I well and truly broke my slump this week, finishing NINE books! Notables included Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O and Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index. I also read and adored the newest volume of Giant Days, my favourite graphic novel series of all time. I was also incredibly impressed by Bren MacDibble’s middle-grade Australian dystopian – so cute!
Spellslinger – Sebastian de Castell (3 stars)
I was very pleasantly surprised by this book as I had only heard negative reviews. I really enjoyed the lighthearted, sarcastic tone of the book, as everything went to total shit. Kellen is moments away from facing the tests which will either make him a mage or an exile. But he has never had much magic and needs to use his wits. He was an idiot, but a loveable idiot. And then Ferius arrives, a magician of a different kind, a con artist. And she starts to teach Kellen her tricks. This results in much mayhem and hilarity, as they work together to uncover a plot which could kill them all.
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls – Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo (5 stars)
If you don’t agree with me that this book is amazing, I will fight you. Beautifully illustrated by 60 women from across the globe, this book tells the stories of 100 amazing women from different fields, different times and different places. It has definitely been written for young children, but any woman will see the value in it! I loved reading about women I already admire and discovering new role models!
The Amateurs – Sara Shepard (2 stars)
This was a quick and easy read about a group of teenage detectives trying to solve a crime. Bit of a cliffhanger at the end which drove me totally CRAZY! But I’m not sure it was good enough for me to bother with the next book in the series, whenever that might come out. I liked the idea of teenage detectives, but the characters really really annoyed me…
How to Bee – Bren MacDibble (Australian author)(4 stars)
A really sweet dystopian novel set in Australia. Bees are extinct. It is the quickest, bravest kids who pollinate flowers by hand. Peony wants to be a bee, climbing along the high branches. She lives with her grandfather and her sister on a farm, while her mother works in the city. Peony is taken from her home to work in the city with her mother. But she hates it and is determined to return to the farm. A story about courage, family, and the environment. A lovely book; can’t wait to see what other wonderful middle-grade stories Bren MacDibble comes up with!
Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index – Julie Israel (4 stars)
Really really really really sweet story. Juniper Lemon is grieving. Her sister Camie died in a dreadful car accident. It was the holidays, but now Juniper has to return to real life, high school. I really love Juniper’s ‘Happiness Index’ – every day she rates her happiness out of ten and lists her positive and negative experiences: I would like to do something like this for myself – I kind of do already in the diary I keep, but this is just cooler and more organised. Juniper tries to assuage her guilt for her part in Camie’s death by doing good; but in doing so she does good for herself as well, making new friends, flirting a little bit, creating exciting projects for her art class. A really sweet book with just a beautiful ending, even if a tiny bit frustrating.
The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O – Neal Stephenson & Nicole Galland (4 stars)
TIME TRAVEL. There is a Department of Diachronic Operations (fancy name for time travel) within the government of the United States. Melisande Stokes is approached to work with Tristan Lyons and his team as they work to bring magic back to the twentieth century. It was totally fascinating, incredibly detailed, and told through many different documents – diaries, chat logs, letters. It spanned a number of years, but never felt rushed. Nor was the time travel component ever confusing – we always knew where the characters were. It took me a while to read – it is a hefty sized book at 768 pages! Much better than Seveneves – I struggled with the huge leaps in time there. SO GOOD; if you’re a time travel tragic like myself, I strongly recommend getting your hands on one of these in July!
SPQR – Mary Beard (4 stars)
I completed a major in Latin as part of my degree, so it’s pretty safe to say that I am a massive fan of the history of Ancient Rome. This book was fantastic; I listened to it on audio, though I will probably reread it in hardcover one day. A really fascinating history spanning 1000 years of Roman history. I was pleased with the significant focus placed on the life of Cicero, whose speeches I have studied. It’s incredible to learn about the gossip of the times, even if it is a few millenia late…
Giant Days Volume 4 – John Allison, Linda Tremain (5 stars)
Another perfect volume of Giant Days. The girls are panicking about finding accomodation, Esther has had her allowance cut, Susan is trying to get back into the dating game. It’s a whole mish-mash of marvellousness. Though that ending broke my heart! NEED THE NEXT ONE NOW! (Just twiddling my thumbs until July!)
The Healthy Life – Jessica Sepel (Australian author) (3 stars)
Much better than I was expecting! It had some handy tips and healthy principles – being the nerd that I am, I took some notes… I also noted down the recipes I intend to try this week. Sunday is going to be a meal prep day, I hope! I’m going to TRRRYYYY and implement a technology ban after 8pm, but I am notoriously bad at this. And I will have to buy a new alarm clock… I’m glad I borrowed rather than bought, because I know that this is the sort of book I would read once and glance over only once or twice. (It’s happened to many ‘healthy living’ books I have bought in the past!)
What have you been reading this week?