I read seven books in February! Here is a summary of all the books I read and links to buy them if they take your fancy, or read my full review.
I have included links to find these books on Goodreads so you can read further reviews and add to your To Be Read lists, as well as links to buy on Amazon Smile. Amazon Smile is exactly the same as Amazon — but they donate a small amount of the purchase to a charity of your choosing. Please consider using it for all of your Amazon purchases! I also have included links to Waterstones where the book is available there. None of these are affiliate links.
Practical Magic, by Alice Hoffman
This was a re-read — I just finished the new prequel, the Rules of Magic, early this year. After learning about the character’s backgrounds in Rules, it was great to revisit this one. I love how magic is described in these books and I really like Alice’s writing style. It is very straight-forward, but works really well.
Follow Me to Ground, by Sue Rainsford
This was such a strange, eerie read. I am still not sure what to make of it! It’s like a very twisted nightmare or fairy tale, and just unlike anything I have read before. I loved it, but it is so unique it’s hard to describe — so here is the blurb:
Ada and her father, touched by the power to heal illness, live on the edge of a village where they help sick locals — or “Cures” — by cracking open their damaged bodies or temporarily burying them in the reviving, dangerous Ground nearby. Ada, a being both more and less than human, is mostly uninterested in the Cures, until she meets a man named Samson. When they strike up an affair, to the displeasure of her father and Samson’s widowed, pregnant sister, Ada is torn between her old way of life and new possibilities with her lover — and eventually comes to a decision that will forever change Samson, the town, and the Ground itself.
The Choice, by Dean Jones
If you could change one thing to improve the world and humanity as a whole, what would you change? Alan Didsbury awakens to find himself tasked with a seemingly impossible decision — he can choose to change one thing in the world to make it a better place. To help him, there are six people from vastly different backgrounds. He interviews each one by one before making his final choice.
If you are a fan of philosophy and hypothetical scenarios, then this is one for you. I liked the relationships and interactions between Alan and each of the other characters. Each one is from very different backgrounds and has had totally different life experiences. They each have very different ideas about what Alan should change, sparking some interesting debates. They do not all get along with Alan, either.
When I Was You, by Minka Kent
I received a copy of this book for free through the Amazon First Reads programme.
This is a psychological thriller, revolving around Brienne Dougray. She is a young woman who was attacked two years before, and now suffers from debilitating migraines and memory loss. She lives in the large house she inherited from her grandparents, and has a lodger that is her only friend, Dr. Niall Emberlain. At the start of the book, Brienne receives a key from an estate agents, with a letter stating she has signed a new tenancy agreement on an apartment. Brienne then investigates, and finds that someone else is living as her — with the same name, same car, same hair, same clothes. Brienne decides to investigate further.
The book is in three parts — the first is from Brienne’s perspective (about the first 40% of the book). I found Minka’s writing style very gripping. However, Brienne does make a lot of stupid decisions (not going to the police sooner, for example!) and I found that quite frustrating. I also was surprised that when she makes contact with old friends that she had fallen out with a few years before, they accept and believe her story (and help her) very quickly and easily.
I had to suspend disbelief a few times because of that, but it was still a light and enjoyable read. While I figured out fairly early on what was going on, it had enough twists and turns to keep me interested.
Blue Skies Over Berlin, by John Steinberg
I took part in a book tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources for this book, but bought a copy of the book myself.
This is an intriguing story about a German woman, Eva Schlessinger. As a young woman she takes Swiss nationality through her mother and changes her name to Charlotte Brown. Following her History of Art degree, she takes a job at the National Gallery and moves to London. The book begins as Charlotte is offered a new job by Bernard Morris, running his new Bernard Morris Gallery in Mayfair.
This book is a slower burn, but I loved the writing style. The story feels very realistic and like you are reading about a real person’s life. I feel like it’s a book that I will be thinking about for a long time afterwards.
Paperback Crush, by Gabrielle Moss
In Paperback Crush, Gabrielle Moss takes a look at preteen and young adult books of the 1980s and 1990s. I would have loved to see more of a celebration of these books and authors. Why were they so popular? How did they influence girls and popular culture at the time? I was very surprised that there wasn’t even a conclusion – it all ends very abruptly!
The parts I enjoyed looked at the inspiration for some of the books and there is an interview with author Christopher Pike. I loved reading about how The Baby-Sitter’s Club was dreamed up by Jean Feiwel and how Hodges Soileu created the artwork for each cover. It also reminded me of the many happy memories I have of reading, buying and being gifted these books. I wish I still had them so I could re-read them all!
A Springtime to Remember, by Lucy Coleman
I was given a free copy of A Springtime to Remember as part of a Rachel’s Random Resources book tour, in return for an honest review.
Romance novels aren’t my usual fare but I am so glad I made the exception for this. A Springtime to Remember is a great read, with memorable characters, vivid descriptions and an intriguing story. Plus, I am fascinated by Versailles and so loved all the history. I found it really hard to put down!
Wow! I can’t believe how many books I read this month. I’ve really enjoyed it though and am now on a total of 9 books for the year (out of my target of 50). And my To Be Read list just keeps on growing!