Tuesday 8 July 2014

June: What I Read, What I'm Reading

Yeah, yeah, this is a week late, but SSSSSH BUSY.  Last month was quite an interesting one - the Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour, a week basking in the Croatian sun, etc etc - so despite not reading as much as I expected on holiday I actually finished quite a few books, yay!
~ What I Read ~
Lady Audley's Secret
by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
I started out the month by finishing up this potboiler of a Victorian novel for Alice's readalong.  It was just as melodramatic as I remembered from my first reading at university, and a lot of fun even if it's definitely not the best novel I've ever read!  Plenty of melodrama and romantic intrigue, with all the suspenseful subtlety of a sledgehammer.  3.5 stars, plus bonus points for the beautiful PEL cover.  :) 

Doomed (Damned 2)
by Chuck Palahniuk
Next up was the second book in Palahniuk's Damned trilogy, which I started last month.  I actually liked it more than Damned; that one was crazier and more shamelessly grotesque, with Madison traversing Hell with her new friends, whereas in this one she's stuck in Purgatory (drifting around on Earth as a ghost) watching the consequences of her accidental phone call to her grieving parents in the first novel.  It was still mad, and occasionally disjointed, but it felt a bit more grounded than the last book, which helped.  3.5 stars.

Boys Don't Knit (Boys Don't Knit 1)
by T.S. Easton
Hands down one of the funniest, most charming books I've read in ages.  If you threw Shameless, Skins, Adrian Mole and a bag of yarn into a magical bookish blender, this is what you'd get.  It's about a boy called Ben who joins a knitting class as part of his parole after accidentally taking out a lollipop lady with his bike... only to find that he's good at it.  Really, really good.  It's very British, very funny, very earthy, and anyone who's been to school here in the last fifteen years or so will feel right at home with these characters.  LOVED IT.  4.5 stars!

Lisey's Story
by Stephen King
You know how sometimes someone on the internet recommends a book that you'd not normally give a second glance, but then you see it somewhere serendipitiously and it rings a bell and you decide to give it a go because WHY NOT?  That's what happened with this book, and it was SO GOOD.  It's Chris from The Reading Rhodes's favourite book, and I spotted it in the library one day, and that was that.  It's a big novel - 700 pages or so - and quite slow-building, but so worth it.  It starts out as a gentle story of grief and recovery after the loss of a spouse, and becomes a fascinating and exciting novel taking in everything from sisterly love to other worlds to mental illness to stalker violence.  Not one I'd have picked up on my own - but I'm glad I did!  4.5 stars.

Geek Girl (Geek Girl 1)
by Holly Smale
Awww, this was so much fun.  Bex bought it me for the Ninja Book Swap last autumn, and I took it to Croatia with me at the end of the month and devoured it over a couple of long hot sunlounger days.  It's perfect poolside reading, like a cross between The Princess Diaries and The Devil Wears Prada.  It's about a fashion-clueless geek called Harriet who is accidentally 'spotted' during a trip to The Clothes Show live with her best friend Nat, who has always dreamed of being a model.  The novel's about how she takes this opportunity to do something new, finds a way to reconcile it with her own values, and deals with the fallout with her friends and family.  It's smart, easy to read and very cute - bring on book 2!  4 stars.

Lullaby (Watersong 2)
by Amanda Hocking
I read Wake last year by the pool in Fuerteventura, so it felt right to read the second book in the series this year by the pool in Rovinj!  In fact, this series has become so entwined with beautiful holidays, hot sun and sea breezes in my mind that I think I'm going to re-buy the first book and keep them all.  Anyway, in this second book Harper is trying to find Gemma, her younger sister, who has been spirited away by the beautiful Penn, Lexi and Thea, and is struggling to resist the darker side of her new life as a siren.  It's an easy read, and I enjoyed this one more than the first novel.  Hopefully I might even finish the series this summer!  4 stars.
~ What I'm Reading ~
While I was on holiday I also read the first 200 pages or so of Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore, and the first chunk of The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey.  I've nearly finished the latter and have already preordered the sequel, which is exciting!  After that I hope to go back and finish Lamb because I was really enjoying it, it just wasn't quite light enough for sweltering days on a sunlounger when my brain was melting.  I'm also still reading A Match to the Heart: One Woman's Story of Being Struck by Lightning by Gretel Ehrlich, which I started reading last month but which proved so frickin' purple of prose that it was driving me nuts; I put it aside for a while and haven't picked it back up since.  Oooops.

Aaaaaand that was June!