Fox on Books

Book reviews, opinions, musings and ramblings. General bookish excitement!

Archive for the category “Five Foxes”

Short Stories, or, Review-Palooza!

It’s become clear that I read a lot of books. This year, I’m averaging one book every three days, across all sorts of formats, including manuscript, eBook, audio book and, of course, my true love, the paper book.

In order to keep them fresh in my mind, and to deliver opinions about them in a somewhat timely manner, I’m going to do bite-sized reviews of a recent selection.

Dear reader, dive in:

What Came Before – by Anna George

whatcamebeforeOof. This was a hard read. Following the spiral of a gradually abusive relationship, What Came Before challenges us to look at what we expect – and what we’ll accept – from those we love. Ambitious and confronting, it’s not for everyone, but is a particularly powerful novel.

threenhalf fox


Looking for Alaska – by John Green
lookingforalaskaUK.indd
John Green’s first novel has all the hallmarks of his later work. Teens who act like teens (bright, loyal, apathetic and often a wee bit pretentious), a simple narrative that allows the beauty and poignancy of his prose to shine, and a quietly wrenching third act make this a must read for older teens and fans of this brand of honest, contemporary YA. (Also, have you read The Fault in Our Stars yet? If not, what are you even doing with your life??)

threenhalf fox

Words of Radiance – by Brandon Sanderson

wordsofradianceThe Way of Kings (Parts One and Two) and their sequel The Words of Radiance are perfect examples of high fantasy with truly epic scope and huge payoffs. If you’re a fantasy reader, you’d be foolish to go past Brandon Sanderson. He and Patrick Rothfuss are the best current fantasy writers around. I’m repeating myself and I don’t care: Brandon Sanderson is the real deal. He is astonishing, and if you haven’t read him, you’re missing out.

five fox


Wool and Dust – both by Hugh Howey

dusthoweywoolhowey

I’m a little late on this bandwagon but Wool and its sequel Dust are something you definitely want to experience. Howey’s exploration of a possible future after the world has been destroyed by nuclear warfare is sophisticated, claustrophobic and nail-bitingly tense. It’s the kind of sci-fi you’ll rant excitedly about in turn. I listened to these as audio books, and the SECOND I finished Wool I had to find out what happened next. four fox

Have you read any of these? I’ve covered a range of genres – what’s your pick of the above?

Advertisements

Fangirl – by Rainbow Rowell

ArthurRainbow Rowell’s in the midst of a surge to fame, taking the YA genre by storm. The effects ripple out further than YA, too, with John Green publicly commenting on how much he loved Eleanor & Park. Needless to say, I’ve been meaning to read her work for a while now. I started with Fangirl because even the name is something I identify with!

Cath’s always been the quiet one, overshadowed by her twin sister, Wren. Online, though, it’s a completely different story. Cath’s in love with the world of Simon Snow, a wildly successful series of books and movies about a teen wizard (yes, the echoes of Harry Potter are there for a reason). Like a lot of fans, Cath’s not satisfied with the limited look into Simon’s world she gets in the canon. Writing fanfiction about Simon Snow is a way to stay connected, and Cath and Wren are widely reputed as the best writing duo around.

When the twins go to college, Wren’s looking to break out of the virtual world and experience the ‘real world’; something Cath just can’t understand. Their writing is just as real and just as important as anything happening out there. She keeps posting updates to her fic, feeling more and more involved with her online fans (who number in the thousands), and less connected with Wren than ever. This whole college thing is certainly life changing. But no one mentioned that it can be a change for the worse. Engorgio! (Or, embiggen, more this way):

The Circle- by Dave Eggers

CircleMy first Dave Eggers! And what an introduction. Here’s what I thought of The Circle:

Mae Holland has just landed her dream job! She’s going to be part of the Circle, the most powerful internet company in history: the first company to let you control social media, banking, emails and anything else you can do online in one place. Their Californian campus is sprawling and decadent, with everything you could ever need available free to employees. Why would they ever want to work anywhere else? In fact, why would they want to leave the campus?

Mae soon realises that there’s more to the Circle than work. They want to know what you do on days off, where you go, what hobbies you have, what movies you watch, which doctors you see, what your friends are like, what they watch, where they go, and so on. It’s all about inclusion, openness, everyone being a part of something bigger. Mae sees nothing wrong with that. We could all stand to be a little more open, a little more transparent, right? We Can Run, We Can Hide, We Can Show Off Our Guns and Put on A Fight:

Steelheart – by Brandon Sanderson

SteelheartIn a world where people with extraordinary powers exist, what happens when the superheroes are the bad guys?

David knows. He’s seen first hand what having that kind of power has done to the Epics. David was only eight when his father was killed by one of them, a particularly strong Epic called Steelheart. David’s the only person who survived the Epic’s attack on the bank that day. He’s the only living person who has ever seen Steelheart bleed. Ten years later, David hasn’t forgotten the vow he made that day: he will see Steelheart bleed again.

Okay guys. I LOVE Brandon Sanderson’s work. It’s inventive, detailed and consistently brilliant. This means two things:

1) I’m probably predisposed to like any Brandon Sanderson book by now, but also
2) I have incredibly high expectations for his work.

Each new book makes me both gleeful and wary, because I look forward to them SO MUCH that they have the potential to be a huge let down.

Thankfully, Steelheart was not a let down at all! In fact, it might be my favourite Sanderson novel since the Mistborn series. And that, dear reader, is no mean feat. Walk In Like a Fistful of Bottle Rockets:

The Fiery Heart – by Richelle Mead

FieryOh yes, the fourth book in Mead’s fantastic Bloodlines spinoff series is finally here! I went in to this book with high expectations, since I really enjoy Mead’s work in general (for example, Gameboard of the Gods, and The Indigo Spell). I’m really invested in Sydney and Adrian’s story now – as are we all – and I was counting on Mead to deliver a cracker of an installment. Here’s how I thought she did:

Sydney and Adrian have come a long way since they were first forced to work together. No longer is Sydney the standoffish, distrustful Alchemist, and no longer is Adrian the dissolute, oft-drunk mess he once was. Well, mostly, anyway. Truth be told, they’re been more than tolerating each other for a long time, now.

Oh, Sydrian. I love ’em. And they’re finally getting it right.  Which is a good thing – because they’re facing a whole lot of problems that they can’t fix alone. In fact, they might not even be able to fix them together. I Fell Into A Burning Ring of Fire

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – by Douglas Adams

hitchhikerI’ve never read Hitchhiker’s before. (Believe me, I’m just as disappointed as you are in me.) But I rectified that on a plane from London to LA, last week. Here’s what I thought of Adams’ classic sci-fi screwball comedy:

Arthur Dent is having an odd day. (He never could get the hang of Thursdays.) First, his house was demolished. Then, the entire Earth was bulldozed to make way for a new, intergalactic highway. Now Arthur’s one of two humans left, scrambling around the universe with a Betelgeuse alien called Ford Prefect for a best friend and a towel for everything else. Is There Any Tea On This Spaceship?:

The Way of Kings (Part Two) – by Brandon Sanderson

imageTravelling means more time for reading, right?! I’ve been testing the theory, so while exploring the sights of London and Amsterdam, I was catching up on my Brandon Sanderson, with The Way of Kings, Part Two. Here’s what I thought:

Welcome back to Roshar. The landscape remains as unforgiving as the people holding Kaladin and his bridgemen; who are still defying their intended purposes by refusing to die. It’s clearer than ever to Kaladin that there’s almost no way to avoid this fate. Unless, perhaps, he changes the rules of engagement.
Dalinar, a brightlord and (formerly) one of the most respected leaders of the Alethkar nobility, remains unsure whether he is mad, or if the visions he has during highstorms are somehow real. These visions tell him he must do the impossible, and unite the Alethkar forces as one. But until he ascertains whether these are real warnings or merely delusions, Dalinar knows it is dangerous for him to remain in charge of his House. Other nobles have noticed his ailment, and sense that there may be blood in the water.
In Part Two of The Way of Kings, we see the payoff from Part One’s lengthy set up. We Were the Kings and Queens of Promise:

The Lies of Locke Lamora – by Scott Lynch

imageHello there! It’s been too long – because I’m on holidays! I’m blogging from Stratford Upon Avon right now, which seemed appropriate. For the past month I’ve been gallivanting throughout Europe, and there’s a post full of bookish goodness on the way about that. But first and foremost, a review!
The Lies of Locke Lamora was recommended to me by a bookseller in London, after we’d been chatting about The Name of the Wind and the Mistborn trilogy. It’s a debut fantasy novel that’s been getting some interesting buzz, so I was excited to try it. Here’s what I thought:
Locke Lamora has an interesting problem: he thinks too big. While this may be an admirable trait, as a thief in Camorr it’s a liability. The Gentlemen Bastards, Locke’s gang, are successful because they make sure they aren’t noticed. Little thefts, little rewards. But that’s not enough for Locke – he’s in it for the challenge, and for the win. Before long, he’s accidentally infamous as the Thorn of Camorr, and attracting notice from all the wrong people.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) – by Mindy Kaling

kalingI’ve embraced the intriguing world of audiobooks! In my new city, I walk to work and back – 40 solid minutes each way. And it’s such a waste of perfectly good reading time – but not any more! So far, I’m loving entertainment memoirs read by the authors (I’m listening to Tina Fey now and really can’t wait to get to Stephen Fry next). Mindy Kaling’s autobiography was my first foray into this format: here’s what I thought of Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me:

You guys, I loved this book. Audio was the perfect medium, because Mindy Kaling is one funny lady. I love the Mindy Project. It’s a little slice of absurd joy in my week. I was thrilled to find Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me just as  engaging, smart, relatable and generally fabulous as the lady herself. I’ll Go By What You Do, ‘Cause Talk Is Cheap:

The 5th Wave – by Rick Yancey

5thNow here’s a book that comes with a LOT of hype. A book that I felt the need to tread cautiously around, in case it couldn’t quite live up to my expectations. A book that, much like Gameboard of the Gods, I can confidently say exceeded my expectations.

I read The 5th Wave slower than usual, because I had such a good experience that I was letting it draw out. Until I reached the latter half – then all bets were off and I raced ahead, determined to get to the bottom of the mysteries! I loved this book! Let me tell you why:

Most days Cassie’s pretty sure she’s the last human alive. Okay, maybe not the last. But she’s got to be one of the few still standing since the Others came.

The first wave killed half a million people. But that was nothing compared to the next three. The Others want to rid their new home of its human infestation. Now, there’s just a handful of survivors – people like Cassie. She’s not the only one out there. But most of the others aren’t human, although they look that way. They’re the fourth wave, the Silencers  – infiltrators sent to hunt down and eliminate the dregs of humanity. (Don’t Wanna Be) All By Myself:

Post Navigation

gabriellefeather5

Kissing Frogs and Other Misadventures

Darling Bibliophile

So many books, so little time.

TIME

Current & Breaking News | National & World Updates

The Escapades

The Escape Publishing Blog

Lisa Jakub

Writing about what happens when we stop acting

Love Hypothetically Books

purveyors of scorching hot romantic fiction

%d bloggers like this: