Favourite Books I Read in 2018

My reading experience in 2018 was overall dominated by the ‘EU still 28’ project, which consisted in reading one book by an author from each of the still 28 EU member states. I have completed that challenge and, so far, have also managed to read in their entirety ten other books. I’m still reading Christmas Days by Jeanette Winterson. But it wouldn’t be one of my favourite books this year even if I had finished it already, although I’m enjoying it. Thus, I’m ready to reveal which books stood out to me the most in 2018.

Despite not having rated any of the books that I picked up this year with 5 stars, I still read truly good ones. They just weren’t perfect in my eyes. I cannot lie, though, this was not the best reading year in terms of the enjoyment I got from the books that I chose. I gave three books 2 stars and didn’t finish other two.

I’ve rated many books with 4 stars, though. From those I’ve selected the five I liked the most and that were really close to deserve the coveted 5 stars. In reverse order, my favourite books from the ones that I read in 2018 are: Continue reading

Books Worth the Hype

Occasionally there is so much hype surrounding certain books that, instead of being confident that I will enjoy them, I become afraid of reading them. Books that attract a lot of attention, either after being heavily promoted by publishers or loved by many people in the bookish community, can, thus, remain on my shelves or wish list for a long time before I finally decide to pick them up. Some books I end up not understanding why they were so hyped, while others I fully recognise their merits.

Below are some of the books that, in my opinion, are worth all the previous hype around them. They were all written by contemporary authors, seeing that these are the ones that tend to be more publicised and that classics have already passed the test of time. I didn’t love all of them, but I definitely enjoyed them enough to recommend you reading them in case they sound like something you would like.

 

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

I became aware of Jessie Burton’s debut novel when it was released, seeing that it kept appearing on various book hauls on BookTube. I didn’t pay much attention to what it was about to be honest. But I knew that I wanted it on my shelves, because I had fallen in love with the gorgeous cover. This is obviously not the best reason to buy a book. Nonetheless, it ended up being a good acquisition, since I adored it when I finally read it. Continue reading

‘The Glorious Heresies’ by Lisa McInerney

My rating: 4 stars

In The Glorious Heresies, Lisa McInerney uses a murder as a pretext to delve into dysfunctional families and the tribulations faced by various characters whose lives were far from easy. Throughout the novel, we are given an insightful look into the darkest sides of Cork, where the story takes place. Ireland’s religiosity, drug dealing and the need to resort to prostitution are some of the themes focused on, as the characters’ lives became intertwined and spiralled somewhat out of their control.

The first main character we are introduced to is fifteen-year-old Ryan. He has a girlfriend, Karine D’Arcy, whom he took to his home to have sex with. He lived there with his father and five siblings, but they were away at the time. His mother had died some years previously. I really liked how we are not told right away what was happening. Instead readers are gradually shown the interactions between the two teenagers until what they were up to makes perfect sense. The same technique is used throughout the book in various occasions.

Ryan’s path crossed with those of the other characters in consequence of a murder. Maureen, a 59-year-old woman, unintentionally killed a man, whom she found inside her house. As she needed to get rid of the body, she contacted her estranged son, Jimmy. He was the most feared gangster in Cork. Although Maureen was the one who gave birth to him, he wasn’t raised by her but by his grandparents. He once went looking for Maureen in London and took her back home to Ireland. Continue reading

Monthly Favourites – August 2018

I seem to have run out of ideas for sentences to introduce my monthly favourites. So, let’s get to what matters. From August I want to highlight a book, a TV series, a music album and a beauty product.

Let’s start with my favourite book of the month. It’s The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney. I haven’t reviewed it yet, since I’ve only finished it today at lunch time. It centres around the life of five characters, whose paths cross after Maureen unintentionally kills a man. Ryan is probably the character who stands out the most, but nearly all of them are complex and feel real. There are also various instances of social criticism, which helps to paint a picture about the darkest sides of Cork, where the story takes place. I’ll publish a more thorough review of the book next week to better explain what I liked about it and the small misgivings I had while reading.

At the beginning of the month, I started watching the TV series Victoria and really enjoyed it. I had been meaning to watch it for quite a while, but I always ended up starting other series instead. For whatever reason, I wrongly thought that the third season was going to start in September. So, I watched the first two seasons in less than two weeks, which was a mistake, as I’ll now have to wait various months for new episodes. I have no idea how faithful it is to real events, since I didn’t know much about this monarch beforehand. However, I found it quite entertaining and engrossing. Continue reading

Book Haul – June / July 2018

Ahead of my birthday (which is today!), I bought some books as a gift to myself. I have had almost all of them in my possession for a while now, as I ordered them online and they arrived much earlier than I had anticipated. Nevertheless, I decided to wait until today to reveal my new acquisitions to you. Some of them are representing certain countries at the ‘EU still 28’ reading project, others felt like the perfect books to delve into this summer, and a few were on discount and caught my attention.

Without further ado, these are the eight books that I bought recently:

 

Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan

This is the third book in The Memoirs of Lady Trent series. After reading and enjoying the first two books (A Natural History of Dragons and The Tropic of Serpents) last year, I plan to read the Voyage of the Basilisk really soon. I am eager to be absorbed in another adventure of the famous dragon naturalist, Lady Trent. Continue reading