Monday, 3 March 2014

Reading round-up: February

February 2014 books

8. The Time Tutor by Bee Ridgway - 7/10. Read my full review / Buy the ebook
9. A Single Breath by Lucy Clarke - 8/10. Read my full review / Pre-order the ebook
10. Everland by Rebecca Hunt - 7/10. Read my full review / Pre-order the ebook
11. The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh - 8/10. Read my full review / Buy the ebook
12. Her by Harriet Lane - 10/10. Full review to come / Pre-order the ebook
13. The Amber Fury by Natalie Haynes - 8/10. Full review to come / Buy the ebook

February was a GREAT month: I have had a really good run of fantastic books.

Top of the pile was Her, the second novel from Harriet Lane - it's not out until June, but I adored Lane's wonderful debut Alys, Always so much, I couldn't resist reading it as soon as I got my hands on it. It is a very clever, slow-burning, and (naturally) very well-written tale about two women whose fates are closely entwined, although only one of them realises it. An epic review is forthcoming!

Next we have The Lemon Grove and The Amber Fury. Shades of yellow in book titles obviously bode well for what's inside. The Lemon Grove is an unputdownable story about a woman who becomes dangerously involved with her step-daughter's boyfriend during a family holiday. Although there's a lot of sex, this is an intelligent book, full of tension and dread. The Amber Fury is similarly compelling, though a very different sort of book (although, thinking about it, both are about the awful consequences that ensue when an adult woman becomes somehow entangled with teenagers...) Following the death of her fiancé, a theatre director takes up a post teaching drama at an Edinburgh 'unit' for underprivileged kids. One of her classes is unexpectedly fascinated by Greek tragedies, and her increasing emotional involvement with the students leads their behaviour to mirror that of the characters they are studying. This is a very readable, engaging novel and the protagonist's likeability makes it even more enjoyable.

A Single Breath is a terrifically evocative mystery tracing a young widow's quest to uncover the truth about her late husband, in which the vivid setting is a major strength. The Time Tutor is a fun, short prequel to Bee Ridgway's The River of No Return, and made me keen to revisit the world of these stories. And Everland was probably my least favourite of the whole lot, which says something about the rest of February's books, because it was really good as well! Following two Antarctic expeditions a hundred years apart, it's gripping and the characters are well-drawn, but it's perhaps less memorable than it could have been.

I've got quite a bit of time off work in March so I'm hoping I'll be able to get lots of reading done. This month also sees the release of one of my most-anticipated books of the whole year - Siri Hustvedt's The Blazing World. I'm planning on buying it on the day it comes out and devouring it at the first opportunity!

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