Monday, 23 November 2015

Autumn '15 Gut Reactions

 Some seasons fly by. This last one feels like one of those. Some of these books, I can barely remember reading.
The pile looked like this;

 and then there was that follow up pile as the first one was too weeney

I also had we were liars by e. lochhart and Holly Martin's Fairytale Beginnings on the ereader.  I had to postpone Sophie Hart’s A girl's guide to getting Hitched, as it wasn’t the first in the series AND I HAVE RULES ABOUT THAT!

My Book of the Season is e. lockhart’s we were liars. It's a simple story well told in terms of construction and narration, but I really can’t say much more than that, because SPOILERS. Sorry. *zips lips*

A very close contender was The Bane Chronicles. (In fact there are moments where I keep changing my mind. Perhaps I should just have made it a joint award. Again.) If you have read Cassandra Clare’s books, then you’ll know the Bane Chronicles already I am sure. It's a tome of extra stories centring around the charismatic Magnus Bane; stories that have been hinted at throughout the main books, sometimes brief mentions in a character’s back story, some that sometimes felt like in-jokes. Now we are let in on the jokes. Hurrah! These short stories feel like generous little treats; like when you find a raft of free stories on an author’s website linked to a series you have got caught up in, and it makes you want to dance around doing a happy dance for finding a secret stash of sweeties. Like that. (Only not free in this case obsv, unless you borrow this book from the library. You know what I mean.)

If you are new to YA books, particularly contemporary romance, then it is hard to go wrong with a Stephanie Perkins book. Isla and the Happily Ever After, is a companion to Anna and the French Kiss and a pleasure to read.

Holly Martin is a friend of mine, and so I may be biased, but if feelgood Womens Lit (aka Chicklit) is your bag, then you shoudl check out Holly's stories. Fairytale beginnings is both sweet and sexy, and slightly off the wall, but a great read if you are looking for a comfort read in the sofa this winter. She's got a couple of new Christmas novels out now too, but if you want something not-so-Christmassy, but with the joy of Disney for the holidays, then I can recommend this one.

Keren David’s- This is not a love story I enjoyed more for the fabulous sense of place (Amsterdam) than the story itself. The detail of Jewish teenlife was enlightening too.

Jamie McGuire, Beautiful Oblivion – I prefer her other books in this family series, but that said, I still read it twice. I think it was down to the characters as opposed to the writing, as she always stirs up a shedload of emotion in her stories. Can't knock that.

Rags and Bones ed. Melissa Marr and Tim Pratt and Fly on the wall by e. lockhart. Both of these were spins on existing stories. (I do like me a spin, Tiger Lily was also a spin and a fun read that enhanced Neverland as we know it.) Lockhart’s is based on Kafka’s Metamorphosis, and the anthology on numerous short stories and fairy-tales. Whilst both are well written it struck me that unless you know the original story (I did for Lockhart, I didn’t for the vast majority in the anthology) you lose a vast amount of the experience.

Reconstructing Amelia was an interesting read, but for me, mainly from a writer’s point of view. Nerdy, I know, I know. Don’t get me wrong, it was a decent enough who-done-it, but as I was reading it -not being quite as engaged as I might have been because I don’t know anything about being a lawyer and my kids aren’t in a New York private school with mean-girl cliques- I was thinking that when this was being written the author could have taken other paths. Some writers would have made this a YA book, others might have simply played the murder-mystery card, but this one, possibly because of her law background, chose the wrap the YA story with an Adult story of loss and intrigue.
It worked well.

And the rest;

 One of these stories had an opening ending, which drives me bonkers. The dates of the chapters makes the end readable in two ways; one sad, the other not. Grrrrr.
 One of these stories, by someone I greatly admire, was too ethereal for me. Sometimes I just don’t know what is going on. Obviously, I don’t like coming away from a book feeling I am too thick.
 One of these books I had written complimentary notes about on Baby Laptop at the time of reading, but now have zero recollection of the story. Zippo, zilch. That’s not that great, is it? Or am I just saturated by other stories?

The winter pile is under construction and will be unveiled soon.
Happy Winter reading!

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