Recent Reads: Sept 18, Part 1 #BookReviews

 

Recentreads

Here are some thoughts on my recently read books – yes, I’m very behind!

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Midwinterblood // Marcus Sedgwick // October 2011 // Indigo // Goodreads

I’m a huge fan of Marcus Sedgwick. He’s written some of my favourite books (My Swordhand is Singing; Blood Red, Snow White; She is Not Invisible), and I’ve been slowly working my way through his back-catalogue. Midwinterblood had been on my list for a while and I’m pleased I finally got round to it.

It’s an odd book, and I mean that in the best way. It’s one of those books that’s like reading a dream. It explores the theme of soulmates in that deliciously dark tone that you’d recognise in Sedgwick’s early novels if you’ve read any. It’s mysterious and tantalising, in that as you encounter the several versions of the protagonist, the truth feels like an unobtainable thing. I found that this forced me to keep reading, but in some ways made me want to give up too.

The setting helped too. I wonder if Sedgwick had Fair Isle in mind as that’s all I could think of as I was reading which made it all the more mesmerising. 

I can’t say Midwinterblood is gripping in the normal way a thriller or mystery book is, but its strangeness made it impossible for me to stop reading. 

unicorn rating 4

 

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My Name is Leon // Kit De Waal // April 2017 // Penguin Books // Goodreads

I heard Kit De Waal talk at an event long before I picked up this book. She is a truly inspiring woman, so it’s no surprise that this novel, her first, was nominated for various awards. 

My Name is Leon what I class as a quiet novel. It’s a small story making a big point, but it’s not throwing that point down your throat. I think it was a great idea to set Leon’s story in the 80s. It highlights the mindset of that decade and lets us contrast it with today. Are we backtracking to that time in terms of equality and race relations? Would mixed-race Leon have had the same opportunities as his white brother today? Maybe.

The whole of this novel is written from nine-year-old Leon’s POV which can’t be easy, but De Waal does an excellent job. Leon can’t quite make sense of what is happening and he often misinterprets things and lashes out. It must have been tempting for De Waal to explain or rationalise Leon’s behaviour at times, but she does it perfectly and sensitively through his actions alone.

I didn’t find this a mind-blowing novel by any means, but I definitely enjoyed its big heart.  

unicorn rating 4

 

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Ink and Bone // Rachel Caine // The Great Library #1 // July 2015 //  Allison & Busby // Goodreads

This series is a book-lovers dream. Rachel Caine is most well known for her Morganville Vampires series, so this is quite a departure for her.

Ink and Bone introduces us to a world where owning physical books is illegal. All books,  are contained by The Great Library, and therefore knowledge within those books is strictly governed. Protagonist Jess is a book runner – buying and selling books on the black market, but when he gets the opportunity to try-out as an apprentice for the Great Library, he learns just how corrupt the whole system is. 

Books, magic, adventure, danger, a dash of romance…whats not to like!?

I enjoyed this book. Sometimes I felt that Caine had maybe bitten off more than she could chew as the world and plot got a bit lost to me at times, but she always managed to pull it back into a believable world. I liked the mix of characters, especially the professors who were ruthless, but their humanity shone though when it need to. A fun, YA read. 

unicorn rating 4

 

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Cinderella Boy // Kristina Meister // July 2018 //  Triton // Goodreads

I knew I’d enjoy Cinderella Boy but I didn’t expect to not be able to put it down. I read it in one sitting on a lazy Sunday afternoon – I’ve not done that for a long, long time!

Cinderella Boy is a true coming-of-age tale. We follow Declan on his journey of self-discovery. From angst and torment to confidence and peace, it’s the story of a shy geeky kid exploring his gender-fluidity and becoming free from his anxieties.

I absolutely adored Declan. He had that great mix of vulnerability and strength, and I loved that although he was scared of being different and how people would react if they knew he was living as Layla as well as Declan, he knew that being both genders is who he is, and only by being himself would he be happy. It helped that he managed to bag a hot guy as both Layla and Declan.

This book wasn’t perfect, of course. I found it quite hard to believe that no one could tell that Layla was Declan…I mean just how good was that make up? It was also a little predictable at times, but it didn’t matter. It’s a wonderful, diverse story, a great romance, and the pages just seemed to turn themselves!

 

unicorn rating

Have you read any of these? Let me know what you thought!

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This Week in Books 19.09.18 #TWIB

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Welcome to This Week in Books, where we share what we’ve been up to in bookland this week and look ahead to next!

Happy Wednesday, Everyone. I hope you’re all having a good week so far. Mine is going well, I had Monday off work to go to Brighton for the day, which was fun but I got sunburn. 😦 I’m well and truly ready to say goodbye to Summer. Do one, Summer! My vampire complexion can’t take it anymore!

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NOW:  I just started  I Do Not Trust You by Burns & Metz. Not much to report yet but I’m hoping it’ll be good. I’m also listening to Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell, which is holding my interest but seems unnecessarily long. 8 hours and counting!

THEN: I finished the amazing Circe by Madeline Miller. Ahh so good. I’m really pleased it wasn’t a letdown.

NEXT: Probably Kill Creek by Scott Thomas. This will be my first read for Horror October, my annual blog celebration of horror and Halloween. I won’t be doing as many events as in previous years, but I have some great books lined up to feature throughout the month so watch this space. 

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This meme was originally started by Breaking the Spine. It’s where we choose one upcoming release that we just can’t wait for!

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How to Fracture a Fairy Tale // Jane Yolen//  November 5th 2018 // Tachyon Publication//  Goodreads

I find modern twists on fairy tales very hit and miss but this one has caught my eye. I’m looking forward to giving it a try. 

What have you been reading this week? Let me know in the comments below, or why not join in and publish a TWIB post of your own. Leave the link to your post and i’ll come take a look.

This Week in Books 12.09.18 #TWIB

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Welcome to This Week in Books, where we share what we’ve been up to in bookland this week and look ahead to next!

Happy Wednesday, Everyone. I hope you’re all having a good week so far. I’ve struggled for reading time again, but I have some great books to share with you regardless.

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NOW:  I finally started long-anticipated Circe, by Madeline Miller. It’s her follow-up release from the stunning debut that was The Song of Achilles. I’m about a half way through and it’s certainly not disappointing so far. 

THEN: The last book I completely finished was Cinderella Boy by Kristina Meister, which I loved and read in one sitting, but still haven’t reviewed. I will soon! I also gave up on The Raven Boys audio-book. Soz, it was just too much for me!

NEXT: Probably I Do Not Trust You by Burns & Metz. The synopsis didn’t grab me but I adored their last collaboration Sanctuary Bay so I’m hoping it’ll be better than it sounds. 

WoW

This meme was originally started by Breaking the Spine. It’s where we choose one upcoming release that we just can’t wait for!

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A House of Ghosts // W.C Ryan //  October 4th 2018 // Zaffre //  Goodreads

Is it Autumn yet? When can I start hibernating and reading creepy books in the dark? WHEN!?

What have you been reading this week? Let me know in the comments below, or why not join in and publish a TWIB post of your own. Leave the link to your post and i’ll come take a look.

Other posts you may like to check out:

Sanctuary Bay Review

The Song of Achilles Review

This Week in Books 05.09.18 #TWIB

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Welcome to This Week in Books, where we share what we’ve been up to in bookland this week and look ahead to next!

Happy Wednesday, Everyone. I skipped last week’s post so I’ve got lots of books to share with you today!

Last week I dipped in and out of Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, which was a fascinating and powerful read, but not one that I could read a lot of at a time, so it took me a while to get through. I made up for that at the weekend though by reading a book (Cinderella Boy) in one day because IJUSTCOULDN’TPUTITDOWN. I also continued my journey into audiobook land, with mixed results!

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NOW:  I’ve been listening to The Raven Boys all week, which is a book that’s been on my TBR list for a long time. It started off OK, but I’m not sure if I’ll finish it. The narrator is fine, if not a little over the top sometimes, but every time I listen to it I seem to drift off and not pay attention. I’ll give it one last go when I’m out walking today; seems a shame to stop at the 60% mark.

I’m also reading Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie for my library’s book group tomorrow. I haven’t gotten very far into it yet (oops!). Home Fire won the Women’s Fiction Prize this year and is Longlisted for the Man Booker so I’m interested to see what the group make of it.

THEN: The last book I finished was Cinderella Boy by Kristina Meister, which I loved and read in one sitting! It wasn’t perfect, but it was definitely an addictive YA read!

Before that, I finished Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race and the audio-book of Ginny Moon, which were both great. 

NEXT: Definitely Circe, the long awaited second historical novel by Madeline Miller. Gah can’t wait. Hoping to start it later today. Her debut The Song of Achilles blew me away!

WoW

This meme was originally started by Breaking the Spine. It’s where we choose one upcoming release that we just can’t wait for!

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Archenemies // Marissa Meyer // Renegades #2 // November 6th 2018 // Feiwel & Friends //  Goodreads

The first book was great, so looking forward to this one.

What have you been reading this week? Let me know in the comments below, or why not join in and publish a TWIB post of your own. Leave the link to your post and i’ll come take a look.

This Week in Books 22.08.18 #TWIB

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Welcome to This Week in Books, where we share what we’ve been up to in bookland this week and look ahead to next!

I hope you’re all having a good week. Mine has been…quick!

This week, I  finally discovered the joy of audiobooks. It’s been a long time coming, I know. The first time I tried to listen to an audiobook I went for The Knife of Never Letting Go, a book I already loved, and I didn’t like the narrator, which I realise now, makes all the difference. But this week (only around two years since trying TKONLG) I listened to Carrie Fisher narrating her memoir Wishful Drinking, and it was great. So there’s no stopping me now. I can read with my eyes closed…hurrah! If that’s not a superpower I don’t know what is!

Anyway, here’s what I’ve been reading (and listening to) this week…

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NOW: I haven’t technically started Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race yet, but I will have by the time this publishes. I’m also listening to Ginny Moon on my commute. I’m really enjoying it, but it’s getting a bit repetitive!

THEN: I’ve just finished Ink and Bone, which was great. Not I-need-to-read-the-next-book-right-now great, but still a fun, solid read. As previously mentioned, I also listened to Wishful Drinking. It’s a short read (or listen), and gives an incite into growing-up in Hollywood, addiction, and depression, and all told with the self-deprecating humour and wit of the legend that was Carrie Fisher. 

NEXT: Probably Cinderella Boy as my review is well overdue on Netgalley, soz! Also, it sounds great, so I doubt it’ll exactly be a chore!

WoW

This meme was originally started by Breaking the Spine. It’s where we choose one upcoming release that we just can’t wait for!

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The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy // Mackenzi Lee // The Montague Siblings #2 // October 2018 // Katherine Tegen Books //Goodreads

Can’t.Wait.Want.Now!

What have you been reading this week? Let me know in the comments below, or why not join in and publish a TWIB post of your own. Leave the link to your post and i’ll come take a look. 

Recent Reads #Minibookreviews

Recentreads

Here are some thoughts on my recently read books

 

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Chiff Chaff // David Barnard //  February 2018 // Troubador Publishing // Goodreads

I really wanted to love this quirky book because I’m kind of obsessed with Orkney and Shetland. Not that I’ve been, but I’m pretty sure my dream home is around there somewhere.

Sadly, I just couldn’t get into Chiff Chaff and had to DNF.  I didn’t even make it to the Chaff!

The writing was interesting. I liked the use of dialect and the descriptions of the landscape, but the 16 year old narrator in the first part of the book was too repetitive and muddling for my liking. It was too much effort to figure out what was going on, so I admit it – I gave up. A great idea, but it didn’t work for me. 

unicorn rating 2

 

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Final Draft // Riley Redgate // June 2018 // Amulet Books // Goodreads

It’s always interesting reviewing books a long time after you’ve read them. It really shows whether the book has staying power or not, especially for someone like me with terrible memory!

I read Final Draft in May, and while I probably couldn’t give you a concise synopsis, parts of it have definitely stayed with me. Laila was a great protagonist full of complexities and heart. She is probably the most diverse character I’ve ever read being pansexual, biracial, Ecuadorian, suffering from anxiety, and plus size, but I never felt like it was a tick-box-of-diversity book – Redgate made Laila 100% real. It’s a wonderfully modern coming-of-age story for anyone who’s ever felt different. So basically, for everyone, right? 

unicorn rating 4

 

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Leah on the Offbeat // Becky Albertalli // Creekwood #2 // April 2018 //  Balzer + Bray // Goodreads

The highly anticipated companion novel to best-seller Simon Vs was everything I hoped. In fact, I think I preferred it to the first book. Leah is like my spirit animal, I need her to be my bff. Maybe I can join her band…

Anywayyyy, in this Creekwood instalment, Leah takes the centre stage as she tries to keep her band together and figure out who the hell she is. I thought one of the most interesting parts of this story was that Leah is out (as bi) to her mum, but is struggling to tell her best friends, especially recently out Simon. It’s usually the other way round in coming-out stories. I guess it shows how much she thinks of her friends. 

Leah…is one of those great books that takes you right back to how it feels to be a teenager  approaching the end of high school. On one hand relief, on the other, crippling fear of the unknown and the inevitable fracturing of friendship groups. Another perfectly-crafted book portraying the complexities of friendships and growing-up by new fave Becky Albertalli. 

unicorn rating 4

Have you read any of these? Let me know what you thought!

Other reviews you may be interested in: Simon Vs the Homosapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli // The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee and others

 

 

This Week in Books 15.08.18 #TWIB

 

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Welcome to This Week in Books, where we share what we’ve been up to in bookland this week and look ahead to next!

I’m backkkk! 🙂 Welcome to my new look blog. Hope you’re all having a good summer so far. Here’s what I’ve been reading this week…

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NOW: I’ve just started Ink & Bone which is the first book in The Great Libraries series. I’ve been meaning to read it since it came out (in 2015!!). I used to love Caine’s Morganville Vampires series so I’m interested to see how her style has developed. 

THEN: The last book I finished was My Name is Leon. I met Kit de Waal at this year’s Quick Reads launch and she was amazing. She only properly started reading books when she was 19. How amazing is that! She does a lot of work for underprivileged kids, go check her out. My Name is Leon was a great read about a young boy trying to make sense of the world  when he’s taken away from his mentally ill mother,  put into foster care and is separated from his baby brother.

NEXT: Probably Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race. I’ve been told by two people now that I MUST read it. And so I shall…

WoW

This meme was originally started by Breaking the Spine. It’s where we choose one upcoming release that we just can’t wait for!

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The Wicked King // Holly Black // The Cruel Prince #2 // Jan 8 2019 // Little Brown //Goodreads

What have you been reading this week? Let me know in the comments below, or why not join in and publish a TWIB post of your own. Leave the link to your post and i’ll come take a look.