April and May Book Reviews

Saturday, June 04, 2016
April and May Book Reviews
How is it June already, what is happening *I know I say this in every monthly roundup post but I can't help it*. I have two books here that I read in the last couple of days of March, when I didn't think I would finish one book, let alone two so they should be in my March Book Review Roundup post but here they are; along with seven books that I read in the month of April.

Harry Potter & The Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling 
The Harry Potter film series is one of my favourite ever but I have only read one of the books (the Deathly Hallows) so I wanted to read the series. Before I read this book, I was putting it off for a while because I already know the story so well as I've watched the film approximately 2,100 times *not a complete exaggeration*. But I was SO pleasantly surprised, I adore her writing as I did with The Cuckoo's Calling and even though I know the story, there was so much in this book that isn't in the film such as a whole section on Norbert the dragon and the enhanced forest that was in part missed out of the film. If you've watched the films and didn't want to read the books because you know the story, think again and definitely pick up the books! Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5.

Harry Potter & The Chamber Of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
I adored the book even though I already know the basic story as I love the films. I love the rubberised covers of the editions I have! While the overall story is the same, there are quite a few differences from the film; for example, there is a section on nearly headless Nick's deathday and valentines day which aren't in the film. Also Professor Mcgonagall explained what the chamber of secrets is but in the book it is Professor Binns and a new term emerged from the books which isn't in the films - 'squibs' which is the term for a person born into the wizarding world with no magical powers. Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5.

*My Map Of You By Isabelle Broom 
This is one of the books that I read in March; I was kindly sent this advanced readers copy in March and it was the first book I've been sent to review, so thank you Penguin Random House! It is a contemporary romance book which usually aren't the genres I want to read but I loved this book. It is a entertaining, heartwarming family mystery with romance and it made me want to visit Greece ASAP. I already have a full review of this book on my blog so if you want an in-depth review check it out. Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5.

The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine 
I am a sucker for book covers and this one is so damn gorgeous and the plot sounded interesting. I read reviews before I bought it, as I do with pretty much everything and it's apparently a snow white retelling but I think it was definitely a loose retelling! The book has magic, action, adventure, vengeance, angsty teen romance, family tragedy and best of all...dragons! The book was so easy to read, I loved the characters (especially Loreli and Kai) and I adored the different perspectives that you get, from the evil queen, the main characters, Kols dragon side and Loreli's gyrfalcon. I cannot recommend this book enough and I loved the ending! Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5.

Stranded by Val McDermid 
I bought this book on The Works as it was SO cheap; until this book I hadn't read anything from this author and I really didn't know anything about this book so it was such a surprise when quite a few of the short stories were based in or around Manchester, the city I was born and live in! The book really wasn't what I thought it would be; some of the stories are dark and disturbing but others are a bit meh. However, I went through this book SO quickly, I enjoyed it and I have already bought another book from this author as I love her easy writing style. I would have to say that you should be wary of the themes in this book as it does deal with HIV, death, crime, sexual relationships and dysfunctional relationships and abuse so it won't be for everyone and I was quite shocked and disturbed by some of the short stories. Overall rating: ★★★★☆, 4/5.

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige 
I picked this up in Waterstones without reading any reviews and I'm so glad that I did as I loved it. It is a book about what happened after the traditional Wizard of Oz story where Dorothy goes back to OZ and the world is turned upside down; good characters are now evil and it is a lot darker than the traditional story. I loved the writing, it is so easy to read and I did not want to put it down! I haven't ever been a fan of The Wizard of Oz but this is amazing. I have the second book and I will be buying the third. Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5.

*Findo's Mousetrap by Gareth Paskett
I have a full review of this book on my blog already, it was more like a rant as I thought the book could have been 10x better than it was. The premise and main device/machine in the book was so unique and interesting but instead of focusing on that, it focused on a somewhat unrealistic (in terms of the timeframe) and cheesy romance. The writing style is a blunt in places and there are no chapters which is odd but overall the story was entertaining and I loved the heartwarming ending. Themes of sexual harassment, illness, dysfunctional relationships and history. Overall rating: ★★★☆☆, 3/5.

*Not Working by Lisa Owens 
Again, another book that I've already reviewed on my blog and another book that I was sent for review - thank you Pan Macmillan! I adore the cover, it's minimal and so bright and we all know, I love a cute book cover. Yet another book that I loved and read so quickly; the story and main character was SO relatable *scary relatable* so I think it will appeal to so many readers. There were a couple of characters that were a bit annoying and some of the interactions/conversations were a little frustrating too but overall it is a funny and unique book. I also liked the structure of the book as it's written in a snippet of thoughts kind of way which I haven't experienced before. Overall rating: ★★★★☆, 4/5.

*TruthWitch by Susan Dennard 
I have heard so many good things about this book by American youtubers so I was excited when it arrived; I love the cover and any book with themes of magic and I'm all for it! The story has a range of amazing and strong female characters as well as an interesting and unique magic system, swashbuckling sailors, royal power play and a slow burning angsty romance. I wasn't completely happy with the ending as it left a lot of questions unanswered so I can't wait for the next book! Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5.
April and May Book Reviews
- The Haunted Hotel by Wilkie Collins
I have wanted to read some classics for a while but I think that understandably it is quite a daunting task! However, I came across Wilkie Collins on one of my many browses through the book section of Amazon and I'm so glad I bought this book. It's published by Vintage Publishing and it looks so gorgeous! It was first published in 1889. The story has themes of murder, crime, revenge and a very slow burning Victorian romance although that is a very small part of the book. The story follows a handful of main characters as well as quite a few others and in some places it was a little bit difficult to keep track of the various characters relations and hierarchy to one another. It's the first classic I've read and I thought that it wouldn't be very accessible but I was wrong! Yes, the language is quite different to the language in contemporary books but it is easy to read, quick and for the most part it is very easy to understand. I managed to read the book in a couple of days and I do really like his writing style but I wasn't quite as blown away by this book as I hoped I would be; however I will be buying more of his works. I found a couple of the characters such as Countess Narona and Agnes were very vivid and interesting but the others weren't so much so I didn't end up connecting with most of the characters apart from a couple. Overall it was an interesting book and I'm very glad that I read it however it wasn't nearly as mysterious, dark or complex as I thought it would be. Overall rating: ★★★★☆, 4/5. 

- Dead Man Talking by Roddy Doyle
This is the only book that I read on my kindle app this month and it is one of the quick reads – I think it was only 99p or less. I didn't know anything about the author or the book before I started it so I didn't know what to expect and overall I was very disappointed! The story follows one character and his wife as well as his friend who has just died. It isn't a complex story at all although it does have a twist – I found it a bit boring and annoying in places. The writing style is very blunt although that might be how it was intended to be written. It was very short, I read it in about 30 minutes but I wish I hadn't, I just didn't get on with it and it didn't make any impression on me. So for that reason I can't really recommend it! Overall rating: ★☆☆☆☆, 1/5. 

- Mort by Terry Pratchett
I have wanted to read and watch Terry Pratchett's works for a while especially since I watched his TV show Going Postal and loved it! However, his books total over 40 so I didn't know where to start! I watched a few videos on YouTube about his discworld series and everyone said that you don't need to read the books in order as there are series within series so I started with the one that looked the most interesting – the death series beginning with Mort. Since I hadn't read any of his books before I did find some of the terminology and the world a little bit confusing but it was easy to get into and the writing style reminded me of J.K. Rowling in that it is quick, easy and almost comforting to read, if that makes any sense! The writing style to me is quite witty, philosophical and tongue in cheek which I like! Overall I like the story and the characters as well as the world but I wasn't blown away like I thought I would be – the same feeling I had with The Haunted Hotel, maybe I had to high expectations of both. I found that quite a few of the characters, to me weren't very padded out - it seems to be more about the world rather than the character building so I only really connected with a few of the characters. The world to me is really whimsical and unique so I will definitely be picking up the next book in the series. Overall rating: ★★★★☆, 4/5. 

- The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
I've wanted to read this book since I knew that it was made into a film starring Daniel Radcliffe, which I haven't seen, so when I came across this freakin gorgeous cover (see a better photo of it on my Instagram) I had to buy it. The only things I knew about this story were that it involved a lawyer, a old creepy house and that it was in the horror genre. The writing style I almost instantly got on with, it is so incredibly easy and quick to read which I wasn't expecting but I flew through it in just over a day. The book starts with Arthur, the main character and narrator, with his family and he ends up writing about his experiences about when he was younger which involved a trip up north to Eel Marsh House. The writing is gorgeous, I love it and I definitely need to read more of Susan Hill's books even just solely because of her writing style. The characters aren't really fleshed out, especially as it is a short book at just over 200 pages so I didn't connect with them that much although they are easy to imagine and follow. The storyline on the other hand is not completely what I expected, yes, there are amazing sections in the book building up tension and gorgeously descriptive and atmospheric sections too but overall I was a little disappointed. The book was no where near as horror filled or as scary as I thought it would be, although as I said in some places it is very spooky and atmospheric but not scary. I did enjoy the book but my main problem was with the main character, Arthur, who is a bit of a boring character to me and his decisions were a bit idiotic and contradictory. For example (maybe don't read this last section if you haven't read the book!), Arthur has some creepy experiences at the house, then he vows never to go back, then he goes back and has more creepy experiences and then he doesn't want to go back alone, then he goes back - you get my point, it's repetitive and to me it makes Arthur unrealistic and less believable. Overall rating: ★★★☆☆, 3/5. 

- *The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon 
I've already reviewed this book so I will keep this very brief but I just want to say how much I adore this book! It isn't want I expected, it isn't something I'd usually reach for but it's one of my favourite books from this year. The world is vivid, if a bit complex and the characters are believable and endearing. The 'magic' system in this world is unique and amazing. I cannot explain it well (sorry!) but I cannot recommend it enough! Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5.

- The Mine Order by Samantha Shannon 
This is the second book in The Bone Season series and as with the first book, I love the cover, I love the writing style and I adore the world/characters. It goes on directly from the end of the first book and it is really fast paced for most of the book. I love the main characters relationships and there is a twist at the end which I kind of predicted but I still loved it. I don't think I like this book as much as I loved the first book but it was still incredibly enjoyable and entertaining - you need to buy this series now! Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5!

- *The New Ghost by Robert Hunter 
This is the first graphic novel I have read and I adore it! I already have a full review of this beautiful graphic novel from Nobrow on my blog. The art style is minimalist but so gorgeous and dreamlike, if that makes sense. The story is simple and very fast paced but it is so endearing and unique. Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5.

-*An Unreliable History of Tattoos by Paul Thomas 
Another beautifully published book from the lovely people at NoBrow. I have a couple of tattoos so this book instantly caught my eye; the illustrations are so fun, colourful and unique! Some of the facts are true and others are tongue in cheek and overall it's a fantastic book - it would be a great gift! Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5.

- Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett 
I read Mort by Terry Pratchett in April and really enjoyed it as it's really easy and comforting to read, to me, so I bought Equal Rites which isn't part of the death series - it's the first book in the witches series. I enjoyed this book a bit more than Mort as I loved the strong (if a little unusual) main female characters. The girl power, literally, in this book was fun and endearing. The main storyline is entertaining, fun and as with Mort, I read this in a couple of days. I will be buying more of the Discworld series; although the only problem I have this both books is that the ending always seems to be a bit rushed while the rest of the book has a relatively slow pace. Overall rating: ★★★★☆, 4/5. 


- Uprooted by Naomi Novik
I have the stunning mint green, purple and copper hard cover version of the book and I adore it! I've wanted to read this for ages but I kept putting it off and I don't know why. The book has a typical fairytale/folklore storyline to it - a great wizard lives in a tower and protects the people in the village, in turn he takes one girl every ten years to his tower and the girls rarely return to their village afterwards. It felt like a typical fairytale to me but with a modern/contemporary writing style. I love the two main characters, The Dragon and Agnieszka and the world! It was a LOT darker than I thought it would be, I love the slow angsty romance and the magic. However, I found the last 100 or so pages little confusing and I wasn't happy with the ending, it was abrupt and I wanted a certain two characters to live happily ever after as they always do in fairytales. Overall, I really enjoyed it but as with a few books in the post, I think I had too high expectations - I still definitely recommend it though. Overall rating: ★★★★☆, 4/5. 


- Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion 
I have watched the trailer for the film version and it looked really interesting so I picked up the book, so I can then watch the film. I instantly loved the writing style, it's dark and unique but quick and easy to follow. Most of the book is just R's thoughts as he can hardly speak, like the other zombies which is unique. I loved R as a character, he was sweet, endearing and almost familiar; I also loved M as a character too. The plot was relatively simple but why the zombie acocoplyse came about wasn't really explained at all but I did love the ending. The romance was so sweet and one of my favourite parts of the books. I thought it would be a funny zombie apocalypse book but it isn't really, it's more dark and morbid than I thought it would be and a few scenes were a bit disturbing. It's more about how we can change the world, friendship and going against the twisted social norms than a gore fest or cheesy romance. It's a really short read and I would definitely recommend it! Overall rating: ★★★★☆, 4/5. 


I'm currently reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and I really like it so far although the timeline is a bit confusing! 

Have you read any of these books? What are your reading currently? 

10 comments

  1. OOh now Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige is definitely going on my list x

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  2. I've not read any of these sadly, definitely a few good ones in there. I'm currently reading Me before you, before I watch the movie :P
    Pam xo/ Pam Scalfi♥

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    1. I've heard so many good things about Me Before You x

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  3. oh you're gonna love the Harry Potter series! I couldn't keep the books down once I srated I read all the books in like 4 months!

    XoXo,

    Tamara - LoveofMode.com

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    1. I am trying to pace myself with the books but it's difficult! x

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  4. I love that you're reading Harry Potter. I can't wait to get my hands on the Cursed Child! Really want to read Warm Bodies, great picks!

    Jen | Velvet Spring x

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    1. Warm Bodies is definitely worth reading x

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  5. Such a cute blog! I love hearing about what books other people are reading and loving - My Map of You is definitely on my next read list!

    Sophie - Sophie M Loves

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  6. This last year I have read SO many books and I'm forever adding to my list, so this is a great one for me to read! Harry Potter will always play a big place to my heart. Val McDermid is a wonderful crime writer, her books with Tony Hill are definitely worth a go!

    Musings & More

    Musings & More

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