Wednesday 10 May 2017

March 2017 Reading Wrap Up

It's currently May so why not talk about what I read in March? Better late than never! I spent most of March travelling around Thailand accompanied by my trusty e-reader and a bunch of e-galleys. So between lazy beach days and fourteen hour plane journeys I ended up reading quite a lot. Let's get into the reviews...

How To Murder Your Life by Cat Marnell | ☆
How to Murder your Life is a memoir from writer and former magazine beauty editor, Cat Marnell. It covers her tumultuous childhood and her career in New York but is mostly an account of drug addiction. I love a good memoir and am always intrigued to read about darker topics but I just couldn't stand Marnell's writing style. There were far too many all-caps sentences and exclamations and Cat's humongous amount of privilege (and apparent obliviousness of said privilege) just grated on me. I also feel that it could have done with a lot more editing and a lot less name and brand dropping. This is all total personal preference, I know people who loved this book, but other than it being a fast read, there's not a whole lot I can say for it.

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli | ☆☆☆☆.5
From a book I couldn't stand, to a book I completely fell in love with! The Upside of Unrequited is Becky Albertalli's second novel, Simon vs. being the first. Upside follows Molly, who has had exactly twenty six crushes but has never done anything about them, for fear of rejection. Albertalli has this way of writing characters which just makes you feel, from the very first page, like they're your best friend. Her characters are so real and relatable that you wish they were real. I really loved Molly as a protagonist, she's funny and smart and a bit of an introverted-extrovert, like me! This book is the perfect contemporary, it made me laugh and cry and clutch my heart. If you want an unpredictable love story that's not too sickly sweet, then this is the one for you!

Who Runs the World? by Virginia Bergin | ☆☆☆
Set in the future, where the men have all but died out and the free world is populated by women only, Who Runs the World? explores what society would be like without men and follows fourteen year old River, who has never met a boy, until she meets Mason. The premise for this book really intrigued me and it held so much potential that it unfortunately didn't quite live up to. I enjoyed the mystery and some aspects of the matriarchal setting but the world-building could've been stronger and some of the ideas weren't fully fleshed out. This is definitely a thought-provoking read and one to consider!

Hush Little Baby by Joanna Barnard | ☆☆☆
Hush Little Baby is a mystery-thriller exploring who is to blame when baby Oliver breaks his arm, the authorities get involved and everyone, from his mother to his father and older sister are being far from truthful. Although marketed as a thriller, it's definitely more of a mystery and an exploration of dysfunctional family dynamics than an outright psychological thriller. I did find the mystery to be intriguing but it was the characters themselves that kept me reading through to the final page. The relationships between each of the characters were explored in a thoughtful and interesting way and I found the characters relatable and engaging if not completely likeable. I'd recommend this one if you like family dramas and mysteries but don't expect an edge-of-your-seat thriller.

Final Girls by Riley Sager | ☆☆☆.5
As a true crime fanatic this thriller caught my eye immediately. The idea of the 'final girl' or lone survivor of a massacre is one that has floated around both in pop culture and in true crime for decades. As a culture we are morbidly fascinated by these gory murders, and even more so with their survivors - the ones who are still around to give a first-person account. Except the main character of Final Girls, Quincy Carpenter, cannot remember the grisly events of the Pine Cottage murders, of which only she survived, and a decade later, it might be her undoing.

I found this book gripping from start to finish, I was immediately fascinated with the fictional Pine Cottage murders, and the other 'final girls', each survivors of massacres. The plot was well-paced and I was kept guessing right up until the final pages. Quincy's torment, darkness and confusion was dealt with excellently and as a reader, I felt the author gave a real insight into her feelings without giving too many answers about the fateful night at Pine Cottage.

I thought this was an excellent, pacey thriller with larger-than-life characters and plenty of twists and turns. I would recommend it to any fans of thrillers or true crime. The reason I give it 3.5 stars instead of 4 is that the ending felt a tiny bit disappointing to me, although I cannot put my finger on why, perhaps it felt a little bit rushed. Overall, a good read.

The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances | ☆☆☆
A psychological thriller this time, The Girlfriend is based on the fall-out of an unforgiveable lie. The novel explores the, often strained, relationship between a man, his girlfriend and his mother. I won't say too much about it because I think it's best to just dive right into this one. I found The Girlfriend to be fast-paced and chilling, I couldn't put it down. I don't tend to rate thrillers very high, mainly because I usually figure out the 'twist' before it happens but that's probably because I've just seen one too many episodes of CSI. It's an addictive read and once again, a great exploration of family dynamics.

Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith | ☆☆☆.5
My last read of March was Windfall, a YA contemporary which asks the question: what would you do if you won $140 million. For his seventeenth birthday, Alice buys her best friend Teddy, whom she is secretly in love with, a lottery ticket as a joke. But everything changes when it turns out the ticket is a winner and Teddy is suddenly a multi-millionaire. The plot sounds rather far-fetched but Jennifer E. Smith writes it in a down-to-earth, realistic way and besides, someone has to win the lottery, don't they? Windfall is a sweet contemporary about luck and love and does a great job of exploring the line between friendship and romance. It's not the best contemporary I've ever read but it was moving and warm and the perfect beach read.


What have you been reading lately? I'll be back soon with my (very tiny) April reading wrap up!

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