Lifestyle Reviews

What I’ve Been Reading Recently

I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve managed to do a reading recap. In fact, it was back in June. This brings my total books read this year up to 41, but I’m still way behind in order to meet my goal. (Which was to read 75 new books this year.) 

What I’ve Been Reading Recently 

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The Book of Life: (All Souls 3) by Deborah Harkness
The final book in Harkness’ trilogy didn’t disappoint me, nor did it dazzle me. To be honest, I think I let too much time go by between reading the second book and picking up the third. 3/5

Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl
I picked this book up in the library because I had read Pessl’s “Night Film” last year and enjoyed it. I was less thrilled by “Special Topics” though I was still intrigued. I think, like “The Goldfinch” and the “Secret History” before it, “Special Topics” thinks it’s smarter than it is and suffers from a pretension. 3/5

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One & Two (Special Rehearsal Edition): The Official Script Book of the Original West End Production
As a script, I don’t find it particularly thrilling; and as a Potter story, I’m not sure I find it very faithful to the novels. I won’t say any more to spoil it for others though. That being said, I’m still overly excited to see the show. I think it’s the kind of production that is just flat on paper, and that it will be an absolute spectacle when I see it on stage. There were certain points when reading the play, where I had to set the script down and ponder how they were going to make X trick work on stage. It’s going to be, (no pun intended) magical. 3/5

Labyrinth by Kate Mosse 
I really enjoyed this read. It’s quite long, but the different narratives held my attention and I didn’t want to put it down. Personally, I enjoyed the medieval storyline a bit better than the modern one, but maybe that’s just me. 4/5

Jamaica Inn (VMC) by Daphne duMaurier
“Rebecca” is one of my absolute favourite books, so it was about time that I read some more duMaurier. I really liked the drama and mystery in Jamaica Inn, and in general, really, really wanted to like it. Unfortunately, some of the ideas about women made me really uncomfortable.  4/5

The Road by Cormac McCarthy
“The Road” is one of those books that really divides people. People either love it, or hate it. Personally, I didn’t like it. It took all the genre tropes of post-apolocyptic books that came before it, smashed them all together and added in some typical McCarthy dialogue and narrative. No thanks. 2/5

The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well (Penguin Life) by Meik Wiking
I picked up this book because I wanted to know about all things hygge. It’s clearly not an in-depth or even very serious study of Danish culture: it’s all very surface level and for mass-market appeal, but I still enjoyed the glimpse in and am striving to have my hygge in my life. 3/5

Deception Point by Dan Brown
It’s just so very Dan Brown. Brown has a strict formula: a handsome but geeky male lead helps save the world and keep a huge secret with the help of a smart, and surprisingly beautiful female sidekick. Usually the government gets involved, and there’s definitely a conspiracy theory. “Deception Point” seemed more like a Tom Clancy-Dan Brown mashup. It was very “meh”. I’d probably watch the movie though. 2/5

The Monk: A Romance (Penguin Classics) by Matthew Gregory Lewis
It was written years ago (1796) and has credit for being one of the first “Gothic” novels that really set the tone of the genre. There’s murder, witchcraft, Satan, incest, sex. It has it all really. It reminded me a bit of a Jacobean drama. On the surface it’s exploitive and anti-Catholic, but it’s also a fairly insightful look into what was scary and taboo to society at the time. 3/5

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley
Part of me wants to rate this book higher: there were so many things that I did love. The Sherlock Holmesian influence, the steampunk elements (the clockwork devices), mysteries in Victorian England. But, I thought the idea of a psychic character was a bit of a cop out and ultimately let the novel down. 3/5

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
I didn’t realise until after I had finished reading this book, that the author, Joe Hill, is actually Stephen King’s son. It must be hard to have such big shoes to fill. There were some elements of this book that were really interesting and original. (I loved the idea of being able to “buy” a ghost.) But ultimately, it was let down by it’s own reliance of narrative devices. 2/5

I’m the King of the Castle by Susan Hill
Apparently this book is required reading for a lot of British schoolchildren, and they tend to moan about it. Coming at it from an older (and more foreign perspective), it wasn’t an enjoyable read since it was about the psychological effects of bullying. It was deeply atmospheric and you desperately want the bully to get his comeuppance…. 3/5

The Lie Tree by Frances Harding
This was the Costa Book of the year for 2015 and it was an enjoyable read and I flew through it. But the plot left a bit to be desired. However, Harding has potential as an author and if anything this book will encourage me to pick up other things by her. 3/5

Is anyone else really nervous about “Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children”? As a series, I loved reading it, but I’m nervous to see how that translates to film.

What have you been reading lately? Any good recommendations?  

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  • TravelWithNanoB

    I truly enjoyed Labyrinth by Kate Moss, the narrative was indeed very engaging.

    • Have you read any of her others? If so, which ones would you definitely recommend? xx

      • TravelWithNanoB

        Sadly, I haven’t read any other of her books yet, but definitely have the other two sequels of the trilogy on my bucket list – Sepulchre and Citadel. Totally different genre, but I’m currently reading Lunch in Paris: A Love Story with Recipes which is a very light read, but pretty engaging. Love how it incorporates recipes into love story. A nice twist.

  • I have been so behind on my reading lately but am hoping to catch up in the coming winter months. The best part about winter, curling up on a cold day with a good book!

  • Angie SilverSpoon

    Rebecca is on of my all time favourites too but I’ve never read Jamaica Inn.

  • Miu

    Right now I’m reading “La aventura de Miguel Littín clandestino en Chile” by Gabriel García Márquez. I don’t know if it is translated into English though :/

    • I used to be pretty fluent in Spanish but it’s gotten rusty these past for years in England (one of the perks of growing up in New Mexico.) “One Hundred Years of Solitude” is one of my favourites. I’ve read most of his fiction, but never any of his non-fiction so I’ll have to add this to my list! Have you read “Vivir para contarla”? It’s been hoovering around the top of my to-read list for awhile but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. x

      • Miu

        No, I don’t think I read it. But so far I’ve only read 3 books by him plus the one I’m reading now 😉

  • Well, I never had to read I’m the King of the Castle in school! In fact, I’ve never heard of it. Apparently the schools I went to were either really weird or I just moved around so much I missed this.

    • If you read it now, whatever you do, don’t read the reviews on Goodreads for it. They will ruin it for you before you even begin. But then read them after you’ve finished and you can laugh about the stress of GSCEs. 😉 x

      • LOL, thanks for the tip 😉
        Aaah, GCSEs. They seemed so important at the time! We only read Shakespeare and stuff from our anthology for GCSE. No novels at all!

  • Very interesting about Jamaica Inn – I have a lot of issues with movies and books that have bizarre ideas about women and their rights, regardless of when it was written/filmed. I look forward to reading Rebecca soon though!

    • I won’t spoil any surprises because it is a thriller but if you read it, we can discuss my big issue with it later 😉 x

  • I definitely need to check a few of these out!

  • I’ve been listenting to audiobooks lately. Got annoyed by the story, switched back to an ebook for some leisure fun and now back into serious audiobook land because I’m determined to finish what I started. Shall I put Rebecca on my list for when the audio stuff is finished and I’m ready to start enjoying my literature again?

  • I just finished “The Taming of the Queen” by Philippa Gregory. I’m now reading “Searching for Sunday” by Rachel Held Evans. You are doing way better in your reading goal than I am! I just had the goal of 30 new books for the year. Rereading the entire Harry Potter series, plus several other fantasy books, got me a little off-track. So technically I’ve still read a lot, but like you, my goal is for *new* books. Fingers-crossed I read a lot flying to France and back!

    • I read “The Taming of the Queen” and really enjoyed it! (Though I always enjoy Gregory.) What do you think is up next on your reading list after then Evans novel?

      • Oh, it’s not a novel. It’s a Christian feminist book about the church. Part memoir, part “why are young people leaving the church?” exploration. I have tons of books on my Kindle to read next. Mostly from the Prime program where I get one free book each month before it’s released!

  • I’ve just hit 40 with my reading target, Amanda – this year has been a struggle, and I’m still way off my target of 60! I’ve put off reading HP and the Cursed Child because I think it’d come to life more once I’ve seen the play. But those accursed tickets are so hard to get hold of! I really enjoyed Labyrinth (the best in the trilogy, I think) and The Road I found gripping, though hated McCarthy’s narrative style. I personally think All The Pretty Horses is a much better novel! I just read Pet Sematary by Stephen King to get me in the Halloween mood which was horribly disturbing, and now I’m reading Pale Fire by Nabokov, which is a lot more verbose but enjoyable so far 🙂 good luck with the reading goals – this is definitely the season for it! x

    Tamsin | A Certain Adventure

    • I agree about McCarthy – I also really liked All the Pretty Horses. I’ll have to add Pale Fire to my reading list. The only Nabokov that I’ve read is Lolita. Hopefully I can get a few more squeezed in before the new Year, but I still don’t think I’ll hit my goal! x