Nine books this week! I should probably have found time for a few more given that I had a few days off! Standouts were The Fifth Letter and Furthermore. I also finished The Hidden Life of Trees – a really cute science book about tree communities; they have friends, and help each other out!!! And I continued with my buddy read of Gallagher Girls, though I’m falling a little bit behind now. Hoping to get through the same number in the next few weeks, and make a significant dent in my TBR piles. If you like the sound of any of these, buy them from Booktopia.
The One Memory of Flora Banks – Emily Barr (3.5 stars)
Flora is seventeen. She has anterograde amnesia, and has formed no new memories since she was ten. One day, however, she kisses a boy on the beach. And she remembers it. She has to find this boy. So she follows him to the Arctic. She meets some wonderful people, and learns a lot about herself. It’s a really sweet story, with a really fantastic twist.
Furthermore – Tahereh Mafi (4.5 stars)
This book was absolutely ADORABLE. Alice is a girl who was born with no colour, in a world where colour is everything. She is an outcast. Her father is missing, and she is determined to find him. Even if it means buddying up with Oliver Newbanks, one of the most horrible boys in Ferenwood. Even if their journey will take them into Furthermore, a confusing, dangerous, mythical land. Alice and Oliver have a wonderful adventure full of weird and wacky twists and turns, in the vein of Alice in Wonderland. It’s funny, and so cute; I couldn’t stop smiling when I finished it.
The Hidden Life of Trees – Peter Wohlleben (4 stars)
Trees can be friends! This incredible science book explains the complex life of woods and forests, and the interactions trees have with each other. I now want to move to a forest and live with trees – they’re so nice to each other; humans could definitely learn a lot. This book reminded me to be mindful of the world around me, taught me how fascinating nature truly is, and has inspired me to embrace the natural world around me more. I’d love to see this as a picture book for children one day too.
The Fifth Letter – Nicola Moriarty (Australian author) (4 stars)
Another talented Moriarty author – Nicola is the sister of Liane Moriarty, author of the fantastic Big Little Lies, and Jaclyn Moriarty, who writes wonderful YA books such as A Corner of White, and Finding Cassie Crazy. The Fifth Letter is the story of four friends and their annual holiday. They decide to write anonymous letters, to share their deepest, darkest secrets. One woman has a change of heart. She writes a new letter, and burns her original offering; it is found, and it is awful. Who wrote the fifth letter? Joni tells the story, as a confession to her priest. Her meetings with him are interspersed between the tale of events. He was a great presence – wry, and smart. The interjections provided relief from some heavy moments. It is a fantastic book; I would strongly recommend this for a lazy afternoon – the pacing reminded me of Big Little Lies, and I devoured it in an afternoon.
Olmec Obituary – L. J. M. Owen (Australian author) (2 stars)
I really like the premise of this series – Elizabeth Pimms is an archaeologist solving crimes in that field. I thought that she was solving millennial-old crimes, but instead she was invested in unearthing the inaccuracies her colleagues were writing up about a specific site. There were some chapters which discussed what scenes had occurred to lead to said site, but they weren’t necessary, in my opinion – it was weird that they never intersected; that Dr Pimms never actually discovered what had happened to the skeletons, but the reader did. Dr Pimms also has a lot of family issues going on, and is reluctantly working as a librarian. For a thirty-year-old, she seemed very self-indulgent in her anger at having to support her family. The writing was also a bit stilted at times. I liked the premise, and the archaeological mystery at the story’s core, but the rest of it wasn’t great, and I probably won’t continue with the series.
Cross my heart and hope to spy – Ally Carter (4 stars)
THERE IS A BOY’S SPY SCHOOL! Cammie and her friends are back at Gallagher Academy. They perform a Covert Operations assignment, and fail miserably at realising the cute boys are the tails they’re meant to be losing. And then it turns out that those same boys will be staying at Gallagher Academy, in a sort of exchange program. But is everything really as it seems? Are they the good guys, or the bad?
The Bear and the Nightingale – Katherine Arden (3 stars)
I read this as an ARC on NetGalley – the cover is absolutely amazing, and is the primary reason I wanted to read this particular book! It’s an interesting story, with a strong female protagonist. My only complaint is that the titular characters took forever to appear, though it was a fun ‘AHA’ moment when they finally did. I have become more interested in Russian folklore, and this book only exacerbated the need to read more!
Today Will Be Different – Maria Semple (3 stars)
Eleanor Flood is going to have a good day. She’s going to have one day where everything falls into place. But things never quite go as we planned, do they? And neither does Eleanor’s day, though she learns a lot about herself in the course of the craziness. I liked this book, and its weird tangents. There was also a really nice graphic element – in the final version (I read an ARC), it’s in full colour! I am definitely interested in reading more of Maria Semple’s books, but I think they’re best borrowed from the library.
The Art of Frugal Hedonism – Annie Raser-Rowland with Adam Grubb (Australian authors) (3 stars)
I love the idea of living life to the max on the least amount of money, especially seeing as I have just recently been introduced to the adult task of bill-paying (*cue crying*). The tips weren’t as revolutionary as I expected, but there are some I intend to adopt. ‘Never buy drinks’ is something I aspire to do, but often fall short. I would like to indulge in more free activities, however. The authors recommend finding a free third place to meet people – such as a park or a beach. I do this, but would love to do it more. I think this is the sort of book I will definitely keep dipping back into!
What did you read this week? Are you intrigued by any of these?