Monthly wrap ups

Monthly wrap up: January 2017

So I said in my Goals for 2017 post that I wouldn’t start reading a new book until I had reviewed the book I had just finished. I managed to last half a month. Whoops.

The more I thought about it the less convinced I became that I’d manage to keep it up for a prolonged period of time. From previous experience putting too much pressure on myself to write only results in me not wanting to write at all. With that in mind I’m electing to go for a monthly wrap up approach to my blogging instead, with individual review posts now and again for ARCs and any books that I have a lot to say about. Here’s hoping it will work out better for me.

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Kicking us off then is The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr. As I received this via NetGalley I’ve already posted a review for it, but in short this is a YA story about Flora who has a form of amnesia that results in her having a limited short term memory. It follows her journey as she sets out to be with the boy who seemingly cured her memory issues with just one kiss. I enjoyed the mystery aspect of the storyline but found the romance uncomfortable (although I guess that was the intention).

Goodreads rating = 3 stars.

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Next is Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, another book I read through NetGalley and posted a review for. This multi-generational historical fiction begins with two sisters in 18th-Century Ghana and ends with their descendants in the modern day, with each chapter dedicated to one member of each generation. This is a highly impactful book about the long-term effects of slavery and comes with a whole host of trigger warnings. Whilst very much outside of my usual preferences I’m glad that I read it, and it saddens me to think how relevant the prejudice it depicts still is.

Goodreads rating = 3 stars.

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The third and final NetGalley I read last month was The Memory Book by Lara Avery. Like the title suggests this is another YA book with memory loss as its basis, this time in the form of Sammie’s recent diagnosis with Niemann Pick Type C. She’s determined to continue chasing her goal of going to NYU though and with the return of an old crush adding to the mix this journal she keeps is full of hope. I enjoyed Sammie’s personality and the romance, but found the ending a little disappointing (I doubled up my review of Flora with this one).

Goodreads rating = 3 stars.

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I have to admit that after 3 e-books in a row it was nice to return to physical books, and The Case of Beasts certainly offered something that an electronic version would have been unable to. This is a companion book to the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie and focuses on the art/costume/set design of the film. It was full of interesting facts and photographs, and I especially loved the ‘interactive’ elements such as the two large wanted posters. Unfortunately there were a number of mistakes that weren’t picked up on during the editing process which lets it down a little, but it’s still a nice book that I’m sure any fan of the film will enjoy.

Goodreads rating = 3 stars.

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Next up is I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, a vintage YA story told in the form of the main character’s diary. 17 year old Cassandra lives in a run-down castle with her younger brother, older sister, father, stepmother and lifelong friend. There are quite a few storylines but essentially it’s a coming of age story that also deals with poverty/wealth and relationships of all kinds. I found the book to be funnier than I was expecting thanks to Cassandra’s somewhat witty and sarcastic sense of humour. It was a fairly atmospheric read and I could easily imagine what life would have been like living in the castle. However things started to decline in the second half, where I began to find it very whiny and altogether dragged out too much. A pity really.

Goodreads rating = 3 stars.

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The final book that I completed in January was Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall. Teenage Norah has suffered from acute OCD and agoraphobia for four years, with her mind trapping her inside the safety of her house for all that time. Used to spending her days watching mind-numbing daytime TV, Norah suddenly has a lot more to deal with when Luke (complete with boyband good looks) moves in next door. This own-voices novel gives an incredibly detailed account of living with mental illness, so much so that I found myself exhausted at times at the extent of what Norah goes through (be warned that the book includes self-harm). The developing relationship between Norah and Luke is really sweet, with the romance not used as the usual trope of the boy saving the girl from herself. This was the only relevant book that I managed to read during Diverseathon but I’m glad I was able to fit it in.

Goodreads rating = 4 stars.

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A pretty good start to the year really. Getting through six books puts me in good stead for achieving my Goodreads target, and with five of them contributing to the Popsugar Challenge that’s also looking promising. Still, we’re only one month into the year so there’s a long way to go yet.

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