Monday, 12 February 2018

WHAT I READ ON HOLIDAY

Ages ago I used to write a monthly Book Love feature, where I chatted about what I'd been reading each month. It was a great way of keeping track of what I read and what I loved (and I am amazed at how quickly I powered through books! Past Juliet was definitely a better reader and puts current me to shame).

This year I'm pretty determined to make more time for books (particularly as I'm bad at wasting time looking at social media, when I could actually be reading something interesting...), and I'm off to a great start - thanks to going on a mega indulgent January holiday where I spent a joyful time hanging out in a hammock, 60p beer in hand (thanks Fuerteventura!) and catching up on books I've wanted to read for ages. Here's what I thought...

Book recommendations what to read on holiday

A Darker Shade of Magic - V. E. Schwab
Reminding me slightly of China MiĆ©ville's Un Lun Dun, A Darker Shade of Magic is the tale of a world of parallel cities, those that can travel between them, and what happens when power travels to the wrong places. It's got cool elemental magic! Pirates! Amazing jackets! Peril and danger and flirting and messed up heroes! Aaaaand I really liked it.

I'm a big fan of fantasy novels that create worlds that both enchant you with exciting, interesting world-building AND manage to feel gritty and dangerous and pretty real, and this book does a good job of feeling magical but not childish, and full of depth without being self-indulgently complex. It's a bit of a slow starter (the first few chapters I wondered what the fuss was about), but when I got into the story I had a really fun time.

The Snowman - Jo Nesbo
The 7th book in Jo Nesbo's Harry Hole series, I read this out of sync as I was so keen to see what all the fuss was about, after hearing loads of praise for the book when the terrible film adaptation came out last year. You follow the (slightly cliched) dysfunctional detective Harry Hole - he's a bit of a drunk, he's got serious avoidant issues, and he can't play by the rules... but he's still likeable enough to root for.

It's really creepy, and the author does a wonderful job of keeping you guessing right up until the very last minute. It felt a little surreal to be stuck into a murder mystery set in freezing snow while I was basking in the sun, but it makes for a pretty perfect holiday read.

The Silent Companions - Laura Purcell 
I loved this book so much! I am such a sucker for creepy gothic horrors, and The Silent Companions was BRILLIANT. You meet Elsie, who's newly married, recently pregnant, and suddenly widowed, who moves to her late husband's creepy old country estate. The servants don't like her, the villagers actively despise her, so Elsie's trapped with a mysterious locked room, an old family diary, and a wooden figure that looks bizarrely just like her.

It's SUPER CREEPY, I would not have been able to read it at home alone, and I am very excited to discover that the author's also written a series following the lives and loves of Georgian era queens (I'm equally a big historical fiction fan).

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