Saturday, 30 April 2016

Review: Rogue by Rachel Vincent (Shifters #2)

Title: Rogue
Series: Shifters #2
Author: Rachel Vincent
Publisher: MIRA
Pages: 394
Genres: Urban Fantasy

Rogue

Okay, so cats don't always land on their feet.

I know that better than most. Since rejoining the Pride, I've made big decisions and even bigger mistakes: the kind paid for with innocent lives. As the first and only female enforcer, I have plenty to prove to my father, the Pride, and myself. And with murdered toms turning up in our territory, I'm working harder than ever, though I always find the energy for a little after-hours recreation with Marc, my partner both on- and off-duty.

But not all of my mistakes are behind me. We're beginning to suspect that the dead are connected to a rash of missing human women and that they can all be laid at my feet--two or four, take your pick. And one horrible indiscretion may yet cost me more than I can bear...

Friday, 29 April 2016

Review: Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi

Title: Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
Series: Persepolis #1-2
Written By: Marjane Satrapi
Translated by: Mattias Ripa
Publisher: Pantheon Books
Pages: 160
Genres: Graphic Novel, Memoir

Persepolis

Wise, funny, and heartbreaking, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’s memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran’s last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country.

Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life. Marjane’s child’s-eye view of dethroned emperors, state-sanctioned whippings, and heroes of the revolution allows us to learn as she does the history of this fascinating country and of her own extraordinary family. Intensely personal, profoundly political, and wholly original, Persepolis is at once a story of growing up and a reminder of the human cost of war and political repression. It shows how we carry on, with laughter and tears, in the face of absurdity. And, finally, it introduces us to an irresistible little girl with whom we cannot help but fall in love.

Review: Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi

Title: Embroideries
Written By: Marjane Satrapi
Translated By: Anjali Singh
Publisher: Pantheon Books
Pages: 144
Genres: Graphic Novel

Embroideries

From the best–selling author of Persepolis comes this gloriously entertaining and enlightening look into the sex lives of Iranian women. Embroideries gathers together Marjane’s tough–talking grandmother, stoic mother, glamorous and eccentric aunt and their friends and neighbors for an afternoon of tea drinking and talking. Naturally, the subject turns to love, sex and the vagaries of men.

As the afternoon progresses, these vibrant women share their secrets, their regrets and their often outrageous stories about, among other things, how to fake one’s virginity, how to escape an arranged marriage, how to enjoy the miracles of plastic surgery and how to delight in being a mistress. By turns revealing and hilarious, these are stories about the lengths to which some women will go to find a man, keep a man or, most important, keep up appearances.

Full of surprises, this introduction to the private lives of some fascinating women, whose life stories and lovers will strike us as at once deeply familiar and profoundly different from our own, is sure to bring smiles of recognition to the faces of women everywhere—and to teach us all a thing or two.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Review: Cunt: A Declaration of Independence by Inga Muscio

Title: Cunt: A Declaration of Independence
Author: Inga Muscio
Publisher: Seal Press
Pages: 304
Genres: Non Fiction, Feminism, Narrative

Cunt
An ancient title of respect for women, the word “cunt” long ago veered off this noble path. Inga Muscio traces the road from honor to expletive, giving women the motivation and tools to claim “cunt” as a positive and powerful force in their lives. With humor and candor, she shares her own history as she explores the cultural forces that influence women’s relationships with their bodies.

Sending out a call for every woman to be the Cuntlovin’ Ruler of Her Sexual Universe, Muscio stands convention on its head by embracing all things cunt-related.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Review: The Bees by Laline Paull

Title: The Bees
Author: Laline Paull
Publisher: Fourth Estate
Pages: 352
Genres: Literary Fiction, Speculative

The Bees
Born into the lowest class of her society, Flora 717 is a sanitation bee, only fit to clean her orchard hive. Living to accept, obey and serve, she is prepared to sacrifice everything for her beloved holy mother, the Queen.

But Flora is not like other bees. Despite her ugliness she has talents that are not typical of her kin. While mutant bees are usually instantly destroyed, Flora is removed from sanitation duty and is allowed to feed the newborns, before becoming a forager, collecting pollen on the wing. She also finds her way into the Queen’s inner sanctum, where she discovers secrets both sublime and ominous.

But enemies are everywhere, from the fearsome fertility police to the high priestesses who jealously guard the Hive Mind. And when Flora breaks the most sacred law of all her instinct to serve is overshadowed by an even deeper desire, a fierce love that will lead to the unthinkable . . .

Friday, 22 April 2016

Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Title: Ready Player One
Author: Ernest Cline
Publisher: Arrow
Pages: 384
Genres: Science-fiction, Young Adult, Dystopian

Ready Player One
It's the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place. We're out of oil. We've wrecked the climate. Famine, poverty, and disease are widespread.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes this depressing reality by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia where you can be anything you want to be, where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade is obsessed by the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this alternate reality: OASIS founder James Halliday, who dies with no heir, has promised that control of the OASIS - and his massive fortune - will go to the person who can solve the riddles he has left scattered throughout his creation.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that the riddles are based in the culture of the late twentieth century. And then Wade stumbles onto the key to the first puzzle.

Suddenly, he finds himself pitted against thousands of competitors in a desperate race to claim the ultimate prize, a chase that soon takes on terrifying real-world dimensions - and that will leave both Wade and his world profoundly changed.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Review: At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier

Title: At the Edge of the Orchard
Author: Tracey Chevalier
Publisher: The Borough Press
Pages: 292
Genres: Historical Fiction

At the Edge of the Orchard
What happens when you can’t run any further from your past?

Ohio, 1838. James and Sadie Goodenough have settled in the Black Swamp, planting apple trees to claim the land as their own. Life is harsh in the swamp, and as fever picks off their children, husband and wife take solace in separate comforts. James patiently grows his sweet-tasting ‘eaters’ while Sadie gets drunk on applejack made fresh from ‘spitters’. Their fighting takes its toll on all of the Goodenoughs – a battle that will resonate over the years and across America.

Fifteen years later their youngest son, Robert, is drifting through Gold Rush California and haunted by the broken family he fled years earlier. Memories stick to him where mud once did. When he finds steady work for a plant collector, peace seems finally to be within reach. But the past is never really past, and one day Robert is forced to confront the brutal reason he left behind everything he loved.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Review: Saga, Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughan

Title: Saga, Volume 3
Series: Saga (Collected Editions) #3
Written By: Brian K. Vaughan
Art by: Fiona Staples
Publisher: Image
Pages: 144
Genres: Comics, Science-fiction

Saga, Volume 3

From the Hugo Award-winning duo of Brian K. Vaughan (The Private Eye, Y: The Last Man) and Fiona Staples (North 40, Red Sonja), Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the universe. Searching for their literary hero, new parents Marko and Alana travel to a cosmic lighthouse on the planet Quietus, while the couple's multiple pursuers finally close in on their targets. Collects issues 13-18.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Review: The Innocent Killer by Michael Griesbach

Title: The Innocent Killer
Author: Michael Griesbach
Publisher: Windmill Books
Pages: 304
Genres: Narrative Non-Fiction, True Crime

The Innocent Killer
The story of one of America's most notorious wrongful convictions, that of Steven Avery, a Wisconsin man who spent eighteen years in prison for a crime he did not commit and now the subject of the hit series Making a Murderer. But two years after he was exonerated of that crime and poised to reap millions in his wrongful conviction lawsuit, Steven Avery was arrested for the exceptionally brutal murder of Teresa Halbach, a freelance photographer who had gone missing several days earlier. The “Innocent Man” had turned into a cold blooded killer. Or had he? This is narrative non-fiction at its finest and the perfect companion read for fans of Making a Murderer.

Review: Saga, Volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughan (Saga(Collected Editions) #2)

Title: Saga, Volume 2
Series: Saga (Collected Editions) #2
Written By: Brian K. Vaughan
Art by: Fiona Staples
Publisher: Image
Pages: 168
Genres: Comics, Science-fiction

Fables Vol. 3: Storybook Love

Thanks to her star-crossed parents Marko and Alana, newborn baby Hazel has already survived lethal assassins, rampaging armies, and alien monstrosities, but in the cold vastness of outer space, the little girl encounters her family's greatest challenge yet: the grandparents. Collects SAGA #7-12.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Review: The Rice Mother by Rani Manicka

Title: The Rice Mother
Author: Rani Manicka
Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks
Pages: 608
Genres: Historical Fiction, Magical Realism

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
A compelling glimpse into a captivatingly exotic world of myth and magic.

Beguiled by promises of wealth, fourteen-year-old Lakshmi leaves her native Ceylon for Malaya and marriage to a man many years her senior. But Ayah has lied to her and her family about his circumstances and in fact he lives in poverty. A woman of formidable energy and intelligence, Lakshmi provides security, if not luxury, for her family, though at a considerable emotional cost. Then the Japanese army invades during WWII.

The family bears deep scars and inflicts those wounds on the next generation. But in Nisha, Lakshmi's great-granddaughter, it is as if Fate has come full circle . . .

Monday, 11 April 2016

Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Title: The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Author: Stephen Chbosky
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 240
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it, Charlie is attempting to navigate through the uncharted territory of high school. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and music - when all one requires to feel infinite is that perfect song on that perfect drive. Standing on the fringes of life Charlie has a unique perspective of the world around him, but there comes a time to stop being a wallflower and see what it looks like from the dance floor. This haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion has become a modern classic. Charlie's letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating and through Charlie, Stephen Chbosky has created a deeply affecting story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Review: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Title: The Great Gatsby
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Publisher: Scribner
Pages: 180
Genres: Classics

The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby is a 1925 novel written by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald that follows a cast of characters living in the fictional town of West Egg on prosperous Long Island in the summer of 1922. The story primarily concerns the young and mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and his quixotic passion and obsession for the beautiful former debutante Daisy Buchanan. Considered to be Fitzgerald's magnum opus, The Great Gatsby explores themes of decadence, idealism, resistance to change, social upheaval, and excess, creating a portrait of the Jazz Age or the Roaring Twenties that has been described as a cautionary tale regarding the American Dream.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Review: Blackdeath 23 by Robert Mills

Title: Blackdeath 23: My Journal as an Army Helicopter Pilot in Iraq
Author: Robert Mills
Publisher: Wise Publications
Pages: 208
Genres: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Source: Free copy provided by the author.

Blackdeath 23

Blackdeath 23 is Robert's journal from the time he joined the Army on 9/11/2001, the day we suffered devastating attacks to our country, through two deployments to the war zone in Iraq.

Re-live the day to day experiences with Robert, just as he lived them. Robert's daily journal will give you a realistic experience from his cockpit. His writings cover the entire spectrum, from the joys of simply receiving mail from home, living in harsh conditions, experiencing frequent enemy attacks, aircraft emergencies and losing a fellow pilot, to making the ultimate decision of pulling the trigger to end one life in order to save another. Robert states, "I never intended to write a book. It took over three years to complete. Some of it was extremely difficult to get through."

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Review: We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Title: We Should All Be Feminists
Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Publisher: Fourth Estate
Pages: 64
Genres: Non-Fiction, Feminism

We Should All Be Feminists

What does “feminism” mean today? That is the question at the heart of We Should All Be Feminists, a personal, eloquently-argued essay – adapted from her much-viewed Tedx talk of the same name – by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author of ‘Americanah’ and ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’.

With humour and levity, here Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century – one rooted in inclusion and awareness. She shines a light not only on blatant discrimination, but also the more insidious, institutional behaviours that marginalise women around the world, in order to help readers of all walks of life better understand the often masked realities of sexual politics. Throughout, she draws extensively on her own experiences – in the U.S., in her native Nigeria – offering an artfully nuanced explanation of why the gender divide is harmful for women and men, alike. Argued in the same observant, witty and clever prose that has made Adichie a best-selling novelist, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman today – and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Review: The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (Cormoran Strike #1)

Title: The Cuckoo's Calling
Series: Cormoran Strike #1
Author: Robert Galbraith
Publisher: Sphere
Pages: 449
Genres: Mystery, General

City of Glass

After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.

Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

You may think you know detectives, but you've never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you've never seen them under an investigation like this. Introducing Cormoran Strike, this is the acclaimed first crime novel by J.K. Rowling, writing under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

Review: The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith

Title: The Way I Used to Be
Author: Amber Smith
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Export
Pages: 384
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary

The Way I Used to BE

Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes.

What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened but she can’t. So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be.

Told in four parts—freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year.

Wrap up Wednesday

Monday, 4 April 2016

Review: Adulthood Is a Myth - A "Sarah's Scribbles" Collection by Sarah Andersen

Title: Adulthood Is a Myth
Author: Sarah Andersen
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Pages: 112
Genres: Graphic Novel

Animal Farm

Are you a special snowflake? Do you love networking to advance your career? Have you never wasted a fresh new day surfing the internet? Ugh. This book is not for you. Please go away.

Sarah's Scribbles — casually drawn, perfectly on-point comics by young Brooklyn-based artist Sarah Andersen — confront head-on the horrors, anxiety, and awkwardness of modern adult life. From the agony of holding hands with a gorgeous guy to the yawning pit of hell that is the wifi gone down to the eye-watering pain of eating too-hot pizza because one cannot stand to wait for it to cool down, Sarah fearlessly documents it all.

Friday, 1 April 2016

Review: 11/22/63 by Stephen King

Title: 11/22/63
Author: Stephen King
Publisher: Scribner
Pages: 864
Genres: Science Fiction, Alternate History, Horror, Romance

11/22/63

On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? Stephen King's heart-stoppingly dramatic new novel is about a man who travels back in time to prevent the JFK assassination, a thousand-page tour de force.

Jake Epping is a thirty-five-year-old high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching adults in the GED program. He receives an essay from one of the students a gruesome, harrowing first person story about the night 50 years ago when Harry Dunning's father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a hammer. Harry escaped with a smashed leg, as evidenced by his crooked walk.

Not much later, Jake's friend Al, who runs the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to 1958. He enlists Jake on an insane and insanely possible mission to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination. So begins Jake's new life as George Amberson and his new world of Elvis and JFK, of big American cars and sock hops, of a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and a beautiful high school librarian named Sadie Dunhill, who becomes the love of Jake's life a life that transgresses all the normal rules of time.