Let's face it, I am never going to find the time/inclination to write proper reviews for everything that I have read. So my new plan is to give everything that I have read a mini review at least, and then do individual posts for books that I actually have a decent amount to say about.
And I did actually write this in early November, but then forgot to post it, haha. Oh well.
On with the reviews!
Geek Girl by Holly Smale
If you are looking for a light-hearted, easy to read book that doesn't take itself too seriously, this might be one for you. The story follows Harriet, a girl who is a self-professed geek who hates fashion, but is then scouted at a fashion event that she only attended to support her best friend Nat who actually wants to be a model. Awkward. It is completely ridiculous, and I am pretty sure that the fashion industry does not work at all in the way that it is depicted in the book (although I could be wrong I guess, according to the author biography it seems to have been based on personal experience!), but it was thoroughly entertaining, and I really loved Harriet as a character. I only bought this because it was really cheap, but I think I will definitely read the rest of the series the next time I need something that I know will be very entertaining.
My only complaint isn't anything to do with the book really, but there were "handwritten" sections that ended up being really tiny and difficult to read on my e-reader. I couldn't figure out a way to make the pictures bigger, so ended up having to squint at them. Probably just me being stupid, but I feel like that should be accounted for when it's made into an e-book!
The Dinner by Herman Koch
I'm sure that those of you who haven't read this have at least heard of it. I don't really want to say much about the story as I think it's the kind of thing that works best if you know as little about it as possible beforehand, but it is about a man who goes out for a meal with his wife, his brother and his sister in law, and throughout the dinner it is revealed that all is not as it seems.
I have heard some people say that they couldn't relate to the characters at all, but I didn't find that to be a problem. I enjoyed the book and the revelations weren't at all what I thought they might be. It was quite a tense reading experience, and on the whole I enjoyed it. I did find it slightly annoying that it kept on purposefully not telling you the names of things, like "at a hospital, but I won't tell you which one because..." when there didn't seem to be any need for it to be written that way.
I also went into the book thinking that everything would be revealed through the dinner, but there was a lot of remembering things that had happened, and I think conceptually it would have been much more interesting if it had just been the meal. I'm not entirely sure why I thought that it would just be the meal, I must have misunderstood something that I read about it! (I tend not to read reviews/blurbs too closely if I know I actually want to read something, so sometimes completely get the wrong end of the stick)
Dare Me by Megan Abbott
Creepy cheerleaders? I'm there! This was a pretty creepy sinister book, and although I'm not sure I would count it amongst the best books that I have ever read, it was very well written, atmospheric and above all, enjoyable.
The book opens on some horrible event that has happened involving the narrator, Addy, and then the book goes on to cover the events that led up to it and... well to say any more would involve spoilers.
I enjoyed this, although I found some of the dialogue pushed the lines of plausibility (especially some of the things that Beth, Addy's best friend said). But overall, it was a very enjoyable read.
The Hairdresser of Harare by Tendai Huchu
This was an interesting one for me, as the book is set in Harare (the capital city of Zimbabwe, obviously, I so knew that before I started reading the book), and most of the books that I read that are set in countries that are not the UK or America tends to be more serious literary fiction (like the two books that I read this year that are at least party set in Zimbabwe and Nigeria, We Need New Names and Americanah - neither of which I blogged about, apparently! Bad Jenny. They were both excellent!), and this was definitely not.
The story is about a hairdresser, Vimbai, who is the star hairdresser in her salon until a man, Dumisani, shows up and takes a job as a new hairdresser. The story follows Vimbai and Dumi as their relationship evolves from rivals to something else, as we find out more about Dumi's mysterious past.
I liked reading a book set in a country which has a lot of political and economic issues, where those issues were not the main focus of the book, but to be honest, if it wasn't for the setting I'm not sure how far I would have got into the book. I spent a lot of the time that I was reading it saying "ARGH Vimbai stop being an idiot!" in my head, as she was infuriatingly naive about a lot of things, and I didn't find the plot particularly interesting, although it didn't outright bore me at any point. What I did find fascinating were the insights into daily life in Zimbabwe and being exposed to a completely different culture. If this book had been set in... I don't know, Birmingham or somewhere I probably would have read a couple of pages, shrugged and decided that I didn't care.
Also, every chapter seemed to end with a sentence like this: "Little did I know that this small twist of fate would cost me my crown.", which I think is okay occasionally, but gets irritating when it is repeated ad infinitum!