Book Haul: June 2017

IMG_6226It’s been a while since I’ve posted a book haul on here. That’s not to say that I haven’t been buying books, because that would be a pretty impossible feat. It’s just that I haven’t necessarily been keeping track of them or even buying a large enough amount of books in one month to justify a haul. Thankfully, that is now about to change as I talk you through the book which I have acquired in the month of June!

To start, I was kindly sent three books from the publishers in exchange for my honest opinions. Firstly, I was sent The White Road by Sarah Lotz from Hodder & Stoughton. I had already read The Three by her which I loved (review here), and have now already read her newest one. As you can see from my review here, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Next was a book sent over by MacLehose by a new author to me; Three Days and a Life, by Pierre Lemaitre. I have also now read this book, and sadly I was not very impressed by it (review here). The last book I was sent was another book by Hodder & Stoughton. Written by Catriona MacPherson, this book is one in a series following the female detective Dandy Gilver. I am currently reading this book now and a review will be up shortly!

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I bought two books myself at the start of the month from my local Waterstones. I love following literary prizes, and as soon as the winner of the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction was announced I went straight out to purchase the winner, which was The Power by Naomi Alderman. I have just recently finished this book, and loved it! Review to follow soon! As the books were ‘Buy one get one half price’, I also treated myself to the latest winner of the Man Booker Prize which I am ashamed to say I have not yet read. I have heard great things about The Sellout, written by Paul Beatty, so I am eager to pick this up soon!

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Myself and my partner recently had a week off together, and decided to travel to London for the day to visit his sister who lives there, as well as to do a spot of obligatory book shopping! On a time limit, I did somehow manage to restrict myself to just one book store, that being the lovely flagship Foyles store. Whilst there, I picked up another book within the stunning Penguin English Library editions which I am collecting. This was The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James. I read what is arguable James’s most famous book, The Turn of the Screw, whilst in University, so I’m quite intrigued to see how the rest of his novels shape up. I also picked up the second in the Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hob. I really enjoyed the first in the series, Assassin’s Apprentice, so can’t wait to pick up where things left off. The last thing I picked up in Foyles was The Handmaid’s Tale, the famous book by Margaret Atwood. I’m shocked at myself that I haven’t yet read this, but hope to rectify this soon.

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The only other book I bought this month was something slightly different which I picked up whilst in London visiting the Imperial War Museum (which I would highly recommend!) This was a small book called Animals in War which is a book of postcards which quite literally does what the title says. As an animal lover, this book is a real treat!

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All in all, I’m very happy with the books I’ve gained this month, and can’t wait to let you know what I think of them.

Disclaimer – I was kindly given the first three books mentioned in this post by the publishers in exchange for an honest review. I will only ever post my true opinions, and will NOT write a favorable review in exchange for a free book.

Review: Sirius by Jonathan Crown

DSCF1420One of the things I most enjoy about blogging is being able to share my feelings, and by doing so help others to learn about something which I think they could love. As we all know, the internet is a brilliant tool with which to shine light on things which might otherwise go undetected, and that’s exactly what I aim to do in this post.

The first thing I knew about the existence of this book was the exact moment my boyfriend picked it up and forced me to read the blurb in our local Waterstones. Thankfully, my other half knows me almost better than myself, and he was spot on in his find. As if the beautiful cover design wasn’t enticing enough, with its clear but distinct colour palettes and charming fox terrier, the book’s description encouraged me even further.

Sirius, written by Jonathan Crown, tells the story of our eponymous hero, a fox terrier with a penchant for changing names. As it tells us, in Berlin he was named Levi, a ‘good Jewish dog with a good Jewish name’. When the war starts, and the Jewish community is persecuted, the family and their dog flee, where Levi becomes Hercules, the star of the Hollywood silver screen. Yet fate has more in style for Sirius, where he eventually becomes noticed by Hitler, masquerading as a good German dog named Hansi. An extraordinary life for an extraordinary dog who infiltrates the lives of many; this really is a charming book.

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Review: Three Days and a Life by Pierre Lemaitre

DSCF1423Recently I have been making a conscious effort to try and read more translated fiction. In many cases, this has gone extremely well, with My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologies being one such example (review here). When I was lucky enough to receive an advanced reader’s copy of Pierre Lemaitre’s latest book, Three Days and a Life, soon to be published in July, I was really eager to see what his work would be like.

Lemaitre is described on this books blurb as the ‘master of noir’, with a quote from Stephen King stating he is a ‘really excellent suspense novelist’. High praise indeed! The book itself follows twelve year old Antoine, living in a small, very familiar village. When events are set into motion in 1999, a six your old boy vanishes, leaving the entire town concerned and mystified. Yet for Antoine, ‘it all begins with the violent death of his neighbour’s dog’, an act in which his fate and the fate of his neighbour’s son are sealed together. In the following years,  Antoine wrestles with his actions, but can he really outrun his past?

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Review: My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologies by Fredrik Backman

DSCF1416Maybe I haven’t been looking in quite the right places, but it seems to me that I’ve missed hearing any sort of hype for Fredrik Backman’s book, My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologies.  To put it simply, this is a complete travesty. Having now read this book, I can confirm it is an absolute treat to read, and I am eagerly on the hunt to acquire more of his works.

My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologies follows seven year old Elsa. Elsa’s grandmother is a superhero; or at least, that’s how she views her best friend, the woman who tells her the most amazing stories and saves her from the realities childhood.  When Elsa’s grandmother leaves her a treasure hunt in the form of letters apologising to people in her life, Elsa must face her fears to complete the mission. What follows is a touching, magical novel which brings the power of storytelling to life.

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Review: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

DSCF1417Let’s be realistic – the vast majority of people are more than likely to have read Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland. If they haven’t, then chances are high that they’re seen film adaptations, or at the very least know the plot line. It’s fair to say that Lewis Carroll wrote a book which has truly stood the test of time. As such, this is not going to be a lengthy or particularly detailed review. I’m not going to examine the symbolism, hidden meanings or contexts of the book; there is a wealth of literary criticism already in existence for such things. Instead, I am simply going to talk about some of the things from my own reading experience.

I read Alice numerous times as a child, but this is the first time I would class having read it as an adult. The edition I read was the ever beautiful Penguin English Library, which actually also contains the follow up, Through the Looking Glass and Back Again. Essentially, both follow our young protagonist, Alice, as she travels to the fantastical Wonderland, encountering strange people along the way. It is a brilliant example of the literary nonsense genre.

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Review: Where Angels Fear to Tread by E. M. Forster

DSCF1419Despite being a name which is clearly famous in the literary world, I had never actually read anything by E. M. Forster before. Since I own the stunning Penguin Library Edition of his first novel, Where Angels Fear To Tread, I decided this was as good a place as any to start my introduction into his works.

Coming in at under 160 pages, this first novel, or novella, is extremely short. It follows the actions of Lilia Herriton, a widowed woman who is somewhat of a nuisance to her deceased husband’s family. Traveling to the small Italian town of Monteriano, Lilia begins a relationship with a much younger Italian man, a man who is far outside her and her family’s social circles. Following on from these actions, the novel looks at society and relationships, described as an attack on the ‘decorous Edwardian Values’.

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