My 2016 reads – half time flash reviews


The end of this week will mark the halfway point in this year (as well as my birthday), so I thought this would be the perfect time to review my reading year so far.

I’ve been so bad with my reading this year, I keep picking up book and reading about 80 pages and then moving onto another one… And now I’m eight books behind on my Goodreads goals (and I even read some poetry collections to boost the numbers!) so this is going to be fairly short.

The Worst Witch


[Jill Murphy]

I read this for the writing for the very young section of my course this year, and I was really pleasantly surprised! Everything apart from the plot was the quality you’d expect from an adult book: the characters were funny, the worldbuilding was really unique (a lot of the reviews I read said it was a Harry Potter rip off but it was written way before Hogwarts was even a glint in Rowling’s eye), and the writing style was so sophisticate and non-patronising (is that the right word?? Oh dear.) that it made it easy to read. Despite the fact that I’m about 10 years over the recommended reading age.




[Herman Hesse]

This book was a delight. Definitely my top book of the year so far! Siddhartha is a short, beautifully woven masterpiece. Read it!


The Lost Art


[Simon Morden]

Possibly the worst book I’ve read this year. This was the story of a space wizard travelling through post-apocalyptic Africa being post racist and sexist. And if that description doesn’t captivate you then nothing ever will, I’m sorry.  This genre crossing, meandering mess just couldn’t decided if it wanted to be sci-if or fantasy or a distopian. I’d save yourself the trouble and avoid this one.




[Jez Butterworth]

The first play of the year was a disappointment. I was expecting more from the recommended reading for the intro to scriptwriting course I took but this was dull. Written by one of Skyfall’s screenwriters, this play was just a lot of selfish people doing drugs and swearing. To quote my friend Beth “This is the worst play I’ve ever seen!”




[Julie Murphy]

I had high hopes for this book, but it was more problematic than it’s worth. I wrote a full review of it here.


The Tethers


[Carrie Etter]

This poetry collection was written by Carrie Etter who runs the poetry course I was on this year (I’m kind of in love with her I won’t lie) and God was I lucky to be learning for her. This collection is so raw and honest it brought me to tears. It was easy to read and relatable on far to many levels. If you’ve just gone through a bad break up then this is the collection for you.


His Majesty’s Dragon


[Naomi Novik]

Oh god I loved this book! Dragons fighting in the napoleonic war! It honestly just made me so happy, and I can’t wait to move on the the next eight books. I’m working on a full review for this next week.




[Susan Dennard]

Oh Truthwitch, even now I’m not really sure how I feel about you but I can’t stop thinking about you either. A great female friendship, a hotheaded love interest and a bad guy who falls between the gap of good and bad. I wrote a full review here, but if you’re looking for a fun, slightly confusing read – Thruthwitch is your gal.


The Hunt in the Forest


[John Burnside]

The before mentioned poetry course it my Uni hosted a poetry evening with John Burnside a few months ago (I forced Elly to come with me, I’m not sure she was entirely impressed). Burnside was reading from a yet to be released collection that I really enjoyed, so I went and got a few of his other collections out of the library. The Hunt in the Forest is the only one that I have gotten round to so far. This was a lot more obscure that Etter’s work but a few of the poems really stuck with me (bonus:there was lots of material for writing a great essay about). This is not a collection for poetry beginners.


Antony and Cleopatra

photo (8)

[William Shakespeare]

I was really badly behaved this year, and I barely read any of my set texts for English Lit module I’m doing (seriously though who has time to read Ulysses), but I’m a huge Shakespeare fan girl (and Ant and Cleo is pretty short). I really loved this play, especially the final third – but if you’re not a huge Shakespeare fan you might be better off reading something like A Midsummer Nights Dream  (which is hilarious) or Macbeth (which is had all the blood and violence you’ll ever want). That being said I loved studying it, it’s a play of opposites and it was so fantastic delving into it.


Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief


[Rick Riordan]

Confession time, I’ve never read the Percy Jackson series. I know, I know, how can I claim to be a book blogger and have not read the Percy Jackson series?? Well I saw the film before I read the books. I know rookie mistake, but it completely put me off reading the books (I have learnt from this experience now, don’t worry). Flash forward too many years and The Trials of Apollo comes out and is getting amazing reviews. And I can’t read it because I haven’t read any of Riordan’s Greek series. So now I’m trying to play catch up as kicky as possible. But I thought this book was charming and had such a distinctive narrative voice! It was fab.


A Feast for Crows


[G. R. R. Martin]

To be completely honest I struggled with this book, and it’s pushed me into a really bad reading slump. I’ve got about 5 books on my bedside table at the moment and I’ve read about 20 pages of each. Basically this is an 800 page book dedicated the characters you kind of liked doing boring things like meetings, sitting on boats, riding around the riverlands and watching a dog fight a crab. If it wasn’t for the Iron Island and Dorne (fire and blood people!!) chapters I might have given up.I didn’t help myself really, it took me so long to read this that by the time I got to the end I’d forgotten what had happened at the beginning. However I felt that this book could have been half the length and had more of Tommen’s kittens in it.


And that is everything I’ve read so far this year…

How are you doing with your reading challenge this year? And if you’ve read any of these books I’d love to talk to you about them in the comment!

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Elly                         Lizz

~ Lizz


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