Mini Book Reviews #1

Tuesday, August 08, 2017
I always have my monthly reading wrap up posts but they are typically very long which is fantastic as it means that I've read a lot but it's maybe not the quickest or easiest post to read so for those books that I was sent a physical copy of or that I have a lot of opinions about, I'm going to have a separate mini book review of.

Today's post is the first in this mini series which might only be once or twice a month, it depends on the books I'm sent and my opinions but today I'm talking about two books I was kindly sent physical copies of, one from Pushkin Press and the other from Headline Review via BookBridgr.
*School Of Velocity by Eric Beck Rubin - ★★★☆☆, 3/5
I was very kindly sent this book by the incredibly lovely people over at Pushkin Press (surprise book mail is always very welcome!) and it sounded very interesting as well as something very different to anything else I've read. However, since I have loved every book I've read from Pushkin Press, I had to give it a go. 

I'm not crazy about the cover, I don't know if I would have picked it up of my own volition but I'm glad I was sent it as it was an interesting read as well as being very melancholy, raw and heartbreaking. We follow Jan, a virtuoso pianist, who at the beginning of the book is about to start a performance and going through post-performance nerves. As we progress through the book we go back into his past from being a teenager to his forties and as this book is very short at just over 200 pages, it's a bit of a rush through his life as he discovers himself, his sexuality, new people and relationships as well as his passion of music and a couple of heartbreaking revelations. 

I do like listening to classical and instrumental music but I'm not well versed in it so some of the mentions and references were lost on me but it was interesting and refreshing to read a book that is very different to anything else I've read. I read it in one sitting as it's so short and very quick to read. This is Eric Beck Rubins very foray into fiction which is impressive and I would recommend it if it sounds like something you'd be interested in but in my opinion, it won't be for everyone. 

*The Plague Charmer by Karen Maitland - ★★★★☆, 4/5
I recently discovered the wonder that is BookBridgr where, if you are a reviewer or book blogger, you can request new titles to review; I requested this book and it arrived really quickly so thank you to the publisher! I adore the strange cover, it sounded so unique and I couldn't wait to read it even though it's longer than most books I pick up at over 500 pages but I did read War and Peace last month so this wasn't nearly as daunting!

We follow the lives of the villagers and nobles of a coastal town during the 1300's where life is hard and it is about to get much worse with the outbreak of the plague, death of loved ones, unrequited love, religious cults, shipwrecks, hysteria and the more than unusual woman who is rescued from the sea...We follow numerous people with the village and manor, my favourite character was definitely Will who reminded me of Tyrion from Game of Thrones. This book to me felt as though it was set in the Game of Thrones world but focusing on a coastal village that we don't see.

Even though this book is over 500 pages and it does follow numerous people, it is very easy to read and it's surprisingly quick, especially the last half of the book as I wanted to know what was going to happen, if certain characters would be reunited and what was ultimately going to happen to the village and it's inhabitants. I thought I was going to like this book, otherwise I wouldn't have requested it but I didn't know that I was going to love it. I now need to buy all of Karen Maitland's previous books as this was one of my favourite books of the year so far (I think The Owl Killers will be next on my list)!

I didn't rate it five stars (although it was close!) as I felt at times that it was a little predictable and I wasn't surprised by what happened in the book; however there were some amazing but heartbreaking and disturbing scenes in the book that were written wonderfully. If you like dark, atmospheric historical fiction and mysteries then I'd definitely recommend this book!

Have you read either of these books or anything from these authors? What are you currently reading?

18 comments

  1. I think I would thoroughly enjoy Plague charmer, sounds like a very interesting book!
    Pam xo/ Pam Scalfi♥

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  2. Plague charmer sounds so interesting. It's my kinda book! X

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  3. Ohhh I'm gonna look for these on audio book!!!!! Thank you xxx

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  4. Oh the plague charmer sounds good x

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  5. I've never read any of these books. Right now I'm reading Thirteen Reasons Why.

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  6. I have just signed up to bookbridgr! Thanks for the recommendation x

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  7. I like the sound of The Plague Charmer! xx

    Beautylymin

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  8. some fab picks here - will have to check these out ! x

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  9. They sound fab! You are definitely the person to come to for book recommendations.

    www.EmmyWritesAbout.com

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  10. I think the plague charmer is the one which appeals to me the most x

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  11. I really want to start reading more again soon!

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  12. Not reading anything at the moment so loving your suggestions! X

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  13. everytime I read your posts like this it just makes me want to read again! I wish I had time to :(

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  14. I'd not heard of either of these before. I find it hard to find time to read but if I manage to book a beach holiday I'll be buying all the books!

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  15. Not sure if these are my sorts of reads, but great reviews on them.

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  16. Gonna look into bookbridgr now - thank you x

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Feel free to leave me a comment, I read all of them!

If you would like to contact me with a question or PR information email me at: heathernixon4@gmail.com