to the length chapters, but the plot moved along steadily. I want to read more!
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
I initially picked this up because it was on the Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlist, and later announced as the winner. Home Fire is a modern day retelling of Antigone, though as someone who as not read that, I can’t speak for the quality or ingenuity of the adaptation. I can, however tell you that this is one of those book which everyone should read, especially in today’s political climate. It wasn’t compelling right off the bat, and was slow to get there but once it did, then I fell head over heals in love, with the heartbreaking story of how easy it is to make a mistake, how it’s not always possible to come back from, and what that does to the people around you.
Titus Andronicus and Timon of Athens, by William Shakespeare (RSC Edition)
I bought this last year, during my first trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon, where we went to see the RSC’s production of Titus Andronicus. It’s always hard, to rate a book which has more than one story in it, as is the case in this instance. I loved reading Titus, a rather gruesome revenge story, which I would give four stars, but Timon of Athens just was not my cup of tea at all, and I could not give it more than two stars, so I’ve split the difference. It might be worth pouting out that both of these plays are believed to have been co-authored by Shakespeare and George Peele, and Thomas Middleton, respectively, and maybe one worked better than the other.
The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
I received this eARC from the publishers, via NetGalley, but all opinions are, as always, my own.
This story is at its heart a murder mystery, calling back to Agatha Christie, however there’s one pretty significant twist, the day keeps repeating itself, like Groundhog Day, and our MC wakes up in a different person’s body each morning. Despite it’s slow start this was pretty ingenious, twisting the usual tropes of this genre into something fresh and new. Keep an eye out for my full spoiler free review, coming soon!
Smoke in the Sun (Flame in the Mist #2) by Renee Ahdieh
I really enjoyed Flame in the Mist, a Mulan retelling set in feudal Japan, but I haven’t been disappointed in a sequel since ACOFAS (and that barely counts because it’s a novella). We go from having 90% Mariko’s POV, to about seven POVs. Then the plot is just all over the place, I never knew what was going on with any single plot. It never feels forward-moving and then we’re left with a super rushed ending. If you told me that this was not written by the same author as the first I would believe you. I can see myself re-reading the first book, but probably not this one.
The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace
This is a poetry book that my sister bought for me as a birthday present, and she did very well because I used to (I mean, probably still do) follow Amanda Lovelace on Tumblr, so I have had my eye on this for the longest time. I adored this book, which as pretty much what I was expecting. I think that this form is so accessible to everyone, even if you’re not a poetry lover, or it scares you. Theres an interesting narrative that ties the four parts together, and it feels very raw, and so personal, though still relatable in a sense. There is a big list of trigger warnings in the front, so be wary, but overall I’m in love with this book.
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan, read by Lynn Chen
Crazy Rich Asians follows Rachael as she travel to Singapore to meet her boyfriends family, only he neglected to tell her that they are super rich. This book had me laughing out loud, it had me cringing, and just all around enjoying myself. The narrator was fine, expect for a few instances where she had to do an Australian accent, there is a slight possibility that was effected by the speed (I usually listen at at leas 1.25) but it didn’t sound great. Kwan keeps this interesting, and fresh, with multiple POVs, meaning that the reader feels really immersed in this crazy world. I already want a hard copy, and definitely to continue on with the series.
All That She Can See by Carrie Hope Fletcher
I’ve never read any Carrie Hope Fletcher, so I didn’t know what to expect going in, but she surprised me in the best way with her whimsical imagination, and lovely writing. The story itself seemed a bit confused as to what genre it was. The first half is a fluffy, magical realism contemporary, and I was loving it, I was all set to give it 4 stars, but then the second half turns into some sort of YA almost dystopian-esque story, which I was less keen on, to the point that it dropped down to two stars. Eventually I settled in the middle, but I’m still a little torn because the ending was very underwhelming. I am going to be reading her new book, and I hope that one will feel more cohesive than this.
The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin
This is a historical fiction mystery, with a f/f romance, which sounded perfect on paper, but the execution just didn’t quite do it for me. We follow Hester, as she finds herself tagged up in the mystery surrounding a spate of missing personas in London’s East End during the Victorian Era. Although she technically is not from London, she’s surprisingly naive for a girl who was mostly brought up there, and in relative poverty, so much so that I just as not buying it. There was a lot of swooning, and not very many surprises considering that this is a mystery novel. It was okay, but I don’t see myself remembering this book at the end of the year.
Can you believe I read all those books, wrote 30,000 words, and had time to sleep, because I definitely can’t. Stand outs for me were Crazy Rich Asians, just because it was so much fun, and Injustice Year One, and I was probably most disappointed but Beyond a Darkened Shore.
What about you: Have you read any of these books, and if so what did you think? Are any of these on your TBR? What did you read this month? What were your highs and lows?
Thanks for reading!