The most wonderful thing is the return of theatre. And August has been my lucky month – as I have been able to return to both Stratford and London to enjoy all things theatre – and it has made me so incredibly happy.
In Stratford, it was the chance to see ‘The Comedy of Errors’ at the RSC’s outdoor theatre. It was an absolute joy, and the perfect way to be welcomed back to The Royal Shakespeare Company. Played completely for its joyful, slapstick comedy, the company appeared to be having the time of their lives (come rain or shine), and you cannot feel anything other than sheer happiness being in the audience. This is also a fantastic play if you are looking to dip your toe into the Shakespeare experience.
The West End was a chance to see ‘Hairspray’ – selected as I hoped I would see Michael Ball but, unfortunately he was indisposed. However, this did not take away from all the musical magic of ‘Hairspray’. The moment the first note was heard in the theatre, the atmosphere was absolutely electric. Another outstanding performance from the whole company. In fact, so brilliant that there was cheering and clapping throughout – and even a standing ovation after ‘I Know Where I’ve Been’. ‘Hairspray’ has so many important messages, that are still so important today, that it is just a timeless show – and if you can see it, I would really recommend it.
So, the theatres being back has just been the most wonderful emotional rollercoaster. Let us all hope that the show goes on because, oh my goodness, I have missed it.
The rookie error of a bookworm – needing an emergency book because you have finished the one you have with you. However, often that leads to some wonderful book discoveries, and that is how I found ‘Wranglestone’. I was aware of the book but did not know a great deal about it.
‘Wranglestone’ is a book about acceptance, but wrapped up in a zombie story. Wranglestone is a settlement of those that are ‘alive’, trying to stay safe from the ‘dead’. Peter lives with is dad and is in love with Cooper (although he is pretty sure he does not see him). However, Cooper has seen him and together they find out that the life they have accepted may not all be as it seems.
I really enjoyed this book – and the message that it delivers to its readers. This would not always be my first choice of book, but I am so glad that I took a chance on it, because it is a brilliant YA read.
For ‘The Unread Sjelf Project 2021’, the August prompt is ‘A book from an independent bookstore’. so for me, that was ‘The Miseducation of Evie Epworth’. And what a joyful read this book is. I would love to have an Evie in my life.
This book felt like a hug – just a wonderful piece of escapism and a spot-on read for the summer months.
Evie Epworth is 16 years old, and it is the summer after her O Levels. She has dreasm of taking her education further. although her soon-to-be stepmother has other ideas. After all ‘girls don’t need an education’. However, Evie is not a fan of this scarlet woman who had he claws into her father, ‘Arthur’. So, with a little help from her friends (a great collection of characters), a plan is put in place that will hopefully prevent the gaining of the unwanted stepmother. And, maybe, Evie will find out a little more about her deceased mother too.
There is just so much humour and charm on every page of this book, that it was simply a joy. And I am not too proud to admit that I may have shed a couple of tears reading the final pages. I think we should all be a little more Evie.
We have been reunited with Pip for one final time as we reach the end of her trilogy. Like so many, this was a most anticipated read of 2021 for me. I was so excited to see how Holly Jackson would conclude this for us all.
You can feel the tension from the first page of this YA thriller. Pip is clearly suffering from the events of her last case, but there is still a mystery to solve. Who is taunting her and stalking her? And why? And is it linked to the case of the Duct Tape Killer and another miscarriage of justice?
This book has everything we love: Pip, Ravi, Pip’s family and friends, and her usual determination. However, as much as I enjoyed reading this book, I am not sure if all of the action was ‘realistic’ or true to the Pip we know. I realise that this is about Pip dealing with trauma and her own ideas about a miscarriage of justice, but I was just not completely convinced I could see some of the behaviour as true to her previous actions.
But, don’t get me wrong, I loved the book and, like so many, I am sad that we have come to the end of Pip’s story. And I am definitely imagining the best future for her…and Ravi.
Holly Jackson has given us a wonderfully engaging YA trilogy, and I hope that we will hear more from her soon.
I was part of the Tandem Collective UK readalong of ‘100 Poems to Save the Earth’, and was kindly gifted a copy to read.
I do not usually pick up poetry to read. No particular reason for this other than I just don’t think to chose it. However, this collection is one that can spark real debate about our planet. In fact throughout, I felt we were reminded that the planet is ours to take care of – now. As well as making me think about how lucky we are to have the Earth – but also the fine balancing act at times between looking after people and the planet. However, as you read, you will think about the things you can do to help beautiful planet earth.
This collection of poems definitely proved how powerful poetry can be and how the individual interpretation of poetry is one of the beauties of reading it. I hope that many readers can pick up a copy of these poems and that it may encourage them to make a small change that could have a big impact on our planet.
This book is one of the most brilliant books I have ever read – in fact, for me, I am pretty sure it could be one of my books of the year. I am very grateful that Miss W lent it to me.
This story is told within three hours – as the police try to prevent a secondary school and its pupils from becoming the victims of shooters. I really do not want to give away the plot in too much detail; this book has to be read to be fully appreciated.
The novel is well constructed and told through the eyes of different characters living through the titular three hours – those that are in the school, and those trying to prevent potentially tragic events. You follow their experiences, their investigation and their strength – often through their personal thoughts, rather than what they are sharing with others. It is a dramatic read, but not sensationalised, which is one of the things that makes it such a fantastic read. You really are really are reading a page-turner, right up to the very final page.
Bookstagram made me do it. I may as well get that out of the way as I bought this book despite all of the ones on my tbr pile.
However, I have no regrets. This book is a brilliant ‘whodunnit’ – with a fantastic title that has two meanings in this novel – and you are pretty much teh detective. The story is told through emails, text messages, police interviews and the odd newspaper article. So, as a reader, you are drip-fed the evidence as you try to solve the crime. It makes the book incredibly readable but, also, it’s quite a talent of Janice Hallett to be able to put together the story in such intricate detail – ensuring there are no losse ends. As well as creating real characters and all the additional drama that can be created within a small community.
I really can’t recommend this book enough. A new and edgy crime novel which is perfect for those who are longstanding fans of the genre – or those who may want to find a new genre to enjoy.
Never has a book wanted to make it so clear it is a sensation novel, and that just makes it wonderful.
For July’s pick for the Victorian sensation book club, we read ‘The Doctor’s Wife’ and it was a joy. Written as a ‘response’ to ‘Madame Bovary’, this is the tale of Isabel Gilbert and her unhappy marriage to Doctor Gilbert. Isabel is a romantic; she believes in love and the love of novels she has read, but her husband just doesn’t seem to understand her. Is there a man out there who will? Why did Isabel not wait to meet him?
This is a classic piece of literature. But, for me, Braddon had some fun with it too, ensuring it hit that sensation genre. With quite a comment on society and the experiences of women along the way.
If you are a fan of classic literature, you will enhou this novel.
This is a book that certainly deserves its place on the shortlist for the ‘Women’s Prize for Fiction’. There is so much that shines through in this book – even if it is a rather intense and difficult read at points. It will certainly take any reader some time to digest.
What struck me the most about this book was the use of the word ‘paradise’ and how, in fact, everything present in this book, for all the characters, is the complete antithesis of ‘paradise’.
Two women, Lala (a native of Barbados) and Mira (a wealthy holiday maker), are both living in ‘paradise’. However, their lives both take tragic turns at the hands of the same man. These women are not as different from each other as they would both think.
This is a story about the choices we make, the impact those have on the future, and the lengths people will go to – and the strength they have to survive.
This ia really well-written book, which is incredibly engaging. When books tackle tough topics, it is always difficult to think you ‘enjoy’ them, but this is a book I certainly appreciate.
Please be aware that there is quite a number of potentially triggering topics covered in this novel.