Review Roundup: January

January can always seem like such a gloomy month.  You’ve got a WHOLE year to contend with and no doubt there’s a few resolutions or diet-type adjustments that are plaguing your days.  So what could be nicer than a selection of mini reviews of all the books I read over Christmas and into the new year?  It’s nice for me at least because it stops me bingeing on The Crown (I need to pace season 2 after doing season 1 in one weekend).

It Had To Be You by Keris Stainton

I LOVE KERIS! She is the Queen of Contemporary romance and that quirky bread of romance comedies that have the same sweetness as classic Nora Ephron movies.  I’m a sucker for When Harry Met Sally and this is for fans of that kind of snappy dialogue and delicate, yet messy, romance.  You’re gonna love this one and I love seeing Keris’ writing go from strength to strength with each new novel.  Superstar human being sprinkles her magic on her lovely words is how I’d sum this review up.

I Stop Somewhere by T.E. Carter

This one is DEFINITELY not for the faint-hearted and deals with some very strong and violent themes.  I Stop Somewhere follows the tale of one young girl who has died and her story after the fact.  We see through her eyes the life she left behind, her memories of the life before her murder and seeing those that wronged her carry on their lives.  I found this book compelling and rather daunting at times because it is fairly graphic for a book aimed at a YA audience but not through hard details but hints at the horrid acts that the characters experience or undertake.  One that is sure to be talked about a lot nearer its release date in April.  Very well executed and worth the time and heartache.

36 Questions That Changed My Mind About You by Vicki Grant

This was a warm welcome of a book after reading something so grim and hard-hitting.  36 Questions is gonna be one for the summer that appeals to fans of books like the above Keris Stainton.  In fact you probably buy them together and save yourself looking for something to keep that sweet romance cute-meet feeling going.  When two people meet as part of a psychological test about human interaction; can 36 questions make them like each other or even fall in love?  Is it the questions or the answers that do the work or, just maybe, it was meant to be?  A super-speedy read but nice to have a light-hearted treat done well.

The Unpredictability of Being Human by Linni Ingemundsen

I read this one during that long break between Christmas and New Years, which isn’t really that long but feels like a weird limbo space when no one can remember how to eat proper veg or what day it is.  This book has a real special something about it and I think it could be to do with the Scandinavian tone about it that has a certain charming oddness.  The main character, Malin, seems to have trouble understanding the world around her and communicating in the same way as everyone else but it doesn’t stop her wanting the same things: friendship, closeness, love.  We see Malin witness big changes in her life and those close to her but not always knowing what to do with her thoughts and feelings about what is happening.  A good book to try if you want something that’s a bit different in style than other YA books on the market.

The Sacrifice Box by Martin Stewart

This was an unsolicited book I got in the post which I don’t always rush to pick up but when a book is pitched as Stranger Things meets Stephen King for YA, I felt it was my duty to give it a go.  This is an odd book but not in the way you might think.  When I started it, I did have trouble remember who was who and how they were connected because there was a lot going on initially but it soon picked up and I got into the story but I struggled to really love this as much as Stranger Things.  I can see why it’s been pitched this way but apart from weird stuff happening to a group of friends in the 1980s it just didn’t have that same special something about it for me.  The events felt rushed at times and some things were left unexplained by the end that I kinda wanted answered.  I won’t leave spoilers here but I’d be interested to know what other people thought about this one and how it stands up next to something like Stephen King’s work if that’s how it’s being sold.

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