Browse Tag by 2016
Reviews
December 29th, 2016

REVIEW – How to Murder your Life by Cat Marnell

How to Murder your Life is, without a doubt, my favourite book of 2016. Released in February 2017, this book is the autobiography of Cat Marnell’s life so far. Don’t worry, I hadn’t hear of her either but jeez, her life is SO INTERESTING.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

At the age of 15, Cat Marnell unknowingly set out to murder her life. After a privileged yet emotionally-starved childhood in Washington, she became hooked on ADHD medication provided by her psychiatrist father. This led to a dependence on Xanax and other prescription drugs at boarding school, and she experimented with cocaine, ecstasy… whatever came her way. By 26 she was a talented ‘doctor shopper’ who manipulated Upper East Side psychiatrists into giving her never-ending prescriptions; her life had become a twisted merry-go-round of parties and pills at night, and trying to hold down a high profile job at Condé Naste during the day.

With a complete lack of self-pity and an honesty that is almost painful, Cat describes the crazed euphoria, terrifying comedowns and the horrendous guilt she feels lying to those who try to help her. Writing in a voice that is utterly magnetic – prompting comparisons to Brett Easton Ellis and Charles Bukowski – she captures something essential both about her generation and our times. Profoundly divisive and controversial, How to Murder Your Life is a unforgettable, charged account of a young female addict, so close to throwing her entire life away.

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Reviews
December 6th, 2016

REVIEW – The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

The One Memory of Flora Banks
The One Memory of Flora Banks

I’d heard a lot of hype about The One Memory of Flora Banks so I jumped at the chance to get an early copy.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. Her mind resets itself several times a day, and has since the age of ten, when the tumor that was removed from Flora’s brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend’s boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Miraculously, this one memory breaks through Flora’s fractured mind, and sticks. Flora is convinced that Drake is responsible for restoring her memory and making her whole again. So when an encouraging email from Drake suggests she meet him on the other side of the world, Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step toward reclaiming her life.

With little more than the words “be brave” inked into her skin, and written reminders of who she is and why her memory is so limited, Flora sets off on an impossible journey to Svalbard, Norway, the land of the midnight sun, determined to find Drake. But from the moment she arrives in the arctic, nothing is quite as it seems, and Flora must “be brave” if she is ever to learn the truth about herself, and to make it safely home.

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Reviews
November 20th, 2016

REVIEW – The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Sun is also a star

I have been looking forward to this book for months as I absolutely adored Yoon’s first novel, Everything Everything. I’m very thankful to Netgalley and Penguin Random House for giving me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

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Reviews
October 22nd, 2016

REVIEW – The Atomic Weight of Love by Elizabeth J. Church

the atomic weight of love

The Atomic Weight of Love follows Meridian, an intelligent and brilliant young woman, from the age of seventeen when she’s starting university in 1941, to the present day when she’s in her eighties.

While at university she falls in love with an older man, Alden, an intelligent but mysterious professor. They end up getting married and she follows him to Los Alamos where he’s working on a secret project (which we later find out is the atomic bomb). For him she gives up her hopes of studying for a PhD and of furthering her career in ornithology (the study of birds).

We follow our main character through the decades as she makes and loses friends, falls into temptation with a younger man and deals with the changing roles and increasing power of being a woman.

This novel is many things – it definitely has a feminist slant as Meridian promotes this throughout her story. At the end of the book we learn what she is up to in her later years and it really is fantastic.

It’s also a very erotic novel in parts, as we’re with her as she discovers the power and freedom of sex and truly explores it for the first time. Continue Reading

Reading Tips
October 10th, 2016

How to get over a reading slump

reading slump

Over the last few weeks, the dreading ‘reading slump’ happened to me. Having taken a couple of months off working due to family reasons, I managed to get through 20+ books in that time. Then a few weeks ago I started a new job and started studying part-time and boof… any motivation I had to read disappeared.

As any book lover knows, going through a reading slump is painful. There’s nothing better after a hard day than cuddling up with a good book. So when tiredness mixed with having other responsibilities means you just stop reading altogether, it really sucks!

Here’s how I’m managing to get out of my reading slump: Continue Reading

Reviews
September 30th, 2016

REVIEW – The Illuminati by Robert Howells

illuminati

Sometimes there’s nothing better to read than a new Illuminati and conspiracy-related book!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

This book demonstrates that the old secret societies were driven by the same impulse as Anonymous and WikiLeaks are today. These marginalized groups have always rebelled against the establishments; some subversively by spreading progressive ideas through art and literature, while others are far more proactive, driving revolution and exposing government secrets. The Illuminati, founded in 1776, aimed to rid Europe of the ruling aristocracy and religious control of education, politics and science. They supported the Age of Enlightenment and were accused of fueling the dissent that culminated in the French Revolution.

Since that time the term Illuminati has become a meme, giving a name to a secret network believed by conspiracy theorists to control the world. These were depicted as pranksters, working in the shadows to manipulate society. It was in this climate of pranks, memes and conspiracy theories that the hacktivist collective Anonymous were born. Their ideals of freedom from censorship and the empowering of societies against their rulers make them the spiritual successors of the Illuminati.

The kindling of the French Revolution by the Illuminati has found a modern counterpart in how Anonymous and WikiLeaks played a key role in the Arab Spring uprisings using the internet as a new weapon against dictatorships. It is the same battle fought by secret societies for a millennium but the new inquisition has shifted its focus from secret societies to wage a war on the connected communities of the internet age. This is the story of that war and how you need to be a part of it.

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Reviews
September 5th, 2016

REVIEW – Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari

Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari

I found Homo Deus to be quite an odd book and not quite what I was expecting. Nevertheless I really enjoyed it.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Over the past century humankind has managed to do the impossible and rein in famine, plague, and war. This may seem hard to accept, but, as Harari explains in his trademark style—thorough, yet riveting—famine, plague and war have been transformed from incomprehensible and uncontrollable forces of nature into manageable challenges. For the first time ever, more people die from eating too much than from eating too little; more people die from old age than from infectious diseases; and more people commit suicide than are killed by soldiers, terrorists and criminals put together. The average American is a thousand times more likely to die from binging at McDonalds than from being blown up by Al Qaeda.

What then will replace famine, plague, and war at the top of the human agenda? As the self-made gods of planet earth, what destinies will we set ourselves, and which quests will we undertake? Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century—from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? This is the next stage of evolution. This is Homo Deus. Continue Reading

Reviews
August 22nd, 2016

REVIEW – A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart

keith_stuart_a_boy_made_of_blocks

This book was just delightful. A Boy Made of Blocks follows Alex and his son Sam, who has autism, as their relationship develops through their shared love of Minecraft.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

In the tradition of Nick Hornby and David Nicholls comes a warm and tender novel in which a father and his autistic son connect over the game of Minecraft.

Alex loves his family, and yet he struggles to connect with his eight-year-old autistic son, Sam. The strain has pushed his marriage to the breaking point. So Alex moves in with his merrily irresponsible best friend on the world’s most uncomfortable blow-up bed.

As Alex navigates single life, long-buried family secrets, and part-time fatherhood, his son begins playing Minecraft. Sam’s imagination blossoms and the game opens up a whole new world for father and son to share. Together, they discover that sometimes life must fall apart before you can build a better one.

Inspired by the author’s own relationship with his autistic son, A Boy Made of Blocks is a tear-jerking, funny, and, most, of all true-to-life novel about the power of difference and one very special little boy.

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Reviews
August 19th, 2016

REVIEW – The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 ¼ Years Old

The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 ¼ Years Old

Already a hit in its homeland of The Netherlands, The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 ¼ Years Old, is the tale of a delightful old man and his friends. I find it intriguing that we don’t know who the author actually is – all we know is that he is working on another diary. Although the book is published as fiction, I like to think that Henrik is really out there, carrying on his adventures with his friends in the brilliantly named Old But Not Dead Club.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

‘Another year and I still don’t like old people. Me? I am 83 years old.’

Hendrik Groen may be old, but he is far from dead and isn’t planning to be buried any time soon. Granted, his daily strolls are getting shorter because his legs are no longer willing and he had to visit his doctor more than he’d like. Technically speaking he is … elderly. But surely there is more to life at his age than weak tea and potted geraniums?

Hendrik sets out to write an exposé: a year in the life of his care home in Amsterdam, revealing all its ups and downs – not least his new endeavour the anarchic Old-But-Not Dead Club. And when Eefje moves in – the woman Hendrik has always longed for – he polishes his shoes (and his teeth), grooms what’s left of his hair and attempts to make something of the life he has left, with hilarious, tender and devastating consequences.

The indomitable Hendrik Groen – Holland’s unlikeliest hero – has become a cultural phenomenon in his native Netherlands and now he and his famously anonymous creator are conquering the globe. A major Dutch bestseller, The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen will not only delight older readers with its wit and relevance, but will charm and inspire those who have years to go before their own expiry date.

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Reviews
August 10th, 2016

REVIEW – Watching Edie by Camilla Way

Watching Edie

Watching Edie is a fast-paced, intriguing psychological thriller. I’d already heard great things about it so jumped at the opportunity to review it.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Beautiful, creative, a little wild… Edie was the kind of girl who immediately caused a stir when she walked into your life. And she had dreams back then—but it didn’t take long for her to learn that things don’t always turn out the way you want them to.

Now, at thirty-three, Edie is working as a waitress, pregnant and alone. And when she becomes overwhelmed by the needs of her new baby and sinks into a bleak despair, she thinks that there’s no one to turn to…

But someone’s been watching Edie, waiting for the chance to prove once again what a perfect friend she can be. It’s no coincidence that Heather shows up on Edie’s doorstep, just when Edie needs her the most. So much has passed between them—so much envy, longing, and betrayal. And Edie’s about to learn a new lesson: those who have hurt us deeply—or who we have hurt—never let us go, not entirely…

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