Review Round-Up - July

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Hello and welcome to my new series of monthly wrap-ups, a master list if you will. I don't know why I have decided to start this series at the end of July, with it being the disaster of a month that you will soon see but I just thought, with the hauls and the most-anticipated releases lists, this one would fit right in and provide a spring-board into a more well-organised blogging future.

July Book Haul

Sunday, 29 July 2018

If June was a shit month for buying books, then July was its complete opposite. As someone who doesn't understand self-restraint or moderate, sitting on a gargantuan pile of books that I have yet to read brings me a type of joy that I can't even put a name on. And, after a brief foray into life at the Bradford Literary Festival, the discovery of a completely free bookstore (no I don't understand how they make money either), and a number of successful eBay orders, I can firmly say that, in July, I racked up my biggest total of books yet.
Should I calm down a bit in August? Probably.
Am I going to? Well, that's a completely different story.

Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon (Summer 2018) – Progress Report

Friday, 27 July 2018

Here we go, here we go, here we go.

REVIEW: How to be Famous, Caitlin Moran

Monday, 23 July 2018

I’m Johanna Morrigan, and I live in London in 1995, at the epicentre of Britpop. I might only be nineteen, but I’m wise enough to know that everyone around me is handling fame very, very badly. My unrequited love, John Kite, has scored an unexpected Number One album, then exploded into a Booze And Drugs HellTM – as rockstars do. And my new best friend – the maverick feminist Suzanne Banks, of The Branks – has amazing hair, but writer’s block and a rampant pill problem. So I’ve decided I should become a Fame Doctor. I’m going to use my new monthly column for The Face to write about every ridiculous, surreal, amazing aspect of a million people knowing your name.
But when my two-night-stand with edgy comedian Jerry Sharp goes wrong, people start to know my name for all the wrong reasons. ‘He’s a vampire. He destroys bright young girls. Also, he’s a total dick’ Suzanne warned me. But by that point, I’d already had sex with him. Bad sex.
Now I’m one of the girls he’s trying to destroy.
He needs to be stopped.
But how can one woman stop a bad, famous, powerful man?

My Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon TBR - Summer 2018

Saturday, 21 July 2018

It's my favourite time again - it's readathon time!
Some of these books are ones that I have been dying to read for a long time, whilst some of them are the ones on my shelves that I am the least sure about. I am hoping that, by squeezing them around books that are almost guaranteed to be bloody knockouts, I will be far more willing to pick up these books and give them a shot (and if they turn out to be shit, thanks to the nature of the readathon, I will know faster than I would otherwise and can finally get them off my shelves).
So do you want to find out the books that I'll be racing through next Saturday? Then keep reading and be sure to follow my upcoming Progress Report post that will be updated throughout the readathon, as well as my updates on Twitter on the handle @_changingtime 

REVIEW: The Power, Naomi Alderman

Thursday, 19 July 2018

What if the power to hurt were in women's hands?
Suddenly - tomorrow or the day after - teenage girls find that with a flick of their fingers, they can inflict agonizing pain and even death. With this single twist, the four lives at the heart of Naomi Alderman's extraordinary, visceral novel are utterly transformed.

REVIEW: White Bodies, Jane Robins

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Felix and Tilda seem like the perfect couple: young and in love, a financier and a beautiful up-and-coming starlet. But behind their flawless facade, not everything is as it seems. Callie, Tilda's unassuming twin, has watched her sister visibly shrink under Felix's domineering love. She has looked on silently as Tilda stopped working, nearly stopped eating, and turned into a neat freak, with mugs wrapped in Saran Wrap and suspicious syringes hidden in the bathroom trash. She knows about Felix's uncontrollable rages, and has seen the bruises on the white skin of her sister's arms.  Worried about the psychological hold that Felix seems to have over Tilda, Callie joins an Internet support group for victims of abuse and their friends. However, things spiral out of control and she starts to doubt her own judgment when one of her new acquaintances is killed by an abusive man. And then suddenly Felix dies--or was he murdered? 

#2018RoundUp: Favourite Books (So Far!)

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Do you know what? I thought I was having a rather good reading year. At least until I looked at my stats. Out of the 68 (yeah I don't know how I managed it either) books I read in January through until the end of June, only 25 of them have been four or five star reads; with a four rating or higher meaning that I actually liked it and would read it again. According to Google and some probably dodgy formulas, that is just over 36%.
That means almost two thirds of my reading has been average or just shit. Which is shame because the main aim of my reading is to find those books that I will come back to again and again, and that will stay with me long after they draw to a close.
More importantly, there have been some highlights - the ones that make the rest worth wading through and the most beloved of which you will be reading about whilst I continue to moan about shitty books (36%!). I have found some auto-buy authors (a post about that coming in the next few weeks!), some awe-inspiring writing abilities and honestly, just a really enjoyable few hours reading.
And what more could you ask for?

REVIEW: The Girls, Emma Cline

Friday, 13 July 2018

Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence, and to that moment in a girl’s life when everything can go horribly wrong.

REVIEW: Oliver Loving, Stefan Merrill Block

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

One warm, West Texas November night, a shy boy named Oliver Loving joins his classmates at Bliss County Day School’s annual dance, hoping for a glimpse of the object of his unrequited affections, an enigmatic Junior named Rebekkah Sterling. But as the music plays, a troubled young man sneaks in through the school’s back door. The dire choices this man makes that evening —and the unspoken story he carries— will tear the town of Bliss, Texas apart. Nearly ten years later, Oliver Loving still lies wordless and paralyzed at Crockett State Assisted Care Facility, the fate of his mind unclear. Orbiting the still point of Oliver’s hospital bed is a family transformed: Oliver’s mother, Eve, who keeps desperate vigil; Oliver’s brother, Charlie, who has fled for New York City only to discover he cannot escape the gravity of his shattered family; Oliver’s father, Jed, who tries to erase his memories with bourbon. And then there is Rebekkah Sterling, Oliver’s teenage love, who left Texas long ago and still refuses to speak about her own part in that tragic night. When a new medical test promises a key to unlock Oliver’s trapped mind, the town’s unanswered questions resurface with new urgency, as Oliver’s doctors and his family fight for a way for Oliver to finally communicate — and so also to tell the truth of what really happened that fateful night.

REVIEW: My Purple Scented Novel, Ian McEwan

Monday, 9 July 2018

‘You will have heard of my friend the once celebrated novelist Jocelyn Tarbet, but I suspect his memory is beginning to fade…You’d never heard of me, the once obscure novelist Parker Sparrow, until my name was publicly connected with his. To a knowing few, our names remain rigidly attached, like the two ends of a seesaw. His rise coincided with, though did not cause, my decline… I don’t deny there was wrongdoing. I stole a life, and I don’t intend to give it back. You may treat these few pages as a confession.’
My Purple Scented Novel follows the perfect crime of literary betrayal, scrupulously wrought yet unscrupulously executed, published to celebrate Ian McEwan’s 70th birthday.

Most Anticipated Book Releases - July 2018

Saturday, 7 July 2018

For me, when it comes to book releases, July is a bit of a meh month. When it comes to weather not so much. Can someone tell the UK sun to chill a bit? Because I have been lucky in avoiding sunburn up until now, but I just know that my luck won't last much longer.
But British stereotypes aside - there have been a couple of books (like The Cheerleaders, Baby Teeth and Matt Haig's latest release) that I have been anticipating for bloody ages but, apart from them, there's only a few that have spiked my interest. Although I am not writing the month off just yet, I mean, who knows - I might have turned my nose up at my yet-to-be-discovered favourite book of the year. 

REVIEW: Guess Who, Chris McGeorge

Thursday, 5 July 2018

The rules are simple. But the game is not. At eleven years old, Morgan Sheppard solved the murder of a teacher when everyone else believed it to be a suicide. The publicity surrounding the case laid the foundation for his reputation as a modern-day Sherlock Holmes. He parlayed that fame into a gig as TV's "resident detective," solving the more typical tawdry daytime talk show mysteries like "Who is the father?" and "Is he cheating?" Until, that is, Sheppard wakes up handcuffed to a bed in an unfamiliar hotel room. Around him, five strangers are slowly waking up, as well. Soon they discover a corpse in the bathtub and Sheppard is challenged to put his deductive skills to the test. One of the people in the room is the killer. He has three hours to solve the murder. If he doesn't find the killer, they all will die.

June Book Haul

Sunday, 1 July 2018

June was... not a successful month. Not in terms of book buying, or reading, or reviewing. It turns out that a bout of food poisoning can really knock you off your game, so I have ended this month with the mentality to push the old one aside and start anew in July with a sense of joie de vie. This means that I have only acquire ten (yes, you read that right - TEN) new books, which means that this will be the shortest and not-at-all-sweetest of my book hauls yet.