It has been a hot minute since I sat down and wrote a monthly round-up of the books I have recently read. I can only apologise for losing my blogging mojo. However, now I am back and ready to go, so let’s jump into the books I read and completed in June.
This post contains affiliate links. Use of these links costs you nothing extra AT ALL but may help to make me a little money and keep me in my book buying habits.
Eragon (Inheritance #1) – Christopher Paolini
This is YA dragon-based fantasy and was a re-read for me as I would like to finally complete reading this quartet. I remember being utterly blown away the first time I read Eragon; especially since the author was only 15 when he wrote the series.
However, I have since read a good deal more fantasy, from authors such as Brandon Sanderson and George R. R. Martin and I would say that perhaps because of that, some of the issues with this story became more apparent this time around.
As I mentioned, this is dragon-based fantasy about a young boy called Eragon. Eragon is an orphan living with his uncle and cousin on the outskirts of a remote village. One day as he is hunting, Eragon comes across a dragon egg; he decides to take and hide the egg and when it hatches, his whole world is turned upside down. Eragon is forced to flee his home and suddenly finds himself on the run from a number of different forces who would seek to capture him and the dragon and utilise them for their own devices.
Pacing is a bit poor and some parts are a tad boring, but there are some great characters; I could read about Saphira and Arya all day long! I am looking forward to the rest of the books.
Camino Island – John Grisham
I am a huge John Grisham fan and when I heard that this book didn’t read in quite the same way as his other works, I’ll admit I was intrigued. It seems that for ‘Camino Island’ Grisham has left the legalese behind and attempted to tell a story which is snappier and a real page turner.
This book focuses on a daring heist; the theft of the five manuscripts of F Scott Fitzgerald which are owned and held in a secure vault by Princeton University. The book is told in an interesting format but we primarily follow the story of a struggling writer, who is thrust into the middle of the mystery of what happened to the manuscripts; something which has befuddled even the FBI.
I enjoyed this for what it was. I don’t think it was Grisham’s greatest work, and I did miss some of the court-room drama his books always seem to capture so well but I appreciated the pacing and it kept me hooked all the way through.
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton
I was really very excited to read this book as it has received high praise indeed among the book community. An interesting blend of genres; this is magical realism meets time travel meets murder mystery and I was 100% there for it.
We follow the story of our protagonist Aiden Bishop who must relieve the same day again and again a la Groundhog Day, in order to solve the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle. Evelyn meets her demise each evening at the end of a party her parents throw in their country manor. The twist? Every day Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. The double twist? Perhaps Aiden isn’t the only one trapped in this never-ending cycle…
I LOVED what the author attempted with this story and I thought it was very cleverly done. I’ll admit to being a little lost in parts (I genuinely don’t think I am cerebral enough for time travel novels on the whole) and I was left with some unanswered questions but I think it was a brilliant concept, executed well enough and I really enjoyed the blending of the genres and the new take on the typical ‘Midsomer Murder meets Agatha Christie’ mystery.
Since You’ve Been Gone – Morgan Matson
Morgan Matson is an author I have often heard talk of from American booktubers but she isn’t someone I have ever come across in the UK. Imagine my surprise when I spotted one of her books in a second hand bookstore in the middle of Northumberland! I decided to pick it up and give it a go.
Since You’ve Been Gone is a YA contemporary romance novel in which our protagonist Emily wakes one morning at the start of her summer break to realise her best friend Sloane has disappeared. Emily is the shy type and relied on outgoing Sloane to navigate her way through life and social situations so she feels a little lost without her best friend. Then, one day, a ‘bucket list’ arrives from Sloane with a whole host of things on for Emily to complete; things Emily would normally never dream of doing. Emily becomes convinced that if she can complete the list, her best friend will return and so she sets about achieving each task.
This was sweet and easy to read; the romance wasn’t too heavy and I felt it was quite nicely done. My only bugbear would be with the fact that we were told repeatedly that Emily missed Sloane, and that Emily was no good without Sloane and that ‘if Sloane had been here…’ and it wore a little thin. That said, overall I enjoyed this book and I would certainly look out for more Matson books in the future. An ideal summer read.
Unwind – Neal Shusterman
This was the Bookish Mamas choice for July and I was very much looking forward to it, having read and loved ‘Scythe’ by Neal Shusterman last year. This is a YA dystopian novel in which children can be ‘unwound’ once they reach the age of 13 years. This world has come about following a war between pro-life and pro-choice factions.
The decision was made to satisfy both sides; pregnancies could not be terminated but a child could be unwound once they reached 13. Unwound basically means that each part of the child is taken and utilised elsewhere, such as in organ transplants and so forth. There is actually quite a squeamish scene late in the book where you follow someone through the unwinding process and it made me cringe. It sounds quite awful written down in black and white here and yet a lot of what Shusterman bases his story on are incredibly plausible…and that gave me chills. He actually quotes from a newspaper article which actually exists and it properly gave me the creeps.
We follow three AWOL unwinds as they try to ecape their fates and survive until they reach the age of 18. I won’t go into too much detail as it is quite a succint and snappy story but overall this was great.
I love the way Shusterman writes; I love the topics he chooses to explore and the questions he poses through his narrative. As I said, what made this one particular good for me was the fact that it was so plausible, and that made the situation so much more horrifying. I’m excited to read on in this series and to read more in general from Shusterman.
Let me know what you read in June. I’m always looking for books to add to my wish list!