Mid-year reading round up 

GoodreadsWe’re just over half way through the year and I’ve completed my totally achievable, way too easy Goodreads challenge of reading 12 books in 2017. And while I bump up my goal to read even more in the second half of this year, I thought I could have a look back over what I thought of the books I’ve read. The following list is in order from least favourite to most favourite… so if you just wanna know about the good ones, scroll to the end!

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12. The Snow Geese, William Fiennes
I really wanted to enjoy this one because it was recommended to me at Word on the Water, but not every recommendation is necessarily a winner. The book is about a man who travels the world following the migration patterns of snow geese. To me it was so dry and a bit of a non event, so much so, that I couldn’t bring myself to finish it.
Goodreads Rating: ★

11. Getting the Girl, Markus Zusak
Not really sure why this one had ended up on my Want to Read list (I must’ve heard it mentioned in a YouTube video or something). I’m equally not sure how I managed to persevere with this one to the end. It’s about a boy who fancies his big brother’s ex then ends up getting with her and brotherly drama ensues. It is very much for a younger age bracket than myself and I found the narrative tone quite annoying.
Goodreads Rating: ★

10. Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee
This is the third and final book that disappointed me so far this year. In any case it’s hard to follow up on the success and love readers have for To Kill a Mockingbird, even if this one was technically written first. Go Set a Watchman is set two decades following the beloved TKAM and shows us Scout dealing with adulthood and the expectations set on her as a woman. I felt that it lacked the charm of Mockingbird and a strong enough legal case by which the civil rights issue followed Scout’s life. I also didn’t feel the same engaging pace of storytelling and honestly just wished I hadn’t read it because I had way too many expectations for it to survive.
Goodreads Rating: ★★

9. Doing It!, Hannah Witton
I started watching Hannah Witton on YouTube when my friend told me that her personality reminded her of me although I’m not sure I see it 100%. Hannah is a big proponent of using her platform to fill in the gaps in our horrendously ropey school sex ed. Rather than just giving the scientific explanation, Hannah talks about Sex and Relationship Education in all aspects and whilst it is mostly surface level information and targeted towards young teens, you can never know everything so there’s definitely something to take away from it. I gained a little but I recommend this book mostly to those aged 11-15 who would probably gain a lot.
Goodreads Rating: ★★★

8. The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins
I enjoyed this book but it didn’t grip me, in fact, it took me 3 months to read (the book spent a long time resting on my bedside table). I think it didn’t engage me because I had already seen the film so I knew what the twist was but I also think that in my mind I see it as quite similar to one of my faves, Gone Girl, except it doesn’t have the same pace or shock level, which is what had me up all night reading GG. It is well written, if slightly distracting by switching between 3 narrators. I liked it a lot better near the end when we finally reach that twist and things get going.
Goodreads Rating: ★★★

7. A Dancer in Wartime, Gillian Lynne
A Dancer in Wartime tells the story of Gillian Lynne’s extraordinary childhood as a ballerina, throughout the evacuations and bombings of WWII, getting her training in ballet and debuting in the Sadler’s Wells Ballet company alongside the greats like Margot Fonteyn. This novel is a must for any dancer to read but also it is a really interesting insight into a side of the WWII history we’re often not told. Arts are an important and persevering element in our lives even if we often think it superfluous, even in a war we try to hold on to these things because they are special. Plus Gillian Lynne is a legend so it was really interesting to read about her start in the industry.
Goodreads Rating: ★★★★

6. Divergent, Veronica Roth
Do you really need me to explain this one? Divergent is a dystopian novel in which society is split into five factions representing the brave, selfless, honest, intelligent and the peaceful. Teenagers are divided into factions by a personality test but we follow Triss who is Divergent, a mix of factions. Again, this one was enjoyable but unsurprising as I had already seen the film and knew the premise. It is an interesting premise however.
Goodreads Rating: ★★★★

5. I Heart Paris, Lindsey Kelk
This is a book I read a long time ago but decided to re-read because I remembered that it contained a guide to secret cool places in Paris, which I wanted to check out ahead of my trip. It is 100% chick lit and who doesn’t love that every now and then? It is the third novel in Kelk’s I Heart series but can totally stand on its own and I would know because I’ve never read the other two. The novel is about a girl who is sent to Paris to write a lifestyle piece for a fashion magazine about Paris’ secret hideaways, a trip she takes with her boyfriend which is totally awesome until they run into his ex and trouble ensues.. I will forever thank Lindsey Kelk for being the reason that I discovered Berthillon ice cream when I was in Paris.
Goodreads Rating: ★★★★

4. On the Other Side, Carrie Hope Fletcher
Unsurprisingly, Carrie’s writing is deeply charming and magical to read. This is such a lovely story that takes an interesting view as to how we may have to settle our secrets after we die, and it prompted tears near the end. Evie Snow dies at 82 but her soul is too heavy to move on so she must let go of her secrets, she tells her children about her controlling family and the one that got away and it’s all framed in the beautiful landscape of magic! A totally lovely read, 10/10 would recommend.
Goodreads Rating: ★★★★

3. The Regulars, Georgia Clark
I absolutely loved this book and my whole gushing review can be found here. But, long story short, The Regulars is about 3 women who get their hands on a potion that (dramatically) turns them into a Pretty and they see how different and awesome the attractive are treated by society. As fun as this may be, running away from your own life and pretending to be someone else causes its own problems and doesn’t exactly do wonders for your love life. I really love the relationships between the girls and think Clark has made some really interesting characters whilst also making a point about societal norms. 10/10 would recommend.
Goodreads Rating: ★★★★★

2. All the Bright Places, Jennifer Niven
Another popular one in the YA world, the novel is about two teenagers dealing with life and death. The popular Violet is still struggling with her sister’s fatal car crash when she meets Finch, a boy who obsesses over how he may die and how easily he could. After being partnered together in a school project, their friendship helps Violet to move on and eventually they fall in love through their adventures. It is a really lovely love story that will punch you in the gut with that ending, I really enjoyed the language used in the novel, it felt realistic. If you liked reading The Fault in Our Stars or Eleanor and Park, this is the book for you. 10/10 would recommend.
Goodreads Rating: ★★★★★

1. Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert
Loving this non-fiction book is a big deal to the fiction fanatic that I am and this one also got its own gushing review here. It is so engaging and inspiring that it jumped straight on to my favourite books list. Big Magic comes from the author of Eat Pray Love and is a discussion of how creativity is manifested and how we should work alongside it in order to achieve our most effective and enjoyable creative life. The book is incredibly insightful and inspiring and is basically a collection of mantras to live by for the creative. If you’re a a die-hard fiction fan, don’t be scared to delve into the world of non-fiction – it’s not all boring. This one is certainly worth a read, especially if you consider yourself to be creative. I always wonder where my creative mind comes from, in my case with dance choreography because it’s so hard to explain the how, but Elizabeth Gilbert has it right: creativity is magic. 10/10 would recommend.
Goodreads Rating: ★★★★★

I wonder what novels the second half of 2017 is going to bring me…

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