December Book Reviews

Hi lovelies,

More book reviews coming your way today! Honestly these are my favourite posts to make because I love talking about books so much. I’ve read a lot of new books lately but these are the 3 I wanted to talk about for December. Enjoy!

(note – be prepared, long reviews incoming)

The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
5/5 Stars
☆☆☆☆☆

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I absolutely loved this book. I know it sounds strange but I really feel a connection to the likes of Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton, their writing has always resonated with me and I get this strange sense of surrealism when reading their work as it always sounds like something I would write myself, and I don’t mean in any old sense of ‘Oh yeah, that’s something I would say’, I mean as though they’ve delved into my diary and picked out paragraphs, words, phrases that I would use but never actually share with anyone else through fear of being seen as weird. After reading their work and realising this, it encouraged me to continue writing in the style that I was and to embrace it because clearly it wasn’t weird if these amazing writers had also done the same. In a note to my friend a few months back, I wrote this – “I really love Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton and they both wrote in a similar style – in the sense that their words were so dramatic and deep, which makes me feel less silly about expressing my feelings and writing everything that I actually want to, rather than toning it down through fear of how others may react or interpret it. It makes me feel like I’m part of something, like maybe I could understand them in ways others couldn’t.”

I really feel like that’s true, and I don’t mean that in an arrogant way at all, I just mean that I get it. I really understand them, I understand where they were coming from with their writing and also who they were as people I guess, I understand why they did what they did…I don’t know, I just feel a weird connection, like I’m listening to an old friend. When reading The Bell Jar I wasn’t reading the book as Esther, I was reading it as Sylvia writing Esther…if that makes sense. Every time I had to put the book down I missed it, which I’ve never experienced in that sense before. I just wanted to stay in that book because I felt like I was having a conversation with someone I knew deeply, and when I had to stop reading it for whatever reason, I’d long to pick it back up again. I read it all in my car at work – in the morning when I parked up and then at lunchtime where I would just go to sit quietly and read. I think it’s something that will be timeless for me in the sense that I’ll probably end up reading it over and over again because even though it’s a story, it did really feel like I was just talking to a friend. I wanted to stay inside that world because I felt comfortable and like I had something to offer just by sitting there and reading it. I don’t know, I was also very aware of the fact this was her only novel and that she wrote it only a few months before her death, that was in the back of my mind throughout the duration of reading it, which made the experience all that more different for me.

I completely fell in love with this book, it is one that I will forever hold close to my heart and I wish more than anything that I had read it in the midst of my depression, when it was at its worst. This book could be quite triggering for people with mental illness and therefore some advise not to read it, but I think the opposite – I would encourage you to read it, because it’s wonderful to find someone who can string sentences together that you were unable to form yourself.

I would’ve loved to have sat down with Sylvia and spoken to her about life, and feelings. There are so many things I would’ve asked and there are so many answers she could’ve given me. I definitely left my heart with this book and with Sylvia, both as a person and a writer.

The Princess Saves Herself In This One – Amanda Lovelace
3/5 Stars
☆☆☆

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I love poetry and read it online a lot, but have never really owned any physical poetry books and I wanted to start a collection because I love being able to just have a flick through and read whatever suits me at that moment. I bought milk and honey a while ago (you can read my review on that here) and so I thought I’d buy another book that a lot of people were also talking about in the hopes that it would save my perception on ‘modern day poetry’, – The Princess Saves Herself In This One by Amanda Lovelace. This book was okay, it was an improvement on milk and honey however, I don’t really think that’s saying much. It was pretty much the same setup as milk and honey apart from this time I could actually relate to some of the poems that I was reading. However, as for actual content – a lot of cliché Tumblr poems that again anyone could’ve written in their sleep, I still don’t understand how people are actually managing to publish and sell this kind of stuff to make a living out of it – I might start myself because apparently you don’t need a whole lot of literary skill to do it (I’m sorry that was mean but I’m frustrated). A four word poem on each page in order to be known as a bestselling author? I’ll start jotting words down now.

Can someone please recommend me some good poetry books that are both relatable, longer than four words each and look like they’ve had actually had an ounce of thought put into them, the poetry lover within me is slowly dying. If this is modern day poetry then I need to go back in time. The poetry I actually read on Tumblr is better than the physical things that are being published these days and it makes me feel so disheartened to say the least, a lot of the poetry that you guys post on here is better than the things I’ve read in these books – maybe we should all put our own collection together and become bestselling authors. The only good thing to come out of reading these collections is the fact that it’s inspired me to actually take myself seriously and put together my own – because if this is the type of stuff publishers are actually sending to print these days, it seems like they’ll take anything. Does anyone else feel the same, or am I just being overly cranky??

Or maybe it’s my own fault that I keep buying Tumblr-esqe poetry books that have been hyped up on Instagram – I suppose if that’s the criteria in which I discovered the book, I shouldn’t expect too much. Overall I wasn’t very impressed with the whole thing, if this is what people are publishing these days we better all get ourselves an agent – the things we all write on here are so much better than the things that get published in these books. I am however determined to find a poetry book that I actually like and share it with you guys, so stay tuned!

We Were Liars – E. Lockheart
3/5 Stars
☆☆☆

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This is a book that I’d seen around everywhere (I’m sure you guys have all heard of it) and I was interested to read it due to how popular it had become, and even though I’d heard the name a lot, I didn’t actually know what it was about. One thing I love about this book is the personification of emotion that Lockhart manages to include a lot throughout it, and that probably doesn’t make a whole lot of sense but if you read (or have read it) then you’ll understand what I mean. When I received the book I was surprised at how lightweight it was actually, the story was definitely a lot shorter than I’d expected.

A (pretty big) issue I have with this book is the title – “We Were Liars”. I actually looked this up because I’m sure I’m not the only one that was confused by this, basically (no spoilers don’t worry) the protagonist Cady calls herself and 3 other people the ‘Liars’ – they’re a group basically. However, Cady is the only one throughout the entire novel that refers to the group by this name, and Lockhart never explains why they’re called this in the first place, nor do we get any inkling of why they go by this name (which is super confusing when the main character is constantly referring to herself as a liar and you’re like, girl what?). According to Lockhart, the section of the book that explains why the group are called ‘The Liars’ was removed by the publishers as they said it made the book feel slow and they wanted to keep it fast paced. Therefore we’re left with a title that makes no sense and throughout the story we’re left wondering why this name is relevant and how it even came about. But there you go!

Another problem you could encounter with this book is the fact there are a lot of different characters and names to follow, and what makes it harder is the fact they’re not separated by much since they’re all family members or family friends – there’s nothing to really distinguish them. Even though we’re given a family tree at the beginning of the novel, the other family members aren’t really explored throughout the book and therefore their children are hard to pick out from one another, because you can’t remember which aunty / uncle etc. they belong to. Does that make sense? If you really concentrate at the beginning of the novel when the characters are first introduced they do become a bit easier to follow, but in order to have a smooth flowing story I feel like you’d have to study everything in great detail, which nobody has time for when just simply wanting to read the book.

This book was very to the point for me – like I said it was a lot shorter than I expected. I don’t feel like there was much character development across any of the characters – even Cady. Even though there are 4 main characters in this book, I don’t feel like any of them were explored enough and therefore developed the way they should have been, meaning that the whole story could have elicited so many more feelings in me but due to lack of character development, I just wasn’t invested enough. The story is extremely random, and even though I understood it and understood why everything happened, I still found myself reading it and feeling like I needed more, the book could have been so much longer in my opinion – Lockhart had the opportunity to really create a story and I just feel like that was wasted. The whole thing was just very main point main point main point main point like nothing else existed outside of that, which I wasn’t such a fan of. We’re also presented with an unreliable narrator which made the book a little difficult for me when I was trying to get a feel for the other characters because like I said, there’s not really much background, it’s just main point main point unreliable narration main point unreliable narration main point main point.

I felt like I was in a fog when reading this, almost like I was 99% with the storyline but there was just that one part clouding my mind up – like I said, there are so many different characters, names and places that are thrown at us pretty much instantly and my brain found it difficult to pick them up and then know instantly who /what Lockhart was talking about when she referred back to them later on. The book is short and in terms of length would take only a couple of hours to read however, if you really want to come to grips with the storyline, I think it would take a lot longer.

Saying this however, I did enjoy the book and I do like it, I just feel like there was an opportunity missed here – especially with the map and family tree and legacy etc., I feel like so much more could have been done with the story and the people in it, but there we go!

And that’s all I’ve got for now loves! Hope you enjoyed, let me know if you’ve read any of these and what you think!

Goodreads: ChloLuna

All my love,

Chloe .xx

37 thoughts on “December Book Reviews

  1. RahulYuvi says:

    Some wonderful reviews up there.. you have just given me my next list to read..besides, I too have recently reviewed a recent launch – The Wild Cat – a thriller , a deviant tale of a young woman who unknowingly becomes victim of Cyber Crime through an online dating app.
    It’s an intriguing story dealing with Cyber safety for women.Here goes the review :

    https://the-passport-souls.travel.blog/2018/01/12/book-review-the-wild-cat-trilogy-book-1/

    Liked by 1 person

  2. embumblex says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one that got a bit confused during ‘we were liars’. It’s a great read but I agree with you it was very to the point anyway I’m looking forward to reading ‘the bell jar’ now! Anyone else agree?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bridget says:

    I can definitely agree that those poetry chapbooks are a lot less than I had expected when I started getting into them. I actually own both the poetry books you mentioned. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  4. christinexcurls says:

    I read “We Were Liars” a few months ago and I was like, “Ok…bored…why am I reading about silly rich people?” And THEN…BAM! Wow did that book smack me in the face. Hard. I liked it. I’d do it again. I’m actually sad that I can’t do it again! Excellent story!

    Liked by 1 person

    • hell0chloe says:

      As much as the story was a little whack for me, it was definitely a shocker!! I liked how afterwards everything just seemed to fall into place and I understood why everything had been portrayed the way it was, it was very well written in that sense! X

      Like

  5. whatismaria says:

    You have completely read my mind with everything you’ve said about modern day poetry! I understand that it’s supposed to be minimal and reject ‘poetic norms’ but I will always prefer the classics to anything that is published for popular consumption. Sylvia’s poetry, on the other hand, is incredible and I aspire to be as eloquent as her one day in both prose and poetry. Absolutely loved reading your reviews and your honesty! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • hell0chloe says:

      Ahh I’m so glad someone agrees! It’s always nice to know someone can see where I’m coming from (I always fear I’m just being overly bitter) but yes, Sylvia’s poetry is just a masterpiece – the type of poetry I love to read!! Being anywhere near as good a writer / poet as her one day is something I could only dream of, she’s definitely someone to look up to. Thank you so much for reading lovely! ❤

      Like

  6. emilyryann says:

    I feel the same way you do about books like the princess saves herself! People are buying them just for “tumblr Instagram posts”! Doesn’t make sense to me. —https://emilyryannblogblog.wordpress.com/

    Liked by 2 people

  7. crystalsandcurls says:

    WOMAN I’M SUPPOSED TO BE CATCHING UP ON EVERYONE’S BLOG POSTS, NOT SPENDING TWENTY MINUTES SUMMARISING MY THOUGHTS ON YOUR SIMPLY FAB BOOK REVIEWS ;-;

    First off: THANK YOU. I also read we were liars and had a lot of similar gripes. Especially with all the characters and names. I’m still unclear on whether Johnny and Mirren are siblings or cousins. And who are ANY of the aunts?

    Overall, I did enjoy the book at the end. The actual writing style I wasn’t a fan of, but I really like the unreliable narrator trope as I love witnessing all the clues and details afterwards that compare reality to what the narrator has experienced.

    Plus, I won’t even lie, I actually cried at the end. Although, for me, it was more because she saw them physically regress back to the 15 year olds they were and you realise all those dreams they had and things they told her they’d done…..they never got the chance to do. Then all the little things tie in from the rest of the book and it’s like “no, can we not kill kids please?”.

    I wouldn’t read any of her other books in all honesty, but the finale of this one was good. Have you read Gone Girl? That one is a brilliant read.

    Also….staying away from tumblr poetry books is always a good idea. The english lit student in me refuses to acknowledge them xxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • hell0chloe says:

      Hahahahaaa, awfully sorry to have stopped you in your tracks!! Johnny & Mirren are cousins, but at first I was the same – I thought they were siblings so had to refer back to the family tree a few times to get it into my head that they weren’t! I think a little tear slipped out about 75% of the way through where she realises what she’s done and I was like…fuck. THIS WAS SO SAD. But like I mentioned I definitely could’ve cried a hell of a lot more if there’d been more character development / background story, I WANTED TO HAVE MY HEART RIPPED OUT. I’m not sure either if I’d read another one of Lockhart’s books because I don’t feel like I enjoyed the writing style all that much, though I definitely wouldn’t rule it out. Gone Girl is actually next on my TBR which is so weird!! It’s been sitting on my shelf for ages staring at me and I’m like….that’s begging to be read.

      Definitely going to stay away from Tumblr-esque “poetry” books in future, the English lit student in me feels exactly the same way hahaha!! xxxx

      Like

  8. ameliacdowling says:

    I really want to read The Bell Jar! Your poetry review made me laugh so much, definitely relate to that ‘I could literally write this crap’ feeling, I have a book which is literally ‘the nations favourite poems’ or something and that has a lot of nice stuff in but not modern! We were liars absolutely did my head in, like idk the plot just seemed a bit ???? It had potential but it was just missed, and yeah I didn’t get the ‘liars’ part either, strange

    Liked by 2 people

    • hell0chloe says:

      This really made me laugh hahahaha I couldn’t have put it better myself!! The plot to We Were Liars was just SO random like ????? WHAT. Had no idea what was going on, definitely had potential though which is why I was so bummed about it!!

      Like

  9. messyworthiness says:

    We Were Liars was such a bust for me! Like you, I spent the time being like ….WHY ARE YOU CALLING YOURSELVES LIARS, GIRL? *sigh* And I just couldn’t get with the book at all. It took me weeks to finish a book that should have only taken me a day or two. Blahhhh I just couldn’t get into it.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Georgia Beth says:

    I love Sylvia Plath, here poetry is so good which I’d demo suggest reading if you liked The Bell Jar! I could not agree with you more about her writing and just how connected you can feel to parts of it! I might have to purchase Amanda Lovelace’s book, I saw it in Urban Outfitters but I bought a different book instead! Really enjoyed this post xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • hell0chloe says:

      Ahhh yay! I wanted to read The Bell Jar first before starting on the poetry, but it’s definitely next on the list since I’m absolutely in love with the way she writes, if you buy The Princess Saves Herself let me know what you think! xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  11. This is Kat. says:

    I have just finished ‘We were liars’ and I really enjoyed it! Although it was a little confusing if you didn’t understanding her writing style! As for Amanda Lovelace, I love her poetry!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. theworldoffritters says:

    I’m also looking for good poetry books! I like reading poetry, but I don’t want to buy a book that just copied all of the cool poems off Tumblr!
    I read “We were liars” a few times and still there are a lot of things that I don’t understand till this day, but I still love the book and Lockhart’s writing style!
    Thanks for sharing all of the review and being so honest! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • hell0chloe says:

      Eeeexactly, I’m trying to find new ones all the time!! What sort of things didn’t you understand in We Were Liars? Maybe we can help each other since there were a few things that didn’t add up for me either!! Thanks for reading lovely .xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • theworldoffritters says:

        Okay, so I always thought that Mirren and Johnny are siblings and not cousins, haha!
        I do have to say that I didn’t understand the role of the aunts, I feel like all they did was fighting…
        And I also don’t understand why they burned the house that way! There must have been another way they could have burned down the house without them getting hurt, right??
        The end was really really sad but all in all I still loved reading this book! xx

        Liked by 1 person

        • hell0chloe says:

          Hahaha, I think a lot of people did!! It should’ve been made a lot clearer, the role of the aunts was also silly but (I think) their role was to portray all of the financial arguments which obviously then led to the guys burning down the house because that was their main reasoning behind it, & the house could’ve totally been destroyed in a different way but they were all extremely drunk at the time so I doubt good planning was their first point of thought – though I could be wrong about all of those! That’s just my interpretation of it, but I agree, I did enjoy the book! xxx

          Liked by 1 person

  13. Abi Babbles says:

    Definitely going to have a read of ‘The Bell Jar’, after reading your review. I’d love to see what you mean about the way that they write and how it resonated with you! Please do more book reviews, as I love discovering new reads x

    Liked by 1 person

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