Monday 28 November 2016

Mistletoe and Murder, Robin Stevens

Pages: 368
Publisher: Corgi
Release Date: 20th October 2016
Edition: UK paperback, purchased

Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are spending the Christmas hols in snowy Cambridge. Hazel has high hopes of its beautiful spires, cosy libraries and inviting tea rooms – but there is danger lurking in the dark stairwells of ancient Maudlin College.

Three nights before Christmas, there is a terrible accident. At least, it appears to be an accident – until the Detective Society look a little closer, and realise a murder has taken place. Faced with several irritating grown-ups and fierce competition from a rival agency, they must all use their cunning and courage to find the killer (in time for Christmas Day, of course).

I’m a huge fan of this series so the news of a Christmas instalment basically made me squeal with joy. And it was just as brilliant as I'd hoped!

Cambridge has always been a city I've wanted to visit and Hazel descriptions of the beautiful colleges, blankets of snow and steaming tearooms have made me desperate to visit. But I really loved the way Robin Stevens approached Hazel and Daisy’s experience there.

During their visit in 1935 women could attend the University of Cambridge but they couldn’t obtain a degree; female students often experienced discrimination in marks and grades and teenage girls? Completely under-estimated every time. I loved seeing the sexism exposed and feminist thought worked into the story so naturally and easily – there’s no way you can walk away from this series without that seed being planted.

The discussions of race were also taken up a level with the introduction of brothers George and Harold who have an Indian dad. I was reading Nikesh Shukla’s The Good Immigrant alongside reading this and they actually ended up complementing each other really nicely. It was really sad to see BAME writers talking about things they face in 2016 that Hazel and the twins were having to battle against in 1935.

I adore this series and I really felt like everyone and everything developed so much in Mistletoe and Murder. I feel like I could read about Daisy and Hazel (who is actually one of my favourite characters of all time) until they’re 80.


Friday 25 November 2016

Born Scared, Kevin Brooks

Pages: 242
Publisher: Egmont
Release Date: 8th September 2016
Edition: UK signed paperback, review copy

Other Titles by this Author: Martyn Pig, Lucas, Kissing the Rain, Bloodline, Candy, The Road of the Dead, Being, Black Rabbit Summer, Killing God, iBoy, Naked, The Bunker Diary

Elliot is terrified of everything.

From the moment he was born, his life has been governed by acute fear. The only thing that keeps his terror in check are the pills that he takes every day.

It’s Christmas Eve, there’s a snowstorm and Elliot’s medication is almost done. His mum nips out to pick up his prescription. She’ll only be 10 minutes – but when she doesn’t come back, Elliot must face his fears and try to find her. She should only be 400 metres away. It might as well be 400 miles…

This is Kevin Brooks’ first novel since he stormed the YA world with The Bunker Diary back in 2013 and swooped a load of awards. He had to come back with a bang and he definitely did.

Within only a few pages, Born Scared had headed in an unexpected direction. The book follows two interweaving narratives: Elliot on the epic journey to find his mum and a pair of criminals causing trouble. As soon as they were introduced I guessed how the two stories would intersect, but I couldn’t have guessed the epic journeys that all of the characters would go on in such a short novel, and in such a short amount of time. Set over only a few hours, Born Scared moves at a hell of a pace and I read it in only 3 sittings despite being hit by the worst reading slump in years.

Elliot’s life has been dominated by intense, crippling fear of pretty much everything for as long as he can remember. It was fascinating and scary to read about the way Elliot processes things I do every day without any real thought. It was suffocating and vivid and Kevin Brooks’ skill really came through. Born Scared can be added to those lists of YA books about mental illness that everyone needs to read – important, thrilling and a damn good read.

I thoroughly enjoyed Kevin Brooks’ latest offering and he continues to be an author that I expect a lot from and am never disappointed by.

Thanks to Egmont for the review copy.


Thursday 24 November 2016

6 Books I'm Thankful For

Today the US is celebrating Thanksgiving and though that’s not a holiday in the UK, I still thought it’d be nice to be thankful.

And today, and every day, I'm thankful for books.

‘How I Live Now’, Meg Rosoff
I first read Meg Rosoff’s debut about 10 years ago now and I’ve read it countless times since. Daisy’s story of love and survival against World War III in the English countryside is mind-blowing. Definitely not for everyone, but quite possibly the most remarkable book I’ve ever read.

‘Persuasion’, Jane Austen
Austen’s final novel was the second of her novels that I read and I picked it up because it was my mum’s favourite. I immediately fell in love with Anne Elliot’s soft, unchanging love for Captain Wentworth and that letter. Man, that letter. It soon eclipsed ‘Sense and Sensibility’ as my favourite Austen.

‘Matilda’, Roald Dahl
I've spoken about the impact ‘Matilda’ has had on me before, but this was the book that made me fall in love with reading. It was the first time I could see a story unfold in front of my eyes. My copy is falling to pieces I've read it so many times over the years.

‘The Truth About Forever’, Sarah Dessen
Sarah Dessen is my hero and this is my favourite of her novels. Watching Macy go from suffocating grief to being able to handle it and carry on living with the help of art boy Wes and his family is funny, heart-warming and brilliant. That final game Macy and Wes at the end of the novel is perfection.

‘Angus, Thongs and Full Front Snogging’, Louise Rennison
The ten books in the Georgia Nicolson taught me about being a girl, and how to laugh at the horrifying things we sometimes have to do. It also made me immensely grateful that I’m not Georgia. These books showed me that ‘books for girls’ can be funny too.

‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’, JK Rowling
This may be a predictable answer but that doesn’t make it any less true or significant. I grew up with Harry, Ron and Hermione and they’ve continued to comfort me, make me laugh and inspire me ever since. I’m currently listening to them on audiobook for the first time and it’s wonderful to be back at Hogwarts again.

What books are you thankful for?


Tuesday 22 November 2016

What’s happening with YA?

I haven’t finished a YA novel in over two weeks. And I’ve barely managed to read 100 pages of one since then.

But I have read two classics, two audiobooks and several trashy romance novels.

I’m not going to lie, I’m worried. I sped through those romances and my love for audiobooks never wavers, but I’m struggling to pick up the YA I’m currently reading. Even though I know it’s a quick and easy enough read for me to finish it in one more sitting, I just have no inclination to read it.

I keep choosing an audiobook over physical reading, watching YouTube or just messing around on the internet.

It’s almost like I’m in a YA-specific slump and I really don’t know what to do about it. I don’t want to pick up something I'm really excited about in case I end up DNFing it.

I guess I’ll just have to ride it out and hope for the best.


Friday 18 November 2016

...And a Happy New Year?, Holly Bourne

Pages: 224
Publisher: Usborne
Release Date: 1st November 2016
Edition: UK hardback, review copy

Other Titles by this Author: Soulmates, The Manifesto on How to Be Interesting, Am I Normal Yet?, How Hard Can Love Be?, What’s a Girl Gotta Do?

Evie, Amber and Lottie are having a New Year party to remember.

For the first time since leaving college, all three girls are back together. It’s time for fun and flirting, snogs and shots.

(And not tears or tantrums or terrible secrets.)

Because everything’s going great for these girls – Spinster Club for ever! Right?

It’s the last hurrah for the Spinster Club and I really am sad to see Evie, Amber and Lottie go, but they went out with a bag. I’d expect nothing less!

Amber’s made a decision that’ll change everything, Evie is struggling with Oli and life at university isn’t what Lottie expected. It’s causing a rift between them and nothing feels like it should do – they got everything they wanted, didn’t they?

One of the many things that Holly Bourne is brilliant at is her ability to show true friendship and wonderful romantic relationships as perfect in their imperfections. People go through rough patches, keep secrets, make mistakes, drift and come back and that’s life. You don’t get to pause on the good days and there isn’t such a thing as a happy ending. And that doesn’t mean that the friendship can’t survive, that the relationship can’t still work.

I loved hearing from all three girls in the same book, though I wasn’t sure about the bits that kept overlapping between them. I have to admit that Lottie really annoyed me in …And a Happy New Year?, though. I found her a little irritating What’s a Girl Gotta Do?, but she was a bit too much in this instalment, though Evie and Amber still have my heart

Spinster Club forever.

Thanks to Usborne for the review copy.


Tuesday 15 November 2016

#2016ClassicsChallenge: Wide Sargasso Sea

Originally published in 1966 by Andre Deutsch

My edition: The 2000 Penguin Modern Classics paperback.

WHEN I Discovered This Classic
I’m honestly not sure. I feel like I must have learned about it at university when studying Jane Eyre, but it didn’t really enter my consciousness until last year when I finally began reading and exploring the Brontës.

WHY I Chose to Read It
After not loving Jane Eyre last year I was really hoping to read this and see my opinions of Rochester reflected somewhere – I figured that Wide Sargasso Seas would be that place.

WHAT Makes It a Classic
This prequel to Jane Eyre put Jean Rhys on the map after a writing career that left her largely unknown. It's a post-colonial novel exploring race, feminism and power - an unforgettable combination.

WHAT I Thought of This Classic
I honestly didn’t know what to expect from Jean Rhys’s most famous novel, but I really enjoyed it. In fact, I'd even say that I prefer it to Jane Eyre.

The prequel/response to Jane Eyre is set in 1940s Jamaica following the abolishment of slavery. Antoinette Cosway is a Creole (white Jamaican) heiress and we follow her from her childhood to her marriage to an unnamed Enhglishman to her removal to Thornfield Hall which brushes up against Charlotte Brontë’s classic.  

This book is only just over 120 pages and it really packs a punch – in story, in characterisation, and in themes. It tackles racism, post-colonialism, madness, sexism, feminism and more.

I had many problems with Mr Rochester in Jane Eyre and Rhys’s novel confirmed those problems, and exacerbated them. He’s portrayed as a Romantic hero, but in Wide Sargasso Sea he is a fortune hunter, mentally abusive, and takes away every right that his wife has left – and there weren’t many to start with. The madwoman in the attack is known as Bertha in Jane Eyre – a name that Antoinette’s (unnamed) husband gave her during this book as he didn’t like her given name. I mean, COME ON. Let’s not forget that he then moved his wife thousands of miles from her home and imprisoned her in the attic. How can Mr Rochester be a romantic hero?

Wide Sargasso Sea is an uncomfortable and unpredictable read, switching between the narration of Antoinette, Rochester and Grace Poole (Bertha's keeper in Jane Eyre) and exploring the imbalance of power in marriage and between white and POC people in an almost stream of consciousness narration. But it’s so easy to fall into Rhys’ lush, vibrant writing that i was soon swept away and had to make myself stretch it out to last a few sittings. 

I feel like Wide Sargasso Sea is a novel that I would have really benefited from studying at school or university, but alas. I’d also recommend picking up the annotated Penguin Modern Classics edition – it’s super useful.

WILL It Stay a Classic
The way Wide Sargasso Sea dismantles the madwoman in the attic and female sexuality was groundbreaking for its time and has become essential reading alongside Brontë’s masterpiece.

WHO I’d Recommend it To
- Fans of Jane Eyre, and those who weren’t fans of Jane Eyre.
- Those interested in 19th Century society outside of the US and UK.
- Brontë fans.

Monday 14 November 2016

The Black Key, Amy Ewing

Pages: 304
Publisher: Walker Books
Release Date: 6th October 2016
Edition: UK paperback, review copy

Other Titles by this Author: The Jewel, The White Rose

Violet and the Society of the Black Key are preparing to launch an attack on the royalty, and Violet has a crucial role to play. She must lead the surrogates as they infiltrate the Auction and break down the walls of the Lone City. But with her sister, Hazel, imprisoned in the palace of the Lake, Violet is torn. In order to save her sister, she must abandon her cause and her friends and return to the Jewel.

I’m a huge fan of this dystopian trilogy and I was so excited to see how it all wrapped up for Violet and the rest of the rebels.

When we pick back up with Violet, she’s agonising over her sister being in the clutches of the Duchess of the Lake and she decides to infiltrate the palace herself to protect her. I was expecting this move to come with a boatload of drama and horrible tension, but I found that it all actually sizzled along quite quietly. I usually race through these books but I never found myself dying to get back to this one which was a shame.

There was a sad lack of Ash in The Black Key, but a lovely dose of Lucien which was lovely. His position of straddling the two worlds is fascinating and I could easily read a whole series about him! I actually think there are a lot of side characters in the Lone City trilogy that are so strong and so well-developed that they could carry their own stories – but especially Lucien, Ash, Sil and Raven.

Just as with the other two books in the series, the harsh reality of this world and the way that the poor and women are treated in this society hit home. It feels like a scarily plausible possibility (if there was magic, obvs) and I love the way dystopia can hammer home and highlight the dystopian things going on in the very real world at the moment.

The Black Key was a tad anti-climactic, but I’m still really happy with how this story wrapped up and I’d really love for Amy Ewing to go back to this world in the future for a bit of a catch-up – there’s still a lot more to be explored.

Thanks to Walker for the review copy.


Friday 11 November 2016

Our Chemical Hearts, Krystal Sutherland

Pages: 320
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Release Date: 4th October 2016
Edition: UK e-proof, NetGalley review copy

Henry page, a hopeless romantic and film buff, is smitten as soon as Grace Town walks into the classroom. But Grace – who looks in need of a good bath, is dressed in guy’s clothing, and walks with a cane – is unlike any leading lady he’s ever obsessed over. And when Henry and Grace are both offered positions as editors of their high school newspaper, the mystery of Grace begins to captivate him. Why does she visit a graveyard every afternoon? What secret does she keep locked up in her bedroom? Above all, why is Grace Town so deeply sad? Before he knows it, Henry is sure that he is the one to unlock his happiness. But Grace is capricious, changeable, infuriating, and, above all, damaged. Henry will need to be the strongest he has ever been to survive this particular love story.

I'd heard nothing but good things about Our Chemical Hearts but still went in with reasonably low expectations, and while I actually ended up enjoying a fair bit of it, I also had a fair few problems.

Starting with the good stuff, I really loved Krystal Sutherland’s writing style. It’s beautiful, poetic, witty and young – it’s very engaging and it made for easy and quick reading. Henry is a great narrator. He’s dramatic and funny and a sweet guy, but nowhere near perfect which is lovely. I was cheering him on but also a bit exasperated by him – in an affectionate way.

Grace, however, I had issues with. She’s grieving in an intense, painful and debilitating way and I felt for her, I really did, but I also found it incredibly frustrating. The way she grieved felt like a luxury to me – she could let everything go, think of nothing but herself and wallow in her misery. I think that was jealousy on my part, but it made me hate her, especially in the way she allowed her pain to excuse being a horrible person and treat Henry the way she did.

There was a lot in Our Chemical Hearts about how Grace inverted the whole idea of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl but I really don’t agree with that. Grace is a character who Henry has a ‘relationship’ with and teaches him a new way to look at the world and how different his little bubble of world and ideas of love might be unrealistic. She was basically an unwashed version of Margo from Paper Towns and I found it impossible to connect or empathise with her. The whole novel had a bit of the John Green about it to be honest.

But that wasn’t my biggest issue. It was how Grace’s limp and use of a cane was treated that really got my back up. This is from one of the synopses online:

And this is from the book itself, only a few pages in:

It’s ableism, pure and simple. It made me incredibly angry and it wasn’t a situation where it was a misconception that Henry had which was then turned on its head as he learned better blah blah blah. That could have been acceptable, but this wasn’t.

Our Chemical Hearts had SO much promise and I'd really hoped that it could have surpassed my expectations. I did love Krystal Sutherland’s writing style though so I’m willing to give her another shot.

Thanks to Hot Key Books and NetGalley for the review copy.


Thursday 10 November 2016

Should I feel guilty about my guilty pleasures?

Sometimes I need to break up my reading a little bit. I might listen to an audiobook, read an adult novel, bury myself in a classic, and sometimes I indulge in trash.

And I feel SO guilty about it.

I don’t question swapping out a review book for a classic, but picking up a New Adult read on my Kindle? Which I would never read in physical form, by the way. That, I feel guilty about.

But it’s New Adult that gets me out of my slump. It’s New Adult that I fly through without thinking about having to write a review or when I need to finish it by. I just enjoy it. Or enjoy ripping it apart.

Why should I feel guilty about reading something that makes me happy? Something that’s easy and relaxing?

Do you feel guilty about your guilty pleasures?


Tuesday 8 November 2016

5 books I want to read before the end of 2016

It’s November and 2016 is disappearing at a scary rate. My TBR is still twice as tall as me and annoyingly, time doesn’t seem to be slowly down to give me some more reading time. Booooo. So obviously, I had to make a list.

The Master and Margarita, Mighail Bulgakov
I’m slowly getting to grips with Russian literature after falling in love with Anna Karenina and in preparation for diving in War and Peace in the New Year. This is meant to be funny and weird af. The devil appears in Moscow, leaving behind full asylums and law and order in chaos. Only the Master can resist the devil’s pull.

Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I devoured The Thing Around Your Neck, Adichie’s short story collection, earlier in the year and fell hard, I immediately bought her three novels with intention of reading them all stat. I failed to read any of them, but I’d really like to get Americanah under my belt by the end of the year.

Bridesmaid Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
Another of Waugh’s classic novels is hitting the small screen in the New Year, but I’d like to get this read before moving onto Decline and Fall in preparation for the TV adaptation. The novel looks at the rapidly declining world of privilege and luxury that existed in the England before the Second World War.

The Good Immigrant, ed. Nikesh Shukla
This important collection of 21 essays edited by Nikesh Shukla about being BAME in the UK at the moment has been everywhere since the summer when it was being crowdfunded for Unbound. I’m really looking forward to reading this – I think it’ll be incredibly eye-opening.

Lady Audley’s Secret, Mary Elizabeth Braddon    
Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s popular Victorian scandal novel is my planned big classic for December and I’m excited but also nervous after not enjoying Frances Burney’s Evelina, but I’m definitely up for giving it a go. It’s all about anti-heroine Lady Audley who’s surrounded by mystery and hiding a secret.

What are you hoping to read before the end of the year?


Monday 7 November 2016

Holding up the Universe, Jennifer Niven

Pages: 432
Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: 6th October 2016
Edition: UK e-proof, NetGalley review copy

Other Titles by this Author: All the Bright Places

Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed ‘America’s Fattest Teen’. But no one’s take the time to look past her weight and see who she really is. Since her mum’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her own home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for every possibility life has to offer.

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the art of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a secret: he can’t recognise faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can rebuild and reengineer anything, but he can't understand what's going on with the inner workings of his own brain. So he tells himself to play it cool.

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game which lands them in group counselling, Libby and Jack and both angry, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel.

I read and enjoyed Niven’s All the Bright Places last year, but as I read more and more about the way sufferers of mental illness felt about it made me re-evaluate how I felt about it. And then came the synopsis for Holding up the Universe and the shitstorm that came with it.

The synopsis alone made me nervous about the way Libby and her weight was handled in this book and I think I was right to be worried. I constantly felt on edge, like I was waiting to be offended, and generally uncomfortable. Libby was her weight, and when she wasn’t, it was ignored and traits were forced on her that felt meant to counteract the fact that she was fat. I just can’t think of a better way to describe the way I felt than uncomfortable; I didn’t enjoy much about it at all, even though it was quick and easy to read.

Even ignoring the discomfort, I found the POVs of Libby and Jack interchangeable – there was just no distinction in voice between them. I kept having to flip back to the chapter heading to figure out who I was reading from if I couldn’t work it out from what was going on. It honestly made me think back to All the Bright Places and want to re-visit it with a new perspective – I think those original reviews slamming it were probably right.

And I just have to say something about the ending, so if you don’t want to be spoiled, look away now. SERIOUSLY?! He has the severest case of prosopagnosia some experts have ever seen and yet he realises that Libby’s face is the only one he CAN see? COME ON. It was utterly ridiculous and it just ended up making me laugh with incredulity.  

Once I managed to ignore the discomfort and interchangeable POVs, Holding up the Universe was an okay read. It was quick, easy and fun. I just worry about what ideas it’s perpetuating. If you want to read about a big girl that’s not held back by her weight, read Julie Murphy’s Dumplin’ – it’s glorious.

Thanks to Penguin and NetGalley for the review copy.


Friday 4 November 2016

The Road to Ever After, Moira Young

Pages: 240
Publisher: Macmillan
Release Date: 20th October 2016
Edition: UK proof, review copy

Other Titles by this Author: Blood Red Road, Rebel Heart, Raging Star

Davy David, an orphan, lives by his wits in the dead-end town of Brownvale. When a stray dog called George turns Davy’s life upside down just before Christmas, he sets in motion a chain of events which forces them to flee. A mischievous wind blows the two of them to a boarded-up mansion on the outskirts of town where they meet the elderly recluse, Miss Flint. She has planned one last adventure before her time is up and hires the reluctant Davy and George to escort her.

A magical adventure about an unlikely friendship and an unforgettable journey.

I'm a huge fan of Moira Young’s Dustlands trilogy – it’s one of my very favourite series’ – so I was really excited to read her first novel after that, and I was actually a little disappointed.

This magical adventure is the perfect read for tweens and kids in the run up to Christmas. I wasn’t expecting it to be such strong magical realism and I really liked that aspect of the story. I never find magical realism quite as convincing without beautiful writing to back it up and Moira Young has that in spades. It's enchanting.

I loved the idea of the story and the themes and the feel of the book, but I just didn’t connect with it fully. I think it was because I was holding onto Saba and her world from the Dustlands and part of me was expecting a book that was vaguely similar, but it was really nothing like it at all. It was definitely a case of ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ with The Road to Ever After and I’m really quite sad about it – I wanted to love this book.

The Road to Ever After is a magical story about friendship and making the most of what you’ve got, but it missed the mark a little for me.

Thanks to Macmillan for the review copy.


Thursday 3 November 2016

It’s my favourite reading season

I love this time of year. Halloween, gorgeously coloured leaves, hot chocolate, scarves and blankets. But I also love this time of the reading year.

Publishing slows down in November and December, it's mostly prepping for the madness of January. I get a ton of proofs of books I can’t wait to get stuck into in the New Year, but I don’t get much in the way of November and December releases – I've usually had those already! This year I have a total of 7 review copies for those two months. I'd normally get double that for any other month! That’s why I love this time of the reading year.

The options.

I can strive ahead and gobble down some early 2017 releases and get ahead of the game.

I can dive into some chunky fantasy books I just haven’t found the time for.

Or I can go back and pick things up that I missed during the year. Books that I’d bought or received that got pushed aside for a blog tour, a bigger release, a book I had to read for work. November and December is the time to clear out those TBR stragglers – and if I don’t read them in those months, I probably won’t.

I've discovered some serious gems that way – An Ember in the Ashes, Demon Road, The Winner’s Curse, The Queen of the Tearling – I could go on!

November and December are by far my favourite reading months. What about you guys?


Tuesday 1 November 2016

Books I Couldn't Finish (10): Classics Edition

I used to finish every book I started, whether I was enjoying it or not. But life is short. I’ve realised that I don’t have time for books I’m not full involved in any longer so if I don’t like something or don’t connect with it as much as I want to, I’ll put it aside. It still makes me feel guilty though, especially if I received them for review so I still want to talk about them, explain why I didn’t like them. Here are the most recent books I DNF-ed.

A Parisian Affair, Guy de Maupassant
When the Pocket Penguins were first announced, this short story collection was the first one that leaped out at me from the list. I loved the sound of a collection about Parisian life full of misdeeds, mistakes, lust and the debauchery of nineteenth century Paris from ‘the father of the short story’, but I was SO disappointed. I read about four stories, but I had to push myself through each one, especially the two that were about 40 pages long. Nothing grabbed me and I just found myself dreading picking it back up again.

The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins
This epic Victorian mystery is one of the classics I’ve been most looking forward to tackling this year, but at nearly 800 pages it’s daunting. And I definitely picked it up at a bad time. October turned out to be a stupidly busy and stressful month, and though I enjoyed the 150 or so pages of this that I read, I just couldn’t dedicate the time and effort it needs and deserves. I tried the audiobook but it just wasn’t doing it for me. I’ll be going back to the book in the future, however.

The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton, Edith Wharton
I read Wharton’s Ethan Frome earlier in the year and fell head over heels in love. I immediately vowed to read everything by her and was overjoyed to discover she was a big writer and fan of ghost stories – perfect for Halloween, I thought. But I really struggled with this collection. The stories are fairly lengthy, averaging at about 30 pages each and while they’re elegantly creepy and well written, I put this down and ended up forgetting I was actually reading it for over a week…