Is it just me or is this year really flying away from us all? It seems like one day we were still enjoying the Summer heat and the next morning I awoke to the earthy smell of Cape Town’s Autumn rains… Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond excited for the Winter heading straight for us: curling up under a fluffy blanket with a hot chocolate in one hand and a good book in the other is my bliss! It’s gonna be awesome! But I digress… March has brought with it some really great reads that I am so happy to share with you today:
HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX BY J.K. ROWLING: This book is HUGE! There was a point while reading, where I felt like I was stuck on the same page for hours even though I’ve been turning pages like crazy! I’m not complaining though, because once I really got into the story I didn’t want it to end! I think this is one of my favourite books from the series. Since the first four books were all about creating a sense of fear around Lord Voldemort, I could really feel the change in the characters with this one after the return of the Dark Wizard at the end of The Goblet of Fire. Having watched the movies, I was prepared for the angst and heartbreak that was waiting for me, but that did not stop the goose bumps and unshed tears from creeping up on me anyway!
HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF BLOOD PRINCE BY J. K. ROWLING: I had about 100 pages left of The Order of the Phoenix when I felt that I NEEDED to get the next book. And let me tell you, I am SO glad that I got myself a copy because I wouldn’t have been able to read anything else! The Half Blood Prince is my favourite movie out of the series for a whole bunch of reasons, including the choice to have Jim Broadbent play Professor Slughorn. So I was a bit disappointed to read about the Potions Master in this book because he wasn’t at all like the character from the movie. Even so, this book is another favourite of mine because we get to learn more about Lord Voldemort and his life before being known as the darkest wizard of all time. It is also the book with a few of the most game changing twists that makes me wish I’d read it before watching the movies.
MR. PENUMBRA’S 24-HOUR BOOKSTORE BY ROBIN SLOAN: This book was all the rage last year when I started bookstagramming, and at the time I was really curious about the story. So when I stumbled upon a copy at a local book store, on sale no less, I grabbed it! Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is very different to the YA books I normally reach for, which is what made it such a refreshing read. The story is filled with mystery and weirdness that had me hooked from the very first page. It also has some of the most (for lack of a better word) colourful characters that I’ve had the pleasure of reading about and some how they come together with all their differences to make up the perfect geeky gang. This is a book about books, a book about bookworms, for bookworms, and as a platinum member of the nerd club with a knack for computers and a growing interest in coding, I can say I really appreciated this one.
THE WRATH AND THE DAWN BY RENEE AHDIEH: Renee Ahdieh is responsible for the major book hangover I found myself in for a good few days after completing her debut novel. This is a magical, fantasy fiction retelling of The Arabian Nights (which I have yet to read) but I feel it is first and foremost a romance novel. Which is why I am so freaking fracking excited to say that I gave this book 5/5 stars on Goodreads! This hasn’t happened with a romance for a really, really, REALLY long time. The Wrath & The Dawn was beautifully written, with vibrant characters that I could not stop thinking about for days! When I read the blurb I couldn’t help but think this book is going to be mind numbingly predictable, but I was wrong… This little paragraph is never going to do this book justice, so I will write an in depth review on it soon – I feel the need to get my thoughts out in the open.
THE SMELL OF APPLES BY MARK BEHR: Jumping into the complete opposite end of the genre spectrum, I very reluctantly picked up The Smell of Apples after it was recommended to me by my sister-in-law. The Smell of Apples is a South African historical fiction set in the 1970s, narrated by an eleven year old Afrikaner boy, Marnus Erasmus. The book not only gives insight into the thoughts and beliefs behind the Apartheid regime, but it also focuses on the break down in society in every part of South Africa. The chilling story told by Marnus showed what went wrong behind the doors of those who fought to reinforce the concrete walls of racial oppression, and how the remaining innocence was stripped away in the process. This book was a lot to take in; but it was also difficult to do so because I could not connect to the characters. I felt the book was all over the place (which should be expected since it is told from a child’s perspective) but there was also a lot that I didn’t quite understand. Because of this, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would.
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS BY J. K. ROWLING: I was so sad when I read this book because it meant that I’d come to the end of the journey. The Deathly Hallows was the perfect ending to the series. It focused on family and friendship, weakness and bravery, strength and wisdom, and beyond that, the power of love. If I’d read about Snape’s story before watching the movie, I would have been utterly floored. His devotion and integrity is what makes him one of the most multidimensional characters I’ve ever read about.
WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON BY JOHN GREEN AND DAVID LEVITHAN: This YA book is about the coming of age and all the baggage that is packed right along with it. It focuses on the realities of what it is to be young and the very similiar plights we all face no matter who you love. This book was fun and real, with ups and downs that will make your head spin. And since I haven’t had the best experience with John Green’s work, it has been lovely to finally appreciate something he has written. There were a few moments though where I just could not figure out what (both) Will Grayson’s deal was and it kind of annoyed me that I could not understand it. Other than that, this is a lovely story that I found very entertaining.
ANGELS AND DEMONS BY DAN BROWN: I did it!!! I finally completed Angels and Demons! And boy, oh boy, this book blew my mind. Dan Brown has a unique ability to twist a story into oblivion. The moment I thought I had everything figured out, I very quickly realised that I am still very much in the dark. The way in which Dan Brown touched on both religion and science was fascinating to me because of my own belief that the two should have a harmonious existence. Although (since the world separates the two) Angels and Demons perfectly shows that in both science and religion, people are not perfect and sometimes find themselves dwindling in the extreme, often with devastating consequences. The ending was disappointing for me however because I felt like Dan Brown was trying to finish it off with the big bang (pun intended) we were all expecting.
And so, if anyone is keeping count I read a total of 8 books this month which is a step up from February but still not my best total. I am inn the middle of a few rather interesting reads but I will probably finish them sometime in April
Read anything exciting lately? Drop a comment to let me know, or just to say hi! It always makes my day.