It should be no surprise to any of you that know me, know my job or follow my instagram (@poppyraptor) that I LOVE books. I wake up, read, go sell books all day and then come home and read until I fall asleep. And repeat. I read anything and everything, no genres omitted. I have a particular penchant for YA and MG (middle ground (9-12)) fiction, but I also read historical books, as well as the popular science genre and I also kind-of really want a copy of the Witches Bible just to see what it’s like. Sometimes I read adult fiction, perhaps two or three a month, but I don’t have much patience for ones that don’t have either point or bite.
*full disclaimer alert* I read about 10 books in the past month, so these are just a small selection! I would also heartily recommend Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot and If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo. The latter had me almost sobbing on a crowded train.
But, without further ado, here is *some* of what I read last month:
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
I didn’t expect to love this book. I didn’t even expect to like it. I bought the first book in this series on the recommendation of a colleague whose taste in books is the polar opposite of mine as I wanted to try something new. If you need convincing, let me tell you that when I was 100 pages from the end, I stayed up until 2am to finish it knowing I had to get up at 5.30am for work the next (same?) day. It’s written just that well. The book hangover is so strong I’m even having trouble getting into the second book in the series. The easiest way to describe this book is a mash-up of The Hunger Games and Twilight, but with evil, dangerous fantasy creatures that belong in a horror novel. It’s a love story, yes, but whilst you could choose to focus solely on that aspect, it’s also so much more. The themes of family, loyalty, independence and coming-of-age are just as prevalent as the young love blossoming and all the literary tropes that follow. As a rule, I don’t read fantasy as the illogical nature of it annoys me. For that reason, there were parts of ACOTAR that annoyed me. One of the main characters, Tamlin, had the ability to suddenly shape-shift into a massive beast at will, but even his humanoid form showed beast-y features, which jarred my mind’s image of him. There were constant references to his claws, or him growling. For me, this did ruin the love story slightly – call me a prude, but I’m not a fan of bestiality. Also, OKAY, OKAY, you can call me a prude, but there’s too much emphasis on sex for my liking. Especially as it’s written for a teenage audience. This isn’t really a problem in this first book, but within 66 pages of the second book, the main character has probably had sex 6 times. Contraception is not always mentioned and this lack of care of consequences in a teen fiction book annoys me. Probably more than it should. Once or twice, contraception is an afterthought for the main – female – character and I would never want anybody in the real world to be convinced to think of the morning after pill as anything other than an emergency last resort. Maybe I’m getting old. But, sexy qualms aside, this book is the best that I’ve read in a very long while and I’m excited to crack on with the rest of the series. (Postscript: Book 2, A Court of Mist and Fury is INCREDIBLE. And the sex scenes stop and real action happens and when the sex scenes DO come back, they’re no longer frivolous.)
The Girls by Emma Cline
This book is a re-read for me, because it’s only just come out in paperback and it’s going to popular at work as it’s our Book of The Month over at Waterstones. I’m not just including it for that reason though, I genuinely adored this book when it first came out. I remember devouring it within a couple of days! Now I think about it, this was actually the book I cited when my now-manager asked what my favourite book I’d read recently had been, back in my interview for Waterstones! Set in heady 60s America, Evie feels stifled and lonely at home – so when she sees the girls in the park that day, she’s immediately drawn to them and the frisson of excitement they make her feel. Loosely and unapologetically reminiscent of the Manson murders, this book will keep you hooked until the very end.
Paradise Lodge by Nina Stibbe
This one doesn’t quite belong on my list because soon after starting it, and persevering to around the 100-page mark, I went out and bought another book (the first one on this list in fact). The premise is that a 15-year-old girl bunks off school occasionally to take a job at a care home which is slowly being run to the ground. This book is slow, there is no other way to describe it. Perhaps it gets incredible mid-way through, but I never got this far! I bought this book because a quote on the front cover heralded Stibbe as the ‘new Sue Townsend’ but I’m afraid that, in my opinion, Stibbe’s efforts fall incredibly short of this high praise. I have fond memories of devouring the Adrian Mole books as a teenager, and laughing out loud at least every other page. Stibbe didn’t even make me crack a smile. I feel so mean writing this, but it’s very unlike me to give up on a book. It’s not that I hate it, it just leaves me cold. But I guess that says it all. If you are after comedy, I’d like to suggest, yes, the late, great Sue Townsend or, if you’re after something more modern, try Shalom Auslander. Or perhaps even this next author:
Billionaire Boy by David Walliams
I’m slowly working my way through Walliam’s back catalogue and I’m not ashamed to say I still think he’s incredible. I wrote a whole post dedicated to him not so long ago, so I shan’t write too much here save to say I’ve not yet come across a Walliams book yet that I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed. And this is no exception. Billionaire Boy is about an ordinary boy, Joe Spud, who tries to navigate life whilst having an incredibly rich father who wastes money on everything from race cars to giving his son one million pounds for his birthday. But despite his life of luxury, all Joe wants is to be normal. Unfortunately, being normal isn’t so easy when your Dad’s famous for inventing special toilet paper and is dating a bimbo young enough to be his daughter and you’re about to enter a ‘normal’ comprehensive secondary school for the first time in your life…
Well that’s it for now! I could’ve carried on with about 10 other books, but nobody wants to read a post that long! Have you read any of the books in this post? Let me know if you have any recommendations for me! See you soon! P.