Sunday, 23 April 2017

Review: Lobsters by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison

Title: Lobsters
Authors: Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison
Publisher: Chicken House
Pages: 320
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Sam and Hannah only have the holidays to find The One. Their 'lobster'.

But instead of being epic, their summer is looking awkward. They must navigate social misunderstandings, the plotting of well-meaning friends, and their own fears of being virgins for ever to find happiness. But fate is at work to bring them together. And in the end, it all boils down to love.

Review: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Title: Northanger Abbey
Author: Jane Austen
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 256
Genres: Classics

'To look almost pretty, is an acquisition of higher delight to a girl who has been looking plain the first fifteen years of her life, than a beauty from her cradle can ever receive'

During an eventful season at Bath, young, naïve Catherine Morland experiences the joys of fashionable society for the first time. She is delighted with her new acquaintances: flirtatious Isabella, who shares Catherine's love of Gothic romance and horror, and sophisticated Henry and Eleanor Tilney, who invite her to their father's mysterious house, Northanger Abbey. There, her imagination influenced by novels of sensation and intrigue, Catherine imagines terrible crimes committed by General Tilney. With its broad comedy and irrepressible heroine, this is the most youthful and and optimistic of Jane Austen's works.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Review: No Place For A Lady by Gill Paul

Title: No Place For A Lady
Author: Gill Paul
Publisher: Avon Books
Pages: 400
Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance

The year is 1854, and Britain is in the grip of a gruesome war. Dorothea Gray has not seen her little sister Lucy since she eloped with the handsome Captain Charlie Harvington and set sail for the Crimea. Now, as the war worsens and the battlefields darken with blood, Dorothea must risk everything to find her sister and join Florence Nightingale in the Crimean hospitals, nursing the injured soldiers back to health. But the young Lucy is fighting her own battles, and not everyone wants to be found.

Against the backdrop of one of history’s most heartbreaking wars, can these two sisters find their way back to each other? Or will tragedy intervene?

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Review: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

Title: The Bone Season
Series: The Bone Season #1
Author: Samantha Shannon
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 452
Genres: Science Fiction, Dystopia

It is the year 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. The work she does is unusual: scouting for information by breaking into others' minds. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant, and in this world, the voyants commit treason simply by breathing.

But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is a separate city-Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures, the Rephaim, value the voyants highly-as soldiers in their army.

Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be in charge of her care and training. He is her master. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, Paige will have to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Review: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Title: Homegoing
Author: Yaa Gyasi
Publisher: Viking
Pages: 320
Genres: Literary Fiction

Effia and Esi: two sisters with two very different destinies. One sold into slavery; one a slave trader's wife. The consequences of their fate reverberate through the generations that follow. Taking us from the Gold Coast of Africa to the cotton-picking plantations of Mississippi; from the missionary schools of Ghana to the dive bars of Harlem, spanning three continents and seven generations, Yaa Gyasi has written a miraculous novel - the intimate, gripping story of a brilliantly vivid cast of characters and through their lives the very story of America itself.

Review: Saga, Volume 7 by Brian K. Vaughan

Title: Saga, Volume 7
Series: Saga (Collected Editions) #7
Written By: Brian K. Vaughan
Art by: Fiona Staples
Publisher: Image
Pages: 152
Genres: Comics, Science-fiction

From the worldwide bestselling team of FIONA STAPLES and BRIAN K. VAUGHAN, “The War for Phang” is an epic, self-contained SAGA event! Finally reunited with her ever-expanding family, Hazel travels to a war-torn comet that Wreath and Landfall have been battling over for ages. New friendships are forged and others are lost forever in this action-packed volume about families, combat, and the refugee experience.Collecting: Saga 37-42.

Review: A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab

Title: A Gathering of Shadows
Series: Shades of Magic #2
Author: V. E. Schwab
Publisher: Titan Books
Pages: 508
Genres: Fantasy

Kell is one of the last magicians with the ability to travel between parallel universes, linked by the magical city of London. It has been four months since a mysterious obsidian stone fell into his possession and he met Delilah Bard. Four months since the Dane twins of White London fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body back into Black London. Now Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila. And as Red London prepares for the Element Games—an international competition of magic—a certain pirate ship draws closer. But another London is coming back to life. The balance of magic is perilous, and for one city to flourish, another must fall…

Saturday, 1 April 2017

February 2017 - Reading Wrap Up

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

Title: A Darker Shade of Magic
Series: Shades of Magic #1
Author: V. E. Schwab
Publisher: Titan Books
Pages: 400
Genres: Fantasy

Kell is one of the last Travelers—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes—as such, he can choose where he lands.

There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, ruled by a mad King George. Then there’s Red London, where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne—a place where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London...but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see—a dangerous hobby, and one that has set him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations, first robs him, then saves him from a dangerous enemy, and then forces him to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—and that is proving trickier than they hoped.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Review: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Title: A Court of Mist and Fury
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #2
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher:  Bloomsbury
Pages: 640
Genres: Fantasy, Romance

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court–but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms–and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future–and the future of a world cleaved in two.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher:  Bloomsbury
Pages: 416
Genres: Fantasy, Romance

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it…or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Review: The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

Title: The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend
Author: Katarina Bivald
Publisher: Vintage
Pages: 384
Genres: Contemporary, Romance

Sara has never left Sweden but at the age of 28 she decides it’s time. She cashes in her savings, packs a suitcase full of books and sets off for Broken Wheel, Iowa, a town where she knows nobody.

Sara quickly realises that Broken Wheel is in desperate need of some adventure, a dose of self-help and perhaps a little romance, too. In short, this is a town in need of a bookshop.

With a little help from the locals, Sara sets up Broken Wheel’s first bookstore. The shop might be a little quirky but then again, so is Sara. And as Broken Wheel’s story begins to take shape, there are some surprises in store for Sara too…

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Review: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Title: Ruin and Rising
Series: The Grisha #3
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher:  Orion Children's Books
Pages: 384
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

SHADOW AND BONE. SIEGE AND STORM. Now Alina's story reaches its incredible conclusion in RUIN AND RISING.

The capital has fallen. The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne. Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova's amplifiers. But as Alina begins to unravel the Darkling's secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction - but claiming it could cost Alina the very future she is fighting for.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Review: The Fox and the Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith

Title: The Fox and the Star
Author: Coralie Bickford-Smith
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 64
Genres: Children's, Picture Book, Graphic Novel

The Fox and the Star is the story of a friendship between a lonely Fox and the Star who guides him through the frightfully dark forest. Illuminated by Star’s rays, Fox forages for food, runs with the rabbits, and dances in the rain—until Star suddenly goes out and life changes, leaving Fox huddling for warmth in the unfamiliar dark. To find his missing Star, Fox must embark on a wondrous journey beyond the world he knows—a journey lit by courage, newfound friends, and just maybe, a star-filled new sky.

Review: Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

Title: Jane Steele
Author: Lyndsay Faye
Publisher: Headline Review
Pages: 432
Genres: Historical Fiction

Reader, I murdered him.

A Gothic retelling of Jane Eyre.

Like the heroine of the novel she adores, Jane Steele suffers cruelly at the hands of her aunt and schoolmaster. And like Jane Eyre, they call her wicked - but in her case, she fears the accusation is true. When she flees, she leaves behind the corpses of her tormentors.

A fugitive navigating London's underbelly, Jane rights wrongs on behalf of the have-nots whilst avoiding the noose. Until an advertisement catches her eye. Her aunt has died and the new master at Highgate House, Mr Thornfield, seeks a governess. Anxious to know if she is Highgate's true heir, Jane takes the position and is soon caught up in the household's strange spell. When she falls in love with the mysterious Charles Thornfield, she faces a terrible dilemma: can she possess him - body, soul and secrets - and what if he discovers her murderous past?

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Review: Persuasion by Jane Austen

Title: Persuasion
Author: Jane Austen
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 256
Genres: Classics

'Her attachment and regrets had, for a long time, clouded every enjoyment of youth; and an early loss of bloom and spirits had been their lasting effect'

Persuasion, Jane Austen's last novel, is a moving, masterly and elegiac love story tinged with the heartache of missed opportunities. It tells the story of Anne Elliot, who, persuaded to break off her engagement to the man she loved because he was not successful enough, has never forgotten him. When he returns, he brings with him a tantalizing second chance of happiness ...

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Review: Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Title: Life of Pi
Author: Yann Martel
Publisher: Canongate Books
Pages: 352
Genres: Literary Fiction

One boy, one boat, one tiger . . .

After the tragic sinking of a cargo ship, a solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild, blue Pacific. The only survivors from the wreck are a sixteen year-old boy named Pi, a hyena, a zebra (with a broken leg), a female orang-utan -- and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger. The scene is set for one of the most extraordinary and best-loved works of fiction in recent years.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Blog Tour: The One by John Marrs


How far would you go to find THE ONE?

One simple mouth swab is all it takes. A quick DNA test to find your perfect partner – the one you’re genetically made for.

A decade after scientists discover everyone has a gene they share with just one other person, millions have taken the test, desperate to find true love. Now, five more people meet their Match. But even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking – and deadlier – than others...

A psychological thriller with a difference, this is a truly unique novel which is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat.

(Note: Previously published as A Thousand Small Explosions)

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Review: Difficult Women by Roxane Gay

Title: Difficult Women
Author: Roxane Gay
Publisher: Corsair
Pages: 272
Genres: Short Story Collection

The women in these stories live lives of privilege and of poverty, are in marriages both loving and haunted by past crimes or emotional blackmail. A pair of sisters, grown now, have been inseparable ever since they were abducted together as children, and must negotiate the elder sister's marriage. A woman married to a twin pretends not to realize when her husband and his brother impersonate each other. A stripper putting herself through college fends off the advances of an overzealous customer. A black engineer moves to Upper Michigan for a job and faces the malign curiosity of her colleagues and the difficulty of leaving her past behind.

From a girls' fight club to a wealthy subdivision in Florida where neighbors conform, compete, and spy on each other, Gay delivers a wry, beautiful, haunting vision of modern America.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Review: Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson

Title: Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal
Series: Ms. Marvel (2014) (Collected Editions) #1
Written By: G. Willow Wilson
Art by: Adrian Alphona. Jake Wyatt
Publisher: Marvel
Pages: 120
Genres: Comics

Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City - until she's suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm! When Kamala discovers the dangers of her newfound powers, she unlocks a secret behind them, as well. Is Kamala ready to wield these immense new gifts? Or will the weight of the legacy before her be too much to bear? Kamala has no idea, either. But she's comin' for you, New York! Collecting MS. MARVEL (2014) #1-5.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Review: Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

Title: Fingersmith
Author: Sarah Waters
Publisher:Virago Press
Pages: 548
Genres: Historical Fiction

No one and nothing is as it seems in this Dickensian novel of thrills and reversals. Sue Trinder is an orphan, left as an infant in the care of Mrs. Sucksby, a "baby farmer." Mrs. Sucksby’s household also hosts a transient family of petty thieves--fingersmiths--for whom this house in the heart of a mean London slum is home.

One day, the most beloved thief of all arrives--Gentleman, an elegant con man, who carries with him an enticing proposition for Sue: If she wins a position as the maid to Maud Lilly, a naïve gentlewoman, and aids Gentleman in her seduction, they all will share in Maud’s vast inheritance.

With dreams of paying back the kindness of her adopted family, Sue agrees to the plan. Once in, however, Sue begins to regret her decision.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Review: Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota

Title: Year of the Runaways
Author: Sunjeev Sahota
Publisher: Picador
Pages: 468
Genres: Literary Fiction

The Year of the Runaways tells of the bold dreams and daily struggles of an unlikely family thrown together by circumstance. Thirteen young men live in a house in Sheffield, each in flight from India and in desperate search of a new life. Tarlochan, a former rickshaw driver, will say nothing about his past in Bihar; and Avtar has a secret that binds him to protect the choatic Randeep. Randeep, in turn, has a visa-wife in a flat on the other side of town: a clever, devout woman whose cupboards are full of her husband's clothes, in case the immigration men surprise her with a call.

Sweeping between India and England, and between childhood and the present day, Sunjeev Sahota's generous, unforgettable novel is - as with Rohinton Mistry's A Fine Balance - a story of dignity in the face of adversity and the ultimate triumph of the human spirit. 

Friday, 20 January 2017

Review: Every Day by David Levithan

Title: Every Day
Author: David Levithan
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Pages: 384
Genres: Young Adult, Romance

Each morning, A wakes up in a different body. There’s never any warning about who it will be, but A is used to that. Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

And that’s fine – until A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with – every day . . .

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Review: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Title: When Breath Becomes Air
Author: Paul Kalanithi
Publisher: Vintage
Pages: 256
Genres: Non-fiction, Memoir

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, the next he was a patient struggling to live.

When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a medical student asking what makes a virtuous and meaningful life into a neurosurgeon working in the core of human identity – the brain – and finally into a patient and a new father.

What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when when life is catastrophically interrupted? What does it mean to have a child as your own life fades away?

Paul Kalanithi died while working on this profoundly moving book, yet his words live on as a guide to us all. When Breath Becomes Air is a life-affirming reflection on facing our mortality and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a gifted writer who became both.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Review: Angels & Demons by Dan Brown

Title: Angels & Demons
Series: Robert Langdon #1
Author: Dan Brown
Publisher: Corgi
Pages: 620
Genres: Thriller, Suspense

CERN Institute, Switzerland: a world-renowned scientist is found brutally murdered with a mysterious symbol seared onto his chest.

The Vatican, Rome: the College of Cardinals assembles to elect a new pope. Somewhere beneath them, an unstoppable bomb of terrifying power relentlessly counts down to oblivion.

In a breathtaking race against time, Harvard professor Robert Langdon must decipher a labyrinthine trail of ancient symbols if he is to defeat those responsible - the Illuminati, a secret brotherhood presumed extinct for nearly four hundred years, reborn to continue their deadly vendetta against their most hated enemy, the Catholic Church.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Review: I Hate Fairyland, Volume 1 by Skottie Young

Title: I Hate Fairyland, Volume 1: Madly Ever After
Series: I Hate Fairyland (Collected Editions) #1
Written By: Skottie Young
Art by: Skottie Young
Publisher: Image
Pages: 128
Genres: Comics, Fantasy

From superstar writer and artist SKOTTIE YOUNG (Rocket Raccoon, Wizard of Oz, Fortunately, The Milk), comes the first volume of an allnew series of adventure and mayhem. An Adventure Time/Alice in Wonderland-style epic that smashes its cute little face against grown-up Tank Girl/ Deadpool-esque violent madness. Follow Gert, a forty-year-old woman in a sixyear- old’s body, who has been stuck in the magical world of Fairyland for nearly thirty years. Join her and her giant battleaxe on a delightfully bloodsoaked journey to see who will survive the girl who HATES FAIRYLAND. Collects I HATE FAIRYLAND #1-5.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Review: Abandon by Meg Cabot

Title: Abandon
Series: Abandon Trilogy #1
Author: Meg Cabot
Publisher: Macmillan's Children's Books
Pages: 304
Genres: Fantasy, YA Paranormal

Last year, Pierce died - just for a moment. And when she was in the space between life and death, she met John. Tall dark and terrifying, it's his job to usher souls from one realm to the next.

There's a fierce attraction between them, which Pierce carries back into our world. But she knows that if she allows herself to fall for John she will be doomed to a life of shadows and loneliness in the Underworld. When things get dangerous for her, her only hope is to do exactly what John says. Can she trust a guy who lives for the dead?

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Review: A Fort of Nine Towers by Qais Akbar Omar

Title: A Fort of Nine Towers
Author: Qais Akbar Omar
Publisher:  Picador
Pages: 416
Genres: Non-fiction, Memoir
Qais Akbar Omar's young life coincided with one of the cost convulsive decades in Afghan history: civil war, the rise of the Taliban, and the arrival of international troops in 2001.

A Fort of Nine Towers, named for the place his parents first sought shelter from war, is the story of Qais's family and their remarkable survival. When the fighting came, this group of tenacious and deeply loving people was buffered from one part of Afghanistan to the next, 'like kittens in the jaws of a lion'. They set up camp on the plains, in the Buddha caves of Bamiyan, and later with Kuchi nomads, before they were finally able to return to Kabul - where in many senses their trials were just beginning.

As he shares this long journey, through terror, loss, heartbreak, and sudden moments of joy. Qais's spirit never ceases to shine. This is an extraordinary book about a beautiful and civilised country ravaged by war, and about the power of stories to embolden, console, and bind a family together in the face of almost unimaginable odds.

Infographic - 2016 Reading Stats