Sunday, 13 May 2012

Reading round-up: March/April

I decided at the end of last month not to do a reading round-up for March, as shamefully, I'd only read four books and two of those were supposed to be for children! Thankfully, I managed to get back into the swing of things in April, mainly because I went on holiday.

17. What They Do in the Dark by Amanda Coe - 8/10 (full review). Set in the 1970s, this is a tale of two very troubled young girls, and has an extremely shocking, unexpected climax. Very well-written and believable, although I found the ending hard to understand.
18 & 19. Tales of Terror from the Black Ship and Tales of Terror from the Tunnel's Mouth by Chris Priestley - both 6/10. These were the aforementioned books for children, a couple of short volumes of ghost stories that were fun but unsurprisingly samey.
20. Q: A Love Story by Evan Mandery - 4/10 (full review). This is a good idea - a time-travel story about a man who is visited by future versions of himself who tell him how he should change his life - but it didn't really work due to annoying characters and a lack of exploration of the premise's most interesting concepts.
21. The Possessions of Doctor Forrest by Richard T. Kelly - 8/10 (full review). A deliciously dark mystery about a doctor who disappears in strange circumstances. Wonderful gothic escapism.
22. The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones - 6/10 (full review). One of those crumbling-country-manor stories about an aristocratic family, but with an intriguing twist. I liked this but sadly the blurb and marketing gave away the main twist and ruined most of the tension!
23. The Falcons of Fire and Ice by Karen Maitland - 8/10. Review not yet published as the book isn't due out until August!
24. Bunheads by Sophie Flack - 7/10 (full review). Set in New York, this is the story of a young ballerina who starts to question her commitment to her career when she falls in love. Insubstantial, but fun and involving.
25. The Pleasures of Men by Kate Williams - 7/10 (full review). An unusual historical novel, with shades of Sarah Waters' work, about a mentally disturbed young woman who becomes convinced that she alone can catch a serial killer. This was odd and disjointed, but I found myself really enjoying it.
26. Summer by Tom Darling - 6/10 (full review). The story of two orphaned children who are sent to live on their grandfather's remote farm one hot summer. Some interesting moments, but ultimately this was quite dull and didn't capitalise on the potential of the plot.
27. A Common Loss by Kirsten Tranter - 8/10 (full review). Although it's full of characters who are impossible to like, this second novel from Tranter was beautifully written, subtle and fascinating.
28. American Dervish by Ayad Akhtar - 6/10 (full review). A coming-of-age story about a Muslim boy growing up in America in the early 1980s. While it was interesting and well-plotted, I found this book too slow-moving.
29. Every Contact Leaves a Trace by Elanor Dymott - 8/10 (full review). I loved the idea of this debut novel about a man who tries to discover the truth about his late wife's death in the surroundings of a wintery Oxford college. It was good, but would've been brilliant if it wasn't for the ridiculously unbelievable relationship between the protagonists.

As you can see, the last couple of months' reading has been a mixed bag. I suppose that's always going to be the case with any batch of books, but there isn't anything that stands out from this lot as particularly amazing. I suppose my favourite of the bunch would have to be The Possessions of Doctor Forrest. I also really liked What They Do in the Dark, A Common Loss and Every Contact Leaves a Trace. However, I would hesitate to recommend these to others, for various reasons: respectively, these are the strong element of the supernatural, the strange ending, the unpleasant characters, and the bizarre 'romance'. I seem to have read quite a few books I've been looking forward to for a long time that haven't quite lived up to expectations, notably The Uninvited Guests and Summer. Happily, I've already read a really fantastic book to add to my May list, so hopefully the next round-up will be more positive!

1 comment:

  1. I've seen, Every Contact... around quite a bit, but wasn't too sure about it. I might try and give it a go next time.
    I still can't get over how many books you read a month, even when you only read four in a month!

    Oh, Such a Primadonna