Book Review

April 2015 Reads.

Another text based round up of my reads for April. I think I’ve resolved my vlogging issues though so all being well my May round up will be back to video.

April was the month when I moved to London and started my new job so I had a really busy time of it. I was pleased to still read 7 books, I did think my count might have dropped a little.

A Whisper of Wolves by Kris Humphrey. Stripes Books.
This was a pretty quick, fairly enjoyable MG fantasy read. I liked the world set up as far as it goes but would definitely have liked to see more of it. My one criticism of the book as a whole is that it just wasn’t enough, I wanted more of everything – including the plot. This is the first book in a planned quartet, I think I’ll wait now until all of the books have been published and then read them together in the hope they’re more satisfying this way.

Eternal Hunter by Cynthia Eden. Bello Books.
This was another book that left me wanting more, but this time in a good way. It’s fast, fun and pulpy – it focuses on Night Watch, a company of supernatural bounty hunters and the murky underworld they deal with. A wide range of supernatural creatures get a mention, it doesn’t rely simply on the tried and tested vampires and werewolves though they do of course get a mention. I enjoyed re-encountering creatures I’d come across in tv shows like Supernatural and Teen Wolf – I think this book is a good match up for shows like them. I’m really looking forward to reading more of the books that feature the Night Watch.

A Robot in the Garden by Deborah Install. Doubleday.
Some books are just unique. You read them and realise nothing else is ever going to match that specific reading experience and that’s okay. This book was, for me, definitely one of those sorts of books. Tang, a beaten up old robot, appears in Ben’s garden at the very time he needs a change in his life. Their stories become instantly entwined as they begin a journey that ticks both the road trip and coming of age boxes. Tang is a wonderful character, I found myself very emotionally invested both in his story and in his relationship with Ben. This is a great book, one that I think will stay with me for a long time.

That Girl From Nowhere by Dorothy Koomson. Arrow.
I have been a huge Dorothy Koomson fan for years and I’m always eager to read her new book, usually I pick a time when I can sit and read the whole book uninterrupted. This was exactly what I did for That Girl From Nowhere, much to the amusement of my new flatmate as she found me making a cup of tea with the book still in my hand! The book itself lives up to my very high expectations, it brought everything I expect from a book by Dorothy and in such style. I found that I really took to the main character, Clemency, from the first page and that her story was one that really made me think. Photography and jewellery making feature heavily in this book, I love the former and admire the latter so this book had added interest for me. There are so many layers to the stories in this book, I think it’s going to be a great one to re-read.

When Mr Dog Bites by Brian Conaghan. Bloomsbury.
This is probably the hardest book of the month for me to review. A few weeks after reading it I’m still not entirely sure what I think about it. I can’t say I enjoyed it, but I think it’s a very good book and I’m really glad that I’ve read it. It’s certainly a challenging read in places, but I think this is a definite positive – we all need challenging reads in our lives.

I’m sorry I don’t have more organised thoughts about this book, I’m going to keep thinking about it and maybe come back to it.

Prince of Shadows by Rachel Caine. New American Library.
I absolutely loved this book. I had it recommended to me after a discussion about Shakespeare and interpretations of Shakespeare by my good friend Liz. It is a re-working of Romeo and Juliet, its focus is not on the star-crossed lovers but instead on Benvolio Montague. Romeo and Juliet do of course play their part, and Mercutio’s storyline is significant, but it is Benvolio who takes centre stage. I wasn’t sure initially how interesting I would find another take on Romeo and Juliet but the shift in focus works really well, and whilst there are elements of the story that are familiar much of it feels new and fresh. There is comedy and tragedy a-plenty, I shed more than a few tears whilst reading this on public transport! My only criticism of the book has to go to the cover, I’m afraid I don’t like it at all and think that the book deserves far better – it definitely wouldn’t entice me to pick the book up and what a shame it would have been to have missed out on it.

The Italian Wife by Kate Furnivall. Sphere.
My final April read was a historical book for grown ups, something I don’t read often. Oddly it is the second book I’ve read this year to feature elements of Mussolini’s Italy (Black Dove, White Raven was the first) – before this I don’t think I’d ever read anything about this element of history. This story focused on Isabella who lost her husband, one of Mussolini’s Blackshirts, in an attack some years before the book takes place. She has built a life for herself but this is affected entirely by the fascist regime and incidents make her start to push at the limits around her. This book is an odd, yet very successful, mixture of tense thriller elements (at times I was reading whilst holding my breath) and more gentle, quiet plot. I enjoyed reading it a lot, and will be interested to read more from this author.

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