Books read in June 2017

This post is later than I had planned because near the end of June I started to read Outlander and wow it’s a LONG book! But I decided to finish it and include in the June pile as I was really enjoying it. Now I’ll be reading less than usual in July – maybe I’ll pick the shortest books on the TBR pile though. 

So this month I read two proofs that were sent to me by publishers – Truth or Dare which was an enjoyable teen book about a girl and boy who start a truth or dare YouTube channel to raise funds for his sick brother. How To Stop Time was a clever and moving story of a man who has a condition that means he ages super slowly and how he has to hide his secret from the world. I really enjoyed this one and it’s going to be a film staring Benndict Cumberbatch which I think will be brill.

My next read was a bargain supermarket buy and was a moving women’s fiction story based on a real life singer who had cystic fibrosis called A Song For Tomorrow. 

But my choice for book of the month for June is Outlander. I’ve had this on my shelf for ages after buying it for £1 from a clearance box. I saw adverts for the TV series and thought it was about time I read it.

It’s a real romp of a book. Claire finds herself swept from 1940’s Scotland back in time to the 1700’s and has to try to survive in a time where superstition and violence run riot. It’s a massive book and it immediately transports you back in time and really evokes what life was like in the Highlands back then. Key to the story though is the romance Claire has with a young Scot called Jamie despite being married in her own time.

This book was a total guilty pleasure. Full of sex and violence, it’s no wonder it’s been such a best seller and I was completely drawn into Claire’s journey and swooned over Jamie with her. I will have to read the sequels and try the TV show too. 

What did you enjoy reading in June? Any recommends for me? Are you an Outlander fan?




Goodbye Harry

I finally got to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 on my week off. I first picked up a HP book after the first four had been published. The hype had started, the books were everywhere and I decided to give them a go despite the fact they were marketed as children’s books. I instantly loved the books and read the first four in quick succession, loving how the books got darker and more complex as they went. Then I had a very long wait for book 5 to be released – I queued up at midnight whilst at university to collect it. Books 6 and 7 I got on the day of release and finished them that day to avoid any spoilers.

And then the films arrived. It’s such a gamble when you go to see a film based on a book you love. Can it live up to your imagination? Can actors really be the characters you’ve invested so many emotions with? Can the special effects match the magic and wonder of the story? In HP’s case, I think they’ve done a great job with the films. The execution of the first two was understandably childlike and the actors were just aged eleven and were forgivably over the top but the wonder and magic was there and the films were kept quintessentially English. The films have grown with the books and become better and better. Particularly with director David Yates on board, film 5 and beyond have been more in tune with the books we love.

The decision to spilt the last book into two was obvious – the scope of the book needed two films as did us fans who wanted to cling on to it for as long as possible. Plus of course they made more money! The first film was basically a road trip movie with the final battle looming into view. I cried at the death of Dobby, somehow more affecting on screen than in text. The final film did not disappoint me either. Again faithful to the text, we were driven with Harry to Hogwarts for the showdown we’d been waiting so many years for.

One area I felt the film surpassed the book in was the final battle at the school. On page, action scenes and battles in particular are hard to write, it’s difficult to get a sense of scale on page – you only see pockets of the action not the epic scene around them. The film pulled this off – Hogwarts was a full on battle site, destruction and tragedy around every corner. I was pleased they focused on Neville’s bravery and Luna’s support and I loved the hint of romance between them – I wanted them to end up together and although JK said they didn’t, the film did unite them however briefly. I wished as I did in the book there was more of Ginny, showing what kind of person Harry would marry but even on the sidelines, she showed courage on screen plus time to snog Harry when she could! The final one-on-one with Voldemort was suitably dramatic although they did leave out Harry’s final Expelliarmus spell.

So it’s with sadness that I say goodbye to Harry but I think everyone involved can be proud of how the books were brought to screen and we can keep both forever. I don’t think the love of Harry will ever disappear completely and I look forward to checking out the new Pottermore website when it launches. I also know that if I ever have children, they will get a lot of Harry bedtime reading 🙂 So long Harry, we won’t forget you!

All was well.