I have been majorly behind on reviewing what I’ve been reading recently. Work and my own writing have got in the way but I thought I would get back to it by writing some quick reviews of the books I read in April.
I’ll try and post more regularly again, but I am working on a novel at the moment and using as much spare time to focus on that as possible!
For now though, here are the books I read in April:
Till September Petronella, Jean Rhys
I bought a few of the new Penguin Modern Minis last month and this was the first one I read. Wide Sargasso Sea was one of my favourite novels from uni and I was exited for read more by Rhys. This is a really great little book and I love the idea of mini books which cover speeches, essays and short stories. I really enjoyed reading this and would recommend it whether you’ve read something by Rhys or not, plus it’s definitely a one sitting kind of read!
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Ok, so I already have a review (or two) of this book on my blog. My love affair with this book is very real. I love rereading Gatsby as each time I discover something new. It is one of my all time favourite novels and if you haven’t read it yet, you really should. For a relatively small novel it fits a lot in. With a look at materialism and the effect of post war trauma on American masculinity this book is definitely more than it first appear – a book about glitzy parties. It’s also a great place to start if you haven’t read anything by Fitzgerald yet!
State of Wonder, Ann Patchett
Over the past year I have read a few books by Patchett, starting with Commonwealth. I have loved them all and what amazes me most is that each novel is completely different and yet still has a distinctive voice that Patchett carries across her work. This novel is about a scientist who is sent to South America to find out what happened to her colleague who died in the jungle working for a mysterious scientist who has been living there for years. The book is atmospheric, highly descriptive and has a stark ending that left me wondering how I would have acted. The book asks questions about ethics and how they change depending on the situation we are in.
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, Stuart Turton
This was my first disappointing read of April. I had looked forward to this book for ages, seeing it all over social media and expecting a great twist on the murder mysteries I love. However, I just wasn’t prepared for the level of twist. It’s difficult to explain why this book was so difficult to read without spoiling the plot, all that I will say is that it is far from a historical murder mystery and that for me the thing that made this difference also made it unbelievable and a little farcical. I just couldn’t get invested because the book was nowhere near what it had promised to be. I love quirky books but this was a step too far for me. I also found it really long and it took a lot for me to finish reading with a load of other novels waiting to be read!
The Venetian Game, Philip Gwynne Jones
The reviews I saw of The Venetian Game were a bit mixed online, however I really enjoyed this novel. It is a thriller and as some have complained it is a bit of a slow boil. However, the descriptions of Venice and the interesting characters carried the slower sections of plot and in the end there were enough twists and turns to keep me reading. I really enjoyed feeling as though I was in Venice and learning something new from this book. It felt part fiction part travel writing which made it a win for me.
The Lying Game, Ruth Ware
I read this book in two days and absolutely loved it. Telling the story of four friends who started a dangerous ‘lying game’ when they were children, this book cleverly moved between periods, building to a great ending. Unfortunately some of the twists were a little predictable, I felt the author hinted a little too much early on making it a bit too easy for crime lovers to work out what was happening. However, there was still a few shocking moments as well. I also found it really refreshing to read about four very different, very believable women. This is a great novel and would be perfect for the beach!
The Mill On The Floss, George Elliot
Ok, I have to admit I didn’t finish this one. I found it painfully slow and a bit depressing and I just couldn’t get through it. I’m collecting the Penguin English Library books and this is the first one I haven’t enjoyed. There just wasn’t enough plot, the description didn’t make me feel anything and I didn’t particularly like any of the characters. I’d be curious to know what did happen in the end, but not enough to plod on. Perhaps I’ll come back to it, but there are just so many great novels out there waiting to be read that I probably won’t.
The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas
This novel has had a lot of press online. It’s a YA novel told from the perspective of a young black girl who witnesses her childhood friend being shot dead by police in America. Obviously this is a very timely novel and it is really eye opening. I really enjoyed that this book was from a different perspective, one that I hadn’t necessarily come across in literature before. It opened my eyes to why race is still such a complicated issue in America and although I have studied American history, this was current and made me realise why it is still such an important topic. I think this is the sort of book more people need to read. Not only was it thought provoking, it was also just really well written. I believed the main character, I wanted to know what would happen and I definitely felt emotional when her friend was killed. It gave me some insight into what it must be like to feel that fear from the police – the people who are supposed to protect. An excellent book I think everyone should read.