27 February 2015

Finished Reading | February 2015

A picture of the best books of February 2015
At the beginning of February I set myself a target of reading three books, which I shared in my post 'Reading in February'. Little did I know I would get completely swept up in the reading-bug this month, and I found it impossible to stop reading, finishing a total of 7 books - and I'm already half-way through another! Here's my thoughts on the books I finished this month.

The Invisible Library  

by Genevieve Cogman | Paperback £5.59, Kindle £2.39 
A book I nearly bought in paperback at the end of 2014 after falling in love with the cover, I was swayed into buying the Kindle version by a friend of the author when I asked for book recommendations over on Twitter - and I am so glad I did! The Invisible Library has become one of my favourite books ever, so much so I now own a paperback copy, too!

The Invisible Library is a bookworms dream. A library where time has no effect, full of more books than you could ever imagine. Each book has been chosen for a special reason, with the Librarians travelling to alternate world's to source them. The Invisible Library follows Irene, who works for The Invisible Library, and her assistant Kai, to an alternate London on a mission to find a very special book. With Irene and Kai trying to stay undercover in a chaos-infested alternate London, with magic, supernatural creatures and an enemy of The Library at large, it's an exciting and tense mission from start to finish. 

The Invisible Library had me captivated from the very first page, a story which will constantly keep you guessing, wondering, and have your imagination running wild. Irene is an incredibly strong character who I thoroughly enjoyed, a character I almost wished I could be friends with! Kai is similarly as interesting and as the story goes on, I kind of felt myself wanting Irene and Kai to get closer. A lot of the other characters in the book are just as intriguing, but I'll leave you to find out about them if you give The Invisible Library a read for yourself...

Personally, I adored The Invisible Library. It's a book that has stuck with me all month since I finished reading it, and one which really pulled on my book lovers heart strings. I love that it was set in an alternate London, because I could clearly imagine myself there; at St Pancras, at The British Library, the world famous museums and along the Thames, but with the help of Cogman's fantastic writing, all of the magical and mystical ways of that alternate felt just as real as my memories. If I'm right (and I hope I am right), this is the first in a series of The Invisible Library books, and  I'm already eagerly (like super excited, wish it was written already) awaiting the next instalment! For a d├ębut novel, it's really blown me away.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And other concerns)
by Mindy Kaling | Paperback £6.29, Kindle £6.39
I wasn't sure how I'd find Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? as I've never seen any of Mindy Kaling's work, but I loved the cover (I'm really drawn to books by covers!) and I'd seen some pretty good reviews so thought, why not?

Going through her life, from childhood to adulthood, with successes, challenges and a blooming big dose of honest opinions, this is the kind of book that makes you think of long conversations into the night with your closest friend. I loved getting to know Mindy - her woes as a 'chubby' teen, her attitude towards men and how even when all her chips were down, she soldiered on to get where she wanted to be. I might not have my eyes set on a stardom TV career, but it's pretty inspiring at points reading how Mindy just never gives up. 

With a sense of humour throughout that I felt I could really get along with, this is the kind of book I'd recommend to friends with ease. It's a pretty easy read, you're kept entertained throughout - all without that unnecessary rambling which comes with a lot of books of this nature. Straight to the point, witty and full of cut-throat stereotypes with a hilarious twist throughout. 

Requiem for a Mezzo
by Carola Dunn | Paperback £6.99, Kindle £5.99
I think I've made it pretty clear over the past couple of months how much I adore Carola Dunn and her Daisy Dalrymple murder mystery series. After 'treating' myself to the entire series at Christmas, I've slowly been making my way through the series and Requiem for a Mezzo is the 3rd book in the Daisy Dalrymple series.

Set in 1920's London, Requiem for a Mezzo sees a mysterious murder of Daisy's neighbour, whilst on a date with respectable Detective Alec Fletcher. What seems like a simple case at first; cause of death seemingly obvious from the get-go, it soon becomes clear that everything you think you know about the murder of Bettina is wrong, from the method of murder down to the murderer. 

The way 1920's London is described will transport you to a time long gone, but with all the landmark places tourists still flock to today; Dunn describes everything beautifully, as always, so much so you can really picture yourself there. As the 3rd book in the series, it's obvious to see the writing style becoming more confident, more daring and flowing more naturally. More of Daisy's beautifully independent nature shines through, and there's a lot more to be seen of Alec in this one; really getting to know the man behind the Detective name. Another fantastic murder mystery from Dunn, you'll be kept guessing until the very last moment. 

Fix You
by Carrie Elks | Kindle £2.09
February was a month of browsing the Kindle store repeatedly, and I managed to snap up some total bargains. In one night I added four new books to my Kindle, for less than £1.50 combined! The price has gone back to normal since that lucky Kindle-book-buying night, but £2.09 is still a bit of a bargain. Fix you took me by surprise. It's been a long time since I finished a book so quickly and I found it impossible to stop reading each night; so much so it took me just two nights to complete it (I would have finished it in one sitting if I wasn't human and, ya'know, needed sleep). 

A story which starts on New Year's Eve 1999, you follow the turbulent, frustrating and exciting relationship of Hanna and Richard. Two people from two very different worlds, whose lives change forever the night they meet. Following Hanna on her journey through University, bad relationships, a career in music journalism and the bond with her mother that's tested in the worst way, whilst Richard's life is turned upside down by the events of 9/11 which change everything he wanted for his own future. 

I adored the way that despite spanning over 12 years, Fix You flowed beautifully with characters you can't help but find yourself drawn to. The only let down for me with Fix You was the over-done hanky panky scenes towards the end; all a little bit repetitive with no imagination that felt more like filler to get the word count up - but that aside, this is one incredibly addictive read.

The Story Of Us
by Dani Atkins | Paperback £6.39, Kindle £1.79
Another bargain read I snapped up on that Kindle-book-buying night, another one that's gone back up in price; but this beautiful story is well worth a read. My first read from Dani Atkins, The Story of Us is another chick-lit I struggled to put down. 

Emma is about to get married, but a tragic accident on her hen night changes her life forever - in more ways than one. Dealing with loss, betrayal and learning to forgive, Emma struggles between the love of a man she's known all of her life, and Jack, a man who changes her life forever. 

The Story of Us is beautiful on so many levels. It tackles dementia in a way that I have never seen done before, it takes you on a journey of learning to forgive - if not forget -. and to fall in love with everything you have even when you know you might not get that happy ending. Split into sections, the beginning of each part of The Story of Us starts with Emma getting ready for a big day - and by the last page you'll find yourself as shocked as I was when you realise everything you imagined about that day was wrong, so, so wrong. The ending left me in tears - and it's been a long time since a book did that to me! 

The Watcher in the Shadows
by Carlos Ruin Zafron | Paperback £3.85, Kindle £3.66
With one of the most beautiful covers I ever did see, The Watcher in the Shadows is marketed as a young adult read, yet a read I found really enjoyable. It was the cover which caught my attention first, but after giving the back a quick read I decided it sounded like a good enough read to keep me captivated - and I wasn't wrong.

Irene, her mother and her younger brother find themselves in difficult times, having to leave their beloved home after her father's death which leaves them struggling for money, heading to work for the mysterious and recluse toymaker Lazarus. With a house of curious mechanical toys, a wife no one has seen in 20 years and a meticulous habits, Lazarus is a character whose true nature - good or evil? - is a secret to the very end. When his past comes back to haunt him, it's Irene and her family who have to pay the price and barely get away with their lives.

Even as a young adult read, The Watcher in the Shadows easily had my superstitious side up, leaving my imagination going wild and keeping me on the edge of my seat throughout. My first read from Zafron, I'm definitely tempted to check out the rest of his best-selling books

Kiss Heaven Goodbye
by Tasmina Perry | Paperback £8.99, Kindle £3.95  
I can't tell you the sigh of relief when I finally finished Kiss Heaven Goodbye. I'm a big fan of Tasmina Perry, but I started reading this one last summer and kept getting distracted, forgetting about it for months before picking it up again, getting distracted again, picking it up again... you get the drift. This week I decided it was time I finally finished it, and when I did I wondered why I'd left it so long in the first place!

Starting on a private island in the Bahamas that'll leave you wishing you were a gazzillionaire, Kiss Heaven Goodbye follows the lives of four student friends at the end of their exams, on their last night of a luxurious break. What happens that night changes the course of their lives - and friendships -, a night that takes 20 years to be resolved. 

When I re-started Kiss Heaven Goodbye, I found myself getting really stuck into it and enjoying the way that Perry writes; moving from character to character as each ones story develops, all the while perfectly intertwining to keep the plot in place. As that fateful night is finally resolved, the resolution is far from the one I expected, far-fetched for sure, but all for a better ending than I could have expected! 

If you're new to Tasmina Perry, I really recommend Gold Diggers and Daddy's Girls.

Have you finished any books recently? Or perhaps you have an author/book you think I should check out? Let me know!

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All books available at www.amazon.co.uk.

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