I think it’s safe to say that I’ve been in a massive reading slump for the last month, maybe even two. Today’s post includes one book from October and then everything I’ve read in November up to this point, so I’ve definitely been struggling more than usual. NaNoWriMo was taking up a lot of my time and energy, and I’ve just not been feeling like myself mentally. But we’re here to talk about books, so let’s get to that.
The Sunbearer Trials (The Sunbearer Duology #1) by Aiden Thomas
I was really nervous going into this one—I really didn’t like Aiden Thomas’ last book Lost in the Neverwoods and I’ve never managed to get through Cemetery Boys, so the odds were kind of stacked against this one. But this seemed a bit different from those two so I thought I’d give it a shot. I’m honestly still a little surprised that I loved this from the very beginning. It’s a little slow to start and there’s a lot of world-building done in the first 80-100 pages, but it still really grabbed me. I loved the world building aspects through the whole book—it feels very rich and detailed but it’s still reasonably easy to follow along. My favourite thing was getting to see the different parts of this world as the trials moved along. There are a couple of things that take inspiration from our world, like some social media and things—I think that was honestly the only thing I didn’t love about this book. Some of the references just took me out of the story too much. Okay, so maybe I didn’t love the characters either—there’s nothing wrong with them but I just felt kind of ambivalent about Teo. I liked that he supported and protected his friends, but beyond that he was just alright. I absolutely loved Xio though—he gave me some strong Nico di Angelo vibes and I love him. I really liked the actual trials, sometimes in books the sort of trials/competition trope doesn’t grab me, but I don’t know what it was about these ones but I was really intrigued by them. All in all, this was absolutely fantastic and I can’t wait for the next book.
Zeus Is A Dick by Susie Donkin
I was so excited for this one because I love Greek mythology, especially retellings or reinterpretations, but unfortunately this one did not live up to my excitement. This one presents itself as being a humorous retelling of the myths, mostly focusing around Zeus and his dickheadedness, which it is but it really doesn’t go beyond that. I was hoping for a little bit of critical interpretation but it really is just the retelling. That didn’t really work for me—it felt like every other slightly humorous retelling of the myths and I finished the book feeling like I’d just wasted my time. If nothing else, this is at least a quick read and if your someone who isn’t overly well-versed in the Greek myths or hasn’t tried reading a humorous take on them before, then this might be more enjoyable to you than it was for me. But otherwise, I’d honestly give this one a pass.
Love On The Brain by Ali Hazelwood
This was one of my most anticipated reads of the year, having loved The Love Hypothesis when I read it in February. I was so nervous going into this but I’m happy to say that I loved it. In fact, I think this might even beat out The Love Hypothesis for me. I loved Bee—I loved her obsession with Marie Curie and her sense of humour, but also the loneliness and anger she felt sometimes. I loved Levi as well—he’s downright adorable. I loved the tension between them and the sweet moments as well. There was so much to this book beyond just the romance. Bee was previously in a toxic relationship and we see the aftermath of that and the way things like that stick with you. There’s also a lot about women in STEM and the problems they face—I love seeing things like this. I love it when books dismantle prejudiced views from our own world without seeming preachy, and I love seeing women (or female characters) being badasses and confident in whatever field they work in. For me, this definitely ticked off all the boxes and I’m excited to see what Ali Hazelwood comes out with next.
Five Little Pigs (Poirot #24) by Agatha Christie
It’s always nice to be back with Poirot, even though I’ve been watching so much of the show lately that I could just hear David Suchet speaking all of Poirot’s lines but honestly, no complaints there. I really enjoyed the different way that this one was set-up—I liked that it was an old case but one that was new to Poirot, but also how it was split into three different parts and with the different accounts from the people involved. It was a really interesting way of putting the mystery together and it was fun to read through the account and try and pick them apart and work out the murderer for myself. Of course, I didn’t manage to do that because Christie always manages to pull a fast one but that’s why I enjoy reading her so much. This doesn’t rank in my top 5 Poirot’s, but it was a really fun one nonetheless and I had a really good time reading it. I’m trying to read quite a few of these this month, so be prepared to be bombarded with Poirot reviews for the next months. I’d say I’m sorry, but I’m really not.
A Few Right Thinking Men (Rowland Sinclair #1) by Sulari Gentill
You might be able to tell that I’m in a bit of a historical mystery mood at the moment. I’d been planning to read this one for ages—it was sent to me by my friend Mel as part of a video/challenge that I started last year but I just hadn’t gotten to this one until now. I was nervous about this one because I don’t usually read any crime/mystery outside of Christie and occasionally Ngaio Marsh and Dorothy L. Sayers, but I was pleasantly surprised by it. I will say that this one is kind of light on the mystery aspect really—there is a murder, but the story feels more about politics than anything else. Usually, I’m not into that sort of story outside of some court/political intrigue in fantasy, but there was something about this one that grabbed me. It’s definitely slow-paced and yet I found it really hard to tear myself away from it and I don’t entirely know why. The characters are interesting but as this is only the first book in the series, they aren’t overly fleshed out yet. I really liked Rowland’s friends and the obvious love and support between them all, and I can’t wait to see where that will develop in the next book. All in all, I think this is a very solid start to the series and I’m excited for the rest of them. I’ve already got book two on hold for me at the library so you’ll probably be seeing that soon.
That’s it from me today. Have you read any of these? What have you been reading recently?