Half-and-Half Books: From ‘wow’ to ‘meh’ and back again

By Rosie Wiggins


I recently finished a book called The End of the World Running Club, which I picked up because I convince myself to exercise by pretending I’m surviving an apocalypse and need to train. True story.

After a powerful and truly horrific opening chapter, in which the apocalypse hits in real time and in full devastation, I was ready for a story that would change my life, blow my mind, clear my skin and water my plants. What I got was… not that. But it wasn’t not not that, either.

This is how to handle ‘Half-and-Half’ books: books that leave you gripping the pages with tension in one chapter but falling asleep in another, and flit between the two extremes for their entire run.

Minor spoilers below. 

Continue reading


BOOK CLUB: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Welcome to our latest book club so far! (We’re gonna work on it guys) For September we read a classic adventure story Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. We follow our intrepid protagonist Jim Hawkins on a treasure hunt to a desert island during which he encounters pirates, maroons and lots and lots of treasure. This high seas tale created many of the pirate tropes we all recognise today and is probably best remembered for its villain the legendary Long John Silver. But does this classic live up to our expectations? Let’s find out!

Continue reading


Hi everyone! For this month’s book club we decided to read Agatha Christie’s classic ‘The Murder of Roger Ackroyd’. We have a good mix of Christie veterans and newbies amongst the Book Buds so we had quite the discussion! So settle in, make yourself a cuppa and maybe grab a finger sandwich or two or a nice scone, and let’s get stuck in, shall we?

WARNING, THERE BE MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD. Unavoidable with a murder mystery unfortunately. Read the novel then read on!

Continue reading

Review: The Essex Serpent

I’m a sucker for a book award. I don’t always agree with the verdict, but slap a ‘Winner’ sticker on any novel and it will rocket to the top of my reading list. Call it curiosity, call it elitism, call it argumentative, call it whatever; if a book has been called ‘the best’, I want to find out why.

Hence my reading for this month: Waterstones’ Book of the Year 2016, Sarah Perry’s second novel The Essex Serpent.

Spoilers under the cut!

Continue reading

BOOK CLUB: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

Happy New Year everybody! So December’s Book Club post is a few days (ahem, a week) late, but as one bud was out of the country over the holiday period and the others were passed out on their sofas after consuming insane amounts of Christmas food, we’ll let it slide this once…! This month we took on C.S Lewis’ classic high-fantasy tale, where four children climb through a wardrobe into the magical world of Narnia, filled with witches, talking lions, thinly veiled Christian mythology and Turkish Delight. Let’s get right to it!


SPOILER WARNING: The following post contains major spoilers for the plot of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.

Continue reading

BOOK CLUB: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

For this month’s book club we decided to get into the Halloween spirit by reading Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House. Regarded as one of the best 20th century ghost stories this story follows a group of paranormal investigators as they spend the summer in a supposedly haunted house with a dark past and begin to experience some seriously strange goings on.

As with last month’s book club we ended up with some wildly different opinions.

SPOILER WARNING: The following post contains major spoilers for the plot of The Haunting of Hill House.

Continue reading

Review: Closed Casket by Sophie Hannah

The Belgian is back!

Hercule Poirot is one of the most memorable literary detectives of all time. Poet Sophie Hannah has taken on the character in her new Agatha Christie style Poirot series. Her new Poirot story, Closed Casket, sees the Belgian detective solve a bizarre and brutal murder in the house of children’s author Athelinda Playford. Taking on such an iconic character is never going to be easy.

And I’m not about to make it any easier. See what a die-hard Christie fan has to say about this Poirot revival.

Major spoilers under the cut!

Continue reading

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Book Buds Book Club

It’s our first Book Buds Book Club review!

Over September we read Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, a gothic-style YA novel following Jacob Portman as he searches for meaning in the bizarre, twisted fairy tales he heard from his grandfather, Abe. With the Tim Burton film adaptation in cinemas now, we figured it was time we caught up with this eerie little world and share our thoughts with you.

It’s safe to say there were a few, uh, conflicting views. Let’s start from the bottom and work our way up.

Major spoilers below the cut!

Continue reading

2016 Man Booker Prize

It’s the end of September, kids are back in school, and my mental countdown to Halloween is almost at an end. October not only brings the greatest global holiday of them all (in my opinion); it brings us the 2016 Man Booker Prize, i.e. ‘the best book of the year’.

So, here are the contenders (shortlisted books in bold):

J.M. Coetzee’s The Schooldays of Jesus
A.L. Kennedy’s Serious Sweet
Ian McGuire’s The North Water
David Means’ Hystopia
Wyl Menmuir’s The Many
Virginia Reeves’ Work Like Any Other
Elizabeth Strout’s My Name is Lucy Barton
Paul Beatty’s The Sellout
Ottessa Moshfegh’s Eileen
Deborah Levy’s Hot Milk
Madeleine Thein’s Do Not Say We Have Nothing
David Szalay’s All That Man Is
Graeme Macrae Burnett’s His Bloody Project

In my completely uneducated and wholly amatuer opinion, the ‘best book of the year’ should be the book that really got under your skin, that really left an impression with you. Since thirteen books is a bit much for one review post, I’ll cover the stories that stood out for me, for better or for worse. Any books that I’ve left out you can assume were a solid ‘meh’.

Continue reading

GROUP REVIEW: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I & II at The Palace Theatre

Welcome to Book Buds! To commemorate our first post we’ve decided to do an extra-specially long group review. This summer we were all lucky enough to get to go see the production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I & II at the Palace Theatre in London. We’ve gathered together some of our thoughts and opinions on the experience below the read more.

SPOILER WARNING: The following review contains major spoilers for both the plot and production details of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child as well as the Harry Potter series in general. Read on at your own discretion.

Note: This is a review of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child as performed at the Palace Theatre not the published script of the play. While plot details found in the script are discussed, bear in mind our opinions are influenced by the experience of seeing the production on stage. 

Continue reading