“March came in that winter like the meekest and mildest of lambs, bringing days that were crisp and golden and tingling, each followed by a frosty pink twilight which gradually lost itself in an elfland of moonshine.” ― L.M. Montgomery
I started March with a few rereads. I guess I was feeling nostalgic or something…. I should have been reading for The Irish Readathon but sadly only managed one book for it. I was visiting family and traveling for two weeks at the end of the month so that’s my excuse for not reading as much.
I first read this in 2016. You can read my original review here. I enjoyed it a lot more on my second read. The main characters annoyed me a lot less because I understood why they behaved the way they did and where their story was going.
This book seems to have very mixed reviews from people because Lachlain hits very highly on the Alpha-Asshole scale.
Shadow Game (Ghost Walkers #1) by Christine Feehan ★★★☆☆
I first read this in 2016 as well but it was on audio and I kept falling asleep. Not cause it was boring just cause I was listening at night and kept snoozing so a lot of this seemed new to me reading as an ebook.
This one I read for the Kick’n Down Your TBR challenge in Gotta Have Romance With a Kick on Goodreads. I read book #8 in this series in 2013 so it took me awhile to remember everything about the series when I started this one (and most of it hasn’t come back to me 😅). Despite forgetting most of what was going on Adrian’s little recaps throughout the story reminded me of the important stuff and I ended up enjoying the story. I think the earlier books in this series were more romance focused and this one felt very story and action focused with a romance.
So close to the end now 😭😭😭 This series has been such an insane and emotional roller coaster! I am VERY invested in these characters now and if anything bad happens (or worse that what has already happened) to them I will be very upset. Cole is such a fantastic writer. She manages to write fiction in genres that are usually so predictable in a way that’s familiar but still refreshing. And she is a master at developing tension.
I read this book for the Romanceopoly challenge. I landed on Austen Row – Read a classic romance OR a historical romance on UTC or Peace Love Books rec lists. So I chose a book from the rec list and really enjoyed it. This was my first Lisa Kleypas book, it was published in 1994 and I think certain elements of it show that it was a historical romance from that time. There are some things that the characters do that just don’t happen in historical romances anymore. But it’s a very good book and definitely doesn’t go as far as being rapey like romances often did in the 70’s/80’s.
If you want to see what life was like for Irish people in the late 90’s and early 00’s then read this. Some of the language may be a little confusing if you’re not Irish but it’s a very entertaining collection nonetheless.
When people think of Irish writers they usually think of James Joyce, Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, or Roddy Doyle. Basically, they think of the old guys but we have a lot more to offer than that.
Avoid the crowds this St. Patrick’s Day and curl up with one of these great contemporary Irish books.
Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling by Emer McLysaght, Sarah Breen
Soon to be made into a film, Oh My God, What a complete Aisling is the story of a particular type of Irish girl. “We all know an Aisling**. She’s your stereotypical friend who carries her court shoes to work in a bag while pounding the pavement with her MBTs on the walk in from Rathmines.” Aisling has stepped out from her Facebook group roots and taken the country by storm! The book has been hugely popular and it’s not hard to see why.
Aisling is twenty-eight and she’s a complete … Aisling. She lives at home in Ballygobbard (or Ballygobackwards, as some gas tickets call it) with her parents and commutes to her good job at PensionsPlus in Dublin.
Aisling goes out every Saturday night with her best friend Majella, who is a bit of a hames (she’s lost two phones already this year – Aisling has never lost a phone).
Aisling spends two nights a week at her boyfriend John’s. He’s from down home and was kiss number seventeen at her twenty-first.
But Aisling wants more. She wants the ring on her finger. She wants the hen with the willy straws. She wants out of her parents’ house, although she’d miss Mammy turning on the electric blanket like clockwork and Daddy taking her car ‘out for a spin’ and bringing it back full of petrol.
When a week in Tenerife with John doesn’t end with the expected engagement, Aisling calls a halt to things and soon she has surprised herself and everyone else by agreeing to move into a three-bed in Portobello with stylish Sadhbh from HR and her friend, the mysterious Elaine.
Newly single and relocated to the big city, life is about to change utterly for this wonderful, strong, surprising and funny girl, who just happens to be a complete Aisling.
Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen, the creators of the much-loved Aisling character and the popular Facebook page ‘Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling’, bring Aisling to life in their novel about the quintessential country girl in the big smoke.
Almost Love by Louise O’Neill
Louise O’Neill’s first two books have been wildly popular especially Asking For It which is currently being adapted for a stage production in Cork’s The Everyman Theatre. Almost Love is her first adult fiction release and if it’s anything like Asking For It it will crawl under your skin and take up residence.
If it doesn’t hurt, it’s not love: the gripping new novel from the bestselling author of Asking for It. Perfect for fans of Marian Keyes and Jodi Picoult.
When Sarah falls for Matthew, she falls hard.
So it doesn’t matter that he’s twenty years older. That he sees her only in secret. That, slowly but surely, she’s sacrificing everything else in her life to be with him.
Sarah’s friends are worried. Her father can’t understand how she could allow herself to be used like this. And she’s on the verge of losing her job.
But Sarah can’t help it. She is addicted to being desired by Matthew.
And love is supposed to hurt.
The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney
McInerney won the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2016 for this darkly comic book set in Cork city’s criminal underbelly. You know you want to read something described by the Irish Times as “a big, brassy, sexy beast of a book“.
‘He was definitely dead, whoever he was. He wore a once-black jumper and a pair of shiny tracksuit bottoms. The back of his head was cracked and his hair matted, but it had been foxy before that. A tall man, a skinny rake, another string of piss, now departed. She hadn’t gotten a look at his face before she flaked him with the Holy Stone and she couldn’t bring herself to turn him over.’
One messy murder affects the lives of five misfits who exist on the fringes of Ireland’s post-crash society. Ryan is a fifteen-year-old drug dealer desperate not to turn out like his alcoholic father Tony, whose obsession with his unhinged next-door neighbour threatens to ruin him and his family. Georgie is a prostitute whose willingness to feign a religious conversion has dangerous repercussions, while Maureen, the accidental murderer, has returned to Cork after forty years in exile to discover that Jimmy, the son she was forced to give up years before, has grown into the most fearsome gangster in the city. In seeking atonement for the murder and a multitude of other perceived sins, Maureen threatens to destroy everything her son has worked so hard for, while her actions risk bringing the intertwined lives of the Irish underworld into the spotlight…
Biting, moving and darkly funny, The Glorious Heresies explores salvation, shame and the legacy of Ireland’s twentieth-century attitudes to sex and family.
Holding by Graham Norton
The debut novel from one of Ireland’s most loved exports. Norton makes us laugh most Friday nights on his BBC chat show but now he sets his sights on criminal mystery in the Irish countryside.
Graham Norton’s masterful debut is an intelligently crafted story of love, secrets and loss.
The remote Irish village of Duneen has known little drama; and yet its inhabitants are troubled. Sergeant PJ Collins hasn’t always been this overweight; mother of two Brid Riordan hasn’t always been an alcoholic; and elegant Evelyn Ross hasn’t always felt that her life was a total waste.
So when human remains are discovered on an old farm, suspected to be that of Tommy Burke – a former love of both Brid and Evelyn – the village’s dark past begins to unravel. As the frustrated PJ struggles to solve a genuine case for the first time in his life, he unearths a community’s worth of anger and resentments, secrets and regret.
Darkly comic, touching and at times profoundly sad. Graham Norton employs his acerbic wit to breathe life into a host of loveable characters, and explore – with searing honesty – the complexities and contradictions that make us human.
The Break by Marian Keyes
Keyes has the amazing ability to write witty fun books around serious topics such as addiction, depression, and the loss of a loved one without making light of the topic. She approaches them with such a humane eye making it seem like even though this shitty thing has/is happening everything will be alright.
Amy’s husband Hugh has run away to ‘find himself’. But will he ever come back? ‘Myself and Hugh . . . We’re taking a break.’ ‘A city-with-fancy-food sort of break?’ If only. Amy’s husband Hugh says he isn’t leaving her. He still loves her, he’s just taking a break – from their marriage, their children and, most of all, from their life together. Six months to lose himself in South East Asia. And there is nothing Amy can say or do about it. Yes, it’s a mid-life crisis, but let’s be clear: a break isn’t a break up – yet . . . However, for Amy it’s enough to send her – along with her extended family of gossips, misfits and troublemakers – teetering over the edge. For a lot can happen in six-months. When Hugh returns, if he returns, will he be the same man she married? Will Amy be the same woman? Because if Hugh is on a break from their marriage, then so is she . . . The Break is a story about the choices we make and how those choices help to make us. It is Marian Keyes at her funniest, wisest and brilliant best. ‘Just brilliant’ Sunday Times ‘Girl-power at its best. I laughed . . . I cried’ Daily Mail ‘Another belter. Full of brilliantly fun characters, genuine emotion and heaps of charm. We loved it!’ Heat ‘Keyes writes extremely well about modern women. A breezy, candid and deeply felt account of a wife, mother and career woman rediscovering herself’ Metro ‘Fabulously entertaining. Classic Keyes. The queen of intelligent women’s fiction’ Sunday Mirror ‘A glorious life-affirming novel with Keyes on top form’ Woman & Home ‘When it comes to writing page-turners that put a smile on your face and make you think, Keyes is in a class of her own’ Daily Express.
The Secret Scripture by Sebastion Barry
This was adapted into a movie recently. Don’t watch it. Read the book. It’s written with such real emotion there’s a good chance you will forget you’re reading fiction. And, yes, ok, this is really historical fiction but it’s written by a contemporary author so I’m including it.
Nearing her one-hundredth birthday, Roseanne McNulty faces an uncertain future, as the Roscommon Regional Mental hospital where she’s spent the best part of her adult life prepares for closure. Over the weeks leading up to this upheaval, she talks often with her psychiatrist Dr Grene, and their relationship intensifies and complicates.
Told through their respective journals, the story that emerges is at once shocking and deeply beautiful. Refracted through the haze of memory and retelling, Roseanne’s story becomes an alternative, secret history of Ireland’s changing character and the story of a life blighted by terrible mistreatment and ignorance, and yet marked still by love and passion and hope.
Of course, this list could go on and on. What contemporary Irish literature would you add?
Join the Howlin Books mailing list and get updates on book reviews, articles, events and videos. Sign up here
The goal of the readathon is to read books by Irish authors or about Ireland. You only need to read one book in order to participate but there are some challenges that you can do if you want.
I realise we’re halfway through the month now but I only discovered the readathon this week and really want to join in. Luckily I’ve already read some books by Irish authors this month and there are only four challenges.
1. (Leanne’s challenge) Read a book by an Irish author published in the last 10 years
2. (Stephen’s Challenge) Read an Irish classic (or modern classic)
3. (Jessica’s challenge) Read a book by a female Irish author
4. (Aoife’s challenge) Read a book based or focused on an event in Irish history
Bonus: Read a book with green on the cover.
What I plan on reading…
I am so bad at sticking to TBR’s so really this is a list of Irish books that I have on my shelf waiting to be read.
For a little extra touch of Irishness, I’ve decided to watch some Irish TV shows and films as well. I would like to watch mainly stuff set in Ireland but I will probably include some things by Irish directors or starring Irish actors as well.
It’s World Health Day today (Friday April 7th) and this year’s theme is Depression.
Depression is the leading cause of ill-health and disability worldwide. According to the latest estimates from WHO, more than 300 million people are now living with depression, an increase of more than 18% between 2005 and 2015. Lack of support for people with mental disorders, coupled with a fear of stigma, prevent many from accessing the treatment they need to live healthy, productive lives. –www.who.int
Depression is a common mental disorder. Globally, more than 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression.
Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease.
More women are affected by depression than men.
At its worst, depression can lead to suicide.
There are effective treatments for depression.
While doing research for this post I noticed there seems to be a conception that authors are prone to depression. I have no idea if this is true or not but if you’re interested in reading more on the subject here is an article from Everyday Health .
Depression is a very serious condition that not a lot of people understand and are often surprised when they discover someone suffers from it. Here is a list of authors that have reportedly endured this condition.
If you’ve read anything by Plath it was probably evident that she suffered from depression. It was a major element of her writing and believed to have led to her death.
It may be surprising to some that Rowling has suffered from depression. Prior to her Harry Potter success things were not going well for Rowling. She created the dementors in Harry Potter to show how depression feels.
“Depression is the most unpleasant thing I have ever experienced…It is that absence of being able to envisage that you will ever be cheerful again. The absence of hope. That very deadened feeling, which is so very different from feeling sad. Sad hurts but it’s a healthy feeling. It is a necessary thing to feel. Depression is very different.” – J.K. Rowling
Another one that may be surprising to some (since her books are so joyful). During her depression Keyes contemplated suicide saying (in an interview with the independent) that she resented her family because their support prevented her from doing so.
“I was shocked by it, I really was. Because you have this image of a depressed person as sitting beside a window, quietly, looking out at the rain, as a little tear trickles down their face and that’s not what it was.
“It wasn’t like that for me; I was crazed with fear,” – Marian Keyes
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald suffered from alcoholism which is believed to have led to his depressive state.
“The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.”
― F. Scott Fitzgerald
King suffered from alcohol and drug abuse. Apparently attempting to self-medicate for his depression.
“Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.”
― Stephen King
Rice endured a deep depression after the loss of her young daughter to leukaemia. Luckily for Rice, she found solace in her writing leading to her very successful Vampire Chronicles series.
“You do have a story inside you; it lies articulate and waiting to be written — behind your silence and your suffering.”
― Anne Rice
It’s time to show a little pride in the literary talents of my home. Ireland is well known for its rich cultural history in art and literature. Mostly old stories about the fairy folk and god save us, leprechauns! And I am a big fan of those stories but we have a lot more going on than just fairy tales. Here are some of my favourite Irish writers on a range of subjects.
I adore Purcell’s story about Elizabeth Sullivan’s trials and heartaches in the west coast of Ireland. Falling for a Dancer is one of my all-time favourite books. I’ve read it 3 times already! The story was made into a tv miniseries starring Colin Farrel as well.
I’ve only read The Secret Scripture by Barry but it was enough to make me a fan. Tense, emotional, heart-breaking, it’s the kind of story that stays with you. This was recently made into a movie as well starring Aidan Turner, Theo James, Eric Bana, and Rooney Mara.
Again I’ve only read one work by Stoker and that is, of course, Dracula….but I’ve read it like 3 times… I am a huge paranormal fan and this guy brought vampires into popular fiction. Gotta love him!
He may have written only one novel and it was an amazing novel but it isn’t favourite work by him. The Importance of Being Earnest, another one of my all time favourites, is so witty and ridiculous I adore it!
(Man I have a lot of playwrights on this list) The Playboy of the Western World caused riots when it was first performed in Dublin in 1907. People were so insulted by Synge’s portrayal of the Irish and believed the play to be morally offensive. Luckily the play survived this silliness for us to enjoy today.
Have you read anything by these authors? Can you recommend any Irish writers I should check out? Let me know in the comments!