This month I’ve been super busy writing my dissertation and working on my (last ever pieces of) coursework, so I didn’t have much time for reading. So naturally, I read 13 books. I don’t understand how that happened at all. Although I’m ten pages behind with the dissertation, so maybe that goes some way to explaining it. When life gets stressful, I retreat into other people’s lives. It’s sort of reassuring how much bigger their problems are than mine. So, let’s get started with this monster wrap-up! Click the covers for Goodreads links.
I wasn’t expecting to read anything before the #ayearathon started on 2nd March, but I picked this up in Sainsbury’s on the first and read it that afternoon. And… hm. I’m not sure what to make of this. I loved The Rosie Project and I was excited for this one, but it was kind of disappointing. On the positive side, it did make me laugh, and I enjoyed the side characters a lot, hence the three stars. On the not-so-positive side, I’m kind of furious with Rosie, and I don’t think that was the author’s intention.
It’s hard to explain why without spoiling the first book, but I’ll see what I can do. Don Tillman probably has Asperger’s Syndrome, although the book never explicitly says so. He struggles to read other people’s emotions, and he figures out which behaviour is socially appropriate by memorising norms. I don’t want to say exactly what Rosie’s relationship with Don is, but they’re close. Now it seems to me that if you’re close to someone who struggles to read people, it’s at best thoughtless and at worst cruel to never ever tell them what you’re feeling and then get upset and offended when they fail to figure out what you wanted from them. Rosie did this for the entire book, as well as deliberately deceiving Don, which was what kick-started the plot. I was supposed to be rooting for them, and by the end I just wasn’t.
On the whole, I highly recommend the first book, but I sort of wish I hadn’t read this one. I preferred my own ideas about what happened next.
4/5 stars 4/5 stars
The are the books I finished during the #ayearathon. I talked about them in my wrap-up of that over here, so I won’t repeat myself. I also started The Silmarillion during that week, but I still haven’t finished it. I’m working on it, slowly.
I LOVE THIS BOOK, I LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT! ACK! If you would like some (slightly) more coherent thoughts on Fangirl, I wrote a long review (with well-marked spoilery section) just here.
4/5 stars 4/5 stars 5/5 stars
I flew through this trilogy and loved it, but when I try to write about it, I find that I have very few coherent thoughts. I just… angels and demons and hot guys and Victorians and a love triangle that broke my heart and so many things designed to mess with my feels. Clockwork Princess in particular gave me quite the book hangover because I just couldn’t drag my head out of the world. I really want to get to The Mortal Instruments soon, but I’m also kind of scared of what it might do to me…
In February I read Cinder and adored it. (I talk about it a bit in this post, if you’d like to get some idea of the premise of this series.) I rated it 5/5 stars and immediately set about convincing everyone I know to read it, like that quote in The Fault in Our Stars about weird evangelical zeal. In comparison, Scarlet was slightly disappointing, but only slightly. It didn’t blow me away in the same way as Cinder did, and I liked Scarlet less as a main character, but I still enjoyed the book a lot. My favourite chapters, predictably, were the ones that continued Cinder’s story, especially because they also included Captain Thorn. Ah, Captain Thorn… I want one all my own. I think he’s going to feature a lot in Cress as well, and I can’t wait. I also have a vague feeling that I’ve picked up from reviews and such that Cress is going to back at the same standard as Cinder. I hope I’m right.
I listened to the audiobook of Yes Please because I had a vague idea that listening to people read their own autobiographies would be a really good use of the audiobook format. I was right. I’m listening to Tina Fey’s Bossypants now. Yes Please is very, very funny, but also honest and thoughtful. Poehler says she has two phrases she uses in response to ideas. For positive ideas, “Yes please”, which is enthusiastic and also polite. For negative ideas, “Good for you, not for me”, which allows you to decline something firmly without causing offense. Seems legit to me.
This is the third book in the Shades of London series, which I fell head over heels in love with about ten pages into the first book, The Name of the Star. Of the three that are out so far, that one is probably my favourite, but I love them all very much. Rory is a great protagonist. She’s clever and easy to empathise with, but she also makes impulsive and sometimes kind of stupid decisions which keep the plot moving along. In this book in particular, if she did what she was told then we’d have missed all the action. Almost everything that happens in this book is heavily based on things you don’t find out until at least half way though The Name of the Star, so I can’t really say anything else except that I loved it, and I can’t believe how long I have to wait for the (probably) epic conclusion. Oh, and I love the title. I don’t know how familiar people who aren’t English are with our political system and I don’t feel inclined to explain what The Shadow Cabinet is when wikipedia could tell you better than me, but.. yeah. It’s clever.
The thing about this book is that I’m not really sure what the point was. I was really excited to read it, because I loved Will Grayson, Will Grayson and I thought this book would let me see more of that world. And it just didn’t really. It didn’t add anything much that wasn’t in the original book. I think I was looking for the wrong thing. I wanted more of the story and I got the same story again, in slightly dodgy rhyme. I wanted to love it, but I ended up feeling like it was only okay. 3/5 stars because I do love these characters a lot, but this felt unnecessary to me.
One Day was definitely my least favourite read this month. What’s the point of a romance book where everyone is consistently miserable (and not even for interesting reasons) for about three-quarters of the book, and then happy for a couple of chapters (but still with a creeping negativity), and then just when you think you’re finally being rewarded for struggling through all the shitty times to get to the good ones, you suddenly hit a clunky plot twist that smacks you around the face, and then everyone’s miserable again until the book ends? I just… no. Not for me. 2 stars instead of 1 because I really liked Emma, although Nicholls didn’t seem to.
Also, this cover makes me angry. I picked this book up from a charity shop for 20p, so I ended up with the film cover. I always post pictures of the version of a book that I own if I can find them, but I wanted to break that rule for this one. This cover is blatantly not as good as the orange one I’ve always seen around before, and just to make that more annoying, there’s a little picture of the good cover in the corner. Why?
I was in kind of a bad mood after those last couple of books, and I wanted to pick up something light that I knew I’d enjoy. I’ve been meaning to start this series since I saw the film of this first book about five years ago, and I finally got around to it. I loved it. It wasn’t deep or meaningful or intense, it was just a lot of fun. Likable kids running around being rude to gods and exploding things? I can get behind that. I expected to find Percy difficult to empathise with, since I’m ten years older than him, but that didn’t turn out to be a problem. He’s definitely still a kid, but he’s a smart kid. I fully intend to stick around and watch him grow up.
And… that’s it. The end of the book haul. If you made it this far, you’re amazing. Have a biscuit. Have ten. You’re American? Have a cookie. Whatever. I love you.