The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder

The Colour of Bee Larkham’s MurderThe Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder by Sarah J. Harris
Published by HarperCollins on May 3rd 2018
Pages: 464
Goodreads

Whatever happens, don’t tell anyone what you did to Bee Larkham…

Jasper is not ordinary. In fact, he would say he is extraordinary…

Synaesthesia paints the sounds of his world in a kaleidoscope of colours that no one else can see. But on Friday, he discovered a new colour – the colour of murder.

He’s sure something has happened to his neighbour, Bee Larkham, but no-one else seems to be taking it as seriously as they should be. The knife and the screams are all mixed up in his head and he’s scared that he can’t quite remember anything clearly.

But where is Bee? Why hasn’t she come home yet? Jasper must uncover the truth about that night – including his own role in what happened…

Plot: ★★★
Characters: ★★★
Readability: ★★★

The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder is a book that’s been recommended to me multiple times, pretty much always with a comparison to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (which I loved) so I figured it was time to finally pick it up. I listened to the audiobook – that’s how I’m doing a lot of my reading at the moment given my new commute! – and finished the 12 hours in 4 days.  To put that into context, my commute is about 90 minutes a day, which would have only covered 6 hours: half the total listening time. That shows how much extra time I put in outside of commuting, which is a good indication of how addicted I was!

The story is simple enough: Jasper Whishart’s neighbour, Bee Larkham, is missing, and he’s convinced something bad has happened to her.  It’s a reasonably simple mystery – there aren’t too many characters to keep track of – but as it’s Jasper who tries to figure out what happened, all our evidence comes from his point of view. His faceblindness makes it tricky, because you can never be quite sure who said or did what.  While this isn’t actually the only book I’ve read with a synesthete (Mondays are Red by Nicola Morgan) it’s nevertheless a very unique take on a mystery.  I enjoyed that unique spin, as I can feel like mysteries and thrillers feel a bit too similar at times.  Jasper’s colour attributions, his autism and the way he reacted to events was undeniably interesting, and I found it hard not to feel for him.  I enjoyed the plot twists and wanted to know what happened to Bee, as well as what would happen in the end once the truth came out.

While there were things I enjoyed about the book, there were some things I wasn’t so keen on.  Jasper’s observations were repetitive at times, and often long-winded: there were times when we not only got a colour description (which might be five or six words on it’s own) but also an auditory description for one sound. I felt the book had a slightly weird feel to it, because there are some quite dark elements involved in the mystery, but at the same time Jasper’s voice felt very young, similar in tone to most 9-12 novels I’ve read.  That’s not necessarily a problem, and I can see why Jasper’s voice was portrayed that way but it did feel a little jarring at times.  Another thing I found frustrating was the time jumps – the book frequently jumps back in time without any real warning, and because of Jasper’s face blindness, it’s hard to get any context for when or where the next scene takes place.  The book picks up pace fantastically towards the end but I just think it could have been a bit shorter, which would have stopped it feeling so repetitive.

One StarOne StarOne Star

To reread or not to reread? (Throne of Glass)

Rereading is one of those marmite concepts that divide readers and it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot in the run up to the release of Kingdom of Ash. One Guardian article claims “anyone who talks about rereading a book is arrogant, narrow-minded or dim” and a BBC one points out “We have so little time to read and there are so many great books that we’ve yet to get around to”. On the other hand, Patrick Rothfuss is actively encouraging us to reread the first two books before the third comes out, plenty of book bloggers are fans of rereading (Micheline, Mel, even Cait who initially was anti-rereading because there’s not enough time!) and there was a lot of praise for GoodReads finally adding a rereading feature.

Generally I do like re-reading: most years I reread a handful of books (4% in 2016, 7% in 2017) and I’d initially planned to reread the Throne of Glass series over the summer.  Since I’ve been following the series for more than 5 years and this is the finale, I want to get the best out of it but now with less than 2 weeks until publication date, if I start rereading I’ll definitely be late to pick up Kingdom of Ash and so I’m absolutely torn!  Who better to talk to about this than other readers though, right?!

Advantages of rereading

  • No wasted time at the beginning trying to remember who characters are or what happened in previous books
  • Being fully emotionally invested in all the characters from page 1
  • Pick up more hints about upcoming twists, get more of the nuances of the story
  • Revisit a story you previously loved

Disadvantages of rereading

  • Can burn out on one author/genre/trope
  • Takes up time you could be using to read new books you’ve never read before
  • If you start too late with your reread (i.e. me, if I start now) you’ll be starting the newest book after a lot of other readers


On the one hand, I know I’ll enjoy rereading the series and I definitely spent some of the last two books trying to remember what had happened previously, so it’d be nice to avoid that (I know sites like Recaptains exist but it feels a bit like cheating!). As this is the finale, it’d be good to get the absolute best out of it, given how much I’ve enjoyed the series so far – I’m pretty certain I reread Harry Potter before the release of Deathly Hallows!  A few years ago, I’d have just reread, because I was reading a lot faster – getting through all of the books in two weeks would have been challenging, but I’d probably have managed it. Given my reading pace since starting my new course though, I’m probably looking at at least a month to get back up to date, and I have to admit I’m worried about spoilers.  I considered just rereading the last book or two, but I feel like that’s an unsatisfying compromise – I feel like if I don’t reread before Kingdom of Ash, that in a year or two I’ll end up rereading the whole series.  If that’s true, I might as well just reread now and get the benefit of maximum enjoyment from Kingdom of Ash…

I think I’m leaning towards rereading, but I am curious: what would you do? Are you generally a rereader or not?

 

Rereading Throne of Glass: what do you think I should do?

  • Reread all the books: the finale only comes once, get it right! (33%, 1 Votes)
  • Reread none: life's too short and there are so many other great books! (33%, 1 Votes)
  • Reread 1 or 2: meet in the middle (33%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 3

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Top Ten longest books I’ve ever read

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl where each week has a specific prompt everyone is welcome to post a list with their own answers. This week’s theme is “Top Ten longest books I’ve ever read“.

This week’s list is absolutely dominated by two authors.  It’s no surprise that George R.R. Martin features so heavily, as the Game of Thrones books are notoriously long, though Robin Hobb was less expected.  Objectively I know Hobb’s books are big but they’re always so good I never really notice just how long they are!

  • A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin (1,061 pages)
  • The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss (994 pages)
  • A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin (931 pages)
  • Fool’s Fate by Robin Hobb (914 pages)
  • The Mad Ship by Robin Hobb (906 pages)

  • A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (896 pages)
  • Ship of Magic by  Robin Hobb (880 pages)
  • Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb (853 pages)
  • Belgarath the Sorcerer by David Eddings (840 pages)
  • The Redemption of Althalus by David Eddings (800 pages)

What are the longest books you’ve read?

September Wrap-Up & Looking ahead to October

My reading this month was literally less than half of last month’s- you can tell my uni course has well and truly started!  In October things will ratchet up another notch so outside of studying I haven’t really got too much planned yet.  In September I hit my original Goodreads goal of 100 books, so I’ve slightly increased it to 104 – it’s not much, but I think as term goes on, I’ll probably be reading less and less, so I don’t want to set it too high!  I’ll be continuing with the Fall Bookish Bingo, joining in with Dewey’s 24 hour readathon, and blogging as much as I can around all of that!

Reading


Artemis | A Short History of Nearly Everything | City of Ghosts | Brief Cases | The Island | Sadie

Books read: 6 (12 less than August)
Pages read: 2408 (2578 less than August)
Average pages per day: 80
Average book length: 401
Favourite: A Short History of Nearly Everything

Blogging

Challenge Updates

  • Beat the Backlist (49/48) (+3)
  • Finishing the Series (7/15) (+/- 0)
  • Goodreads (100/100) – Goal achieved! Increased to 104.
  • NetGalley % change: +/- 1% (72%)

September Goals

  • -6lbs: EPIC FAIL.
  • 4 blog posts: Exceeded! 6 posts managed.
  • At least 1 cinema trip & 1 date evening: We managed a cinema trip to see Crazy Rich Asians. We didn’t manage a specific date night, but we did have a few evenings at home with a takeaway and some tv, and also quite a few social things with friends so I’m happy enough with that.

October TBR


My Life and Laughing (294) | Audible (started)
Time’s Convert (436) | Audible
Waking Gods (336) | Library (started)

Target pages = 1066

October Goals

  • Weight loss – back into the 11s
  • 4 blog posts, including 2 reviews
  • Take part in Dewey’s 24 hour readathon
  • At least 1 cinema trip & 1 date evening

How was your September?

The Island (M. A. Bennett)

The Island by M.A. Bennett
on January 1st 1970
Pages: 304
Goodreads

Link is a fish out of water. Newly arrived from America, he is finding it hard to settle into the venerable and prestigious Osney School. Who knew there could be so many strange traditions to understand? And what kind of school ranks its students by how fast they can run round the school quad - however ancient that quad may be? When Link runs the slowest time in years, he immediately becomes the butt of every school joke. And some students are determined to make his life more miserable than others . . .

When a school summer trip is offered, Link can think of nothing worse than spending voluntary time with his worst tormentors. But when his parents say he can only leave Osney School - forever - if he goes on the trip, Link decides to endure it for the ultimate prize. But this particular trip will require a very special sort of endurance. The saying goes 'No man is an island' - but what if on that island is a group of teenagers, none of whom particularly like each other? When oppressive heat, hunger and thirst start to bite, everyone's true colours will be revealed. Let the battle commence . . .

From the acclaimed author of S.T.A.G.S.

Plot: ★★★
Characters: ★★
Readability: ★★

I thought I would really enjoy The Island; a group of teens, stranded on a desert island, the bullied and the bullies forced together, no one knows where they are… The concept was great, and having enjoyed Bennett’s previous book (S.T.A.G.S.) I had expectations of a fast-paced, twisting YA thriller.  At only 304 pages, I figured it’d be a quick read, especially given that S.T.A.G.S. was so gripping. Ultimately though, I found The Island disappointing; it felt like a real slog to get into and it took me more than 2 weeks to finish.  I remember reading Lord of the Flies at about 16 and really enjoying it, and I figured this would be a bit like a modernised version of that.  While that was true in some respects, it just never hooked me the way I expected it to and it never got as tense as I expected.

Link has been bullied ever since moving to a posh British school, from having previously been homeschooled in the States.  He reluctantly agrees to go on a school trip over the summer but everything goes wrong and he finds himself stranded on a deserted island with the worst of his tormenters.  Link is quite an unlikable character: he has no real empathy or sympathy and he’s quite self-righteous.  He thinks he’s smarter than everyone else – there are some actions in the book which I’d say prove he isn’t half as smart as he thinks he is, but I can’t explain that without spoilers!  The other characters on the island are stereotypical to a fault and while Bennett tries to give them back-stories, have characters grow etc, it’s all just a bit too predictable.  In terms of plot, while there are twists, I thought they were so obviously foreshadowed that none of them were a surprise.

While the pop culture references seem like they could make the book date quickly, I really liked that the Desert Island Discs element was something a bit new and different so I couldn’t resist trying to come up with my own.

My Desert Island Discs: Honestly, I could spend weeks picking these, so I just went on gut instinct. They’re not in any particular order.

  • Linkin Park: One More Light & In the End
  • Moana: How Far I’ll Go
  • The Greatest Showman: The Other Side
  • Nashville: When the Right One Comes Along
  • Mulan: I’ll Make a Man Out of You
  • Blink-182: I Miss You
  • Ed Sheeran: Perfect

My book:

  • Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince.
    • This was the hardest decision and I’m still not sure it’s right: should I pick something longer that’ll take ages to read? But this is my go-to re-read. In a slump? HP6. Sad and want something comforting? HP6. Plus, it’d be good for fanfic ideas which might help keep me entertained and ties into my luxury item…

My luxury item:

  • Pen & paper – I’m hoping it’s an endless supply of paper. I could write letters to people I loved and missed (obviously I couldn’t send them but I think it’d make me less crazy to remember there are other people in the world!), I could write fiction/fanfiction/poetry/journal entries, I could doodle, I could make observations on plants/wildlife etc.
One StarOne Star