April Book Haul

April Book Haul

April haul

In April, I decided I would not be allowed to spend more than £30 on books. In spite of appearances, I stuck to that. The first seven books I bought at the end of March, and some of the others were presents, or on sale. So the money saving aspect of that decision went well. The attempt to keep my tbr pile under control? Not so much. But… books!

The first five books in this book haul I found in a charity shop. There was a shelf where the books were 5 for £1, so each of these books cost me 20p. None of them were at the top of my tbr pile, but all of them I had heard of before and was interested in.

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This is a romance told over several years. The first chapter details the day that Emma and Dexter met, and each chapter following tells the reader what they are doing on that date for the next 20 or so years. I had high hopes for this story, but I’ve already read it, and it wasn’t for me. I talk about why in my March wrap-up. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t been looking for a light, heart-warming book. I believe this is considered to be a fairly good adult contemporary romance, but I wouldn’t call it heart-warming.

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This is a Swedish murder mystery, and it’s supposed to be very, very good. That’s pretty much everything I know. Unless something pushes me, this might sit on my tbr pile for a while.

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Another book that I know very little about. This one is non-fiction. From what I can gather, the author asked some women to tell her about their vaginas. And then she wrote a play. And here it is. It could be great and insightful, or it could be pretentious or it could be dehumanising. I don’t know yet, but it’s short enough that it shouldn’t take long to find out.

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I’ve loved every Margaret Atwood book I’ve read up until now, so when I was going through the books in the sale and saw her name I picked it up without even reading the blurb. Later, when I looked it up, I discovered that it’s based on the true story of a servant in the nineteenth century who was accused of killing her employers, and the people who tried to establish her innocence using early psychiatry. I don’t know why I haven’t started this yet – it sounds amazing.

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This is the first of Maya Angelou’s autobiographies. I read it a few years ago, but I’m looking forward to reading it again. As I recall, in this book she talks about racism and sexual abuse in her childhhod, and the impact it has had on the rest of her life.

I was supposed to absolutely definitely not buy any more books in March, but I had a bad day, and came home with these two.

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In Will Grayson, Will Grayson, by John Green and David Levithan, Tiny Cooper, the huge and hugely gay best friend of one of the Wills writes and performs in a musical about his life. Now, Levithan has written (the words of) that musical. This is another one that I wrote about in my March wrap-up.

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A plague wipes out most of humanity. Those who are left struggle to survive in the ruins of civilisation. We’ve heard this much before. But in this book, we follow a group of travelling actors, performing Shakespeare plays in exchange for food. I’ve never heard that before. Also, I’m a sucker for a post-appocalyptic artist.

Now, we finally get to the books I actually bought in April.

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Sabriel is the 18 year-old daughter of Abhorsen, who is a… sort of necromancer. He can go into Death, but he does not bring the dead back, he binds them there. Sabriel has been sent away from the realm of magic to a boarding school for her safety, but when her father is trapped in Death by an old enemy, she sets out on a quest to bring him back. This book came out a long time ago, and I think I read at least part of the series, but when a fourth book was released recently, I decided to go back to the beginning.

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I’ve been on a bit of a high fantasy kick this month, and I’ve heard good things about Brandon Sanderson. My understanding of the premise of this book is that there was a bad guy, and a hero prophisied to stop him. Only he failed, and now the bad guy’s in charge. So I have to assume someone’s going to try again, or there won’t be much of a story. Also, I hear that the magic system is very interesting. I’m intrigued.

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This is another book about someone who kills the dead, but I think it’s going to have a pretty different feel to Sabriel. Cas travels the country getting rid of ghosts of people, and in that capacity he goes to the house haunted by Anna, who kills everyone who enters. But she doesn’t kill him. She wears the dress she wore on the day she was murdered, still dripping blood. I don’t think I’ll be reading this in the dark.

game

Love and Death are playing a long game. They choose a couple, and struggle to determine their fate. Death always wins. And Henry, the white boy from the rich family, and Flora, the black girl who sings in the jazz clubs, are their new pawns.

goblin night butterflies

Penguin Classics are celebrating their 80th birthday with the release of of 80 of these little books and selling them for 80p each. I wanted to take advantage of this, but I wasn’t sure which I wanted, so in the end I went for the ones with the most beautiful titles. The Rossetti and Brontë ones are poetry collections, and the Darwin one is an account of what he saw during the voyage of the Beagle. In this time he was developing the theory of evolution, so I’m guessing the book talks about the evidence he saw for it.

The next couple of books were a present from my husband after I finished my dissertation.

Beautiful Creatures

I know I’ve seen the film of this, and I know I enjoyed it, but I’m still struggling to remember what it’s about. There are definitely good witches and bad witches and a curse and a romance and magical fights and all these things seem good to me. Also the cover is beautiful.

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This is a collection of the five prequel novellas in the Throne of Glass series. I’m not sure exactly what’s in them, but I’m hoping to learn how it was that Celaena Sardothien became the most feared assassin in the land when she was only a teenager. In the first book, that knowledge is just handed to us, and I’d love to see how it came to be. Bonus points if it happens in a plausible way.

Annie

This is a book about two teenage girls who fall in love. It was published in the early eighties, and naturally it was considered controversial. Sadly, it probably still would be if it was published. I’m expecting it to be adorable, and probably also heart breaking, because there’s a pretty high chance that they will be surrounded by disapproving people, probably people who they previously admired, like teachers and parents.

So that’s everything for April. Next month I will have exams, so there might not be very many posts around here. But there might be a huge book haul, because the chances of me buying books to make myself feel better about revision are pretty high.

March Wrap-Up

March Wrap-Up

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.

therosieeffect
3/5 stars

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.

dracula thequantumthief

                                        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.

fangirl
5/5 stars

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.

clockworkangel clockworkprince clockworkprincess

                                     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…

scarlet
4/5 stars

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.

yesplease
5/5 stars

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.

theshadowcabinet
4/5 stars

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.

holdmecloser
3/5 stars

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.

oneday
2/5 stars

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?

thelightningthief
5/5 stars

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.