The Harry Potter Book Tag

I was tagged by Juliet (Not Capulet) to participate in The Harry Potter Book Tag. I don’t quite understand the Harry Potter connection to the actual questions, but I love Harry Potter, so why not!?

Flagrate: A book that you found interesting that you would like to rewrite.img_0169

I’m going to stick to a book I’ve read recently, and go for something I wanted to like, but was actually pretty disappointed with. The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty should have been so good, but it fell short of the mark, mainly due to the annoying characters. If I were to rewrite this myself, I would make the characters more relatable, so that the reader actually feels something for them. The story itself is a good one, it is just let down by the bland and slightly annoying characters.

Alohomora: The first book in a series which got you hooked.Twilight (Twilight, #1)

There are so many I could use for this. I read a lot of young adult series as a teenager, so things like Twilight and Noughts and Crosses are ones that immediately spring to mind. Those three in particular are series’ that I read in a matter of days, completely hooked. I can remember sitting waiting eagerly for the postman to deliver my copy of New Moon and devouring it in a few hours. As embarassing as it might be now, I don’t think I’ve ever been so enthralled, obsessed and truly absorbed in a book as I was with Twilight. I don’t really read many book series now, although it is something I miss. I love the thrill of waiting for the next in the series to come out.

 

Accio: A book you wish you could have right now.

img_0171The book I’m most eagerly anticipating for this year is Clare Mackintosh’s I See You. I really loved her first novel, I Let You Go, and really can’t wait for her next thriller. There are a lot of psychological thrillers around at the moments, trying to cash in on the success of Gone Girl, but this really is up there as one of the best. Other than a few minor issues, it’s really difficult to believe that this is Mackintosh’s debut novel. That only makes me even more excited for I See You. Unfortunately, it’s not released in paperback until early 2017, so I’ll have to either wait, or suck it up and buy the hardback.

 

Avada Kedavra: A killer book.

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I’ve read so many thrillers this year that it’s hard to single one out. I’ll avoid I Let You Go, as I’ve just talked about it. Instead, I’ll go for my favourite Gillian Flynn novel, Sharp Objects, which I actually read last year. If you have read Gone Girl, you’ll definitely love this. In my opinion it’s better. Flynn’s debut novel showcases just how genius she is at writing characters. I couldn’t recommend this book more, except maybe not to the faint hearted. It’s very, very creepy.

 

 

Confundo: A book you find confusing.

img_0173It depends how you define ‘confusing’, and whether it is positive or negative. I’ll go for a positive confusion and say Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller. It isn’t confusing in the sense that I didn’t understand it, because I did. However, the story and prose are such that you never quite know what’s going on. It’s mainly left up to the reader to decide. The ending isn’t a shock, it’s more a disappointment because you really hoped it wouldn’t end as it did. You want to stay in Peggy’s world in the woods forever, forgetting reality and the unsettling undertone that is carried throughout the whole book.

 

Expecto Patronum: Your spirit animal book.

Winnie-the-PoohOh wow, this is a difficult one. I suppose I’ve got to go for my favourite childhood book, Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne. None of this Disney rubbish! Each chapter/story is so beautiful and funny, I cannot even put into words how much I love both the original book, and its sequel, The House at Pooh CornerMilne’s writing style is pretty much the style of the voice in my head. Embarrassingly old-fashioned, but witty enough to make myself laugh (although maybe not others!). I don’t know whether this really describes my ‘spirit animal’, but it’s a book I love more than any other.

 

Sectumsempra: A dark, twisted book.

img_0234Again, I’ve read too many of these recently, so it’s difficult to single one out. I’d like to use Our Endless Numbered Days again, because that is very dark and twisted, but instead, I’ll stick to a ‘modern classic’ and go with Gone GirlThis book is so twisted and sick and weird and creepy. It’s one that’s difficult to talk about without giving away the plot, but again, it has some brilliantly written characters, and fantastic plot twists.

 

 

 

Apparecium: A book that surprised you in a great way.

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I have to admit that this is a book that I wasn’t really looking forward to reading. I borrowed The Help by Kathryn Stockett from Juliet, on her assurance that it is great, but I’m just not really too interested in 1960s history. Wow, I was surprised. This book is brilliant. It deals with the really sensitive issue of race, and gives (as far as I am aware) a fairly realistic account of how it was to live in the south of the USA at this time. It would be easy to pass this off as being simply a novel of social commentary, and I don’t think the book’s cover helps. It looks like a ‘Call the Midwife’ type memoir, but it’s not at all. The story is brilliant.

 

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Birthday Books

It was my birthday last Thursday (yay!) and due to weekend celebrations, I’ve only just had chance to write this post. I received five books as gifts, and then went out to Waterstones and somehow managed to buy three more.My only problem now, is that I’m drowning in thrillers. The books I received as gifts are:

  1. We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver (A gift from my bestie Juliet – Not Capulet) – This is a book I’ve wanted to read for a really long time. I think I’m reserving it for post holiday, as I think it will take me a while to get through.img_0271
  2. Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith – After loving the first two in the series (J. K. Rowling aside), I’m really excited for this. I’ve really only been waiting for it to come out in paperback, so if I hadn’t received it as a gift, I would be buying it myself now.img_0269
  3. The Lie by C. L. Taylorimg_0279
  4. The Missing by C. L. Taylorimg_0281
  5. The Accident by C. L. Taylor – All three of these books are separate thrillers by the same author. They caught my eye a while ago on Goodreads and I’m really excited to read them. The covers are quite Gillian Flynn-esque in their matching designs, and they’re described as psychological thrillers. They also look like the kind of books I could get through quite quickly. I might take one of them on holiday with me, but I’m still undecided about that.img_0283

On Saturday, I went shopping and just happened to stumble into Waterstones, completely against my will, of course! I already had a couple of books in mind, but the helpful shop assistant recommended two that were in the ‘buy one get one half price’ offer, which made my decision much easier. The books a went for are:

  1. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – This is another book that I’ve been waiting to come out in paperback. I suppose I’m a little bit late to the party, and most people have already read it, but I’m just not a fan of reading hardbacks. Something about it making my arms ache when reading lying down, and it not looking pretty on my bookshelf afterwards.img_0273
  2. Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin – I’ve seen this advertised in train stations recently and thought it looked like my sort of thing. The Waterstones shop assistant had recently finished it himself, and assured me that it is very twisty and gritty. As it has been towards the bottom of my TBR list for a while, I decided to give it a go.img_0275
  3. Disclaimer  by Renee Knight – I’ve seen this one floating about Goodreads for a while, and I was surprised to find that I haven’t actually put it on my TBR shelf yet. Once again, this was a recommendation from the lovely shop assistant, who said he’d finished it in a day. That definitely sounded ideal for me, so I went for it.img_0277

Now, I have absolutely no idea what to read next. I still have When the Doves Disappeared, and The Bones of You to read, so I feel like I should read those next, but I also want to dive into one of my new books. I also have three Goodreads Giveaways under my bed, but I think I’ll save those for after my holiday. I’ve started only entering ones that I know I’ll be excited to read, but I’ve got to get these out of the way first. I also have a few ARC on my Kobo, but again, I think they can wait for another time.

I’ve spent the past few weeks not being very enthusiastic about my book selection, mainly because I don’t like buying anything in the run up to my birthday, just in case. But now I’m a bit overwhelmed with choice! I am also a bit conscious of the fact that I’ll be starting my masters degree in September and reading will likely become much slower and more limited, so I want to squeeze as much as I can in before then.

I’m also yet to compile my holiday reads, so I’ll be doing a post on that at some point this week. I normally read about three books in a week, and I like them to be quite varied in style and genre. I know I’m definitely taking Career of Evil, but I’ll come back to you when I’ve chosen the other two.

With regards to what I’m currently reading, I am about a third of the way through Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, and I’m enjoying it. It’s such an easy read, and I’m planning on just steaming through it this afternoon. I wouldn’t say I’m absolutely loving it, but to be honest, I struggle to say that about anything girly and romantic. I’ll report back when I’ve read more though.

 

Review – My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry

My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry is a book I’ve wanted to read this for a while, ever since it popped up as a recommendation on Goodreads. I’ve entered Giveaways a couple of times but have been unsuccessful. I finally managed to get my hands on an ARC, courtesy of NetGalley, for the purposes of this review. This book will be released in the UK on 26th August 2016 (I’m not sure about other countries, sorry!), and I’m sure it will be available in all the usual places.

I was drawn to this book by it’s odd title. It evokes so many different questions, and really draws a reader in. It drew me in enough to break my stance on using an e-reader. I borrowed my mum’s Kobo and actually didn’t hate the experience as much as I thought I would. I have read a couple of books on there before, but I always try to avoid it as I much prefer the real thing. This book has made me more inclined to read an e-book again. cover85491-medium

It helped that it was so fast paced and gripping. If you read my review of the last book I read, you will know that it took me over a fortnight to get through, and I was worried that it was just me losing the reading bug. I was so, so wrong. I absolutely raced through this book, finishing its 500+ pages in less than a week.

My Husband’s Wife tells the parallel stories of Lily, I newly qualified and newly married solicitor, and Carla, a young Italian girl who lives in the same block of flats. The story stories cross when Carla’s mother asks Lily to take care of her daughter on Sundays, as she has to work. Lily’s husband Ed, a struggling artist, becomes infatuated with the 10 year old Carla and starts painting portraits of her. Meanwhile, Lily takes on the case of a murderer who is to have a huge effect on her life.

I know that synopsis was terrible, it’s quite a complicated story with lots of different threads, so I’ll give you the official synopsis from Goodreads:

It’s the perfect love story.

Lily meets Ed at a party, and on their second date, he proposes. She’s a lawyer, he’s an up-and-coming artist. They own a small but beautiful flat in London and mix with all the right people.

But Lily has a secret. Something from her past, that is soon to collide with her present. And she thinks her new husband is hiding something too…

The vows they made will soon be tested to the very limits.

‘Till death us do part…’

It was also described as the next big psychological thriller, although I’m not sure it quite belongs in this category. It is definitely a thriller, but more of the ‘family drama’ sort of variety than the psychological. Somebody on Goodreads described it as ‘Literary Fiction’, but if I’m completely honest, I’m not really sure what that means. All I’ll say is, it doesn’t contain any really shocking twists, or much ‘adult’ content, at least not in detail. It is also far from gory or disturbing in a visual sense, although several of the characters do have some rather disturbing motives. I think it spans a much wider audience than the term ‘Psychological Thriller’ allows it.

I have to say, I was shocked when I discovered that this is Jane Corry’s debut novel. The narrative is very accomplished, and could easily have come from a veteran bestseller. The characters are really what makes the book so good. They are all flawed in some way of other, but somehow, Corry still makes you feel for them. Each character evokes an uneasy feeling in the reader that forces you to question whether all is as it seems. It turns out, of course, that everything isn’t as it seems, but I’ll not go into that.There is a disturbing undertone throughout, and each character is constantly hinting at various secrets that don’t come together until the very end. This really keeps you turning the pages. The story is constantly twisting and turning, with the reader never quite knowing what’s going on.

Now for the negatives; the reason I haven’t rated it higher than an 8/10. The ending wasn’t quite what I thought it was going to be. What should have been the ‘big twist’ didn’t quite shock me enough. I won’t spoil it, but I expected it to go further and be more disturbing than it actually was.

Also, despite it being very fast paced, I did find that I couldn’t really remember what had happened in previous chapters when I picked the book back up again the next day. I had a lot of ‘oh, I forgot that happened’ moments when I was reminded of things from the early chapters. I’m not sure of the reason for this, and I don’t think it detracted from my overall enjoyment, but it’s worth mentioning.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book for a fast-paced, gripping read. Don’t be put off by the genre label, it would suit anyone who is into books from a range of different authors, from Jodi Picoult to Gillian Flynn, and anything in between.

8/10 – Solid

Review – All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

I received All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr for my birthday last year and put off reading it for quite a while. I originally asked for it because I’d heard of its similarities to The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, which happens to be my all time favourite book. I was excited to read it, but at the same time, didn’t want it to ruin The Book Thief for me by being too similar.

Fortunately, I didn’t think it was similar at all. The only comparisons are the main characters both being young girls, set during World War Two, and the writing being beautiful. In fact, everything about this book is beautiful, I mean just look at the cover. I don’t think this picture quite captures it, but the cover is made out of a material that almost sparkles in the light.

This book tells the parallel stories of Marie-Laure, a blind girl who is forced to flee Paris after the Nazis invade, moving in with her uncle in the seaside town of Saint-Malo; and Werner, a German orphan who has a knack for fixing and building radios. He eventually becomes key to Nazi intelligence and finds himself invading Saint-Malo. Underneath all of this, is the mystery of the valuable jewel that Marie-Laure’s father has been trusted to protect.

The beauty of this book lies in its imagery. As Marie-Laure is blind, her father builds her a scale model of Saint-Malo, which she studies in great detail in order to find her way around town independently. The father-daughter relationship here is wonderful; we really understand how much they depend on each other.

The opposite is true for Werner, who’s only family is a younger sister. His actions are not lead by family emotions, he simply does what is right for him. I think this is what makes the book  such a good one; the characters are so different, but are somehow drawn together.

It’s so difficult to write a detailed review here, because it’s almost impossible to convey the beauty of language and imagery without simply quoting the book itself; something I’m not inclined to do. I’m not sure why, but I’m not the kind of person who easily remembers quotes, or has favourite quotes. I hate the section on social media profiles where it asks you to list your favourite quotes. But, back on topic, it is important to state that the language far outweighs the story itself here.

I think this is the reason it is so often compared to The Book Thief, although I still believe that this isn’t on the same level. If I were to compare the two, I would say that this is much more conventionally written. The Book Thief is almost experimental in its choice of narrator, and unique descriptions. Instead,  Doerr simply has a way of creating such wonderful images in the readers head, helped both by the setting, and by Maire-Laure’s blindness. We get a sense of how she imagines the world to look, rather than how a fully sighted person would see it.

I have given this a rating of 9/10, simply because I wasn’t as compelled with Werner’s story as I was with Marie-Laure’s, and the ending wasn’t quite what I expected it to be. I thought the two stories would collide much sooner, and still believe that it could have been better if that had been the case. I won’t give any spoilers, but Marie-Laure and Werner only meet very briefly, although they do leave a strong lasting impression on each other.

I would highly recommend this book, although I would also warn against any preconceptions that this is the next The Book Thief, because it is not. They are two stand alone books which share few similarities.

9/10 Almost There

Review – The End Game by Raymond Khoury

finally finished this book. Maybe that’s harsh, but it took me over two weeks to get through, despite it seeming like an easy read and a decent story.

The End Game by Raymond Khoury is the fifth installment in his The Last Templar series of crime novels. I won this book through Goodreads Giveaways, so I can’t say I have read any of the other books in the series, however I was reassured by other reviews that this wouldn’t be a problem. They were right. The story was easy to follow, and there were only two or three mentions to things from previous books that confused me slightly.

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The series follows FBI agent Sean Reilly, who in this installment, uncovers truths about secret CIA operations relating to his father. While investigating, he witnesses a murder for which he becomes the main suspect and is forced to go on the run.

I’m struggling with this review, because I can’t really put my finger on why this book took me so long to get through. I really enjoyed the first 100 pages or so, but then it started to drag and I found myself bored after reading about 20 pages at a time. I think the main problem was the lack of twists and turns. Everything just happened and it really lacked suspense. I trusted in the characters too much and the events just played out one after the other. I really expected on of the characters to be undercover, perhaps someone he trusted who isn’t what they say they are. This didn’t happen. It was all far too happily ever after to be up there in the ranks of a good thriller.

Having said that, the characters were compelling and the story should have been a really good one. It really made you wonder how the CIA and FBI actually operate, as well as how criminals can use the internet to find out just about anything about anybody. The writing was also good, in that it covered a quite complicated subject matter in language that was easy to understand. Another author could have very easily used reams of technical jargon and therefore made this book unreadable for someone like me, who has little experience of anything like that.

I started to think that maybe it was just me not being in the right frame of mind for reading, but I’ve started a new book and I’m racing through it at my normal pace, so that clearly isn’t the issue. It just wasn’t gripping, or suspenseful, or even thrilling enough to be called a thriller! Ok, maybe that is harsh, but it was definitely missing something.

Never mind how long it’s taken me to read the book, it’s taken me four days to write this (rather short) review! I still don’t know how I feel, and am still confused by my feelings for this book. I’m not even sure how I’m going to rate it. Probably somewhere between 6/10 and 7/10. The latter seems too high, but the former seems too harsh. Rather than ‘Something Missing’, it’s more like ‘A lot missing but I still enjoyed it’. I certainly didn’t hate it, but it hasn’t persuaded me to go back and read the first four in the series, or even to read another Raymond Khoury novel. If someone were to put one in front of me, I’d probably give it a go, but I certainly wouldn’t buy one.

7/10 Something Missing

Currently Reading

This is a slow process and I’m not sure why. The End Game by Raymond Khoury is gripping and exciting, yet there’s something missing. I’m over two weeks in and I’m only about two thirds in. I’m enjoying it, I really am, I just can’t seem to read more than about 25 pages at a time. While I’m reading it, I really enjoy it, but I get to the end of a chapter and aren’t really that bothered about carrying on.

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I think my main issue so far, is that there isn’t really a ‘whodunit’ element to the story. I really want there to be a big twist, but I’m not sure it’s going to come. Instead, the story is plodding along and we are simply trusting in the main character, Sean Reilly, to have figured out what happened by the end of the book. There isn’t much of a struggle, or any doubt that he won’t figure it out; the events are just gradually unfolding, bit by bit.

Having said that, the story is a good one. The characters are all really likeable; it’s well written and easy to follow. I’m just not overwhelmed by it yet. It covers issues of corruption in the CIA, making you wonder whether it may be based on a morsel of truth. It’s also a very modern, and I’d like to think, rather realistic crime novel. The things people are able to do with computers is astounding, and the information they can find is actually quite frightening. I think this is one of the main positives of the book. It really makes you wonder how this sort of technology is used in real life.

Overall, I’m looking forward to finishing this book. I’ve got a free weekend ahead of me, so I’m planning on getting through as much as I can. I just want to read a book that makes me want to rush home from work to read it. I haven’t felt that with this book at all, and that’s a shame.

I do have a few books to look forward to though. I’ve just been given an advanced copy of My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry, courtesy of NetGalley. It’s due to be released in August this year and it’s one I’ve been trying to win on Goodreads Giveaways for a while, so I’m really excited to read it. I think this will be my next read.

I also won another Goodreads Giveaway this week, The First Days of August by Alan Froning. It looks like some kind of medical thriller, which I’ve read before in Ken Follett’s Whiteout, and really enjoyed. It’s not arrived yet, and neither has my last win, The Ghosts of Nagasaki by Daniel Clausen. This one sounds really different from anything I’ve ever read before, so I’m excited to read it. Just from the synopsis, I haven’t managed to figure out exactly what genre it is, or what it’s really about, but the other reviews assure me that it’s very good, so we’ll see.

I’ve also still got about four books waiting under my bed, so I’ve got plenty to look forward to. I think that is the main problem I’m having with Goodreads Giveaways. I never seem to win the books I really want to, instead I’m winning the books that just look alright and might surprise me. I’ve started to enter just ones that I know I’m going to enjoy, but I think that’s going to lower my chances of winning. Having said that, the offerings this week haven’t been great, so that might be why I’ve not entered as many as usual.

Hopefully, I’ll report back soon with a full, finished review of The End Game.

Review – Room by Emma Donoghue

This is a book I’ve been wanting to read for a while. I heard about the film coming out and thought maybe now is the time i should finally get my hands on a copy. Room by Emma Donoghue is narrated by 5 year old Jack, who lives in Room with his Ma. Ma was kidnapped seven years ago, and forced to live in a small cabin, with no access to the outside world. She is frequently raped and abused, and eventually gives birth to Jack, who knows nothing other than the room he has never left.

This book is not for the faint-hearted, as you can imagine. Ma has attempted to make as good a life for Jack as she possibly can, and it is so interesting to see this from his point of view; someone who knows nothing else. It is also brilliant how Ma is portrayed, through the eyes of Jack. We are lead to think there is nothing wrong with her because that is what jack believes, but of course that can’t be true. We are given glimpses into her mental state, with Jack describing her as being ‘Gone’ for the day. We also piece together snippets of how she is being treated by Old Nick, their captor, through their conversations that Jack hears from inside the wardrobe.

I’ll give you a slight spoiler – they escape. I’ll not tell you how, but it’s important that they do. The second half of the book is about how they adapt to the outside world, and we learn the true mental state of Ma.

This book makes you ask a lot of questions and really wonder how you would survive in that sort of situation. Ma makes some questionable decisions about how to raise Jack, but it makes you think, would I have really done it differently? You really can’t know what you would do unless it actually happened. It also makes you wonder how it’s possible for a child to adapt to a normal life after being in these sort of circumstances.

I would be really interested in reading a small epilogue. I don’t think a sequel is necessary, but I would really like to know how they got on in the long run, several years later. The book finishes only a few weeks after the escape, and they are only just starting to adapt.

I’m finding it really difficult to write about this book because it is such an unusual concept. I would put it in a similar category as The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, which I thought was incredible but would struggle to review. They are both such delicate subject matters that it doesn’t seem right to say that I loved it, or even enjoyed it in a way. You really can’t enjoy reading something like that in the normal sense of the word. It’s a different sort of emotion; one that you wouldn’t want to repeat but would 100% recommend to others.

I’m also not sure how I’d feel about watching the film. The greatness of this book is in the narration by Jack and I’m not sure a film would be able to capture that in the same way.

This is almost in my Top Ten Books, but I read it too quickly and there was a couple of moments where is started to drag a little bit. Like I said, I read it in two days and maybe I just needed a break from such a harrowing subject matter, but that has made me rate it slightly lower. The problem is, the writing is so readable and the story so riveting that you don’t want to put it down. I’d probably recommend that you take your time with it.

9/10 Almost There

Review – The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer

I found this lying around the house when I was running out of things to read, and thought it looked quite interesting. I recognised it from bestseller lists in bookshops and thought I’d give it a go. The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer tells the story of nineteen year old Matt, who develops (I’m not sure if this is the right expression) schizophrenia following the death of his disabled brother, Simon. The book flicks between past and present day, detailing this events that lead up to his brother’s death and how he coped with it afterwards.

 

Written entirely in first person, it shows a very interesting perspective on a decent into mental illness. Filler is a trained mental health nurse, and it is clear that he is incredibly knowledgeable on the subject. It allows the reader an insight into what is actually going on in the mind of someone with this type of illness; I suppose helping to raise awareness and understanding.

It is difficult not to compare this to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which I read immediately after. Both books share a similar concept (although the illnesses are different), but are executed in very different ways. Personally, I think The Shock of the Fall is much better.

Regardless of the strange, but compelling, narrative, the main story here is a really engrossing one. We are immediately told that Simon, is dead. We then begin to wonder how and why that happened, piecing clues together as we go on. It becomes clear that Matt has something to do with the death of his brother, and clearly feels guilty. It isn’t until the end, however, that we find out what actually happened. In this sense, the book is really gripping. It’s really cleverly written, in that it is clear that Matt doesn’t really want to talk about what happened and will let us know when he is god and ready. It is more about how he dealt with the aftermath, with the underlying mystery of what happened trickling along beneath that. It is really interesting to see how different members of the family dealt with the loss, and subsequently with Matt’s illness.

The narrative is really brilliant. It does get a little bit confusing at times, with the changes in time not being entirely clear, but I think that only adds to what makes it so good. You really understand what Matt is going through and how difficult it is for him to overcome his illness. What I also found really interesting, is how he doesn’t really want to get over his illness, and I can completely understand why, in a way. (I’ll not say any more, I don’t want to spoil it). The book is presented in several different typefaces to represent Matt’s use of both computer and typewriter. This adds something extra, knowing that it is supposed to be written from his own hand, almost like a diary. The text is also faded in places, and is often slightly off centre or on a slight angle to show either his ink running out, or the untidy and hastily written stack of pages he has accumulated.

This book allows the reader to gain an insight of both what it is like to have a mental illness of this nature, and what it is like to be sectioned and be on a psychiatric ward for a prolonged period of time. It helps that the characters are so good that you really care about them. Matt is such a great protagonist; you are completely and totally engrossed in his life.

I wasn’t overly excited about reading this book, but I was really pleasantly surprised. It was brilliant and really insightful. Exceedingly clever and expertly informed, I feel like this is as accurate a representation of the mind of someone suffering with schizophrenia as could be written. I highly recommend this book as both a source of information and insight, and just a really good and cleverly written story.

8/10 Solid

Monthly Round Up – April

This has been my first month of actually having a blog, so I can’t really compare it to anything else, but I’ll try to do a summary of what I’ve read this month and how I feel about it. I’ve read four books this month and it’s been a very mixed bunch. The books I have read are:

  1. The Passenger by Lisa Lutz – 7/10 Something Missing
  2. Lexington and 42nd by Kim Carmody – 5/10 Begrudgingly Finished
  3. Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller – 9/10 Almost There
  4. The Revenant by Michael Punke – 6/10 Alright

They’ve all been completely different in genre, style, subject matter, and level of enjoyment. It’s also been quite a slow month for me. I think my mad reading rush is tailing off and I’m finally starting to settle into full reading enjoyment, rather than just reading as many as I can. I’m not spending every hour of every day reading anymore and that’s probably a good thing for my sanity. I am reading every day for at least an half an hour though, reading about 30 pages a day. Although it is nice to sit and read a book in a couple of days, which I did for both The Passenger and Lexington and 42nd, but I do like the level of deeper understanding you get by taking your time with a book.

My favourite book of the month, by far, has been Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller. It was so different to anything I’ve ever read before and I adored it. It somehow managed to hover between the realms of fairy tale and reality due to Fuller’s magical prose and beautiful descriptions. Also, look how pretty the cover is!

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I’m currently reading The End Game by Raymond Khoury, which I won on Goodreads Giveaways. I’m enjoying it so far, although I’m struggling slightly with the begining due to it being the fifth in a series that I’ve never even heard of, never mind read. I was assured by other reviews that this wouldn’t be an issue, and they were right. I’m just over a third of the way through and I’m really getting into it. This is the first book in a while that has evoked a verbal reaction, and that I’ve just had to read another chapter. It’s really gripping and the characters are great, I can see that it’s only going to get better. I think I’ll be buying the first four books in the series after I’ve finished.

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The next books on my TBR shelf are

  1. When the Doves Disappeared by Sofi Oksanen.
  2. The Bones of You by Debbie Howells.
  3. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.
  4. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
  5. Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
  6. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

It’s unlikely I’ll read all of these in May, but I hope I’ll get through at least three of them. I only have copies of the first two at the moment, but I’ll be borrowing Me Before You and The Snow Child later on in the month, and I’m hoping for the last two for my birthday at the end of May. After my birthday, I’ll be doing to holiday reads round-up, ready for my holiday in June. I’m going to a tiny, quiet Greek island for a week and hope to cram in as much uninterrupted reading as I can.

I also won another Goodreads Giveaway this week, The Ghosts of Nagasaki by Daniel Clausen, which won’t be arriving until 20th June. It sounds really interesting; I’m not really sure what genre it is, or what it’s going to be about, but I’m excited to read it.

If you would like to look at my Goodreads page, it’s here.

 

Review – The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

I am a big Gillian Flynn fan, so you can imagine my excitement when I discovered she had released a new short story. The Grownup was originally published in a George R. R. Martin’s anthology, Rogues, under the title What Do You Do? I waited for it to be published separately before purchasing my copy.

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The Grownup tells the story of a sex-worker/fake psychic, who is approached by a woman who believes her house is haunted and her son has been possessed as a result. The house is an old Victorian manor, with creaking floorboards and strange blood splatters on the walls. The psychic sees an opportunity to trick the woman and make a bit of money with a fake exorcism. It isn’t until she meets the woman’s son, that things start to get weird.

In true Gillian Flynn fashion, the characters in this 60 page novella are gritty, flawed and simply not very nice. Somehow she manages to make them compelling and likable. I still haven’t figured out how she does it, but it is one thing I love about her writing.

As expected, The Grownup is creepy, weird and full of twists and turns. I really enjoyed it, I just wish it had been longer, mainly out of selfishness for wanting Flynn to hurry up and write another novel.

I recommend this to anyone who enjoys being thoroughly weirded out and wants a (very) quick read.

As this is a short story, it is difficult to review and rate. I’m reluctant to give it anything more than 7/10, simply because I wish it was a longer, full length novel.

I also think I’ll do a generic Gillian Flynn post about why everyone should read all of her books because they’re amazing.

7/10 – Something Missing