30 November 2017

Recently Read: November

If you've been paying ample attention to my blogging schedule this year (unlikely), you would have clicked that I haven't done a proper book review post since August. What can I say? The last few months reading has got away from me. I've chosen to ignore my 50 book reading goal for the rest of the year, because reading books like it's a competition just doesn't work for me. I'm really excited to read the books I'm simply most interested in, that are sitting on my TBR pile, because life's too short, or something like that. I have five books to talk about today that I've read in the past couple of months, or mostly in November, from non-fiction on gender and sexuality (a personal favourite), to space-themed young adult fiction.

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James*
Having read this about a month ago, when it comes to write this review I can't say I feel particularly excited about this book because it was an okay read, but nothing amazing. I think I expected more from this. That is because for the majority of the story, we follow the main character Romy, who is emailing other people and reading fanfiction alone on board of a spaceship. There wasn't too much action, until the end, which is fine, but probably not what I expected. This is a pretty short read, so in that way, it wasn't hard to finish this, but there just wasn't enough oomph for me, until near the end when things start speeding up. One thing I am glad of, however, is that Lauren James didn't just leave this as a cliche book about love - there was definitely more to it than that. I haven't even starred this book on Good Reads, so at the moment I'm pretty indifferent to it.

Midnight Sun by Trish Cook*
I'm not sure if I'm growing out of young adult fiction a little, or I'm just not hitting it very lucky with the books I read. I think there are so many amazing YA books out there, but this is not one of them. It combines a bunch of cliches from other popular books, and I kind of think it's the type of story that just sells. It's about a girl who can't go out in the sun because she has a rare disease, and yes, fair enough, this is an interesting and important story in itself, but when love becomes the main objective in the end, it just gets a little tiring. I skimmed the last few chapters of the book because it was so predictable and I knew it wasn't worth a serious, in-depth read. I wait for the day where we don't have to see the popular guy in high school automatically like the weird, nerdy girl for literally no reason.

You Play the Girl: On Playboy Bunnies, Stepford Wives, Train Wrecks, & Other Mixed Messages by Carina Chocano*
I think the reason why I had a reading slump for a couple of months, aside from the fact I was finishing my degree, was that I just kept reading the wrong slash not-very-good books. I'm pretty sure I laboured through this book for two months, and during that time, I didn't really pick up anything else, apart from The Hunger Games for some respite. Don't get me wrong, I started off by enjoying this book, because reading about gender always fascinates me. However when it came down to it, I just couldn't enjoy it. For one, I didn't get most of the references to TV shows and movies. The basics are explained, but you probably need to be a movie buff or really into popular culture to truly immerse yourself in this. Another thing is, it's very academic compared to some books that discuss gender representation, so if you are an academic person you'll probably enjoy this book. I just think that the author didn't really hit the nail on the head in a lot of sections, and didn't come to profound conclusions on anything that I didn't already know. If you want to navigate your way through this book, then fine, it's not actually that bad, and made me think about a few things, however it's just not the accessible, engaging book I had hoped for. I promise there are some positive reviews coming up...

The Runaway Princess by Hester Browne
My friend gave me this for my birthday, and I had to ignore my TBR pile in favour for this, because she obviously knows me really incredibly well. I do love reading more complex or ~serious~ books some of the time, but what I truly enjoy reading, is probably most of the time, trash. This contemporary romance isn't like some can be though - it's funny, witty, very British and overall really entertaining to read. In other words, it's the perfect 'summer read', and while I'm at it, probably great to settle down with in bed in the depths of winter. Think The Princess Diaries and The Christmas Prince (if you've seen the new Netflix original film), but this book is way better*, because it isn't just some fairytale romance. It features all the good stuff like intense eye contact and flashy events, but it also explores important themes and is still grounded in reality. Amy Wilde, the main character, is a worrier, and just a regular person compared to the royal family she soon comes in contact with. But Amy doesn't just jump into Leo's arms from the get-go, and even up until you're nearing the end of the book. She has a family, she has a career, and places incredible importance on that career and doesn't just cave in for a handsome prince. This was what I really liked and is why The Runaway Princess goes beyond what some 'women's fiction' (I don't particularly like that label) does.

The Gender Games by Juno Dawson
The book I've most recently finished and undoubtedly my favourite. Whenever I read non-fiction, particularly on the subjects of gender and sexuality, I always wonder why I don't read more of it (or not, in the case of You Play the Girl). The Gender Games was such an easy read because it was entertaining and interesting, and just plain well-written and witty, however it was still incredibly valuable, informative and important. I have never read something from the perspective of a transgender person, and I'm so glad I have now, because I think it's really, really important to read as diversely as you can (something I'm still working on). This book isn't a memoir, but includes anecdotes and stories from Juno's life where she lived as a gay man and eventually began her transition to a woman. She explains the most basic terms and ideas which means this is great for someone starting out reading about gender and sexuality, but it's equally as great for someone who has read a decent amount about it. I really can't recommend this enough. It's funny and engaging, and to the point, but doesn't gloss over things.

*However, nothing can beat The Princess Diaries - don't fight me on that.

I'm not going to lie, I thoroughly enjoyed venting and sharing my thoughts about these books - the good and the bad.


*Review Copy


  1. I'm reaaallly in the mood to read an easy romance kind of book at the minute, and I love that The Runaway Princess involves other stuff besides the romance - I can't deal with books that have absolutely nothing else going on! I definitely have been having some issues with YA books at the minute as well, I haven't read any that I've adored for so long! xxx

    1. Yeah I'm loving those easy-to-read books at the moment too, but sometimes it's nice if they have a tad bit more substance! xx

  2. I really want to read some good new books! I read 'when I was 5 I killed myself' which is a really strange novel- but also really good? Like good narrative n writing, have you read it? Also I tried to start reading 'The Beauty Myth' which is non fiction but I'm finding it hard to get into, might give this one a go instead. x

    1. No, I haven't read either of those books - I have heard of The Beauty Myth though. xx


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