As a result of a couple of slow reading weeks, today’s Mini-Review Monday post covers the last two weeks. In those two weeks, I read 3 books. Two of these were kindle reads while the third was a hardback non-fiction. Unfortunately, only one of those books was a story I was able to get fully invested in. That was The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton – a lyrical tale of the power and danger of beauty. The other two books I read were just not the books for me. One seemed to have very little happen in it until the end while the other could not seem to decide what it wanted to be. Read on to find out more about how I found the books I read in the last two weeks.
For reference, the way I rate is as follows:
1-Unable to Finish ; 2-Did not enjoy ; 3-Liked ; 4-Really Liked ; 5-Loved
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
With all the hype surrounding Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, I was looking forward to giving the book a go and was lucky enough to receive an ebook copy from NetGalley for review. Unfortunately, as is often the case with hyped books, I did not get as much out of it as I was hoping to. This mostly comes down to the kind of books I do enjoy, ones where there is plenty occurring. Simply put, not much happens in this novel. It is mostly an exploration of the main character, Eleanor, as she starts to break out of her comfort zone, try out new experiences and, ultimately, come to grips with her past. There is no denying that this is a well-written and thought out book, with Eleanor having a beautifully strong voice that is consistent throughout the whole novel. I can see why some people love this book, unfortunately it was just not for me.
The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
The Belles is another book which has received a lot of hype in the last few months, particularly amongst the online YA community. It follows Camellia who is one of the few Belles – a group of girls with the ability to manipulate beauty. In a world where nothing is valued more than beauty, this gives Camellia power and brings her to the very heart of the palace. It doesn’t take long, however, before she is caught up in the politics of the royalty and nobility. Choices must be made and Camellia’s very life is on the line. I enjoyed this book. It is beautifully written with a flowery manner of writing which really brought the world to life. Camellia is also an excellent lead – she is powerful but also stubborn and often makes mistakes. However, it did not quite live up to the hype and there were parts of this book that could have been improved, particularly with regards to the sense of mystery and threat. That being said, I am captivated enough by this world to be looking forward to the sequel and seeing where Clayton takes her characters next. I also received a copy of this book through NetGalley for review.
How to Think Like Sherlock by Daniel Smith
How to Think Like Sherlock is a peculiar kind of book. It’s a non-fiction examination of Sherlock Holmes, taking the various skills Sherlock displays and discussing them in a manner akin to self-help or skill development books. These are then followed by various puzzles, such as logic puzzles, as ways to test the reader’s proficiency with those skills. As such, it came across as a bit confused as to what the book wanted to be and only contains very top-level examinations of both Sherlock and the skill sets. There was very little in-depth discussion. This may be a good book for encouraging skill development in younger readers, or those with a particular interest in Sherlock Holmes, but it was not really a book for me.
Chapter Sampler: The Ember Blade by Chris Wooding
The Ember Blade chapter sampler I read contained only the first two chapters. Yet, within those two chapters, I was met with promises of a world rich with history, a story which stretched out across the horizon yet neatly wrapped itself around a single person and characters that were distinct, fully-fleshed and three-dimensional. The books itself is about a boy who lives in an occupied land who, inevitably, gets drawn into a revolution to free the land’s people. While this is the kind of story which features regularly in fantasy novels, I have read a few of Chris Wooding’s books before and enjoyed each of them. I have no doubt the rest of this book will live up to the promises of the first few chapters.
The Ember Blade will be released later in 2018.
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