Here are some updates on what I have been reading recently and what I am planning on reading next!
- This week I started reading ‘How I Found You’ by Gabriella Lepore. A couple of weeks ago I purchased this novel for just 99p on Kindle because it was the publisher Of Tomes’ first birthday – Happy Anniversary Of Tomes! Unfortunately I started reading ‘How I Found You’ and the writing style just did not gel with me so I stopped at about 25%. The first few chapters were essentially about a teenage girl moving to live with relatives and these two secretive and apparently magical guys turning up. The storyline felt very generic to me – it seemed like lots of books that came out a few years ago, such as ‘Fallen’. To be fair, it might have become more original as it went on but I did not feel intrigued or invested in the story enough to read on and find out. The style of writing was just too cheesy and simplistic for me: there was ‘instalove’ and both the main female character and the main male character irritated and frustrated me continually. I’ve read many books recently with wonderful characters but this one did not continue the trend for me. I try very hard to finish books but I had to ‘Did Not Finish’ this one. I had so many other books on my TBR pile that I would prefer to read.
- On a more positive note, I was delighted to find out today on Twitter that I have won a copy of ‘RoseBlood’ by A. G. Howard from Maximum Pop! I am so excited to read this novel, having recently read ‘The Architect of Song’ by A. G. Howard and absolutely loved it! I think she has a beautiful and addictive writing style and I love The Phantom of the Opera so I cannot wait to read this retelling. I’ve posted the synopsis below:
In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera.
At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.
A. G. Howard brings the romantic storytelling that Splintered fans adore to France—and an entirely new world filled with lavish romance and intrigue—in a retelling inspired by a story that has captivated generations. Fans of both the Phantom of the Opera musical and novel, as well as YA retellings such as Marissa Meyer’s Cinder, will devour RoseBlood.
This month I am joining in with the #Victober readathon, which is essentially a challenge to read as many novels written in the Victorian period as you can in a month. I am very excited about this challenge! There are so many wonderful novels to choose from and it is really easy and cheap to take part: most Victorian ‘classic’ novels are free on Kindle, and libraries are always well-stocked in the ‘classics’, as are charity shops.
I’ve read quite a few Victorian novels in the past few years and really enjoyed them, including ‘The Trumpet Major’, ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’ and ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’ – all of which are by Thomas Hardy – ‘Jane Eyre’, ‘Wuthering Heights’, ‘The Tenant of Wildfell Hall’ and ‘Great Expectations’. Because I’ve read several Hardy novels in the past, I’ve decided not to read any more of his for this challenge, as I would like some of my #Victober books to be written by authors whose books I have never read before.
I’ve just finished reading my first #Victober read, which was Anne Bronte’s ‘Agnes Grey’. I really enjoyed her other novel, ‘The Tenant of Wildfell Hall’, but I think ‘Agnes Grey’ surpassed it for me. The eponymous protagonist was exceptionally relatable – probably because the novel is largely autobiographical – and I felt very attached to her and very moved by her story. The novel provides a fascinating insight into the lives of Victorian governesses and the way that they are treated by some as though they are invisible and irrelevant. I would definitely recommend Anne Bronte’s novels to anyone else partaking in #Victober and would even go so far as to say that she is my favourite Bronte sister!
These are the other books I plan to read for #Victober:
- Middlemarch by George Eliot
I’ve never read one of George Eliot’s (Mary Ann Evans’) novels and #Victober seems like a great opportunity to read one! I’ve chosen ‘Middlemarch’ because the synopsis sounds very intriguing, and Hermione Lee’s quote about it in this synopsis is very persuasive.
‘People are almost always better than their neighbours think they are’
George Eliot’s most ambitious novel is a masterly evocation of diverse lives and changing fortunes in a provincial community. Peopling its landscape are Dorothea Brooke, a young idealist whose search for intellectual fulfilment leads her into a disastrous marriage to the pedantic scholar Casaubon; the charming but tactless Dr Lydgate, whose pioneering medical methods, combined with an imprudent marriage to the spendthrift beauty Rosamond, threaten to undermine his career; and the religious hypocrite Bulstode, hiding scandalous crimes from his past. As their stories entwine, George Eliot creates a richly nuanced and moving drama, hailed by Virginia Woolf as ‘one of the few English novels written for grown-up people’.
This edition uses the text of the second edition of 1874. In her introduction, Rosemary Ashton, biographer of George Eliot, discusses themes of change in Middlemarch, and examines the novel as an imaginative embodiment of Eliot’s humanist beliefs.
‘The most profound, wise and absorbing of English novels…and, above all, truthful and forgiving about human behaviour’ HERMIONE LEE
- A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
I remember reading ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ some years ago and thinking that it was fantastic, so this month I would really like to read another Sherlock Holmes novel. ‘A Study in Scarlet’ is the first one. I don’t read many mystery novels but I have chosen a couple to read this month and I am very excited to start them.
In the debut of literature’s most famous sleuth, a dead man is discovered in a bloodstained room in Brixton. The only clues are a wedding ring, a gold watch, a pocket edition of Boccaccio’s Decameron, and a word scrawled in blood on the wall. With this investigation begin
s the partnership of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Their search for the murderer uncovers a story of love and revenge-and heralds a franchise of detective mysteries starring the formidable Holmes.
- The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
This is the second of the mystery novels I am planning on reading for #Victober. Someone recommended ‘The Moonstone’ to me a few weeks ago, so I immediately put it on my #Victober list. It’s one of the first ever mystery/detective novels (in fact I think it is hailed as the first) and apparently it is very unpredictable. I can’t wait to start it!
‘When you looked down into the stone, you looked into a yellow deep that drew your eyes into it so that they saw nothing else’
The Moonstone, a yellow diamond looted from an Indian temple and believed to bring bad luck to its owner, is bequeathed to Rachel Verinder on her eighteenth birthday. That very night the priceless stone is stolen again and when Sergeant Cuff is brought in to investigate the crime, he soon realizes that no one in Rachel’s household is above suspicion. Hailed by T. S. Eliot as ‘the first, the longest, and the best of modern English detective novels’, The Moonstone is a marvellously taut and intricate tale of mystery, in which facts and memory can prove treacherous and not everyone is as they first appear
- Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
Thackeray is an author whom I have heard a lot about but whose books I have never read but always wanted to. I’m particularly intrigued by ‘Vanity Fair”s subtitle which is ‘A novel without a hero’; I’m interested to see just what the main characters are like and to judge them for myself.
Vanity Fair: A Novel without a Hero is a novel by William Makepeace Thackeray, first published in 1847–48, satirizing society in early 19th-century Britain. The book’s title comes from John Bunyan’s allegorical story The Pilgrim’s Progress, first published in 1678 and still widely read at the time of Thackeray’s novel. Vanity fair refers to a stop along the pilgrim’s progress: a never-ending fair held in a town called Vanity, which is meant to represent man’s sinful attachment to worldly things. The novel is now considered a classic, and has inspired several film adaptations.
Hopefully I will have time this month to read all of these Victorian novels and maybe I will have time to read a few more! However it does sometimes take me a lot longer to read a ‘classic’ than it would take me to read a YA novel. On top of these novels, I have lots of YA novels to read this month – my shelves are bursting – as well as some MG ones. I’ve still got lots of proof copies from YALC which I really need to read!