I took full advantage of my holiday and spent most of my January lying by the pool with a book. I re-read some old favourites, found time for a classic, read a highly-anticipated recent release and more.
1. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
I did a full re-read of the entire series over December last year and January. God, I love this series. It's like coming home every time I pick it up again. Growing up, Prisoner of Azkaban was my favourite book, but after re-reading the series I think I might have found a new favourite. This book contains a good amount of light-hearted moments while still amping up the more dark and terrifying elements of the series. Also I'm a sucker for Hinny.
2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
I've never truly been satisfied by the ending of a book series, but this is probably the best one I've read. The series concludes in a neat way, but not too neat (looking at you, Twilight), and when re-reading the series overall it never seems like J.K. Rowling was coming up with things as she went along. I will say, though, that I will never not be angry about the names Harry and Ginny gave their children. Albus Severus? Lily Luna? What were you thinking, Harry? You know Ginny has parents too? You know Dumbledore and Snape both sucked, right? I'd rather they named their son Fleamont than name him after those two.
Like with The Cursed Child, I like to completely ignore the epilogue. In my mind, Harry and Ginny named their kids James Sirius, Lillian Molly, Arthur Fred and Remus Rubeus. Yeah, I gave them another kid. Oh, and Harry was a great dad to them all.
Y'know what, give them a Minerva too. I give them permission to resort to Luna after that.
3. Wonder by R. J. Palacio
I like the storyline of this book, but it just didn't capture me. I think that's because it felt very childish, which it should because it's a children's book. But it felt a bit like the author was trying too hard to sound like a child.
4. Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak
I love Markus Zusak's work. The Book Thief and The Messenger are two of my all-time favourite books. Maybe it's because I had such high expectations, but this book wasn't as good as his other works. That being said, I did enjoy it. It took a while to get into it for me, but I do think I needed all the backstory. It's a very touching story. Some of the topics in this hit a little too close to home for me, though, and I spent a few nights crying over it in bed. I'd definitely recommend this book, but just know you have to stick with it because it takes a while to grab you.
5. Crossing The Line by Dianne Bates
This was a random book I found in an op-shop for a couple dollars. And it was weird. I'm all for reading books that invite you into a completely different headspace, but this book irked me. Parts of it felt wildly unrealistic, like the romantic plot. I also didn't like the conclusion of the book, because I felt like the main character's mental illness wasn't properly dealt with. I'm not sure if you could even find this in a book store, but I'd give it a pass if you do.
6. Simon Vs. The Homo-Sapien Agenda by Becky Albertelli
Hmm. I think I prefer the movie. Which is a very bold statement, I know. I know some other people were annoyed by changes made in the movie, but I was honestly very okay with them. Maybe that's because I consumed them in the wrong order, though. I feel though, that the movie (and director Greg Berlanti) better captured the voice of Simon. Something about the novel just felt off. I still might pick up some of Albertelli's other works, though.
7. Amazinger Face by Zoe Foster Blake
Yes, this counts. I learnt some delightful things about skincare in this book, and would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in such things. Also, it's pretty and looks nice on coffee tables and in bathrooms.
8. As You Wish by Chelsea Sedoti
I've insisted my mum read this book so that we can discuss our thoughts on it. I had very mixed feelings about this book. First, why do so many YA authors give all their characters odd names. It's just unrealistic. Sure, a few characters can have unique names. But this is set in the real world, and we all know that world is made up of mainly Jessicas, Sarah, Daniels and Jacks. Giving everyone unique names is just distracting. This book's depiction of the consequences of getting what you wished for was interesting, I'll admit, and the main reason I bought this book. That was probably my favourite part of the novel, but it felt like the novel started in one place with that as the main focus and finished in a completely different dimension. While I didn't love the protagonist, I thought the author was trying too hard to make a point with the ending.
9. Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut
It took me a few chapters to realise that I'd started this book a few years ago and never finished it. I actually quite enjoyed this book, I found it's mixture of sci-fi elements and the jarring realities of war to be quite intriguing. I can see why it's a classic. It's not my favourite book, but I think it's one of those books everyone should have a go at.