Good Omens, a book review

I finally read it! This is one that’s been on my tbr forever, and randomly after I moved in with my partner we were going through his books and he had this one. So obviously I ignored my actual tbr and read this!

If you’ve somehow never heard of this book, it follows an angel and a demon who are unlikely friends. And they’re attempting to prevent the end of the world. For purely selfish reasons of course.

This book is so fucking fun. It’s absolutely insane, absolutely stupid, I adore the references, and I’m so glad I read it. It is slightly of its time, with a few references that were “fine” then but we see as inappropriate now. But nothing awful. (and these are altered in the TV adaptation to fit with current views on appropriate statements – in a good way)

Part of me wishes that there was a sequel to the book, but a bigger part of me knows that I don’t want to risk this perfect world in any way! And besides, with the TV show (that I’m actually up to date with? Who am I?) we’re getting more from the world regardless so it’s the best of both worlds!

On CAWPILE I gave: Characters: 10, Atmosphere: 9, Writing: 9: Plot: 8, Intrigue: 9, Logic: 8, and Enjoyment: 10 which gives an average of 9 and a 5* rating!

Unsurprisingly from a book written by two great writers, I really enjoyed this book! British humour at it’s finest and I’m so excited to see where the TV show goes from here.

My March Hopefuls!

I struggled to narrow down my TBR this month, I wanted to put so so many books on the list! But eventually I managed to narrow it down so let’s dive into the list.

First up I of course will be carrying on reading my chapter a day of The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas along with Olivia from Olivia’s Catastrophe. We’re both really enjoying our read of this (although a little less so in recent days) and we’re excited to see where the story goes next.

Then I am finally going to finish Fall of Giants by Ken Follett. I started this damn book in 2018? 2019? I can’t remember, but it’s taken me an age to get through. I really struggled with big books back then and it shows. But now I don’t have much issue with them so I want to get this finished off! I’ve got about 150 pages of this to read (at a guess) and hopefully that’ll be it finally done and dusted!

Of course I’m wanting to do my Skulduggery Pleasant reread of Dead or Alive by Derek Landy. This is the most recent Skulduggery novel and due to Until the End having its release date pushed back the Dead Famous Readalong has matched up nicely.

I always read the Illumicrate book of the month before too. I won’t say what it is here cause spoilers, and truth be told I’ve not gotten the box yet as I write this. But I think I know what the book is and I’m excited to read it along with the Discord group at the end of the month.

Next up I want to read Super Volcanoes by Robin George Andrews which is a non-fiction book. As you might know I adore volcanology (and focused on an aspect of that for my MSc thesis) so I’m super excited to delve into this book that was gifted to me by my MIL.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab has been on my physical tbr for a few months and my overall tbr since I heard about it. So it’s high time I finally read it! I’ve heard very mixed things about this one and I’m still undecided about Schwab from the other writing I’ve read so it’ll be interesting to see with this one.

Another long time tbr-er is The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. This YA fantasy with ghosts and friendship is one that’s been raved about for years online and it’s time for me to delve in and see what I think.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman is one that I’d been putting off for a few years because of how big it is (600+ pages) but I’m vastly better with longer books now. Also I’ve heard mixed things, with some in my “real” life stating that this is a brilliant book, and some of my online bookish friends saying it’s one of the worst things they’ve ever read. Might as well dive in while the intrigue is hot!

Then I’m wanting to finally finish up a series with Cathy’s Ring by Stewart, Weisman and Brigg. This is a series I bought way back when (no seriously, in like 2013 or earlier) and I want to be able to tick off! It’s a fun series too with immortal beings and doodles on every page. This should be a nice quick read.

Second last and we’ve got I Am A Cat by Natsume Soseki which was one of the books my boyfriend got me this past Christmas. It’s the first “Japanese cat book” and he bought me three of the other books that were inspired by this one so I’m wanting to read the original first! It’s reasonably long which is a little intimidating for a translated book but I’m hoping that I’ll love it.

And finally. I own this book in paperback but I think I’m going to read it via audiobook, and that’s Champion by Marie Lu. Another finishing book in a trilogy, it would be nice to cross this one off the list and seeing as I have it on audiobook I can listen while I work.

And that’s the stupidly big tbr I’ve made for myself for March! Do you think I’ll manage it? Have you read any of these? What books do you want to read in March? Let me know in the comments!!

My best books of 2019!

 

I read a lot less 5* reads in 2019 compared to 2018, but I still had a decent selection to pick from for this list and I love all of these books!

I’m going to start off with my absolute favourite of the year, which seems backwards, but I can’t rank all of my other favourites so I may as well get the #1 spot up first!

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi, translated by Geoffrey Trousselot, is an absolutely gorgeous book.

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There’s a small coffee shop in a basement which has a secret, people know about it but they can’t believe that it’s true. The staff in the shop will only tell the customers who they believe need the experience. And it’s not as positive as many believe before they sit down. But their lives are forever changed, big impacts are made. This book is¬†beautifully¬†written and I only picked it up randomly for NetGalley, I’m so so glad that I did. I recommend this above everything else on this list, which is a big statement seeing as these are all 5* reads for me. However, I feel like this book will appeal to many different audiences and so I really do encourage you to at least look at the GoodReads page and read the synopsis (link here) and consider picking it up. If you’re interested, then you can find my full review here.

Now onto the rest of my favourite books! There are 10 books for the rest of this list and they are in the order which I read them throughout 2019 (to avoid putting them in any other sort of order, because I really can’t decide).

The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon (The Bone Season #2) 

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I read this on the train going back down to Portsmouth for my heart operation after my Christmas break, it’s around 8 hours of travelling so I had a lot of time to sit with the book and I really enjoyed it. Although the ending annoyed me so much and I had to stay composed because I was on a train!! Another amazing book from Samantha Shannon. Read my full review of the book here.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale #1)

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I’m massively late to this party, of course, but I finally picked up this book in a secondhand shop and read it early on in 2019. It was¬†amazing.¬†I loved the commentary on female autonomy and sadly it did really hit a chord with me, despite being written “so many” years ago. If you’re interested my full review is here.

Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen (Orphan Monster Spy #1)

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I got this the day before I started by BookTube channel, and it took me until now to read it. There’s a bit of a theme here but if I’m getting through my backlog I won’t complain! This YA WWII based book follows a young Jewish girl who can pass as an Aryan and becomes a spy in a Nazi girls school. Check out my full review here.

Book of Lies by Teri Terry

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I really love everything I’ve read so far from Teri Terry, she is truly one of my favourite authors. This book follows a girl who isn’t loved by her family, they don’t care about her at all. But then she finds out a bit secret, something that she wasn’t supposed to know. Magical and mystical, this is such an interesting book. My review is here.

The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman (The Devouring Gray #1)

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This is the first book that I ever requested from a publisher and it’s the first one that was sent to me! So of course this book will always have a special place for me, but on top of that it’s a fantastic YA book with sprinkles of magic and just enough weirdness to keep you completely hooked. I can’t wait to read book #2! Check out my full review here.

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman (Arc of the Scythe #2)

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Have you read this series yet? Why not? If you like dystopian or just a great YA directed book then this is 100% a series you should pick up! There is no more natural death in the world, it’s been cured. So scythes must kull the population in order to prevent it getting out of control. But of course there are a lot of issues with this plan, it was never going to work. Check out my full review of Scythe here(which is book #1) and my review for Thunderhead here.

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Illuminae Files #1)

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Another book I’ve finally read! This multi-media sci-fi YA is gripping and so interesting and I finally understand why people raved about it so much for years! I definitely need to get my hands on the rest of the trilogy and I can’t wait to carry on with this story and see where it goes. See my full review here.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

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I actually DNF’d this at my first attempted reading this year, but at a push from so many people online I picked it up to give it another go. I’m so rediculously glad that I did as this book is magical and wonderous and such a great read! If you’ve seen the film you’ll still love the book as there were only a few changes and I’m very glad I listened to everyone who told me to pick this back up! My full review is here.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

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I read this all in one day, sat by a paddling pool my aunt had set up on the hottest day of the year in the UK at 40 Celsius, that’s 104 Fahrenheit for those of you in the US. I was dying! Yet despite that, I was glued to my seat, gripped within this story. A fictional tale inspired by the suffering of so many from slavery in the US. My full review of this novel can be found here.

The Aliens are Coming by Ben Miller

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This was the first book I read after finishing my MSc dissertation. I’m so glad I picked up a science-y non-fiction as this was perfect for me in the mindset that I was in and it was also really fun (Ben Miller is a UK comedian if you didn’t know) as well as teaching me more about the search for other life forms. Check out my review here.

And that’s it! Those are all of my favourite books of 2019! I did read a few more books which I gave 5*s throughout the year (Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein and Night by Elie Wiesel). I would have ranked them lower than these books, however, and given that there are already 11 books on this list I decided to cut them out. What was your favourite (or your favourites) of 2019? Have you read any of the books that are on my list? Let me know!!

 

11 Doctors, 11 Stories

 

My last book for the buzzwordathon! I technically finishing this the day after the readathon ended but shhh!

This book consists of 11 short stories by a variety of well known authors, one for each Doctor (excluding the war doctor and also ones which have appeared after this book was published, Peter Capaldi and Jodie Whittaker). Sadly I’ve only watched nuWho so far, and a bit of the 1st Doctor (I’m working on it!) but those respective authors really managed to embody the way in which each Doctor was portrayed and I really felt like I was watching the show.

Overall I gave the book a rounded up 4*s on Goodreads, as the average of my reviews was around 3.7*s. Now lets break these down into their individual stories.

The First Doctor: A Big Hand for the Doctor by Eoin Colfer – 4*

I really enjoyed this Victorian romp around, with Colfer really mixing the Doctor’s personality around to work for a more modern reader. Hartnel played the Doctor as quite stiff and although that does remain in this story he is a bit more relaxed as would fit a modern audience and I think Colfer blended the two really well.

 

The Second Doctor: The Nameless City by Michael Scott – 2*

This was my lowest rated story within this book at 2*s. I honestly felt bored reading it and struggled to get through it. The concept was fine but the characters fell flat for me. It would have been a 1* if not for the Flower of Scotland at the end!!! (I’m half Scottish) I’ve never read from this author before and I’m likely to not do so given my unenjoyment of their writing style here.

 

The Third Doctor: The Spear of Destiny by Maarcus Sedgwick – 3.5*

A fun viking based story which I was immediately engrossed in and really enjoyed, I gave this 3.5* as it lacked a little extra spark to push it any higher. I enjoyed the little details added in but I feel like it could have done with being a little longer, or a standalone book by itself as there were so many small details added which didn’t get to be explored.

 

The Fourth Doctor: The Roots of Evil by Philip Reeve – 4*

This was a great story, Reeve wrote just the right amount for a novella and the concept of a living tree which had been genetically altered for an evil use is such a great plot. Definitely a fun one!

 

The Fifth Doctor: Tip of the Tongue by Patrick Ness – 4.5*

I loved this story! Little truth machines which tell people exactly what you think of them, which is usually quite harsh or unwanted information. The Doctor and Nyssa don’t feature heavily in this story, with the focus being on the children involved, which I definitely think was the right decision by Ness as it brings the reader into their world very directly.

 

The Sixth Doctor: Something Borrowed by Richelle Mead – 4*

A world which based itself around Las Vegas, with the focus being on a shotgun wedding! This was another fun story, as is the theme of this short story collection, and I enjoyed reading about characters which I’ve heard of but not watched myself so far.

 

The Seventh Doctor: The Ripple Effect by Malorie Blackman – 5*

My favourite story of the whole collection! If you’re familiar with Doctor Who you’ll be familiar with the Daleks, but not like this! Blackman takes the story exactly where you would expect for her favoured writing topics and it works brilliantly with the Doctor and the Daleks. This novella is written brilliantly and I highly recommend it.

 

The Eighth Doctor: Spore by Alex Scarrow – 4*

A really interesting take on an alien virus and a great stepping stone from the original Doctors to the new series. There is a virus which is melting people down into goo and conglomerating it to make a form for itself. The Doctor goes in on behalf of UNIT and deals with the virus himself.

 

The Ninth Doctor: The Beast of Babylon by Charlie Higson – 3*

I probably would’ve given this story 2.5*, but I boosted it up a little because I loved that Higson chose to fill up the gap from when the Doctor left Rose after they first met and then appeared back, mere seconds later, to re-offer her the opportunity of a lifetime. This was actually a large gap in time for the Doctor, and this story takes place within that. Sadly the actual story wasn’t my favourite, the concept was good but it just wasn’t for me.

 

The Tenth Doctor: The Mystery of the Haunted Cottage by Derek Landy – 3.75*

In this story we follow Martha and the Doctor inside of a Famous Five story knock-off which has come from Martha’s own brain. This is very much Landy’s ballpark and you can feel him having fun with the story. Again, similar to previous novella’s in this book, I think this needed more pages in order to be a fully developed and enjoyable story.

 

The Eleventh Doctor: Nothing O’Clock by Neil Gaiman – 4.5*

Gaiman perfectly encaptures the madness of Matt Smith and Karen Gillian as their respective characters and really sticks with the style of story which was used within their series’ on the show. It was a great end to the book and I really loved it. I’d be happy to read a lot more from Gaiman writing for the 11th Doctor!

 

Overall, some of these stories did need more time and space in order to fully reach their potential, but I definitely recommend having a look at these. They were originally published as individual short stories for eBook so if you only want to pick up the ones from your favourite authors or a few that sound good then you can definitely do that. I’m really glad that I’ve finally read this book and it was a lot of fun being back in the Whoniverse while we wait for the next series with Whittaker to be released. Definitely recommended reading for Whovians!

A little bit of Stardust

So many people wanted me to read this book, so I felt that I had to oblige! I have seen the movie adaptation before, and I really enjoyed it, so I was anticipating enjoying this book. However, I’d heard from many people that the ending was not the same as the movie and that it was darker. I will say that, personally, I don’t really understand where these people were coming from. The ending is a little different, and there’s one section of the movie that is missing that I enjoyed, however, it didn’t “ruin” the movie for me and I loved having the cinematic depiction in my minds eye as I read.

This is such a fantastical and beautiful read, with the world being so amazingly fleshed out despite the short length of the book. I adored Tristan’s quick realisation that he was being an arse and his efforts to change this, as well as all the sparks of magic throughout the story that never quite let you forget that he wasn’t in England anymore.

If you enjoy fantasy reads, this is a must try. It’s very short (especially when some fantasy books can reach a thousand pages) and I think it’s such a charming and enjoyable read with so many gorgeous plot points and moments. One of my favourite reads of the year by far!

July Wrap Up! Hella late but better than never!!| 2018

So this is ridiculously late (just wait until I pop my August TBR up!) but surely it’s better late than never?! Okay, shush just let me get on with it! If you’d rather see this in a video format, then click here for the link to my YouTube July wrap up, which was actually posted within a reasonable time frame! Shocker, I know.

whoologyWho-Ology by Cavan Scott    4/5*

This is a fun read which covers the whole history of the show and goes into details about all the doctors, companions, villains and more! As a whovian it was fun to read about some episodes I’ve not been able to get to and have some more depth to the show.

shadow of hitlerIn The Shadow of Hitler by Richard Vaughan-Davies     3/5*

Find my full review here! This was an interesting read, but it didn’t quite hit the mark. Certain aspects were interesting, however, they couldn’t quite make up for the rest of the story to increase my rating.

 

hit squadHit Squad by Sophie McKenzie    4/5*

Find my full review of Hit Squad here! I am so glad I finally finished up this series, this ended the Medusa Project in a really satisfying way, as well as leaving it open enough that it could be picked up in the future! I would absolutely love that, but seeing as it was published in 2012 I doubt Sophie McKenzie is going to write any more in the series. I can always hope though!

airheadBeing Nikki by Meg Cabot     4/5*

I’ve been really enjoying this series. Contemporary with a fun twist that really adds another dimension to the story, the ending of this book was really shocking and left me on such a cliffhanger!

 

othelloOthello by William Shakespear    1/5*

Oh my god, I HATED this!!! I just could¬†not get through it and ended up DNFing it! Maybe one day I’ll pick it back up again, and I’d like to watch an adaptation seeing as it is supposed to be performed. But for now, I’m leaving it be.

 

fracturedFractured by Teri Terry     4/5*

This is the second installment in the Slated trilogy and I really enjoyed it! It has been years since I read Slated (around 5!) so I’m really happy that I still love this series and I’m excited for Shattered!

 

The Girl in the Blue CoatThe Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse    4/5*

I listened to this book via audiobook (thank you library) and sadly I think this might’ve made me less emotionally attached to the characters, and with a book like this, I personally feel that this is an important part. So maybe this could’ve gotten 5* if I’d read a physical copy, or maybe it was the writing. Either way, I still recommend this read!

the eye of the northThe Eye of the North by Sin√©ad O’Hart¬† ¬† 4/5*

I absolutely fell in love with these beautifully written characters and the world building was fantastic. I genuinely felt sad that the story was over and hope that there could be a sequel in the future! A great 8-12 read and I’ll be keeping an eye out for more from Sin√©ad O’Hart in the future!

thatoldblackmagicThat Old Black Magic by Cathi Unsworth     4/5*

Find my full review here! This was a really really odd book, but don’t let that stop you from reading it! Magical, dark and intense, this book has the potential to suck you in and only spit you out hours later.

Next up, the 7in7Readathon reads! Find my wrap up and reading vlog here!

punisherThe Punisher    3/5*

I enjoyed this comic, however, this was my first experience with this format and I had been expecting to get more of the story within the issue. Therefore I finished it feeling slightly disappointed, but I still enjoyed the story arc and may finish it up in a bind up in the future.

norse mythologyNorse Mythology by Neal Gaiman    4.5/5*

I really enjoyed Gaiman’s take on the Norse God’s and their antics! The short stories all lead on beautifully to the next and come together at the end to create one larger overall story. I definitely recommend this one!

 

The Essential Spike MilliganThe Essential Spike Milligan   3/5*

I think I could’ve given this 4/5* if I wasn’t reading it for a readathon. It made me read through this a lot faster than I would’ve liked and took away some of the impacts. I want to reread this at some point and see how I feel then.

fangirlFangirl by Rainbow Rowell    4/5*

I can’t believe this took me so long to read! I’m so happy that I give contemporaries a chance nowadays. This is a deep book that follows Cath through her discovering college and being introduced to adult life, slowly but surely.

afterannaAfter Anna by Alex Lake    4.5/5*

This book¬†fucked me up so bad. I 100% recommend! Even though I could tell all of the “twists” I was still completely hooked and couldn’t put it down. Total mind fuck! (a great compliment for a thriller!)

Now into the BookTubeAThon reads! Find my wrap up here in blog format and here in video format!

IUTKTI Used to Know That Geography by Will Williams    4/5*

This is a great little geography book and written in a way that keeps you interested (rather than feeling like it’s a textbook!). Great for those wanting to recap the subject or be introduced to the GCSE (14-16 yo) standard of the subject

AoGGAnne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery    4/5*

Although I found the middle section of this book (before Anne turns 12/13) quite tedious, after finishing I absolutely adore Anne and can’t wait to read more following this young girls life! Definitely very invested haha.

 

And that is my wrap up! I read¬†loads this month and took a loooong time to recover after it! Hence this really late post haha, but I’m getting myself back on track now… before I go and leave for uni. So hopefully I can stay this way! I don’t think I’ll keep this level of reading up but I’m really glad I got through what I did.

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman, a review

My boyfriend read this book, incredibly quickly for him, and then brought it along when he came to visit (we’re long distance) in order for me to read it! So I decided this was going to be my 2nd book for the 7in7readathon. I am so so grateful that he did as I absolutely loved this! I have only read one of Gaiman’s works before, The Ocean at the End at the End of the Lane (click here for my review!), so I was excited to get back into some of his writing. I also haven’t read any Norse mythology before, and I absolutely love mythology from Romans and Egyptians so I was excited about expanding my horizons within this area! Due to me never having learned anything about these myths before, I can’t attest to their accuracy so if that’s what you’re looking for here you might want to try a different review. However, if you just want to know about the book itself then please stay! I’ll tell you more!

This book is told in shorter stories, which I didn’t realise at first, and they all link together really well. They create one larger story overall and follow on from each other well. It also meant that I got through this book pretty quickly, as I always tend to do with short stories, and made it absolutely fly by. This is unlikely to be a long read!

The book introduces you to every single character and doesn’t assume you know anyone, which is great for a newbie like me, but it also doesn’t linger on them for too long. As a Marvel fan, I know about a few of the Gods such as Thor, Loki, Odin and some more, but the explanations and introductions given to them didn’t feel overly long or imposing, so if you’re already acquainted with these individuals you shouldn’t have to wade through much unnecessary backstory.

Each story comes from the mythology already present, passed down through history, and Gaiman explains where he took liberties and his reasons for this. Again, allowing more knowledgeable readers to understand his process a little more whilst also explaining to newcomers what is happening here.

If you couldn’t tell, I really enjoyed this book. The stories were written beautifully and I love how they flow into one another, also this book cemented my dislike for Loki! However, I also absolutely loved how this book was put together, with the narration style, the explanations, the flow and more. Sadly there wasn’t the little spark I get with some books, so this book is “just” a 4.5/5* read for me. There is literally nothing wrong with it that I can think of! I definitely recommend and hope that you enjoy this book as much, or a little bit more, than I did!

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

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My friend absolutely loves this book, to the point where she bought me this book just so that I would read it! So, of course, I had to give it a go, and I ended up really enjoying the book. It was also my first experience with Neil Gaiman’s writing so I’m glad I liked it and I’m looking forward to reading more work from him.

This book is an adult fantasy novel, however, it centres around the main character’s childhood as he returns to his childhood village and home. As he reaches the farm of an old friend, memories that he had forgotten come flooding back, and suddenly he remembers a vastly different childhood experience with this girl and her family.

The fantastical elements of this story are approached really well, with the innocence of childhood managing to be captured whilst also being targeted at an adult audience. The concept of rediscovering old memories is one that most adults from 18 to 80 can relate to, as you discover an old possession or revisit an old haunt, and suddenly events from years ago which you had completely forgotten about come flooding back.

I am aware I am one of the last bibliophiles in my age ranger or older to read this book, but if you were in this minority with me, or are now of the appropriate age range for this book I 100% recommend picking this book up! I give it 4/5*, the only reason it wasn’t a 5* is that I didn’t get that spark, but I’m sure it’ll be a five star read for many.