My Reading Rut: Part 3

I may not actually like reading at the moment, but I do still like talking about reading. So I figured it was time for the third post of my reading rut adventure: covering months April to June and books 10-14 of my thirty book challenge. This definitely got me back to my reading roots – meaning there were a lot of books I was anticipating the release of and fantasy novels. And I actually enjoyed this block of books a lot! Too bad I immediately stopped reading again afterwards… ugh.

The Missing by C.L. Taylor

Another thriller, yes, but one I was waiting for. I loved C.L. Taylor’s previous two thrillers, but something about The Missing just fell flat. I wasn’t as invested in the story as I was with  her previous work. The Lie was one of the most innovative thriller novels I’ve read in years, with The Accident keeping me just as hooked. But with Taylor’s third novel, I just didn’t give a shit. And then the resolution came and I was just like “oh, I still don’t care”. A good book, but not up to her usual standard. If you’ve never read her work before, start with this one and work backwards – that way they’re getting better instead of worse.

I give this book: 3/5 schizophrenic visions

Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch

I have an apology to make to Mr Aaronovitch, because it took me two attempts to read this book. The first was last July and I got about 100 pages into it before giving up. This really bugged me because I absolutely love this series. But I decided to give it another chance and this time it finally clicked. This series definitely does have a pattern of one great book followed by a weaker one, and sadly this book was one of the latter, but that ending definitely made it worthwhile. I won’t dwell too much on this book because I think this series definitely deserves a post on its own, so just know that I’m sorry I doubted you, Peter Grant, and I’m glad I didn’t abandon you.

I give this book: 3.5/5 vengeful ghosts

Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch

You know what I was saying about the quality pattern of this series? Ignore it. Right after finishing book four, I jumped right into number five and I think that Foxglove Summer is my favourite instalment of the series so far – even more than Rivers of London. And I’m not just saying that because it saw the return of my favourite character. Getting out of the city was exactly what this series needed; as was a more standalone case that didn’t revolve around the Big Bad. Think of it as the Peter Grant equivalent of Prisoner of Azkaban. It rejuvenated the series for me after my struggles with the previous book and made me fall in love with the world all over again. And props for the great Good Omens reference, which brings us nicely to book four.

I give this book: 5/5 creepy unicorns

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

For as long as I can remember, everyone has been telling me to read this book. Although I’ve never read any Pratchett, I am a huge Gaiman fan and was assured I’d love this story. I bought the book years ago, excited to get down to reading it, and what happened? It just fell flat. I tried so hard to persevere but in the end gave up. Which makes me wonder what happened this time around because… I loved it. On my second attempt reading this book, everything fell into place and I finally got all the love for it. It’s witty, gripping, and original – basically all the things you’d want out of a fantasy novel. Crowley might just be one of my favourite literary characters ever.

I give this book: 4/5 Queen CDs

The Girls by Emma Cline

I don’t really have to go into too much detail on this book because I already wrote a whole post about it over here. It’s not like anything else I’ve ever read before – so dreamy and relaxing yet somehow totally dangerous. It nicely broke up my fantasy to thriller to oh look another fantasy pattern as well as seamlessly slipping me into summer.

I give this book: 5/5 charismatic cult leaders

I’m clearly behind in this whole book review thing – and if I want to get everything up by 2o17 then I’ll need to get a move on. Of course, that would also entail catching up on my reading itself. We are comfortably in November now and I still have six to go. Wish me luck.

The Girls by Emma Cline Review


I’ve gotta be honest, recently I’ve been in a real reading slump. I’ve been buying so many books and then just… giving up. Nothing has caught my attention. But that all changed with The Girls by Emma Cline. I first saw this book pop up in the Booktube community a couple of months ago and immediately added it to my TBR. I just love cults, but I usually only get my creepy obsessive fill from reading Wikipedia pages at 3AM. But now I have this baby, and its simultaneously everything I wanted and didn’t know I wanted from a book on cults.

One of my favourite books of the last few years has been Vivian Versus The Apocalypse by Katie Coyle, which was another look at a cult-like phenomenon as told by a teenage girl. But despite a similar premise, they were such totally different books. And not for the obvious reasons like The Girls being set in the 1960s and VvsTA being a contemporary novel, or like VvsTA being a much more YA-focused story. Because as much as I loved the Vivian Apple series, her involvement always felt too big to me. Which is something you definitely don’t get with Cline’s novel. The protagonist, Evie, doesn’t change the world. She doesn’t stop the horrendous crimes from happening. She doesn’t have any control. And that’s why it’s so great. Not everyone who stumbles onto a cult becomes a major player, most people are on the outskirts of the action. Evie gets sucked into the cult, but she’s never in control, she never fully knows what’s going on around her. And neither do we for the majority of the story. We get snippets from Adult Evie in the future and can guess about future events from what Evie witnesses at the compound, but she is never the one making these decisions. We experience the cult from her powerless position, just as we would if we were the ones in that situation.

Usually in books like this, I’d be demanding more murder. More action. More blood. But not in this case. What drew me in was the dynamics of the compound and the cult mentality that gets these people do do what they do, something I think Cline portrays very well. Besides, if I wanted to read about the gory details or the major players, I’d read the Charles Manson biography. You don’t really get to see things from the perspective of the outsiders, and even if this account is a fictional one, its got to be rooted in reality.

Despite my going on about realism, a word I’d definitely use to describe this book would be dreamy. So much emphasis is put on the summer this happens in. From Evie’s lazy days before discovering the girls and even her time at the camp. And maybe it’s just because I’m a British person currently dying in 35 degree Spanish heat, but I’m damn sure I felt that Californian summer and I’m damn sure a lot of it was from Cline’s amazing use of language. It really helped to empathise with Evie, and there weren’t many times I experienced a “girl, why are you doing that?” type of moment. Some people might find the writing style a little pretentious, but I didn’t get that vibe. To me, it’s everything that We Were Liars tried and failed to do. Evie is super bored, so to me it makes sense that her way of describing things is a little long winded. What else has she got to do with her time? And when she’s joined the girls, she’s obsessed, so of course she’s going to be taking in all these little details.

I think this a book that anyone can enjoy, weird statutory rape scenes aside (but after IT by Stephen King, I’m pretty much numb to those). You don’t need to be obsessed with cults, or history, or weird descriptive novels. It’s got something for everyone, which is why I think the hype around it is so big right now. Excellent writing, an interesting plot, and a great lazy vibe to it that makes it the perfect summer read. Go forth, devour, and be thankful you didn’t join a cult when you were fourteen.

I give it 5/5 mind-controlled psychopaths.