It’s the end of another month, which means it’s time for me to round up the books I’ve been reading lately. I’ve raced through a grand total of six books since my last reviews blog, so I have a lot of great books to tell you about. As always, all reviews are plot spoiler free.
Scrappy Little Nobody
Scrappy Little Nobody is a collection of autobiographical essays by Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect, Up in the Air, Twilight) about familiar topics including growing up with a “different heart” to other kids, being lonely and unemployed, and the ups and downs of relationships.
I really enjoyed this book, and I was pleasantly surprised to find it didn’t suffer at all from the fact that Anna is probably way too young to be writing any kind of autobiography. In fact, this was one of the book’s strengths. As I expected, it was entertaining, but it was also incredibly relatable, smart, and filled with Anna’s personality.
There were some really wonderful chapters and sections that really struck me as true to my own experiences. I particularly loved the chapters about taking the bold step of moving to LA, and the loneliness/uncertainty/unemployment that followed. I also adored the chapters about boys. They were relatable, incredibly and refreshingly candid, and funny. “He’s just not interesting” is a stand-out relatable section, and an important life lesson: for this chapter alone, this book was worth buying.
This is one of those books that felt as though it had come into my life at exactly the right time, and overall it was a surprising, humorous, and relatable read. If you like Anna’s tweets, this is better. Read my full review here.
History Is All You Left Me
History Is All You Left Me is a contemporary young adult novel told from the point of view of Griffin, a teenage boy grieving for the loss of his ex-boyfriend and best friend, Theo. The story alternates between stories from before Theo’s death and the present, in which Griffin forges an unusual bond with the boy who he previously deemed to be his rival – Theo’s college boyfriend.
This was a deeply moving, sweet and wonderfully written novel. The story of Theo and Griffin is told so beautifully, and I felt like I really got to know the characters and the dynamics of their relationship.
This was such an interesting and unique story, and I really loved it. I loved reading about the unusual relationship between two boys who had loved and lost the same person. It was also unique because the main character, Griffin, has OCD, and we see throughout this book how his grief affects this.
History Is All You Left Me has easily worked its way onto my list of favourite contemporary young adult novels along with the likes of John Green and Stephen Chbosky.
Rating: 5/5 – Book of the Month!
Sword of Destiny (Witcher #2)
Sword of Destiny is a collection of short stories featuring the witcher, Geralt of Rivia. As a witcher, Geralt has undergone intensive training and genetic mutations, granting him with the strength, instincts, and magical abilities to hunt the monsters that hunt the land.
As was the case with the first of the first of these books (read my review of The Last Wish here), Sword of Destiny was more than just a book about a monster hunter. It featured a host of intriguing characters, many of which gamers will recognise from The Witcher video games, and was the first to introduce the character of the “Child Surprise” Ciri, acting as a prologue to the main Witcher saga.
The Bounds of Reason was probably my favourite in this collection, in which Geralt joins a sorceress, a bard, a band of dwarves, a sorcerer, a knight, a peasant, a king, and two warriors in the hunt for a golden dragon. I also loved the titular story, Sword of Destiny, which takes place in an enchanting but deadly forest populated by dryads, and introduces the character of Ciri for the first time. Overall, this was yet another enchanting and clever collection from Sapkowski.
Blood of Elves (Witcher #3)
Usually, when I write a review of two books from the same series, I review them together, but for this book, I felt a separate review was necessary, since while this is technically part of the Witcher saga, Blood of Elves is really the beginning of a new story. Featuring many of the same characters as the previous books, including Geralt, Dandilion, Ciri and Yennefer, Blood of Elves revolves around Ciri, the “Child Surprise” who is now training to be a witcher and is showing signs of a strange and mysterious power. Unlike the previous books, this is a novel, rather than a collection of short stories, and is told from a range of perspectives, including Ciri, Triss, and Dandilion’s.
This is my favourite book in the series so far: the writing is wonderful, the characters are vibrant, and I really enjoyed the plot. I loved being able to see inside Kaer Morhen and meeting the other witchers and Triss Merigold and Philippa Eilhart for the first time. This book very much serves as a means of setting the scene for the rest of the series: it establishes the characters, politics and atmosphere for the following books, but I never felt bored despite this slow build-up.
The writing in this book was masterfully crafted and was everything I look for in a fantasy. If I could give it more than 5/5, I would.
The Sin Eater’s Daughter and The Sleeping Prince (The Sin Eater’s Daughter #1 and #2)
The Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy is a young adult fantasy series crafted from fairytale elements, romance and court intrigue. Believed to be the living embodiment of a goddess, Twylla has a gift. Once a month, she must drink a vial of poison combined with her own blood, making her skin poison to the touch, an ability she is forced to use to execute traitors. Her gift leaves her isolated, as almost every noble in the castle fears Twylla’s poisonous skin, and even the prince, to whom she is engaged, seems to avoid her.
I really liked The Sin Eater’s Daughter. Most of this book took place in a castle, a vivid setting perfectly fitting for a dark fairytale. The plot built up slowly, and the writing was wonderful, making it a slow-burning intriguing fantasy. Romance was a major part of this book, which means itcould have gone either way for me, since I’m very picky about romance. But I really liked the main love interest, and felt myself rooting for the relationship as it gradually developed.
The Sleeping Prince continues on from The Sin Eater’s Daughter, but is told from the perspective of Errin, a new character who provides a considerable contrast to Twylla. Where Twylla is naive and sheltered, Errin is wise and independent, splitting her time between herbalism and caring for her sick mother. This book explores the consequences of the events from The Sin Eater’s Daughter from a broader perspective, and reveals more about the world outside of the Twylla’s castle.
Though I enjoyed both books, I much preferred The Sin Eater’s Daughter to its sequel. I found its setting more atmospheric, and found the romance more convincing. Overall, both books made for an interesting, enjoyable and effortless read, and the epilogue of book two has left me looking forward to reading the final story in the trilogy.
The Sin Eater’s Daughter Rating: 4/5
The Sleeping Prince Rating: 3/5
All in all, this month was a great month for reading, with some pretty high ratings all round. My TBR for the next month includes V. E. Schwab’s A Conjuring of Light (the final book in the Shades of Magic series, which I never want to end), and Melinda Salisbury’s The Scarecrow Queen.
What have you been reading this month?