Bookshelf Update #2

I posted my last Bookshelf Update post alllll the way back in November of last year, but with the mountains of uni work I've been ploughing through as part of my Masters degree, I haven't had much time for recreational reading! However, I've collated all of the books I've read since my last update post here to share a huge collective review with you all today! But don't worry, all the reviews are spoiler free, so if you want to pick up any of the books that I've read, the plot twists won't be ruined for you!

Cinder by Marissa Meyer 

This book follows the adventures of Cinder, a sixteen year old girl with a difference. You guessed it, she's a cyborg! Cinder is cast out by her evil stepmother after being blamed for her beloved stepsister contracting a dangerous disease. Cinder becomes a guinea pig in the science lab which is attempting to find a cure, but something miraculous happens.. Cinder discovers a huge secret AND happens to fall in love with a Prince... I absolutely loved this story, it was super engaging from the get-go, and a fantastic futuristic take on a fairytale! Shout out to my lovely friend Tabitha for sending this book to me!

Melancholy Mind by Charlene McElhinney
I'm incredibly proud of my friend Charlene for publishing her first collection of poetry! Melancholy Mind charts Charlene's experiences with anxiety and depression, from the realities of the mental health issues and what they mean to her, to her ongoing recovery. The poetry is very accessible and relatable, and Charlene varies her style and voice throughout, so you're never bored! One of the poems that really touched me was the one in which Charlene describes how her bed is her sanctuary - I have felt exactly the same way when really affected by anxiety, so reading this poem made me feel not quite so alone! I highly recommend this book to anyone!

This novel was used as the basis for the Tim Burton / Johnny Depp musical of the same name, but if you picked up this book expecting the same story as the film, boy you're in for a surprise! The book is very different indeed, it's even darker, and you feel absolutely no sympathy for the character of Sweeney Todd at all, he is very much a hideous monster! The story is incredibly compelling and the short chapters which flit between the various characters and numerous sub-plots keep you engaged until the very end! This book has everything from murder and cannibalism to love, deception, and disguise! I loved it!

A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen
This nineteenth century play gives a fascinating insight into contemporary married life by charting the relationship of seemingly dizzy wife and mother Nora and her husband, Torvald. Torvald patronizes Nora and treats her as his trophy wife, and as a result, she turns to deception to take control of the family's financial situation. Nora really does live in a metaphorical Doll's House, Torvald pulls all the strings and she has very little independence. At the end of the play, when Nora's duplicitous behaviour is uncovered, just how much of a sham their relationship is becomes clear. The play concludes with a twist that I really wasn't expecting! This was a great read!

Best Man by Matt Dunn
I was sent this book by the lovely Charlene, who also reviewed it on her blog! Best Man is the story of Adam, who is horrified when his buddy Nick announces that he is engaged to his gold-digging girlfriend Sandra. Adam is desperate to convince Nick that Sandra's not right for him, whilst he woos a new lover of his own, but does he manage it in the end? You'll have to read and find out! This book is definitely easy reading, I read it in the space of a day. I don't think it was incredibly well written and the story was a bit too predictable for me to really get into it, but it's ok if you're not looking for something too taxing as an evening read!

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
If a short romp is the kind of book you're in the mood for, this is an ideal candidate! The story focuses around Miss Brodie, an unorthodox teacher who gives her class lessons in pretty much everything aside from the curriculum! She becomes close to a group of girls, "the Brodie set" who are intrigued by her tales of her past romances. Miss Brodie also becomes involved with TWO fellow teachers in the school, and her pupils have a lot of fun charting this, as well as Miss Brodie's various run-ins with the headteacher! This book is easy to read and won't take you long to get through at all, great if you're stuggling to find reading motivation!

Washed Away: From Darkness to Light by Nikki DuBose*
Washed Away is a candid and brutal memior, written by model Nikki DuBose, tracking her life from a shy child to through to a successful modelling career. Nikki charts her experiences with sexual violence, eating disorders, addiction, and mental health, being open and honest throughout, even when describing the most harrowing events. I have the upmost respect for Nikki for writing this, she proves that even if you're going through the very darkest days of your life, you will come out the other side, and find strength in recovery. This book is extremely poignant and will stay with you for a long time: a must-read.

Success by Martin Amis
Success is the story of two foster-brothers, living together in a London apartment. Greg is bold, confident, desirable, and successful (with both men and women - including his own sister!). Terry is none of those things, stuck in a job he hates, with no romantic interests. The book is written from both brothers' viewpoints, they often retell the same events with some interesting differences becoming apparent! By the end of the story, the roles of the men have been reversed, but at what cost? The story really kept me engaged and I couldn't put it down! This book comes with a trigger warning for homophobic slurs, rape, misogyny, and sexual violence.

What have you been reading lately? Will you be adding any of these to your TBR list? Share in the comments below!

Until next time,

A x

*Disclaimer: Washed Away by Nikki DuBose was sent to me for free in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.