Nine books this week! It has been a very productive Easter weekend – and I still have two days to go! Though I think I’m going to devote a lot of time today to holiday-planning! I’m going to London and Paris later in the year – let me know if you have any favourite places in either city, or any tips for travelling alone!
All Rights Reserved – Gregory Scott Katsoulis (4 stars)
A really interesting dystopian in which every word is copyrighted, and each citizen has to pay for every sound they utter. Speth Jime zips her mouth shut and vows to never speak again. This rebellion sparks a media frenzy, which threatens to destroy Speth herself, her family, and the entire city.
This book was a fascinating commentary on where our consumer-driven world is headed. It was incredibly entertaining, and a very intelligent story. It’s a September publication, and one I would highly recommend!
Love at First Flight – Tess Woods (Australian author) (2 stars)
I’m not often this harsh, but this book was awful. It was romance, a genre I don’t normally read, but have been getting into a little more. But this book was a bored house wife’s fantasy about cheating on her husband. None of the characters had redeeming characteristics, the romance was rushed – they were professing their love for each other after two hours of conversation and four text messages…. – and at its core, this story was romanticising affairs. The story did highlight that the affair was a terrible idea, after the fact, but by then the damage had been done. Not a story I would recommend. But it did win the 2015 AusRom Today Reader’s Choice Book of the Year, so romance readers must be finding something there which I really didn’t….
After – Nikki Gemmell (Australian author) (4 stars)
I am incredibly interested in euthanasia, and the right to die when confronted with terminal illness. To me, fear of death can be lessened when you face it one your own terms. This book tells the story of Nikki Gemmell’s mother, Elayne, who died on her own terms in a country where euthanasia is illegal. The sections which resonated with me most strongly were those which described how alone Elayne must have felt, given that she could not discuss her plans with anyone around her without implicating them in her death. Helping someone to die holds a prison sentence in Australia. The book is told in very small vignettes, as though it is a book of memories and thoughts – I adored this format and believe that it perfectly suited the changing attitudes Nikki had towards euthanasia as she worked through her grief.
Windwitch – Susan Dennard (4 stars)
This book was a fantastic sequel to Truthwitch. I only wish that there hadn’t been so many storylines to follow – all of the characters have been separated. At times it felt that as soon as I became invested in a particular story, I was suddenly transported to another one! However, it was still fantastic and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the series holds.
Maybe a Fox – Kathi Appelt & Alison McGhee (3.5 stars)
A very sweet middle-grade book about grief. Jules adores her older sister. But Sylvie always runs too fast, and one day she slips into the river and doesn’t come out. Around the same time, a fox cub is born, a fox cub with a purpose – to help Jules find the Grotto, a special memory place. The prose was lovely, and the story beautiful. I enjoyed this so much more than I had expected to. I particularly liked that we saw the perspective of Jules’ friend as well, showing how difficult it can be to help a mourning friend. A tale about loss and grieving, with a tiny hint of magic.
Aerie – Maria Dahvana Headley (3 stars)
I didn’t like Magonia very much, so I’m not entirely sure what encouraged me to pick up its sequel. However, I enjoyed this book significantly more than I enjoyed the first one. Aza Ray is in a new body, or ‘skin’ as it is rather creepily described. Her boyfriend and family have accepted this strange turn of events. But Aza still feels the call of Magonia, and eventually her sister is kidnapped and she has no choice but to turn back to the skies. Her real mother is wreaking havoc, waging war in the skies with the intention of destroying Earth. And it is up to Aza to stop her. But first she has to learn more about who she is and where she comes from – she has to find the Flock. It was pretty good, definitely an improvement on the first, but I am happy to stop with this world now.
Talking to My Country – Stan Grant (Australian author) (4 stars)
Another one to tick off the Dymocks101 list! This is a truly fantastic non-fiction about the horrible racism which permeates Australian culture and our country’s treatment of indigenous people. It is at times painful reading, but it is powerful and so important to be reminded of the horrors wreaked upon the traditional owners of this land, and the difficulties they still face. It made me feel ashamed. I can only hope it has changed me for the better.
The Lost Property Office – James R. Hannibal (3.5 stars)
A fun, easy middle-grade read about a little boy searching for his father. Jack Buckles is incredible at finding things. But sometimes he struggles to cope with all of the data which he can retain – he hears too much, he sees too much; he can’t filter sensory information. His father has gone missing, feared dead. His mother is worried, searching through London. And he has to stay with his little sister in their hotel room. Until she wanders off. Lost in London, the two children find the Lost Property Office, and find a chance to save their father. Especially with Jack’s incredible skills of observation, which actually turn out to be a family trait. It was a lot of fun, and a great idea!
Summer Days & Summer Nights – Edited by Stephanie Perkins (4 stars)
A really cute collection of short stories by some fantastic authors. I loved it, but the cutesy stories did make me feel SUPER single… Hahahahaha. My favourites were In Ninety Minutes, Turn North by Stephanie Perkins, Love Is the Last Resort by Jon Skovron, A Thousand Ways This Could All Go Wrong by Jennifer E. Smith, and The Map of Tiny Perfect Things by Lev Grossman. A great variety of genres, and a whole heap of marvellous stories!
What did you read this week?