Thursday, 16 November 2017

Nothing, Annie Barrows

I have no individuality. I'm a prisoner of my context
Nothing ever happens to Charlotte and Frankie. Their lives are nothing like the lives of the girls they read about in their YA novels. They just go to high school and live at home with their parents, who are pretty normal, all things considered. But when Charlotte decides to write down everything that happens during their sophomore year to prove that nothing happens and there is no plot or character development in real life, she’s surprised to find that being fifteen isn’t as boring as she thought. It’s weird, heartbreaking, silly, and complicated. And maybe, just perfect.
1 / 5

When you pick up a book entitled "Nothing", which on the back proclaims to be about two girls to whom nothing ever happens, you probably ought not to be too upset when that's exactly what you get: a book about nothing. It's not like it was trying to hide it, right? But when I put this book down, I was still a bit disappointed to reflect and realise that that was exactly what I had got.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Wayfarers #1 & #2, Becky Chambers

When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she isn't expecting much. The Wayfarer, a patched-up ship that's seen better days, offers her everything she could possibly want: a small, quiet spot to call home for a while, adventure in far-off corners of the galaxy, and distance from her troubled past.

* * * * *
5 / 5

This is a combined review of Becky Chamber's "the long way to a small angry planet" and "a closed and common orbit"; they are both beautiful, charming, well-written and unique space operas. They also have covers that are to die for! I don't read as much sci-fi as I used to, but these books pulled me straight back in and are exactly the kind of read that I adore.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Beasts Made of Night, Tochi Onyebuchi

Sins weigh us down, and if you carry them with you past death, the earth and the sky both will reject you
In the walled city of Kos, corrupt mages can magically call forth sin from a sinner in the form of sin-beasts – lethal creatures spawned from feelings of guilt. 

Taj is the most talented of the aki, young sin-eaters indentured by the mages to slay the sin-beasts. But Taj’s livelihood comes at a terrible cost. When Taj is called to eat a sin of a royal, he’s suddenly thrust into the center of a dark conspiracy to destroy Kos. Now Taj must fight to save the princess that he loves – and his own life. 
* * 
2 / 5 

Beasts Made of Night has been on my radar for a couple of months because it sounded fantastic: sin taking form as beasts, a young man whose job is to devour the sins of others, a dark conspiracy, and the cover is gorgeous. I love a dark, intriguing, conspiracy-laden fantasy novel from time to time, but unfortunately Beasts Made of Night but the writing was lacklustre at best and nobody other than the main character had any, well, character.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Genuine Fraud, E. Lockhart

she didn't know if she could love her own mangled, strange heart
The story of a young woman whose diabolical smarts are her ticket into a charmed life. But how many times can someone reinvent themselves? You be the judge.

Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat. Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete. An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two. A bad romance, or maybe three.

A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was

* * * * 
4 / 5 

I wasn't really sure what to expect when I cracked open Genuine Fraud. I haven't read Lockhart's other well received book, We Were Liars, and I haven't read many thrillers or mystery novels. But I was very impressed by Genuine Fraud - it was short, a light 250 pages, and so didn't drag unnecessarily on, it packed a punch, had some weird twists, and really made me work for it. This is not an easy read - my brain really had to work to make sense of what was going on - but it was so worth it.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

If My Dogs Were A Pair of Middle-Aged Men, Matthew Inman

In If My Dogs Were a Pair of Middle-Aged Men, Matthew Inman imagines, to hilarious effect, what life would be like if his dogs were a couple of old men running around his house. The result is a pitch-perfect gift for any dog owner.

* * *
3 / 5

This is going to be a pretty short review, as there's not a whole lot to say about a book that's only 38 pages long! It literally took me a few minutes to read and the content got pretty old fast - it's your typical dog-related humour comics but replacing the dogs with two middle aged men. Yeah, it's kind of innovative and funny at first, but then looking at drawings of middle-aged men licking each other's butts is a bit bizarre. 

Friday, 3 November 2017

All the Crooked Saints, Maggie Stiefvater

Night fell, and the stars sauntered out. Night fell, and the owls opened their eyes 
Any visitor to Bicho Raro, Colorado is likely to find a landscape of dark saints, forbidden love, scientific dreams, miracle-mad owls, estranged affections, one or two orphans, and a sky full of watchful desert stars.

At the heart of this place you will find the Soria family, who all have the ability to perform unusual miracles. And at the heart of this family are three cousins longing to change its future: Beatriz, the girl without feelings, who wants only to be free to examine her thoughts; Daniel, the Saint of Bicho Raro, who performs miracles for everyone but himself; and Joaquin, who spends his nights running a renegade radio station under the name Diablo Diablo.

* * * 
3 / 5

If I could only say one think about All the Crooked Saints it would be that the language was beautiful. Sumptuous. Divine. It was entrancing and enlightening and so very in tone with the magical and bizarre plot, the very same plot that unfortunately let this book down for me. A book can be gorgeously written, with a plethora of great characters, and some strong messages and themes, but if nothing really happens then my interest is going to wane.  

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

[article] October Round-Up

These books have been on my TBR for at least three months. Shameful!

October Round Up

This month I've spent a lot of time reading long and sometimes dry academic articles in preparation for my first big coursework assignment of the year. It's actually quite an interesting area, on environmental ethics and particularly focusing on Aldo Leopold (if anyone here knows their environmental philosophy...), but it does drain your desire to read much else! I think October might be the month where I have read the least books this year, but that's okay :)