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 na├»ve 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