Predicting 5 Star Reads #6

Note: Created by MercysBookishMusings

Hi Readers

About two weeks ago I predicted 4 books that I would give 5 Stars. Now I have read all of those books and am ready to share with you my verdict plus some book 5 star predictions.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman – Overall I wasn’t disappointed with this book and it’s probably my favourite Neil Gaiman book I’ve read since Stardust. I loved the atmosphere and magic but I never felt invested in it. 

Verdict: three half stars – Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman Review.

The Night Watch by Sarah Waters – I knew I would love this book and I did. The writing and the characters captured my attention from the first page and did not let it go. I really look forward to reading more from Waters. The only thing about this book that disappointed me was the ending. 

Verdict: four stars – The Night Watch by Sarah Waters Review.

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith – I’ve been eagerly anticipating this book for ages now and it did not let me down. 

Verdict: four stars – Lethal White by Robert Galbraith Review.

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North – This is the only book from my last predictions post that I was disappointed with. I feel like, for certain books on my shelf, there’s a reason why they’ve been there for three years. I actually ended up DNFing this 100 pages in. 

Verdict: DNF

Some more predictions….

What If It’s Us by Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli – The authors, the cover, the title, the setting, the synopsis. Everything about this book is screaming at me telling me I’m going to love it. I couldn’t be more excited for it. 

Misery by Stephen King – When going through Stephen Kings most popular works this is the one that peaked my interest. I will 100% be reading this for Halloween this year. 

Still Life by Louise Penny – This is the first in her ongoing detective novels. I’ve been looking for a good detective series for ages now and I think I may have found one I will really like. 

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz – I love a mystery this time of year and this looks like it’s a good one. 

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters – Now, I am a little scared to read this book because it looks like it could perhaps have paranormal stuff going on in it (which is my worst nightmare and I try and avoids stuff like that at all cost). But, I can’t wait to dive into more Sarah Waters.

Dracula by Bram Stoker – Maybe? I’m not sure about this one as I’m not the biggest fan of Vampires but I’m intrigued to read the original Vampire story.

Book Review: Lethal White by Robert Galbraith

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Published: September 2018 by Sphere

Genre: Mystery

Source: Own

Length: 655

Goodreads Avg. Rating: 4:39

My Rating: four stars

 

Hi Readers

Lethal White is the fourth book in Robert Galbraith’s detective series ‘Strike’. I’m going to attempt to review this book without spoiling the first three but be prepared for some minor details.

If you don’t know, Robert Galbraith is the psuedonym for J.K Rowling and this is an ongoing series of detective novels set in London. We follow private detective Cormoran Strike and his partner Robin as they solve crimes, try and keep their business afloat, and their private lives intact. 

In this one we follow a rather intricate political mystery. A disturbed young man sets the chain of events as he comes into Strikes office and claims he saw a child being buried on a politicians property when he was young. That same politician then hires Strike to stop a blackmailing for something completely unrelated. 

I’m a huge fan of this series and always eagerly anticipate the next release. This one was no different, I raced to the shops and started it as soon as I could. 

What makes this series unique for me is that I keep coming back for more. The mystery aspect alone probably wouldn’t do that. But with Robin and Strike and their impending romance, each book leaves me craving for more. 

I’m a sucker for an angsty romance. 

I also just love how J.K. Rowling writes a mystery. We saw her do it in Harry Potter and I feel like she was always destined to write full on detective novels. The way she intertwines clues and how each mystery so unpredictable really makes her books page-turners.  

The disability representation in this book was something I loved as well. We’ve always had Strike, a war veteran who lives with a painful leg amputation, but in Lethal White mental health is very well portrayed. Robin is now battling PTSD and anxiety after the events of the last book and it was dealt with in a really admirable way. Made me love these characters even more.

My only criticism is that a lot is going on in this book, and at times there’s so much trying to be the main event. It made it feel a little confused and jumbled. Also, this book is huge and it really could have been a lot shorter. 

Thrilling mystery, brilliant characters and a very frustrating almost romance. This is a series I highly recommend. 

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X

Cosy Autumn Reads Recommendations

Hi Readers

I love Autumn reading. Not just because the days are shorter and colder which means blankets and hot drinks, but because of the types of books I like to read in Autumn.

When the whether chills down and the leaves turn brown and crisp, I tend to gravitate towards more mystery, historical fiction and classics. So, if you’re looking for some Autumnal feeling books, look no further.

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Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy – Set in rural Wessex during Harvest time, this follows Bathsheba who inherits a farm and takes it on herself. Along with the expectations of rural society weighing heavily of her, Bathsheba encounters the pains of unrequited love.  

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – Probably one of my favourite classics of all time. I love the angst, I love how cosy and familiar it feels. Most of all, I love the romance of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – This one is great for those dark and stormy days. It’s got a very Gothic feel to it as it’s set in the dark, remote Thornfield Hall which our protagonist enters as the governess, employed by the moody Mr Rochester.

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins – If you like cosy mysteries this time of year and haven’t read this one yet you are in for a treat. We follow Walter after his eerie encounter with the Woman in White as he enters his new profession as drawing master for Laura Fairlie, who bares a remarkable resemblance to that same woman. 

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier – Another dark mystery. As our protagonist becomes the new Mrs De Winter and as she enters her new house, she quickly realises she’s living in the shadow of his first wife Rebecca, who came to an untimely death. 

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman – A contemporary novel set in rainy Edinburgh with Bridget Jones’s humour. This book is an utter treat and had me feeling all the feels. 

The Guernsey and Literary Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows – Set post WWII, this is a book told in letters exchanged between a young writer and the residents of Guernsey, which was occupied by the Germans during the war. This is a book for book lovers. 

The Night Watch by Sarah Waters – Another one set post WWII. This follows Londoners as it starts in their present and moves backwards to how their intertwined lives began. If you like amazingly written characters, you’ll like this book. 

Let me know what books you love to read during the Autumn!

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X

Book Review: The Night Watch by Sarah Waters

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Published: February 2006 by Virago

Genre: Historical Fiction

Length: 506 Pages

Source: Own

Goodreads Avg. Rating: 3.68

My Rating: four stars

Hi Readers

It’s not very often I rate a book higher than the goodreads average, and I might be being a bit generous as I do have some issues with it. But I just really enjoyed reading this book and I really look forward to reading Water’s other books. 

This follows four Londoners lives in the aftermath of the war and how their lives intertwine.

We follow Kay, who was an ambulance driver during and helped those injured in the Blitz.

Helen, who is in a relationship with a women and works at a Lonely Hearts Bureau with Vivian.

Vivian, who is having an affair with a married man.

And Duncan, Vivian’s brother who has recently been released from Prison.

The way this book is structured is in three parts. We start in the year 1947 and then work our way backwards. It meant that the first part was incredible. But with each back-step we took, the more the quality dipped.

My main issue with this book was the ending. We leave 1947 with a lot of questions and unfortunately a lot of those questions are never really resolved. Of course that’s not always a negative for everyone, I just like a book where I feel like the end wraps everything up for you. 

It’s not all negatives, the majority of this book I adored.

The most outstanding thing is the characters. I feel like Sarah Waters really understands people because the characters felt so real and familiar. You get just enough time with each character that you get to know each of them but not one stands out as a ‘main’ character because they’re all equally interesting.  

The writing as well was subtly beautiful. There’s so much detail and thought put into every sentence that I didn’t want to miss a word. 

A beautifully crafted novel that I feel is just the beginning of my love for Sarah Waters. I’m very excited to get started on her others.

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X

Book Review: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

This is the 6th book of his I’ve read and I’m never as enamoured with his books as others are, but this is definitely one of my favourites of his.

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Published: September 1996 by BBC Books

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Length: 370 Pages

Source: Own

Goodreads Avg. Rating: 4.17

My Rating: three half stars

Hi Readers

This is a book that was adapted into a novel from a TV Show Gaiman was working on back in 1996. But this time, Gaiman was able to tell this story with a boundless imagination. 

Set in a world where there are two London’s. Where monsters, angels and magic exist right under our feet. This follows an ordinary working man who becomes entangled in this world after he commits a fateful act of kindness. 

I love Urban Fantasy books that make this world more interesting and this book certainly does that. We have the London we all know and are familiar with, but then we have this ‘London Below’ that is much more dark and much more gruesome. At times, it was terrifying. Worst nightmares really do come true in this book. 

The whole atmosphere of London and magic really reminded me of Harry Potter. Like how he uses creatures from myths and legends and works them into this world, similar to how J.K. Rowling does it. If you like the magic of Harry Potter, I highly recommend this book. 

The characters are very unique but I will say I just didn’t feel overly connected to them. I rarely do when it comes to fantasy novels and this ones no exception. I never felt engaged with the.

I highly recommend this book to people who love a good fantasy adventure. 

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X

TV Shows: Recent Watches

Hi Readers

I’ve watched a few TV Shows recently that I just have to share with you because I have been loving them and basically want everybody to watch these as well. 

Brooklyn Nine-Nine – Last year I had never heard of this TV show, but then it was ‘cancelled’ and suddenly I couldn’t go on twitter without seeing an outpouring of love for it, and for good reason. I don’t normally like comedies but this one really reminds me of Friends without trying to be Friends. It’s full of heart and friendship and the fact that it’s follows the NYPD gives it another edge. I really loved watching this, highly recommend.

Unforgotten – Another TV show I had never heard of before but I caught the beginning of season 3 on ITV and was intrigued so I started from the beginning. It follows a detective who investigates ‘historical crimes.’ Each season starts with them finding the remains of a body from years ago, they try and identify the person, and then figure out how they died. I watched all three seasons in less than a week. It’s so unpredictable and one of the best Crime shows I’ve ever watched. 

Masterchef Australia Season 10 – I love cooking competitions but MA is definitely my favourite. They always pick great home cooks that are likable (unlike the ones on MC USA)  and it’s really exciting (unlike MC UK). It’s just the best and this was probably one of the best seasons. 

Bodyguard – I’m actually currently watching this but I only have the final to go. This is an amazingly current and thrilling political TV show that follows a war veteran, who is assigned as the bodyguard for the home secretary to protect her from an assassination plot by terrorists. 

Great British Bake Off – This is one of those TV Shows that I get excited for every year. I really like this years contestants and right now I’m predicting either Rahul and Briony win. But it’s still early days. 

Strictly Come Dancing – Now this has barely started up again but I just had to mention it. I watch this every year and when it starts it just makes Halloween and Christmas feel so close and it makes me so excited.

Let me know what TV Shows you’ve watched recently!

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X

 

Why I DNFED… And the Mountain Echoed by Khaled Housseini

Hi Readers

I want to begin this post by saying how much I adored A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Kite Runner. His first two books will forever hold a special place in my heart and I highly recommend them if you haven’t read them yet. There was just something about And the Mountain Echoed that didn’t click with me. 

Khaled 2

I had high expectations for And the Mountain Echoed, however, I have had it sitting on my shelf for about three years now and never really felt overly compelled to pick it up. Maybe something in me knew this book wouldn’t reach those expectations? 

This book did start off strong, but that ended on chapter two. Within that small space of time I got very attached to these two characters and was excited (and nervous) to follow their life. I felt Housseini did so well with building these two characters and getting us to care about them, so this book started strong. 

After chapter two, we spend the next 200 pages following characters I felt no attachment to.

The story just felt like it was going backwards and it slowed it down and disinterested me. The characters are scattered, the stories seemed to be barely connected. Chapters 1&2 felt like a short story, disconnected from the rest of it. 

I just feel like this book would’ve been better if it focused on less characters. 

I wish I could say I understand the thousands of positive reviews this book has but I can’t.  Over 87,000 people gave this book 5 stars on Goodreads and yet I couldn’t even finish it. Maybe the ending is so amazingly wonderful and that’s how it earned that praise, but I lost patience with it.

I have seen people who have similar feelings as mine, but the overall consensus is, this book is amazing!

But that’s just my opinion. Don’t take this ‘review’ as final word. Maybe you can see something in this book that I can’t. Maybe one day I’ll read this book and fall in love with these characters and give it 5 stars along with everyone else. Maybe. 

Have you read this book? What’s your opinion on it? 

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X