Reading Regularly

Reading Regularly – Books 8 to 11

8) The Taming of the Queen by Philipa Gregory
An exciting look at one of Henry VIII’s most neglected queens, that had some scenes that really made me question the characterisation of Henry VIII that we see in most fictional portrayals today.

9) The Fall by Claire McGowan
Beautifully written, starts off so strong but in the end brought only disappointment after hours spent frantically tearing through the pages to reach the end as quickly as possible.

10) Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal
A really intriguing idea that felt like it could have been so much more, but made for an enjoyable, if bittersweet, read anyway.

11) The Space Between the Stars by Anne Corlett
Featuring thinly veiled North East landmarks like Barter Books, this is a book that I really enjoyed and look forward to reading more from this author in the future.

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Gibside Review

Gibside is one of the most beautiful places I know in the North East. It’s a National Trust property so it’s quite expensive to get into, but it really is a wonderful place for a day out.

If you’re feeling brave and have a few hours to spare, there’s walks that’ll take you through farmland and woodland down to the river, or you can always just sit along the Avenue (the main stretch of land at Gibside’s heart) and have a picnic.

A personal favourite is the Orangery, a ruin that has flowers popping up inside of it. When it’s a beautiful day, the place is so tranquil that you really can feel that you’re miles from everywhere.

Summer has been a little bit of a dud this year, I know, but if you do happen upon another few sunny days then it’s worth giving the place a go.

If nothing else, you’ll be stepping away from technology, from mobile phone signals (!!) and modern life for just a little while.

This is a bit of a short post, I know, but I just really wanted to share with you all a place I love.

 

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Review: The Couple Next Door

The Couple Next Door Review

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

It had a killer blurb and recommendations from some of the best crime thriller writers in the business.

I have a feeling though. I’m not the target audience for this book, clearly, as I have no experience of middle class dinner parties or the kind of problems that come with a failing multi-million pound business. Sarcasm, yes, but part of my dislike of this book was my inability to relate to these characters on a personal level.

There is definitely a place for stories about privileged people, but sometimes I want to see people I recognise in the books I read. Struggling with illness or living in a council house, confused about the future or looking forward with great hope.

This book was one I wanted to love. 

Another aspect of this book that disappointed me was the way that the major focus of the book — who took the baby and where she went — was ‘spoiled’. I was really hoping that it would come out through the eyes of the detectives, towards the end of the novel, but at least some details about it were seen towards the middle of the book. It really affected my enjoyment of the book.

I’d give this book a solid 3/5. I did race through the pages quite quickly but when I reached the end, it felt like more of an empty than a fulfilling journey.

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Our Dark Duet by V.E. Schwab

Review: Our Dark Duet by V.E. Schwab

 

I’m in love with Victoria Schwab’s writing style.

This book will stick with me. It’s themes of humanity and monstrosity, the blurred lines between good and evil, were perfectly expressed. Imagine a world where all bad deeds have consequences and those consequences come alive, and you’ll be half-way to understanding the world created in the Monsters of Verity duology.

I read this way back when it first came out, in the months where reading time was severely limited by the challenges of finishing a brutally intense undergraduate degree. Despite all that, I pre-ordered Our Dark Duet months in advance and when my release day copy was delayed bought a Kindle copy to keep me going. This Savage Song was just that good!

The weird thing about a duology is that you’re both getting to know and saying goodbye to the characters you love all at once.

I would have loved more time with August and Kate, to learn more about their friendship and explore their world. Although… it is just possible that this series would have been diluted by an increased size, its beauty and impressiveness distilled with each additional page. I know that lots of times in the past, my interest in something has declined knowing that there’s plenty more to go around.

I much preferred the chapters exploring August’s perspective and found him a much more interesting character. He was just so fascinating. Part of that is linked to the themes at play in my current WIP — the idea of what humanity means is something that’s on my mind a lot at the moment.

The ending…

For the benefit of those yet to read the beauty that is Schwab’s prose, I’ll leave out in-depth discussion of my feelings on the ending. Heartrending. Bittersweet. And when you tear through the pages to that final chapter? Well, what happens was probably inevitable. But that doesn’t make it any less sad.

A fantastic book by a master storyteller – a must read!

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I See You by Clare Mackintosh

I See You by Clare Mackintosh

Wow. I always seem to pick up crime books on a whim and then end up feeling disappointed by the one I’ve chosen. This one was no exception in how I came to be reading it, but it was very different in how I felt about it after reading!

I think I’ve read Mackintosh’s debut novel, but it didn’t really stick in my mind. This book has such a tantalising premise though, the idea of adverts being placed in the newspaper leading to crimes being committed is very exciting. It’s so simple, yet so different to most of the crime novels I’ve seen recently.

The characters were likeable and the twist at the end was the perfect ending to my favourite crime novel in a good few months.

Recommended for: crime lovers, holiday readers, commuters.

 

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