Thursday, 24 August 2017

Recently Read: July/August

Hello again! I'm still here!

This week I thought I'd do a post on the books I've read recently. 
In all honesty, I actually photographed this way back in July and I've read so many books since July, but I may do an update soon of some of the best books I've read since (I won't do them all as I'm a fast reader so it'll be 1000 years long).

First up, is Always With Love by Giovanna Fletcher. This is the sequel to Billy and Me, which is about a girl called Sophie who lives with her mum in a quiet little village, who runs into Billy Buskin, a massive Hollywood heartthrob and how her life changes in both good and bad ways because of their relationship. This book is slightly similar to the first, however we meet Billy's family in LA, who are not as perfect and idyllic as they're made out of be. Sophie and Billy's relationship also becomes strained as he is cast in a huge new Hollywood film and has to stay out in LA while Sophie has to go home to England.
This is a really cute, mushy romance book. there's not really any big wOAH moments or lots of drama, but if you want a really nice easy read, then I would definitely recommend this to you! It's not the type of book I would normally go for, but I did really like it.

Next is A Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. I really wanted to read this as I had started to watch the tv adaptation, and really liked it.
This book is set in today's society, where the majority of men and women are infertile, and only a select few women can still have children. These women are 'trained' to be handmaids, and live with a couple who cannot have children and must provide them with a baby. The plot and storyline of the book interested me so much, as I love reading dystopian novels and the whole town of Gilliad was so fascinating and learning how restricted and oppressive the regime was. However, I didn't enjoy the book as much as I thought I would. I think this might have been because I made the really smart decision of reading the book while watching the show and I got quite confused as the show is completely different to the book. I found that I didn't really get to learn about Gilliad and how the rebels managed to take power, and I felt that the book dragged on slightly, and I was so disappointed in the ending. And I'm still completely baffled by how this is going to have a second season?
Anyway, although it wasn't as good as I'd hoped, I'd still definitely give it a 4/5 and I would say to read this before watching the show, as you'll probably understand and enjoy it much more than I did!

The next book is Passenger by Alexandra Bracken. I gave this book a brief mention in my last post, but I discovered this book series last month and I fell in love with it. I've given a summary of this already, but to sum it up, it's about a girl, Etta, who is suddenly thrown into a world she doesn't know or recognise. She discovers she is a traveller, and has the ability to travel through portals to different periods of history, from ancient Greece to the London Blitz. Etta learns of the astrolabe, which controls portals and allows travellers to travel though the time, and Etta does all she can to keep it far away from Cyrus Ironwood, the leader of the Ironwood family who wants to use it or his own selfish and evil needs, and get back to her mum, all the while being accompanied by Nicolas, who is captain of a ship in the 1700s. 
Okay that was a really bad description, but it's such a good book, and the sequel is equally as good! I'm considering doing a full review on the series sometime in the future (not anytime soon seeing as I've spoken about it twice in the space of two weeks!)  as I have so much to say about it.
This is such a good book, if you're interested in history like me because it's so cool to see Nicolas and Etta travel through all these different countries and periods, and it obviously has a little romance thrown in, which is written so beautifully and I was so invested in the book, and I would give this a strong 5/5!

Next is The Girl In The Blue Coat by Monica Hesse, which is a historical fiction, as centres around Hanneke who is a girl in her late teens living in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam who is mourning her boyfriend who was killed during the war. Hanneke's job is to smuggle 'illegal' goods such as extra rations to people in her town in her own quiet rebellion against the Nazis. However, when one of her customers asks her to find a missing Jewish girl, Hanneke accepts and goes on a journey to locate her girl before the Nazis do.
I really love historical fiction, especially those set during the Second World War, and I loved learning about what life was like in Amsterdam during the war. I didn't completely love the book though, and I think that was because of the main character. I felt I could possibly understand Hanneke because we're around the same age, but I thought her character was poorly developed and I hardly got to learn about her or what she even looked like, and it was more so focussed on the storyline which I understand, but I just ended up disliking Hanneke as I never fully got to understand or see much or her relationship with her boyfriend before he was killed, and I just found her to be quite rude, annoying and intrusive, which I really didn't like.

I also read Heartless by Marissa Meyer, which is a twist on Alice in Wonderland and is set years before Alice lands in Wonderland and is told from the perspective of Catherine, before she ever became the Queen of Hearts. Catherine loves to bake, and dreams of opening her own bakery in Wonderland one day, but her dreams are slowly being squished when he King of Hearts begins to court her and Jest, the mysterious court jester appears and Catherine finds herself far more attracted to Jest than the blundering, clumsy efforts of the King, and she starts to explore Wonderland and soon sees that everything isn't as perfect as it seems.
I absolutely loved this book, it was so interesting to read from the teenage Queen of Hearts view before she was crowned, and seeing how overpowered and out of control she was when it came to her making decisions about herself and her future. Reading about Wonderland and its famous characters like Hatter before he went mad was so strange to read, and I loved Cath and Jest's relationship. Most of all, I loved the way we got to see Catherine's gradual transition from a kind-hearted girl into the hateful, vengeful queen that we all know.

The last book in today's post is The Chosen Ones by Carol Ann Lynch. I briefly mentioned this in a favourites post last year, but I recently picked it up again from my library and I enjoyed it as much as I did before. It focuses on Kyra, who is a member of The Chosen Ones, who are a religious group who live in isolation in the outskirts of a state in America. It's told from Kyra's perspective and we get to her how extreme The Chosen Ones are and we learn of all her 'sins' that she regularly commits, and how oppressive the group are. I loved this book as I knew very little of religious groups like these and I was so fascinated to get even a small insight into what they were like. I also really liked Kyra's character and I found she was quite similar to me. I would really suggest giving this a read if you are curious or don't know much about The Chosen Ones or groups like it, as it's really insightful and a really interesting read (how many times have I said 'interesting' in that last paragraph?!).
Those were all the books that I've read (somewhat) recently. If you like this post, then I'd love to do more in the future, as I love reading and watching and reading book bloggers, and I'd love to give it a go!
Sorry this post was a day late, I was at a Lana Del Rey concert yesterday (I'm still in shock) and wasn't able to finish up the post!
Thank you for reading, and I'll see you next week!

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