7 books in seven days again! Woooooooo! My Absolute Darling and Murder on the Orient Express were favourites, plus I adored Heaven, which was a friend’s recommendation! I also thought Shannon Hale’s Real Friends was just lovely – so overall a very good reading week! 🙂
My Absolute Darling – Gabriel Tallent (4 stars)
This book has been described by Stephen King as a ‘masterpiece’. And it is definitely an incredible book. Hard to process at times and terrifying in its intensity, My Absolute Darling is a devastating story of surviving the toughest circumstances. Turtle is the main character – a fourteen year old girl who is a bit of a loner. Her father is a misogynist and a survivalist – it scared me how intelligent his voice was though. Every time his character spoke, I felt stupid for not believing the same things he did (despite him obviously being an arsehole). He belittles Turtle constantly, and at the same time tells her that she is the only thing that makes his life worth living. But then Turtle makes friends, and her life changes. She becomes more confident, and willing to face up to the wrongs occurring in her home.
Be warned that there is definitely some family abuse in this novel – of many different kinds. It is confronting, but powerful. Martin was the character I found most fascinating – probably because I can see traits of his in so many people I know. What really hides beneath the surface? This book is one that you sometimes have to walk away from, sometimes need to reread, sometimes need to sit intently until the horror is over. Everybody will find something to take away from this book.
Four Weeks, Five People – Jennifer Yu (3 stars)
Five teenagers are sent to a summer of wilderness therapy in an attempt to help them with their mental illnesses. The book is told from five perspectives – Stella, Clarissa, Andrew, Ben and Mason. It was a quick, interesting read that vacillated in intensity quite a lot. The end was a bit of a shock for me!
The story emphasises that everyone is more than the disorders that have come to overtake their lives. I liked the unique way in which each voice was told. Clarissa’s writing is marked after every seventh sentence, marking the safe spaces in her words. Ben would prefer to live in movies, and he sees his life as a script. The other three voices are also very clearly their own. Definitely worth reading if you enjoy thought-provoking contemporary YA fiction!
Beyond a Darkened Shore – Jessica Leake (3.5 stars)
Ciara, a princess of Mide, doesn’t remember a time when her kingdom hasn’t been at war with the Northmen. She is a warrior, with the ability to control her enemies’ minds and actions. But lately, a mysterious crow has been appearing to Ciara, warning her of a greater threat. And then she meets Leif, a Northman leader. The crow tells her that he is important, that they need to work together to save the world from deadly monsters.
I thought the blurb sounded weird enough that this book could go either way – intense enjoyment or weirdness. But I really loved the style of writing and the incorporation of many different mythologies, especially the Morrigan. (She is also my favourite deity in the Wicked and the Divine series!) It also captured the historical struggle with old religions and new, which I found very interesting. The climactic scenes themselves moved a tiny bit too fast, but the book itself was incredibly enjoyable!
Heaven – Christoph Marzi (4 stars)
David Pettyfer is taking a shortcut over the rooftops of London when he stumbles across Heaven, a girl who says that bad men have stolen her heart. But somehow she is still alive. At first, he thinks she is delusional, but then strange things start happening, and David comes to accept her story. There are so many twists and turns, references to astronomy and literature, a bookshop, a houseboat. I loved everything about this book, and would love to find more by Christoph Marzi. I’m so glad that my friend recommended this one to me – it was perfect. If you’re ever after a weird and wonderful urban fantasy, this one is WONDERFUL!
Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie (5 stars)
Can you believe that I had never read an Agatha Christie novel until this week? I can’t even believe it myself! Her name and works are so prevalent I just kind of assumed I knew the stories! And then the trailer for The Murder on the Orient Express came out and I realised I definitely didn’t know this story! And it’s amazing! I had absolutely no idea what to expect, and it was thrilling – if you haven’t read it, I highly recommend. I was a little bit shocked by the ending, but it made sense. I loved the three parts to the book – ‘The Facts’, ‘The Evidence’ and ‘Hercule Poirot Sits Back and Thinks’. It was lighthearted at the same time as divulging information pertaining to a horrific crime. READ IT, especially before the movie comes out.
Real Friends – Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham (4 stars)
A really wonderful graphic novel about the struggles of making friends in middle school. I related to Shannon so much. Every chapter revolves around an intense relationship with one person and it is just so true to life. (It’s based on the author’s own experiences!) The illustrations are gorgeous too! I would recommend this to any kid; it reminds us that we are not alone in our struggles. Now to find one about the difficulties of making friends as an adult!
The Little Book of Big Weightloss – Bernadette Fisers (Australian author)(3 stars)
I just raced through this book! I want to lose a few kilos this year, and this book inspired me to implement little bits and pieces slowly so that they stick! Some of them are simple common sense – don’t drink soft drink or fruit juice, walk 10,000+ steps every day, and limit alcohol intake. But some are a bit different – fasting between 7pm and 10am, don’t let yourself get hungry, always carry snacks. It also provided another impetus to quit sugar – we will see how I go!
What did you read this week?