A terrible start to the week, with some two-star ratings, but it picked up fairly quickly. Unbecoming and P is for Pearl were incredible, gut-wrenching YA novels, Spill Zone was a great graphic novel, and I adored Death on the Nile, my second foray into Agatha Christie. But ten books in one week is not bad at all!
Adventures of a Compulsive Traveller – Dominic Dunne (Australian author) (2 stars)
I wanted a fantastic travel memoir, I got something that could have been written by a washed out politician. The only interesting thing I discovered from this book is that there is a museum in Croatia called The Museum of Broken Relationships – I definitely want to visit. However, I remember nothing about the rest of the places Dunne visited. I didn’t find his style engaging or humorous…
And Then You’re Dead: A Scientific Exploration of the World’s Most Interesting Ways to Die – Cody Cassidy & Paul Doherty (2 stars)
This felt like it was written for a child, but the content was quite adult. I am rather interesting in death and morbid things at the moment, but this book honestly bored me to tears… At least I know I can’t die from boredom?
Unbecoming – Jenny Downham (4 stars)
A lovely story about a seventeen-year-old girl struggling with her identity and her burgeoning relationship with her grandmother, Mary, back with the family after years of absence and suffering from Alzheimer’s. Katie was an incredible protagonist and I just wanted the best for her forever. Mary’s confusion between past and present led to a really interesting timeline. Jenny Downham’s writing is just beautiful and this is a truly lovely story of families and the secrets they hide.
Spill Zone – Scott Westerfeld and Alex Puvilland (4 stars)
A really cool graphic novel about a dystopian world. Addison ventures into the Spill Zone, a dangerous nonsensical place where the laws of nature don’t stick. She takes her camera, determined to document the area, and to create art she can sell to collectors. Her sister hasn’t spoken since the event happened, but she does have a super creepy doll…
The Sun and Her Flowers – Rupi Kaur (3 stars)
I really loved Milk and Honey, but this collection just didn’t hit me the same way the first one did. While I devoured Milk and Honey in one sitting, it took me three sittings to work my way through these poems. Very few have stuck with me. I will probably try dipping into it again, but it hasn’t left a lasting impression.
Elementals: Ice Wolves – Amie Kaufman (4 stars)
Twins Anders and Rayna run wild on the streets of Vallen. They know, like everyone, that scorch dragons and ice wolves are sworn enemies. But then the unthinkable happens – Anders discovers that he can transform into an ice wolf, while Rayna transforms into a dragon. The quiet, shyer twin, it becomes Anders’ mission to rescue his sister. He is an endearing character, constantly doubting his actions. But he perseveres and takes us on a journey through a wonderful fantasy world in his quest. I have loved shapeshifting as a fantasy trope for so long and am thrilled to have read and adored this wonderful new middle-grade!
Artemis – Andy Weir (3 stars)
This book had a lot to live up to after the incredible success of The Martian. Unfortunately, in my opinion, it fell a little flat…. Artemis is the first city on the moon, and Jazz Bashara is a resident. She is also a petty criminal, a smuggler. Until she gets hired for a job with higher stakes. Jazz must pull off a heist without compare. Having read Illuminae, I think they have managed the high stakes space thing much better… I liked the characters in Artemis overall, but Jazz did feel rather forced sometimes. It was a good diverse cast though. The pacing was a little weird – sometimes it was super fast and thriller-y and other times it was sooooo sloooowwww… Overall, pretty entertaining but not one I need to read again.
Death on the Nile – Agatha Christie (4 stars)
A cruise down the Nile on a river steamer turns deadly. But luckily, Hercule Poirot is on the case. I love that I can never quite tell who the guilty party might be, because everyone has a motive! This one I did guess more easily than in Murder on the Orient Express!
Turtles All the Way Down – John Green (2 stars)
Disappointing. Why did one of the characters have to be a billionaire? Why? Why? I can’t speak as to the representation of mental illness, but I have seen some positive reviews in regards to that. However, purely in terms of story, NOTHING HAPPENS. I have never read anything which struggles so hard to create a plot of any kind. There is sort of one happening, but it keeps getting dismissed. But honestly, I can’t get over that John Green just made one of his teenage characters a billionaire. WHY?
P is for Pearl – Eliza Henry-Jones (5 stars)
Eliza Henry-Jones can do no wrong. This is a beautiful tale of grief and hope. Gwen is struggling to choose what she wants to do with her life. She is haunted by her past, a past which her dad wants to ignore as he focuses on the present with Biddy, his new wife, and Evie, his new daughter. She also meets a lovely boy, whom she and her best friend call ‘Handsome Ben’ – (I LOVE IT!). I loved the Australian teenage voice Eliza Henry-Jones has so perfectly captured, and the rugged landscape of the Tasmanian coast. The writing is stunning, the themes powerful, and most of all the story is heart-warming.
What have you been reading this week?