January really did feel like the longest month ever. I can't quite believe that we actually made it to February, but thank god! Despite it being the longest month though, my reading mojo just wasn't really there and seemed to be more busy than normal, I had afternoon tea with Claudia Carroll, went to an Ice Bar and Pan Macmillan's Women's Fiction evening to name but a few events! February is thankfully a little less busy this time round but I still I think 7 books read is fairly respectable, but I definitely need to up my reading game this month. Read on for what were my reads this month.
I saw a few bloggers get this book in the post a while back and I was very intrigued by its beautiful cover. So when I was invited to the Penguin Christmas party back in December, I was thrilled that I was able to pick this one up to read. If you have ever read The Book Thief or The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (I have read the former) then this is the sort of lines this book was written along. I had been in a bit of a reading slump, but this Anna and the Swallow Man managed to pull me out of this and drew me in straight away. Although melancholy, there is something kind of beautiful about this story and the journey that Anna goes on. Set in wartime Poland, this is Anna's story of her Father disappearing and her sudden aloneness, but how meeting the Swallow Man saves her in a unique way. Heartwrenching and unforgettable.
I adored this cute, positive read from Julie Murphy. Told from the eyes of Willowdean, whose Mum is a former pageant beauty queen and has so 'kindly' nicknamed her daughter Dumplin'. She has very quickly become one of those characters that I would like to meet in real life. Her thoughts make so much sense, having a bikini body literally means putting a bikini on your body; why should it mean anything else? This is what leads her to enter into the annual beauty pageant that her Mum is chair of, because why she shouldn't she? This wasn't the main focus of the book though I was pleased to see, there focus on friendship and love and basically learning to love your body. Dumplin' was a super cute read that gives you a much needed breath of fresh air from all the stereotypes of what is deemed perfect in the real world. It is empowering and feel good and I loved it.
This was a perfect contemporary teen read that was just a joy to pick up and read. Although Never Evers is aimed at a younger audience than Lobsters was, it nice to have a focus more on friendship and innocent kisses for once, rather than anything further. I read this very quickly and despite there being a French rockstar make an appearance, this story actually felt belivable. It was pure and unadulterated escapism that had me hankering to go skiing.
I had the absolute joy of meeting Claudia for afternoon tea at the wonderful Harper Collins offices early on in January. She has got to be one of the nicest people I have ever met and it felt like such an honour to meet her. Meet Me in Manhattan was quite an unusual romance tale involving online dating and catfishing. I found it fascinating and loved the twist in it. It did get a little stressful for the main character at times, which in turn had me feeling stressed, but was pleased things didn't turn completely disastrous.
Uprooted had actually been one of my anticipated reads of 2015 but because of its size and bulk, I didn't get round to reading it until the New Year Period. This was another book that had been hyped up quite a lot and as soon as I had heard it described as Disney for adults, I knew I had to read it. Although this did not quite live up to the hype it was still a good read. Every ten years the Dragon, as he is described, who rules over her village, takes a girl away to live with him as a price for protecting them against the evils of the Wild Wood. With the next choosing fast approaching, everyone thinks the Dragon will take the beautiful Kasia, but they could not be more wrong. Although it did not quite live up to my hype expectations, I still thought this was a pretty epic fantasy, especially with how other myths and fairytales have been crafted into the story, but with their own spin on them.
This was one of those books that I went in to knowing almost nothing about and came out having absolutely loved it. For the Most Beautiful turned out to be one of those books I literally could not put down. It was enthralling, enchanting and magical all at the same time. I became utterly fascinated with this story and it sparked my love for Greek mythology all over again. I could not get enough of this book! I feel like this is genre that has been seriously lacking in current literature and Emily has just hit the spot! I look forward to more from Emily.
I had such high hopes for The Widow. Dubbed thriller of the year already, this was a highly anticipated read of mine and I could not wait to get stuck in. Although I was racing through this to find out what would happen, it ended up falling really flat. This just wasn't the fast-paced thriller that I was expecting. It's more of how the person did it and why rather than who. That said, I still read this really quickly and could see its merits, but didn't live up to my expectations.