April & May Reading Wrap Up

Sunday, 4 June 2017
As I was very busy with exams towards the end of April I decided to lump my April and May reading wrap-ups together. So I apologise if you missed last month's post but hey - extra long one today! Now that my exams are over I've had much more time for reading which feels like a real treat. I've also been trying to finish all my unread books before I head to the US so I'm racing against the clock. I read a good few books over the past two months, some of which I really enjoyed! 

Spectacles by Sue Perkins
I love Sue Perkins so I was really excited to read her autobiography. And it didn't disappoint! It was funny, personal and a great read. What I liked the most about this was that Sue didn't take a chronological approach per se, but instead selected topics to write about. There were a few bits that didn't pique my interest so this made it a bit easier to skim over them. There's also a pretty big part on GBBO so you get to find out some fun behind the scenes secret. I loved this book but I wish I'd gotten the audiobook as Sue narrates it herself! 5/5 stars.

The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom* 
This new YA fiction novel tells a story similar to Taken. However, the roles are switched and this time the dad goes missing and the daughter goes after her. Gwendolyn has grown up moving all over the world with her dad, a diplomat after her mother was murdered. But the search for her kidnapped father takes her across 4 countries. It was fast paced and action packed. A little cringy at times like all YA novels but one I enjoyed none the less. I read this book in one day on a train and back to York and I really loved how quickly I got through it. I've given it 4/5 stars. 

Release by Patrick Ness*
I'm a big fan of Patrick Ness so when an ARC copy of this book showed up in my post I just about wet myself with excitement. This story is about a teenage boy who is gay but has grown up in an extremely homophobic Christian church. It's juxtaposed with a story about a spirit rising from the town's lake. I really enjoyed the story about Adam, I found it to be richly descriptive and the characters weren't at all cringy (a big problem in YA fiction for me). However, I didn't really feel like the story about the spirit added any value and I didn't enjoy these part as much. For this reason, I decided to rate it 4/5 stars. 

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner*
The main character in this YA novel was texting his friend whilst at work. Later he found out his friend had been driving at the time and was involved in an accident that killed all 3 of his best friends. This novel explores Carver's feelings as he mourns the loss of his friends, but also faces charges due to his involvement. When the families of his friends start requesting 'goodbye days' where they reenact how they would have liked to have spent their last day with their loved one, he really gets pushed to the limits. This was a really unique idea for a YA novel which I found intriguing. I enjoyed it so gave it 3/5 stars but I don't think it really stood out to me.

Flawed by Cecelia Ahern*  
In a future dystopian world people who show themselves to be 'flawed' and branded and socially shunned from society. Celestine normally follows the rules but when forced into a difficult decision she breaks one and risks becoming flawed. I read the book in one day as I had a long wait in Belfast airport - in short, this book is very flawed. It was a fun easy read but didn't seem to be well thought out. The main character switched mindsets at the drop of a hat which was not just confusing but totally unrealistic. It's also the first in a series when I really feel it could have been a stand-alone novel. I gave it 2/5 stars. Nothing special. 

Holding Up The Universe by Jennifer Niven
After reading All The Bright Places earlier in the year, I was looking forward to reading Jennifer Niven's other novel. This book follows two teenage characters, Libby - a girl who became so overweight she had to be cut out of her house and Jack - a boy who cannot remember faces. This book was ok but I don't have any strong opinions either way. I gave it 3/5 stars. Classic YA novel for me! 

Here I Stand by Amnesty International*
This book is a collection of short stories about freedom by various authors. I love reading short stories and this was no different. The stories were all quick, fun but with a serious message. Amnesty International holds a space close to my heart so I absolutely loved this and would recommend. 5/5 stars. 

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Wow. This book is about a dystopian world in which fertile women are required to breed for the infertile wives of men in power. Despite being written over 30 years ago this book is still exploring powerful themes. It was very moving and thought provoking and a book that I think will stay with me for a very long time. I don't really know what else to say about this book apart from that you just have to read it. 5/5 stars. 

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