Saturday, 25 April 2015

What I Read in March 2015

Well hello there! I've been a bit behind on my reviews lately, partly because I've been reading a lot, partly because I'm on a major project at work that is kicking my butt, and partly because my laptop is becoming rather ancient and unusable and it's a royal pain to use. I'm hoping to get a new one soon!

Right now (late April) I'm in a bit of a reading slump. The last few books I've read haven't gripped me, so it's been nice to reflect back on March which featured two books that will likely make it into my 2015 Top 10.

Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum (Kindle) - 9/10

If you've listed to a recent Bookish Blether episode, you'll have already heard me banging on about how much I LOVED Hausfrau. And yet, love is an odd term, because it's not an easy book by any means.

Anna is an American housewife, living in Zurich with her husband and 3 children, struggling to get by with a basic grasp of the local language, no friends, and no life of her own. In an attempt to fit in she joins a German class, only to find herself embroiled in a passionate affair with a fellow student that sparks a shocking chain of events that cannot be undone.

Anna seeks solace in therapy, which gives the book an interesting pace as she attempts to make sense of her feelings and her behaviour. Despite finding her actions immoral, and her attitude grating, I loved this book because I just couldn't hate Anna. I'm a fan of unlikable women in fiction, and it's so beautifully written that I found myself captivated by her cavalier attitude to her misdemeanors. Hausfrau is a book that has stuck with me for weeks after I finished it. If you've read it, let's talk about it!

Ostrich by Matt Greene (Hardback) - 7/10

Ostrich has been on my bookcase for a couple of years now, bought during a YA spree. It's a beautiful coming of age story, about 13 year old Alex who has had brain surgery, is confused by his hamster, and is falling in love, all while his parents are falling out of it.

Ostrich tackles illness in such a sweet way, without been heart-wrenchingly sad like a lot of YA can be. Alex's relationship with his parents is explored delicately, as he enters that stage of his life where he sees them as more than just his parents, and tries to find out what has gone wrong in their marriage. There's an absolutely brilliant bit where his Dad takes him driving for the first time that is alone worth picking up this book for.

Full of charm and wit, I found myself doing a proper giggle during several parts of Ostrich - always entertaining when you are on the train to work!

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (Paperback) - 6/10

This was my book club pick for March, and you've no doubt seen a bajillion people reading/talking/tweeting about it.

It's impossible to say much about The Girl on the Train without giving away major plot points, so I'll simply say it's about Rachel, who takes the same train each day and has a growing obsession with the a row of houses she passes, and the lives of their residents.

Whilst this was an enjoyable read, and certainly a page-turner, I felt a bit disappointed as the second half seemed to lose it's way. Following the success of Gone Girl, there's been a huge market for thrillers with unreliable narrators. If that's your jam, you'll get a kick out of this book but sadly it wasn't for me.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart (Kindle) 10/10

I really loved E. Lockhart’s book We Were Liars last year, so I was really keen to read more of her stuff.

Our heroine, Frankie Landau-Banks, is 15 and goes to the same posh co-ed boarding school her father attended years ago. Returning to school after summer she finds her looks have seemingly improved and suddenly she is popular, has a boyfriend Matthew, and a seat at the best table in the cafeteria.

Yet as Frankie gets closer to Matthew and his friends, she starts to uncover a secret society within the school, an Old Boys Club that nobody will tell her anything about. Frankie only wants to be an equal, and is outraged by the way she sees girls being treated differently to boys. She sets out to uncover the society and reveal their scheming ways.

As a life-long fan of boarding school dramas, it’s no surprise that I loved this book. Frankie is a rousing inspiration, the book is well paced, and I reckon it's is a must-read for any budding feminists out there. If you know a teenage girl, get a copy into her hands ASAP!

Not a bad month all things considered. Hopefully I'll be out of my slump soon and back with some interesting reviews from April! What have you been reading lately? Let me know in the comments or come chat to me on Twitter.

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