Monday, June 22, 2015

May Reads

Better late than never

May Reads

Scott Pilgrim Vs. the Universe by Bryan Lee O’Malley


Instalment 5 out of 6 in the Scott Pilgrim series. As per usual, Scott is fighting one of Ramona’s Evil Exes. I was all set to read book 6 after this, only to discover my library doesn’t have a copy! Grrr. I then ordered it into my local Irish library when I was home last month and while I had ordered it in enough time for it to arrive, turns out the driver was ill that week and there was no deliveries. I will finish this soon though!




The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan


I kept seeing this on Goodreads last year and it even won the Goodreads Choice Awards in for Non-Fiction last year and I was always intrigued. So when I nabbed a copy at work I set about reading it straightaway. The story of the book itself is sad, as Keegan died in a car crash shortly after graduating at the young age of 22. The book is a mixture of short stories as well as essays, most of which deal with the idea of uncertainty and just embracing life, that everything will just be OK. I think I preferred the essays over the short stories but I did enjoy those too. It’s interesting to read the thoughts of someone on the brink of graduation and the uncertainty you feel then. I know I did when I was finishing university and I still feel like that now actually, with this upcoming move.


The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

girl on the train

THE book of the year so far (though Mr Grey might be challenging that at the moment and Go Set a Watchman has yet to come out). The number one question I get asked at work is ‘Is this out in paperback yet?’ (No, not until January). So I had to pick this up to see what the hype is. It centres around Rachel, an alcoholic who’s life has fallen down around her and the only thing that comforts her is her commute in and out of London each day. The train stops at a certain junction and from her, Rachel sees a couple in a house and has built up a story around this man and woman (who she calls Jess and Jason). One day Rachel sees something that doesn’t fit in with her story and she gets off the train to investigate. However, being an alcoholic, her memory of this is patchy and with her ex-husband and his new wife and baby in the same neighbour, it spells a lot of trouble for Rachel, as she struggles to find out the truth about ‘Jess and Jason’ as well as come to terms with her crappy life. I did enjoy the book, it’s a quick read and not too predictable. A bit frustrating at times and I know a few people who have struggled with not liking the main character but I found myself rooting for her a bit. If you liked Gone Girl you’ll enjoy this, I enjoyed it more than Gone Girl actually.


Always the Bridesmaid by Lindsey Kelk

always the bridesmaid

I enjoy Kelk’s I Heart series so when she was doing an in store signing I decided to pick up a signed copy. Maddie’s life has turned upside down. Her best friend Lauren has just announced she’s getting married, just as her other best friend Sarah announces she’s getting divorced. Maddie’s ex has just had a child and on top of that, her boss is a psychopath. Maddie is struggling to help Lauren plan her wedding (who is taking advantage of Maddie being an events organizer) while also trying to cheer Sarah up. I did find this a bit predictable; best friends falling out being a wedding due to bridezilla affect but making up just before it, the main character being stuck in a love triangle where one of them turns out to be a bastard and main character succeeding finally in the workplace. I was frustrated at times with Maddie for not sticking up for herself. But overall I still enjoyed it and this would be the perfect light hearted read for the beach.


Darkmouth by Shane Hegarty


I picked this up as it was the children’s book of the month last month and another bookseller said she enjoyed it. It centres around Finn, who’s family comes from a long line of Legend Hunters (monster hunters to you and me). It’s Finn’s turn to train to become as good as his legendary father but Finn is a little bit useless and would much rather be a vet. In this book we see Finn get into scrapes with all sorts of Legends, along with his new (and only friend) Emmie. I loved all the drawings in the book, it added so much to the story and the Legends. You really find yourself rooting for Finn and I’ve given this to my 12 year old brother, who hopefully will enjoy it too. I’m looking forward to reading the next instalment!


Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum


I had read a bit of hype around Hausfrau so I decided to request it on NetGalley. It’s the story of Anna, an American living in Switzerland with her Swiss husband Bruno and their Swiss children, living next door to her Swiss mother-in-law. Everything to Anna still seems strange and alien to her, despite living her for years. So she decides to start taking German classes, where she has an affair with another one of the students. This is not Anna’s first affair, which she finds herself falling into due to her emotionally detached husband. Throughout the novel there are parts where Anna is talking to a therapist but I hated these parts, mainly because she was lying and they seemed to slow down the story for me. Essbaum does a good job of adding some tension to the story, there is always this vibe that Bruno is quite threatening but overall I was dissatisfied with this book, especially since I guessed the ending. I would like to read some of Essbaum’s poetry actually as she does have a nice turn of phrase at times.


Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

since you've been gone

Sloane and Emily are the best of friends, with Sloane being the more outgoing one who encourages Emily to break out of her shell. But right before the beginning of what should be an epic summer, Sloane just disappears, leaving only a list of 13 things Emily should do this summer. At first Emily is confused and thinks summer is ruined. However she strikes up an unlikely friendship with Frank Porter, who decides to help her tick off some of this list. Slowly Emily starts to be more adventurous while learning not to live in Sloane’s shadow. I enjoyed this YA novel, I enjoyed seeing Emily grow more as a person as she learned to make new friends and find out who she is without her best friend at her hip. It had an air of Sarah Dessen’s Last Chance (Or Keeping the Moon as I know it as) about it, which was one of my favourite books as a teenager. A very summery read!


When to Rob a Bank by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

when to rob a bank

This is a collection of blog posts from the Freakonomics blog. I didn’t know Levitt and Dubner were even bringing out a book this year until I saw it at work! If you’re looking for another Freaknomics or Superfreaknomics, then this is not it. This is good however if you are not a reader of the blog (like myself) and want someone to dip in and out of. The posts are short, so you can just read a post or just a chapter at a time. I did find it interesting but I do crave something like Freaknomics, something that goes more in depth on subjects. It’s been too long!



Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops by Jen Campbell


I love watching Jen Campbell’s YouTube videos and seeing as I am now a bookseller myself, I decided to pick this up. It’s a very short read but I found it very funny. I’ve heard some similar things while working, I once found a post-it note on a table that said ‘Do not buy this as I licked it’! This week, thanks to the new Grey book, I heard a husband tell his wife ‘well now that you have you wank bank material in writing, you should be happy’ *shudder* If you’ve ever worked in retail, any kind of retail, you’ll appreciate this!



May Stats

Number of books read- 9
Ratio fiction to non-fiction- 6:3
Male to Female authors- 3:6
Number of eBooks- 3 (The Girl on the Train, Hausfrau, Since You’ve Been Gone)
Number of books borrowed from library- 2 (Scott Pilgrim vs. The Universe, Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops)

Reading Challenge Completed

Funny Book- Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops

A mystery or thriller- The Girl on the Train

A book based on its cover- The Opposite of Loneliness (as it was the cover that attracted me in the first place)

While I started the Fem-Tellectual challenge in May, I didn’t finish it until a good few days into June so I’ll add it there instead. I feel like a picked up the pace in terms of the number of books I read though this is because I read quite a bit when I was home for a week.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A Life Update

So it's been almost a month since I last posted, right in the middle of Blog Every Day in May. Truth be told, I just wasn't feeling it. I really enjoyed it last year and started off this year enjoying it but as it went on I felt like I was forcing myself to go through with it, which meant the quality wasn't what I wanted it to be and it took all the fun out of it.

Though mainly I've been distracted. My boyfriend started working back home in Ireland in March, as part of a 12 week temporary move. Except now it's turned into a 12 month relocation and we have to move. Which is proving very tough and stressful because his company changed their relocation policy at the beginning of the year and are providing us with no relocation support. This is the second time I've been left to deal with the house while my boyfriend has already relocated but he should be back for a week soon enough to help me deal with packing and cleaning. It's proving even harder this time around because I have no car here in Manchester, meaning I can't get boxes and do things like drop stuff off at charity shops and the likes. There are number of other stressful things happening too (including my laptop screen breaking, though luckily I can use it with an external screen) and I just can not wait for June and all the stress to be over!

On top of this, I am heartbroken to be leaving the job I started in February. I love working in a bookshop and I love the people I work it. I look forward to going into work and enjoy what I do so much. I just hope I can find a job that I love as much once I move back home. I'm lucky that I can spend the rest of July in Manchester living with a cousin so I can spend as much time at work as I can. And I am heartbroken to be leaving behind some great friends I've made too. And Manchester, which I have grown to love.

I guess it's not all doom and gloom. As easy as it is for me to concentrate on the negative (glass half empty person that I am), there are some good things. Like being able to stay the extra month in Manchester til the end of July. And the fact that I'll be close enough to home once I move back. Which suits me really well, seeing as I'm a big home bird! This being a temporary move, who knows where we'll be in 12 months time. maybe even back in Manchester! I'm not a huge fan of not knowing but as it is, there's not much I can do about it except try and accept it and relax.

Now, if anyone is a fan of packing things up, you're more than welcome to come and help me!! I'll make you a lovely cake.
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