Review | The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven

exactoppositeTitle: The Exact Opposite of Okay (2018)
Author: Laura Steven
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Read: 14th – 18th May 2018
Genre: young-adult; contemporary
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Izzy O’Neill here! Impoverished orphan, aspiring comedian and Slut Extraordinaire, if the gossip sites are anything to go by… Izzy never expected to be eighteen and internationally reviled. But when explicit photos involving her, a politician’s son and a garden bench are published online, the trolls set out to take her apart. Armed with best friend Ajita and a metric ton of nachos, she tries to laugh it off – but as the daily slut-shaming intensifies, she soon learns the way the world treats teenage girls is not okay. It’s the Exact Opposite of Okay.”
(Synopsis from the publisher)

Continue reading

Review | Unconventional by Maggie Harcourt

unconventional.jpgTitle: Unconventional (2017)
Author: Maggie Harcourt
Publisher: Usborne
Read: 13th – 14th May 2018
Genre: young-adult; contemporary
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

“Lexi Angelo is a Convention Kid – she’s got a clipboard and a walkie talkie to prove it. Aidan Green is a messy-haired, annoyingly arrogant author and he’s disrupting her perfect planning. In a flurry of awkward encounters, lost schedules and late-night conversations, Lexi discovers that some things can’t be planned… Things like falling in love.”
(Synopsis from the publisher)

Continue reading

V.E. Schwab’s J.R.R. Tolkien Lecture at Pembroke College

Last week, I was fortunate enough to have friends who would indulge my blatant fangirling over one of my favourite authors enough to plan an entire trip to Oxford to indulge this whim. What am I talking about, you ask? Why, V.E. Schwab’s Tolkien Lecture given at Pembroke College, Oxford. Of course. An annual lecture, Pembroke College’s J.R.R. Tolkien Lecture series is organised by students of the college and based on the topic of speculative fiction (often, fantasy and sci-fi), it invites an influential person within the field to speak on the topic. Previous speakers have included Lev Grossman and Susan Cooper and, this year, it added V.E. Schwab to its growing ranks.

Continue reading

Review | Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

fallingkingdomsTitle: Falling Kingdoms (2012)
Author: Morgan Rhodes
Publisher: Penguin
Read: 21st – 24th February 2018
Genre: young-adult; fantasy
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“In a land where magic has been forgotten and peace has reigned for centuries, unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms battle for power… A princess must journey into enemy territory in search of a magic long-thought extinct. A rebel becomes the leader of a bloody revolution. A Sorceress discovers the truth about the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield. It’s the eve of war. Each must choose a side. KINGDOMS WILL FALL.” (Synopsis from the publisher)

Continue reading

Review | The Power by Naomi Alderman

thepowerTitle: The Power (2016)
Author: Naomi Alderman
Publisher: Penguin
Read: 5th – 11th February 2018
Genre: science-fiction; dystopia
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

“All over the world women are discovering they have the power.
With a flick of the fingers they can inflict terrible pain – even death.
Suddenly, every man on the planet finds they’ve lost control.

The Day of the Girls has arrived – but where will it end?”
(Synopsis from the publisher)

Continue reading

Review | Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

artemisfowlTitle: Artemis Fowl (2001)
Author: Eoin Colfer
Publisher: Puffin
Read: 7th – 10th April 2018
Genre: children’s; fantasy
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

“Twelve-year-old villain, Artemis Fowl, is the most ingenious criminal mastermind in history. His bold and daring plan is to hold a leprechaun to ransom. But he’s taking on more than he bargained for when he kidnaps Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon (Lower Elements Police Reconnaissance Unit). For a start, leprechaun technology is more advanced than our own. Add to that the fact that Holly is a true heroine and that her senior officer Commander Root will stop at nothing to get her back and you’ve got the mother of all sieges brewing!” (Synopsis from the publisher)

Continue reading

Review | The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

Title: The Winner’s Crime (2015)
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Read: 6th – 12th January 2018
Genre: young-adult; fantasy/dystopia
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

“Lady Kestrel’s engagement to Valoria’s crown prince calls for great celebration: balls and performances, fireworks and revelry. But to Kestrel it means a cage of her own making. Embedded in the imperial court as a spy, she lives and breathes deceit and cannot confide in the one person she really longs to trust… While Arin fights to keep his country’s freedom from the hands of his enemy, he suspects that Kestrel knows more than she shows. As Kestrel comes closer to uncovering a shocking secret, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. Lies will come undone, and Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them in this second book in the breathtaking Winner’s trilogy.” (Synopsis from the publisher)

Continue reading

Review | Circe by Madeline Miller

Title: Circe (2018)
Author: Madeline Miller
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: 19th April 2018
Read: 4th – 13th March 2018
Genre: fantasy; mythology; retelling
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

“In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe has neither the look nor the voice of divinity, and is scorned and rejected by her kin. Increasingly isolated, she turns to mortals for companionship, leading her to discover a power forbidden to the gods: witchcraft. When love drives Circe to cast a dark spell, wrathful Zeus banishes her to the remote island of Aiaia. There she learns to harness her occult craft, drawing strength from nature. But she will not always be alone; many are destined to pass through Circe’s place of exile, entwining their fates with hers. The messenger god, Hermes. The craftsman, Daedalus. A ship bearing a golden fleece. And wily Odysseus, on his epic voyage home. There is danger for a solitary woman in this world, and Circe’s independence draws the wrath of men and gods alike. To protect what she holds dear, Circe must decide whether she belongs with the deities she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love. Breathing life into the ancient world, Madeline Miller weaves an intoxicating tale of gods and heroes, magic and monsters, survival and transformation.” (Synopsis from the publisher)

Continue reading

Review | Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

madamebovaryTitle: Madame Bovary (1856)
Author: Gustave Flaubert
Translator: Lydia Davis
Publisher/Edition: Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition
Read: 20th – 27th January 2018
Genre: classics; French classics
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

“Emma Bovary is beautiful and bored, trapped in her marriage to a mediocre doctor and stifled by the banality of provincial life. An ardent reader of sentimental novels, she longs for passion and seeks escape in fantasies of high romance, in voracious spending and, eventually, in adultery. But even her affairs bring her disappointment and the consequences are devastating. Flaubert’s erotically charged and psychologically acute portrayal of Emma Bovary caused a moral outcry on its publication in 1857. It was deemed so lifelike that many women claimed they were the model for his heroine; but Flaubert insisted: ‘Madame Bovary, c’est moi’.” (Synopsis from the publisher)

Continue reading

Review | Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

fangirlTitle: Fangirl (2013)
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Read: 2nd – 4th February 2018 (original review)
Genre: young-adult; contemporary
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

“Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, everybody is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath it’s something more. Fandom is life. It’s what got her and her sister, Wren, through losing their mom. It’s what kept them close. And now that she’s starting college, introverted Cath isn’t sure what’s supposed to get her through. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fanfiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone. For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?” (Synopsis from author’s website)

Continue reading