Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Recent Reads


I've been making the most of some time off by getting down to some serious reading, and it's been fabulous. Reading is one of the great loves of my life, and the more I do, the more I want to! I would love to know what you think of these kinds of post - do you like little round-ups like this, or would you prefer individual reviews that go into a bit more depth? Anyway, without further ado, here's the last few books I read!


Elizabeth is Missing - Emma Healey

I was instantly intrigued by the premise of this book; an 82-year-old protagonist, trying to solve the mystery of what has happened to her friend whilst living with dementia. I always love a mystery, and as my great-gran recently died after many years of dementia, it just called out to me and I had to have it. Plus the artwork really drew me in (I am not just a sucker for eyeshadow packaging you know. I do not discriminate in my shallow ways!). I found this book a really interesting read, following Maud's present-tense chains of thought and skewed logic.The mystery of what happened to Elizabeth isn't hard to figure out, but there's the answer to a far older and more compelling one buried deep in Maud's psyche, which had me racing to the bittersweet end. 


The Girl With All The Gifts - M.C. Carey

I had been wanting to get this book for so long, having been totally gripped by the blurb, and was so excited to finally read it. The books starts with ten-year-old Melanie, an uncommonly clever and polite little girl who loves reading Greek myths and hanging on to her beautiful teacher's every word. Melanie sleeps in a cell, and when the Sergeant collects her for class in the morning, another solider points a gun at her head whilst someone else straps her into a wheelchair, leaving her unable to move her arms, legs or head. If she says good morning, they don't answer, and when she jokes that she won't bite, they don't laugh. This book surprised me in so many ways, and was equally thrilling and heart-warming in places. An original and exciting story, well-rounded characters, dark humour and themes borrowed from the story of Pandora's Box, this is the best book I have read this year.


How To Build A Girl - Caitlin Moran

Hmm. I don't really know what to say about this. Having read and loved How To Be A Woman, and many of Caitlin's columns in The Times, I had very high hopes for her first fiction novel. It's not like it didn't deliver; her trademark bluntness, pop culture references and humour are all present, her writing as enjoyable to read as ever. It just wasn't anything new. The lead character Johanna, is basically Caitlin. Despite her disclaimer at the start of the book explaining that the book is fictitious, it was impossible not to draw comparisons between their basically identical childhoods and careers, which is fine if you aren't familiar with her work, but not very exciting if you are. More than that though, Johanna speaks with Caitlin's distinctive voice, which makes it hard to believe in her as her own character. I feel bad being negative, as I really love Caitlin and the book definitely made me chuckle out loud several times. There were moments of brilliance, such as love-interest John Kite's rant on poverty and the working classes, and the cultural reference points are nonchalantly spot-on, transporting me fully to the early nineties. Ultimately though, I felt like I was re-reading the story of her life with new names and a few different anecdotes, which didn't make it a page-turner for me. She is a fantastic writer though, with so much personality, and I would recommend anything by her if you're after a fun read.  

Have you read any of these books? Please let me know in the comments if you have - I love hearing other people's thoughts on books! Also feel free to recommend anything you've been loving. 

16 comments:

  1. Elizabeth is Missing sounds like a really good read, I've made a note of it because I'd love to find it. I'm interested in mental health and often meet elderly people with dementia while on placement so I think I'd find this book fascinating. Thanks for the review of it :) x


    Jennifer
    http://www.homewithjenny.blogspot.co.uk

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  2. I'm really glad you found the post helpful! I picked it up in Waterstones, and Amazon has it too: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Elizabeth-Missing-Emma-Healey/dp/0241003504/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0 If you do get round to reading it, let me know what you think! x

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  3. Thank you for sharing these books Amber. I am looking for some books to bring for my holiday. Xx

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  4. How funny - that's in my to-read pile at the minute! Thanks for reading Rachel :) x

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  5. I think everyone loves reading on holiday! x

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  6. Kimberly Nelms30 July 2014 at 23:47

    Love reading book reviews, so keep them going. can't wait to see what you read next!

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  7. Elizabeth is Missing sounds like such an unusual and sweet novel - I'm definitely interested in reading that as I've not read a book that deals with dementia before.

    YES to your review of How To Build A Girl! As much as I love Caitlin Moran, I was disappointed by how "samey" this is to How To Be A Woman. I've reviewed it here and you can see our reviews are practically identical: http://tartanmouth.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/how-to-build-girl-by-caitlin-moran.html (how good is John Kite's speech on poverty though?).



    x

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  8. The Girl With All The Gifts sounds really interesting, a new one for my list! I really want to read Elizabeth Is Missing too :) great reviews!

    Holly in Your Pocket xx

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  9. Oh my goodness, I just read your review and they are so similar! We even both liked John Kite's speech! I saw that booktuber Booksand Quills is currently reading it, and plans to read How To Be A Woman after she finishes, and I will be so interested to hear the perspective of someone reading the two books in that order. She's a great writer, but I guess that is the peril of having such a distinctive style. xx

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  10. They are both great, I loved reading them. If you do read them, I'd love to hear what you think! Thanks for reading :) xx

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  11. These all sound really interesting, I've been wanting Caitlin's book but Im not sure after reading your recap, maybe I'll get one of the other ones first!

    Emma x
    Writing Essays With Wine

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  12. I felt kind of bad for not loving it, as I do love her, but it just didn't excite me very much. It's had such positive reviews in the papers etc. though! xx

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  13. I haven´t heard anything from the books you mentioned but the first two really intrigued me now. I will put them on my Must-Read list and get them as soon I read the six books lying beside my bed.
    xx Lisa

    Following Lisa

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  14. Ooh what's on your current to-read list? xx

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  15. On that list are so many books, for example most of John Green´s novels plus The Bookthief. Right now I just don´t have the time to read, my life is so busy.
    xx Lisa

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  16. Ooh The Book Thief! SO good, you must read it! x

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