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 :)

I did manage to dig my teeth into Maggie Stiefvater's new book as well as making a dent into my pile of ARCs to be read for Netgalley. Unfortunately, most of these were disappointing, but I did manage to get around to reading some popular reads that did not let me down!

Spotlight ARC of the Month:

Genuine Fraud
E. Lockhart

* * * *  
4 / 5

"she didn't know if she could love her own mangled, strange heart"

Jule is an athlete and shrouded in mystery. Her stories about her past constantly change and sound like lies. Imogen is a rich heiress, cheats on her boyfriends, and flighty. On the island of Martha's Vineyard, Jule and Imogen become fast friends having known each other at school. They trade clothes, gossip, and boys until they become so similar it's hard to tell them apart. We open the novel with Jule at a fancy hotel, relaxing on poolsides and benching weights, letting the summer pass her by. From there we move backwards in time, always backwards into the past, to discover how Imogen and Jule and Forrest and Paolo and Brooke are intricately tied together. 

It's hard to say what Genuine Fraud is actually about. It's about murder and love and female friendships. It's about an author trying to shock a reader and about a girl who is a little bit psychotic. It's about people not being who you expect them to be, about mistaken identities, and how making one little choice can change your life massively in the space of a year. It's about feminism and action heroes and always thinking that we are right and the centre of our own stories. Reading this book made my head spin with wild theories: is Imogen even real? And so many questions: Who is Jule? What does she want? 

"the gun felt hot against her back. she was armed. she had no heart to break. like the hero of an action movie, Jule West Williams was the center of the story"

Official Synopsis:

Born and raised on Moon 2, Leo and the twins, Orion and Libra, are finally old enough and strong enough to endure the dangerous trip to Earth. They’ve been “parented” by teams of astronauts since birth and have run countless drills to ready themselves for every conceivable difficulty they might face on the flight.

But has anything really prepared them for life on terra firma? Because while the planet may be home to billions of people, living there is more treacherous than Leo and his friends could ever have imagined, and their very survival will mean defying impossible odds

Spotlight Read of the Month:

Marie Lu

* * * * 
4 / 5

"I'm going to win this time"
Hideo Tanaka invented Warcross when he was a child and now, as a serious young adult, he is a billionaire. Emika Chen is his exact opposite: a dirt poor bounty hunter and part-time waitress who can't even afford to pay her rent. Their worlds should never have collided, but when Emika hacks her way into the international Warcross Championships (sort of by mistake), she is thrown into the spotlight and offered promptly offered a job as a hacker spy by Hideo himself. 

Emika was a stunning character and she is definitely a teenage girl fantasy character: she has rainbow hair, a tattoo sleeve, rides a hoverboard, and is generally quite badass. She has a complicated past and a difficult present, and manages to avoid being pigeonholed into either the "geek girl", the "badass until she sees a cute boy character", or the "tom boy who puts down other girls girl". Warcross is imaginative and joyful and I adored Lu's execution of the virtual reality game aspect. The plot towards the end got needlessly complicated and a touch predictable, but it did manage to surprise me, and definitely left me with a lot of questions and a yearning to know more. 

Official Synopsis:

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. 

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. 

Other Reads:

     * * * * The Crown's Game (The Crown's Game), Evelyn Skye - Review
The Crown's Game promised magic, a game to the death, folklore, and a killer setting, and boy did it deliver on most of these points. It was also very upfront about the love triangle, which I appreciated. The characters are a massive focal point of the book and they are mostly likeable, if a bit dull. 

     * *  Running Like A Girl, Alexandra Heminsley - Review
I've basically realised that what I enjoy about reading books about running is people's personal experiences. Their race reports, their trials and tribulations, their elation and disappointments. And I can get all of this from reading the blogs of ultrarunners and not not have to spend a penny.

     * * * All the Crooked Saints, Maggie Stiefvater - Review
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.


     * *  Beasts Made of Night, Tochi Onyebuchi - Review
I really wanted to love this one. It was on my top five most anticipated fantasy novels of the year so I was gutted that I didn't enjoy it more. The plot is a solid 3/5, the idea behind it amazing - your sins take form as some inky nightmareish monsters - but the writing was unfortunately quite lacklustre.

     * *  Nothing, Annie Barrows - Review
I think if you pick up a book entitled "Nothing" and the synopsis states that "nothing ever happens to Charlotte and Frankie" you only have yourself to blame when you are bored because, you guessed it, nothing happens. 

     * * * Eyes Like Those (Seven Shores #1), Melissa Brayden - Review
I adored the last Brayden book I read - Strawberry Summer - but Eyes Like Those didn't quite hit the same sweet spots. Another lesbian romance featuring a young television script writer and the producer of the show it was still a good book, but a little predictable. 

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