We missed posting our currently reading segment last week – Emily was overseas in Vietnam and Tanaya was just super busy and forgot… oops! This is going to be slightly longer than usual because we have both read quite a bit in the last fortnight.
I’m on holiday so there is A LOT of reading happening! Woohoo – I might finally get on top of my Goodreads goal! Before I left, I started listening to the audio version of The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton. Since returning on Monday, I have continued and I am really really enjoying it!
On the plane, I finished a non-fiction: Elements of Taste. It was reaaaallllyyy interesting, comparing our cultural tastes to the tastes we get from food – salty, sweet, bitter, sour and umami! I highly recommend this read! I also read The Hot Guy which was the BIGGEST WASTE OF TIME. It was trying to be a satire but just came off ridiculous. And bad. The characters were dreadful, the plot was appalling and it was just so not funny. I do wish I had DNFed but I can’t bring myself to do that… I did leave it on the plane though!
I then jumped into Alice Oseman’s I Was Born For This. I haven’t read any of her other stuff but I will be searching them out – why have I put them off for so long? This book was all about fandom and fan obsession, told from the point of view of a fan and a boy band member. SO GOOD! And no romance which is always a good thing for me. (Even though bad romcoms are my theme of the moment!)
Next up was How to Find Love in a Bookshop. Very predictable but also very sweet and a perfect holiday read. And then I got stuck into MORE romcoms – what have I become? Three books by Lindsey Kelk. I loved Always the Bridesmaid and thought What A Girl Wants and its sequel A Girl’s Best Friend were both just OK.
I also got some YA in! I was really pleased with The Diminished – I hadn’t expected a lot but ended up really enjoying this book about a world where everyone is twinned except a very select, special royal few. The twists and turns were a tiny bit predictable at times but also excellent! I also really enjoyed Paris Syndrome. Set in Brisbane, it’s the story of Veronica Happiness Glass, also known as Happy. She is determined to go to Paris as soon as she finishes school, buuuuutttt it turns out she is potentially at risk of Paris Syndrome. So she embarks on an experiment to inoculate herself. What I genuinely liked about this book was that Happy had two love interests, but one was male and one was female. It was a nice change to the heteronormative love triangle and introduced a good but not central storyline about identity.
Book of Colours by Robyn Cadwallader was a really lovely book about the creation of a noblewoman’s prayer book. The characters were fascinating and the story told in the most beautiful manner. Everything was vivid and I really sank into the story. I have also recently started The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier (after seeing the tapestries themselves at the Gallery of NSW – they’re amazing!!!!). It’s interesting to see the similarities and differences between the two tales about the medieval arts process and the everyday lives of noble families. Hoping to finish it up this week!
Hold is an absolutely incredible contemporary fiction, to be released in July. The narrative follow Belinda, a housegirl in Ghana summoned to work for a family living in London. She is given a task – to discover what is ailing the mind of their teenage daughter, Amma. The novel draws us into the lives of the two girls in a truly beautiful tone. My only complaint about this novel is that it ended too abruptly. I WANTED MORE!
Another contemporary fiction with Rules of Seeing, a novel about a young woman who was born blind but has undergone an operation to enable her to see. She must learn all about sight from scratch – and so she develops rules, such as ‘clouds may look solid but they are not; planes won’t crash into them’ (paraphrasing here!). Nova (for that is her name) is a fantastic character and I ADORED her storyline. Her path crosses with that of Kate, a woman suffering memory loss after a traumatic head injury. How that injury occurred is a matter of contention… I didn’t like the scenes with Kate as much, but they did raise issues relevant to society.
And then onto the YA! Because it isn’t a holiday without some YA! (Or in fact, a decent week of reading!) Another July release, Mercy Point by Anna Snoekstra was a fascinating psychological thriller. Five teenagers become friends online; they all have one thing in common: they believe they were adopted. But then they meet in person, and no one is who they expected. I loved the relationships between the character and the suspense Snoekstra created. My only complaint is that there is a supernatural element I thought didn’t mesh well with the rest of the story. Had it been purely psychological thriller, I might have enjoyed it even more!
And then I forayed back into the worlds of Tamora Pierce. Reading Tempests and Slaughter felt a bit like falling into a cosy bed; it was so recognisable in its style! I haven’t actually read The Immortals Quartet, the series to which this is a prequel, and I do believe I missed certain hints in the telling. I enjoyed it, but did feel it was longer than it needed to be. It had some Name of the Wind vibes too (very smart young boy at a university and beloved by all his teachers)! I don’t think this is a great book to bring new people to the Tamora Pierce fandom; it is a book for the mega fans. I recommend a reread of her other books before jumping into this one! (But also, it is so HER and I loved the nostalgia factor of that!)
This month I’ve managed to finish nine books and get halfway through a tenth. For the most part I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read, but I have yet to read anything super amazing.
Books I’ve read that were just average for me are The Designer Says by Sara Bader, The Hogwarts Library (Quidditch Through the Ages, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and Tales of Beedle the Bard), Gossip Girl The Carlyles: Love the One You’re With by Cecily Von Ziegesar, and Gossip Girl: I Will Always Love You also by Cecily Von Ziegesar.
My first book of the month was Too Late by C. Hoover. This is actually by Colleen Hoover, however this is something she originally wrote on wattpad as a fun writing project and only released as a self published physical book because her fans had asked for it. This dealt with some heavy themes, and was definitely the most intense of all her books. I ended up having mixed emotions about it – it was good in parts, but also incredibly messed up and I just felt like it was almost a soap opera with how many shocking twists just kept happening.
I finally finished The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray, concluding the Gemma Doyle trilogy. I am super happy to have finished this after owning the books from 2014 and taking over a month to finish the final book. I definitely think The Sweet Far Thing was unnecessarily large. At 819 pages long there were just so many parts that I felt added nothing to the story and could have easily been cut. I’ll definitely read more Libba Bray in the future, but I don’t think she’ll become a favourite author at all.
Most recently I’ve finished A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews (aka the book blogger PaperFury). This was a solid three star read for me. I enjoyed the writing, but also found it a little melodramatic at times, and ultimately my problems with the book stem from the fact that I just don’t really connect with music-heavy plots, and this book has a very music-heavy plot. I’ll be writing a full review for this closer to its release date in June.
And now for the book I’m halfway through. I wasn’t quite sure what I was in the mood for but ended up choosing Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston, simply because it was on the top of my book stacks and I had less than a minute to pick a book for my train trip before having to leave for work. This is an Anastasia retelling, and whilst I’m enjoying it mostly, I did struggle to get into it for the first 70ish pages and am feeling a little ambivalent towards certain parts. I really enjoyed Poston’s Geekerella from last year, and am hoping by the end that I am more impressed than disappointed.
I normally set myself a TBR for each month and can easily pinpoint what I’ll read next but I haven’t done that this month. I’m still in the middle of Great Expectations so ultimately I would love to have that done by the end of the week. As for books I would like to get to in the next week, I think I would be happy if I could read Circe by Madeline Miller, Lifel1k3 by Jay Kristoff, and Small Spaces by Sarah Epstein… but I really will just be happy to read whatever I’m in the mood for.
What have you been reading this week?