When I was writing my October Roundup post, I realised that there were a few books on there that I had serious thoughts about, but didn’t get around to actually writing blog posts on. So today’s post is a few lines on each of the books from October that didn’t get a full post, just so that they’re noted down somewhere!
Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History – Sam Maggs
I said this in my monthly roundup. I loved the idea behind this book, and the research. I also loved the illustrations! But the execution in the writing style was sadly lacking, and will date incredibly quickly.
Little Monsters – Kara Thomas
Toxic teenage friendships. What’s not to love? I listened to this in three or four fraught journeys to and from work, where I debated whether I could skip class to see what happened next. Sadly, it’s harder to skip class when you’re the teacher. Lots of moving parts here, and an ending I didn’t see coming, that was really engaging. It lost a little bit of momentum in the epilogue, but I guess that’s just a symptom of epilogues in general?
A Love of Two Halves – PJ Whiteley
I really did not enjoy this. I read it on The Pigeonhole and spent every day hoping the next installment would get better and make me realise why I was wasting my time on this one, but nope. It reads like chick lit which is written by someone who has no idea what chick lit is supposed to be, and lacks any of the heart, warmth, or realism that makes chick lit so great.
To Keep You Safe – Kate Bradley
A decidedly strange psychological thriller, this was another Pigeonhole read. Tense and taught, the narrator was unreliable as anything, and the shifting narrative between different people kept the tension up throughout. Too much foreshadowing and harking forward to ‘terrible things to come’ undid some of the tension, and some utterly brutal scenes in the past of the main antagonist were difficult to read, but definitely an author I want to see more from.
Crownbreaker (Spellslinger #6) – Sebastien de Castell
I loved this finale to the Spellslinger series. I thought it had everything I wanted from the end of the series. Eyeball eating. Royalty. Magic. Death. Ferius! The story was well wrapped up, with enough left over to allow a return to the world, but no lingering dissatisfaction at all.
Don’t Touch My Hair – Emma Dabiri
A really interesting and enlightening book which delves deeply into the politics of afro hair. Packed with cultural exploration, historical perspective, modern commentary and Irish slang, this masterclass in education by Dub Emma Dabiri opened my eyes to aspects of the politics of hair that I was only vaguely aware of before. Dense and, at times depressing, the weight of research behind the work here is clear, but the prose occasionally suffers for it, taking an academic, rather than a pop science or pop history tone. Much more than just a book about hair, Dabiri deftly explores and explains why black and afro hair is an allegory for the black experience more generally. And she does it with a sprinkling of slang from my own childhood. Who doesn’t love a mention of some notions?
Norse Mythology – Neil Gaiman
I don’t know why I didn’t see this coming, but this is literally just a collection of Norse myths, retold by Gaiman. I mean, I should have gotten that from the title. But I was expecting something… more. A twist on them. A retelling which added depth. This was none of these things. I don’t know if that was disappointing or not. As an introduction to the Norse pantheon it really was thoroughly enjoyable.
Unexpected Lessons in Love – Lucy Dillon
I loved this tale of a wedding gone horribly wrong when the bride decides to call it off at literally the last minute. This book felt a lot like a Jill Mansell in that it was a warm hug of a book with a cast of close-knit characters in a small community setting. Some harrowing scenes with puppy farms and the damage backyard breeding does to the dogs that come out of these situations, which added a real depth to the book. At times I was frustrated with the main character, Jeannie, who didn’t seem to really explain or even think to herself why she wanted to call off her wedding (even to herself) and whether that automatically meant the end of her relationship. Also, a copyright sub-plot which left me wanting to shake the book and shout at them to demand royalties was frustrating, but resolved in the end. Thoroughly enjoyable, and an absolute warm hug of a book.