1 March 2017

Recently Read | February


Despite it being my last month off before I go back to Uni, somehow I only read four books, but I guess it's the quality of books you read - not the quantity. Out of the four books I'm going to review, I really enjoyed two but didn't like the other two as much. There's a little bit of everything here - a magical fantasy, Nick Hornby, a YA about female friendship, and a girl with an intriguing talent...

Beautiful Broken Things

Author: Sara Barnard
Published by: Macmillan Children's Books
Release date: 20 July 2016

★★★★★

I finished this book within a couple of days, and when that happens (it's rare) it's a pretty good indication of how much I liked something. Beautiful Broken Things, in a nutshell, perfectly shows the complexities of friendship - especially female friendship, which can be severely lacking from YA - being overshadowed by romantic relationships. The author focuses on something as simple as friendship, but deals with it so well. I loved how this book was entirely about the relationship between three girls and not necessarily your standard YA romance (even if romance is a by-product of the story - it wasn't in this case). It's also safe to say the cover of this book is stunning. This story gripped me from the beginning and I am so excited to read more from Sara Barnard - I'm going to be reading A Quiet Kind of Thunder in March, hopefully!


Lyrebird

Author: Cecelia Ahern
Published by: Harper Collins
Release date: 1 December 2016

★★★

While Lyrebird* wasn't a favourite read, parts of it were captivating and interesting - if the premise intrigues you it may be worth picking it up. Essentially this story follows a documentary crew who stumble upon a young woman living alone in an old cottage in the Irish wilderness. She's not an ordinary girl though - she possesses an odd talent or gift that captivates the documentary crew - they instantly want to make her their next subject, but with fame comes consequences.

I thought this book was a nice idea, but I'm not entirely convinced about everything. I quite liked learning about the woman (Laura's) family history and how she came to be. There were some sweet touches that made this feel like a cosy read, but at the same time we're thrust into this world of a talent show - it's a look into how something pure and real can be ruined by commercialism. I found this element most interesting, however the aspect that bothered me was the romance, as it didn't feel entirely genuine. Overall there was an inkling of something there that I liked, but I'm quite indifferent to it in the end.

A Long Way Down

Author: Nick Hornby
Published by: Riverhead Books
Release date: 2 May 2006

★★

I had high expectations for Nick Hornby, however I ended up not liking A Long Way Down at all really. Don't get me wrong, the premise of this story seemed like a good one, but the end result didn't wow me in the slightest. It's about a group of very different people who end up meeting just before they intend to take their lives by jumping off a building called 'Toppers House' - which is a very popular suicide location in London. This book is very important, but unfortunately it just wasn't very enjoyable for me. The writing style was meant to be light and funny despite the hard subject matter, but in reality it just annoyed me, and one of the characters really annoyed me as well. I'm really starting to sound like negative Nancy here, but if I could summarise this in one word it would be 'meh'. Harsh stuff.


Caraval

Author: Stephanie Garber
Published by: Hachette
Release date: 31 January 2017

★★★★★

Moving swiftly on to a book that I enjoyed immensely - in fact it is definitely my favourite book of 2016 so far (even though it's only February). I finished Caraval* in one day which is not an easy feat for me. I couldn't put this book down and it definitely left me in a bit of a reading slump afterwards because of how good it was. So what is this book actually about? It's about two sisters who end up at Caraval - a strange, magical world which has Alice in Wonderland vibes mixed with The Hunger Games. The Caraval leader kidnaps one of the sisters and what ensues is a journey full of magic, betrayal, and twists and turns. I loved how utterly easy this was to read, how the pacing didn't slump at any moment, and I loved the world the author invented - unique, imaginative and interesting. Some of the turning points in the story were unexpected to me and it made it such a fun, absorbing book to read. I highly recommend you pick this up, even if you're not a fan of fantasy or YA because it's genuinely just perfection in book form.



Are you going to read any of these books? Let me know!

-Emma



*Review Copy


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10 comments

  1. Ooh, these sound so good! Caraval is definitely on my to read list now

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  2. Caraval sounds so good! I've been looking for new book recommendation to read since I kinda lost the motivation to read again after finishing my final exams last month. Definitely will purchase Caraval soon!
    Thank you for sharing this!

    herwandertales.net

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    Replies
    1. Hope you like Caraval! Enjoy reading more since your exams are over :) x

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  3. Beautiful Broken Things sounds like it's right up my alley. Thanks for the recs :)

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  4. I really want to read beautiful broken things - I'm pretty sure I saw it on Zoella's book club list thing, sounds great!

    Lucy | Forever September

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  5. Caraval & Beautiful Broken Things are definitely ones I want to get my hands on. The stories sound amazing and it also helps that the covers are gorgeous xx

    www.ashleyruth.com

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    Replies
    1. They are gorgeous :) Those two are absolute gems, so hope you enjoy! x

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