Saturday, 31 October 2015

Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Title: Me Before You
Series: Me Before You #1
Author: Jojo Moyes
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 528
Genres: Women's Fiction

Me Before You

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.

What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Review: Fables Vol. 5: The Mean Seasons by Bill Willingham

Title: Fables Vol. 5: The Mean Seasons
Series: Fables #5
Written By: Bill Willingham
Penciller: Mark Buckingham, Tony Akins, James Jean
Inker: Jimmy Palmiotti, Steve Leialoha, James Jean
Publisher: Vertigo
Pages: 166
Genres: Comics, Fairy Tales, Fantasy

Fables Vol. 5: The Mean Seasons

Collecting issues 22 and 28-33 of the hit VERTIGO series, this trade paperback features two tales of Bigby's exploits during World War II as well as "The Year After," which follows the aftermath of the Adversary's attempt to conquer Fabletown — including the birth of Snow White and Bigby's children!

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Review: The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

Title: The Casual Vacancy
Author: J.K. Rowling
Publisher: Sphere
Pages: 576
Genre: Thriller, Political

The Casual Vacancy
When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils... Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Review: The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice

Title: The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets
Author: Eva Rice
Publisher: Headline Review
Pages: 480
Genre: Women's Fiction
Source: Free review copy from the publisher

In the Heart of the Sea
Set in the 1950s, in an England still recovering from the Second World War, this is the enchanting story of Penelope Wallace and her eccentric family at the start of the rock'n'roll era.

Penelope longs to be grown-up and to fall in love, but various rather inconvenient things keep getting in her way. Like her mother, a stunning but petulant beauty widowed at a tragically early age, her younger brother Inigo, currently incapable of concentrating on anything that isn't Elvis Presley, a vast but crumbling ancestral home, a severe shortage of cash, and her best friend Charlotte's sardonic cousin Harry...

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Review: Stiff: The Curious Lives of Cadavers by Mary Roach

Title: Stiff: The Curious Lives of Cadavers
Author: Mary Roach
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 304
Genre: Non-Fiction

In the Heart of the Sea
What happens to your body after you have died? Fertilizer? Crash Test Dummy? Human Dumpling? Ballistics Practise?

Life after death is not as simple as it looks. Mary Roach's Stiff lifts the lid off what happens to our bodies once we have died. Bold, original and with a delightful eye for detail, Roach tells us everything we wanted to know about this new frontier in medical science. Interweaving present-day explorations with a history of past attempts to study what it means to be human Stiff is a deliciously dark investigations for readers of popular science as well as fans of the macabre.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Review: In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick

Title: In the Heart of the Sea
Author: Nathaniel Philbrick
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Pages: 336
Genres: Non-Fiction

In the Heart of the Sea

In 1820, the 240-ton Essex set sail from Nantucket on a routine voyage for whales. Fifteen months later, in the farthest reaches of the South Pacific, it was rammed and sunk by an 80-ton bull sperm whale. Its twenty-man crew made for the 3,000-mile-distant coast of South America in three tiny boats. During ninety days at sea under horrendous conditions, the survivors clung to life as one by one, they succumbed to hunger, thirst, disease, and fear. Philbrick interweaves his account of this extraordinary ordeal of ordinary men with a wealth of detail from archival and modern sources, including a long-lost account by the ship's cabin boy. At once a literary companion and a riveting adventure tale, In the Heart of the Sea is a vital work of American history.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

Title: The Martian
Author: Andy Weir
Publisher: Del Ray
Pages: 384
Genres: Hard Science Fiction

The Martian

I’m stranded on Mars.

I have no way to communicate with Earth.

I’m in a Habitat designed to last 31 days.

If the Oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the Water Reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I’ll just kind of explode. If none of those things happen, I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death.

So yeah. I’m screwed.

At first glance, I would not have read this book. I am not typically a fan of this type of genre but I am so glad I decided to give it a chance.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Review: Lamb by Bonnie Nadzam

Title: Lamb
Author: Bonnie Nadzam
Publisher: Windmill Books
Pages: 288
Genres: Psychological Thriller, Dark

Lamb

An unsettling exploration of manipulation and power between a middle-aged man and eleven year-old girl.

Tommie is eleven. David Lamb is fifty-four.

There’s nothing wrong with that, is there?


This is a story of 54 year old David Lamb and his decision to take a troubled 11 year old girl, Tommie to a cabin in the mountains to show her what he thinks is a better, simpler life.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Pages: 432
Genres: Romance, Young Adult,

Fangirl

Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they're off to university and Wren's decided she doesn't want to be one half of a pair any more - she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It's not so easy for Cath. She's horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she's experienced in real life.

Now Cath has to decide whether she's ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she's realizing that there's more to learn about love than she ever thought possible ...


This was a bit of a hit and miss book for me.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Review: Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Title: Forbidden
Author: Tabitha Suzuma
Publisher: Definitions
Pages: 432
Genres: Romance, Young Adult, Dark

Forbidden

She is pretty and talented - sweet sixteen and never been kissed. He is seventeen; gorgeous and on the brink of a bright future. And now they have fallen in love. But... they are brother and sister.

Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As de-facto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives—and the way they understand each other so completely—has also also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending.

This book was surprisingly emotional. 

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Review: The One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

Title: The One Plus One
Author: Jojo Moyes
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 528
Genres: Women's Fiction

The One Plus One

Suppose your life sucks. A lot. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being bullied and your math whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can’t afford to pay for. That’s Jess’s life in a nutshell—until an unexpected knight-in-shining-armor offers to rescue them. Only Jess’s knight turns out to be Geeky Ed, the obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home she happens to clean. But Ed has big problems of his own, and driving the dysfunctional family to the Math Olympiad feels like his first unselfish act in ages . . . maybe ever.

Moyes has done it for me again!

Monday, 19 October 2015

Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Title: Eleanor & Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: Orion
Pages: 336
Genres: Romance, Young Adult

Eleanor & Park

Eleanor is the new girl in town, and she's never felt more alone. All mismatched clothes, mad red hair and chaotic home life, she couldn't stick out more if she tried.

Then she takes the seat on the bus next to Park. Quiet, careful and - in Eleanor's eyes - impossibly cool, Park's worked out that flying under the radar is the best way to get by.

Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall in love. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you're 16, and you have nothing and everything to lose.

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, Eleanor & Park is funny, sad, shocking and true - an exquisite nostalgia trip for anyone who has never forgotten their first love.

I loved this book - it was so sweet, so cute - I didn't want it to end.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Review: Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon (Outlander #4)

Title: Drums of Autumn
Series: Outlander #4
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Publisher: Arrow
Pages: 1185
Genres:  Romance, Historical Fantasy, Time-Travel

Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon

How far will a woman travel to find a father, a lover a destiny? Across seas, across time - across the grave itself.

It began in Scotland, at an ancient stone circle. Claire Randall was swept through time into the arms of James Fraser whose love for her became legend - a tale of tragic passion that ended with her return to the present to bear his child. Two decades later, Claire travelled back again to reunite with Jamie, this time in frontier America. But Claire had left someone behind in her own time - their daughter Brianna.

Now Brianna has made a disturbing discovery that sends her to the stone circle and a terrifying leap into the unknown. In search of her mother and the father she has never met, she risks her own future to try to change history - and to save their lives. But as Brianna plunges into an uncharted wilderness, a heartbreaking encounter may strand her forever in the past - or root her in the place she should be, where her heart and soul belong...

I'm finding it hard to articulate my feelings about this book. The phrase 'a hot mess' comes to mind, but this is not a bad thing.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Review: The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

Title: The Invention of Wings
Author: Sue Monk Kidd
Publisher: Tinder Press
Publication Date: 25 September 2014
Pages: 448
Genres: Historical Fiction

The Invention of Wings

Sarah Grimké is the middle daughter. The one her mother calls difficult and her father calls remarkable. On Sarah's eleventh birthday, Hetty 'Handful' Grimké is taken from the slave quarters she shares with her mother, wrapped in lavender ribbons, and presented to Sarah as a gift. Sarah knows what she does next will unleash a world of trouble. She also knows that she cannot accept. And so, indeed, the trouble begins ...

A powerful, sweeping novel, inspired by real events, and set in the American Deep South in the nineteenth century, THE INVENTION OF WINGS evokes a world of shocking contrasts, of beauty and ugliness, of righteous people living daily with cruelty they fail to recognise; and celebrates the power of friendship.

I love me a good historical fiction, and I loved this book.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Review: The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls

Title: The Glass Castle
Author: Jeanette Walls
Publisher: Virago Press
Publication Date: 4 May 2006
Pages: 352
Genres: Non-Fiction, Memoir

The Glass Castle

This is a startling memoir of a successful journalist's journey from the deserted and dusty mining towns of the American Southwest, to an antique filled apartment on Park Avenue. Jeanette Walls narrates her nomadic and adventurous childhood with her dreaming, 'brilliant' but alcoholic parents. At the age of seventeen she escapes on a Greyhound bus to New York with her older sister; her younger siblings follow later. After pursuing the education and civilisation her parents sought to escape, Jeanette eventually succeeds in her quest for the 'mundane, middle class existence' she had always craved. In her apartment, overlooked by 'a portrait of someone else's ancestor' she recounts poignant remembered images of star watching with her father, juxtaposed with recollections of irregular meals, accidents and police-car chases and reveals her complex feelings of shame, guilt, pity and pride toward her parents

This book was absolutely amazing. I really can't believe Jeannette had a childhood like the one she describes in this book.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Review: Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice (The Vampire Chronicles #1)

Title: Interview with the Vampire
Series: The Vampire Chronicles #1
Author: Anne Rice
Publisher: Time Warner Paperbacks
Publication Date: 2003
Pages: 368
Genres: Horror, Vampires

Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

In a darkened room a young man sits telling the macabre and eerie story of his life - the story of a vampire, gifted with eternal life, cursed with an exquisite craving for human blood.
This was the first book to present vampires in the modern light that we think of them today.

 I had watched the movie before reading this book which I wish I never did because the book did not shock me like it should have done.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Review: Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

Title: Through the Woods
Author: Emily Carroll
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publication Date: 7 May 2014
Pages: 208
Genres: Graphic Novel, Fairytales, Horror, Young Adult

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

'It came from the woods. Most strange things do.'

Five mysterious, spine-tingling stories follow journeys into (and out of?) the eerie abyss.
These chilling tales spring from the macabre imagination of acclaimed and award-winning comic creator Emily Carroll.

Come take a walk in the woods and see what awaits you there...
I came across this book because I wanted something quick to read that would send shivers down my spine.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Review: Lord John and the Private Matter by Diana Gabaldon (Lord John Grey #1)

Title: Lord John and the Private Matter
Series: Lord John Grey #1
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Publisher: Arrow
Publication Date: 7 October 2004
Pages: 464
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery

Lord John and the Private Matter

The year is 1757. On a clear morning in mid-June, Lord John Grey emerges from London’s Beefsteak Club, his mind in turmoil. A nobleman and a high-ranking officer in His Majesty’s army, Grey has just witnessed something shocking. But his efforts to avoid a scandal that might destroy his family are interrupted by something still more urgent: The Crown appoints him to investigate the brutal murder of a comrade-in-arms who may have been a traitor. Obliged to pursue two inquiries at once, Major Grey finds himself ensnared in a web of treachery and betrayal that touches every stratum of English society—and threatens all he holds dear.

The first full sized novel featuring Lord John Grey.