Release by Patrick Ness #BookReview #LGBT #YA

releaseTitle: Release
Author: Patrick Ness
Series: n/a
Format: Hardback, 287 pages
Publication Details: 
May 4th 2017 by Walker Books
Genre(s): YA; Contemporary; LGBT
Disclosure? Nope, my copy came with a ticket to the book launch – I was under no obligation to post a review. 

Goodreads 

bookdepo

Inspired by Mrs Dalloway and Judy Blume’s Forever, Release is one day in the life of Adam Thorn, 17. It’s a big day. Things go wrong. It’s intense, and all the while, weirdness approaches…

Adam Thorn is having what will turn out to be the most unsettling, difficult day of his life, with relationships fracturing, a harrowing incident at work, and a showdown between this gay teen and his preacher father that changes everything. It’s a day of confrontation, running, sex, love, heartbreak, and maybe, just maybe, hope. He won’t come out of it unchanged. And all the while, lurking at the edges of the story, something extraordinary and unsettling is on a collision course.


Review

You should all know by now that I love Patrick Ness, so I was of course very excited about his new release, Release, especially considering my friend Dora and I got tickets to the premiere of the book tour.

I posted about the whole shebang here. It was such a great night with insightful and inspiring discussions that my already high expectation bar was pushed through the roof…and I can’t help feeling a little deflated by the whole thing now that I’ve finished the book. SAD PANDA.

Adam Thorn is a gay 17 year old with a bad-boy magnet best friend called Angela, a strict preacher father, and a couple of ex-boyfriends who have treated him pretty terribly. What could go wrong, I hear you say!?

I loved everything Patrick Ness said when discussing this book – the need for diversity in books to reflect the world we live in, the need for YA books with gay protagonists to not shy away from sex scenes, all of it, but it just felt a bit forced here and I think the story suffered because of that.

Release is actually quite a subtle book, and whereas I don’t think that’s a bad thing, I just wasn’t expecting that from all the passionate discussion points in the book launch. I’m not sure this is quite the book Patrick Ness thought he had written. It does spotlight some important issues, but I felt like it needed more drama to really pack a punch. In trying to make it tender, I think a lot of its potential was quashed.

Running alongside Adam’s story is a strange, morbid fairy-tale allegory about a faun and a queen who is actually the ghost of a recently deceased fellow student of Adam’s, and this just did not work for me at all. It came across as a bit pretentious to be honest and I ended up skipping nearly all of these sequences after about a third of the way through. VERY SAD PANDA.

It’s actually quite painful to slag off one of your favourite authors, but I’d be a pretty rubbish book blogger if I couldn’t be honest with myself about how I feel about a book. It has some lovely moments, and is of course written beautifully. And I love everything Patrick was wanting to say with Release, but I think maybe he tried a bit too hard and didn’t quite manage to pull it off.

unicorn rating 3

 

This Week in Books 03.05.17 #TWIB #CurrentlyReading

icon2

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

Hi guys, happy Wednesday. Here’s to another four-day working week – hurrah!

This is what my week has looked like:

twib17.15.jpg

Now: Release ~ Patrick Ness // The Time Machine ~ H.G Wells

I HAD to read this next after going to the book launch last week. I love Patrick Ness even more now! I also started listening to The Knife of Never letting Go (reread), which I got in the goodie bag – it’s my first ever audiobook. Weird I know!

Annnnnd, I managed significant progress on my ‘lunch-time read’ The Time Machine so I’m going to persevere. Not much left!

Then: The Inexplicable Logic of my Life ~ Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Last night I finished TILOML. I loved it. I was worried it couldn’t live up to his previous book, Ari & Dante but I didn’t have to worry. Another beautiful book by Sáenz.

Next: ???

I’ll probably make a start on my June ARC – The Marsh King’s Daughter.

New on the Shelves

Bought:

I didn’t mean to buy any books this week, but then I saw these two mega discounted and…well..Sigh! I’m trying to read more non-fiction these days.

 

 And these from the Patrick Ness Goodie bag:

img_0982

I’m Waiting On…

 

Weycombe by G.M Malliet

Because…I haven’t read a good mystery for a while and the setting of this one sounds great!

weycombe

 Weycombe is the chocolate-box village of everyone’s dreams. For American Jillian White, a gated life of pleasure and comfort with her titled English husband was a fantasy come true. But the murder of a local estate agent mars the village’s so-pretty surface. Are people actually dying to live in Weycombe? Jill investigates, piecing together clues along the snaking paths and winding lanes of her adopted village. She knows truth has many versions, depending on who is doing the telling. And that few can be trusted in Weycombe, where nothing is as perfect as it seems.


Expected Publication: October 8th 2017 by Midnight Ink

So that’s been my week in books, now why don’t you tell me about yours!?

This Month in Books: April 2017 #Bookreviews #MonthlyRoundup

ICON5

April was good. A group of friends and I rented a cottage in Yorkshire for a weekend which was lovely. Easter was fun. I spent it eating a lot and watching classic films with friends. Perfect. I also started to get my mojo back in the reading and blogging sense – a huge relief after a couple of bad months!

April 2017 Stats

Total Posts: 9 (-5 from previous month)

Books Read: 5 (+1)
The Wingsnatchers ~ Sarah Jean Horwitz
One False Move ~ Dreda Say Mitchell
The Last Act of Love ~ Cathy Rentzenbrink
Six of Crows ~ Leigh Bardugo
Sucktown, Alaska ~ Craig Dirkes
The Breakdown:
Genres: YA (2/5); Children’s Fiction (1/5); Memoir (1/5); Crime/Thriller (1/5)

Formats/Sources: Advance Copy (2/5); Digital (2/5); Hardback (0/5); Paperback (3/5) / Owned (1/5); Borrowed (1/5); For Review/proofs (2/5)

Most Surprising: The Last Act of Love
Most Disappointing: Six of Crows
Most Exciting: The Wingsnatchers I guess
Most Swoon-worthy:  Six of Crows
Most Beautifully Written: The Last Act of Love

Reviews

Most Viewed Posts

  1. This Week in Books 17.04.17
  2. Spotlight: The Norwich & Norfolk Festival
  3. This Month in Books: March

Promos, Guest Posts and other Highlights

Awards

TBR Shelf Update

IMG_6725.JPG

Earlier this year I decided I HAD to do something about my physical TBR shelves. Each month I’ll be doing a quick update to see how I’ve done. See my original post here, and my updated TBR list here. 

Previous TBR Count: 84

Books Added: 1

Books Read: 2

Remaining: 83

That was my month, how was yours?

Patrick Ness Release Premiere @ Curzon Soho – Be more LA, YA! #BookLaunch

Last Wednesday was the premiere launch event for Patrick Ness’ new release, Release, and I was there (not to rub it in or anything), but yayyyy!

For any of you who don’t know, Patrick is the author of several (amazing) YA books including The Chaos Walking Trilogy, The Rest of Us Just Live Here, and A Monster Calls which was adapted for the screen recently. He also penned the BBC series Class which has ties to the world of Doctor Who.

The night consisted of an on-stage interview with Patrick, a Q&A with the audience, and a signing. We also got pretty amazing goodie bags (see bottom of post) not to mention the new book a week before its release. *Happy Dance*

ReleasePrem2

© Alex Dimopoulos for Walker Books

 

ReleasePrem3

© Alex Dimopoulos for Walker Books

 

Before I get into some of the topics discussed, let me just say that it’s all paraphrased by me as I didn’t take notes, and my memory is pretty terrible at the best of times, never mind after a tipple or two 😉

Firstly, Patrick discussed  the new book, Release, which is a day in the life of Adam Thorn, ‘the most unsettling, difficult day of his life, with relationships fracturing, a harrowing incident at work, and a showdown between this gay teen and his preacher father that changes everything.’ 

Patrick talked about being sick of reading gay YA books where the climax of the relationship is two boys holding hands under a tree. It’s not real. Real teenagers have sex. Yes, even gay ones. A great discussion about sex in literature ensued, with Patrick saying that he needed a book like this as a teenager; where gay sex is portrayed in a tender, sweet, and honest way. For books to omit loving, gay sex is damaging. Teenagers think there’s something wrong with it (them), and they turn to other things to explore like porn and Grindr.

He talked about hating the phrase ‘coming to terms with your sexuality’, explaining that he doesn’t think it’s something you have to come to terms with because it’s just who you are. It’s the world’s problem if they can’t handle that. Feel the fear, but do it anyway.

 

 

The discussion about how LGBTQ teens are represented in literature then turned to a broader look at diversity, and Patrick talked about his (many!) nephews and nieces, many of whom are mixed race and multi-cultured. And that’s what the world looks like, if that isn’t represented in books, then it’s not realistic.

Diversity shouldn’t be a tick list, but if that’s what it takes to make sure all people are represented then so be it. He talked passionately about the importance of stories being a mirror. I can’t remember who he said the quote came from but it was that in all good stories, the protagonists are like mirrors – all readers should be able to see themselves in the character – but I whole-heartedly agree with him when he said that it’s only people who are always represented who think everyone can see parts of themselves in characters. And that’s why he didn’t hold back in this book, and The Rest of Us Just Live Here. Recognising yourself in a story is magic… and the world is screaming out for more diverse stories, just look at Angie Thomas’ current success with THUG.

He urges everyone to write their story. If you are not mirrored in the books you read, write that story. Don’t ask permission. Write anyway. Writers don’t just write. They write anyway.

We were then led to the age old YA Vs Adult fiction debate. His definition for the genres was so perfect it made me jaw-drop:

 

YA tends to be about exploring boundaries. Adult tends to be about being trapped by those boundaries.”

 

The book snobbery surrounding YA was mentioned and I loved Patrick’s response. He believes it shouldn’t be a battle. YA shouldn’t be fighting against Adult Lit. There is good stuff everywhere. If you can’t admit that there’s good stuff in other genres you sound like a cult leader (LOL!). His analogy to LA always being slagged off by New Yorkers cracked me up too. Does LA give a shit what NY thinks? Nope. LA says ‘no worries man, come on over and have a good time anyway. Maybe you’ll leave with a different attitude.

Be more LA, YA. Be more LA.

While I agree with him completely, I do get exasperated having to explain the Young Adult genre to people. I work in a prison library and I’m constantly trying get prisoners to engage with reading. I think YA would be perfect for them, but they look at me like I’m mad. But why would you/I read that? It’s for children. Sigh. But no more, I’m going to be more LA, too!

There was lots more discussion, but those were my favourite parts. I’ve also been left with the need to read Mrs Dalloway, and Forever by Judy Blume -both of which inspired Release, and both of which have passed me by.

After the talk and Q&A, my friend Dora and I (and the other 200 -that’s a guess- people) queued to get our books signed. And this is where I feel the need to apologise. The queue was long. I had plenty of time to come up with something great to say to Patrick Ness as he signed my book…

ReleasePrem4

© Alex Dimopoulos for Walker Books

I could have told him what I’ve just told you about being more LA at work. But no.

I could have told him I loved The Rest of Us Just Live Here so much because it reminded me of a Buffy spin-off show concentrating on the minor characters at the school who aren’t in the know about Buffy and the Hellmouth. They witness all the weird shit, but aren’t let in on the big secret. But no.

I could have asked him how he could possibly enjoy redrafting more than getting the story down initially. About how I splurge out all these stories but find it impossible to transform them into a not-hot-mess. But no.

What did I say,  Readers?

I said *dons voice of stupidity* are you bored yet? I mean really. What a Knobular. I can only apologise. Patrick was of course extremely sweet regardless.


Thanks to Walker Books, Waterstones and Curzon, (not to mention the wonderful Patrick Ness himself), for putting on such a great night!

Photographs my own unless otherwise credited.

 

 

 

Lazy Saturday Review: The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness #MiniReview #YA

icon7

I started doing ‘lazy Saturday reviews’ as a way of getting reviews done in just 30 mins, and they proved to be quite popular. They are quick and snappy, and concentrate less on the plot (or content) and writing and more on my overall feelings about said book. They generally end up being a bit of a rant. My fave!

therestofusTitle: The Rest of Us Just Live Here
Author: Patrick Ness
Series: N/A
Format: Paperback, 434 pages
Publication Details: 
August 27th 2015 by Walker Books
Genre(s): YA; Fantasy; LGBT
Disclosure? Nope, I borrowed it from Dora, thanks Dora! 

Goodreads 

bookdepo

What if you aren’t the Chosen One? The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions.

Review

I wasn’t sure about this at first but ended up absolutely loving it. Patrick Ness has this amazing ability to nail that insecure, confusing time of adolescence when you don’t really understand who you are yet, and he does so in increasingly imaginative ways.

TROUJLH is set in a world where zombies and vampires are real, but the main characters aren’t part of that world, they’re always on peripheries  – just watching, they’re just the normal kids in world full of superheroes and martyrs.

I loved everything about this book – the way it was structured, the uniqueness of the premise, and as always, the execution by Ness was perfect. But it’s the characters that really stand out. All completely different and unique but startlingly real. Whether they’re gay, unsure, struggling with OCD, depressed, or desperate to go to a concert, they’re all just doing what everyone is trying to do – get through the day, the week, high school, life.

Have all the unicorns, Patrick Ness!

unicorn rating

Reading Round-up: February 2017 #BookReviews #NewReleases #MiniReviews

icon-rru

Welcome to my new post where I discuss any books that I read in the month which for one reason or another didn’t warrant a full review. This is a way for me to keep track of what I’ve read but without the pressure of having to write comprehensive reviews for them all. 

I was much better this month and the only book I read and didn’t feel like reviewing in full was this:

 

thechalkpit

The Chalk Pit (Ruth Galloway #9) ~ Elly Griffiths

This was the first Ruth Galloway book I’d read and at first it didn’t seem to make a difference that I hadn’t read the previous ones, but I think as the story went on it became evident that I would have enjoyed it more if I had. It’s for that reason that when I say I was little disappointed with this novel I don’t particularly think I can blame the book itself. It was a perfectly good crime thriller but I personally felt like the plot unfolded a little too slowly. Griffiths’ writing style was nice and effortless though, and I’d like to give the first book a go in the future.

unicorn rating 3

Other Reviews

This Month in Books: Jan & Feb 2017 #Books #NewReleases #Reviews

ICON5

I haven’t done a monthly round-up yet this year (my bad), so here’s a quick summary of both. In January I took a blogging break and only posted TWIB and one review anyway. When I returned in Feb I decided to make some changes in which I wanted to blog less and read more, and also blog to the mantra of quality not quantity. It’s really renewed my enjoyment of blogging and reading so far. Whoop!

Jan & Feb 2017 Stats

Total Posts: 5 & 11 

Books Read: 9 & 5

Reviews

Most Viewed Posts

  1. This Week in Books 01.02.17
  2. Discussion: Blog-Life Crisis
  3. My Favourite Books of 2016

Awards

botm17-jan

 

botm17-feb

 

That’s it for this month. I should be back to my full monthly round-up next time. I also usually share my TBR update here but I haven’t looked at that since Christmas so there’s lots of additions (and a few subtractions) to make. I’ll do a separate post if I get time.

 

 

This Week in Books 15.02.17 #TWIB #CurrentlyReading

icon2

Welcome to This Week in Books, where we share what we’ve been up to in bookland this week

Happy Wednesday everyone ! I hope you’re all having a good week so far.

Here’s what I’ve been up to this week…

twib17.7.jpg

Now: The Chalk Pit ~ Elly Griffiths // The Time Machine ~ H.G Wells

I’m almost half-way through The Chalk Pit. It’s the 9th book in the Ruth Galloway series and I haven’t read any of the previous ones but that’s not really been a problem so far.  I’m still going on The Time Machine at lunch-times too.

Then:   The Rest of Us Just Live Here ~ Patrick Ness

For some reason I was slightly worried that the mighty Ness was going to let me down with this – but he bloody well didn’t! Loved! I will have more faith next time. Oww, Todd!

Next: ??? 

I’d like to get my next ARC Mercy of the Tide out of the way and then I’m going to enjoy something random on my TBR – quite possibly one of these below…

New on the Shelves

My TBR pile is out of control but I felt so happy about my decision to request/accept less ARCs and review books that I felt the need to celebrate…by buying some new books instead. LOL! Very excited about both of these!


I’m Waiting on…

Release ~ Patrick Ness

I just want ALL THE NESS now.

releaseInspired by Mrs Dalloway and Judy Blume’s Forever, Release is one day in the life of Adam Thorn, 17.

It’s a big day. Things go wrong. It’s intense, and all the while, weirdness approaches…

Adam Thorn is having what will turn out to be the most unsettling, difficult day of his life, with relationships fracturing, a harrowing incident at work, and a showdown between this gay teen and his preacher father that changes everything. It’s a day of confrontation, running, sex, love, heartbreak, and maybe, just maybe, hope. He won’t come out of it unchanged. And all the while, lurking at the edges of the story, something extraordinary and unsettling is on a collision course.

Expected Publication: May 4th 2017 by Walker Books

So that’s my week in books, now why don’t you tell me about yours!?

Leave your answers or the link to your post in the comments and I’ll take a look 🙂

This Week in Books 08.02.17 #TWIB #CurrentlyReading

icon2

Welcome to This Week in Books, where we share what we’ve been up to in bookland this week

Happy Wednesday everyone ! I’m feeling really good about my new relaxed outlook on life and this blog since the discussion at the weekend. Thanks to those who gave opinions/advice.

If you missed it (and can’t be bothered to click the link – who would blame you) my new mantra is ‘post what you love’ and not what you feel obliged to. And my new aim is quality not quantity, so you may see a decrease in posts (this one is staying though!). I really think it’s going to make me feel better and also improve the quality and integrity of my blog. Everybody wins!

So without further ado…here’s what I’ve been up to this week…

twib17.6.jpg

Now: The Rest of Us Just Live Here ~ Patrick Ness // The Time Machine ~ H.G Wells

I’ve only just started the Ness but liking it so far, unsurprisingly. 🙂 I’m still going on The Time Machine during my breaks at work (so it’ll no doubt take me forever – what breaks you cry!?)

Then:  Calling Major Tom ~ David Barnett

This was a lovely, quirky story. I’m looking forward to reviewing it!

Next: ??? 

I have two ARCs due in Feb which I requested before my new rules (only 1 ARC per month) came into play. So I will make a start on those. They are Mercy of the Tide and The Chalk Pit

New on the Shelves

Really happy to be approved for this as it was my WoW pick last week – can’t wait. It will be my June ARC.

marshking ‘I was born two years into my mother’s captivity. She was three weeks shy of seventeen. If I had known then what I do now, things would have been a lot different. I wouldn’t have adored my father.’

When notorious child abductor – known as the Marsh King – escapes from a maximum security prison, Helena immediately suspects that she and her two young daughters are in danger.

No one, not even her husband, knows the truth about Helena’s past: they don’t know that she was born into captivity, that she had no contact with the outside world before the age of twelve – or that her father raised her to be a killer.

And they don’t know that the Marsh King can survive and hunt in the wilderness better than anyone… except, perhaps his own daughter.

Packed with gripping suspense and powerful storytelling, The Marsh King’s Daughter is a one-more-page, read-in-one-sitting thriller that you’ll remember for ever.

I’m Waiting on…

Carnivalesque ~ Neil Jordan

I’m a fan of Neil Jordan as a movie director (Interview with a Vampire, Byzantium) and I learned a while back he’s also written novels, but this is the first I’ve seen floating around the blogosphere. It sounds great!

carnivalesque.png

It looked like any other carnival, but of course it wasn’t…

It had its own little backstreets, its alleyways of hanging bulbs and ghost trains and Punch and Judy stands …
And at the end of one he saw the Hall of Mirrors. There were looping strings of carnival lights leading towards it, and a large sign in mirrored glass reading ‘Burleigh’s Amazing Hall of Mirrors’ and the sign reflected the lights in all sorts of magically distorted ways.

To Andy and his parents, it looks like any other carnival: creaking ghost train, rusty rollercoaster and circus performers. But of course it isn’t.

Drawn to the hall of mirrors, Andy enters and is hypnotised by the many selves staring back at him. Sometime later, one of those selves walks out rejoins his parents – leaving Andy trapped inside the glass, snatched from the tensions of his suburban home and transported to a world where the laws of gravity are meaningless and time performs acrobatic tricks.

And now an identical stranger inhabits Andy’s life, unsettling his mother with a curious blankness, as mysterious events start unfolding in their Irish coastal town…Packed with gripping suspense and powerful storytelling, The Marsh King’s Daughter is a one-more-page, read-in-one-sitting thriller that you’ll remember for ever.

Expected Publication: Feb 3rd 2017 by Bloomsbury Circus

 

So that’s my week in books, now why don’t you tell me about yours!?

Leave your answers or the link to your post in the comments and I’ll take a look 🙂

This Week in Books 01.02.17 #TWIB #CurrentlyReading #WoW

icon2

Welcome to This Week in Books, where we share what we’ve been up to in bookland this week

Happy February! I’m back in action but with a much more relaxed approach to this blog. It all just got a bit too much. I’ll be posting about the changes soon. Good news is that I’ve been finding more reading time. Hurrah!

Here’s what I’ve been up to this week…

twib17.5.jpg

Now: Calling Major Tom ~ David Barnett // The Time Machine ~ H.G Wells

I’ve only just started these. Calling Major Tom is an ARC that isn’t out until June but has been released for early reviews. And I picked up The Time Machine during my break at work as we were discussing the origins of Steampunk in the writing group I run and I realised I’ve never read it.

Then: Pagan Portals: Merlin ~ Elen Sentier // Ruin & Rising ~ Leigh Bardugo

I had to DNF the Merlin book. It wasn’t at all what I expected and just wasn’t for me. I also finished the last book in the Grisha trilogy which I enjoyed a lot! The second book wasn’t so great but this one really made up for it.

Next: ??? 

Definitely the Ness…probably… LOL.

 

New on the Shelves

 

oh, so many since I last did the full version of this post. I’m doing a separate haul post for the weekend, but will resume listing any new books here from then on.

I’m Waiting on…

The Marsh King’s Daughter ~ Karen Dionne

 

I love the sound of this dark thriller. The cover is wonderfully eerie too.


marshking

  ‘I was born two years into my mother’s captivity. She was three weeks shy of seventeen. If I had known then what I do now, things would have been a lot different. I wouldn’t have adored my father.’

When notorious child abductor – known as the Marsh King – escapes from a maximum security prison, Helena immediately suspects that she and her two young daughters are in danger.

No one, not even her husband, knows the truth about Helena’s past: they don’t know that she was born into captivity, that she had no contact with the outside world before the age of twelve – or that her father raised her to be a killer.

And they don’t know that the Marsh King can survive and hunt in the wilderness better than anyone… except, perhaps his own daughter.

Packed with gripping suspense and powerful storytelling, The Marsh King’s Daughter is a one-more-page, read-in-one-sitting thriller that you’ll remember for ever.

Expected Publication: June 29th 2017 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons

 

So that’s my week in books, now why don’t you tell me about yours!?

Leave your answers or the link to your post in the comments and I’ll take a look 🙂