Sunday, 1 May 2016

WHAT I READ | April

The last battle is the greatest of all battles.
During the last days of Narnia, the land faces its fiercest challenge - not an invader from without but an enemy from within. Lies and treachery have taken root, and only the king and a small band of loyal followers can prevent the destruction of all they hold dear in this, the magnificent ending to The Chronicles of Narnia.
MY THOUGHTS
I enjoyed The Chronicles of Narnia greatly, including the conclusion, however it wasn't my favourite of all the books from the series. If you'd like to read my full thoughts on the series you can find that here.
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Angelfield House stands abandoned and forgotten. It was once the imposing home of the March family - fascinating, manipulative Isabelle, Charlie, her brutal and dangerous brother, and the wild untamed twins, Emmeline and Adeline. But Angelfield House conceals a chilling secret whose impact still resonates...
Now Margaret Lea is investigating Angelfield's past - and the mystery of the March family starts to unravel. What has the house been hiding? What is its connection with the enigmatic author Vida Winter? And what is it in Margaret's own troubled past that causes her to fall so powerfully under Angelfield's spell?
MY THOUGHTS
I've been wanting to read The Thirteenth Tale for the longest time now, and it certainly didn't disappoint. I loved the general concept of the story, the entanglement of books and reading, the character building as well as the pacing, however I did only give The Thirteenth Tale four stars out of five. Initially I was going to give the book five stars - it's quite a chilling read at times and so well told - however the fact that there was vagueness to certain aspects marked that down to four. I came away with questions that I would have liked answers to.  
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Celestine North lives a perfect life. She's a model daughter and sister, she's well-liked by her classmates and teachers, and she's dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan.
But then Celestine encounters a situation in which she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule and now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found FLAWED.
MY THOUGHTS
When it comes to YA, particularly highly talked about YA, I tend to steer clear of it. For me, YA can be so hit or miss, especially when it comes to those of a dystopian nature, but Cecelia Ahern is an auto buy author for me so naturally I had to buy Flawed.
My favourite thing about Flawed was the society that Cecelia Ahern created - I don't want to go super in depth, but there is a lot of judgement within the society and a fair few rules and regulations. On top of that there is corruption within the society, especially from certain people in power, and the main protagonist is set to expose that.
Whilst dystopian fiction is a step away from Ahern's usual story telling, Flawed definitely has her stamp on it and I look forward to the follow on coming out next year.
Without saying too much, there is a particular graphic scene within Flawed that I would say perhaps not all within the YA target audience could / should read. It isn't something that is snuck in, the blurb does indeed allude to the potential of it, but it is well worth mentioning.
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Prison is no place for an innocent man.
Philip Carter has spent six years in prison for a crime he didn't commit. On his release, his beautiful wife is waiting for him. He has never had any reason to doubt her. Nor their friend, Sullivan. Carter has never been suspicious, or violent. But prison can change a man.
MY THOUGHTS
Patricia Highsmith is often highly talked about when it comes to authors of crime fiction, and for the longest time I didn't pick up her work, however in the past year alone I've read four of her books. Her writing style is quite simple and forthright, there isn't mystery as such but her books do tend to be suspenseful - something she is known for. What I personally enjoy about her writing style is 'the chase', the way in which she leads up to the eventual outcome, and that applies to all of hers books I've read.
The Glass Cell is told in two parts almost - Philip's time in prison, and then his adjustment outside of prison. The way in which his personality has altered from his time in prison is well written and lends to the entire story overall. I feel like as a reader we really got to know Philip, got in his head, and in a way, understand his motives for actions.
Another brilliant read from Highsmith.
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I think some small part of me knew I was living an unsustainable life. Every now and then, it would whisper, Sarah, please slow down. You don't need all this.
Sarah Nickerson has it all: the high-flying career, the loving family, the second home. But does she have time to enjoy it? Too busy to pay attention, can she see what's left neglected?
One fateful day, while driving to work, Sarah looks away from the road for one second too long. In the blink of an eye, her chaotic life comes to a screeching halt. In the wake of a devastating accident, it's time for her to choose: what does she really want?
MY THOUGHTS
Much like Highsmith's writing, Lisa Genova is a relatively new author discovery for me, despite her work being highly spoken of for quite some time. I started out with Still Alice, and fell in love with her emotive writing style.
I could be wrong on this, having only read two of her books now, but I feel like Lisa Genova has a formula of sorts. Inviting you in to a family, getting to know them and their life, just as something life changing is about to happen for said family. I could be wrong on that, and if you've read more of her books, feel free to correct me. I have no issue with formulaic writing, and will be continuing to explore Genova's work.
One thing I noticed with my reading experience is that at the end of it all, I compared my experience to that of Still Alice, and that may be why I rated Left Neglected as four stars, not five. It also might not be the reason at all. It's interesting because I feel like none of Lisa Genova's other books will live up to Still Alice, however if I hadn't read that one first perhaps it would be a whole other story.
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All five books I read this month received four stars, however for quite different reasons. My favourite read of the month, and the one that has stayed in my thoughts the most, is Flawed by Cecelia Ahern.
What did you read in April?
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7 comments

  1. It's interesting to see a favorite author write outside their norm - I'm glad you enjoyed the new Ahern book. It sounds really good!
    Great month of reading!

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    1. It is interesting, you're right. I was a little nervous to see how Flawed would pan out, but it was a great reading experience.

      Happy reading in May! :-)

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  2. I can't imagine reading The Thirteenth Tale for the first time! I am glad you enjoyed it!

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    1. The Thirteenth Tale is such an immersive book!

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    2. I tried to comment on your latest post, but I keep having this issue where the comment box doesn't appear on the posts of some bloggers. I'm not too sure why, but it's happening with your post in this instance so I thought I'd leave a few of my thoughts here with you.

      It's great that you're able to get more relax time on the weekends lately - it feels so good when you find the balance of doing things you need to get done but making time for your personal pursuits too.

      I vaguely remember hearing about Lexicon a while back - I've added it to my wishlist now because I'm really interested in the concept. Also, I like that you listened to it on audiobook because I'm always looking for new books to download via that method.

      Your pictures from the week are really beautiful - I especially like the B&W shots!

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  3. I totally agree with you, I think Lisa Genova has a formula but I love it. I have read all except the latest which I will get to soon. Still Alice is an all time favourite and has a special place in my heart.

    I have a Cecelia Ahern on my TBR list for this year, I think it is called Marble Collector. I usually don't go for YA either but I want to try this author.

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    1. I like when an author has a formula, especially if they are a go to author or someone you pick up when you want something comforting, because in many ways you know what to expect - but that's a good thing!

      I've read Still Alice and Left Neglected so far. I have Inside the O'Brien's on my unread shelf, but I would like to read Love Anthony before I delve in to that one because I've read in publication order so far and it would be good to continue that.

      The Marble Collector is a wonderful read! Although an auto buy author for me, I know Ahern has been hit or miss with many others.

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