book reviews

Some drive-by mini reviews

It’s been a while since I’ve done any mini-reviews (and, y’know, actually finished reading any books to write a review of) so here’s a little round-up of what I’ve been reading recently.

I’ve DNFed two books in the last week:
The first one was Kelly Ambers – Her First Collar: A Beginning to Pet Play (Kitten Play BDSM Book 1). I’m not entirely sure how a nice little BDSM erotica could be so flat, but I gave up about 3 pages in. There was no life to it and I was bored.
The second one was Tangled Rhythm: An Anthology. By the time the tense had changed three times on one page, and the guitarist was playing a ‘cord’… nope. Yes, as an anthology by multiple authors, another story in the selection could have been better, but if the editors had let the first one be that bad? I’m not risking it.

Mira Grant – Symbiont (Parasitology #2)
4/5, horror, post-apocalyptic, science-fiction, zombies
I really enjoyed Symbiont. I didn’t find it quite as unputdownable as Parasite, and like many a ‘middle of a trilogy’, there were a few points where it felt a little ‘filler’ and I got a little frustrated with the lack of common sense and decision-making abilities of Sal – but then when you consider who and what she is (trying to not spoil anyone here LOL), it’s understandable from a story-telling perspective. Absolutely nothing like I was expecting and I think my current world anxiety stopped me from enjoying a good apocalypse as much as I usually do, but still a bloody good read.

Anne Rice – Interview With Interview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles #1)
5/5, gothic, historical-fiction, horror, vampires
I first read Interview when I was a young teenager, I came out of seeing the movie and went straight into WHSmith where I bought Interview, Vampire Lestat, and Queen Of The Damned. I’ve been in love with these books ever since. I absolutely love the storytelling, Anne Rice’s descriptions are so vivid and beautiful. I don’t, however, particularly like Lestat or Louis as characters but as an introduction to them, to the other characters, the world-building, and the beginnings of the mythology, this is a fantastic book and I re-read it regularly. I love Louis’ voice, I love lines like “That morning, I was not yet a vampire. And I saw my last sunrise. I remember it completely, yet I do not think I remember any other sunrise before it I just wish he was… less whiney but when you think about everything that happened to him, it makes perfect sense

Heidi Swain – Summer at Skylark Farm (Wynbridge #2)
4/5, chick-lit, contemporary, romance
I think I’ve mentioned before how much I love the ‘city girl ups and moves to a farm’ kind of storyline and this was a wonderfully fluffy, feel-good example of the genre. I loved watching Amber grow from being completely out of depth and gaining her confidence, her relationship with Jake growing, and making friends with the somewhat eccentric cast of characters that make up Wynbridge. It was nice to catch up with the characters from Cherry Tree Cafe too. I’m looking forward to reading the third book in the series.

Sarah Pomeroy et al. – A Brief History of Ancient Greece: Politics, Society, and Culture
4/5, ancient-history, classical-studies, history, non-fiction, reference
So this is actually one of the set books for my current university module. But I wanted to read the whole book before I started needing to dip in and out of it – both so that I wouldn’t get distracted by carrying on reading, and also so that I’d have some familiarity with the content when I needed it. I found this to be a really good overview of the topic, it was presented in an easy-to-understand way – and I’ve made notes in the margins on things I’d like to know more about if they’re not included in my course.

Nancy Warren – The Vampire Knitting Club (Vampire Knitting Club #1)
5/5, cozy-mystery, paranormal, urban-fantasy, vampires
I’ve been wanting to make a start with cozy mysteries for a while – I’ve had a few false starts but was still determined to find one. I had no idea there was such a thing as paranormal cozy mystery and let me tell you it was love at first page. I accidentally read this all in one sitting. When I was supposed to have been working. The mystery kept me guessing til the end, I didn’t figure whodunnit, and all the characters are such… characters. I can’t wait to see what happens to them next – I’ve already downloaded books 2-4 as they’re on Kindle Unlimited and have made a note of the other series by Nancy Warren.

Mary Beard – Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town
4/5, ancient-history, classical-studies, history, non-fiction
I have loved all things Pompeii since I first read about it as a child and I was lucky enough to go there in 2018. The place is absolutely mindblowing, magical and wrecked the tyres of my wheelchair – it’s many things but disabled accessible is not one of them. I wish I’d read this book before going because I feel I would have seen it in a whole new light, and I really want to go back and see it again with Beard as guide, even virtually. She really brought the town and it’s inhabitants to life, and I love how she admits what we don’t know, that the evidence doesn’t tell us everything but explains how the theories have come from the traces left behind

book reviews

Book Review: How To Be A Healthy & Happy Submissive by Kate Kinsey

Photo of the book How To Be A Healthy & Happy Submissive by Kate KinseyTitle: How To Be A Happy & Healthy Submissive
Author: Kate Kinsey
Dates read: 17/04/22 – 18/09/22
Rating 4/5

Publisher: Nevermore Press
Number of pages: 192
Fiction or non-fiction: non-fiction
Subject or genre: BDSM, sexuality

Book blurb:

Beyond Fifty Shades of Grey, there’s an entire kinky world of BDSM, full of real life dominants and submissives enjoying an intimacy and satisfaction in their relationships that vanilla folk only dream of. Whether you want to explore your own submissive fantasies, or you’re just curious about what BDSM is really like, this book will answer all your questions, plus some you didn’t know you had.

Erotic author Kate Kinsey (“Red,” and “The Totally Uncensored Kinky Adventures of Chloe St. Claire, Sex Slave”) brings over a decade of experience as a submissive and kinky educator to this practical step-by-step guide to being a healthy and happy submissive.

Topics covered include: the differences between dominants and masters, submissives and slaves, and tops and bottoms; the different dominant styles; the truth about “training” to be a submissive; how to find like-minded folks in your area; how to negotiate scenes and relationships; what to expect at your first dungeon party; why some people actually enjoy pain; and the warning signs to look out for when talking to potential partners

How I discovered or acquired this book: It was recommended to me by Amazon after reading The Topping Book & The Bottoming Book, and I got it through Kindle Unlimited

Notable quotes The power actually goes both ways because the dominant, by controlling and caring for the submissive, actually empowers the submissive to be who and what they truly are

My thoughts Before we go any further, I feel it is relevant (but also possibly TMI for some) to note that I am a submissive, have known it since my early 20s WAAAY before terrible horrible things like Fifty Shades happened (and that’s a whole ‘nother rant for another day! LOL). Continuing in the TMI thread, neither my Dominant or I have any recent experience and have been doing what all good nerds do, and reading up to refresh ourselves.

This is a really well-written, informative beginner’s guide on what it means to be a submissive. It’s very informal, peppered with anecdotes of Kinsey’s own life/experience and feels like she’s sitting and chatting with you. It doesn’t assume any former knowledge, and is aimed at educating the reader without lecturing.

Part of me wishes I could have read this 10 years ago – I would have found the information on communities and red flags when it comes to Dominants and online behaviour to have been invaluable. But it was also nice to almost have confirmation that the way we’re currently doing things now is ‘right’ – we all need a little external validation from time to time, after all .

4/5, I really loved it, wouldn’t necessarily read the whole thing again but would dip in and out of it as/when needed

book reviews · life

A Quick Catch Up

So, the news in brief and some reading roundups are

The not-COVID I had at the beginning of the month? Yeah, it turned out to actually be COVID. Li and I were both pretty sick for about 10 days, and completely exhausted for about another week. I still get fatigued pretty quickly but thankfully we were both triple vaxxed and survived in once piece.

I got my module result for this year of my degree – for A112 Cultures I received a distinction. 86%! As you can imagine, I am over the freaking moon. So that’s my first academic year complete, 120 credits. Only another 4 modules to go, starting in October with A229 Exploring The Classical World

I’ve been playing a lot of Stardew Valley, and Star Trek: Timelines. Li managed to bring home a Wii the other day, I rediscovered my Game Boy Advance, and we’ve also set up my old SNES. There has been much retro gaming and it has been wonderful.

Of course, a lot of gaming, a slight complete addiction to Pointless, and introducing Li to the Bridgerton Netflix show has meant I haven’t done a huge amount of reading lately. The bookx I have read recently:

Matt Haig – Reasons To Stay Alive
3/5, memoir, mental health, non-fiction, psychology
Bizarrely, as much as I thoroughly enjoyed the other couple of Haig’s books, this one didn’t gel with me. I found it a little too self-help-y, a little too twee. I didn’t connect with it and felt it bringing me down, rather than uplifting me.

Mary Beard – How Do We Look / The Eye of Faith
4/5, art history, history, non-fiction, philosophy, religion
Very interesting, would have liked it to have gone a little more in-depth in a couple of places but I do love her descriptions of the art and places she’s visited and writes about, and it helps bring it to life for me. Her passion also shines through

Mira Grant – Parasite
5/5, horror, medical, science-fiction, thriller
OMG y’all, I could not put this down. It had been on my TBR for ages, finally got it out of the library and sat and read the whole thing in one afternoon. I was reacting outloud and flailing and squeaking at Li… who picked it up as soon as I finished it, also read it in one sitting – falling asleep at like 1am!

My reserves of Symbiont and Chimera have just come in and oh yes, I will be starting Symbiont tomorrow!

Holly Black – Tithe
3.5/, faeries, paranormal, urban-fantasy, young-adult
This one is very much a case of ‘I liked it, but…’ – I was disappointed, really. It was enjoyable enough but there was something missing. It was a little predictable in places, the characters needed a little more rounding and the pacing was… hmm… uneven. And even though there are more books in the series, I don’t care enough to see if the library even has them.

Melanie Cantor – Life and Other Happy Endings
3/5, chick-lit, family, friends, library, read, romance

Such a weird read, and literally lost starts with every section of the story. So it started off as this great 5-star read about a woman who found out she had 3 months to live and was telling people the things she wanted to tell them etc… only then she wasn’t dying because of a test result mix-up, and she was back to being trodden over… only then she was pregnant and yawn. She was way more interesting when she thought she was dying!

Joanna Hickson – First Of The Tudors
4/5, historical-fiction

We’ve covered my love for all things War Of The Roses, yes? And this was no exception! The story centers around Jasper Tudor, his wardship of young Henry Tudor and his relationship with Margaret Beaufort, and the intricacies of the Yorkists, Lancastrians, Tudors, and Warwick The Kingmaker. I will be checking out more of Hickson’s work – she has other stories set in the time period.

Which brings me on to what I’m currently reading:

book reviews

Book Review: Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

Photo of the book Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig on an orange backgroundTitle: Notes on a Nervous Planet
Author: Matt Haig
Dates read: 01/05/22 – 07/05/22
Rating 4.5/5

Publisher: Canongate
Number of pages: 310
Fiction or non-fiction: non-fiction
Subject or genre: health, mental health, philosophy, psychology

Book blurb:

The world is messing with our minds.

Rates of stress and anxiety are rising. A fast, nervous planet is creating fast and nervous lives. We are more connected, yet feel more alone. And we are encouraged to worry about everything from world politics to our body mass index.

– How can we stay sane on a planet that makes us mad?
– How do we stay human in a technological world?
– How do we feel happy when we are encouraged to be anxious?

After experiencing years of anxiety and panic attacks, these questions became urgent matters of life and death for Matt Haig. And he began to look for the link between what he felt and the world around him.

Notes on a Nervous Planet is a personal and vital look at how to feel happy, human and whole in the 21st century.

How I discovered or acquired this book: I picked it up off my betrothed’s bookshelf after reading The Comfort Book.

Notable quotes “Reading isn’t important because it helps to get you a job. It’s important because it gives you room to exist beyond the reality you’re given. It is how humans merge. How minds connect. Dreams. Empathy. Understanding. Escape. Reading is love in action.”

My thoughts I have anxiety, I have had anxiety for as long as I can remember and for the second time in a decade it has tipped into agoraphobia. Pretty much the whole world is making me anxious. So what better to pick up and read?

I read Haig’s ‘The Comfort Book’ the other month and found it really calming, so picked this one up off my betrothed’s book shelf because it seemed quite fitting. And I found it very helpful. It’s not preachy or claiming to know how to ‘fix me’, like so many mental health memoirs can be. Again, I found it very calming, little nuggets of wisdom about the world, about Haig’s experiences, suggestions on ways to work with the world, with technology and social media because these things are needed but with ways to stop them stressing us out. I find his voice soothing and there were so many great ideas that I’ve made a note of to try, to remember… to be.

4.5/5, I really loved it, wouldn’t necessarily read the whole thing again but would dip in and out of it as/when needed

book reviews

Drive-by Mini-Reviews, the second

I keep telling myself I’m going to get better at writing proper reviews as and when I finish a book but… it’s not going very well. I’m still not completely confident at writing them, if I’m being honest, but I can already tell I’m improving when I look at the difference in my post about The Lost Apothecary compared to some of my earlier reviews.

And, once again, my habit of reading too many books at a time (back up to 15 again!) means I’ve finished a bunch all at the same time. So you get another round of mini-reviews of them

A Court Of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
4/5, fae. fantasy, romance, young adult
This… this is not my normal sort of book. I hold up my hands and say I don’t like fantasy. But this is one of those books that EVERYONE loves. It’d been on my TBR for a while, probably a couple of years, but I wasn’t prepared to buy it, in case I didn’t love it. But then this year I’ve started using the library again, signed up for Libby and was able to get the book that way. And… and OH! Yes, I can absolutely see why everyone loves this book. The world-building didn’t feel all encompassing but actually just part of the story, we discovered the world as Feyre did and because we were seeing it through her eyes, there weren’t 7 pages about a blade of grass, y’know? I loved how the vivid and tangible Prythian feels and the characters are very real – interesting, annoying, frustrating, with genuine interpersonal relationships. It didn’t go where I was expecting it to and I ended up loving it more because of it. I got A Court Of Mist and Fury straight out of the library!

The Prison Doctor by Dr Amanda Brown
3/5, health, memoir, non-fiction
I picked this one up from the library because the title and summary intrigued me – a memoir of a doctor working in some of our most infamous prisons. I mostly liked it. Some of the anecdotes and stories she told were moving and heartbreaking – and some funny. But I was getting a sense of ‘holier than thou’ from her tone, she felt a little preachy in places and there was a lot of time spent reiterating how wonderful all these hardened violent criminals thought she was.

Greek Mythology: The Gods, Goddesses, and Heroes Handbook by Liv Albert
4/5, history, mythology, non-fiction
I love Greek Mythology. I have loved Greek Mythology for well over 30 years at this point, and I’m currently doing a Classical Studies degree. I also have friends who love mythology and recommended Liv’s podcast to me. I’ve listened to a few episodes but sadly podcasts and I are not friends – I think it’s my ADHD, I just zone out when people are talking at me. But when I heard she had a book, based on what I’d heard, I knew I had to have it. I was right. It’s a great overview of the characters and stories that feature in the mythology – just enough information to give a good feel for each one but without being overwhelming. The art is stunning (seriously, I want a print of the Zeus artwork) and the book has a informal, friendly tone.

The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson
5/5, biology, health, history, non-fiction, science
I don’t know where to start with writing about this book. I fucking loved it. I adore Bill Bryson’s style of writing and human biology/anatomy/physiology has been a fascination of mine since school biology lessons. I definitely wasn’t let down. It wasn’t a deeply scientific book but it also didn’t talk down to the reader and was filled with fascinating anecdotes and trivia that I had to share with my betrothed as I was reading – and our tagline became ‘but we don’t know why’. It’s both fascinating and horrifying how damn much we don’t know but at the same time, I loved re/learning the history of how we discovered what we do know.

I am still trying to read about 15 books (trying to get it down to 8) but mostly focusing on 5 of them:
Holly Black – Cruel Prince
Sarah J Maas – A Court Of Mist & Fury
Silvia Moreno-Garcia – Certain Dark Things
Heidi Swain – Summer at Skylark Farm
Ruby Wax – A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled

book reviews

Book Review: The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

Title: The Lost Apothecary
Author: Sarah Penner
Dates read: 28/02/22 – 19/03/22
Rating 4/5

Publisher: HarperCollins
Number of pages: 320
Fiction or non-fiction: fiction
Subject or genre: historical fiction, mystery

Book blurb: A forgotten history. A secret network of women. A legacy of poison and revenge. Welcome to The Lost Apothecary…

Hidden in the depths of eighteenth-century London, a secret apothecary shop caters to an unusual kind of clientele. Women across the city whisper of a mysterious figure named Nella who sells well-disguised poisons to use against the oppressive men in their lives. But the apothecary’s fate is jeopardized when her newest patron, a precocious twelve-year-old, makes a fatal mistake, sparking a string of consequences that echo through the centuries.

Meanwhile in present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, running from her own demons. When she stumbles upon a clue to the unsolved apothecary murders that haunted London two hundred years ago, her life collides with the apothecary’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive.

How I discovered or acquired this book: This is one that I first heard about on BookTok, was instantly intrigued and put a hold on the book on Libby straight away.

My thoughts I LOVED THIS! I do love a good historical fiction and while this isn’t my preferred era, I definitely felt it came to life for me. And a good murder mystery to boot. It was also only after finishing I realised that all the main characters were women, which is nice to have outside chick-lit.

I didn’t connect as much with Nella & Eliza in 1791 as I would have liked, I was so intrigued by the concept of the apothecary and the woman dispensing the poisons. But I found I didn’t care about them enough until it was a little bit too much, although I did enjoy their relationship and how it evolved and I did love Eliza’s ending. Caroline’s story in modern England as she starts researching and uncovering the apothecary and then how her storyline started mirroring Nella’s was excellent. The story did not go at all where I was expecting which honestly, I LOVED.

I wanted a little bit more from the ending. The stories were finished to a point but I still found myself with a lot of questions about what happened next – to Nella, to Eliza and to Caroline.

book reviews

Drive-by Mini-Reviews

The only issue with reading multiple books at the same time, is that every now and again you manage to finish a whole collection of them all at the same time, which is what’s happened to me over the last few days. And, naturally, I was busy with school and work and real life and didn’t have time to write up a review for them.

I contemplated writing a full review for each one, queuing them up and letting them post over a couple of days but honestly… couldn’t be bothered. So you’re just going to get some mini reviews instead!

The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid.
4/5, historical-fiction, lgbtqia+, romance
Absolutely fucking loved it. I can definitely see why everyone has been raving about it and in my opinion, bery worth the hype! It took quite a bit of reading but the more I got into it, the less I could put it down. There were many excited phone calls to Li where I rambled about each husband and each era of Evelyn’s life. It was beautiful and heartbreaking and I defintely want to read more by this author

Life Support by Tess Gerritsen.
3/5, medical, mystery, suspense, thriller
My mum and I used to read the Rizzoli & Isles books as they came out in the 2000s, but I never read very much of Gerritsen’s works that aren’t in the series. This gives you an idea of how long it’s been on my TBR. I have the physical copy but ended up checking this out on Libby over Christmas when I was at Li’s/was exploring the app. I found it a little slow to start with, didn’t feel like I meshed with many of the characters and couldn’t quite see how the pregnant hooker storyline meshed with the CJD storyline… until the last quarter of the book when everything came crashing together and wow. Reminded me why I love Gerritsen (more of her books back on my TBR) and why I love medical thrillers!

The New Topping Book by Dossie Easton & Janet W. Hardy
3/5, bdsm, non-fiction, sexuality
I’ve read both The Topping and Bottoming Books by Easton & Hardy and, probably because I’m a sub, I definitely preferred the Bottoming Book. This one was interesting enough though, taught me more about the mindset of Dominants and what they can/do get out of BDSM relationships. I loved the scenes interspersed througout the book and the toys section was fun. But, admittedly, had me rolling my eyes a little at the ritual and spirituality chapters

Pilgrimage (Very Short Introduction) by Ian Reader
3/5, non-fiction, religion, travel
Remember how I said last year I was really struggling to read? Yeah, I started this in March 2021. Nothing against the book, it was very interesting. The concept of pilgrimages has always interested me, we touched on the subject in a religious studies unit of my course and since I have access to the Very Short Introductions library through my university library, I picked it up to read. Both religious and secular pilgrimages, as well as historical information were included and I enjoyed it at a lot

I am still trying to read far too much, because I’m me. 14 books right now. But I’m mostly focusing on just 5 – most of which are due back to the library next week. Then I’m going to focus on the rest of my currently reading and working on my physical TBR before checking any more out. Or, at least that’s the plan…
A Court Of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
The Comfort Book by Matt Haig
Beyond The Gender Binary by Alok Vaid-Menow

book reviews

Book Review: How To Sleep Tight Through The Night by Tzivia Gover & Lesléa Newman

Title: How To Sleep Tight Through The Night
Author: Tzivia Gover & Lesléa Newman
Dates read: 15/02/22
Rating 4/5

Publisher: Storey Publishing
Number of pages: 64
Fiction or non-fiction: non-fiction
Subject or genre: health

Book blurb: Whether it’s bedtime or the wee hours of the night, this sweetly illustrated nighttime companion is filled with practical ways to help young insomniacs, ages 5 to 9, with reassuring nighttime routines, creative visualisations, and kid-friendly activities and techniques for addressing bedtime reluctance, managing fears and anxiety, easing nightmares, and inviting pleasant dreaming and positive associations with sleeptime. Whether it’s fear of the dark or worry about the day ahead that is interfering with a good night’s sleep, How to Sleep Tight through the Night offers creative solutions for soothing children’s bedtime anxieties and developing healthy sleep habits. This collection of 30 kid-friendly tricks and techniques by sleep and dreaming expert Tzivia Gover and award-winning children’s book author Lesléa Newman is complemented by the dreamy illustrations of Vivian Mineker. From playing an alphabet game to slipping a wish under a pillow, the book is filled with practical, engaging prompts that are accessible to all and easy to implement, using creative visualisation, mindfulness techniques, and playful, fun strategies for easing bedtime struggles and welcoming sound, restful sleep

How I discovered or acquired this book: I received an ARC from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a review

My thoughts I will preface this with say I don’t have kids. Now, you’re probably thinking ‘Cassie, why are you reading and reviewing a book about bedtime for kids?’ which is fair. But I have chronic insomnia and nothing else has worked so… I figure a different type of tip might help (It’s not going to hurt, right?).

I love the look of the book. The illustrations are bold, colourful and fun. The tone of the writing is straight-forward, informative, and easy to understand, but without feeling like it’s condescending or talking down to the reader. I love the mix of sleep ideas – both how to get to sleep and what to do when waking up from a bad dream. They were all very different ideas, much more practical and interesting than the insomnia advice you get for adults. I think my favourites are falling in love with my bed, listing things from ‘A to Zzzz’ and imagining myself walking down the street and everything I see. Will definitely be trying those to see if they help!

There were a few formatting errors which made a couple of the pages a little tricky to parse but overall it was a cute, fun, interesting, read

book reviews

Book Review: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Title: Jane Eyre
p Author: Charlotte Bronte
Dates read: 25/01/22 – 04/02/22
Rating 1/5

Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of pages: 512
Fiction or non-fiction: fiction
Subject or genre: classics, romance, gothic

Book blurb: “Gentle reader, may you never feel what I then felt!”

Throughout the hardships of her childhood – spent with a severe aunt and abusive cousin, and later at the austere Lowood charity school – Jane Eyre clings to a sense of self-worth, despite of her treatment from those close to her. At the age of eighteen, sick of her narrow existence, she seeks work as a governess. The monotony of Jane’s new life at Thornfield Hall is broken up by the arrival of her peculiar and changeful employer, Mr Rochester. Routine at the mansion is further disrupted by mysterious incidents that draw the pair closer together but which, once explained, threaten Jane’s happiness and integrity.

A flagship of Victorian fiction, Jane Eyre draws the reader in by the vigour of Jane’s voice and the novel’s forceful depiction of childhood injustice, of the restraints placed upon women, and the complexities of both faith and passion. The emotional charge of Jane’s story is as strong today as it was more than 150 years ago, as she seeks dignity and freedom on her own terms.

In this new edition, Juliette Atkinson explores the power of narrative voice and looks at the striking physicality of the novel, which is both shocking and romantic.

How I discovered or acquired this book: Read for Open University module A112 Cultures, as part of the English Literature Block

Notable quotes Well, of course there’s Dear reader, I married him which is about the only thing I knew about the book going into it LOL
But then as I was reading, I realised I’d heard this one before: Do you think I am an automaton – a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think, because I am poor, obsure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless?

My thoughts Ugh. Dreary as fuck, to be quite honest. So I knew going into it that it wasn’t my type of book, it’s mostly the narrative style, I have no patience for the sheer amount of words used, if that makes sense. Jane is an interesting enough character, but I don’t get the love for Rochester, I don’t feel it’s particularly romantic (I suspect books like this are why people think 50 Shades shit is romantic) and don’t get me started on fucking St John.
But there were definitely some interesting narrative devices – the switch from realism to gothic as Jane doesn’t know what’s happening, the use of pathetic fallacy. So I’m looking forward to writing the essay and wishing I had more words. But not my type of book, not one I would have chosen to read voluntarily and likely won’t read again!

book reviews

Book review: Love Your Life by Sophie Kinsella

Title: Love Your Life
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Dates read: 18/01/22 – 27/01/22
Rating 4/5

Publisher: Black Swan
Number of pages: 416 pages
Fiction or non-fiction: fiction
Subject or genre: chick-lit

Book blurb: I love you . . . but what if I can’t love your life?

Ava is sick of online dating. She’s always trusted her own instincts over an algorithm, anyway, and she wants a break from it all. So when she signs up to a semi-silent, anonymous writing retreat in glorious Italy, love is the last thing on her mind.

Until she meets a handsome stranger. . . All she knows is that he’s funny, he’s kind and – she soon learns – he’s great in bed. He’s equally smitten, and after a whirlwind, intoxicating affair, they pledge their love without even knowing each other’s real names.

But when they return home, reality hits. They’re both driven mad by each other’s weird quirks and annoying habits, from his eccentric, naked-sauna-loving family to her terribly behaved, shirt-shredding dog. As disaster follows disaster, it seems that while they love each other, they just can’t love each other’s lives. Can they overcome their differences to find one life, together?

How I discovered or acquired this book: My library has a chosen picks shelf just as you walk in and the cover caught my eye. It was bright blue and cheerful and I absolutely love chick-lit so it was a no brainer

My thoughts I haven’t read anything by Sophie Kinsella other than the Shopaholic books so I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I bloody loved it, I ended up staying up way too late on a work night to finish it and sobbed my heart out over the ending – happy tears and amazingly heart-warming. I loved the crazy cast of characters, saw a LOT of both myself and my betrothed in Ava so I definitely connected with her as a character. The ending felt a little rushed – like a TV show has been cancelled and they try and wrap everything, all those little threads up really really quickly? It felt a little like that but it really worked for the book. 4/5, highest rating of the year