Thursday, October 29, 2015

October Reading Roundup | Book Reviews

Hi, This month I've read five books in total, four are reviewed here and the fifth 'Am I Normal Yet? was this months #Sassybooks choice, you can read the review here. I'm trying to read 35 books by the end of the year as a goal, I'm currently at 27. I want to try to find something festive themed to read in the coming months, any suggestions would be great.

October Reading Round Up | Book Reviews


How to Build a Girl

Author - Caitlin Moran
Page Count - 352
First Published - 2015

Set in the early 90's, Johanna Morrigan is a teenage girl who lives with her large family in an over crowded home, they claim benefits and struggle to get by. Johanna is over weight, dresses in hand me downs and humiliated herself on national TV. She wants to kill herself but not in the literal way, but to 'build a girl' and become someone new from the ashes of her previous self, this is when she created Dolly Wilde. She goes from socially awkward teenage to music critic to be reckoned with, the only noticeable difference in her is that she now wears makeup and top hat.

I enjoyed the first third of this book and then I really lost interest. The setting up of the story was good and I wanted to know what was going to happen. Once the scene was set it was like the book just kept repeating. Johanna discovers alcohol and sex and becomes the ‘Lady Sex Adventurer’ this made for rather unpleasant reading, it wasn't so much the sex but how it was written. The book is covered in reviews saying how funny it is but I must have missed the joke. I don't think Johanna sounds like a teenager in her dialogue and as such I couldn't relate, her life seems one of someone much older than sixteen.

    Annihilation

    Author - Jeff VanderMeer
    Page Count - 208
    First Published - 2014

    Annihilation is the first book in the Southern Reach trilogy. The story is based on Area X, a supernatural area that appeared 30 years before. It's a misunderstood area where nature is claiming back the land, growing bigger all the time. A expedition group of an Anthropologist, a Surveyor, a Psychologist, and a Biologist, all female, make up the 12th expedition to Area X. The story is told from the perspective of a Biologist, who along with the other characters remains nameless.

    From the start it's obvious that not everything they have been told is true and that there was a lot of information left out. Not that it made much difference, they knew what they where getting themselves into. Previous expeditions either died, killed each other or returned a shell of their former selves. The writing style is designed to drip feed small amounts of information and keep you the reader in the dark about what is going on. Even now I've finished reading the book I'm not really any wiser to what is going on.

    To say this book was so small it was a real effort to finish. The scenery in the book is a little lacking in description to make me truly interested in the beauty of this unknown land. As a stand alone novel it feels unfinished, been a trilogy is this books saving grace. Even though I wasn't blown away by this book I'm interested to see what other secrets/developments take place in the next installment.

    October Reading Round Up | Book Reviews

    Station Eleven

    Author - Emily St. John Mandel
    Page Count - 384
    First Published - 2014

    The story starts on the night when Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a a performance of king leer. Less than a week after an endemic hits as the Georgian Flu starts to spread out of control. The first few chapter left me a little lost as to where the story was heading but by the end it all made sense

    The book tells the story of Arthur Leander before and after the outbreak, introducing you to other characters who survive the endemic and how life changes for them. There is a lot of time hoping and the story is told from a few different points of view which works so well in this story. The main focus for the after events after the outbreak is the Traveling Symphony, a group of survivors who try to keep Shakespeare and the preforming arts alive in a time of loss.

    I loved this book, I put it on my summer reading list and finally got around to reading it, it was worth the wait. The story makes you want to read chapter after chapter to see who will cross paths and what happens to the characters in the new world without electricity or pharmaceuticals.

    The Manifesto on How to be Interesting

    Author - Holly Bourne
    Page Count - 464
    First Published - 2014

    Brie is an avid story writer, her one true goal in life is to get some of her work published. Two novels later and a pile of rejection letters and she feels a little deflated with her chosen path. She talks to her English teacher about the issue and he suggests that maybe she needs to live her life more and become more interesting. This and the introduction to the concept of blogging leads to the creation of 'The Manifesto on How to be Interesting'.

    Bree is an outsider, she doesn't even have a close relationship with her own parents to the point that she doesn't know what her dad does for a living. She is well off and attends a private school. You'd think she'd be happy but she's not, self harm features regularly within this book. Bree changes her appearance and becomes friends with the popular kids, her goal to sabotage their popularity bubble and document it online for the world to see.

    I picked this book up after I enjoyed 'Am I Normal Yet?' so much, I don't think I enjoyed this quite as much as most of the bad things that happened to Bree where created by herself in the name of being interesting. I think there are element that are relate able but the story is a little farfetched at times. I finished it really quickly due to Holly's chatty writting style and I was genually drawn into the story.

    What have you been reading this month?
    Sam

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    10 comments:

    1. Station Eleven has been on my "to get" list for ages now & it's nice to read that you enjoyed it. What is it with books these days that take girls who hate their life & makes them suddenly superstars.
      --
      Pretty Mad Things .. xo

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      1. I really enjoyed Station Eleven so I hope you do too. I find reading recent YA Novels set in schools a little weird because there is the added element of social media, which is so different from what I knew. I think it must be really hard growing up now so I can sympathise a little, but I know what you mean. Thanks for reading. =^-^=

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    2. I've never heard of "How to Build a Girl" but now I'm really interested to pick it up! I agree with what you said about The Manifesto, too. I felt very uncomfortable during most of it!

      Lauren x
      http://whatlaurendidtoday.blogspot.co.uk/

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      1. I think 'How to build a girl' is worth a read but be ready for the cringe factor. Thanks for reading. =^-^=

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    3. I wish I could read as many books as you do! I always fail, because I have so many other things on my mind. But I really should take the time and read more! I was thinking about reading The Manifesto on How to be Interesting, also because I liked Am I Normat Yet? so much, but I read a few reviews now and they all didn't really recommend it so I think I'm going to pass on this one!
      Patti www.shiftingtales.com

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      1. I'm a little in shocked myself by how many books I'm getting through. I think it's worth picking up for her writing style and it is a quick read, but if I was to recommend a book it would be station eleven, it was so good. =^-^=

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    4. I really enjoyed Station Eleven, such an interesting and well written story! xx

      Bethan Likes

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      1. I think it's one of the best books I've read in a while. I'm still thinking about it which I think is a good sign of a good book. Thanks for reading. =^-^=

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    5. I've been meaning to read How To Build A Girl after really enjoying How To Be A Woman, but it doesn't actually sound that promising after all! x

      http://www.katiewrites.co.uk

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      1. Don't let me put you off. There are loads of people who have given it great reviews, it just didn't work for me. I've picked up 'How to Be a Woman' to compare, hope I like it better. Thanks for reading. =^-^=

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