The Book Pile

During lockdown and working from home, I’ve found that I’ve had more time to read books. I used to read a hell of a lot when I was younger, but life gets in the way and I don’t read as much as I’d like to. Without commuting and having lunch breaks in my living room, I can get a lot more reading done without skipping the chores that need doing. I’ve read quite a few books over the last couple of months and wanted to write about them.

I bought The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern a few years ago on a friend’s recommendation. They said it was their favourite book and I trust their opinions. It just took me a while to actually get around to it. The story of a magical circus that is the secret battle ground between two magicians. The first fifty or so pages didn’t grip me and I almost gave up on the book. But I gave it another go and read a few more chapters and then everything clicked. Sometimes books are just like that. I did enjoy this book, although I wouldn’t say it was spellbinding. It was a fun journey while it lasted but it is forgetable. That might have something to do with the next book I read.

Literally the same day I started The Red House by Mark Haddon. I loved The Curioius Incident of the Dog at Night Time when I read it, about 15 years ago. At the time I considered it my favourite book. I tried A Spot of Bother and was just too young to really get it. I think I would like it more now to be honest. My nan gave me The Red House a couple of years ago and I’ve finally gotten around to reading it. The first twenty or so pages are confusing and disjointed. Telling the story of a family going on holiday for a week with relatives they don’t really know. It’s a strange book that jumps between perspectives so quickly that you have to get used to it. It felt like the beginning was entering a dream world and once I was used to it I was hooked. I read it over two days and honestly couldn’t recommend it enough.

Back in April Darren Shan stealth released not one, not two, but three books. His new YA series. I’ve been waiting years for this. When I was a teenager I would eagerly await each release from Darren Shan and it’s nice for him to be back doing what he does best. Archibald Lox follows the titular character, who has recently lost his brother. He’s walking through London when he sees a girl being chased by two men. She somehow makes a hole in a bridge, escaping and Archibald follows, changing his life forever. These are very enjoyable books that are so easy to read. I started the first one, before work one morning and before I knew I was gripped and involed in the story. I loved it and can’t recommend it enough. I’ve only read the first two and about a tenth of the third book. As much as I’m enjoying them, my kindle was kidnapped by Tabby while she catches up with shows that have a limited time on streaming. I’m going to finish what I’m reading now and then get back to it.

I’m a massive Star Trek fan. I’m sure that’s no surprise to those that know me. Last year while at Star Trek convention I bought a couple of books, the first two in the Shatner-Verse. After Captain Kirk died in Star Trek Generations, William Shatner along with Judith Reeves-Stevens and Garfield Reeves-Stevens wrote a series of books that chronicle the resurection of James T Kirk. The first book The Ashes of Eden, takes place shortly before Generations and honestly feels like the seventh Original Series movie that we never got. I really enjoyed it. A big problem with most books based on existing franchises is that they don’t capture the characters, words come out of their mouths that don’t sound right. In the Ashes of Eden, this isn’t a problem at all. Every character sounds perfect. I really enjoyed this one. The second book, The Return, picks up where the first one ends almost to the word. It took a bit longer to get into this one, but I ended up enjoying it. I’m looking forward to picking up the rest of the series and can only hope they live up to the first two.

Stephen King released a story collection If It Bleeds, back in April. I had it sitting there since release day and have finally gotten around to it. There are four stories in the collection. Mr Harrigan’s Phone starts the collection. A young boy calls an elderly friend’s phone after he dies and get his voicemail. Strange events follow. I really enjoyed this one. It’s spooky and suspenseful and as always Stephen King has created characters that are so realistic I can’t help but continue reading. The Life of Chuck is a strange one, that I don’t want to spoil at all. It’s good, that’s enough. If It Bleeds is a sequel to The Outside, one of King’s best books in recent years. It was nice to catch up with Holly, but I do think this is the weakest book in the collection. Rat, follows a struggling writer who has been tryin to finish his first novel his whole life. A nice shorter and unsettling story to wrap up the collection.

I have a few more books that I want to talk about that I’ve read, along with a couple more that I’m looking forward to reading soon. I’ll be back on Monday.

Thanks for reading,


About ashleymanningwriter

Young Adult Fiction writer. Horror and fantasy blended together.
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2 Responses to The Book Pile

  1. Darren Shan says:

    I’m delighted to hear that you’re enjoying your travels with Archie! Volume 2 coming next year, if all goes according to plan, with Vol 3 to follow in 2022 — touch wood!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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