Recently Read #5

Posted in Books

Hello! This may be the last “Recently Read” for a while *sad face*. I need to finish the wonderful A Feast For Crows (#sarcasm), and I know that it will take me about 5 years to do so. I am cracking the whip – I am not allowed to read any other books until I get it finished. Alas, here are the last three books that I read.

Recently Read 1 - Famous in Japan

Wonder by R J Palacio

Plot: August is a normal ten year old boy. He likes Star Wars and video games. However, there is just one thing that doesn’t make him normal; he was born with a severe facial disfigurement.   After years of being home-schooled by his protective parents, August attends mainstream school for the first time. Will his classmates accept him, and treat him normally, or will August spend his life living in the shadow of the person he wants to be?

I had heard a lot about Wonder. It seems to crop up frequently on “books you must read” lists, so when I spotted a copy in my local library, I decided to finally see what the fuss was about.

I found Wonder to be a sweet tale with a strong message.  The language and tone of the novel is aimed at children about August’s age, but as a 22 year old I could still read it and enjoy it.  The story was told by primarily through August, but it also had chapters by certain people in his life such as his sister and some of his classmates.   On a whole, the story was enjoyable and touching; there was a certain part that had me shedding a tear on the train (I think some people noticed too…)

However, the cynic in me can’t help but feel that the ending of the story would not happen as smoothly and as sweetly in real life as it does in the novel. I do appreciate the message the author was trying to get across, but by the ending it began to feel like it was being forced on to me, rather than something as a reader you realise yourself.

Recommend? I would recommend Wonder to young readers and/or fans of the Young Adult Genre.

Recently Read 2 - Famous in Japan

Eenie Meenie by M J Arlidge

Plot: Eenie Meenie is the first book in a series following Detective Helen Grace. In this first instalment, she is trying to crack a peculiar case where two people are abducted. In a sick twist on “Eenie Meenie”, the only way a person can survive is by killing the other.   As time goes on, the stakes get higher and Helen Grace has more to lose if she doesn’t solve the case and catch the killer.

Eenie Meenie isn’t a book that I would have chosen for myself. I was discussing books with someone at work, and she offered to lend me her copy of Eenie Meenie to see what I thought of it. I haven’t read any crime thrillers in a long time, so I thought it would make a change from all the YA and Romance books I have been reading lately.

Eenie Meenie was seriously fast paced. With short chapters and multiple points of views, it’s like being on a rollercoaster.   I initially anticipated the story being hard to get into, but the action starts quickly and continues throughout the novel.  The tone and language was easy to get to grips with, and I had no trouble getting back in to the story if I put it down for a few hours. There are sexual and violent references from the outset and throughout, so it is not suitable for young readers.

Even though I did enjoy the book, there were certain parts that did bug me. The story was almost too fast, and I felt that there wasn’t time to let certain events sink in. The twists and turns of the novel were all over the place, and at times it felt silly and unrealistic. The revealing of the killer was a shock, but not in a good way. There was no way you would have known who the killer was literally until it was revealed to you.  Usually with books like this, you want to have a guess at who it is, and see if you are right. The way the killer operated wasn’t explained that well either, and the ending felt rather rushed and left a lot of questions unanswered.

I wouldn’t continue on with the Helen Grace series right now, but I think if I were in the mood for a thriller in the future I would continue on with the second book in the series.

Recommend? I would recommend Eenie Meenie for fans of the crime/thriller genre.

Recently Read 3 - Famous in Japan

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Plot: The Book Thief tells the story of Liesel, a young girl living with a foster family in Nazi Germany.  We feel Liesel’s pain as she sees her neighbours taken away, prisoners paraded through the streets, and watch her go hungry in the time of rations and unemployment.   The years go by and the bombs continue to drop.  This is her story.

The Book Thief is another book that comes up often on “must read books” lists. I will admit I am a bit of a ghoul and I love fiction set in Nazi Germany, so it was inevitable that I read this.

The Book Thief is unique in that this is the first story I have read that is narrated by Death. Whilst this initially annoyed me and put me off the novel, I grew to love Death’s style of narrating.   The tone and language of Death was rather poetic in a sense, which fitted well with the overall tone of the story.

The book wasn’t what I was expecting.    Liesel is not a quiet, sweet girl with a mature head on her shoulders like I originally thought. She is loud, rude and quite annoying –how a child would be at that age really.  She also steals books, hence the title.   Whilst she cannot read the first book she steals, with the help of her loving foster father she eventually learns to read, and draws comfort from the books.   It is inevitable that you will fall in love with Liesel’s foster father, Hans, as well as another character that comes to know Liesel quite well.   I would have liked to know a bit more about Liesel’s family, such as her mother, but I suppose as Liesel did not know, we could not know either.

I will be honest and admit that this book did not move me as much as I thought it would. I was expecting to be in floods of tears by the ending, but I wasn’t.  I’m not sure whether this is because I was forewarned, or maybe because I am getting tough in my old age.  However, I am sure that the film adaptation will have me sobbing one way or another.

Recommend? I would recommend The Book Thief to any book fan.

What have you read recently?

Dannie x

July 13, 2015
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1 Comment

  • Reply Rosie

    I hope you get through Feast of Crows quickly. I want to read them, I really do, but I struggle with them. They’re so slow.

    July 18, 2015 at 9:29 am
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