Righty then, time to start the mammoth writing up of the books I read in April. All 14 of them!
Well, I decided 14 was a bit much for one post so I’m going to do 7 today and then the other 7 next week.
First up, the random book I read in the middle of my O.W.L.s when I should have been reading other things was Nigel Slater’s Real Cooking. This is a recipe book but it has passages of writing about Nigel’s passion for the featured ingredients and stories about food and its part in his day-to-day life.
I really enjoyed this and I have cooked a couple of the recipes in it and enjoyed those too. They are simple and not fussy at all, they’re wholesome and tasty and make you feel good afterwards. He isn’t afraid of butter or cheese or anything else and only ever does just enough to let the ingredients sing by themselves. There’s no deconstructing or water-bathing required and I love it. 5/5*
On to my O.W.L. reads:
Lyra’s Oxford by Philip Pullman was a delightful little jaunt back into the universe of His Dark Materials. A compact but complete little story featuring the most beautiful fold-out map I have seen in a long time – I think I spent about as long studying the map as I did reading the rest of the book! 4/5*
I didn’t know what to expect when I picked up Junkyard by Lindsay Buroker but it definitely wasn’t what I got! A maple syrup heist in space, with sassy AIs, and cute dogs is what I got, by the way, and it was great fun. Short and sweet and it left me wanting to get the rest of the series. 3.5/5*
I was really excited for The Island because I loved M. A. Bennett’s last book S.T.A.G.S. and this looked like it would be more of the same. Except that where S.T.A.G.S. was refreshing and bold and exciting, The Island felt like it was trying waaaaay too hard and I really struggled with it. I seriously disliked Link, the main character, and I think I was supposed to a little bit but he made me want to throw the book out of the window. If it hadn’t been one of my O.W.L. books I think I would have DNFd it. 2.5/5*
Manifesto, however, was even better than I thought it was going to be. Witty, sensitive, hard-hitting, clever, and brutally honest, the story hit so many buttons about teenage life and anxieties. The complexities of relationships between friends and when it becomes something more, the way hormones and emotions can make it hard to see wrong from right, and all delivered in an easy to read style that made me laugh and cry at various times. 5/5*
Well, where to start with this one? Prom Nights From Hell was only on my bookshelf because Kim Harrison wrote one of the stories and I love her writing – I picked it up at YALC one year in their second hand/swap area. There are five individual paranormal Prom Night stories in the book, one from each author. Out of the five, I loved two, thought two were average, and found one eye-rollingly cringe-worthy. I was not surprised that the latter one was from Stephanie Meyer – it was like Twilight but with angels and demons (and mercifully shorter). I have passed this on to a friend’s daughter who will probably love it because it is dark and twisty as well as about prom nights… and also because she isn’t a cynical thirty-something like me. 3/5*
Finally for this post, I read A Whole New World by Liz Braswell which has a pretty spectacular cover (the main reason I impulse bought it years ago!) and is a twisted retelling of the Disney version of Aladdin. I really loved this, it had plenty of flashes to the film that made you smile and was a clever idea with lots of action and excitement throughout. It starts out more or less the same as the film, but when Aladdin gets to the cave of wonders, he manages to pass the lamp to Jafar before becoming trapped, meaning that the bad guy has the upper hand right from the start. That goes about as well as you’d expect and Aladdin and Jasmine find themselves heading a rebellion to try and save the day. Great fun and I couldn’t put it down! 4.5/5*
Linking this post up with MamaMummyMum’s Read With Me linky: