My favourite blog posts of August 2018!

Hi everyone! It’s time for my favourites of the month – I’m really enjoying doing this series and spreading some love in the blogging community! I haven’t had as much time to blog hop this month but I hope you still find some great posts/bloggers that you maybe weren’t already following 🙂

 

Reviews

Melanie reviewed Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton and called it her favourite book of 2018! Quite the claim. But I always trust Melanie’s opinions so the fact that she loved this one has made me 100x more likely to buy it when it comes out.

Inside My Library Mind wrote a great review of American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I read this book earlier in the year and I always love seeing other people reviewing one of my favourite authors.

Steph wrote a detailed review of The Poppy War and also linked up to other bloggers’ reviews! I’ve heard so many great things about this book.

La Ronda wrote a very emotive review of Summer Bird Blue! I really want to read Starfish by this author but I don’t know if this one might be too sad for me? Either way, it sounds like Akemi Dawn Bowman has real talent.

Tina reviewed The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain, which I hadn’t heard of before but which sounds great! Thanks Tina for bringing this one to my attention.

Ayunda wrote a lovely review of Our Homesick Songs by Emma Hooper. It’s always nice to see other bloggers’ thoughts on books I’ve read and reviewed myself. And we both seemed to agree on this one!

Sissi wrote a concise review of The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley, which is on my immediate TBR. Seeing such a glowing review makes me more likely to pick this one up soon!

Rachel reviewed The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker, which is a modern reimagining of The Iliad. Given that I’m expecting a copy of this myself, I’m now even more excited to read it!

Gaby wrote a gushing review of Sweet Pea and emphasised further how much I want to read this book! Can’t get enough reviews of this one right now.

Kristin wrote a balanced review of Vox, which I have been seeing around non-stop! I’m definitely intrigued by this book but it was nice to see a review that wasn’t all flailing about the awesomeness!

Heather shared a similar opinion of Heart of Thorns as I had, which made me feel much better about my negative review! A little solidarity among bloggers is always nice.

Hayley wrote a great review of Overkill by Vanda Symon. I was meant to be on the blog tour for this book but, for some reason, I was forgotten about 😦 and I’m gutted because it sounds like a great book!

 

Discussions

Angelica wrote a great discussion post about negative reviews. I’ve mentioned before how much I hate being negative about a book but that I feel it’s important to be honest, so it was really nice to get some validation from this post. Negative reviews are still useful!

Kelly talked about the impact a book’s conclusion can have and made some really insightful points about the way cliffhangers can be used.

Pages Unbound killed it this month with their discussion posts. Briana asked if characters are individuals or representations of something larger, while Krysta questioned the ambivalent ages of YA protagonists.

 

Other fun posts

Jo wrote about the problem of mismatched book sizes and it was the most relatable thing ever!

Mandy wrote a great post about things that are practically guaranteed to make her love a book. I always enjoy seeing people do posts like this, outlining recurring themes they love. I have one of my own here if you’re interested 😉

Swetlana listed 7 reasons why you’re not reading enough and damn, she got me. I always wonder where my time is going and how other readers can get through so many more books than me – this might explain why!

Callum did the ‘This is my Genre’ tag and I really enjoyed reading his answers since we both love Gothic literature!

Zuky hosted a Q&A with C. J. Skuse, the author of Sweet Pea. I recently bought this book because of how much Zuky recommended it and I can’t wait to get to it after reading this fun interview!

Jenna put together a great list of feel-good books for when you’re feeling down! You guys know I love a comfort read.

 

Once again, thank you to everyone for creating such great content this month! And as usual, please don’t feel bad if you weren’t featured this time, I love you all 😉 

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‘Heart of Thorns’ spoiler-free review!

Hey everyone! Today, I’m reviewing Heart of Thorns by Bree Barton which was very kindly sent to me by Harper360YA!

 

What the book is about…

In the ancient river kingdom, touch is a battlefield, bodies the instruments of war. Seventeen-year-old Mia Rose has pledged her life to hunting Gwyrach: women who can manipulate flesh, bones, breath, and blood.

Not women. Demons. The same demons who killed her mother without a single scratch.

But when Mia’s father suddenly announces her marriage to the prince, she is forced to trade in her knives and trousers for a sumptuous silk gown. Only after the wedding goes disastrously wrong does she discover she has dark, forbidden magic—the very magic she has sworn to destroy.

 

What I thought of it…

This was quite a mixed bag of a book. It opened with a bang and I initially liked the writing style but I soon realised that it was much like most other YA fantasies these days. The world seemed cool but wasn’t very strongly developed – and any world building there was consisted of clumsy info dumps.

I could maybe have overlooked the lack of world building if I had fallen in love with the characters but they all seemed pretty bland to me. I didn’t really feel anything for Mia or Quin, and I’ve honestly already forgotten most of the others that were introduced. There was a nice bit of diversity in terms of character sexualities; I would have liked this to be explored more instead of the typical tropes we’ve seen a million times before.

The book was very slow in pacing, with lots of setup, so it took me a long time to become invested. It felt like things were only just getting going and the book was over. Again, I might not have minded so much if I’d been having heart eyes for the world the author was creating but I just don’t feel it was anything special or memorable. Even by the end of the book, when the action as ramping up, I wasn’t on the edge of my seat needing to know what was going to happen.

I feel like I’ve been really negative so far and I feel terrible for it! This was a debut after all so maybe I’m judging it too harshly. It definitely wasn’t all bad. There was some really nice feminist ideology at the heart of the story and I really appreciated it. There was also some genuinely great writing in there; many turns of phrase were quite lovely (eg. “the moon put on a white veil and walked the sable sky” – I mean, that’s gorgeous!) I also loved the foody bits and Mia’s interest in anatomy. I just feel like all the good stuff got a bit lost in a very generic-feeling book. Maybe the continuation of the series will allow the author to develop these good points and lose some of the elements that were disappointing here – but I’m not hugely likely to read the sequel.

 

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Has anyone else read this one? Did you connect with it more than I did? And does anyone else feel guilty posting negative book reviews?!

Bookshelf Scavenger Hunt!

Hi lovelies! I’m not feeling my best today so I needed a fun and non-taxing tag to do 😉 I saw this one over on Kelly’s blog and thought I’d give it a try.


Find an author name or title with a ‘Z’ in it

shadow of the wind

I adore this book and defy any lover of words to not join me in my fangirling after reading it.

 

Find a classic

little women.jpg

So many I could have picked! But I love this Word Cloud Classic edition of Little Women, which was the first book I read with my book club!

 

Find a book with a key on it

a gentleman in moscow.jpg

I haven’t read this one yet, oops.

 

Find something on your shelf that isn’t a book

I try not to have too much clutter on my shelves but I do like to accessorise with candles and mugs!

 

Find the oldest book on your shelf

romeo and juliet

It’s probably my Penguin Shakespeare boxset. Both in terms of the earliest published and my longest owned books. (My grandmother introduced me to Shakespeare young!)

 

Find a book with a girl on it

the secret of a heart note

This one sounds really sweet and I can’t believe I haven’t read it yet! (Who am I kidding, I can totally believe it.)

 

Find a book with an animal on it

godsgrave

Nope, haven’t read this series yet either. I’m rubbish.

 

Find a book with a male protagonist

how to stop time.jpg

This was one of my favourites last year. I love Matt Haig’s books.

 

Find a book with only words on the cover

the ask and the answer

I don’t know how well you can see it but I promise there are words in the background of this cover! Maybe if you tilt your screens, you’ll see them better 😉 I love this series and would consider Patrick Ness a favourite author.

 

Find a book with illustrations on it

the lie tree

Chris Riddell is my favourite illustrator and has illustrated some of my very favourite books.

 

Find a book with gold lettering

strange the dreamer

I think we can all agree this one is gorgeous.

 

Find a diary – true or fictional

the princess diarist

I do, of course, have Anne Frank on my shelf but I wanted to give a different answer for this one.

 

Find a book written by an author with a common name

the end of the world running club

I know so many people with the surname Walker!

 

Find a book with a close-up of something on it

thug

That’s pretty close up, right?

 

Find a book on your shelf that takes place in the earliest time period

the song of achilles

I don’t think I have anything set earlier than the Trojan War?!

 

Find a hardcover without a jacket

night of cake and puppets

Love this little novella and Jim Di Bartolo’s illustrations are stunning.

 

Find a teal/turquoise book

egg and spoon

I had a whole shelf to pick from but I thought I’d go with one I’ve actually read! Yay me 😀

 

Find a book that has stars on the cover

caraval

So magical.

 

Find a non-YA book

song

Contrary to what this blog might suggest, I do actually read a lot of non-YA books!

 

Well that was a fun look through my shelves! If you haven’t done this one yet, consider yourself tagged 🙂

Middle grade mini reviews: Boy Underwater, The House with Chicken Legs, Pax, and The Thing About Jellyfish

Hello my lovelies! I’ve read a few middle grade books recently; books like this always feel like a comforting hug while still tackling important themes in a non-patronising way. I thought I’d put together a mini review post to let you know some of my thoughts!

 

Boy Underwater by Adam Baron

This book is about a young boy who has never been allowed to go swimming and has his first ever swimming lesson at school – but something goes wrong. This sets off a bit of a chain reaction and dramatic things are subsequently revealed!

This was a fantastic middle grade read. Adam Baron has created a great narrative voice that felt very realistic and had me giggling right from the outset. It really did read like a 9-year-old boy.

The book was super fast-paced with some crazy chapter endings that had me racing through the pages for answers. I ended up reading it in one sitting.

It did have the potential to be a five-star read but I feel like it didn’t move me as much as it could have? Like, the sad parts could have been sadder?! Maybe the fact that I read it so quickly had something to do with it. But this is an ambitious middle grade read that tackles a heavy subject very well and I would certainly recommend it for fans of Wonder and The Curious Incident of the Boy in the Nighttime!

boy underwater

 

The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson

This book is an interesting take on the Baba Yaga mythology. In this book, Baba Yaga guides the spirits of the dead into the afterlife. Her granddaughter Marinka is set to take over the role eventually but all she wants is to live a normal life.

For a middle grade book, this one was surprisingly twisty! It definitely managed to surprise me a few times. I did find it quite repetitive in parts, with Marinka’s constant emphasis on her desire for a normal life making her a little bit annoying; but, overall, this was an enjoyable story and an interesting reimagining of the folklore.

the house with chicken legs.jpg

 

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

This was a sweet middle grade about a boy and his pet fox who are forcefully separated due to the start of the war, and their subsequent attempts to find each other again. The book tackled some heavy themes but, sadly, I thought that it lacked the emotional punch I was looking for. The fast pace meant I found it hard to connect with the story or characters – though I did enjoy the relationship between Peter and Vola.

The ending was definitely more abrupt than I expected and, as such, didn’t move me like I had thought it would. I can totally see why other readers were disappointed. Maybe it will have the desired effect on younger readers but it didn’t work for me.

It was a nice read overall, nothing amazing.

pax mini review.jpg

 

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

This was an intriguing and poignant middle grade read. The basic premise is that a girl’s best friend tragically drowns – but the girl refuses to accept this as her friend was a very strong swimmer. She becomes convinced that her friend must have been stung by a deadly jellyfish and sets out to prove it.

Despite the slightly strange premise, I did find myself quite invested in this story; it was very fast-paced and compelling. I felt quite emotional at times reading about how cruel kids can be and I really sympathised with the protagonist, Suzy; I desperately wanted her to succeed. Saying that, I felt like the book’s resolution was perfect and exactly what it needed to be.

I loved Suzy’s family; this book was a great example of how parents can be divorced but still work together through a shared love of their child. Suzy’s brother and his boyfriend were both lovely and I wish we could have seen more from them – though the scenes they did have were wonderful.

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this one!

 
the thing about jellyfish.jpg

 

So there you go, a mixed bag of middle grade reviews – but more success than not! Does anyone else read middle grade?

‘The Forgotten Guide to Happiness’ spoiler-free review!

Hi everyone! Today, I’m reviewing The Forgotten Guide to Happiness by Sophie Jenkins which was a surprise gift from Avon Books! Sadly, I was disappointed by this one.

 

What the book is about…

Twenty-eight-year-old Lana Green has never been good at making friends. She’s perfectly happy to be left alone with her books. Or at least, that’s what she tells herself.

Nancy Ellis Hall was once a celebrated writer. Now eighty, she lives alone in her North London house, and thinks she’s doing just fine. But dementia is loosening Nancy’s grip on the world.

When Lana and Nancy become unconventional house mates, their lives will change in ways they never expected. But can an unusual friendship rescue two women who don’t realise they need to be saved?

An irresistible story of love, memory and the power of friendship that readers of The Keeper of Lost Things and The Lido will adore.

 

What I thought of it…

I finished this book about a week ago and the more I’ve thought about it, the more annoyed I’ve felt. There are so many things about this book that really frustrated me.

The story did tick along quite nicely at the start, although I can’t say I really warmed to the protagonist. I found her quite selfish and unlikeable. I questioned her every decision and really couldn’t understand her motivations for certain things. The side characters also felt like paper-thin stereotypes and honestly added nothing to the story.

However, things got really annoying around 100 pages from the end when a particular event occurred (that I obviously won’t mention because spoilers). All I will say is that it had me absolutely infuriated! I couldn’t believe what I was reading; I wanted to give Lana a shake. Really, I don’t know what the author was thinking at this point; what kind of message was she trying to promote? The whole thing felt like one pointless cliché after another and, if this hadn’t been a gift from a publisher, I might well have DNF’d this book. I had to force myself to get to the end.

I did like Nancy’s character, the older writer in declining mental health. However, part of me feels like she wasn’t utilised as much as she could have been? She was a little lost at times in all of Lana’s crap and I feel like she deserved more! It was also constantly rammed down the reader’s throat that Nancy was this big feminist icon but then we were never actually shown any evidence of this.

The ‘how to be a hero’ theme was a nice idea –  I feel like maybe that should have been the title of the book instead? I don’t really know why it was called The Forgotten Guide to Happiness. Maybe I missed the point but this title felt totally incongruous to the actual story. Particularly with the annoying events I’ve alluded to!

I feel like this one won’t stay with me – and if it does, it will be with feelings of frustration rather than positivity! I feel terrible giving a book a negative review, particularly when it was a gift, but this one just wasn’t for me.

 

the forgotten guide to happiness .jpg

Have you ever read a book where the protagonist completely irritated you?! 

‘Tell The Machine Goodnight’ spoiler-free review!

Hey everyone! Apologies for being a little slow with my posts recently, there’s a lot going on! Anyway. Today, I have the pleasure of reviewing Tell the Machine Goodnight which was sent to me by the lovely people at HarperCollins.

 

What the book was about…

Pearl’s job is to make people happy. Every day, she provides customers with personalized recommendations for greater contentment. She’s good at her job, her office manager tells her, successful. But how does one measure an emotion?

Meanwhile, there’s Pearl’s teenage son, Rhett. A sensitive kid who has forged an unconventional path through adolescence, Rhett seems to find greater satisfaction in being unhappy. The very rejection of joy is his own kind of “pursuit of happiness.” As his mother, Pearl wants nothing more than to help Rhett—but is it for his sake or for hers? Certainly it would make Pearl happier. Regardless, her son is one person whose emotional life does not fall under the parameters of her job—not as happiness technician, and not as mother, either.

Told from an alternating cast of endearing characters from within Pearl and Rhett’s world, Tell the Machine Goodnight delivers a smartly moving and entertaining story about relationships and the ways that they can most surprise and define us. Along the way, Katie Williams playfully illuminates our national obsession with positive psychology, our reliance on quick fixes and technology. What happens when these obsessions begin to overlap? With warmth, humour, and a clever touch, Williams taps into our collective unease about the modern world and allows us see it a little more clearly.

 

What I thought of it…

This is a well-written and entertaining literary debut. I love a good dystopian future story so I was immediately captured by the premise of this one; it reads in a similar vein to 1984 and Brave New World, both of which I loved. Yet it also feels more relevant to our current social climate, with the rise in practices like mindfulness and Hygge. Drawing upon these current trends in taking whatever steps we can to be happy, this book centres on a very intelligent concept but takes it wildly to the extreme.

The author took this basic concept and built a hugely compelling and humorous story around it. I was genuinely fascinated from start to finish and anytime I wasn’t reading it, I wished I was!

I hadn’t expected the multiple perspectives in the story but I genuinely enjoyed all of them. Each character added an interesting layer to the story. I was slightly concerned that all the different threads wouldn’t tie up by the end of the book but I can confidently say that I was satisfied with the resolution.

I would definitely recommend this one to fans of interesting and modern dystopians with a touch of humour. Very grateful to HarperCollins for sending this one my way!

 

tell the machine goodnight

Has anyone else read this one? What did you think? Leave me a comment below! x

‘Do No Harm’ spoiler-free review!

Today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Do No Harm by L. V. Hay! I was sent this book by the lovely people at Orenda books and really enjoyed it.

 

What the book is about…

After leaving her marriage to jealous, possessive oncologist Maxwell, Lily and her six-year-old son have a second chance at happiness with teacher Sebastian. Kind but vulnerable, Sebastian is the polar opposite of Maxwell, and the perfect match for Lily. After a whirlwind romance, they marry, and that’s when things start to go wrong. Maxwell returns to the scene, determined to win back his family, and events soon spiral out of control. Lily and Sebastian find themselves not only fighting for their relationship, but also their lives. 

 

What I thought of it…

While at first, I didn’t really connect with the writing style, I soon became engrossed in this crazy story! I was completely gripped by the exciting plot with all its twists and turns. The short chapters made for a great fast-paced read and the tension was truly palpable.

The characters all had distinct voices and I enjoyed the alternating perspectives between Lily and Sebastian, with interposing snippets from our psycho’s mind! The author did a great job of making sure none of the characters could be trusted; everyone was a suspect! I found some of the dialogue a tiny bit forced (particularly in the beginning with the wedding scenes) but it wasn’t something that bothered me hugely.

I loved the use of red herrings/misdirection and enjoyed the shock moments (of which there were plenty!) I will say that I found a couple of things quite triggering but overall, this was a fun, fast read! It has actually stayed with me long after I turned the last page.

On a side note, I actually gave this book to my Nana to read after I’d finished (she enjoys a good thriller) and she really enjoyed it too haha. She thought she had it all figured out about halfway through but she sooo didn’t!

I would definitely recommend this one to fans of fast-paced, crazy thrillers!

 

do no harm blog tour book review .jpg

Has anyone else read this one? Let me know your thoughts in the comments! x 

The Mystery Blogger Award!

Hi everyone! I was tagged by Jenna @ Bookmark Your Thoughts for the mystery blogger award (thank you!) Jenna is really lovely and her blog is GOALS so if you’re not already following her, get on that!

This tag was created by Okoto Enigma!

mystery blogger award.jpg

 

THE RULES

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog.
  2. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  3. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.
  4. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  5. Nominate 10 to 20 people.
  6. Notify your nominees (ping-back system peeps).
  7. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice, specifically with one weird or funny question.

 

The Facts…

I can never remember what I’ve already told you and what I haven’t! So apologies if you’ve heard these before haha.

  1. I am a support worker for children and young adults with severe learning difficulties and mental health issues, and I am working towards becoming a fully fledged child counsellor.
  2. I recently became a bit of a gym addict! I joined the gym when my mental health hit a real low and I knew I needed to do something to get myself out of the rut. The effects of exercise on my mood are unbelievable and I can’t get enough! Losing weight and getting toned up are definite bonuses too.
  3. I am in the process of growing out my hair from a pixie cut. I get bored often and will grow my hair really long, dye it all kinds of colours and then cut it all off and start again! At the moment, I’ve managed to grow it to shoulder-length and I’ve noticed it’s starting to curl on its own which I am LOVING. I’m also currently sticking with my natural colour, though it’s been bleached a lot lighter by the recent sunshine.

rapunzel brushing hair.gif

 

The Questions…

What is the saddest book you’ve ever read?

I tend to be pretty good at avoiding books that I think will upset me so it was actually hard to come up with an answer to this one. I’d probably have to choose a modern classic like Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men or Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Both of those were heartbreaking.

 

If you could replace one character in any book with yourself, who would it be and why?

I’d want to be someone like Carrie in The Winter Sea, holed up in a cosy cottage in Scotland writing a novel based on memories of my ancestors while experiencing a blossoming new romance! I don’t ask for much haha.

 

What is your favourite book-to-movie adaptation?

The one that immediately comes to mind is The Secret Life of Bees since I recently wrote a post about it! It’s one of the most faithful adaptations I’ve seen. I love the movie adaptations of the Harry Potter books and Lord of the Rings but they don’t stick as closely to the story and cut out a lot of detail. Otherwise, I don’t tend to watch many adaptations.

 

How photogenic is your pet (if you have one)? If you don’t, how colourful is your bookshelf?

I don’t have any pets! But my bookshelf is very colourful 😉

rainbow bookshelves home library.jpg

 

Sci-fi or fantasy?

I used to say fantasy all the way, but I’ve recently been reading more sci-fi and enjoying it! I think I’d still pick fantasy for the magic and the incredible world-building but I’m definitely coming to appreciate a good science fiction.

 

You’ve all probably done this tag before so feel free to ignore it if you have or if you just don’t fancy it!

Melanie // Kelly // Joanna // Callum // Steph // Kristin // Angelica // Swetlana

If you decide to do this one, here are your questions…

  1. What is the first book you remember reading?
  2. What genre do you read most?
  3. Which country is currently top of your travel bucket list?
  4. Do you play any musical instruments?
  5. What is your Hogwarts house?

 

Thanks for reading, lovelies! X

 

5 reasons to read ‘The Secret Life of Bees’

Hey guys! Today I’m continuing my ‘5 reasons to read’ series with one of my all-time favourite books, The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd! I have read this book numerous times; my most recent reread was June this year and I knew I had to make a post for my ‘5 reasons’ series!

 

It’s full of symbolism

I actually read this book for the first time in school and I wrote a cracking essay on the author’s use of symbolism. I wish I could remember half of what I’d said now! The most obvious symbol is the bees themselves, and the parallels between hive life and the lives of the Boatwright sisters are abundant. The epigraphs at the start of each chapter impart fascinating bee-related knowledge while also foreshadowing the events that take place in each chapter.

 

The women are kick-ass

This book is bursting at the seams with strong females and I love every one of them. August is the epitome of a strong woman and is so full of amazing life advice (I suppose I have to credit the author for that but I feel like, if I was ever to find that bright pink house, August would be right there putting the world to rights). Rosaleen is another amazing woman with fire in her soul, who refuses to accept the discrimination she faces. And then there’s May. One of my favourite characters ever, May is just so pure and fills my whole heart with her innocence.

 

The scene setting is perfect

As far as I’m aware, Tiburon, South Carolina is a fictional place. But I so wish it was real! It sounds so lush and verdant; I would love to see the pink house and the fields of bee hives, and just bask in that gorgeous sunshine.

 

It’s full of wisdom

As I already mentioned, August is like the kind auntie that everybody wants. She becomes a kind of surrogate mother to the lost and vulnerable Lily, and helps her to navigate the challenges of growing up. I empathise strongly with Lily, having lost my own mum when I was very young, and a lot of the advice that August gives to her young charge really resonates with me.

 

It has a powerful message

Perhaps the most important reason I would urge you to read The Secret Life of Bees is its message. Sue Monk Kidd shines a light on racism and gender stereotyping, and urges readers not to stand for discrimination just because it might be seen as the norm. (While the book views this topic through a historical lens, it is a timeless message that remains relevant.) Some scenes make for uncomfortable reading but the overall effect is incredibly impactful.

 

the secret life of bees 5 reasons to read .jpg

So those are my five reasons to read The Secret Life of Bees! This book is truly a forever favourite of mine and I will be recommending it to people for the rest of my life. Please, if you haven’t already, give it a read! And if you have read it, leave me a comment and let me know what you thought of it! x

‘Our Homesick Songs’ spoiler-free review!

Hello my lovelies! Today I’m reviewing Our Homesick Songs by Emma Hooper (author of Etta and Otto and Russell and James), which was very kindly sent to me by Penguin Books!

 

What the book is about…

Newfoundland, Canada, 1992. When all the fish vanish from the waters, and the cod industry abruptly collapses, it’s not long before the people begin to disappear from the town of Big Running as well. As residents are forced to leave the island in search of work, 10-year-old Finn Connor suddenly finds himself living in a ghost town. There’s no school, no friends and whole rows of houses stand abandoned. And then Finn’s parents announce that they too must separate if their family is to survive.

But Finn still has his sister, Cora, with whom he counts the dwindling boats on the coast at night, and Mrs Callaghan, who teaches him the strange and ancient melodies of their native Ireland. That is until his sister disappears, and Finn must find a way of calling home the family and the life he has lost.

 

What I thought of it…

This was an odd little story but an enjoyable one. There was a stark beauty to the book that reminded me of The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. The writing was quite simplistic; the lack of speech marks and run-on sentences gave the book a dreamlike quality that I really enjoyed. I imagine the meandering nature of the story and the slow pace will frustrate some readers but it worked well for me.

The stories within the story (contributed by Mrs Callaghan) were a nice touch and allowed for a lot of metaphor and deeper meanings. Finn is desperate to bring the people of his town and his family back together, and his struggles will definitely have you sympathising (unless you’re completely heartless haha).

I’m struggling to find enough to say about this book as not a whole lot happens! This is definitely a character-focused book, with very little plot to speak of. But the message at its heart is a lovely one. Our Homesick Songs depicts the importance of family, friendship and loyalty to the people and places we love. It definitely made me ponder a lot; I found it a very interesting read and rated it 4/5 stars!

Thank you again to the lovely people at Penguin for sending this one my way!

 

our homesick songs review

Has anyone else read this one? Leave me a comment below! x