It’s just over six months into the year and I’m finally in the double digits on my reading challenge *throws confetti*. It’s been a busy couple of weeks but definitely time to check in with you guys and update you all on what I’ve been reading recently…
The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow | Katherine Woodfine
Sinclair’s Department Store would like to welcome you through it’s gilt doors and into a world of extravagance and commercial wonder. And it’s within these pristine, prestigious and polished walls, our four unlikely heroes, Sophie, Billy, Lil, and Joe cross paths. When the one of a kind Clockwork Sparrow is stolen from Sinclair’s brand new exhibition their worlds are turned upside down as they race to figure out just who stole the Clockwork Sparrow.
Super fast paced and almost cinematic, Clockwork Sparrow is a heck of a rollicking good time in book form with the added bonus of a plucky underdog story too. Woodfine’s writing is fantastically descriptive creating a rich world of Victorian London, without it feeling like a heavy historical novel, and this is demonstrated perfectly in her descriptions of Sinclair’s. Clockwork Sparrow is certainly a page turner – if somewhat predictable – but super fun, nonetheless. Perfect book to take with you on holiday or to blaze through on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Check out my full review on Blogger’s Bookshelf.
Very Good Lives | JK Rowling
A word for word transcript of J.K. Rowling’s awe-inspiring Harvard commencement speech back in 2011. Touching on the topics of fear and failure, the importance of imagination and the human ability to influence each others lives in fantastical ways.
Not only is it great to just have a written record of the speech to refer to – especially in times when you need a pep talk from Jo herself – but the illustrations are seriously beautiful and the proceeds are going to her charity, Lumos. Worth picking up whether you’re a Potter-fan or not!
Hollow Pike | James Dawson
Lis thought she’d be safe in the woods, away from the bullies and the dark nightmares. She hoped moving to Hollow Pike would be a fresh start but she soon finds herself back on the bottom rung of the social ladder again. The only difference this time is that she has Kitty, Delilah and Jack, the school’s mysterious outcasts. Though she finally has a group of friends she can count on her nightmares are only getting worse and after a practical joke, Lis’ tormentor is found dead in the woods. A serial killer on the loose? Or is there something darker out there?
As always James Dawson has managed to give us a YA novel that weaves in both the creepy, thriller genre with the added reality and generous helping of major teen drama. Hollow Pike was like a brilliant mix of Mean Girls and Charmed – just imagine the Plastics as a Coven and you get the idea. I find it incredibly rare to find a novel that incorporates witchcraft without it being overly cheesy on the ancient spells and magical elements. Hollow Pike’s supernatural plot lines are much more rooted in traditional paganism that your a-typical witches on a broomstick stereotype and I’d love to see a sequel to this with a bit more development on the paranormal world.
The Night Circus | Erin Morgenstern
Two aged magicians set upon a task of pitting their two proteges, Ceilia and Marco, in a magical contest. The backdrop to this battle? The mysterious and fantastical Cirque des Rêves (or the Circus of Dreams) created solely for the purpose of being the stage for which the two will demonstrate and eventually fight for their lives.
I do plan on reviewing this more in depth on Blogger’s Bookshelf, but I just wanted to make a quick note of it on here. I have no doubt that this is book divides readers – you’ll either love it or hate it, there seems to be no middle ground here. If you are thinking of picking it up, come to The Night Circus with an open mind, take it slow and revel in the language and more descriptive aspects of the book.
Everything, Everything | Nicola Yoon
Maddy has spent her entire life in a literal bubble. Allergic to the outside world, she’s housebound due to Severe combined immunodeficiency disorder (SCID) with only her mother and Nurse, Rosa, for company. She doesn’t know anything else outside of this life and she doesn’t really mind until one day, a moving van rumbles into her street, depositing a new family across the road and a boy named Olly into Maddy’s life. What happens over the course of the next few weeks will challenge and change everything she’s ever known about herself, the world and love itself.
As I said in my original review, Everything, Everything has managed to take on the tired old girl meets boy story and gives it a fascinating twist. Though the plot itself feels cliche at times the characters (Maddy and Olly respectively) help make the story story feel fresh and their romance is electric. I have no shame in saying this book gave me the wonderfully heart-achey pangs that you should get from reading a romance novel.
Check out my full review on Blogger’s Bookshelf
Never Be Younger: A YA Anthology | Various Authors
Shakespeare’s classic plays are given a modern twist in this new YA Anthology. There’s high school drama and space explorers, dreamy love stories and darker tales of magic and witchcraft. The book brings together all the best bits of the timeless Bard’s work, including revised versions of A Midsummer Nights Dream, Macbeth and Romeo & Juliet, providing a unique collection of short stories for the Millennial generation.
I’ve gone through each story and reviewed this on Blogger’s Bookshelf, but overall, Never Be Younger was really fun to read and perfect if you have a short attention span for long YA novels/series. My own personal favourites were the stories based of Romeo & Juliet, Othello and The Winter’s Tale, but no knowledge of Shakespeare needed here. They stories sit well as standalones, but If you do love the Bard you’ll have fun comparing these adaptations of the prose to the original text.
Check out my full review on Blogger’s Bookshelf
Player One by Douglas Coupland
Zeros by Scott Westerfeld