Monday, 4 July 2016

June 2016 - Reading Wrap Up

I managed to read thirteen books this month: three were 5 star reads; six were 4 star reads; two were 3 star reads; and two were 2 star reads.

A little breakdown by star rating is as follows:

Where to start with this book. The Throne of Glass series is so beloved and I expected to also love it. An eighteen year old master assassin serving a life sentence has to fight for her freedom and life in a royal tournament. The story is really basic, the assassin 'tests' really tame. The assassin main character, Celaena was just a basic female who loves fashion, the prince and books. Cliche tropes galore. I am not sure if I will continue on with this series. 

★ - The Arrival by Shaun Tan

A picture book focusing on a man immigrating to a new fantastical land. The pictures were beautiful but I was left feeling puzzled. The ultimate message about immigration was meaningful but the lack of words left me behind. Didn't really have a clue what was going on half the time.

★★★ - City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

The fifth book in The Mortal Instruments series and the weakest one in my opinion. The pacing was painfully slow and it felt like most of the book was characters just discussing things. There are a handful of big events and the last hundred pages were epic but I could tell all the good stuff was being left to the last book. Glad to be almost done with this series though.

★ - The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck by Sarah Knight

A parody of Marie Kondō's The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up, Sarah Knight instructs the reader how to give less f*cks. Identifying activities that bring joy or annoy is central to identifying which should be given the most f*cks. Quite a humorous read, lots of practical advice on how to politely decline things without feeling guilty.

Chronicling Neil Strauss as he explores non-monogamy and relationships. The book starts with Neil in rehab for sex addiction and what follows is a journalistic-style memoir. It is actually surprisingly inspiring and just hilarious. A great sequel to the 'pick-up' artist culture explored in The Game.

 - The Girl in 6E by A.R. Torre

This is a suspenseful thriller focusing on Deanna Madden. A young woman who has overwhelming murderous urges and so she has locked herself up in her flat for years so that she doesn't hurt anybody. Making her money as a webcam girl, she lives quite a strange life. The story is dark, has an erotic edge and I really enjoyed it.  

An illuminating look at sexism in the modern world. Using hard-hitting statistics, Laura Bates examines how sexism still pervades society today. Most of the stats pertain to the UK and I would have liked to see a more international overview of sexism but this book was really interesting. There was even a chapter focusing on the sexism that men experience. Recommended reading for everyone.

I really loved this book. The story centres around Ifemelu and Obinze as they grow up and fall in love in Nigeria. Ifemelu eventually moves to the USA to further her education and she expects Obinze to follow but life gets in the way and they are separated for thirteen years. There is so much fascinating detail about race, immigration, hair, tradition, interracial relationships, culture, religion - the list could just go on and on. A fab read, highly recommend.

A beautifully written book that blends genres. Earth is underwater with only small archipelagos of land left and society is divided between people who live on the sea (damplings) or land (landlockers). North performs with her bear on Excalibur, a travelling circus ship. Callanish is a Gracekeeper and performs funerals for damplings at sea. The writing was full of lush description of the sea and the story was highly original. 
Haunting, bleak and depressing. Set in nineteenth century northern Iceland, the murder of Natan Kentilsson and Pétur Jónsson has shocked the Icelandic community. Agnes Magnúsdóttir along with two teenage accomplices have been sentenced to death by beheading. What truly happened that night is slowly revealed by Agnes as she waits for her execution date. This book was so atmospheric and I really felt the harshness of the lonely landscape. This story will stick with me for a long time. 

Can't say a whole lot about this volume but if you haven't read Saga then just do it immediately. I am completely in love with this comic series and just so emotionally invested in Alana, Marko and Hazel's story. There is plenty of mature content so not for the young uns'.

 - Saga, Volume 5 - Brian K. Vaughan

Heartache a plenty in this latest volume. My full review is linked above.

 - The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

One of my all time favourites, this book was just nothing like what I expected. Twelve year old David is beckoned through a gap in a crumbling wall by the voice of his recently deceased mother and is trapped in a very dark world indeed. Horror and fantasy blend together with grotesque results and it was just brilliant. I love dark fantasy and I was shocked by how dark this book was. Highly recommend.

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