Book reviews, musings and waffle from a British lit addict

Homecoming!

Wow.  What a trip.  Even after a good few days back in chilly Yorkshire, I still don’t really know how to articulate just how wonderful it all was.  It’s Boyfriend’s 30th this year and we wanted to do something different and something really memorable to celebrate.  After much (oh so much) deliberation, he settled on the Singapore Grand Prix.
Singapore Grand Prix circuit
(image credit)
The experience was unbelievable.  Singapore is a beautiful, beautiful place full of kind and welcoming people that take such pride in their country.  I know that everybody says it but it really is so clean and we felt completely safe everywhere.  The race itself was spectacular.  It’s a city-based night race so we were able to walk to the track and amble to our seats past iconic buildings and incredible monuments.  We saw Maroon 5 after qualifying and Bon Jovi after the race (I preferred Maroon 5 but both were such good fun).  We went to the National Museum of Singapore, a sculpture garden, a WWII fort/PoW camp (Fort Siloso), ambled around Chinatown exploring stunning temples and ate our way around Little India.  It was an incredible few days and I didn’t stop feeling super lucky that we were able to do it.  
Kek Lok Si (image credit)
Since we’d flown all that way, we tacked on a week in Penang, Malaysia before coming back.  And the FOOD!  Oh, the food.  I’ve eaten such gorgeous, local food and it was heavenly.  Malaysia felt a little rough and ready after Singapore but we had a wonderful time exploring the island and eating basically everything and having a few days to just unwind.  Kek Lok Si Temple was the real stand out for me.  It’s apparently (according to our guide) the largest Buddhist temple in South East Asia and it was like nothing I’ve ever seen before.  Something I’ll remember for years!
And the books lived up to the trip!  

I finished Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas on our first flight, a fact that may have caused Boyfriend to moan about lugging it around with us for the rest of trip a few times.  It was outstanding, obviously.  The series is one of my favourites and if you haven’t started it yet, you’re missing out.
After Queen of Shadows came A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness.  I should not have finished reading it in public.  I know that now.  I should have known it the moment that I read the introduction and learned that Ness wrote the book based on an idea conceived by Siobhan Dowd while she was herself terminally ill.  There were tears.  Many of them.  The book is beautiful and sensitive and haunting and you should absolutely read it.
When we made it to Malaysia, we had more time on our hands and I fancied some fantasy.  I’ve been seeing Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series everywhere recently so I decided to go with The Final Empire.  It was…perfection.  I adored the world and the magic system was sophisticated and layered without being completely confusing.  It’s based on metals and the powers that can be drawn from them.  The characters were charming and I loved spending time reading about them.  And while the world is being built and the characters developed, Sanderson manages to tell an action-packed story.  I’m really looking forward to carrying on with the series.
Next up was Let’s Pretend This Never Happened:  A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson.  It was as funny as I’d been led to expect and I guffawed and spluttered my way through the pages.  I made a fool of myself and it was totally worth it.  The last full book I read was Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten.  It was…ok.  It was readable and I definitely wanted to keep reading to find out what the heck was going on but there was something a bit off about it.  It’s a YA ‘girl’s former best friend apparently kills herself but former best friend is convinced that it’s murder and starts up her own investigation’ story.  I was disgruntled about the absent parents.  It just seems lazy now to have teenagers running around town investigating murders unchecked because their parents are alcoholics or workaholics and not around to look after their children.  It’s a page-turner but nothing particularly memorable.  Not counting the WTF ending.  That bad boy will annoy me for a while.
I finally got round to starting The Passage by Justin Cronin on the plane on the way home and it is brilliant so far.  I haven’t really got a clue what’s going on but it’s dark and ominous and perfect for autumn.
Tell me what I’ve missed.  Tell me everything!!  Hope you’ve had a wonderful few weeks, friends 🙂