Thursday, 27 April 2017

Review: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty

Title: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: and Other Lessons From the Crematorium
Authors: Caitlin Doughty
Publisher: Canongate
Pages: 272
Genres: Non-fiction, Memoir

From her first day at Westwind Cremation & Burial, twenty-three-year-old Caitlin Doughty threw herself into her curious new profession. Coming face-to-face with the very thing we go to great lengths to avoid thinking about she started to wonder about the lives of those she cremated and the mourning families they left behind, and found herself confounded by people's erratic reactions to death. Exploring our death rituals - and those of other cultures - she pleads the case for healthier attitudes around death and dying. Full of bizarre encounters, gallows humour and vivid characters (both living and very dead), this illuminating account makes this otherwise terrifying subject inviting and fascinating.

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.