The second in my news series of monthly round ups on the 1st of the month.
I managed to do even better than Jan making better user of my time at work by listening to more audiobooks.
- King Lear – Shakespeare (Big Finish radio play)
I’m a massive Shakespeare person (my best Christmas present when I was 15 was a complete works) but King Lear just doesn’t work for me. There is so much so going on and like all Shakespeare tragedies everyone dies in the last 5 minutes. But so many characters felt the same to me that I honestly didn’t care. Which is a pity because it’s a brilliant production with David Warner as Lear
- The Knife of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness
This has been on my bookcase for years (and that’s not an overstatement), I always meant to get round to it but with the film coming out this year I pushing me forward I figured it was time to read it. I knew I would enjoy it and that Ness would be one of my favourite authors – I wasn’t wrong. I immediately went on ebay to order books 2 & 3 in the same covers
- This is going to hurt – Adam Kay
If it was satire this would be called the one of the best ever written. But it’s not, this is real life. Yes as a doctor he’s quite arrogant but at the same time you have to be arrogant because you’re responsible for people’s lives. I use the NHS loads cause of my chronic conditions but it is hard to see just how hard working doctors are and how badly they are treated.
- On the come up – Angie Thomas
TRIGGER WARNING – Gang violence & drugs
This was my first pre-order of the year, I was worried it was going to make my heart hurt as much as THUG did when I first read it. It didn’t do that, because that isn’t the story that Thomas is telling here. Set in the same place as THUG it’s much more focused on gangs, trying to get out of Garden Heights, and how people on the outside see them. Well worth a read and I’m interested in listening to the audiobook as the story is about rap and there plenty of that interspersed in the story
- To all the boys I loved before – Jenny Han (audiobook)
This is one of the few books where I’ve watched the film first, and I know that they are not going to be exactly the same. I’d been warned that Peter isn’t as nice or fluffy in the book, but I still enjoyed it. I think I do prefer the film, by a decent margin. But that’s because I’m all for fluffy cuteness and I love the film for that and that alone. However a good film can only come from a good book and plot. I’m planning on getting the second book from the library.
- An ember in the ashes – Sabaa Tahir
A fantasy based on Asian mythology, this quickly became something I thought sounded interesting and moved to the favourite list. It’s a great story, flicking between 1st person POV of Laia (a spy in exchange for help in rescuing her brother) and Elias (who is merely days away from being one of the top soldiers in a tyrannical kingdom). It’s took a bit of time to get going but once it did I couldn’t put it down.
- Saving 80,000 gold in another world for my retirement – Funa (manga)
I picked this one out at random while thinking that I hadn’t read a manga in a while and was reminded why I prefer the light novels to the manga. It’s not the stories but reading things right to left really screws with my brain. But it was a fun and interesting story and I think I will seek out the light novel if possible.
- Two can keep a secret – Karen McManus
This one came out in Jan while I was in a book buying ban so I bought it on 1st Feb. McManus bring us another great YA mystery and thriller set in a town with a dark history and a budding amateur detective with one of the main characters being obsessed with True Crime stories. Fun book but I think I still prefer ‘One of us is lying’.
- Stardust – Neil Gaimon (BBC Radio 4 production)
Whereas the film of ‘To all the boys…’ just eeked it out in front of the book, for me the film of Stardust is so perfect and brilliant that it’s leagues ahead of the book. Unfortunately I just can’t get my head around this book, and while I can acknowledge that it’s a great radio play with a brilliant cast I still came away from it feeling confused and just wanting to watch the film again.
- Dave Gorman: Modern Life is Goodish – Dave Gorman
I read this one for the PCD (Podcast Devotee) book club and had a laugh reading it as I was able to imagine Dave Gorman saying it all on his show with a trust power point. Yes there were definitely some bits that weren’t as funny but because the chapters were fairly short you could get over it. A bit repetitive at time but if you like his show on Dave (the UK TV channel) then it’s worth picking up.
- The witch doesn’t burn in this one – Amanda Lovelace
Poetry is really not my thing, I struggle to find the right beat and pace. Why is there a comma in the middle of the line where I should breathe but not one at the end of the line where I shouldn’t breath? But evening ignoring my poetry ignorance and like of limericks and rhymes I could get behind the feminist emotions behind the words.
- The Language of Kindness – Christie Watson
While ‘This is going to hurt’ is a diary of a junior doctor becoming a consultant this is the story of a nurse on the intensive care ward. This one tugged at my heart more, she wasn’t arrogant in what she was saying but was honestly pointing out the faults in the system while praising the NHS and the work that goes without thanks and praise so often. Nurses don’t get into the job without endless patience or kindness and it’s clear how much the system takes advantage of this.
- Five Escape Brexit Island – Bruno Vincent
As a massive Enid Blyton fan as a kid I can’t help but smile at the old team back together and as I’m ceoliac I got the gluten free one a couple of years. This one didn’t work for me that well, although I love the session ale (4.5% or less) obsessed Julian. I felt it was trying to do too much by taking the piss out of Brexit and the Famous Five, which is a pity.
- A Torch Against the Night – Sabaa Tahir
This is the second in the the Ember Quartet series which I ordered from the library as soon as I finished ‘An ember in the ashes’. I don’t want to say too much as it spoils the ending of the first but I love the direction that Laia and Elias are taken on and how their characters continue to grow. I picked the third one up last week and am looking forward to reading it – although there isn’t a 4th one yet so I don’t want to rush through it too quickly.
- 180 Seconds – Jessica Park (audiobook)
TRIGGER WARNING – Foster care and attachment issues!
Oh my heart. I knew listening to this at work was probably a bad idea as it’s one of the few books I’ve ever cried at. This book is about learning who you are and how to love life and take pleasure in the small things. I didn’t cry in the office (although it was close) and instead I sent a soppy messages to my closest friends and family.
- The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
TRIGGER WARNING – White officer shooting a black kid in chapter 2
Reading this while also listening to 180 seconds was another bad idea. But after reading ‘On the come up’ and with the DVD about to come out I wanted to remind myself of why I fell in love with Angie Thomas and through her Starr and Khalil. There is nothing to say about this book that hasn’t already been said, apart from if you haven’t read it yet you should go read it now. And be prepared to face harsh truths and emotions.
- Verity – Colleen Hoover
TRIGGER WARNING – Child deaths, attempted murder of children
Recommended by a few people in my reading group I didn’t know what to expect about this one apart from it’s dark and screws with your brain. With half of it being Verity’s autobiography and the other half being the reaction of the MC reading it and the impact it’s having on her life. Verity does not shy away from any darkness or have any secrets in her autobiography describing at length how she feels her children are pulling her husband away from her.
- Final draft – Riley Redgate
This was one I’ve wanted to read for ages that has had a bit of a bad rap, it’s only got 769 reviews on Goodreads. It’s got some interesting ideas and I had fun with it, but it’s not my favourite. However as a book that looks into what it’s like to been a teenager writing fanfic and wanting to do more with it I thought it was told well. And Laila’s struggles with her mental health towards the end felt real.
- Five feet apart – Rachel Lippincott
I knew this was going to be another emotional read as it’s about two teenagers with Cystic Fibrosis which causes your lungs to have a build up of mucus and all kinds of complications. The life expectancy for someone with CF is in their 40s but a lot people die young from it. ‘Five feet apart’ doesn’t shy away from what it’s like to have CF and to be forced to stay 6ft away from your friends with the same condition for your safety and theirs. The romance is realistic and although I saw some things coming other thing knocked me for six. I’m looking forward to seeing the film when it comes out in the next month or so.
- The anvil of ice – Michael Scott Rohan
This one just eeked onto this list on time as I finished it on the train home from work on the last day of Feb, I didn’t know what to expect as I picked it up at random while in the library as it is in the ‘Fantasy Masterworks’ series. While it definitely had slow patches I can see what led it to belonging in this series and will definitely look out for the next book. The story of Elof’s apprenticeship left me wanting more. I’m also aware that part of the reason it felt slow is because I’ve been reading so much YA which is a much quicker pace than the 1st of a fantasy trilogy
Frankly I’m amazed at what I’ve managed in a month with only 28 days. The audiobooks have definitely helped and reminded me that I love stories in this format (I’m currently 2/3 of the way through ‘To kill a mocking bird’) and I’m definitely planning on listening to more through out the year.
How did you February go? Have you read any on my list and if so what did you think?