So I’m aware it has been about 2 weeks since I last posted – and that was a sappy, ‘let-me-get-everything-off-my-chest’ blog post so does it really even count? To get back in the swing of the things, I thought I would give you a quick wrap up of everything I have read recently. I did plan to review a few of these books but, so the sake of freshness, I thought I would combine them into a wrap up. That way I can review the books I have just finished rather than trying to remember what I thought of a book I read a month ago and risk falling into the pit of no inspiration.
I think I’ve read quite a widespread of books recently. Some, unsurprisingly, have been for my dissertation and therefore aren’t that different, but I’ve also enjoyed some (not Victorian well, not Victorian England) historical fiction, fantasy … well actually that’s about it. I had found I was in a bit of a reading slump, but looking back on the last month or so I’ve done quite well, even DNF-ing some books which is quite unlike me. Normally I finish them even if it takes half a year and then can’t read anything else for the other 6 months. But, no, not recently. Instead I’ve said ‘no thank you,’ waved them on their way and lost myself in two other books.
So, now I guess I stop rambling and start telling you about these mysterious books – that’s how blogging works, right?
The Goddess and The Thief by Essie Fox.
So we might as well start with a boring, predictable Victorian historical fiction featuring ghosts, mightn’t we? I know that that’s unfair to the genre but I’m so paranoid that I might be boring you with the same kind of books but, saying that, it is a cracking genre. Plus, I think I’m majorly exaggerating how invested my readers are – you might not even have noticed if I didn’t go prattling on about it all the time (well the two times a month I actually blog). I picked up ‘The Goddess and The Thief’ because I was really intrigued by the colonial elements that accompanied the spiritualist setting I have spent so much time in recently.
The book follows Alice, daughter of Charles Willoughby who works for the infamous East India Company, as she has to leave the India of her childhood to live with her spinster maternal Aunt Mercy after her father dies and she is left an orphan. Mercy, ironically, shows Alice no mercy, meaning Alice’s life in Windsor is one of abuse and loneliness. Well, of course, enters the exotic and handsome Mr Lucian Tilsbury stage right. Mercy, who is a medium (probably should have mentioned that), attracts the attention of Tilsbury as he tells her he is destined to meet a powerful woman seer who would help him achieve his …erm… destiny. Mercy quickly becomes enamored by the exotic Lucian, who charms the pants of most of the female characters with his beauty and half-Indianness, but he has his eyes on someone else. Shock horror, you guessed it: Alice. Alice, already wrapped up in a world of abuse and sadness, is plunged further into his grip when she starts seeing ghosts and, before long, she becomes little more than his possession. Trapped, disoriented, and potentially mad, Alice is forced to play a role in Lucian’s plan to steal the Koh-i-noor (which I only vaguely knew from that episode of Doctor Who with Tennant, Queen Vic, and the werewolf), a diamond linked to the India’s destiny, a plan that ends in mystery, murder, and reincarnation…
Overall, the book was …ok. Like, don’t get me wrong, it had some major problems. At times it was so clichéd that I needn’t have actually read the book to know what was happening, plus some scenes are really disturbing (which reminds me *trigger warning* sexual abuse/assault for anyone that that is a trigger for) and potentially unnecessary. But I still enjoyed it. As clichéd as it is, the plot is still really intriguing and exciting and I would recommend it, just not necessarily over anything else if that makes sense.
Cover the Mirrors by Faye L. Booth.
Let’s just get all the Victorian ghost books out the way, shall we? ‘Cover the Mirrors’ follows Molly as she inherits her aunt’s spiritualist business and becomes one of the most popular mediums in Preston. However, Molly soon finds herself trapped in a marriage she doesn’t want because of an unwanted pregnancy and her business is placed under risk as a result. On top of that, Molly faces a greater threat, a threat that could cost her her life as a ghost walks among the living again and threatens to reveal her darkest secrets…
Again, this was ok. Like, it wasn’t terrible, but it could have been better. Plot-wise, it was probably the least exciting thing I’ve read this month but, also, it’s the one I’ve already reread this month so I still really enjoyed it. It is simplistic, yes, but sometimes that’s what you want, right? Also, I don’t know what it is about this girl, but honestly every man is obsessed with her which leads to some really awkward steamy scenes which I could have done without. They weren’t overly steamy, like ‘please-don’t-look-at-me-while-I’m-reading-this’ steamy, more ‘oh-really-is-this-really-necessary’ steamy. I found at times it just got in the way, plus this kid is meant to be 16 and I don’t know if I’m old now at the grand age of 22 but I just felt uncomfortable. Saying that, like I say, I did really enjoy it… I just think it could have done with a rewrite.
Carry on by Rainbow Rowell.
I put off reading this book for ages and I’m so annoyed at myself. I absolutely adored ‘Fangirl’ but when I heard Rainbow Rowell was writing an entire book on the pretend fanfiction Cath writes I just didn’t get the hype. And then, years later, I find myself stuck at Paddington Train Station with nothing to do for an hour, so I bite the bullet and buy the book. And I read. And I read. And I read. And I stay up until 2 in the morning and finish it. I think it is probably one of my favourite books of this year, that’s how much I loved it. I won’t say too much about the plot because I went in knowing nothing and I think it was the best thing because it let’s you just sit back and enjoy the story. It was cute. It was interesting. It was addictive. I didn’t want to leave it. Yes, the story was somewhat simple, but it had such a lovely message and, ah, I’m still smiling as I’m thinking about it. Having just finished about three books that were unimaginably heavy with too many heartwrenching scenes, it was nice to have something simple and sappy to read. Yes, yes, yes. 10/10. Do read. Loved it.
Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare.
This is another one I don’t want to spoil too much of the plot because it is the second in a series (you know, in case you’ve been living under a rock and not aware of the millions of books Cassie Clare has written). I loved this book and finished it in two days max. While I don’t think it was as good as Lady Midnight, I think that’s because Lady Midnight was soooooo good, so I don’t really see how it could be better if that makes sense. It was still amazing and I absolutely adored it. I was gripped throughout and so happy to see my favourite characters again. And ending, dear lordy – I’m still reeling.
Sleeper’s Castle by Barbara Erskine.
This is the book I had to DNF. I picked it up really interested by the story and, to be honest, I still am. It follows two characters who are separated by centuries, linked only by the dreams they share which allows them glimpses into the other’s life and a chance to fix ancient and future wrongs. Interesting, right? But the writing….was…terrible. Terrible! It was so forced and rigid and terrible and…ugh. No, do not read. Don’t waste your time. And it had a pretty cover! What a waste.
Hottentot Venus by Chase Riboud.
Maybe this is cheating because I read this ages ago and have just been struggling to write a review for it ever since. I do love this book and I think it is so cleverly written. Riboud breathes life into Sarah Baartman, the infamous Hottentot, a South African woman who was paraded around Victorian Europe in freak shows because she had an unusually large arse. When she died, her body was stolen by a French scientist, dissected, embalmed, and displayed in his private museum. It was then later showed in a public museum, on display until the late 20th century when she was moved to the basement. It was until 2002 that her body was returned to South Africa to receive the burial she deserved. It is a horrific story and Riboud grants Sarah a respect and sympathy she was so clearly denied in life. It is a harrowing read, but it is also so worth while and I’m forever recommending it to everyone. Do it. Read it.
So there you have it. That’s my somewhat brief, somewhat haphazard wrap up. What have you read recently?
Until next time,