Recent Reads #2

8/04/2020


It's been 3ish weeks since my first Recent Reads, so it's about time that I do another. I the time between these two posts I did partake in The Reading Rush, so I have a whole other blog post discussing the books I read for that (The Reading Rush Wrap-Up 2020), therefore I won't include them on here. Let's get into the books!


Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy, #6)
by Richelle Mead
As mentioned in my first Recent Reads I had been rereading the Vampire Academy series over the past month or so. This was the final book and, boy, I didn't remember squat. I really thought I had a good gauge on how this book series ended but now I'm wondering whether I was just vividly remembering the many fanfictions I read about these wonderful characters. All in all, I'd give the series a 3 out of 5 star rating. I loved books two to four. The first, fifth, and sixth were a little mediocre. I still vouch for this series for anyone that enjoys a good YA paranormal romance with good female representation.

Bringing Down The Duke
by Evie Dunmore
Annabelle is one of the first women to study at Oxford University through a scholarship, under the condition that she involves herself in the rising women's suffrage movement. Through this she meets the Duke of Montgomery. You can guess what happens next. This book is a wonderful mix of historical and contemporary. It's everything you could want from a smutty rom-com with a historical backdrop. It's silly, wonderful, and smart. I lived for the banter between Annabelle and Sebastian. I would wholeheartedly recommend the audiobook of this, the obnoxious accents seemed to extenuated the overall atmosphere of the book. This is an incredible debut and I can't wait to read the other books in this series that are yet to be released. 


The Leisure Seeker
by Michael Zadoorian 
The Robinas have shared a wonderful life for more than sixty years. Now in their eighties, Ella suffers from cancer and John has Alzheimer's. Yearning for one last adventure, the pair take off in their beloved RB 'The Leisure Seeker' for one last adventure to Disneyland. This book leaves me feeling torn. While I really enjoyed the writing and it made me tear up so many times, I can't help but feel like it could've been more. It felt a little too 'slice of life', I wanted to know more of their marriage before the illnesses. It lacked the 'A Man Called Ove' feel, I guess.


Hunger
by Roxane Gay
This was my first proper book by Roxane Gay (I previously started Bad Feminist but have not yet finished), and wow, this incredible woman has a way of writing with such bluntness that I, as a writer, can only aspire to be. Just as the title says, this is a memoir told through the authors body. Raped at a young age, Roxane found solace and comfort in making her body bigger, stronger. In her early twenties she used her body as an excuse to be hurt by others, which eventually led to bulimia. Weight is always a complicated thing to write about and I can't begin to fathom the bravery that it took for the author to write about such a thing for the length of a novel. However, I found some sections to be a tad repetitive which was definitely a stylistic choice for the writing, but yeah, it sometimes made the book read more like a series of blog posts. I would definitely recommend the audiobook if you're planning on picking this up. 


Convenience Store Woman
by Sayaka Murata 
Keiko has worked at the same convenience store for eighteen years. After all her time there, she feels like her and the store are one of the same. Growing tired of the questions that are being constantly put upon her (when are you getting married? Why do you still work there?) she decides to take action.

This was such a quirky little novel with a very memorable protagonist. Keiko was a wonderful main character, I loved being inside her mind. She gave me huge 'Eleanor Oliphant' vibes (but on acid). I didn't expect to laugh as much as I did, the humor was very deadpan but as a Brit I loved it. The only reason it's not getting a better rating is that as much as I loved the first half, the rest of the book was a huge letdown and I didn't find it very necessary. I would've happily stayed with Keiko inside of the convenience store if it meant that we didn't meet the man that came into her life. God, I hated him. And his presence in the story really turned this book into something that it didn't need to be. It ended up feeling rather unfeminist and icky. I'm definitely interested in reading more from the author, this ending just fell very flat for me.


The Five People You Meet In Heaven
by Mitch Albom
What if at the end of your life, you don't see a white light? What if instead you meet five people from your past who have had an impact on your life? This is such a short book that I don't want to give a proper summery as I think you'd benefit from going into this blind, like I did. This is one of those books that's always on 'books you have to read before you die' lists, and with good reason. This is a heartfelt look at life, it makes you question what direction you're taking, and in try Mitch Albom style, it's devastatingly sad at parts. I liked this book, but it didn't pack as much of a punch like I wanted. It's still worth a read, I just think my expectations were a little too high.

Writes & Lovers
by Lily King
Casey Peabody is a thirty-one year old aspiring writer who is struggling with the sudden death of her mother. Her day job as a waitress at a popular restaurant is mainly her social distancing interactioning, while all her free time is devoted to writing her book. This was a truly beautiful story about loss, love, anxiety, and writing. The protagonist felt raw, intimate, unlikable at times, and yet.. so real. This was what I've hoped so many novels of this genre would be. The plot got a tad convenient near the end, but it didn't bother me. The thing I mainly appreciated about Casey's story was that it had the means to be a coming-of-age story, but she's in her thirties. I feel like we don't really get this kind of story for that age-group in literature. But we should. It's realistic, and will undoubtedly help certain people feel not alone and isn't that the main reason we read? I need to read more by this author. 


What book are you most looking forward to reading this month?


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