March Wrap Up 2018

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I am disappointed with how much I read this month, but I shouldn’t be! This was the second to last month where I’ll be working on my dissertation and therefore I couldn’t justify spending too much time leisure reading.

For those who don’t know, a dissertation is the end project of a degree in the UK. The degrees usually last three years, and most people start at 18 (it’s like our version of the US’ college) and this final paper is worth a huge amount of our grade. The word count varies between 8000 and 11000 and it is really daunting!

Despite the pressure and the work, I did manage 6 books! For the books that had to be ‘represented’ in the photo, Coffin, Scarcely Used was an eARC from NetGalley, The Call was borrowed from someone who lives in my apartment complex, and Something Rotten was an audiobook.

Books and their Ratings

  1. Coffin, Scarcely Used by Colin Watson ***
  2. The Call by Peadar O’Guilin ****
  3. Inspector Chopra and the Million Dollar Motor Car by Vaseem Khan ****
  4. Macbeth by William Shakespeare ****
  5. Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde ****
  6. Boy Snow Bird by Helen Oyeyemi ***.5

Sadly no 5 star reads this month but some got pretty close! The Call is one that I immensely enjoyed and I will 100% be carrying on with the series. I also really enjoyed Something Rotten and felt that this first section of the series was wrapped up really well, so well in fact that I’m tempted not to carry on with the rest! I don’t want to ruin it! Boy Snow Bird would’ve had a higher rating if it wasn’t for the incredibly… weird… ending and the odd choices Oyeyemi made, which explains the 3.5*s I gave it.

Overall, not my best reading month but I’m glad I managed to keep reading some stuff throughout the month and it’s a huge increase to where I was this time last year and I was barely even reading 2 years ago after a 5-year reading slump! So a vast improvement and I’m really enjoying myself to boot!

The confusing story of The War Widow

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This book took me a long while to read, partly due to me putting it down to prioritise other books and partly because I really wasn’t feeling this book for the majority of it. I requested an ARC as I have a (slightly odd) fascination with WWII and the attitudes of the people for around two decades after the fact, which leads to me wanting to read absolutely anything set within this rather large time period.

The premise sounded interesting, a woman struggling to understand the apparent suicide of her ex-husband and the men who have suddenly followed her on her trip from Lancaster to Aberystwyth. Sadly, the execution of this book lets down the plot in my opinion. The first two-thirds of this book is mainly focused on what seems to be a continuous mental breakdown of Kate with small interludes of sanity and romance. Understandably, the book has to be set up, however, it felt like far too long was spent on this section of the book where everybody seems to be confused and nobody understands the series of events.

Eventually, we reach the last third of the book where things start to fall into place and explanations start to be forthcoming. Even within this section Gray attempts to keep the mystery until the very end, poorly, with lots of confusion and badly explained plot developments which don’t become much clearer even after re-reading a couple times. This book really does seem to suffer from the writing not being quite where it should be in order to capture the reader, and I often got bored in the middle of chapters and had to force myself to the end of them (although the last 5-10 chapters were much better).

Although I have said a lot of negatives about this book, one positive I feel I should point out is that Gray really knows how to write characters which the reader will be able to fully flesh out in their minds. I absolutely love Kate, and I enjoyed seeing how the other characters (who were all suspicious at one point or another) start to develop, both on their own and within Kate’s point of view as they learn more about this turn of events.

This isn’t a book I’d read again, as it seems a little jumbled and all over the place. But there is a chance that’s just me so maybe I’ll give it another shot sometime. Thank you to NetGalley for a free eCopy of this book in return for an unbiased review.

Call The Midwife by Jennifer Worth

This is the acclaimed first book of the TV series of the same name. Simply put, this book is Jennifer Worth’s depiction of her work as a midwife after the second world war in the 1950’s.

This is the real life account of Jennifer Worth’s time as a midwife. She trained as a nurse at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading and then moved to London to train as a midwife. After her work as a midwife, Jennifer became a staff nurse at the Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel, then ward sister and later night sister at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital in Euston.

Unexpectedly she arrives at a nunnery where she soon realises that the nuns are also the local midwifes and are greatly liked and trusted within the area. She slowly gains experience with the nuns by her side at the beginning until she is competent enough to work on her own. This is a story of love and loss and will pull in almost every reader with tales of pain, heartbreak, suffering and poverty; love, life and care; cheating and the reminder of past values and also friendship and admiration for the midwives who carried out this work with very little equipment and a lot less technology than today.

Recommended for:
People who like any form of real life tale as well as those who are interested in post war life.
The story does not only look at the cold hard facts, but also includes a lot about Britain at this time in history. It is an accurate account of life then and the struggles people went through as well as how life differs so drastically today.

Age recommendation
12 years and above:
I would recommend no one under the age of twelve reads this as the book does contain scenes of childbirth. However if you are looking at this book for your child and believe they may be mature enough to read this content then I recommend reading the book yourself first.

Comment what books you would like me to review next 🙂