Weekly Wrap Up: Bumper edition!

As my last wrap-up was an overview of what I read in 2013, I didn’t get the chance to say a few words about what I read in the last week of December.

Now we’re firmly in January, I have another couple of books to share with you – SO – welcome to this bumper edition wrap-up post!  Featuring all these lovely books:

WP_20140105_002

Tinder, Sally Gardener

Breathe, Sarah Crossan

Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell

Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein

Spoiler-free reviews below!

Continue reading

Advertisements

A Year In Books: 2013

2013-all

Books read in 2013: 45

Another year over, another Goodreads Reading Challenge completed!

In fact, in 2013 I exceeded my reading goal of 40 books, which I’m rather proud of, as I also managed to graduate university and start a full-time job this year too! I don’t set aside a strict time everyday to read, but I do try to switch off all distractions (the internet…) and retreat somewhere quiet for a couple of hours a day to get some quality reading time. Of course, more often than not I can only snag 20 minutes reading in my lunch-break, 10 minutes in the bath and a few pages before bed, but it all adds up in the end. Having started work this year, I’ve learnt that nothing is more luxurious than a whole day spent engrossed in a book (how I took for granted my Uni years!) – and I’ve been doing a lot of that in the lull between Christmas and New Year.

For my reading challenge, I only count fiction and non-fiction books I’ve read recreationally and completed. I don’t include graphic novels, comics or collected trade editions in the final tot-up, though I did read some absolutley fantastic comics this year (The Gigantic Beard The Was Evil, Rachel Rising and Wandering Son, among many others).

2013 Breakdown:

Continue reading

Weekly Wrap-Up – December 22nd

I’ve noticed a fair few book bloggers sharing their favourite wintery and festive reads this week as we draw closer and closer to Christmas, however I seem to have unintentionally had a zombie themed week of reading instead. Oops!?

This is rather odd for me personally because I do often struggle to care about zombie fiction in general as I find the whole ‘last one on earth, running from cannibalistic zombies’ narrative more stressful than enjoyable. Happily, this week I read two books which have each taken a different perspective on human reanimation, click below for my reviews of both, and to find out about my new book acquisitions from this week – which were all FREE!

READ

WP_20131221_004

Enclave, Ann Aguirre (Square Fish)

Revival,Vol. 1: You’re Among Friends, Tim Seely and Mike Norton (Image Comics)

Continue reading

A Week in Books!

Time for a weekly wrap-up post! Here’s what I read this week, and what I bought despite being on a book buying ban. Oops!

READ

WP_20131215_006

Wandering Son: Volume One, Shimura Takako. (Fantagraphics Books)

MARA, Brian Wood and Ming Doyle. (Image Comics)

Delirium, Lauren Oliver (Hodder)

One manga, one graphic novel, and one fiction book; not bad going!

Continue reading

Book Review: PETITE MORT by Beatrice Hitchman

petite mort

In my last book review here, I mentioned that I am a huge fan of choosing books on recommendation. PETITE MORT is another one of those books! This time, the recommendation came not from an awards short-list, but from an independent bookshop – one of my favourites – Gay’s The Word.

I don’t often get the chance to pop into GTW, I live (just) outside of London but study in the Midlands far away from the lure of my favourite London shops, but thanks to social media, I still find out about so many awesome new titles from my favourite booksellers while half the country away!

I really enjoyed this one, here’s just a quick review, cross-posted from my Goodreads account.

PETITE MORT | Beatrice Hitchman| 5* of 5

Adèle Roux is a 17-year-old aspiring silent film actress who runs away from her provincial town in the south of France to Paris, with dreams of taking up at Pathé and emulating the beguiling Terpsichore. Unfortunately for Adèle, such high aspirations aren’t as easy to achieve as she’d hoped, and instead of walking into a starring role she finds herself embarking on an affair with Terpsichore’s film inventor husband to advance her fledgling film career.
Installed as a concubine and personal assistant in Terpsichore’s home, Adèle begins to care less for her dreams of a film career and more for the beautiful, brittle Terpsichore, whose own history is seemingly pitted with mystery and secrets…

It’s so difficult to review a book with a big twist – I don’t want to ruin the mystery of the story and that really fantastic big reveal at the end! So briefly,

Petite Mort is a story delicately woven and unlike anything I’ve read previously. The characters are complex and intriguing to learn about. Indeed, Hitchman seems to know exactly when and exactly how much character history to introduce – in tantalising flashes – so that the story and the mystery unfolds without being either illogical or predictable.

It was also a joy to read a great novel with queer characters in a sensitive affair. The title does hint at this; the ‘petite mort’ being an euphemistic term for ‘orgasm’; the sexual exploits of the characters are critical to the book, and are handled wonderfully and in a way that isn’t sensationalist or smutty.

I would reccommend Petite Mort to fans of Margaret Atwood and Sara Gruen, and to anyone who enjoys fiction with a queer historical angle, or anyone who loves a good ‘whodunnit’.

Book Review: IN DARKNESS by Nick Lake

In DarknessI am definitely someone who reads on recommendations; some of my favourite books were loaned to me by friends, or bought on the advice of a bookseller or reviewer, or – as is becoming more common for me – found on awards shortlists.

I bought IN DARKNESS for my ereader after it was announced as part of the Carnegie Medal 2013 shortlist. Being amongst such prestigious company as the fantastic MAGGOT MOON by Sally Gardener and WONDER by R.J. Palacio, I couldn’t help but believe that any book considered good enough to challenge two of my favourite books of the last year for arguably the most important Children’s book award couldn’t be a bad investment.

The following review of mine was first posted to my Goodreads account April 5th 2013.

IN DARKNESS | Nick Lake | Rating: 5* of 5

IN DARKNESS is an absolute triumph of a book that ticks so many of my favourite literary boxes – child narrators, historical context, tight, powerful chapters – and yet feels so entirely unlike anything else I’ve read.

Set in Haiti, IN DARKNESS alternates between now and then, exploring the stories of Shorty, a 15year-old Haitian slumdog, and Toussaint L’Ouverture, the leader of the Haitian revolution in the late 18th century. Shorty and Toussaint’s lives are interwoven by virtue of their losses, their betrayals, and ultimately, their times in darkness.

Fantastically layered and expertly told, IN DARKNESS explores the lasting effects of colonialism and slavery in an immediate and affecting way. The Haitian setting of the novel is absolutely integral to the characters and their stories; the involvement of the hybrid-religious beliefs borne from the African origins of Vodou and Lwa brought to Haiti by slaves, and the Christianity introduced by colonisers was particularly interesting for me personally, having learned a little about Lwa previously at an exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary.
It’s refreshing to read a fantastic YA novel that deals with these issues in a sensitive way and makes the absolute most of the history of it’s location.

An essential read. I can fully understand it’s nominated for the Carnegie Medal alongside one of my other favourite books of 2013 so far, MAGGOT MOON].

If you liked this you might also want to check out THE GARBAGE KING by Elizabeth Laird and also AKATA WITCH by Nnedi Okorafor, another fantastic, non-Europe/North America based YA novel.