Book reviews, musings and waffle from a British lit addict

April Wrap-Up

April’s been probably the quietest month I’m going to have for a little while.  I start my new job in a week and I expect it to be tremendously busy.  I’m incredibly excited about it and I’m happy to let other things take a back seat while that settles down. 
In non-bookish life, we went to London for the weekend a couple of weeks ago and went to the Churchill War Rooms and H.M.S. Belfast to get a history fix, to Borough Market for pork and crackling sandwiches (every bit as delicious as they sound), wandered for miles and miles and had a few drinks along the way and spent some time with Boyfriend’s family celebrating our engagement.  It was exhausting in the best kind of way and we had a superb weekend.
I also made a start on wedding dress shopping with my mum, which was surreal but a lot of fun!  Everybody has told me that you never quite end up with what you imagine and so far, that’s kind of true.  I obviously can’t write too much about the dress but I haven’t found The One yet so there’ll be more dress sessions in May 🙂
Given that we’ve been quite busy with family and friends over April, I’m actually quite surprised by the amount I’ve read.  I finished 5 novels and 2 comic volumes during the course of the month.  Maybe because the weather’s been a bit nicer and curling up in a sunny spot in the conservatory has been proving tricky to resist!

I picked up the third volume of Fables when we were in New York so I felt like I could read the second volume when we got back.  I still really love the series and it’s one that I’m definitely going to keep collecting.  The stories are pretty dark and can be quite gruesome but I love the style of artwork and how much effort is going in to developing the characters and overarching storyline.  When the jetlag cleared, I finally sat down to finish A God in Ruins and the ending absolutely floored me.  The writing was something really special, too, so it was a big hit.  Dolly was less so.  I find that Susan Hill’s ghost stories can be a bit hit and miss and this one was definitely a miss for me.  The idea behind it didn’t really make a great deal of sense and the execution was just lacklustre.  It was short, though, so not too offensive a waste of time. 

Weirdly enough, The Ship was then the opposite kind of experience.  I loved the writing style and found that reading it felt quite indulgent.  What I found disappointing was that the concept and the plot seemed better suited to a short story and I felt as though it was starting to go round in circles towards the end.  I’m not sure I was sold on the ending, either.  I’ll be reviewing it because I have quite a lot I want to mull over with it.  The Wicked + The Divine was….ok.  It’s about various Gods who are reborn periodically but only get to live for 2 years once they become aware of who they are.  It was fine but it was all a bit confused and I don’t feel like enough work went into setting the story up.  Style over substance, maybe.
The Joyce Girl was a real treat.  It’s the story of James Joyce’s daughter and is set in Paris in the 1920s. It’s out next month and I’ll be doing a full review soon but suffice to say, I definitely recommend you keep an eye out for this one. 
Last up was The Madman’s Daughter. I’ve been eyeing this one up for years and I finally got my arse into gear and ordered it from the library. It was pretty darn great. It was so tense and the horror of the original Dr Moreau story was honoured perfectly.  There was a romantic subplot that I could have lived without but overall I really liked the twist on HG Wells’ story and will definitely be picking up the next book in the series.  Not for the faint hearted but gripping if you can brave the more gory descriptions of Dr Moreau’s experiments on animals. 
And that was April! A success on all counts, I’d say! Did you have a good month? Read anything we all need to get our hands on right away?