in favour of rereading

You close the book, set it aside. Lean back in your chair. Perhaps you take a sip of your cold tea, spit it back into the mug. Perhaps you whisper, “Wow,” to yourself.

You hop onto social media, Tweet, Instagram, blog your love for this new favourite book. You rave about it, know that it’s one that will come up in conversations.

And then you put it onto your shelf, and don’t pick it up again.

Well, friends, here’s my vote: wait a few months, perhaps, and then stroke the spine with a familiar finger and take it from the shelf. Snuggle into a chair, and crack open that first page once more.

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Rereading is like falling back into conversation with an old best friend. It feels as natural and comforting as collapsing into bed after a long day on your feet. It’s drinking a cold glass of water and feeling the liquid make its way to your stomach.

I’ve only recently started rereading books, and I don’t know why I ever stopped. I used to do it all the time as a child, and then consumerism and the feeling, the need, to constantly read new books instead of relishing in the old ones I already love.

You return to a favourite coffee shop time and again, and drink the same mug of coffee time and again, so why not revisit your favourite books in the same manner? When you drink that coffee, you might look up and notice a painting on the wall you didn’t see before, or a new person sat in the chair adjacent to yours. It’s the same when rereading a book. You think you know everything? Think again.

Book lovers, I would like to challenge you to try and reread an old favourite once a month. Take time out of the competition to always read more, and return to an old friend who’s always waiting for you on the shelf.

Until the next time,

Hannah

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Book Review | Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (Poirot #8)

34066636A victim found stabbed multiple times. At least twelve suspects. And a detective who has to prove his worth to solve one of his most cunning cases. 

I am slowly falling in love with Agatha Christie, and I am 100% here for it. This was my second Poirot novel (although I don’t actually remember the first one I read so I really need to reread it), and I loved it.

Firstly, I love trains. Bizarre statement in any other situation, perhaps, but not when we’re discussing a book set on a train. I love old-fashioned trains, and it would be awesome if I could take a train like the Orient Express! So, the setting was, for me, truly brilliant. I was at home in the setting, so was able to really settle into the narrative and the characters.

The murder was so brilliant, and of course I was trying to work it out the whole way through (I was half right, okay!). Locked room murders are always so interesting. I think setting a murder in such a setting – where everyone is forced to be together – is really a brilliant move, as it raises the stakes for the possibility of another murder to take place, if the murderer is still on board.

Poirot is such a fantastic character. I think he’s hilarious, really witty and of course he’s so intelligent it hurts. Some of the clues I think I picked up on, but how Agatha Christie invented such a character… well, I would have loved to have met her. *Ahem* that’s by the by.

The resolution was far and away my favourite part. I won’t give any spoilers, but reading it I could feel my heart rate accelerating, and after putting it down I just had to say, “Wow,” softly to myself. I was – and still am – completely in awe of Christie, always but especially so in this novel. Her writing is masterful, and her murders even more so. I think that this book was also really human in its acting, adding to the brilliant climax and resolution, which isn’t something you often get in murder mysteries.

Overall, it’s easy to see why this is one of Christie’s most loved novels, and one of her best. I’m planning on starting at the beginning of her novels and working my way through, but I’m so glad I read Murder on the Orient Express because I was completely blown away, and definitely have a new favourite novel.

Rating: 5/5

Goodreads
Source: movie tie-in cover present from my mum (thanks, mum!)


If you liked this, you might also like… Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens. [review]

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Book Review | Bookshop Girl by Chloe Coles

Image result for bookshop girlPaige Turner works at Bennett’s Bookshop in her small town of Greysworth. It’s her safe haven, her escape from her life… and it’s about to close. Another ‘casualty of the high street’, Paige and the team have only four weeks to try and save the bookshop from permanent closure. Can they protect it from closure? And… can Paige stop herself from falling for bad boy Blaine?

This was such a cutesy book but there were a fair few things I didn’t like about it that stopped my enjoyment of the book whilst I was reading.

Okay so to start with, I liked the idea of the book. It’s about books and a bookshop and the main character is actually called Paige Turner. The actual bookshop was adorable and I would love to work in one just like that myself.

Paige’s best friend, Holly, was also such a sweetheart and I really liked her. I wish that their friendship had been more fleshed out.

That was the main downfall, I think, of this book – it was so short. Some books are short but just the right length, but this one wasn’t. Nothing felt fleshed out – the characters didn’t have much scope, some of the scenes felt so slow, and I felt no connection. I also feel like Coles tried to do too much – it should have just been about Paige and the bookshop. For example, the love interest that was introduced for Paige just felt awkward and out of place, and the bookshop and the boy seemed to be fighting for stage time each scene. I wish that Coles had just picked one or the other to really focus on instead of attempted to do 50:50 and not really making it work very well.

It had its merits of course, although predictably, if you’re a well-read reader, you probably know the outcome before going in. Also, I did love that Paige was a 16 year old girl, but the love interest was bad news from the start and it kind of irked me that no one said. Well, Holly did. Hence, Holly is my favourite characterrrr and I love her and the book should’ve been about her tbh.

Overall, this was a cutesy, funny read, but I wanted a lot more from it and it just didn’t live up to what I hoped it would be.

Rating: 2.5/5

Goodreads
Personal source: I received an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. As always, opinions are entirely my own! 


If you liked this, you might also enjoy… Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley 

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Book Review | Remix by Non Pratt

30369794Best friends Ruby and Kaz have been looking forward to Remix for months. Kaz is still reeling from being dumped by the love of her life; Ruby is tired of hearing about it, and wants her friend back. Three days. Two friends. One festival. Zero chance of everything working out. 

I love being in the mood for contemporaries, and finding one that is just right for you. Because Remix was perfect for me, exactly when I wanted it.

First offs, I loved the characters. Ruby and Kaz had a dual narrative throughout the book, and I liked how it switched back and forth – sometimes, there was only one sentence of one of them before it went back to the other. It was so interesting reading about best friends who have started to keep secrets, because the reader has the knowledge behind both characters that they don’t have of each other. I’m not always a fan of dual narrative books, but this was done so well. Each character had their own distinctive voice, and it was just written stunningly.

The plot was also really interesting. Throwing the characters together in an enclosed space like a music festival is always a way to get good dynamics going between them, and Non used this to her advantage. The festival felt so real!

There was so much going on in this story, and quite often that can be overwhelming, but Pratt balances it really well. Each character had their own relationships and troubles going on, and I thought that they all got an equitable amount of screen time; there was never really a moment when I wanted us to stop focusing on one character and move onto another. In this way, it felt very much like real life, as there was so much going on but it wasn’t too much at all.

Three of my favourite characters were Lee, Owen, and Lauren, who were three side characters. Lee and Owen were in a relationship, which I thought was really interesting as Non wrote about the deterioration of the relationship, often not a plot that happens to secondary characters. And Lauren was a character I initially wanted to not like, because I am one who normally roots for the main character and she was a love rival for Kaz’s love interest. But, she was such a lovely, likeable character, and out of all of them probably the character I a) related to the most, and b) would most like to be friends with!

Non chose to write about female friendship rather than romantic relationships, and I really appreciated it. I am a person who values strong friendships, and I thought that the dissection of Ruby and Kaz’s friendship was a perfect focus point for this book. It was written really well, and is one that I think I’ll keep coming back to when I want to try and explain how much I love my friends!

One of the main reasons I didn’t give this book 5/5 is because there was a scene that I felt was very unbelievable. SPOILER PARAGRAPH Basically, Ruby sleeps with the main singer of her favourite band. As much as I liked this being a plot idea, and her realising the “you should never meet your idols” kinda thing, I just thought it was so unbelievable that to begin with I thought it wasn’t actually going to be the lead singer! I get why it was put in… but just too far-fetched for me. END SPOILER PARAGRAPH

There’s so much to talk about and unpick about this book that I might end up doing another review/blog post about it in the future, but it had everything I wanted: great, 3D characters, a great plot and setting, and a fantastic writing style. Non Pratt is an emerging writer, but definitely one to watch and I will be reading many more books of hers.

Rating: 4/5

Goodreads
Personal source: bought from YALC


If you liked this, you might also enjoy… The Manifesto on How to be Interesting by Holly Bourne 

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Book Review | Midnight Sun by Trish Cook

36044933Katie has an illness which, if she was exposed to sunlight, would kill her. She spends her days studying, playing guitar, and watching out for Charlie Reed – a super hot guy, who passes by her window every single day. One night, she happens to meet him at the train station, and something Katie has never had the chance to experience begins to form between them. 

God, this book. THIS BOOK.

The concept seemed really cool, but basically this just felt like a cheap rip off of Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (which was a 3.5* read for me anyway).

The main character, Katie (who is played in the new film by one of my least favourite actresses, which probably didn’t help Midnight Sun’s cause before I started reading) was such a typical Wattpad YA heroine. She was good at everything she attempted (seriously, even if you’re pretty good at beer pong you don’t get it in every time…), the love interest fell for her straight away, and she somehow still had a best friend although they barely seemed to talk and fell out constantly.

The plot was predictable: the main character has an illness where she can’t go outside*, she stalks a boy for a decade before meeting him, they fall in love, and… I’m not going to spoil the ending.

(*I didn’t think this was a real illness until I googled it.)

I thought that there was room for so much more than what happened but basically this was just a romance. She goes to hospital once, seemed to talk about nothing but boys and the sun with her best friend and her dad, and although I felt some sympathy for her, it was hard to because she was so fucking annoying.

SPOILER PARAGRAPH I want to talk about the ending because it pissed me the fuck off. A) it was super cliché – dying with her mum coaxing her to heaven? Pur-lease. B) she spent her dying moments, not with her dad or best friend who have supported her for her life, but with a boy she’s known for like 6 weeks. Like… wtf girl. She just said goodbye to her dad & friend on the beach and left? Ugh. I felt some sympathy and admittedly, yes, there was some beautiful writing, but COME ON HOW STUPID. Also, the author clearly loved her characters, but there were two letters which wrapped things up nicely. I’ve read books like How I Live Now by Sally Nichols which deals with the MC dying really well, and let me tell you, this was drawn out too much into ‘I really don’t care’ territory. END SPOILER PARAGRAPH

ALSO there was a scene where they went on a train and the conductor shouted ‘all aboard’ before they got on. Has this author never been on a train before?? This legit doesn’t happen?? What a weird detail to include.

Probably the only thing I loved was Charlie. He was such a sweetheart, and just an adorable, cliche, YA book boy. Yes.

Basically though, this book annoyed the shit out of me & now I’m glad I can be rid of it from my shelves forever. The only thing I liked about it was Morgan who was Katie’s best friend and the only character who seemed to have a brain. (Tbf her dad did too, but was so underdeveloped he could’ve been written out completely.)

TL;DR: don’t waste your time with this book.

Rating: 2/5

Goodreads
Personal source: bought from The Works


If you liked this you might also enjoy: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

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Blog Tour | Book Review & Author Interview | Not Like Everyone Else by Jennifer Leigh

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I am taking part in a blog tour to celebrate the release of Jennifer Leigh’s new book, Not Like Everyone Else! For my post, I will be giving you a review of Jenn’s book, which you can read below, as well as a giveaway at the end of the post!


Cover Image-Not Like Everyone Else -Jennifer Leigh.jpgRyan can’t seem to get her memories in order. When she breaks it off with her long-term boyfriend, Corey, she can’t help but feel free. But mysterious events keep Ryan asking “just what happened?” After her family moved to Ryton, after Carter goes missing, after Jacob is in the hospital. All of these afters, but Ryan can’t remember the befores. With Harper and Elliot by her side, Ryan can only hope that she does not forget… again. Will Ryan be able to recover her memory to figure out what happened when it all went dark?

As per usual, I am in two minds about this book. On the one hand, I adored the plot. It was such a great, inventive idea and in the latter half of the book I was racing through it because I wanted to know how it ended. However, the other half of me… well, the characters basically all just drove me a little bit mad. Sorry.

The plot is a kind of murder-mystery mixed with a mystery about the main character, and I loved it! I thought it was thoroughly inventive, and honestly I didn’t guess who the murderer was until about 10 pages before the characters knew. I was kept guessing and I really loved that Leigh drip-fed us through what the character was seeing.

The mystery about the main character is that she has amnesia, but to be honest I kept forgetting that she had it (oh, the irony). The reader kind of finds out things alongside Ryan which was really interesting, because we were kept in the dark like the main character. There were things that we would know that she would forget, which was fun because we got so many viewpoints of many characters.

However, the characters is where I felt really let down. I thought that there were some overreactions (maybe it’s just me!), and Ryan falls in love in like two weeks. TBH, I adored this relationship, but the only thought that crossed my mind was, “This is some Disney shit right here.”

A lot of the characters felt very one-dimensional – I felt like I kind of knew Ryan, and perhaps that was it. Also, I felt like there were some cultural differences – for example, Ryan goes on a date and automatically assumes that her (male) date will pay for everything. Like, that doesn’t really happen in England until the date says themselves! Maybe that’s just me, though?

Overall, I struggled to get through the first half of the book because I didn’t get along with basically any of the characters, but the second half blew me away. The plot was so engrossing, and I wish that Ryan’s parents and Elliot (omg yes what a guy) had been in the first half of the book, because the scenes with them were my absolute favourite!

Rating: 3/5

Goodreads
Amazon (UK)
Personal source: I received an eARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.


About the Author & Mini Interview 

Q: When did you start writing?
A: I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I clearly remember loving when we’d have to write stories in school. Then I would go home and write on Notepad. It was a lot of fun and definitely shaped the reason I love to write today.

Q: Where is your favourite place to write?
A: I love writing in bed. It’s the easiest place to curl up with a blanket and some comfy pillows.

Q: What advice do you have for other authors/potential authors?
A: Follow your dreams. It’s easy to put aside writing for everyday life, but you should never give up if you truly want to be an author. It’s a lot of work,. Yes. But it’s all worth it when you get to see your cover for the first time and hold a physical copy of your book.

Thanks for answering these questions, Jenn! Find out more about Jenn below. 

Jennifer Garey is a self-published young adult author and blogger that writes under the name Jennifer Leigh. She has participated in National Novel Writing Month where all of her thoughts come together and books are created. Jennifer has three published books: Incognito, In Plain Sight, and her new release Not Like Everyone Else. She also has published a short story, The Stranger I Knew. Her blog, Bound to Writing, focuses on young adult books and writing. She lives in New Jersey with her fiancé, two guinea pigs, cat.

Find more by Jennifer Leigh at:


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Poetry Review | Honeybee by Trista Mateer

36206132In this poetry collection, Trista Mateer explores heartbreak, love, loss, and walking away. Honeybee is a memoir in verse, collecting snapshots from a time of ripples in one poet’s life. 

I really liked the style of Mateer’s poetry, and I think that for that reason, Honeybee and I resonated fairly well together.

The topic of heartbreak has been one that poets have written about for centuries, but Mateer’s situation was entirely unique, because she was the one who walked away. This book explores how her own experience with leaving still affected the heartbreak that both sides of the relationship experienced, and I think it’s a side I don’t often read about in poetry, because normally the one who is left is the one who writes the sad poems.

I feel like I wasn’t in quite the emotional state to connect to anything truly (probably didn’t help I read like 75% of this in the doctors’ waiting room), but I did feel it. Mateer pours her whole heart into these poems about her ex and I think that for her, it was probably a really cathartic exercise to do.

A lot of time was really spent writing about her ex, though, and it was quite overwhelming. Obviously a poet should be separated from their poetry in terms of autobiographicalness unless they say it’s an autobiography, but some of what Mateer said surprised me. Even though she was in a new relationship (both sides of the couple), Mateer was still writing very emotive poetry which, if I were reading it as this girl, I would find it a little…. close? maybe? is that the right word? Whichever word, I hope you get the gist – even after one year, two years, Mateer still seemed to be pining for this girl despite being in a new relationship.

I kind of get it, I do, having gone through a difficult break up a year and a half or so ago, but I don’t think I could write this type of poetry about that person now. I miss them sometimes, yes, but I think to write this deeply about them… that’s a whole other level, and despite the fact I was thoroughly enjoying the beautiful phrases Mateer strung together, I was still slightly reserved from the poems, trying to remove myself from how I was feeling at the back of my head the entire time.

Honeybee is a poem about breakup, but not all breakups. Whilst I didn’t -connect-, I could feel the pain that was poured into these poems. From a stylistic point of view, these poems were 100% my cup of tea. I loved Mateer’s writing style, and will definitely be looking to read more of her books in the future. I especially enjoyed how the titles of the poems seemed to almost be another line. Mateer didn’t put a word down without a reason for doing it.

Overall, I think that this was a book Mateer needed to write, but not necessarily one I felt needed to be published. I think that her writing is, honestly, stunning and engrossing, but I felt a little uncomfortable reading it, as I was looking at it from both perspectives: Mateer’s, and the person she left. It’s unfortunate that I had this ticking voice in the back of my mind, otherwise I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more. However, I still gave this book a fairly good rating, because I feel like the writing truly deserves it.

Rating: 3.5/5

Goodreads
Personal source: sent as an eARC from NetGalley. As always, opinions are entirely my own.


If you liked this, you might also enjoy… milk and honey by Rupi Kaur 

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Book Review | To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

34499221With the hearts of seventeen princes underneath her bed, Princess Lira is known as the Princes’ Bane. She’s the most ruthless siren of them all, but when all begins to go wrong, Lira is transformed into the thing she hates most of all: a human. With one goal in mind, Lira finds Prince Elian – in order to steal his heart.

Prince Elian prefers to be known as Captain Elian, the Siren Killer. He and his band of loyal misfits roam the seas, killing sirens and searching for the power to win the war against land and sea. But just how many deals will he have to make to succeed at his task? When Lira asks to join his expedition, Elian knows something isn’t quite right about her, but just how much can he really trust her? 

The blurb of this book kept begging me to read it, and I was so excited when I finally got around to picking it up. A siren murderess and a prince on one ship? Who doesn’t want to read that?!

I frickin’ loved the sirens, to start with. Most of my experience with sirens (hah) comes from Homer and classical mythology, so I loved how they were reworked in this really dark turn of a story. They were ruthless and barbaric, and just absolutely fascinating how they worked. I think the connection they had with the hearts was written really well, how important they were made out to be.

I just absolutely love it when mythology and world building is done well. Christo’s world building was done brilliantly (although I wish there had been a map!), and she really made me believe that this was a world that could exist somewhere. I loved that each country/state had its own kind of trait – like being the centre of invention, or war, or romance. It kind of reminded me of the factions in Divergent a little, but with less fighting between them.

The war against land and sea has long been one that people have written about, but Christo really put a great turn on it. Also, the Sea Queen was a fantastically murderous character. She was so frickin’ ruthless! (And I don’t know about anyone else, but I was getting major Disney’s The Little Mermaid Ursula vibes.)

The whole structure of this book was really well put together and Lira and Elian were both such great characters. Where can I find me an Elian? (But seriously, though.) Their romance was done so well that I didn’t even realise they were changing towards each other at first! This is enemies-to-lovers done at its best, my friends.

I feel like the only let down, for me, was the plot. This was a book very much propelled by characters, and although I was of course interested in their quests, I just loved “being” around the characters and reading their conversations and interactions. That’s not saying that the plot wasn’t good – I think it was, and it featured just about everything I love about plots – but the characters were for me the main focus, and I think that Chriso loved her characters a lot and it kind of showed. The plot was good, but it didn’t get me as excited as just reading Elian and Lira and Kye and Madrid banter with each other.

Overall though this was a great read – the characters were absolutely fantastic, and the idea of the whole book was a brilliant new spin on the Little Mermaid. I never really liked the Disney film as a kid, but I couldn’t help but borrow some of the cartoon’s imagery to help bring the characters to life in my own head.

Rating: 4/5

Goodreads
Source: borrowed from the library. Thank you for NetGalley and the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. I actually read this book from the library because it was easier for me at the time. As always, though, my opinions are my own! 


If you liked this, you might also enjoy… Labyrinth Lost by Zoradia Cordova [review coming soon]

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Book Review | The White Book by Han Kang

39220683The White Book is a book of poetry and prose, exploring mourning, rebirth, and the human spirit. It’s a mediation on colour, a presentation of photography, and an investigation into human life. Translated by Deborah Smith. 

The White Book is an unusual book because it’s not really a ‘book’… or a ‘book of poetry’, either. It’s a collection of experimentation, a kind of therapy put onto paper if you’d like.

Let’s just start by saying that, despite whatever I say from here on, I did really like this book. It wasn’t entirely what I was expecting, but that doesn’t always have to be a bad thing!

I feel like this book is very biographical. It talks a lot about Han Kang’s mourning for her lost siblings, for her mother and father, and for her life before. It takes place predominantly when she is living away from home and I think that this really gave us an interesting scope from which to look from, as both us and the author were looking at her home from outsider lenses, as Han Kang finally looked back at her past.

It’s quite short – many of the pages are just blank and some of the writings are quite short, so it’s really quick and easy to get through too.

This book is, mostly, fascinating. It’s writing for the sake of writing – some people might like this, and some don’t. It’s therapy writing, and going through a lot of grief myself so far this year, I really connected with some of her writing. However… it’s a book that I forgot very quickly. I guess that gives me an excuse to read it again soon!

Rating: 3.5/5

Goodreads
Source: bought from Waterstone’s


If you liked this, you might also like…. Standing Female Nude by Carol Ann Duffy

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Book Review | Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

23131087Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are.

But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona’s powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit. – from Goodreads

This was a hilarious, unique graphic novel in a great style, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Let’s start with the setting – I really liked the kind of steampunk-esque-ness of the world, with it’s science but also characters jousting and fighting with swords. The world building was put really well together, showing both the city and the countryside really well.

The characters in this graphic novel are just brilliant – they’re so witty, especially Nimona, and have great backstories and dynamics. I loved seeing them all together, and how some of them were cartoonishly villainous or heroic, but it didn’t actually feel stupid in this graphic novel at all.

Nimona was such a great character; her skill (shape-shifting) was awesome, and she has such a great way of speaking. Every other sentence out of her mouth was basically hilarious – I haven’t laughed out loud when reading a graphic novel before!

I wish that we had seen more of Ambrosius and Ballister, as I believe they were meant to be romantically involved but it was only hinted at and ah I love these two! They were both interesting characters in their own right, and when you put them in the same room the realness of their exchanges – like that of a proper friendship – just melted off the page into a lovely heap.

Overall I really loved this graphic novel, and I’d really recommend it if you want a super quick read! It only took me about 40 minutes all in all.

Rating: 4/5

Goodreads
Source: borrowed from the library


If you liked this you might also enjoy… Saga vol 1 by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples [review]

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