The Polka Dot Book Shelf: August

“Love to see more book reviews!”

“I love your book posts, please do more.”

Guys, you’ve shot yourselves in the foot here. In keeping with the requests for an upping in the book posts, I’ve decided to open my bookshelf to the masses (read: the people who read this blog) and recap over everything I marked “as read” each month on my Goodreads account.

So, here we go with August. With two trips away, combined with finishing in work, I’ve had a good chunk of time to eat through a few books. I’ve had plenty of opportunities to buy new books, too.

The Princess Diaries: Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot

When I heard there was a new Princess Diaries book coming out I completely lost it. So you can imagine how delighted I was to find it in WH Smith in Newcastle (read: extremely.)

The book picks up six years after the tenth book finished; Mia is now turning 26 and her and Michael are still together. No spoilers, because as the title (and the blurb, so definitely no surprises there) Michael proposes to her. But there’s a few bumps on the road before Mia and Michael can put a ring on it, mostly thanks to Mia’s as-eccentric-as-ever family (yes, Grandmere is still knocking around. She must be pushing the 100 by now though?)

I loved the book. There were a few exclamations of “I remember you” as I read through the book- most of the main characters from the series feature again in this offering. The subplots running in tandem to the main story will shock a few people, and one in particular will warm every heart.

The Single Girl’s To Do List by Lindsey Kelk

Light, fluffy and quick, this is the second of Lindsey Kelk’s books that I’ve read. Rachel Summers finds herself single after a five year relationship, and struggles to adjust to her new status. Her friends Matthew and Emelie set her out a list of ten things to do to help her settle into the role, and to get her mind off her ex. But it looks like there’s plenty going out outside the list to do that.

This would be the prefect book to read if just coming out of a break yourself. Not only is it hilarious at the best of times (a redeocoration stint that led to graffiting the walls springs to mind), but Rachel’s determination and attitude will remind anyone that there is life after “we need to talk”.

As I read this book, I kept imagining it as a film straight out of Hollywood (Emma Stone was in the leading role, if you must know) and this was the same for the last of Kelk’s books I’d read. This is chick lit at its finest.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

This was the first of Rowell’s books I’d bought in Newcastle, so it seemed only fair it should be the first I would read. I wasn’t let down.

A book from the YA corner, it was perfect for me because it featured one thing I have always loved in literature- twins. I’ve had an obsession with twins for a lot of my life.

The couplet in this novel, Cath and Wren, are polar opposites. While Wren embraces her new student status in college, Cath is much happier to sit in her room and write fan fiction based on her favourite series. (Yeah Cath was a little like me.) Cath now has to decide whether she’s ready to let people into her life- be they from her present or her past.

I adore YA fiction and I absolutely ate this one up. It definitely put me in the mood for more of Rowell’s work. And to start my own fiction writing again. That bit didn’t go as well.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell 

Like I said, I had a taste for Rowell’s stuff, and I wanted more.

Eleanor is new school, and her fiery red hair makes her stand out above the crowd. One person whose eye she catches is Park, from a Korean background. The two sit in the same seat on the bus to school, and sharing a comic book on the journey to/from school each day sparks up a new friendship.

The novel also gives an insight to their respective home lives, giving us the chance to meet Eleanor’s abusive stepfather and Park’s traditional mother.

Reader, you are my friend, and I believe you should never lie to your friends. So here it is: I couldn’t finish this book. I gave up around when our two heroes were preparing for prom. I found the book dragged a little for me, and I didn’t care much for many of the secondary characters. There were so many of them I found myself losing count- anyone know who Tina was?

Eleanor, much more than Park, irritated me. Her overuse of “God” every couple of sentences had me rolling my eyes (ironically, I was showing my disdain at teenage behaviour by engaging in the very act).

But, their relationship was quite cute. So I give her props for that.

Meet and Delete by Pauline Lawless

Im a sucker for chick lit. I really am.

Just weeks before her dream wedding, Megan is stood up by her fiancé Paul (same name as my former boss, who recently got married.) She moves in with her friends Viv and Claire, each of whom are unlucky in love and decide to chance online dating.

Throw in Claire’s sister Sarah, and Megan’s “mutton dressed as lamb” mother Daphne, and you just have complete chaos.

The stories presented in the online dating escapades are real as anything- I too have had horrifically boring first dates, and guys who were maybe a little too interested. But some of the characters were so painful and egotistical it made me cringe. Certain aspects of the story didn’t add up either; would you go on a date mere days after being released from the clutches of your stalker? Overall, I thought the book was about 100 pages longer than it needed to be.

That said, I did feel a little sorry for the outcome of Sarah’s situation. Unfortunately, that’s becoming a little more prevalent these days too.

Bonus throwback mention to aWear- remember them?

Asking For It by Louise O Neill

Louise’s first offering, last year’s Only Ever Yours , was one of my favourite books from last year. When I heard she had a new novel coming out in early September, I hunted it down as a bloodhound would a fox. I found it in Easons on Cork’s Patrick Street and nearly died of excitement.

Emma O’Donovan is 18, beautiful, popular, and has it all. Until a party one night turns her world completely on its head. Her friends are against her. Her parents can barely look at her. But is she really in the clear? Howmany lives- including her own- has she destroyed?

I planned to finish it within the day. It took me two. Mainly because this was one of the toughest books I’ve ever read. I had to take a LONG deep breath after finishing, which was hard because I’d fallen down the stairs two days previous and bruised three ribs.

Much like Only Ever Yours, the plot was terrifying and very much male dominated- and it goes to show that no, slut shaming hasn’t been buried yet, unfortunately. There are some pretty dark themes running throughout, including references to death threats, and this is definitely not one for the faint of heart.

That said, this should be mandatory reading for everyone. It should be on the Leaving Cert syllabus. It should be left in hotel rooms in lieu of the Bible. Trust me- this is one book you simply have to pick up.

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3 thoughts on “The Polka Dot Book Shelf: August

  1. Really great post! I haven’t read any of these but there are a few I need to add to my Goodreads list. I also may take inspiration from this post. I am the opposite in that I love doing book reviews but they are not my most popular posts. Maybe I will do a round up like this each month instead.

  2. I love Fangirl! I relate so well to Cath and her insecurities! Also I totally agree with you about Asking For It. It’s such an important read! Equally as important, but less talked about now is Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak. I have Only Ever Yours on my TBR for August this month!

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