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Archive for the category “Four Foxes”

The Scorpio Races (Audiobook) – by Maggie Stiefvater

ScorpioMy first fiction audiobook! After listening to a bunch of autobiographies, I finally ventured into the realms of fiction. This seemed like a bigger risk, because the books wouldn’t be read by the author, and it wouldn’t simply be, say, Stephen Fry telling me about himself. No – now I had to worry about whether I’d like the narrator/s or not.

I thoroughly enjoyed Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys last year, and I’d heard good things about The Scorpio Races too. The short version of this review is: HELL YES. The longer version follows. Anything Other Than What I’ve Been Trying to be Lately:

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Northern Lights – by Philip Pullman

northern lightsAfter seeing the (terrible) movie The Golden Compass years ago, I wasn’t in the least bit interested in reading Pullman’s acclaimed His Dark Materials series, no matter their fantastic reputation. But the rumours of their excellence continued to follow me – as someone who loves both fantasy and YA, the series seemed like a natural fit, or so I was (often) told. There are always so many things to read that they were never a priority. Until about three weeks ago, when I visited Oxford.

Oh my goodness. Oxford is amazing. It’s a gorgeous city, one big university town, made of white stone buildings that date back for hundreds of years. It’s been home to so many incredible figures, including writers like Tolkien, C. S. Lewis and, of course, Philip Pullman. While visiting, I saw an exhibition at the Bodleian Library called Magical Books, about works that inspired these great writers to their enchanting worlds. Pullman set the His Dark Materials sequence in a parallel Oxford. I was so intrigued by my visit here that I finally read the first book in the series. Here’s what I thought:

Oxford University is a place of learning and knowledge. But to Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon, it’s just home. The rooftops, the alleyways, the underground hidey holes are all part of their domain. Before long, however, destiny calls for Lyra and Pantaliamon. Lyra’s famous uncle, the intimidating Lord Asriel, brings reports of strange doings in the north. And in Oxford, children are going missing. When Lyra’s friend vanishes, she refuses to be left out of the plans to find him. Soon, Lyra’s on the run from mysterious forces, racing to the mysterious north to find answers. And all the while, strange forces who mark Lyra out as important are gathering ever closer. Take Me Home, I Can’t Stand This Place:

Bossypants – by Tina Fey

bossyMan, I’m burning through some audiobooks. And a good thing, too, because I’ve had so little time to read actual books lately. Although, I went to a conference this week for work and got a STACK of new books I’m desperate to find the time for. Yes, I know. I hate me too.

But to the book at hand, Bossypants! Here’s what I thought of the audiobook version of Tina Fey’s memoir:

Oddly enough, I’m not a huge fan of 30 Rock. Nevertheless, I really appreciate Tina Fey’s odd, sharp, incisive humour. (And also Mean Girls. Because it’s as silly as it is surprisingly cool.) I wasn’t sure If Bossypants would be as much fun for me as Mindy Kaling‘s autobiography. Happily, it really was! Tina Fey is so damn smart. And she isn’t willing to compromise that – which is the highest sort of compliment I know how to give.

The only problem I’m having in writing this review is that Fey and Kaling’s autobiographies were quite similar. Different generations, and different geneses, but akin as far as style and career trajectories. I thoroughly enjoyed Bossypants, much as I thoroughly enjoyed Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me.

So this review is going to be short and sweet – this was a fun, entertaining and insightful listen, made all the more interesting by Tina Fey’s narration. If you enjoy memoirs, comedy, great writing and an approachable narrative, I can confidently say you’ll enjoy this book.

four fox

 

Between the Lines – by Tammara Webber

BetweenEmma Pierce just got it. Her big break. That one huge movie that can create a career. It’s a modernisation of Pride and Prejudice, set against the backdrop of an American high school. The reason this movie has the potential to make Emma a star is her co-star, Hollywood’s hottest commodity, Reid Alexander. The thing is, Emma’s not completely convinced that she wants the huge career. She loves acting, but it’s not about the fame. And she can’t help but feel there’s more to life than the glitz of the silver screen.

Reid always knows what he wants. And knows how to get it. Money? Yep. Fame? Uh-huh. Girls? Ha! Of course. And now Reid wants Emma. There’s something about her – maybe because she’s so close to his world and yet so far. Whatever the reason, he’s determined to tick Emma off his to do list. Everybody Wants to Be on TV:

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E Smith

statisticA few weeks ago, all I wanted to read was a nice, cute, straight forward YA love story. Do you ever get that urge? The cover of Jennifer E Smith’s Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight seemed to promise just what I wanted. At a slim 215 pages, it was a whirlwind affair: here’s what I thought.

Hadley’s never been to London before. She’s also never been a bridesmaid. You’d think she would be excited? You’d be wrong. This isn’t just any wedding. Hadley’s Dad is getting remarried, to a woman Hadley’s never met. Hadley hasn’t even seen much of her Dad since he left two years ago for a job and then never came home.

So, no. This isn’t exactly a dream come true for Hadley. Perhaps the only thing that convinced her to even get on the plane was the boy in the seat beside her. Because what are the chances that the person next to you is a cute British guy who’s interesting and funny and her age too? Oliver’s all that and more: and if Hadley’s not careful, she might end up not hating everything about this day after all. I Was Enchanted to Meet You:

Scent of Magic – by Maria V Snyder

scentDear Maria V Snyder. I have been, and always shall be, your fan. Scent of Magic was a great follow up to Touch of Power, the first book in Snyder’s ‘Healer’ series.

It’s been only a handful of days since Avry and Kerrick escaped from Tohon’s clutches. Loathe as they are to separate, they have different paths to follow for now. Avry’s determined to find her sister, which means infiltrating the High Priestess Estrid’s holy army. Kerrick has his own obligations, heading north to aid Prince Ryne as well as his own kingdom. Meanwhile, Tohon’s forces continue to swell with the horrific dead soldiers Avry and Kerrick have faced before, that most people refuse to believe exist.

As Tohon’s terrible army inexorably closes in on Estrid and Ryne’s forces, Avry must hope that with her help, Estrid’s people will be trained well enough to fight back. And somehow, Avry needs to find a way back to Kerrick. I Wonder What It’s Like To Be A Superhero:

Clockwork Princess – by Cassandra Clare

clockworkAnd so we come to the end of another trilogy: Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices. This prequel series is set in nineteenth-century London, and chronicles one of the most challenging battles Shadowhunters faced, through the eyes of a handful of remarkable people.

I read Clockwork Princess early this week. Holy beautiful cover, Batman! Here’s what I thought:

SPOILERS SPOILERS ALL THE SPOILERS. Sort of, anyway. Proceed with caution!

Tessa Gray has finally found a place she fits. Or has she? She’s engaged, planning her wedding, and surrounded by people she cares about, and who care about her in turn. But Tessa can’t shake the nagging feeling she should be happier than she is. Some Boys Don’t Know How to Love (But Some Do):

Divergent – by Veronica Roth

divergentIn Beatrice’s world, after years of bitter fighting, the five factions were developed to prevent further wars. Each faction values certain traits, believing that cultivating a chosen way of thinking will mean there is no more conflict.

In Abnegation, they look not to themselves but to others, and value selflessness above all. The Erudite seek knowledge, hoping that with understanding they may gain wisdom enough to avoid fighting. The Amity are concerned with kindness to others, believing that a kind heart cannot engage with violence. Candour means honesty, even brutal honesty. If you admit everything about yourself, the good and the bad, you are not hiding, and have no reason to fear. But fearlessness is the true domain of the Dauntless, where bravery, or the ability to continue on in spite of fear, is valued most. Bravery also means standing up for those who can’t.

Born into Abnegation, Beatrice has always struggled to find the selflessness that seems to come so naturally to her family. On her Choosing Day, she makes a decision that will affect the rest of her life. If only she knew how much.

Now, the newly named Tris is an initiate of Dauntless. Surviving their brutal initiation will require more than physical and mental training – she will have to contend with other initiates who equate bravery with bullying, and figure out what she’s beginning to feel for one of her instructors, Four. Most importantly, Tris must discover what that word she’s only heard in whispers has to do with her. What is Divergent? Why is it special? Why is is dangerous?

Warning: spoilers after the cut! I Don’t Wanna Be Anything Other Than What I’ve Been Tryin’ To Be Lately:

Blaze: Or Love In the Time of Supervillians by Laurie Boyle Crompton

blazeI got this book as an e-ARC from Edelweiss, and wolfed it down in a single afternoon. Why? Read on:

Blaze is, despite the unusual name, a pretty normal 17-year old girl. She’s a little shy, interested in boys in theory but a little more like terrified in practise. She’s also really into comic books: specifically, classic Marvel verse, and anything Stan Lee. Blaze spends most of her free time since her Dad left chauffeuring around her little brother Josh and his three best friends, to school and soccer.

At least at soccer there’s Mark, Josh’s really, really cute coach. He’s never noticed Blaze, which is fine with her. She watches soccer practice with her head in a comic or her sketch book, and if she sometimes daydreams about Mark’s great legs or chest, well, she’s only human.

Then, inexplicably, Mark notices Blaze, who can’t believe her luck! She finally has her first boyfriend – right? They went out a couple of times, and there was an unfortunate incident with a ‘helpful’ ‘friend’ called Amanda sending him a half naked picture of Blaze, but Blaze wan’t sure – until Mark made it clear he wasn’t looking for anything more than the *ahem* interactions they’d had in the back of Blaze’s minivan. Go On and Take A Bow:

The Storyteller – by Jodi Picoult

storytellerAh, Jodi. Her books have been worldwide bestsellers, in the vein of authors such as Nicholas Sparks or a more maudlin Marian Keyes. I picked up an ARC of The Storyteller from work. It’s been a few years since I’ve read anything of Picoult’s: here’s what I thought of her latest.

Sage Singer has had a difficult couple of years. She’s an artisan baker, working nights, which allows her to avoid other people seeing the scar she received in a car accident. Sage allows very few people into her life. When the elderly Josef Weber starts to befriend her, no one is more surprised than Sage that she enjoys his company and doesn’t mind him seeing her face. But Josef has a secret – he has a scar of his own. And his scar may be nothing compared to the scars he has caused others. Josef has an agenda behind his friendship with Sage: he asks if she will hear his story, forgive him his sins, and then help him die.

Now, I’m going to put in a nice big SPOILER ALERT here. I don’t usually spoil too much in my reviews but its necessary here. So, if you’re going to read The Storyteller and don’t want to know anything about Josef’s past, please stop here. Generally, parts of this book worked for me and parts felt like something I’d read before. Can You Help Me Bent/I’m So Scared That I’ll Never Get Put Back Together:

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