Fox on Books

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

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):

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The Impossible Knife of Memory – by Laurie Halse Anderson

ImpossibleHayley and Andy have never had what you’d call a normal father-daughter relationship. Andy’s been away at war most of Hayley’s life, and now he’s back, but in many ways still as far away as ever. They’re managing, for the most part. After a few years being home schooled by her father on the road, Hayley’s going to school for the first time. Andy’s working, sometimes. The nightmares make that hard. The only thing that helps is the booze – but that has consequences too, for him and his daughter both.

Hayley’s dealing, looking after herself and her dad, as far as she can. After all, she’s only ever been able to rely on herself. Letting people in, letting people help, means letting yourself get let down. Now, though, it seems she might need that help more than she needs to protect herself. Let it Go, Let it Go, Can’t Hold it Back Any More:

Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy – by Helen Fielding

JonesBridget Jones is crazy. I mean that in the best possible way – I love her! I’m also a fan of Helen Fielding in general. Cause Celeb was good, and I LOVED Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination (and not even just for that phenomenal title). But Bridget is my first Fielding love, as it should be.

The books, brilliant. The movies? Amazing. (Colin Firth. Enough said.) Bridget’s world is full of panic, disasters, incredible friendships, and trying family members as well as a whole lot of love, and it’s magical.

This third book was quite a tricky customer, though, for one very important SPOILER FILLED NO SERIOUSLY YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW THIS reason: Spoilers! Spoilers Ahoy! Abandon All Hope of a Spoiler-Free Review All Ye Who Enter:

Sensational Quote Sunday

Some books change your life. They change the way you see the world. They do this not only with the story as a whole, but sometimes with an idea, a beautiful phrase, or even a word, that resonates with you the way nothing has before.

Sensational Quote Sunday is my way of paying homage to those books that remind me every day why I love reading.

Today, a dip into the lighthearted, delicious world of Austenland. This was one of my favourite interactions in the novel, and was beautifully realised on the screen, too!

“What are you doing?”
“Ya!” said Jane, whirling around, her hands held up menacingly.
It was Mr. Nobley with coat, hat, and cane, watching her with wide eyes. Jane took several quick (but oh so casual) steps away from Martin’s window.
“Um, did I just say, ‘Ya’?”
“You just said ‘Ya,'” he confirmed. “If I am not mistaken, it was a battle cry, warning that you were about to attack me.
I, uh…” She stopped to laugh. “I wasn’t aware until this precise and awkward moment that when startled in a startled in a strange place, my instincts would have me pretend to be a ninja.”

Heh. Good banter. Have I mentioned how much fun this book and film were? Yes? Ah. Well, it’s true!

austeny

What’s your favourite adaptation of Austen’s work?

Austenland – by Shannon Hale

austenlandI love Jane Austen. Shocking, I’m sure. I love the novels (P&P, of course, being the favourite, but also a shout out to Persuasion), I love the BBC adaptations, I love the Hollywood Pride and Prejudice and Emma, and also sometimes love derivative works like Lost in Austen, that take Austen’s world or stories and play with them. It doesn’t always work, but when it’s done right, it’s a riot! See: Clueless, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

This was one of those rare books that I did the wrong way around – by which I mean I saw the movie before I read the book. I was hooked by this hysterical trailer, and went to the movie with a bunch of gals – a highly recommended venture. It was absolutely hilarious, and we were flailing with laughter the whole time! Naturally, I had to read the book. Will you judge me if I admit that I bought the movie tie-in edition?? Go ahead, if you must. I have no regrets. (And quite possibly, no shame.) It is a Truth Universally Acknowledged that Every Woman Loves Mr Darcy:

Sensational Quote Sunday

Some books change your life. They change the way you see the world. They do this not only with the story as a whole, but sometimes with an idea, a beautiful phrase, or even a word, that resonates with you the way nothing has before.

Sensational Quote Sunday is my way of paying homage to those books that remind me every day why I love reading.

Last month I revisited Anne of Green Gables, from the eternal L. M. Montgomery. I’m working my way through the whole series again, now, and it’s wonderful.

Anne has so many quoteable moments, with her beautiful, whimsical turns of phrase. I have a soft spot for this one, however, because in Australia October means spring – and to me, October means my birthday. It’s an excellent month!

anneoctoberDo you have a favourite month? Or a favourite Anne-ism?

The Cinderella Moment – by Jennifer Kloester

cinderellaAngel’s dream has always been to become a fashion designer. But as the daughter of a housekeeper, it feels like that dream may never come true. When Angel’s best friend, Lily, begs Angel to pretend to be Lily in Paris for two weeks while Lily attends drama school in London, it seems like Angel’s chance may finally have arrived. Lily’s grandmother, the Comtesse de Tourney, is one of Paris’ most influential figures, with an invitation to one of the world’s most prestigious fashion events. What if Angel can use this chance to meet the right people, and start living her dream?

It’s a madcap setup that leads to all sorts of mayhem, as Angel quickly discovers that being Lily isn’t just a little white lie. People are going to get hurt – including Angel. But if she doesn’t take this opportunity while she can, will Angel miss her moment forever?

Okay. No summary is going to do justice to the several complicated concurrent story lines fighting for attention in this novel. There’s the Parent-Trap-esque swap. There’s a Teen Couture competition. There’s theft of fashion intellectual property and a bogus entry into said competition. An absent father (Lily’s). A sick mother (Angel’s). An evil almost-stepmother and  almost-stepsister. Two or three extremely convoluted back stories. And a boy (of course). Phew. You Don’t Even Know My Last Name:

Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea – by L. M. Montgomery

greengablesRecently, I felt the need to revisit Anne, Marilla and Matthew on Prince Edward Island. Anne of Green Gables and its many sequels were one of my most beloved childhood series, and there’s something beautiful in the nostalgia you experience in re-reading these classics. At the same time, the story is a somewhat different experience when you’re an adult.

It took a little while for me to empathise with Anne, this time around. Perspective changes things, and as a grown up, I’m now approaching Anne’s story from more of a Marilla standpoint than from Anne’s. Does that make any sense? Just go with it. What I’m trying to say is that Anne wasn’t a kindred spirit (to borrow a term) as quickly now as she was when I was ten. I think it took time to settle into the cadence of Anne’s thought patterns, and her dramatic whimsy. But I love her. I defy anyone not to love Anne. Her boundless imagination, wild flights of fancy, and implacable optimism are incredibly endearing. Why Can’t I Say Goodnight:

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:

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