A really really good reading week this week. I didn’t read a lot, but what I did read was AMAZING! I Am, I Am, I Am, a memoir by Maggie O’Farrell was just astonishingly wonderful, as was Naomi Alderman’s The Power!
The Power – Naomi Alderman (5 stars)
What an incredible piece of fiction. Fast-paced, thought-provoking, horrifying and wonderful, it tells the story of a world where women discover they can channel electricity. The entire structure of society shifts, and Naomi Alderman tells the story of the change through a variety of voices. Margot is a politician. Tunde is a young male journalist. Roxy is the daughter of a crime lord, with incredible power. And Allie is an abused young girl who becomes a cult leader. It is absolutely fascinating. I loved the little asides reframing historical artefacts in the context of the women’s power. A perfect book club read!
A Darker Shade of Magic – V. E. Schwab (4 stars) Read more
This week was incredibly busy, so of course I managed to read MORE than average. TEN BOOKS THIS WEEK! Weirdly, I read two on eBook, both non-fiction. I absolutely ADORED Station Eleven – it was AMAZING, and convinced me that I would absolutely be a recluse with my library in the case of an apocalypse – because ‘survival is insufficient’. I also really enjoyed Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin, and The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli. I also read quite a bit of non-fiction. The No-Spend Year has encouraged me to make some big changes in the way I spend money! I was also pretty grossed out by Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed – what are your thoughts on fiction that disturbs you?
The Masked Truth – Kelley Armstrong (2 stars)
A YA thriller about troubled teens being held hostage. Riley Vasquez is haunted by the brutal murder of the couple she was babysitting for. This weekend was supposed to help her. And then armed men wearing masks storm the building where they are meeting. They’re not careful with their weapons, and soon Riley and another teen, Max are trying to escape. Only, Max can’t always trust what he is seeing… This book was OK, but it didn’t grip me. I’m not sure if this is just because I’m not big on the thriller genre, or if I’m correct in thinking that the writing and storyline weren’t amazing.
Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel (5 stars) Read more
Seven books this week! Yay for being back to one per day! The overall favourite this week was City of Brass – it was incredible, with vivid world-building and amazing plot twists! No truly dreadful books this week – The Wrong Girl was a bit trashy, but we all need that sometimes!
All Our Wrong Todays – Elan Mastai (4 stars)
A time travel book! Tom Barren is from a present where humanity thrives in a technology utopia with flying cars, and instant food. Tom has never been able to find his place in this idealistic world, but then he accidentally changes the course of the future when he uses his genius father’s time machine. Suddenly, he is in our present, and his family believe he has had a nervous breakdown and hallucinated his ‘past’. But as his new life just gets better and better, he has a tough decision – does he fix the world for the rest of humanity, or keep it like this just for himself?
I loved the short chapters, especially that which has an entire page of ‘Fuck’, repeated over and over. It was a great time travel story, though the writing style was a bit incongruous – the themes were definitely adult, but the writing felt very immature for the content. I still loved it – it’s time travel; how could I not? The ending was a little strange… (Look away now if you don’t want to be spoiled a little bit!!!) A third present was introduced which was just a bit tooooooo weird for me. But overall, a fab book with fascinating characters and interesting twists and turns!
Moonrise – Sarah Crossan (3 stars) Read more
Only five books this week, and one of them was super small! Favourite was absolutely Nevermoor – AMAZING! I was also pleasantly surprised by Living on Hope Street and Poison City. 🙂
Unearthed – Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (3 stars)
Earth has intercepted a message from an alien race, and people are flocking to the ancient planet for various purposes. Mia is a scavenger, determined to find something worth enough money to buy her sister’s freedom back. Jules is an academic, whose purposes are slightly more noble – he wants to prove his genius mathematic father’s theories about the aliens right.
I struggled with Mia as a character – she was a bit of a bitch, but it was also understandable given her past circumstances. Jules, however, was a cute cinnamon roll and I loved him. The story itself was intriguing, though I’m not sure its pitch of Lara Croft x Indiana Jones was right. I also struggled with the writing a little bit – the pacing was a bit slow for an adventure story… But the ending was incredible and I need the next book ASAP. Being a Latin nerd, I was disappointed with the phrasing of a certain Latin phrase – I think it’s wrong. But if the authors have a Latin expert, I am happy to concede that my 10 years of study might not have been enough.
Living on Hope Street – Demet Divaroren (Australian author) (4 stars) Read more
Not a great reading week…. I was slumping BIG TIME. I did also do a bit of reading for work, which will have to extend into next week too. They are books that aren’t out for months and months yet, so they sadly don’t count for this purpose. Favourite this week was definitely the middle-grade The Girl, the Dog and the Writer in Rome – SO GOOD!
Mask of Shadows – Linsey Miller (3 stars)
I had high hopes for this book! It involves an assassin competition (a trope I adore) and it has a gender-fluid protagonist. While I liked the characters (my favourite was Maud, the sarcastic maid) and the story, it still felt a little bit like I had seen it all before. The storyline itself lacked originality and it vacillated like made in its pacing. Sometimes I was bored witless with the lack of action, at other times it moved so quickly it went over my head. It was still a very interesting story, but it isn’t my favourite in the assassin sub-genre of YA fiction by a long shot.
Spindle Fire – Lexa Hillyer (4 stars) Read more
Six books this week! And I moved to Sydney, so I had a whole day out of action. Plus the hours spent packing during the week. Whichwood was a definite favourite, as was The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. I also FINALLY jumped onto the Hamilton bandwagon. Let me know what your recent favourites have been in the comments at the bottom! 🙂
Genuine Fraud – E. Lockhart (3 stars)
I am really intrigued by books that work backwards in time, as this one does. Jule is on the run, and makes the mistake of befriending a police officer in the glamorous hotel she is holed up in. That’s when the story begins to turn back time, to show how Jule got to where she is and the sinister events which occurred. It was an interesting story, but I was incredibly disappointed in the ending. I wanted to know more about where Jule came from and why she ended up the way she did – I was just left dissatisfied…
The Map of Bones – Francesca Haig (Australian author) (3 stars) Read more
Five books read this week; it has been insanely busy, and I am even too tired to read! Absolutely loved Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody – I can’t wait to see the finished version with illustrations! The Potion Diaries was also a nice surprise – I definitely enjoyed it much more than I thought I would!
Cinnamon – Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Divya Srinivasan (3 stars)
Really cute little Indian folktale retold by Neil Gaiman. The illustrations by Divya Srinivasan are absolutely delightful! While it is very cute, I didn’t connect with the story and found myself more confused than entertained…
Miss Treadway & the Field of Stars – Miranda Emmerson (3 stars)
An historical fiction about a missing actress. Anna Treadway worked for Lanny Green and needs to discover what happened to her when she suddenly disappeared after a show. Covering issues such as racism and sexism, and the stigma of abortion and pregnancy in unmarried women, this book touched me more than I thought it would. It was easy to read, but was definitely not light fiction.
Daughter of the Burning City – Amanda Foody (5 stars)