Eleven books read this week – a really interesting mix! Two graphic novels, a non-fiction, a coffee table book, an audio book and A LOT of fiction. 🙂 I read two books from the Dymocks101 – Lady Midnight and Humans of New York: Stories. And I’m listening to the Harry Potter series on audio – a perfect way to reread; they are just brilliant!
Elizabeth and Zenobia – Jessica Miller (Australian author) (3 stars)
Elizabeth and her friend Zenobia (who is real even if no one can see her) move to the country, to Witheringe House, the childhood home of Elizabeth’s father. Zenobia loves it; she believes that it is haunted and sets out to find a ghost. Elizabeth is more timid, and is fearful when she notices strange things happening – the flowers and vines on the wallpaper in the nursery seem to be alive, and her father’s first book tells a different story after midnight.
Together, the two girls try to unravel the mystery of Tourmaline, Elizabeth’s aunt who went missing as a young girl. It’s a very sweet (and slightly scary) fairy story, which doesn’t cast the fairies in the greatest light. Elements of mystery and magic make this a really worthwhile read.
The Comet Seekers – Helen Sedgwick (2 stars)
The story follows two characters, Roisin and Francois. They first meet in Antarctica, but their paths have crossed before. Both lives have been affected by the comets – Roisin’s career in astronomy hearkens to the days of comet-gazing, while Francois’ mother saw ghosts when comets passed in the sky.
I liked elements of the story, but really disliked others. There is a love affair between cousins which had a definite ‘ew’ element to it. And the stories that I really wanted to know more about – especially Francois’ mother, and how her son came to be – were never explored. However, despite my misgivings about the storyline, I cannot dispute that the writing is beautiful.
Giant Days Volume 2 – John Allison, Linda Tremain (5 stars)
Giant Days Volume 3 – John Allison, Linda Tremain (5 stars)
I absolutely adore these graphic novels about three roommates going about their lives at university. Susan, Esther and Daisy are all so different, but I can see pieces of myself and my own student life in each of them. They’re bumbling their way through exams, relationships and everything else. I love these girls and wish they had been my own college roommates!
Are Some Languages Better Than Others? – R. M. W. Dixon (Australian author) (2 stars)
While I haven’t ever studied it, I am a little bit obsessed with linguistics. I thought that this book would be incredibly interesting, letting me know more about what elements of a language are considered the most important. And the very last chapter did do that, and I did find it very interesting. But getting to that point was a bit tedious. While I was intrigued to learn about indigenous languages with which I had no previous experience, I would have found the book more engaging had there been a better balance with the European languages I know and understand.
Perfect Scoundrels – Ally Carter (4.5 stars)
The last Heist Society book – I am devastated that the series is over. Perfect Scoundrels takes the reader into Hale’s world – there is contention over his grandmother’s will; someone is trying to pull a massive con. Having had problems in my own family in regards to a matriarch’s will, this story really intrigued me. Please read the Heist Society and Gallagher Girls series – YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT.
Lady Midnight – Cassandra Clare (4 stars)
I read this as part of the Dymocks101 challenge I have set myself for the year. I gave up on The Mortal Instruments after the first three books, and I only read the first book in The Infernal Devices, so I really wasn’t sure how I would feel about Lady Midnight. Well, I loved it! (Definitely in a trashy kind of way.) Emma and Julian are parabatai, brothers in arms and forbidden to fall in love. But that isn’t really working out for either of them. I am a bit concerned with Cassandra Clare’s tendency to make intimate family ties the barrier to romantic relationships. While Emma and Julian aren’t related by blood, Emma was basically adopted by Julian’s family as a child… Anyway, enough with the ranting.
Emma’s parents were murdered years ago, but suddenly dead bodies are turning up with the same markings. It is time to finally discover what has been happening. But they can’t ask for help from the Clave, because Julian’s half-faerie brother has been returned to them from the Fairie world. This is very illegal – Shadowhunters and Faeries are not on good terms after the war at the end of Book 6 (which I obviously didn’t know about). After a healthy dose of star-crossed lovers, some mystery-solving and a lot intense staring, I am back to being a Cassandra Clare fangirl and will absolutely be going back and reading the rest of her books sometime soon.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J. K. Rowling (Narrated by Stephen Fry) (5 stars)
YAY! I love this reread. Stephen Fry is absolutely amazing at bringing my favourite childhood story to life. I cried when Neville won the House Cup for Gryffindor. It is just absolute perfection.
Daughter of the Regiment – Jackie French (4 stars)
This was my absolute favourite book when I was a child. This reread did not disappoint me in the slightest – THERE IS A CHICKEN CALLED ARNOLD SCHWARZENFEATHER! Is that not the greatest thing ever? Harry is scared of attending boarding-school and leaving his farm. Especially when he finds a hole in the chook-house which is a window into the past. He becomes invested in the life of Cissie, an orphaned girl raised by the soldiers in the regiment. As he discovers her significance, he learns that he can still have a connection to the farm even if he has to leave it.
Ella Enchanted – Gail Carson Levine (3 stars)
I liked reading this book, but didn’t adore it. I watched the movie as soon as I had finished and I definitely think that the changes made to the book were made for the better. An enjoyable read, definitely, but I think I am too old and would have enjoyed it significantly more had I read it when I was the right age! The movie seems to be ageless though – I think I enjoyed it more than when I first saw it as a kid!
Humans of New York: Stories – Brandon Stanton (4 stars)
This book is a really beautiful compilation of the famous Humans of New York webpage. Some of the juxtapositions are just incredible, highlighting the vast differences between people, and showing why everyone deserves compassion. A very powerful, moving photography book. I think the only thing I would have liked is for more of each person’s story to have been included – but what Stanton chose to include was brilliant.
What have you been reading this week?