August Reading Wrap Up

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Hello everyone! 

Sorry in advance, but this will be a long post. What can I say? I read a lot of books this month! In spite of the sunnier weather and fewer opportunities to get cosy I always seem to read more in the summer months. Although this August seems to have been a much busier book month. To keep things short I will link to previous reviews of some of the books :-) 

Nights At The Circus by Angela Carter: 2.5 Stars 

I seriously struggled with this book, yes it is a classic and kind of a big deal, but I really found it heavy going. It had all the makings of a great story: love, intrigue, magic and the circus. However, I found the excessively crude language and long descriptive passages a bit wearing. I started to get really in to the story of Fevvers, the glittering star of the entertainment world, as she mystified her audiences as to whether she is woman or swan, but then the story started getting very twisted and non-sensical. I believe it was an attempt at surrealism, but it didn't really work for me. I think other surrealist authors have spoiled me with their amazing narrative. 

After You by Jojo Moyes: 4.5 Stars 

I loved this book, although I was very nervous to pick it up. After the explosion that was Me Before You, I was scared to have my heart broken all over again. After You follows beloved Lou Clark in the aftermath of Will's death. She is struggling again in her job and personal life, when out of nowhere a young girl claiming to be Will's illegitimate daughter canons into her life. Lou now has to pick up the pieces and learn to be strong for those who need her most. This story was almost a redemption for the heart breaking first novel, it was light and funny, bordering on the farcical at times! However, this simply added to the charm of the story and showed that light can be found in the most unexpected of places. 

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George: 4.5 Stars 

This wonderful book is one which I have recently reviewed, so you can check that out here! I found this story charming, heart wrenching and faith restoring all in one. I have not read a book which touched me in the same way for many years! Jean Perdu goes on a quest for love lost, finding friendship, truths and true happiness along the way. He is the realest protagonist I have ever read, his journey down the rivers of France from Paris to Provence was awe-inspiring and at times had me in stitches :-) 

The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins: 3.5 Stars 

This much read and discussed thriller has also recently been reviewed so have a little mosey over if you are interested, here. Rachel, Anna and Megan lead very different lives, crossing paths and mingling, they become tangled up in a murderous story. Rachel, still reeling from Anna "stealing" her husband watches from afar on her daily train. When Megan, Anna's neighbour, disappears Rachel is drawn inexorably onto a twisted and dangerous path. I enjoyed this reading experience, the narrative is original and engaging, but I did guess the ending very early on! 

After Alice by Gregory Maguire: 4 Stars 

From the author of Wicked comes a fabulous retelling of Alice In Wonderland. After Alice addresses what happened on the fateful day of Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole. Nobody ever wonders if she was missed by the people she left behind! Her friend Ada witnesses her tumble and decides on a whim to follow her and bring her back, but Ada is different to Alice. This makes her experience of Wonderland vastly different to Alice's! This story flits between Ada's escapades below ground and those of the family left at home, frantically searching for Alice and her young friend. This story was witty and fun, it followed the same narrative style as the original story, making it quite a natural companion story. I would say this is a must read for any Alice fan! 

Red Queen by Christina Henry: 4 Stars 

In keeping with the Alice In Wonderland retellings, Red Queen is the sequel to Alice, which I read at the end of last month. I was very excited about this sequel and almost read the pair back to back. Red Queen follows Alice and Hatcher as they escape the city in search of his daughter Jenny. Little do they know they have passed from frying pan to fire. Outside of the magicians from the city's grasp they have wandered into the White Queen's territory. When Hatcher is taken, Alice must use all her ingenuity and all the help she can get in her quest to free her lover. Christina Henry has put a spell on me with these stories, they are my absolute favourite retellings. Deliciously dark and full of wonder, I would recommend this to any fantasy lover. 

Small Gods by Terry Pratchett: 4.5 Stars 

As a lighter read I decided to peruse Terry Pratchett's newly released illustrated edition of Small Gods. I adored this story the first time I read it and found it surprisingly improved for being a graphic novel! Small Gods tells the tale of Brutha, the new prophet to the Great God Om, in a world where the idea of religion has overtaken even the religious principles and beliefs themselves! This story is clever and thought-provoking, whilst somehow remaining light and hilarious. 

The Sunrise by Victoria Hislop: 3 Stars 

The Sunrise is the glittering jewel of Cyprus' hotel industry, tourists from all over the world flock to revel in its opulence. This story follows the lives of three families connected to the Sunrise in vastly different ways throughout the civil war of Cyprus, between the greek and turkish Cypriots, the fall of Famagusta and the devastation of the country. It is almost a historical fiction, it is very hard hitting and made me feel so sad. I think we should all read harder books some times, just to remind ourselves of what can happen when we forget the mistakes of the past. 

Down And Out In Paris And London by George Orwell: 3 Stars 

George Orwell writes of poverty and the lives of the miserable across Paris and London in this meditative work. I found this to be an enjoyable read and at times quite funny. I liked how it gave such a real account of what life can be like in a major city if you are unfortunate enough to find yourself without work or money. This is a speedy read, there is no excuse not to pick it up one afternoon and read it! 

Sourcery by Terry Pratchett: 4 Stars 

We all know wizards are born of the eighth son of a eighth son, well what happens when a wizard has an eighth son? A sourcerer is born, made to wreak havoc and devastation across the whole of the Disc! Never fear, Rincewind and his trusty luggage return in this Discworld novel to attempt primarily to avoid danger and maybe save the world in the process. This was yet again a witty and original book, I always love a good Discworld novel and this is one of my favourites so far! I particularly loved Pratchett's take on the harems, this time with women employed to tell stories to their master, Sheherazade style! 

A Year Of Marvellous Ways by Sarah Winman: 3.5 Stars 

This tale is so life affirming! I loved it, Marvellous is such an inspirational character. Well into her nineties she is still carrying on her life as normal, waiting for the "something" Paper Jack told her of in a dream. The "something" appears in the form of Drake, a man wounded emotionally by war and the loss of the woman he loves. He needs to heal and Marvellous is the just the woman to show him how. This heartwarming tale teaches you to live and love simply, it breeds happiness and contentment. 

What have you been reading this month? Let me know in the comments below :-) 


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  1. I have the Girl on the Train but I haven't read it yet, my Sister did say it didn't quite meet the hype though. You've gotten through so many boots, and I'm still reading War and Peace, I think I just need to put an hour aside everyday to read. I want to read the little paris bookshop, it sounds like my kind of book! :)

    Velvet Blush

    1. I enjoyed reading it, but I have to agree with your sister, it didn't quite live up to the hype! I love War and Peace, it's one of my all time favourite books :-) I think you will definitely enjoy reading The Little Paris Bookshop, it's one of the best books I've read in ages!

  2. 3.5 stars for the girl on the train is alright, do you think you'll watch the movie?

    And ooooh Small Gods looks good!

    Little Moon Elephant

    1. I am actually quite looking forward to the movie :-) I'm interested to see how they will get across the different character's perspectives!
      Small Gods is so worth reading, it's so witty that it'll make you laugh out loud!

  3. I love the front covers of these books! I definitely need to get into reading as much as you do! I'll have to check out some of these recommendations!

    1. I hope you enjoy them if you do pick some of these :-) I would recommend The Little Paris Bookshop or A Year Of Marvellous Ways if you're trying to get out of a reading slump!

  4. I really enjoyed this post, a lot of books here I wouldn't normally read! I haven't read Angela Carter since my A levels, such a blast from the past, and Orwell is one of my favourite authors ever! I finally started Papillon, it's amazing so far, I'd certainly recommend checking that out if you haven't already.

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed the post :-) I didn't do literature for A-level so I'm just reading all these books for pleasure, though I think I would have really loved studying them too! Papillon is on my list to read, I'm slowly trying to plough my way through an ever growing book list...


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