I'm back! April Book Haul & Currently Reading

Hello, hello. It's been a while! The last few months have been busy, busy, busy. Since I last blogged here I've gotten a new job, moved house, made many new friends and thrown myself into a tonne of new hobbies, so in between all that I didn't really feel like blogging. But I'm back now and have a plethora of blog posts I'm wanting to write, enjoy!

This year I made my first new years resolution, as I previously told myself it was pointless because I probably wouldn't achieve my goals anyway (I've always been such a positive person *insert eye roll here*). Anyhoo, my new year's resolution was to read twelve books as I've been in a reading slump for the last few years and wanted to find my love for books again. Now it's not even half way through the year and my goal has moved up to eighty (how that jumped from twelve I don't know) and I'm onto my twenty-eighth book of the year and laugh to myself about my original goal whenever I think about it.

I buy about a book a week, as that's what I can afford, though sometimes - more often that not - I convince myself that food isn't that important and buy two instead. As a general rule I try not to buy new books until I've read the ones I've already got, though I'm fast approaching the point where I'm going to need another book shelf. So here's what I bought and read this month: 

Daughter of Smoke and Bone & Days of Blood and Starlight - Laini Taylor

"Love is a luxury."
"No. Love is an element."
An element. Like air to breathe, earth to stand on." 
— Laini Taylor 

So these are the first two books in this trilogy and I'm so, so glad I picked them up. I believe these are classified as young adult but they are beautiful and lyrical nonetheless. I don't usually read young adult novels, not because I think they're going to be terrible, but because my reading tastes from the time I was about eleven has always been literature and historical fiction, so I was kind of nervous about how this series would deliver. There was much screeching and "OMG WHAT THE HELL!!" while reading these books. I enjoyed Days of Blood and Starlight more than I did reading the first book, I felt like it was more well put together and ended a little cleaner than Daughter of Smoke and Bone did. I really love and connect with the main character Karou and love that the books have a good balance of humor, heart warming scenes and dark, mysterious happenings as well. I would definitely recommend these books if you like more modern/present day fantasy and strong female characters. 

Stardust - Neil Gaiman

“She says nothing at all, but simply stares upward into the dark sky and watches, with sad eyes, the slow dance of the infinite stars.”
― Neil Gaiman

This is the first Neil Gaiman book I've ever read and I really loved it. I've always enjoyed fairy-tales and from what I've experienced so far from Gaiman's works, is that he writes wonderful fairy-tales for adults. If you're wanting enchanting and poetic writing give this book a go. I loved the fact that this was an easy read but beautifully written all the same and while the story did feel a tiny bit lacking at the start and ending it was gorgeous to read overall.

The Garden of Evening Mists - Tan Twan Eng

“Before me lies a voyage of a million miles, and my memory is the moonlight I will borrow to illuminate my way.”
- Tan Twan Eng

Where do I even start with this book? In this book we follow our main character Yun Ling and the story of her life after she became the sole survivor of a civilian interment camp during the Japanese occupation of Malaya, the loss of her sister to the same camp and the affects of war on her country. I love how we get so many different view points in this book, from Yun Ling herself, a Chinese woman living in Malay, some Japanese characters who Yun Ling learns to forgive despite their involvement in the war and even insights into communist guerrilla wars going on. This book was hard to read at some points dealing with rape, brutal tortures and in general the atrocities of war. It is one of the most wonderfully and poetically written books I've ever read and I cried from about an hour and a half when I finished. As the recommendation said at my local book store "This is magical, please read."

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender - Leslye Walton
“Love, as most know, follows its own timeline. Disregarding our intentions or well rehearsed plans.” 
― Leslye Walton

Can we just take a moment to appreciate how lovely this cover is, I am a sucker for pretty books. Unfortunately, though I did like this book overall, it did fall a bit short for me. I was expecting something much more profound after all the hype this got. Leslye Walton has a lovely and unique writing style, I liked many of the characters and the book was magical and a bit witchy feeling which I liked but I felt like there wasn't much of a plot. The main plot point was dealing with rape which I hated. I hate that. Stop with using rape as a go-to plot device for female characters and I think things could of been handled a lot better in that regard.. I honestly felt like that one little bit of the book ruined the whole thing for me and the ending was a bit messy but as I said the overall this book was interesting and I enjoyed majority of the story. 

The Ocean at the End of the Lane - Neil Gaiman

“I went away in my head, into a book. That was where I went whenever real life was too hard or too inflexible.” 
― Neil Gaiman

I was a tad skeptical as to whether or not I was going to like this book. I have a really hard time with blurbs and find that most actually turn me off the book rather than getting me to read it. I think it's safe to say I was pleasantly surprised. I liked that this book was a bit more child like and imaginative than things I've previously read, and it bought back a lot of childhood memories. I could relate to the main character in the way that he went to books to escape from life. I loved that this had characters who were witchy as well, being Wiccan myself I get a lot of amusement out of storybook witches with their broomsticks and cackling and what not, though Gaiman's characters are quite original and unique in that regard. I think I liked Stardust a bit more than this in hindsight but The Ocean at the End of the Lane was a fun read and great if you want a something a bit shorter and easier to read as well.

Currently Reading: Assassin's Apprentice - Robin Hobb

I picked this book up because so many people recommended it to me, I'm about half way through and so far so good. I quite like the writing style, it has a tolkiensque feel to it. Hopefully this lives up to what people have said about it, and since my partner already owns most of Robin Hobb's books it's a plus for saving money.

Thanks for reading and feel free to let me know what you're reading currently, any recommendations you have for me or your opinions if you've read any of these books. 
You can find me on GoodReads here


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