July 2019 Book Reviews

The fact that it’s winter in New Zealand, I’m on a long break from study and there is not much on Netflix means that I’ve gotten back into reading! When I read, I read like Christchurch demolishes buildings, all at once or not at all. These are my favourite reads of recent. All available on Kindle Books, probably at your local library and more than likely free to read on the app Libby .

Normal People by Sally Rooney

The book that got me out of my reading slump

Normal People, a 2019 release, is a book driven by the story of characters Connell and Marianne. We read about their rocky and real involvements in each other’s lives over the course of their time at high school and college. This book is written with such craft and does well to express the emotional turmoil of both characters and makes you feel deeply for them both. This book is not a romance novel nicely tied up in a bow and easy to digest. What it is, is rough, messy, uncomfortable and raw in all the best ways, it makes you love and its makes you hate both Connell and Marianne. This book reminds me of the quote about Art. “Art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something”. To me this book is a piece of art as you can’t just read it, you ingest it and it brings all your feelings to the surface. It makes you look at yourself, which only the best books do.

If you love a character driven story that will make you have those BIG feelings. This is a must read.

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

The book that surprised me

I picked up this book because from the description I thought it would be another easy read YA romance but what I got out of this book was much more. Living in New Zealand, which has no state religion is very different from living in a bible belt in south Tennessee, where this book is set. This book does well to explain the dynamics and expectations in a town like this. This story is told from the perspectives of three characters who are all outcasts and friends in their last year of High School in Forestville, rural Tennessee.We hear from Lydia, an open minded, witty and creative girl with big dreams to study in New York where she can expand her already successful fashion blog. Lydia can’t wait to get out of Forestville. Dill is a boy in love with Lydia and the son of a controversial and imprisoned preacher, who happened to wrangle snakes. Dill’s responsibilities to his family trap him in Forestville. Our last friend, Travis is obsessed with an epic fantasy saga and uses it to escape the reality of a Dad that torments him.  This book is a wild ride and opened my eyes to lives I would never have experienced otherwise.

If you’re not afraid to cry and you love a well told story you will adore Jeff Zentner’s ,The Serpent King.  

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

The book that made me think like Miss Marple

An out of character murder, a frightening asylum and a women who doesn’t speak, The Silent Patient, an anticipated 2019 release, tells the story of psychiatrist, Theo and his quest to make the infamous murderer Alicia, reveal the truth. This book is gripping with short chapters that mastered cliff hangers. This story telling technique is what kept me turning the pages of the Silent Patient all night long. The Silent Patient is excellent at describing each character and gives the reader compelling insight into the possible motives of each person. I liked how it varied from other mysteries in the way it was told, it never felt hard to read. I did see the twist coming but it didn’t make it any less enjoyable to watch unfold.

If you feel like trying to solve a mystery then this is the book for you.


Looking for more book recommendations? Check out Goodreads, a site for the reading community which has reviews on any book imaginable and is good way to log all the books you have read and want to read. You can follow me on there too if you’d like to keep up with what I’m reading.

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