Re-Read Review: The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins!

Re-Read Review: The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins!

When the news of the prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, came out I knew I wanted to re-read the original Hunger Games trilogy. It’s been six years since I first read the trilogy and they were really important in my journey of becoming a reader again and book blogging! My original reviews were.. sparse, and very much about my emotional response which is perfectly valid, I just wanted to do a bit of a deep dive into what makes these books so dang good in my opinion. So!

Contexts of Reading

I remember reading this series for the first time really vividly. Not so much the actual story, because I definitely forgot most of the plot points in the past six years. But my life surrounding reading this. I even remember the song I was listening to on repeat at the time. And I think that it’s really interesting that in however many years until I read this again, I might remember things like being in lockdown, playing a lot of Animal Crossing and working really hard at my last university essay. I think only a special kind of book can effect me in this way. I’ve re-read books before and mostly it’s just remembering bits of the story.

The Writing Style

I’ve mentioned a couple times this year that I’ve been struggling to read lately because I’m so focused on the act of reading. However, Collins writing style is so unique and crafted to be bare-bones that it’s incredibly easy to read. There’s no info-dumping or huge chunks of thinking, you’re just in Katniss’s head and immediately in the action. The story is left open just enough that your own thoughts and feelings can fill the gap. I thought that the pacing on the second and third books was a little weird, but by Mockingjay, I was locked in and finished it incredibly quickly.

The Epilogue

I’m not a big fan of epilogues in general. As a reader and an attempting writer, I prefer it when the ending happens and what goes next is left to the imagination. If you want the main character to live happily ever after, you decide what that looks like. But I do like the epilogue in this case, because I think that considering how much she mentions not wanting kids because they’d have to play in the games, it was important to see Katniss no longer have that fear. Plus, Collins got to talk a little about how best to teach younger generations about bad things.

The Messages

The Hunger Games trilogy are political books. Oppressed people hating other oppressed people instead of their oppressor, revolutions galore, people being used as pawns in a game they don’t understand. I mean- very applicable to almost every age of humanity.

Marking my books

I like to keep my books pretty neat and unmarked in general. I use sticky notes to mark them up for reviews and bits of writing I like. But this time I decided to underline, in pen! Mainly because I know these books are going to stick around on my shelves. I don’t have any immediate plans to re-read them, maybe I’ll wait another six years, or more, but when I do- I’ll get a little snapshot into this read and what stood out to me, and I think that’s pretty neat.

Do you re-read a lot? What is your favourite book to re-read?

Books I Read in September & October!

Books I Read in September & October!

As the year wraps up, I’m determined to get on top of these wrap-ups! Today, I’m talking about the books I read in September & October. Including one that took over my life for a few days, one that infuriated me beyond belief, and one that I’ve actually been reading since Summer and finally sat down to finish…

The Stone Monkey by Jeffery Deaver

It’s been a good while since I read a Deaver! In fact, I traced it back to May 2018! Since it’s been a while, I kind of forgot how bloody masterful Deaver is at crafting a mystery. This book took me over for a few days while I flew through it. The twists, the turns, wherever you think you’re going, you’re not, whatever you think is happening, it isn’t. But it’s done in a way that you discover things at the same time as the characters, and everything makes sense.
It’s also really nice to have good disability representation, both in Rhyme being a quadriplegic and Amelia having severe arthritis. In this book there’s also talk of endometriosis and fertility issues.

A Bone to Pick by Charlaine Harris

This is a re-read for me that I started over Summer and finally got around to finishing. This series will pop up a lot in future wrap-ups because it took over my audiobook listening for a good couple months. I just love the series and this was always one of my favourites.

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

Ah, if only I knew. I read this because I knew that the TV show was coming to Netflix and I loved The Haunting of Hill House adaptation. But, I didn’t really enjoy the book and I only got through two episodes of the TV show. I can’t put my finger on why, it just didn’t meet my expectations. There were a few moments that had my skin crawling though!

An Armful of Babies and a Cup of Tea by Molly Corbally

This is a really charming and interesting memoir about 1950’s health visitors in the UK and her role in the community. I wanted to read something similar to the Call the Midwife series of books by Jennifer Worth and this was a great choice. The timing is similar and it delved into what happened to the babies after they were signed off from the midwives and onto the health visitor.
Molly is charming and headstrong, and it’s a real joy to read her experiences. I also really liked hearing about her partnership with Claire and the home they had together.
“People still wondered how it worked, especially the men, who couldn’t imagine how women exist, let alone be happy, without male company.”

Midwife on Call by Agnes Light

In comparison, Midwife on Call is a much more modern look at midwifery and maternity with the NHS as it looks at the 70s-00s. Agnes is outspoken in her opinions and her care for her patients which was really great to read, but it didn’t have the same cozy and soft vibe.
This is the one to read if you’re less squeamish and like a bit of humour with your memoir!
I started getting labour contractions in the middle of the night and my husband awoke to a vision of me performing contortions as I tried to examine myself internally to check if my cervix was dilating.

Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

I started reading this all the way back in June and I ended up putting it down for a couple months because the pacing felt so strange. But I loved the world and the characters that I had to pick it up again and it ended up being a real blast to read. It’s great combination of urban fantasy and Wild West vibes, with a little dystopia in the mix. There’s been a climate apocalypse and now monsters and heroes and gods are all over the place. So much fun.
I’d recommend this to every urban fantasy fan as it’s so different from the usual vampires and werewolves, but scratches the same itch! I can’t wait to read the second book, and her new series.
“Everything you’ve done, your past, it’s all just a story you tell yourself. Some of it is true, but some of it is lies.”

The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse

I’ve been listening to a lot of Jeeves audiobooks in 2020. They were easy listens, funny and charming, and my library had a lot available. But, I’ve hit my limit now. I will definitely be back to read more once I’ve had a bit of time to forget the formula though.

What have you been reading lately? Have you read any of these?

Book Review: The Book of Forgotten Authors by Christopher Fowler!

Book Review: The Book of Forgotten Authors by Christopher Fowler!

Books about books are my favourite thing. My favourite cosy mystery protagonist is a librarian. My favourite romance is set in a novel-writing class. I read book blogs daily. Plus, I’m an English Literature student so I spend a lot of time reading critical journals. The Book of Forgotten Authors by Christopher Fowler* is right up my street because it’s a book chock full of passion about books. 

Absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder. It makes people think you’re dead. So begins Christopher Fowler’s foray into the back catalogues and backstories of 99 authors who, once hugely popular, have all but disappeared from shelves.

These 99 journeys are punctuated by 12 short essays about faded once-favorites, including the now-vanished novels Walt Disney brought to the screen, the contemporary rivals of Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie who did not stand the test of time, and the women who introduced psychological suspense many decades before it conquered the world. This is a book about books and their authors. It is for book lovers and is written by one who could not be a more enthusiastic, enlightening, and entertaining guide.

I’ve been reading this book for a long time (I started in 2017!). It’s a book where you could dip in and out of with ease. But sitting down for a good long session didn’t quite keep up the charm. So, ironically, I put it to one side and kind of forgot about it until I was doing a declutter. I finished it that day.

You can tell that a lot of work went into the original articles that this book is based off and it pays off. Each author has a neat little biography and the essays were easy and interesting reads. While I raised an eyebrow at some being considered forgotten, I’m sure V.C. Andrews’ Flowers in the Attic haunts many a millennial, it would be impossible not to get excited about the books and the history and reading in general!

Obviously people have different tastes so a book of 99 authors is sure to include some, or many, that I don’t find interesting or recommendable. I wouldn’t personally have chosen to include the overtly racist authors or the prosecuted sex-offender. It felt like Fowler wanted to mention these because he did the research when really these authors could just stay forgotten. Plus, I understand that publishing is, like almost everything, a male-dominated field. But I needed for there to be more diverse choices. It stands at about a quarter female, and very very white.

Overall though, I found myself with a list of authors books to add to my TBR. Some of my picks are From the City, From the Plough by Alexander Baron, a novelisation of his experience in the run up to D-day. The Wooden Overcoat by Pamela Branch, purely from the description as a mix of P.G. Wodehouse and Ladykillers. Whatever I can find by Lucille Fletcher, a noir suspense writer who seems irritatingly out-of-print. The Dr. Thorndyke detective stories by R. Austin Freeman sound like a more to-my-taste detective stories from the time of Sherlock Holmes. And Eleanor Hibberts vast historical fiction repertoire under the pen name Jean Plaidy.

If you’re like me and you feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of current releases, or publishing trends mean that your preferred style is out at the moment, I think this is a really interesting way to refresh your TBR. You’re sure to get caught up in passion for books if you pick this up.

Waterstones | Amazon | Hive

Do you have a favourite forgotten author? Or someone who deserved to be a classic?

The 5 Books I Need to Read in the last 5 Months of 2020!

The 5 Books I Need to Read in the last 5 Months of 2020!

With five months left in 2020 *gulp* I want to make a small to-be-read pile of books that I’m determined to pick up before the year is over. I’m a massive mood reader but I thrive when I have a reasonable stack of priority books to read rather than trying to pick from all my books!

1324, Kilkennie: A time of suspicion and conspiracy. A place where zealous men rage against each other – and even more against uppity women
A woman finds refuge with her daughter in the household of a childhood friend.
The friend, Alice Kytler, gives her former companion a new name, Petronelle, a job as a servant, and warns her to hide their old connection.
But in aligning herself with a powerful woman, Petronelle and her child are in more danger than they ever faced in the savage countryside…

This book has featured on not one TBR post, not two TBR posts, but three TBR posts so really I need to actually read it. I really want to! I don’t know why I haven’t apart from my piles and piles of other books. I tend to lean more towards royalty in historical fiction. But the more I read about witches, the more I want to know the trials. I don’t know if these characters actually identify as witches but either way, I’ll hopefully learn more about the Kilkenny Witch Trial.

The Bitter Twins by Jen Williams*

Since this is a sequel, I won’t post the spoiler-y blurb but here’s my spoiler-free review for The Ninth Rain.

I loved The Ninth Rain with my heart and soul. The only reason I haven’t read this is just that I’m just a massive coward when it comes to both sequels and chunky books. I did not, as I said in my review, immediately pick up The Bitter Twins. I let it sit on my shelf. It doesn’t deserve that! And I deserve to read books that I know I’ll love!

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow*

In 1893, there’s no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.
But when the three Eastwood sisters join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten ways that might turn the women’s movement into the witch’s movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote – and perhaps not even to live – the sisters must delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.
There’s no such thing as witches. But there will be.

This book hits a lot of the notes of things I enjoy: witches, suffragists and the late 19th century. I’ve picked this up a couple times but put it down because stress was getting in the way of my reading and I knew about ten pages in that this was something special. I want to savour it. But I also want to savour it soon!

The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson

Born on the fringes of Bethel, Immanuelle does her best to obey the Church and follow Holy Protocol. For it was in Bethel that the first Prophet pursued and killed four powerful witches, and so cleansed the land.
And then a chance encounter lures her into the Darkwood that surrounds Bethel.
It is a forbidden place, haunted by the spirits of the witches who bestow an extraordinary gift on Immanuelle. The diary of her dead mother…
Fascinated by and fearful of the secrets the diary reveals, Immanuelle begins to understand why her mother once consorted with witches. And as the truth about the Prophets, the Church and their history is revealed, so Immanuelle understands what must be done. For the real threat to Bethel is its own darkness.
Bethel must change. And that change will begin with her…

Another witch book. I’ve created an accidental theme. This was a pre-order that I have stayed hyped for since ordering. Instead of letting it drift to the back of my mind, I checked the release date a bunch of times. Spirits? Diaries? Sinister churches? Count me in. Linda suggested I read this so I have high hopes!

Three Men on the Brummell by Jerome K. Jerome

Three Men on the Bummel records a break from the claustrophobia of suburban life some ten years later; their cycling tour in the Black Forest, at the height of the new bicycling craze, affords Jerome the opportunity for a light-hearted scrutiny of German social customs at a time of increasing general interest in a country that he loved. This account of middle-aged Englishmen abroad is spiced with typical Jeromian humour. 

I read Three Men on a Boat in February. It was actually my first time not listening to the abridged version of the audiobook… Although I did listen to that right after because Hugh Laurie does such a fantastic job. So the sequel has been one of those things that I’ve been absent-mindedly thinking about reading for a while now! 

What are you hoping to read in these last few months? Have you read any of my picks?

My Autumn TBR!

My Autumn TBR!
Today is officially the beginning of Autumn so Happy Autumn!

My Autumn and Winter reading is always different from my Spring and Summer reading. In the darker months I feel like I can get stuck into deeper reads, whereas in the bright months I want light reads. It’s not a hard or fast rule, but it is a trend I’ve noticed for a while. So here are the books I want to read now that Summer- or what we got of it, is well and truly over.

My Autumn TBR!

I’m continuing my re-read of The Chronicles of the Invaders by Jennifer Ridyard and John Connolly that I started last month because I really want to finish this series this year. I can’t believe I’ve had the last book for over a year and haven’t read it yet. Last book fear is real!

I reached for Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth a couple months ago after finishing the series and wanting to read the source material, only to find it was blank for the first 50ish pages! Luckily the publisher was absolutely wonderful about sending me another copy and thus, it joined my Autumn TBR. I’m excited to read more in-depth about London in the 1950s.

The Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell were on my Summer TBR but it just didn’t feel like the right time to read them. They’re full of dark forests and creaking ships, and that’s more Autumn to me. So I’ll be picking them up this season instead, in a different order than I thought after reading this. Especially now that two of the books are signed by Chris Riddell!

Since finishing the Harper Connolly series in August, I’ve been unfortunate in being Charlaine Harris free. I’ve not wanted to start the Midnight trilogy because the third book isn’t out in paperback yet and I’ve been hesitant to start the Lily Bard mysteries because the third book is a Christmas themed story. However, now it’s Autumn, Christmas is closer (95 days) and I think I can pace myself enough to save the Christmas book for nearer the season. So The Lily Bard Mysteries: Shakespeare’s Landlord and Shakespeare’s Champion by Charlaine Harris join the TBR pile.

I started the Lux series by Jennifer L Armentrout series as part of my Summer TBR with Obsidian and I loved it! I promptly ordered the rest of the series and in true Imogen fashion, was completely intimidated by the pile of books. I really want to dive back into the world though, Jennifer’s writing is so easy to read.

And lastly, I want to start the Lord of the Rings series with The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien. It’s about time I finally read it.

I’m hoping a shorter list, darker nights, slightly less work and more hot cocoa will make this TBR a success! Of course, this doesn’t include the books I have on my #Hallowreadathon TBR! But more on that soon…

What do you plan on reading this Autumn?

My Summer TBR!

According to the internet it is officially the beginning of Summer today! Happy Summer! Fun fact: Last time I wrote a blog post about books I wanted to read in Summer, I read one of the ten. Hopefully this will be more successful. I decided to do seasonal TBR’s this Spring and really enjoyed it. No matter how unsuccessful I was. So here are my Summer picks…

My Summer TBR!

There were a few books I didn’t read in Spring that I still want to read; mainly The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, Dominion by Jennifer Ridyard and John Connolly*, and the last two books in the Harper Connolly omnibus by Charlaine Harris. So they jumped from my Spring TBR to my Summer TBR.

In Spring I said I wanted to read the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett, but after my Most Owned Authors post I decided it was time to re-read The Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. I can’t wait to revisit the world that was home when I was younger, and find out how it all ends.

I’ve been invited down to London for a pretty cool event and Jennifer L. Armentrout is going to be there! Problem: I’ve never read any of her books. But I do have one. So Obsidian is top of my list. I’ve actually been looking for a sign to pick this up so I have high hopes.

After re-reading most of The Walking Dead comics in Spring, I want to finish them and move on to re-read the novels. I’ve got Rise of the Governor and The Road to Woodbury, and after I read these I’m going to treat myself to the rest of the series. There’s six books now, I feel like a bad Walking Dead fan for only having read two.

Speaking of zombies, World War Z by Max Brooks and Can You Survive the Zombie Apocalypse? by Max Brallier are both begging for a re-read. People named Max do seem to write the best zombie books!

I still have four books of the Princess Diaries series to read before I finish. I may be getting a little too old but I’m a completist and I never finished the series as a kid so I don’t know how it ends. So Seventh Heaven, After Eight, To The Nines and Ten Out of Ten by Meg Cabot are going to be marathoned this Summer.

Gorilla Beach by Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi is probably the most mentioned un-read book on this blog. I wished for itgot ittalked about ittook it to Italy, but I’ve only read the first book in this duology. This Summer I’d like to actually read and review this book. It’s getting a little ridiculous that I haven’t.

I’m hoping (and I’m sure I’m going to kick myself for this when it comes to me Summer TBR wrap-up) to read at least 3 books/ 1000 pages a week over Summer. I love a challenge.

What’s on your Summer TBR?
*I was sent this to review!