Fox on Books

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

Archive for the tag “Contemporary”

Short Stories, or, Review-Palooza!

It’s become clear that I read a lot of books. This year, I’m (still!) 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.

Come along, then:

fathers eggersYour Fathers, Where Are they? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever? – by Dave Eggers

My second Dave Eggers, this was so intriguing! And whew, what a title. Written entirely in dialogue, Your Fathers is an exploration of America, a comment on a generation, and also a look at one really disturbed guy, spiraling into self destructive criminal madness. Very weird. Very cool.

four fox

daughtersmokeDaughter of Smoke and Bone – by Laini Taylor

Karou’s never been exactly normal. How could she be, raised by Chimeras? She’s always been kept at arms length by those who raised her, but there’s more to Karou’s background – and her future – than she could ever have imagined. And not all of it is good. Even though it suffered from a little bit of too-many-recommendations-itis, this book and its sequel Days of Blood and Starlight left me reeling. Also, Laini Taylor exploded her own world twice in two books! I can’t wait to see what on earth the third book brings.

threenhalf fox

unwindUnwind – by Neal Shusterman

In this future society, abortion is illegal. But before a child turns 18 they can instead be ‘unwound’. Every part of their body is used by someone else, so they’re not truly dead. Here, life is at once sacred and cheap. What a cool, freaky concept. And this book delivers – sometimes. It’s not as gripping as I wanted it to be, given the solidity of the premise, but it’ll keep you up at night reliving the brutal unwinding process. *shudder*

twonhalf fox

TheFeelGoodHitOfTheYear C CVR SI.inddThe Feel-Good Hit of the Year – by Liam Pieper

I’m not that interested in memoirs unless you’re Stephen Fry (sorry, everyone else). But I absolutely raced through Liam Pieper’s accounts of misspent youth, from his birth in a sort-of hippy commune in the Melbourne suburbs to becoming an accidental teenage drug dealer, to figuring out that life’s more profitable when you’re a little less criminal. (Only a little…)

four fox

So, whatcha been reading lately?

Advertisements

The Magicians – by Lev Grossman

MagiciansI’m going to start providing summaries at the top of my reviews, for those who want the TL:DR version. Behold:

The Magicians is incredibly ambitious, odd, cynical and sometimes downright infuriating. I LOVED it.

What if Hogwarts (or a place a lot like it) was real? But what if being a magician doesn’t magically solve all your problems, or automatically furnish you with a purpose and direction in life? What if you’re still just you?

This book came to me both highly and widely recommended as an adult’s Harry Potter. People I knew from disparate parts of my life were ranting excitedly at me about how wonderful it was. WOW. Talk about great expectations. Alohomora:

The Break-Up Artist – by Philip Siegel

breakupOh, wow. The Break-Up Artist can best be described as ridiculous. Sometimes it was ridiculously fun, and other times downright bizarre. Let’s just say that Becca has issues.

Becca Williamson has a special skill. Not the kind of thing that can go on your college application (I guess?), but something she’s in demand for nonetheless. She’s the Break-Up Artist. A love vigilante. Defender of the jilted best friend, restorer of the single status quo, or, as she puts it:

“A relationship Robin Hood. Someone to level the playing field.” (p 53)

Riiiiiiiight. This is clearly coming from a very normal place. This way, M’Lady (or Good Sir):

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?

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, I have two words for you.

“Okay?” “Okay.”

Yep, that’s it. And you know what they are, right? Great!

As a bonus, have a trailer that I’ve seen more often than is healthy this week. I am going to ugly cry in public this June. There’s just no way around it.

Still okay? (I’m not sure if I am!!)

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 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:

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: