Monday, November 2, 2015

June Reads #BEDN

Yes, the title is correct. I'm doing a quick review of what I read in JUNE! I'm so far behind my reviews and feel like it would be unfair to skip these past months to talk about what I recently read. So I'm using Blog Every Day in November to catch up with these reviews. I'll pace them out throughout the month so not every post is a bookish post (though is that really a bad thing?!).

June Reads

The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine

This book was the Waterstones Children's Book of the Month for June. It's for readers around 10-14 years old. It's set in Sinclairs, a brand new luxurious department store in London. Sophie's father has just died and due to complications in the will, she finds herself with a home and money. So she gets a job in Sinclairs, where is makes friends and enemies. And has to solve the mystery of the clockwork sparrow that was stolen the night before opening day or else she'll have no job. I loved this book, it was sweet and it felt like a mix between Philip Pullman's Sally Lockhart series meets Mr Selfridges meets Enid Blyton. An enjoyable read for girls and boys!

Finders Keepers by Stephen King

So this book was on my 2015 Releases I Was Most Looking Forward To. It's the follow up book from Mr Mercedes, which I loved! In this book, Morris Belamy is obsessed with author John Rothstein, who wrote a popular series about a character called Jimmy Gold. When Belamy reads the final book, he's livid about how it all ended and confronts Rothstein, who has become a hermit. He kills him and takes his notebooks, convinced there is another Jimmy Gold novel in there. He hides the notebooks and cash and is then sent to jail for another crime. He waits patiently until the day he will be reunited with the notebooks. Fast-forward almost 30 years later to 2009 and a young Pete Saubers finds the notebooks and cash. He uses the money to help his family, who are broke due to his father being injured in the Mr Mercedes attack. The book then cuts to 2014 when Belamy is released on parole and starts looking for the notebooks. Bill Hodges asked to investigate this whole story to help Pete, who is now in grave danger. While I did like the book I felt it slow to get into. I was used to Hodges being the main narrator from the first book and he didn't enter the book until it was at least 100 pages in. There was a lot of building up of the story and not enough of Hodges' colleagues, Holly and Jerome. It wasn't the worst ever, I did enjoy revisiting Hodges and co. in this book. I'm just hoping there is a lot more of them in book 3!

You Say Potato by Ben Crystal and David Crystal

The title of this book is definitely what drew me to it! I enjoyed reading this, some parts are by Ben (who's an actor), some by David (the father, who's a Professor of Linguistics) and sometimes it's the two of them having a conversation about a topic. It goes around England, explaining about different accents, how they formed, what the perception of them are today and also how the trends in popularity of accents affects media like TV, film and voice over work. It's entertaining without being too heavy, it definitely isn't for someone who probably has a career in this sort of thing but if you've ever wondered how such small islands can have such broad accents, then I think you'll enjoy this!

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

This is a book I've been meaning to read for years, even before the film came out and I eventually got around to it! Cheryl Strayed's life has been turned upside down. Having never really recovered from her mother's death, she turns to cheating and drug taking, eventually leading to the breakdown of her marriage. Having previously heard about the Pacific Crest Trail, Cheryl decides to hike it. She hikes through California, to Oregon and finally to Washington. On this journey she hits some highs (making friends, making peace with her mother's death and her own life, the euphoria of being able to build up stamina and speed) and lows (oh the damage she does to her unprepared body! Not being able to find water sources, not having any money, encounters with wild animals and creepy men). I liked reading this, I was rooting for Cheryl and at times when things looked bleak I was hoping it would all turn around. It sounds to me like this is an American equivalent to doing the Camino walk. I loved seeing a woman doing this basically on her own, depending on her own strength (physical and mental) to get through the trail. Now to decide if I want to watch the film!

A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson

I read Life After Life by Kate Atkinson back in August 2013 and really enjoyed it. This is a companion novel, which focuses on Teddy, the younger brother of Ursula, who was the protagonist in Life After Life. It was another book that was on my most anticipated books of 2015. And it did not disappoint. The book cuts back and forth throughout different timelines: When Teddy is a child, when Teddy is an adult and in the RAF, Teddy and his family, his daughters life and her relationship with her children and finally when Teddy is an older man. We get lots of different insights in the book and while I usually don't like books that zig zag through time, I loved this one. It slowly reveals little bits and pieces, almost like putting a jigsaw together and you finally start seeing the bigger picture. It gave me chills at times and it had me crying on a bus on the way home from work when I finished the book. It is probably my favourite book of the year. Atkinson does a lot of research for the book, especially for the RAF chapters and Penguin have a fantastic podcast where Richard E. Grant interviews Atkinson and they discuss 5 items that influenced the writing of this book. It's spoiler free but if you'd rather go in not knowing much then wait to listen after. You can read either Life After Life or A God in Ruins first, they won't spoil the stories but I'd probably go with the order I read them in. Definitely pick this up!

The Edible Atlas: Around the World in 39 Cuisines by Mina Holland

  If you're a foodie, then this is a book for you! Mina goes around the world and talks about the cuisine is certain countries (with some countries like France and Italy even split up into different regions as there is so much to choose from there!). She goes through why certain items are more popular there and the history of the region, with anecdotes of her own experiences of being in that country or cooking that cuisine, to recipes and must have pantry items for you to own to experiment with each cuisine. I loved the mix of everything, it was like a mix of a history, memoir and recipe book. Like I said, if you're a foodie then you will enjoy this and how to branch out into new exciting cuisines.

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

I spoke briefly about this in my Furiously Happy book review post. While living in Ibiza, Matt Haig's mental health took a serious dive. This book documents what he felt during this time, as well as after when he moved back home to try recover. He also just has pages that are lists and tips with dealing with mental health or when someone you know is suffering. I found myself crying at times over this as I felt that Haig finally put into words what I've felt in the past. It's a short small book but it's well worth the read. It's not perfect, it is definitely subjective at times but I feel like everyone will at least get something out of reading this. Paula over at Cornflakegirl's Musings has a much better in depth review which is well worth checking out here.

Workin' It! Rupaul's Guide to Life, Liberty and the Persuit of Style by RuPaul Charles

Since I've started watching RuPaul's Drag Race last year, I've been such a big fan. So when I saw this in a shop I snatched it up straight away! This book is a mix between a coffee table book (in that the photos of Ru by Mathu Anderson are stunning and are worth picking up this book for alone) and RuPaul's tips and tricks to life, from styling yourself to your own personal attitude towards everything. If you're looking for something that's more of a biography for RuPaul's life, then you ain't going to get much here. The idea isn't original, there are plenty of books out there that have this kind of advice in them. What is slightly more special about this is that it appeals to a greater audience. It's for both men and women of all sexual orientations and Ru has a great attitude when it comes to loving yourself. I need to pick this up and flick through it again to help me with boosting my own outlook in life. Drag Race fans will love this!

June Stats

Number of books read- 8
Ratio fiction to non-fiction- 3:5
Male to Female authors- 4:4
Number of eBooks- 2 (The Edible Atlas and Wild)
Number of Audio Books- 1 (Reasons to Stay Alive)
Number of books borrowed from library- 1 (A God in Ruins)

Reading Challenge Completed

A Book with a Number in the Title- The Edible Atlas: Around the World in 39 Cuisines

That's it for June! Phew. That was hard having not done a post like this one in months! So just July, August, September and October to catch up on now!


  1. I still haven't read Finders Keepers, I keep pre-ordering things and then forgetting they arrive. I want to read Wild now after that review! x

    1. Finders Keepers was good but I was just disappointed with the lack of Hodges! I really liked Wild, in some reviews I've read some people don't lke Strayed, I think she might split some people into those you like and don't like her but I liked her!

  2. I've been looking forward to picking up Finders Keepers, I enjoyed Mr Mercedes a lot - I hope I get on with it. I'm reading Joyland at the moment which is just great - love anything circus-y!

    1. You'll get on fine with Finders Keepers :) I loved Joyland, it was a nice mix of a coming of age story and the ghostly/mystery of it all. I too love circus-y stuff!

  3. I have Finders Keepers bought on Audible and Mr Mercedes on Kindle but I've read neither yet! Gah!

    1. The bane of being a reader, always collecting new books to read!! You'll get around to them eventually, if you're looking for a good detective novel then pick up Mr Mercedes, it's different to typical King books as there's no supernatural or horror, it's mainly mystery with a bit of thriller


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