Grab a brew, get yourself comfy and let’s talk about what I’ve been reading recently. If you’re in need of even more books for your ever growing to be read list, you can check out my previous reading round-ups here, filled with page turning little gems!
The Underground Railroad - Colson Whitehead
I picked this up based on the recommendation of Jen Ross and Christopher Allen. The Underground Railroad is, hands down, a phenomenal read. It’s the story of Cora, a slave on a cotton plantation, where life isn’t just hard, it’s downright terrifying. Cora has nowhere to turn, an outcast in her own community, she is alone in the world, on the verge of womanhood and with no-one to protect her. Caeser, a slave bought from another plantation tells Cora of his plans to escape, and that she should come with him. The Underground Railroad was deemed a myth, a tale of freedom slaves could only dream of - but Caeser believes it exists and it’s there only chance to escape slavery. With nothing but her own life to lose, Cora goes with Caeser and what entails is a dark tale of risks, violence and the true cost of freedom.
I couldn’t put this book down, I was beyond invested in it! Whitehead weaves a compelling narrative that just keeps moving forward, barely giving you time to come to terms with one terrifying situation after the other. I think Netflix have made a series based on the book so I’m eager to give that a go next!
Alice - Christina Henry
A twisted, modern retelling of the classic we all know and love - dark, bloody, bizarre and violent. This is no fairy tale. Henry’s Alice is locked away in an insane asylum with nothing but a voice on the other side of the wall for company. A freak fire releases her and her friend and something sinister - which sets the two of them on a dark and dangerous path to deal with said sinister thing, in a grimy underground world filled with sexual violence, untrustworthy allies and a dark and bubbling magic.
At the time of finishing this one, I didn’t like it all that much but the more I think about it, the more I realise I did. It was a modern retelling of a classic that went off the deep end, into the fiery pits and never came back again. Some of the sexual violence seemed excessive, but the modern characterisations of our fairy tale favourites were actually really interesting takes.
The Subtle Knife - Philip Pullman
The second installment of His Dark Materials trilogy. This was a great read! I can’t say I’m loving it more than Harry Potter - which I was warned could happen (as if!), but it is charming and brilliant all on it’s own.
Lyra finds a boy on the run called Will. Both are on their own missions in this strange new land, and both could do with a helping hand. The Subtle Knife moves along quickly compared with Northern Lights, and with soul eating Spectres, Angels, more magic than you can shake a stick at and the strong willed determination of two little kids, it’s a rapid page turner!
A Shiver of snow and sky - Lisa Lueddecke
Well, this one seems kind of appropriate given that Winter has come and won’t leave us the heck alone! Anyone else sick of having to don 4 extra layers just to pop the top shops?
This book was not what I expected. Skane, this beautiful, mystical island, where cave walls hold it’s history and the skies talks. Green is good, blue brings snow and red….red is danger of the most life threatening kind. Osa was born 17 years ago, the last time the sky turned red and dozens of lives were lost. With another red sky over head, she is determined to stop history from repeating itself and doing whatever it takes to seek out the islands Goddess and beg for her help.
This was a great read, slow to start but once it got going I could literally feel shivers go up and down my spine.
The Six Tudor Queens, Kathrine of Aragon - Alison Weir
We all know my love for all things of the Tudor period, and when I found out Alison Weir was putting together a book for each of Henry VIII’s queens, I was chomping at the bit to get my hands on them. Taking new findings, letters, research and discoveries that have been made in recent years, Weir weaves together this incredible fictional (yet based in fact) tale of Henry’s first, and, if I’m honest, most hard done to, queen.
See, I get why people are fascinated by Anne, she quite literally caused the King to turn the country upside down to win her hand, and she gave us one of our most magnificent Queens, Elizabeth I. But, if we’re being honest, she also intentionally stole another womans husband. So, there’s that.
My heart went out to Kathryn whilst reading Weir’s book. She went through hell for her husband, her crown and her home. She was cruelly separated from her daughter, Mary, and intentionally sent to damp and desperate lodgings around the country to be kept far from court, Henry, and Anne’s meddling. Regardless, she refused to bend the knee, she held onto everything she believed in and no matter what Henry threw at her, she loved him, with her last dying breath, she not only loved him, but she forgave him.
What have you been reading recently?
Until next time,