April Reads

A much slower month for reading last month – I thought I was only going to finish one book which would have made for a really interesting review post I’m sure! Happily, I did manage to complete 3 books – I really must stop reading more than one book at a time – it really slows me down, dotting between the two (or more). Thats my resolution for this month anyhow!

Honour but Elif Shafak

I was sent this book as part of my involvement with the BritMums Book Club. I hadn’t heard of it previously (but since then, every shop I go in has got it staring me in the face). My first impression was that I loved the cover and couldn’t wait to get started. I was away for a few days in the caravan which always makes for perfect reading conditions – no internet or tv and exhausted kids that go to sleep early. Bliss! Right from the beginning I was hooked – I have talked her before about being interested in anything that involves twins, so this book was perfect for me.

The story of Turkish/Kurdish twins, Pembe and Esma. Pembe leaves her country to live in London with her husband and 3 children. The story concentrates on Iskender, the eldest son who is shortly to be released from prison, where he has been serving a sentence for an ‘Honour killing’. I don’t want to say too much about the story and spoil it, if you haven’t read it and intend to. You will really want to get to know the characters and get to the end of the story. The writing is wonderful, you get to see the situation from different points of view.

This is a book that has stayed with me throughout the month – I highly recommend it as a page turner but beware, other books might not seem quite so good afterwards!

A very rare 5 out of 5 for this one. (If you search for this book, you might also find it called Iskender from a previous title)

The Princess Diaries – Meg Cabot

Every now and then, I will read a YA Novel. My 10yo had just finished reading this book and happened to mention that a boy in her class called it a ‘dirty book’. Now, I know the boy in question and am tempted to think that anything more adult than Biff, Chip & Kipper would be ‘dirty’ in his eyes, so wasn’t immediately alarmed. It did make me stop and think though – how much do I know what my child is reading and what age are the Princess Diaries aimed at?

I saw the Princess Diaries 2 film on Boxing Day this year and completely loved it and fell in love with Anne Hathaway (who need Les Mis?) The film was very mild so I wasn’t expecting anything naughty either.

I did find the language slightly more grown up that usual though – not in a rude way but a long words type of way. I do wonder how much of the book passed my daughter by.

The main character, Mia is 14 and finds out during the course of book 1 that she is actually a Princess – The Princess of Genovia. Its a pleasant story, Mia seems a nice girl – she falls out with her mate but of course in true teenage fiction style, they make up at the end. There is talk of bodily functions – testicular cancer, periods, infertility which leads me to think that perhaps 10 is slightly younger than the target audience. I’m thinking perhaps 13-14 is an ideal age for these books.

I have since started Princess Diaries: Take Two which starts off with talk of s*x (I’m not a prude – I just don’t want the spammers hitting my blog). I do want to know how Mia gets on with being a Princess though and so far, she hasn’t been anywhere near Genovia!

3 out of 5 (but I may be being a bit unfair as I am definitely older than the target audience!)

(Image courtesy of http://www.carolinesmailes.co.uk)

The Drowning of Arthur Braxton by Caroline Smailes

Oh this author is very clever! The talent of being able to use just a few words to really convince a reader that someone is truly horrific and creepy. Just incredible.

I was completely gripped at the start of the book. Lauren, a teenager goes to work in The Oracle, an old Edwardian baths where miracles are said to occur in the water.

I knew absolutely nothing about the book and that there is a twist on what I was expecting as I went through the story. All I knew was, I really enjoyed Caroline Smailes’ last book, Like Bees To Honey.

This was a complete change from the type of book I would usually read – I’m strictly a realistic fiction type of girl and this story stretched me. I needed to continue though, the writing was just too good to stop once I realised what the book was about (Yep, you guessed it, I’m not going to tell you) – I really enjoyed the end. My questions were answered but not in a way that I felt everything was being sewn up for the sake of it.

Throughout the book, there are passages about constant heavy rain – It has been a rainy sort of week here. Every time I get soaked or look out of the window, I’m drawn back to the book. Sure sign of a good writer.

4 out of 5 – I reckon this would be a brilliant book to be discussed at a book group. The characters are so strong that people would be likely to have strong views and plenty to discuss.

In other news, Violet and I are reaching the end of the 3rd Wishing Chair adventures book – I’ve loved how we snuggle down to have a chapter and we have sometimes enjoyed ourselves that much, that we have read 2 a night. No mean feat when you have already done 2 school reading books a night too! Next on her list is the Magic Faraway Tree. I’d like her to go for Malory Towers or St Clare’s but she is adamant.

Millie has also discovered a love for reading (just in time for SATS!) I’ve been scouring the internet for recommended authors for a 10yo and discovered Cathy Cassidy. I ordered Cherry Crush (book 1 in the Chocolate Girls series) and I swear I have never known Millie be so obsessed about a book. Book 2 and 3 are on order as an end of SATS treat – I hope they are here by Friday! Highly recommended and the lead character’s name is Costello!


  1. says

    Great to read your review of Honour and glad you enjoyed it as much as I did. I’m currently reading Faraway Tree with my daughter and the Wishing Chair is a great prompt as I loved that too! Will look out for The Drowning of Arthur B. Is it creepy?

    • Helen says

      A little bit! But strangely compelling – you just have to keep reading to get the answers. Very clever.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *