November Wrap-Up: Wasteland, Sapiens and more

November is over, so it’s time for another monthly wrap-up. This has been another great month for the blog, despite the distractions of mocks and other school work. I read 9 books this month, which was less than last month, but still a lot more than I was reading before starting the blog. I completed my goal of reading 50 books in the year (something I wasn’t sure would happen before the blog urged me to read so much more). I also got an e-reader, which I have absolutely loved so far. It makes a world of difference compared to reading on a phone.

A lot of new things happened too. I started the Slow Reads recurring post, starting with The Color Purple, where I dissect a book as I read it. I’ve loved the opportunity to dive deeply into such a rich novel. Also, I joined Rosie’s Review Team after taking part in the #RRABC. It has been a very rewarding experience so far, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it develops. The blog also had over double the views it had in October. I’m not particularly stats driven, but it is nice to see that it’s growing.

Without further ado, onto the books I read in November:

Sapiens: A Brief History Of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

Superbly written non-fiction with a unique perspective on world affairs (7 out of 7)

Wasteland by Terry Tyler

Gripping plot with fast-paced action and surprisingly deep themes (6 out of 7)

The Priory Of The Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

A magnificently crafted court intrigue with a feminist slant (6.5 out of 7)

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

A very creepy adventure, with excellent writing (6 out of 7)

Mockingbird by Chuck Wendig

The profane hurricane returns! A truly dark urban fantasy (6.5 out of 7)

Here are the rest of my reads (some of which are also excellent, but I can only spotlight so many).

Jonah by Carl Rackman

The Silent Bluebird by Elle M Holmes

We by Yevgeny Zamyatin

Synthetic Selection by Arda Karaca

How was your November? Did any book stand out to you? Have you read any of the books I did? What are you most looking forward to reading next month?

Weekly Preview 8/11/20

Hi everyone. Hopefully you’ve had a good week. I haven’t got through as much reading as I would have liked this week, as I’ve been distracted by the US election. However, I did review Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children and Wasteland last week.

I only got partway through We this week, and I’m hoping to finish it in the next few days. I also read Jonah as a second book for the #RRABC, and should have a review written for Tuesday.

I’m also taking a deep dive into the first part of The Color Purple on Friday as part of my new weekly post Slow Reads. Use the link if you’re interested to learn more about it.

Looking to what else I might read this week, I’m thinking of starting Pompeii by Robert Harris since I liked Imperium so much. Hopefully I’ll get the time.

Let me know your plans for the week.

~Rickettts

Book Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was properly strange in places, as well as maintaining a sense of mystery throughout, but it never felt forced or had gaping plot holes. It doesn’t exactly have something profound to say, but that’s completely fine. It’s just a really fun and engaging read.

The book kicks of with the death of Jacob’s grandpa, which leads to events spiraling and finally Jacob ending up on a mysterious island. Because of how all the events are shrouded in mystery, I don’t want to much into the plot for fear of accidentally spoiling something. Instead, I’ll leave the blurb at the end of the review.

One of my favourite aspects of this novel is Ransom Riggs’ use of pictures. Jacob’s grandpa has some strange photographs, which are included in the book. They are properly creepy. The images are all authentic, vintage photographs, often found in collections. I found this to be a particularly unique idea, and it certainly gave the book an extra flair that made it stand out in my mind.

The writing allowed the book to flow with ease, and made it very readable. The language conjured vivid images, and I never struggled to place myself there in my mind’s eye. The plot moved at a decent pace throughout the entire novel, never too fast or too slow. I wouldn’t say it’s exceptionally good, but it’s fun and enjoyable – which is all that mattered to me.

All the characters have a uniqueness about them, but the story is dominated by Jacob. This isn’t inherently a problem, as he has lots of internal struggles that make him interesting, but I would have liked some of the supporting characters motivations and feelings to be more fleshed out. However, I did really Emma, who also feels well developed.

I give it 6 out of 7. I almost gave it 5.5, but going back and reading over a few small sections has made me appreciate the dialogue. It’s something that often just makes a book gel without being flashy, and this is certainly the case here. I think that is a large factor in why the book is so readable. I’d recommend to any fans of young adult novels that have a fantasy element.

~Rickettts

Blurb:

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And a strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children who once lived here – one of whom was his own grandfather – were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason. And somehow – impossible though it seems – they may still be alive. 

Weekly Preview 1/11/20

I have some exciting news this week – I’m taking part in Rosie’s Review-A-Book Challenge. It’s kind of exhilarating because I got a free copy of Wasteland by Terry Tyler, and now I feel like a real reviewer! The book has been good so far and you’ll get to see the review soon. Also, I’ve been really impressed with how helpful and quick to respond Rosie has been. There is still time to participate in this challenge (I think), and this could be a great way to get into reviewing if anyone is interested.

Beyond that, last week I reviewed Life of Pi and One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich, both of which were decent books. I also participated in my first ever book tag.

There’s a review of Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children coming on Tuesday as per usual. It had some pretty creepy pictures in it, which was a really unique part of the book.

I’m hoping to keep up the sci-fi slant to the blog by reading We next week (as well as finishing Wasteland). I’m pretty excited about this one since it is supposed to have inspired Orwell’s 1984, which will definitely be interesting to see.

Finally, I’ve got some more ideas for the blog coming down the pipeline. I want to try and find more recurring content, so that I can start to post every day. At the moment, I would need to write 5 book reviews in a week to accomplish this, which just isn’t going to happen. Therefore, I’ve had an idea for something I’m currently calling ‘slow reads’, with more information to follow on Friday. Also, I want to take some Saturday’s (normally my day off) to post more political content (the original concept for the blog). You might recall me saying I was going to read The Communist Manifesto, which I did last week, so look for something about it on Saturday. Although I might end up talking about the American election or other pressing news if I feel it is more relevant.

That’s all for the preview. What are you most interested to read? Is there anything else you want to see on the blog? What did you most enjoy reading in October?

~Rickettts