HELLO on a Thursday! I’m switching it up a little, and adding a second post during the week. Monday posts will remain teaching related, and Thursday posts will range from travel, to cooking, to books. I’m kicking off my Thursday posts with my first Reading Nook.
JANUARY was a pretty thin reading month for me, being hit by the flu and then taking part in the creation of a text book, so I’ve combined the four books I’ve read this year, and one that I’m part way through. I’ve included links both to the book depository pages for the books (free shipping, a dream) and the kindle pages. I am all about the physical books, but cannot deny that my kindle has invaluable!
The Burning Page – Genevieve Cogman (15th December 2016)
THIS is the third book in the invisible library series. I was hooked from the moment I read the synopsis of book one. Spies, books, alternate worlds and a massive, mysterious library – what’s not to love! The wait for this book was intense, as I read the first two back to back, but I was so run off my feet in December that I didn’t get round to reading this book till January. And it’s not even over… there are more books coming!
SO if you haven’t read these books, Irene works the library and she travels around “alternates” to collect rare books. She’s been doing this a while, so she is given an apprentice, the mysterious Kai. The books follow the two of them, the scrapes they get into, and the rules that they break. The concept of “alternates” means that Cogman has no limit to the stories she can tell and the places she can go – a book I am itching to read has a similar idea, all-be-it in different wrapping.
I’M terrible for reviews for fear of spoilers, so I keep things simple and probably horrendously vague, but three books in to this series and I’m not yet bored of the characters, there is still more to be discovered and so many questions that need to be answered! (Honestly, just as one thing is solved, another pops up in it’s place!)
THIS was a chai tea book – cocooned in a blanket, steaming mug in hand.
King’s Cage – Victoria Aveyard (February 2017)
ANOTHER third-in-the-series book! Much like The Burning Page, I was waiting for King’s Cage for months. When it was, finally, released, I devoured it in a day. I was not disappointed. But the ending… Trilogies, it seems, are out. Now we are in the age of the duology or the saga. I had expected this to be the last book in the series, but not with that cliffhanger! Cal, what are you doing, pal?!
A quick synopsis, if you haven’t read the Red Queen series. This series follow’s Mare Barrow, a Red in a world where Silver’s rule and Red’s do their bidding. In this dystopian world, your blood is your fortune and your fate. All sorts of things happen, as they are want to do in novels, and Mare ends up having to pose as a Silver in order to keep the status quo (if you’re seeing similarities to other books here, I have a whole post on that coming up!)
I will admit that I wasn’t too taken with Red Queen when I first read it, and cast it aside before I finished it, but booktube buzz brought me back and I finished it and proceeded straight onto the second book. It turns out all I needed was space from other books I had been reading and to stop looking for things I expected to see.
AVEYARD has created an amazing world in this series, and characters I have grown to like. Mare’s progression through the three books has been believable and consistent. She hasn’t magically changed over time, nor is she perfect. She is so flawed I love her even more. Our dear Cal, on the other hand, is infuriating in his lack of change, but as it fit’s the character I can hardly fault it!
NOW I have to endure the long wait for the next book in 2018. Oh how authors love to tear out our hearts. Iron Buddha shall give some strength.
Stealing Snow – Danielle Paige (October 2016)
STEALING Snow opens in a psychiatric institute, where our girl Snow is introducing us to her relationship with Bale and the confinement of Whittaker. Snow was sent to the institute as a child, though she has no memory of the events that preceded her admittance. She is visited by a strange boy who encourages her to escape, and when she finally does, nothing is quite as it seems.
HERE we have a re-telling of The Snow Queen, one of my favourite Hans Christian Anderson fairy tales. I know, I know that Frozen was a massive hit for Disney and yes, it’s a decent film and the songs are catchy, but for me it was a terrible adaptation of The Snow Queen. The Snow Queen is not a light story. It is dark, it is heart breaking and it is packed full of fear. If Narnia’s White Witch wasn’t, in part , inspired by The Snow Queen, I’ll eat my hat!
BACK to the book. It wasn’t half bad. There was magic, and a lot of snow. So far so good. On the down side there was a fair amount of jumping around from place to place. Snow herself doesn’t seem to stay anywhere for long enough to properly develop. The twists were great, the premise solid, but I need to know where it’s going. I’m not necessarily anticipating the next book, but I will read it when it’s published. Peppermint tea recommended for digestion!
Alice – Christina Henry (August 2015)
WELL, what do you know, another book that opens in an asylum. There have been so many re-telling’s published in the last few years, this one blew me away. I read this yesterday (at the time of writing) and I’m considering reading it through again, already – the kettle is already boiling! Alice is an example of a re-working of a classic story that takes all the magic and madness of the original, turns it on it’s head and throws in a ton of grimy darkness, for good measure. This was not the happy frivolous mad of the original.
CARROLL wrote dark stories with a lightness and wry humour about them. Henry has written a dark story that is bathed in layers of darkness, danger and despair. It’s beautifully written and one of, if not the best re-working I’ve read.
WE all know the Alice in Wonderland story, and this Alice has glimpses of the original plot, but even though we know the characters, Henry has weaved in a new plot expertly and the book stands completely on it’s own. I almost wish this was longer. I want more, but perhaps, in this case, less is more.
The Way Of The Strangers: Encounters With The Islamic State – Graeme Wood (January 2017)
THIS is the book that I am part way through reading. I got an Amazon Gift Card for Christmas from my parents and I asked Dad if he’d pick out a few recommendations. I knew that Dad was going to choose a broad list of titles and I was hoping for a good number of non-fiction titles. In the end, 80% of the list was non-fiction, with a little blurb to go with each. I chose three. Of those three, The Way Of The Strangers is a book that needs to be read. It’s taking time, I have to put it down every now and then. This is not a book for speed reading, but it is utterly fascinating. My Dad’s comment was that the word on the street is that this will become a standard text for anyone studying the subject and I can see that. Wood is clear in his writing and conveys information with ease. I already feel infinitely more informed. I will say, however, that I am happy I have my novels to counter the heaviness of this text.
EVEN though I haven’t yet finished this book, it has already gone down on my “Recommend to everyone” list. Be prepared and have plenty of Earl Grey to hand whilst reading (or chamomile if that’s more your jam!)
What books are you reading at the moment? Any recommendation or books of note? Comment below!