I didn’t do a huge amount of reading last month, I was crippled by migraines for all too much of March and reading was the last thing I wanted to (or could) do! I decided to have a relatively easy month by re-reading a couple of things.
The first book I read in March has now been firmly placed in my books Hall of Fame (it’s a picky old place, not many books make it into my distinguished favourites list, although you should know that there is a book called The Baby Blue Cat Who Said No in there along with the Alfie & Annie Rose Treasury).
A Head Full of Ghosts – Paul Tremblay
The Lives of the Barretts, a suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia. To her parents’ despair, the doctors are unable to halt Marjorie’s descent into madness. As their stable home desolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality television show.
Fifteen years later, a bestselling writer interviews Marjorie’s younger sister, Merry. As she recalls the terrifying events that took place when she was just eight years old, long buried secrets and painful memories begin to surface – and a mind-bending tale of psychological horror is unleashed.
This book really was a terrifying delight to read, I read it over a couple of nights and each night I had to put the book face down and inside my drawer when I’d finished. You know, for protection. At one point it nearly had to go in the freezer.
The book switches between the interview between Merry, a blogger who we find out quite early on is Merry reviewing a re-run of The Possession on her very popular blog (the readers of her blog don’t know that she is the sister from the show) and Merry’s accounts of the events that took place. Each switch is a nice non-confusing transition meaning that the book flows really nicely.
As Merry recalls what happened to her sister which ends in a horrifying, giant, massive twist of chaotic fear, I found myself compelled to keep reading on and on as I was eager to discover what had happened to the family and as realisation dawned I figured out the clues that had been left for me the whole way through the book. It was a genius ending that left me with just one question and I am so glad that I get to guess at the answer.
If you want to read something that will grip your heart in a terrifying, icy cold grasp then A Head Full of Ghosts is definitely for you. Just make sure you have somewhere safe to keep it at night.
Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children, Hollow City, Library of Souls – Ransom Riggs
I’d read the first two books in this series a long time ago and with the recent film based on the first book, I thought it was time to re-read the set and finally get around to reading the third in the series.
The series follows Jacob, who after the death of his grandfather Abe, discovers Miss Peregrine and her Peculiar Children who all have peculiar abilities such as Emma who can produce fire from her hands, Bronwyn who has extraordinary strength and Millard who is invisible, amongst others. The first book focuses on how Jacob meets Miss Peregrine and the children and discovers who he is and his own peculiarity. The second is about their escape from the Wights and Hollowghast and the third tells some of the history of the Peculiars, Wights and Hollowghast and brings us to a nice conclusion.
I always enjoyed the first book, the story is told with the help of a series a photographs that the author, Ransom Riggs has collected. I loved how it was written and how the photos fitted seamlessly into the story. The tale of Jacob and his new friends had me gripped and at the end of the book I was left eager to read the next as the fate of our heroes had been left in the balance. Unfortunately, the second book was disappointing in comparision, it always felt rushed with photographs plonked in the story in a rather irrelevant and random way. Many of the photographs therefore added nothing to the story and often took us off on a winding and dull path just so an interesting photograph could be added, that’s what I felt anyway. By the end of it I found that I no longer really cared what happened to Jacob and his pals (or his super awkward relationship with Emma who once courted his Grandad).
I put off reading the third book for such a long time because I didn’t want to be further frustrated by the rushed and random story telling I’d felt the second book had offered. So when I re-read the first two to remind myself of the story, I felt some apprehension when I opened the third book. Luckily, the third book had gone back to good story telling and I was kept gripped by the pace of the Peculiar childrens adventure as it rampaged towards it’s conclusion. Although if I am honest the ending which was contrite and fluffy let me down a little.
These books are a great little series to read and add to your library. If you haven’t ever read the books but watched the film released last year then I urge you to forget everything that happened in the film and read the book instead, as so much was changed (completely unnecessarily as well, not in a “why did they leave that bit out of Harry Potter way”), the film ended up being confused and disappointing when it could really have been so much better and WTF was that ending Tim Burton??? Read these books in the summer and you will definitely feel a little chillier by the end, the photographs add a really interesting dimension to the book as well.
The Boy With The Cuckoo-Clock Heart – Mathias Malzieu (translated by Sarah Ardizzone)
Edinburgh, 1874. On the coldest night the world has ever seen, Little Jack is born with a frozen heart and immediately undergoes a life-saving operation. But Dr Madeleine is no conventional medic and surgically implants a cuckoo clock into his chest.
Little Jack grows up different from other children: every day begins with a daily wind-up. At school he is bullied for his “ticking”, but Dr Madeleine reminds him he must resist strong emotion: anger is far too dangerous for his cuckoo-clock heart. So when the beautiful young street singer, Miss Acacia, appears – pursued by Joe the school bully – Jack is danger of more than just falling in love… he is putting his life on the line.
This little story is written by Mathias Malzieu who is a French popstar and I can’t help but wonder if this story would have ever been published if he wasn’t quite so famous and with a ringing endorsement from Eric Cantona (?!?) on the back I wonder what on earth ever possessed me to buy this book.
This book was also a re-read for me this month, I was curious to see if it really was as bad as I remembered and I can confirm – it was.
The book itself really isn’t very long, 167 pages in total and I polished it off in the bath one evening. Much of the book feels like a joke at the readers expense and I am pretty sure it is also thinly veiled erotica, with many references to the stroking of his ‘cuckoo-clock’ with one instance of him gripping his clock hands so tightly he almost passes out. It’s a rather devastating tale of sorrow, love, broken hearts and despair with the morale of the tale basically being that you keep a hold on your heart as much as you like but eventually in one way or another your heart will get broken. Cheery right?
Save yourself the bother and don’t trouble yourself with this little book. You’re welcome.
What have you been reading this month? Tempted by any of my choices? Get in touch below and don’t forget to catch up with what I read in February for even more reading inspiration.