I had a slow couple of reading months in August and September due to my exams and the general panic that surrounds revision! So I thought I’d combine the two into a much more pleasing pile o’ books. Although I actually read 4/5 of these by listening to the audiobook- 2018 has definitely been the year of the audiobook for me…
It by Stephen King
I flew through this- well, as fast as you can fly though a 44 hour audiobook of a 1200+ page novel. In reality it was about ten days that It consumed me. Stephen King is a really complicated writer for me to pin down because at some times I was scared to death, literally hiding under my blankets and flinching at every sound… But at other times I was wondering how long there was left and when it was going to switch to a more interesting point of view. King writes amazing stories, but he never quite lands the ending for me. I definitely need to get around to my teenage favourite; Carrie, soon.
And yeah, about that scene? It made sense in the context of what was happening. Probably wouldn’t get published now but, as Bill says; “-politics always change, stories never do.”
Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
It’s been three years since I read the first book in the Southern Vampire Mysteries. Although I also read it as a teen so this might be my third or fourth re-read. I listened to the audiobook which wasn’t great, but I was feeling so nostalgic for this universe that at the time, it’d do! When I next decide to visit Bon Temps, I’ll just pick up my physical copies.
“My mind scrabbled around like a squirrel trying to get out of a cage. It couldn’t light on anything or be comfortable anywhere.”
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
During my exam season I was super super stressed and needed an audiobook that would be easy listening. The Hobbit was perfect for that. I’ve read it before, the narrator is so calming, and it’s pretty short. I started reading it physically in 2015 and didn’t enjoy it that much so I think audiobook is definitely the way to go with Tolkien!
“Go back?” he thought. “No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!”
The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
I’m writing a full review on this because I have a lot of feelings.
Empire by Jennifer Ridyard and John Connolly*
I did it! I finally re-read Empire after wanting to for two years. And it was just as good as I remembered it, I completely agree with my original review and had an absolute blast revisiting one of my favourite series.
No knowledge could really be described as useless; there was simply knowledge that could be applied, and knowledge that had not yet found its application.
What have you been reading lately? Have you read any of these?
After fostering Gilbert and Esther, I took a bit of a break from fostering as there wasn’t any to take in for a while, and I was doing some travelling. However, a week before my birthday I got the best present- cats to look after! Enter these two who were a painfully shy mother and daughter duo that needed socialisation while we found the perfect home for them.
Initially, I called them Selina and Helena after Catwoman and The Huntress because I thought their markings looked like the masks that comic book heroes wear! But eventually that turned into Slug and Hedgehog because Slug looked like a slug with her sleek dark fur when she settled on your lap, and Hedgehog was always a little prickly.
Being younger, Slug was much easier to socialise and would eventually lay on my lap for hours. But Hedgehog didn’t have such a drastic improvement. They weren’t feral, they didn’t attack and hadn’t been brought in from an outside colony. They had just hadn’t had the most interactive experience with humans which can be tough to ‘fix’ after they hit that 6 month mark. She had a habit of pulling the blanket that I keep on my desk chair, onto the ground in a heap and burrowing into it.
In the end, they were adopted together, a little over a month after I first got them. I got to drop them off at their new home, with their new human who was in love with them the minute they arrived and was prepared to be patient when it came to interaction. After Gilbert and Esther ending up in an adoption centre for weeks, which gave me a lot of anxiety even though Cats Protection adoption centres are wonderful, it was a great experience to take these two to their new home and say goodbye!
And five days later I had my next three fosters! But I’ll leave that for another post.
Have you ever seen such beautiful cats in your life?
The ‘Saga’ genre isn’t featured very much in my reading, despite the appeal of the covers with their pretty distinctive style and quantity of them at my local library. So, when I was offered a book in the genre that also focused on two of my big interests in fiction; Christmas and WWII, I was ready to read Christmas with the East End Angels*!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year – and the East End Angels are working hard to keep Londoners safe.
Frankie is trying hard to keep everything together. She can count on the support of the East End Angels, even in the face of family trouble.
Winnie’s beloved husband, Mac, is putting himself at risk every day in the bomb disposal unit and she’s finding it hard while he’s away.
Bella is growing in confidence and happiness. Her friendship with Winnie’s brother, James, is getting closer all the time.
Christmas on the Home Front is a hard time with loved ones far away – but the women of the Auxiliary Ambulance service are making do and mending.
The books I lean towards are very suspenseful and action-packed so this was a change. It focuses on London post-Blitz and feels very calm and away from the action of war, despite their readiness! With this came a focus on character and feeling that, despite not reading the previous two books in the series, meant that I was emotionally invested. It was so relatable that I felt their grief and even found myself getting a little teary eyed!
It was also quite cheesy. It’s definitely part of the charm of this genre but the dialogue isn’t always super realistic with everyone saying every little positive thing they think out loud. There are lots of declarations about doing what they need to do for the war and keeping calm and carrying on!
This is balanced out by the amount of research and background knowledge that Rosie Hendry obviously has on the time period. It isn’t overdone as some historical fiction is, where the authors are trying to shove every bit of information they have in. Hendry writes like people living at the time with her characters revealing interesting tidbits: like the lack of rationing on sprouts!, in a realistic way that I really appreciated.
Since it is Christmas of the East End Angels, the book covers two Christmases and the year in between. This is a nice way to ease you into the season since I know not everyone is as keen as I am to get their decorations up as soon as the last trick-or-treater has taken their candy. Personally, I would’ve preferred a bit more of a festive vibe, but I have been singing carols since September so I’m not sure I can be trusted…
Are you a fan of the Saga genre? Have you started reading your Christmas themed books yet?