House of Windows

House of Windows

How did I get it?:
I received it from Faber in exchange for a honest review.

Previously reviewed by the same author:
The Bone Dragon

Synopsis:

‘The body is a house of many windows: there we all sit, showing ourselves and crying on the passers-by to come and love us.’ Robert Louis Stevenson

Nick hates it when people call him a genius. Sure, he’s going to Cambridge University aged 15, but he says that’s just because he works hard. And, secretly, he only works hard to get some kind of attention from his workaholic father.

Not that his strategy is working.

When he arrives at Cambridge, he finds the work hard and socialising even harder. Until, that is, he starts to cox for the college rowing crew and all hell breaks loose…

Thoughts:

The first thing I want to mention in this review is how different House Of Windows is to The Bone Dragon. I think it’s incredible that it’s the same writer, as House Of Windows definitely has a different vibe to it. It’s less dark, and more coming of age. That’s in no way a criticism, I personally feel like it shows what a versatile writer Alexia is!  As I am always honest in my reviews, I will say that House of Windows is definitely a slow burning book, but stick with it, as it’s totally worth it!

House of Windows follows Nick, who is going to Cambridge University at the age of fifteen. Nick is incredibly bright, but doesn’t like to be labelled as a ‘genius’. He just sees himself as hard working! First of all, Nick struggles with the transition to university, especially being so young. He finds the university work harder than he had anticipated and the socialisation is something he’s never really been good at. Nick joins the rowing crew, hoping to eventually make a friend so he doesn’t feel so isolated.

Nick’s isolation from his peers is a really strong element to House Of Windows. I don’t think that Nick is a particularly likeable character at the start of the book, but as the book progresses, I started to understand and empathise with him more. I felt like Nick was craving recognition from his father who worked hard. At the heart of House Of Windows is a story about the importance of family and feeling like you belong.

Alexia Casale is a terrific writer. All of her characters are so well developed and House Of Windows is certainly a character driven story. Don’t expect this book to be like The Bone Dragon, it’s good in its own right and it is totally worth reading!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A very different, but still brilliant book from Alexia Casale!

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This Week In Books #15

I am joining in with the lovely Lipsy from Lipsy’s Lost and Found’s feature which highlights our week in books. I shall be sharing what I’m reading now, then and next! I won’t be showcasing my new books as I do that on a Saturday. I’m really excited by this feature as I loved sharing my recent reads. My book reviews published on my blog are often WAY behind what I’m actually reading, so this is a good feature to keep you up to date!

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NOWHouse of WindowsAlexia Casale– I’m over halfway through Alexia’s second book. It is incredibly different to The Bone Dragonbut I am really enjoying reading it. I hope to finish it today!

THEN- Love BombJenny McLachlan– I was in need of a light read on my way back from the Young Adult Literarture Convention (YALC) at the weekend, this book worked perfectly!

NEXT I Wish For YouCamilla Isley– I did mean to read this book sooner, but life got in the way! I’m hoping to have a review up of this book very soon as it is a review request!

What are you reading? Feel free to let me know or leave a link to a similar post that you might do! Happy Reading! 🙂

Top Ten Freebie: Top Ten British Writers

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the wonderful The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s list is a Top Ten Freebie, so we get the chance to make up our own topic. In celebration of all things British, I’m going to list my Top Ten British Writers. This list constantly changes but these authors always seem to crop up at one point or another!

Click on the book title to get to the Goodreads page!

In no particular order:

James Dawson

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Hollow Pike, Cruel Summer, Say Her Name and Under My Skin are James Dawson’s fiction books, all of which are fabulous. For an LGBT non fiction read, I highly recommend This Book is Gay.

Emma Carroll

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Emma Carroll is a brilliant writer. I loved Frost Hollow Hall and The Girl Who Walked On Air.

Alison Rattle

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I have given The Quietness, The Madness and The Beloved 5 stars. I have loved every YA book Alison has come out with. I highly recommend her work if you’re into historical YA!

Cat Clarke

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Undone and A Kiss In The Dark are my two favourite Cat Clarke books. They both deal with serious issues in a sensitive and very readable manner.

Non Pratt

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Non Pratt’s debut novel Trouble was one of my favourite books last year! I am looking forward to reading her next book, Remix soon!

Jojo Moyes

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It’ll be no surprise for regular readers of my blog to see Jojo Moyes on my blog. I absolutely adore Me Before You and also enjoyed The Girl You Left Behind and The One Plus One too.

Alexia Casale

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I loved the unique The Bone Dragon by Alexia and I am very much looking forward to reading her next book, House of Windows. 

Siobhan Curham

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I absolutely loved Shipwrecked (note to self… need to continue with the next book!). True Face is an inspirational non fiction book!

Dorothy Koomson

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It’s hard to pick my favourite Dorothy Koomson book, but I adore My Best Friend’s Girl, The Ice Cream Girls, The Flavours of Love and The Rose Petal Beach.

Patrick Ness

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I know that Patrick Ness was born in the U.S but he’s an honoury Brit! I loved The Knife of Never Letting Go (…Manchee!) and A Monsters Calls.

What have you picked for your Top Ten Freebie? Feel free to leave a link to your post and I’ll stop by!

Stacking The Shelves #116

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you’re adding to your shelves, be it buying or borrowing. From ‘real’ books you’ve purchased, a book you’ve borrowed, a book you’ve been given or an e-book they can all be shared!

As ever, click on the title to get to the Goodreads page!

Received from Faber

House of Windows

I can’t wait to read another book by the talented Alexia Casale! Massive thanks to Faber for sending me an ARC!

Received from Bookbridgr:

Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke (Prisoner of Night and Fog, #2)

I loved Anne Blankman’s Prisoner of Night and Fog, so I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series!

Received from Stripes Publishing

Bad Bones (Red Eye)I am part of the blog tour for this book from the Red Eye series! Look out for my review mid-May!

Bought:

Things We Know by Heart

I have heard great things about this book! I can’t wait to read it.

What have you added to your shelves this week? Feel free to leave a link to your hauls and I’ll stop by!

Top Ten Authors I’ve Only Read One Book From But NEED to Read More

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s list is about the top ten authors that I’ve only read one book from but NEED to read more. This seems like it will be quite a tricky one for me, as most of the authors I’ve read…I’ve read more than one book from. Perhaps I’ll surprise myself as I go through them.

Jandy Nelson- The Sky Is Everywhere

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I have a lot of love for this book. It is one of my favourite books that I read pre-blogging. I’m looking forward to reading Jandy Nelson’s latest book I’ll Give You The Sun. It’s been a long time coming!

Heather Demetrios- Something Real

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I’ve only recently read this book but I thoroughly enjoyed the author’s writing style. It’ll be interesting to see what she writes next!

Amy Talkington- Liv, Forever

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This is another debut this year, there have been so many promising authors that I’ve read so far this year. I can’t wait to see what Amy Talkington writes next.

Mindy McGinnis- Not A Drop To Drink

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I’m very excited to read the next book in the series after being thoroughly impressed with Not A Drop To Drink!

Sally Green- Half Bad

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This is another series that I can’t wait to continue. I’m wondering where this will go.

Marie Lu- Legend

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Oh look at that! Another series I need to continue. I seriously have a series problem.

Emery Lord- Open Road Summer

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I was really impressed with Emery Lord’s debut novel.  I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next!

Tess Sharpe- Far From You

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This was another really brave debut which excited me for the author’s future!

Rachel Ward- The Drowning

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I know that Rachel Ward has had some other books published, but this is the only book that I’ve read of hers thus far. I do fully intend to read more by her and SOON!

Alexia Casale- The Bone Dragon

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The Bone Dragon was such a unique read. I’m so excited to read more from Alexia!

I’ve realised a lot of this authors were debut authors, and I have a lot of potentially exciting second books to look out for! Who have you got on your list this week? Please feel free to link me to your Top Ten posts and I’ll stop by.

Top Ten Underrated Authors

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely The Broke and The Bookish. Each week they come up with a list for us to complete. This week the topic is Top Ten Underrated Authors or Books in any given genre. I found this list really hard to complete so I thought I’d talk about ten underrated authors in a range of genres.

Click on the book image to take you to Goodreads!

HISTORICAL

Alison Rattle

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I have read two brilliant books by Alison Rattle. The Quietness and The Madness. Alison’s books fit into the historical/YA category. They’re so well written and evocative.

Suzy Zail

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I read The Wrong Boy earlier this year and I was absolutely blown away. A beautiful book that’s so well written. If you’re interested in the Holocaust then definitely check out this little gem.

Anne Blankman

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Here’s another historical/war story. Prisoner of Night and Fog was something different to anything else I’ve read in the genre. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

THRILLER

Paula Daly

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Paula Daly is another author that I’ve read two brilliant thrillers from. These were Just What Kind Of Mother Are You and Keep Your Friends Close. I loved them both. They’re pieces of adult fiction, but definitely ones that young adults could enjoy as well.

Kate Karyus Quinn

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Even though I know quite a few people that have read Another Little Piece and (Don’t You) Forget About Me, I’d love more people to read them. I realise that this author is very unique and her books can be a little confusing, but I LOVE them!

MIDDLE GRADE

Crystal Chan

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Bird is an absolutely beautiful book which I devoured. The writing is stunning. I don’t want to say too much about it. Just read it!

Candy Gourlay

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Another very unique middle grade read that I think should be read more widely.

DYSTOPIAN

Helen Hiorns

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Helen’s debut The Name On Your Wrist really impressed me and I can’t wait to read more from this talented young author!

NEW ADULT

Jessica Park

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I enjoyed Left Drowning but I absolutely adored Flat Out Love and I’m looking forward to reading Flat Out Matt and Flat Out Celeste too. I don’t often read New Adult, but I do like Jessica Park’s writing.

YOUNG ADULT FANTASY

Alexia Casale

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The Bone Dragon is a beautiful book that I think a lot more people should be reading and talking about!

Who are your ten underrated authors? Let me know in the comments or feel free to leave a link to your post and I’ll stop by!

Ten Books I Almost Put Down But Didn’t

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the wonderful The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s list is Ten Books I Almost Put Down But Didn’t. Again, I’m thanking Goodreads. I’ve scoured my read shelf to help me. For some reason I’ve found this week’s list rather hard.  I think it’s because most of the time, if I’m thinking of putting it down, I usually do! I’ve learnt that life is too short to read something I don’t enjoy. I would pick it up again, if someone told me it gets better, but more often than not, I don’t pick up or keep going with a book I’m not enjoying.

In no particular order… (click on the book image to get to the Goodread’s page!)

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I was initially put off by the size of The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. It’s quite a chunky book. I thought I was going to put it down soon after starting, just because I found the size quite overwhelming. But I persevered and I’m glad I did, because I thought it was a great story.

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It took me a while to get into this book, but I’m glad I continued to read it, because I ended up liking it. I think this may have been a book club read which is why I kept going.

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I’m one of those people that thought The Casual Vacancy by J.K Rowling was okay. I wasn’t blown away, I didn’t love it. It’s not very memorable though. I’m glad I read it because I wanted to read something else by J.K Rowling that wasn’t Harry Potter.

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I very nearly gave up on The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. That was purely down to the fact that I took a while to get into it. I found it quite confusing at the start. I’m glad I continued though, as it really is a spectacular story, told in a very beautiful way.

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Regular readers of my blog may be surprised to see The Bone Dragon by Alexia Casale on here. However, its inclusion on this list is because my copy (an ARC) had really bad formatting issues. I nearly gave up and waited for the book to be published. I kept on going though, and I’m glad I did because I felt like I could talk about the book and create some buzz amongst my friends for a very unique read.

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I have some issues with this book. I really, really wanted to like it, but the hype monster got me. I just could not understand why people were raving about it so much. However, I really did appreciate the beautiful writing, which is why I’m pleased I carried on reading it. Sorry if you’re a fan of The Night Circus but it just wasn’t for me.

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It may be a surprise to regular readers of my blog to see Another Little Piece on this particular list as well, because I love this book. But it utterly confused me. I didn’t know what was going on at all most of the time.  But the story and the writing was haunting and descriptive. It’s such a unique book. I’m pleased I didn’t give up.

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I was really conflicted by this book. I love books about dance, so I thought Dance of Shadows would be right up my street. It’s good, but wasn’t amazing. Yet, I’m still pleased I gave it a chance!

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For me, Rebecca took a while to get going. Once I’d got past that though I was thoroughly enjoyed the book and it remains to be one of my favourite classics.

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I really enjoyed The Time Traveler’s Wife. I thought I was going to be giving up with it, as the jumping around in time began to confuse me, but once I got used to it, it was fine and enjoyable!

What are your ten books that you’re glad you didn’t give up on? Did you find this topic as hard as I did? Please feel free to leave your links to your Top Ten posts and I’ll stop by!