Reading when I can, Blogging if there's time, Listening on repeat

blog post - my name is leon

Review – My Name Is Leon by Kit de Waal

This version of the eighties isn’t rose tinted nostalgia. My Name is Leon is about a biracial child in care, how he gets there and how he comes to terms with the realities of his life. Tough in places, well observed and a terrific read.

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Review – I Will Not Be Erased by gal-dem

Each story directly or indirectly, references a diary. Knowing you history, remembering your past is key to your present and defining your future. Importance of recording one’s thoughts equates with better knowing oneself

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Review – Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots

Hench, like The Boys, set heroes in a world where they are three dimensional, showing their wants, desires and motivations.
Anna has been at their mercy and didn’t appreciate the experience nor the repercussions. Hench is her journey on fighting backing using modern methods including data mining and social media to take them down.
Hench is engaging, entertaining and a really fun read

Loving a book to death, or when you used to!

I loved Mills and Boon as a tween/teen and avidly consumed this sub genre of romance novels on a frequent basis. So much so that they were battered beyond recognition. Now I look at that time and think, why don’t I read that genre as much now. Why are some of my old favourites out of favour?

Word of the Day Book Banner

Words, Words, so many delightful words

Who isn’t fascinated by words?
If you’re ambivalent about it then this post if for you. Hopefully my enthusiasm will rub off and you will find one or two that you like.

A brief introduction to why I like words so much and which ones are taking my fancy. Hint – the more obscure the better!

Review – The Memory Police by Yōko Ogawa

There are many things to like about The Memory Police, the narrative structure, the well drawn characters and world building. Another aspect that I can’t let go unsaid was the delicate way information was revealed. I didn’t realise just how chaotic the island was until I (the reader) was invested in the story and found myself, like the islanders equally wounded by this calamitous place. But its thought provoking insight into the power and relevance of memory is what lingers and will not be easily forgotten.

Book Review - Cabal by Clive Barker

Review – Cabal by Clive Barker

Clive Barker takes a straightforward plot layers it with intent, infuses it with wonder and leaves you absorbed in a world that horrifies yet ultimately delights. This is his gift as a storyteller. If you haven’t already, get to know, Cabal one of his classic horror novels.

Welcome 2021

Living life dangerously, once again I make plans for the year ahead. Take a peek at what they are to see if I’ve incorporated lessons learnt from the pandemic blues of 2020?

2020 Wrap Up

Did I meet my reading goal for 2020? What did I watch during the pandemic? Read on to find the answers to this and more including the winners of the annual book awards

Catch Up: The Pause

When you notice you’re in a reading slump, what do you do? In my case, I navigated my way through by listening to music and other distraction tactics. Read on to find out how well that worked.

Review – The Silver Metal Lover by Tanith Lee

The Silver Metal Lover is a love story about finding yourself and the person that compliments, brings out the best in you. Their relationship is beautifully developed within the constraint of a future world beset with environmental issues and discontent, So even though it breaks my heart every time I read it, there is such joy and hope in this sublime sci fi tale that I can’t help but love it.

Review – Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

“Hell is the absence of the people you long for”. Station Eleven shows us a world crippled by a virus and the survivors who remain in the aftermath. This is a perceptive and astute retelling of humanity struggle to come to terms with this loss and the future they have to create. A tremendous book. May’s Book of the Month.

Review – Hyenas by Michael Sellars

This zombie tale delivers an interesting premise on the genre with plenty of danger, thrills and gore. It invites us to question what makes us human. You will be fascinated as I was to know more about the assertion. Scary but thoughtful read.

Monthly Preview – May 2020

May looks good to go. I have a few ARCs scheduled and a couple in particular that I’m looking forward to, Michelle Obama’s biography to listen to before I see the Netflix special and catching up on anything I should have read.

No-Mod by Derek Porterfield 

No-Mod takes place in a techno-religious city, where the marginalised include those without biomedical modification. Addie’s search for answers takes her on the run revealing more about this autocratic world than she had envisaged. Riveting YA read with little details that make it a pleasure to read. I am looking forward to the sequel.

Review – Corporate Gunslinger: A Novel by Doug Engstrom

Corporate Gunslinger seems so very timely about the power of corporations and overwhelming debt. Insurance companies already use small print to deny claims, thus it’s no stretch to imagine the possibility that they would eventually utilise skilled killers to ensure they don’t have to pay out. In no way does it seem strange that gunfighting is part of the American legal system.

Review – Cuckoo’s Egg by C.J. Cherryh

The cover for Cuckoo’s Egg is beautiful. It perfectly captures the essence of the book. It shows Duun, cradling Thorn as a baby. Between the artwork and back cover we already know it’s about an alien culture meeting human, however it’s the way it intersects, how the story is told which is very beautiful.

Review – Native Tongue by Suzette Haden Elgin

This dystopia raises men to see themselves as first with no equal. The dismissive way women are perceived, spoken of and to permeates society at all levels. Fortunately perseverance and a dedication to the future generations leads a group to quietly rebel.

Review – On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

Bri is a typical teenager, rash, impulsive but also thoughtful. I found her annoying in part but realistic at heart. You too will want Bri to win on talent alone and make the right choices, because she deserved it , but this isn’t a fairy tale, the reality is, being talented isn’t enough. On The Come Up is a fantastic read about making choices and fighting against stereotypes.

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Review – Whipping Star by Frank Herbert

I haven’t read Whipping Star in about 15 years. But on picking it up I immediately remembered chairdogs, float homes and stage frozen Pan Spechi and what these terms meant. Perhaps because they’re descriptive as well as inventive is why they are still memorable for me.

Review – Who Goes Here? by Bob Shaw

Who Goes Here? is funny, that has to be mentioned first. Not that you wouldn’t have noticed as it permeates the whole book: the characters, dialogue and situations are humorous and well articulated. But before you get the wrong idea, this isn’t a gagged filled romp with set pieces.

Review – When I Was Ten by Fiona Cummins

This book is a must for those who love well written psychological thrillers, that pulls on the heartstrings but not gratuitously so and with characters that you are rooting for. It will make you feel big emotions, be judgemental and sincerely consider your views on several serious issues. What a gripping read!

Review – Dewdrop by Katie O’Neill

Dewdrop is a joyous story about being a good friend, an encouragement to those around you and being you – the best you can be. In the sweetest of ways this is age appropriate mindfulness and resilience training.

Review – Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver

As the novel is interspersed with vignettes on cults, their leaders, serial killers and victims, Will Carver has thoughtfully given us (the reader) enough context and examples to assist us in the hunt for the leader and other members of the group, so we are not reliant on the police who appear incapable of solving this in a prompt and satisfactory manner.

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Review – Lizard’s Tale by Weng Wai Chan

I am a sucker for intrepid children who are resourceful and disarming. Whose small efforts make a big difference in their lives and in Lizard’s Tale, the world stage. These are children who have purposely decided to make a stand against obligation, expectations and gender roles.

Review – Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo eloquently shows that that love, abuse, the whole spectrum of the human condition is the same and gives no quarter for ethnicity or gender. Her understanding of human beings and ability to convey the complexity of human thought, behaviour and action, through a multifaceted, nuanced depiction of race and relationships in an accessible way, is a triumph.

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Review – Orphans of the Tide by Struan Murray

Orphans of the Tide is a fantastic tale about history, loss, friendship, and love. It takes place in a bleak land almost devoid of joy, where the inhabitants are focused only on survival, a place mired in mystery: this is The City. Where strange things happen because they always have and only a few remember or know the truth of the matter.

The world-building is wonderful and the characters charming, thoroughly recommend

Malamander book review

Book Review – Malamander by Thomas Taylor

Eerie-on-Sea is revealed to be a wonderful place – thought I’m not sure that I want to live there, but would be extremely happy to visit – which is filled with peculiar happenings and strange wondrous everyday things, that the inhabitants take for granted.

Book Review – Mr Loverman by Bernardine Evaristo

I hope that I was able to adequately convey my sentiments on this beautiful depiction of an universal human trait: the lies we tell to feel better about ourselves. It was a masterful insight into a realised person and wider community, truly a great read on so many levels.

Book Review – My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Beneath the humour there are serious themes at play, it deftly masks the undercurrent of distress that is revealed subtly throughout the novel to explain why Ayoola kills and Korede doesn’t condone but neither exposes her. It really gets to the heart of the sibling relationship – the expectation of what you should, could and must do for family.

blog post - hexed

Review – Hexed by Julia Tuffs

Hexed is a fairly topical book, which covers #metoo issues around consent, institutional bias, pervasive sexism and the added bonus of being able to deal with these issues with the power of witchcraft. And set within high school. Seems like a lot of juggling balls, but it all works.