Huddled Up In Blankets And Slightly Shivering On The Train: Meet My Winter Reading

Winter is the time of the year which seduces you to stay under a fluffy blanket with a cat on your lap and a good book in your hands. Next to you is a warm cup of tea and the snow is falling. The idea of this has also taken a hold of me, and, thus I manged to read 10 books - and while I wish I could say that I had read all of them huddle up on the sofa, it was mostly on the train while shivering slightly.

Out of those 10 books, 5 had been given to me in exchange of an honest review - these are marked with an *. Let's get right into it with ...


The Devil of Dublin*

by Haze O'Hagan

It is an indie book that takes place in 2050 when technological advancements have made humans into gods. However, the world is about to turn upside down when Patrick Lynch makes himself into the devil and wants to enslave countless people.

All in all "The Devil of Dublin" offers a mixture of SciFi and Fantasy thriller set in the future. It tries something new by merging religious beliefs with modern technology. Technology has made it possible for people to re-grow limbs but all of Haze's powers are a curse from higher powers. However, this book has a few snags, such as the quite harsh writing, there is little showing and a lot of telling. Furthermore, the future is explained in bulks instead of being worked into the story step by step.

O'Hagan had been kind enough to provide me with an early ACR. The book is still work in progress but I see potential in the story and idea.



Lies Sleeping

by Ben Aaronovitch

"Lies Sleeping" is the 7th part of the Peter Grant series, thus the plot around the Faceless Man and his evil plan thickens. The trade-mark style that stand for the Peter Grand series remains in place. This book also contains a lot of sarcastic remarks, and balances dramatic moments with slower scenes well.




Eleanor Olpihant is Completely Fine

by Gail  Honeyman

This book is the first that the "Book Club For Lazy, Stressed And Slow Readers" picked in the ripe year of 2019. Lori wanted to figure out what the hype around it was all about, and me - the book blogger - had completely missed it and agreed all the same.

"Eleanor Olpihant is Completely Fine" tells the story of Eleanor who goes after her life, thinking little of the people around here. Then she sees a beautiful artist and starts to be convinced that he is going to be the one: her one true love who is going to make her life all right again ...  Thus, she embarks on the challenge to get to know him, and in doing so learns more and more about the usual social life and norms around her. She gets her first make-up look done, starts to own more than 12 pieces of clothes, and even gets a haircut!

The book offers a delightful insight into normalized human behaviour with a lot of wit. While I could not relate to all of Eleanor's behaviours, I could feel where she comes from all the time. The writing is empathetic, and Eleanor's learning curve is beautiful - even though, the second part of the book is tragically heart-breaking. Even if I missed the hype around this book - shame on me - it was and is worth it!



She/He/They/Me*

by Robyn Ryle

"She/He/They/Me" is a non-fiction book that takes a look at gender, and gender-roles. Instead of doing this by providing long-winded and boring essays on what other people think, Ryle created a "choose your own adventure" styled book.

She/He/They/Me by Robyn Ryle
You start by being born and after each chapter - filled with new information - you chose what comes next: where are you born? Are you straight, gay, or asexual? Are you male, female, intersex, non-binary? Furthermore, it includes some niche information about cultures which have a third and accepted gender.



My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life

by Rachel Cohn


... is one of the books I looked forward to reading because of the Japanese theme and being a light read. It is about Elle who, after living in foster care for almost a year, is swept away and taken in by her rich father. He is one of the most influential hotel owner in Japan and while Toyko seems like the perfect new home, the world is not as it seems: Elle's father has little to no time to spend with her, her Aunt seems like a cold and traditional business woman while her grandmother can't be pleased about anything at all.

"My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life" offers a lot when it comes to Japanese culture and ways of living. Some aspects seem a bit stereotypical to me but the characters always include a certain twist in order to make them more than just Japanese.

On the other hand, it does lack a thoroughly developed story line, the relevant plot only becomes important in the last 30 pages - this theme is also mirrored in terms of character development. Everyone but Elle - who changes slowly over time - has an "aha!" moment and thus a sudden change of character.

I still enjoyed the book but I also think that it depends on what you want from it.



The Travelling Cat Chronicles

by Hiro Arikawa

Nana lives life as a stray and is content with lounging on the hood of a car in the morning and padding through the streets. One day he is taking in by Satoru and a tight bond develops between them. After years of a happy life together, Satoru has to give Nana away due to unfortunate circumstances and in the search of a perfect home, they embark on a road trip of a lifetime.

This book is so sweet and beautiful. It captures perfectly the odd relationship that can build between a cat and their owner - even though, when it comes to cats the word ownership is somewhat vague. It is touching and even funny at places, since the whole story is told through Nana's point of view. Despite this, it broke my heart and I sat in the train with tears falling from my eyes.

Totally would recommend "The Travelling Cat Chronicles" to any cat and book lover.

Imminent Dawn*

by R.R. Campbell 

In order to create more understanding between the world, EMPATHY is created. This project would allow anyone in the world to have access to all the information on the internet. All of this with the help of a little nano-chip.

Imminent Dawn by R.R. Campbell
However, things are not as easy as they seem. The project is still in its test phase - creating more misses than hits. On top of this, the government wants a piece of the technology as well and their intentions are not peaceful. If that wasn't enough there is an investigative journalist who wants to know everything about EMPATHY.

"Imminent Dawn" is a page turner that never let me down. Throughout the book, the pace remains steady but always adds a bit. The story steadily climbs up until the climax when everything explodes and all that remains are broken pieces.

As an added extra, the main characters are all well rounded and one of them is gay - without it being A Thing.



In Foreign Fields: How Not To Move To France*

by Susie Kelly 

Imagine moving to France ... the chic city of Paris, the beauty beaches in the South ... or the flowing hills in the rural areas. This is what it may have looked liked in Susie Kelly's mind but when she finally makes her dream into a reality, things turn out differently.

Despite this, "In Foreign Fields" contains lots of humour, sarcasm, and tongue in cheek. Even when all things come crashing down, Kelly never loses her "keep calm and carry on" attitude making this an enjoyable and humours read.




Behind Closed Doors

by B.A. Paris 


This one set unloved on my eReader for quite some time. Thus, when I had been running short on books to read I turned my eyes towards it. Honestly, I can only call myself a fool for not having touched it in such a long time.

"Behind Closed Doors" is a psychological thriller in which Jack and Grace are known as the most perfect couple in the town. However, things are not as it seems, not only is Jack abusive, he is a psychopath who takes pleasure controlling and hurting women. His ultimate goal came true when he met Grace and her sister, Millie, who suffers from Down's. Jack can't wait for her to live with them because he is able to control her every move and make her suffer, Grace wants to do everything in her power to stop this from happening.

The novel is fast paced and I couldn't put it down. I am always careful of thrillers because some are ... just ... not ... that ... good when you know better stuff. "Behind Closed Doors" can keep up with the best of them: not as fucked up as Sharp Objects but as thrilling to read. Not as twisted as Gone Girl but up there with the mental BS that happens in their heads.

I recommend reading "Behind Closed Doors" in a heartbeat and don't let it lie on your eReader unloved for over two years ...


Shut Up And Kiss Me*

by Julie Cannon 


... takes place on the cruise ship "Escape" in which the richest people live on. Lowe is the daughter of such a family, and when she visits her parents she runs into Faith. It only takes a moment until a spark is flying. However, there is one problem: Faith is part of the crew and not allowed to date guests.

Shut Up And Kiss Me by Julie Cannon
As far as the plot is concerned that's the only problem. As far as the whole book is concerned, there are a few more problems: I felt little to no chemistry between Faith and Lowe. Yes, I could tell that they would work well together but other than gazing at each other's arses, filled with sexual frustration, there had been little to no other "romantic" pinning. While, this would have been fine for a holiday fling type of novel, "Shut Up and Kiss Me" wants to be a grand love story.

Sorry, I am just not feeling that - a crush is so much more than being physically attracted to someone. But Lowe and Faith spent  90% of their time only filled with UST, and the other 10% creating misunderstandings.

The writing style is quite good, but the fact that I couldn't get behind the romance at all ... not so good.

A full review is going to be available in a few weeks.


What do I look forward to in Spring?


Oh my god, oh my god! Finally "Hallow" by Olga Gibbs is going to be released and I am very excited to "read all about it" - as they say in Victorian England. Then I can't wait to finally share my full review of Angie Kim's "Miracle Creek."

11 comments :

  1. Wow, lots of books here, you've had a very productive few weeks! I agree about Eleanor Oliphant, the hype was completely justified, I loved that book. And I very much like the look of the Cat Chronicles and Behind Closed Doors, both sound right up my street. Thank you for some great recommendations! Lisa x

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    1. Thank you! I hope you're going to enjoy your new reads :)

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  2. I got halfway through Eleanor Oliphant and was really enjoying it, but for some reason I just stopped! I've been curious about the new Rachel Cohn book too...I've always had mixed feelings about her books but this one has had seemingly good reviews overall!

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  3. I've read a B.A Paris book before and really enjoyed it so I'd be keen to try this one. I despised Eleanor Oliphant though!

    Jenny
    http://www.jennyinneverland.com

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    1. Sounds like I need to read more B.A. Paris books!

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  4. She/he/they/me sounds like a wonderful book and so relevant to our times! I will certainly be adding this to my to-read list! Thank you for sharing xxx

    Ashley
    https://lellalee.com

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  5. Wow you’ve been busy! These sound like great books and there’s a few there that I’d be putting on my TRL for sure!

    Jessica & James | www.foodandbaker.co.uk

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  6. Oh my gosh, I LOVED Behind Closed Doors - it was so chilling, I literally could not put it down. You've got some great reads here - I literally just read through this making notes of which I now want to read - thank you!

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  7. Interesting mix of books. Anyone who knows me knows how much I LOVED Eleanor Oliphant. It's one of my absolute favourite books, I can't recommend it enough. I'm also always on the look out for lesbian fiction so Shut Up and Kiss Me sounds kinda interesting, I may have to read it! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Eleanor is such a great book! I really enjoyed it. I am curious what you'll think about Shut Up and Kiss Me because it hasn't worked out for me

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