I have another bumper wrap-up for you, but this time it’s because I somehow managed to finish 12 books in a single month! There are 31 days in March, but STILL. I did well.
Books mentioned and mini-reviews:
Giant Days, by Non Pratt
A fab side dish for fans of the Giant Days comic book series or an intro for those reluctant to give comics a go. Would read more!
Beauty Queens, by Libba Bray
A relentlessly funny delight of a book in which not one of the plane-wrecked beauty pageant contestants is what she appears to be on the surface – and neither is the corporation behind the competition…
Freshers, by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison
Another brilliant book from the pair who brought us Lobsters and Never Evers – if you love Giant Days I think you’ll probably love this too. It’s about Phoebe and Luke, who only knew each other vaguely at school but find each other at the same university while they’re also making new friends and trying to figure out who they are.
Juliet’s School of Possibilities: A Little Story about the Power of Priorities, by Laura Vanderkam
This is an interesting idea – a fable that takes Laura Vanderkam’s ideas about time (see my reviews of 168 Hours and What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast) and puts them into a story about a young woman trying to juggle her life and career. I would like to see another version of this with a protagonist who has a less high-flying job and privileged lifestyle. I got approved for this on NetGalley but had forgotten I’d also preordered it!
The Multi-Hyphen Method: Work less, create more, and design a career that works for you, by Emma Gannon
I think the early chapters in this book will be more exciting for people who aren’t familar with the concept of a multi-hyphenate career, but the advice is a useful jumping-off point for everyone.
The Light Fantastic, by Terry Pratchett
This continues the story begun in The Colour of Magic. I found that it meandered a bit and it wasn’t as funny as The Colour of Magic, but I still enjoyed it.
Nightingale Wood, by Stella Gibbons
A retelling of Cinderella from the 1930s, featuring three women who want their lives to change. Viola is a former shop assistant who married into the upper class and was quickly widowed, Hetty is a born-and-bred lady who is tired of meaningless parties and wants to be left alone to read, and Tina, Viola’s sister-in-law, is equally bored of her own tedious life with her stingy father and develops a massive crush on the chauffeur. I loved the clash of social classes and the author’s wonderful ability to make every character seem vividly real. Unfortunately there’s one paragraph that includes the n-word twice. The character who uses the word isn’t a sympathetic one and it is realistic to that type of character during the time period but it’s still not pleasant to read and readers should be aware.
Please Ignore Vera Dietz, by A. S. King
Another book that deals with class issues. Vera Dietz is keeping the secret of how her best friend really died and over the course of the book we slowly learn why. The main antagonist is a promiscuous, needy, manipulative girl who I found one-dimensional. No reason is given for her behaviour and Vera doesn’t have any other girl friends or positive women role models, which is a bit problematic, but otherwise I enjoyed it and I really liked that it is a grittier USYA book than most I’ve read.
Jinx, by Meg Cabot
Jean moves to New York to live with her aunt, uncle and cousins and get away from a mistake she made back home. But her cousin Tory isn’t the sweet girl she remembers from holidays in the past – she’s now a party girl who wants to recruit Jean into her witches’ coven. This was fun and a bit darker than the other Meg Cabot novels I’ve read.
Whose Body?, by Dorothy L. Sayers
This is the first in the Lord Peter Wimsey series, which I’ve been meaning to read for over a decade, since I had to read The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club for university. Lord Peter is the second son of a duke who entertains himself by solving mysteries with a friend from Scotland Yard and in this book he has to work out what’s going on when a corpse mysteriously appears in someone else’s bath. It reads as at least slightly tongue-in-cheek, which was heightened by the voices given to the characters by the narrator of the audiobook I listened to. One of the mysteries concerns a Jewish character, and there are lots of stereotypes about Jews discussed in the novel. Whether it is anti-Semitic has been debated at length and it’s not my place to make that call, but personally I didn’t take those stereotypes as the opinion of the author seeing as most of them are expressed by Lord Peter’s mother, the Dowager Duchess, who has a tendency to run her mouth off about any subject presented to her. Since filming this video I found this article, which is really interesting, if inconclusive: The Curious Case of Dorothy L. Sayers & the Jew Who Wasn’t There.
Birdy, by Jess Vallance
Another book all about class, and also about toxic friendship, one of my favourite subjects! It reminded me a lot of Little Liar, by Julia Grey, especially as I also found it hard to get into at first, but the ending is darker and more disturbing.
Equal Rites, by Terry Pratchett
This was an absolute treat of a book! A wizard comes to a village to pass his powers and his magical staff onto the eighth son of an eighth son, but just before he died it’s revealed, all too late, that he’s passed them onto a baby girl. Eskarina ‘Esk’ Smith develops wizard powers that no-one knows what to do with, and thus begins a journey to the Unseen University. I honestly didn’t want this to end and can’t wait to carry on with the Discworld series.
Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Any recommendations for me? I especially want to read more 1930s literature and books about toxic friendship.