adventures, books & creative lifestyle.

Book Reviews feat. Donna Tartt

book blog uk vivatramp

I don't know whether it's because my mind has been on other things but I haven't been reading a lot of late. As you'll see in these teeny tiny reviews, I'm finding things a little more difficult to process at the moment. I'm okay though - brain fog is just part of the fun when living with a chronic illness.

Despite my slump, however, I did manage to read one novel, one short story collection and one poetry collection during the month of February and I really enjoyed them all. We're a few weeks into March now and I'm yet to pick anything up so hopefully writing about these books will spur me into reading new ones! 

upright beasts licoln michel uk book blog vivatramp

upright beasts by licoln michel
FINISHED: 07/02/16 | ISBN: 1566894182 | PAGES: 216
Children go to school long after all the teachers have disappeared, a man manages an apartment complex of attempted suicides, and a couple navigates their relationship in the midst of a zombie attack. In these short stories, we are the upright beasts, doing battle with our darker, weirder impulses as the world collapses around us. 

Another day, another beautifully produced collection of short stories. 

Upright Beasts, as a collection, is very much driven by a sense of tradition and obligation, whether that's a son learning to respect the size of his room or a school of children hanging around long after their teachers and, presumably everyone else, has left. 

Some of the stories in Upright Beasts are only fully realised in the last sentence to quite devastating effect. One sentence is all Michel really needs to elevate a piece and, as I suggested in my post on How To Write Short Stories, that's the sign of a pretty remarkable short story writer. 

If you're in the market for a short story collection, give this a go.


the secret history donna tartt book review uk blog

the secret history by donna tartt 

FINISHED: 11/02/16 | ISBN: 0140167773 | PAGES: 629
Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality their lives are changed profoundly and forever. 

I finally read The Secret History after years of saying that I would!

I tend to read shorter books but I really enjoyed the character development in this - even though I would suggest that it's a little too long but I know that others have said that, for them, it wasn't long enough. 

Interesting characters. Great prose. If you like campus novels, reading about academics or slow burning character driven books, then this'll be your bag. 


sealegs and other stories by candice o'reilly* 
Candice's first poetry collection.

Full disclosure: Candice is a friend who sent me this collection of notes that she retrieved from her phone and I adored them so much that I essentially pestered her to put them online until she finally broke and relented. And so, Sealegs and Other Stories was born. Sealegs beautifully juxtaposes delicate images with punch-you-in-the-gut self-awareness and Candice masterfully writes personal experiences into shared ones with such ease. I am so proud of her for sharing this collection with others. If you'd like to hear a little to whet your appetite, watch the video above of the titular poem or check out Candice's performance of Your Body Belongs To You. If you enjoy them, do consider purchasing the collection. I'm not just suggesting you do so because she is a friend. I genuinely believe she is hugely talented and her words will travel far. 

Have you been having more successful reading months than me? I'm hoping to kickstart my reading now that the blue skies and warmer days are back. Wish me luck!

If you'd like to scroll through all of my book blog posts then you can. Or, alternatively, you could just flick through my book reviews instead.



  1. Really hyped to read Upright Beasts. On my wish list now. Thanks!

  2. the secret history has been on my list forever, i'm just worried that it's one of those books that's been overhyped?

  3. I've got The Secret History on my shelf.....I really need to get round to reading it! x

    Lorna | Lorna, literally.

  4. Great video, I absolutely love the photos!

    Anika |

  5. The Secret History is one of my favourite books - it's one that I still think of often despite reading a few years ago. x

  6. I'll get around to The Secret History one day!

  7. Candice's poems are so beautiful :) she also has an excellent voice for reading aloud!
    I really need to read The Secret History, it's been on my bookshelf for so long. The fact that you enjoyed it has pushed me a little closer to reading it!



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