Boxall's 1001 books to read before you die · W

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters review.

Fingersmith

Published: 1st October 2002

Publisher: Riverhead books.

Genre : Historical fiction, GLBT

Date read. 29th August 2015.

Susan Trinder is a 17-year-old orphan who lives in Victorian London with Mrs Sucksby, her guardian,baby-farmer and home to petty thieves and criminals. The Lant street house homes several characters such as Dainty, John Vroom and Mr Ibbs who buys stolen goods to sell on for a profit and conducts some dodgy dealings.

Maud Lilley, also seventeen and an orphan lives with her uncle at Briar house, 40 miles from the London Burrough.To Christopher Lilley, Maud is merely his secretary and reader due to his failing eye-sight. He keeps her like a prisoner and she is not allowed  to venture beyond the grounds.The only company she has are the households servants, and the Gentlemen that visits her uncle to discuss his growing library.

One day a con man known as ‘Gentleman’ arrives at Lant street, convincing Susan to take a position as a maid for the wealthy heiress, Maud Lilley. The plan is for Gentleman to make Miss Lilley fall in love with him and to escape her confinement of Briar House.  Only to have her committed to the madhouse and keep the fortune for himself.

Susan’s role is to befriend and gain the trust of Maud, to help gentleman with his plans, however the two women forge an unlikely friendship which later evolves to physical attraction. Susan soon realises that she has fallen in love with Maud and regrets the deal she has struck.

We have a name for your disease. We call it a hyper-aesthetic one. You have been encouraged to over-indulge yourself in literature; and have inflamed your organs of fancy.”  

I have wanted to read this book for such a long time but have been put off by the sheer size of the novel (a whopping 547 pages) and the text is quite small. This was short-listed for The Man Booker and The Orange prize and is  listed in the Boxall’s 1001 books to read before you die.

This book is told in 3 mains sections from two POV’s starting from Susan to Maud and then back again, I really enjoyed this because every time I thought I had the story sussed, it twisted again *stares with mouth open* WTF! and it was like this all through the book, it just had me constantly guessing.

My favourite parts of the book were the scenes in the Madhouse which gives you a glimpse of how people were treated and how little they really knew about mental health. I felt that the lesbian scenes were written tastefully and felt very natural.

I liked Susan’s character as she was to most genuine and down to earth, possibly due to her upbringing, the writing for her was very simple.  I found Maud to be a very emotional character and almost a bit too much to bear, especially with the constant blushing and colouring up.

There were parts in the book that was very slow and then would start gaining in pace to only lose momentum, I felt that the book could have been shorter as the Second part was re told from Maud’s point of view. I had to re read some of the passages in this book as I felt I needed to devour the book slowly and if I read it too fast I was going to miss part of a plot as it kept changing.

The book was a dark historical fiction filled with villains, thieves, love, lies and betrayal and makes you beleive that no-one can be trusted.

I will be looking to read tipping the velvet in the near future.

Overall I rated this 3.5  out 5 stars

M

The Dreadful Fate of Jonathan York by Kory Merritt

The Dreadful Fate of Jonathan York: A Yarn for the Strange at Heart

The Dreadful fate of Jonathan York :A yarn for the strange at heart.

Publisher: Andrews McMeel publishing

Expected publication: 6th October 2015

Genre:  Graphic novel, Fantasy, Middle grade.

Date read:26th August 2015

I received this book free from netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Jonathan York is a very ordinary man, people may even say he is dull, working in the Brockleport general store as a clerk, generally living the quiet life.

One day Jonathan goes for a walk and decides to take a shortcut through the swamp, only finding to his dismay that he is lost. With the sky darkening and the noises of the swamps denizens he starts to become anxious(who wouldn’t).

As Jonathon trudges along trying to find a way out of this never – ending swamp he comes across three strangers, together they try to find the Cankerbury Inn to rest their heads for the evening.

The Cankerbury inn is run by an old couple who ask for the board/rent to be paid in stories, As each of the 3 strangers tells their stories it dawns on Jonathan that he has no stories to be told and with no tales, fables or nursery rhymes he finds himself back in the swamp to create his own adventure.

When you’re old and gray like me, and someone asks you for your story, what would you rather have – nothing at all or the story you lived through tonight?

I really enjoyed this book, but found it somewhat predictable as I knew how the book was going to end . The artwork to this book was really good and I felt that it suited the story very well with limited colours being used. I found the font quite spooky but also difficult to see what words were written in parts.

There are 3 separate short stories that were intertwined within the book , two were written in verse and one was silent which I think I understood but it’s just pictures for you to interpret in your own way.

There were important messages throughout the book, such as being out of your comfort zone, bullies,sticking up for yourself and confidence.The different monsters in the book were very creepy and all shapes and sizes. This is definitely targeted for middle graders (8-12yrs), however can be enjoyed by all ages as there were references to Sean Connery and I don’t think there are going to be many kids knowing who he is (I may be worng)

This is the first book by Kory Merritt and would be interested in reading others.

Overall I rated this  3.5 stars out of 5.

MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS WINTER 2015

Top 10 most anticipated YA books – Winter 2015

These Shallow Graves

Author: Jennifer Donnely

Publisher: Random House Delacorte

Expected Publication : 27th October 2015

Genre: YA, Historical Fiction

Sypnosis from Goodreads

Set in gilded age New York, These Shallow Graves follows the story of Josephine Montfort, an American aristocrat. Jo lives a life of old-money ease. Not much is expected of her other than to look good and marry well. But when her father dies due to an accidental gunshot, the gilding on Jo’s world starts to tarnish. With the help of a handsome and brash reporter, and a young medical student who moonlights in the city morgue, Jo uncovers the truth behind her father’s death and learns that if you’re going to bury the past, you’d better bury it deep.

The Accident Season

Author: Moira Fowley – Doyle

Publisher: Corgi childrens

Published: 18th August 2015

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Sypnosis  from Goodreads

It’s the accident season, the same time every year. Bones break, skin tears, bruises bloom.

The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara’s life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara’s family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. They banish knives to locked drawers, cover sharp table edges with padding, switch off electrical items – but injuries follow wherever they go, and the accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear.

But why are they so cursed? And how can they break free?

What We Saw

Author: Aaron Hartzler

Publisher: Harper Teen

Expected publication: 22nd September 2015

Genre: YA, Contemporary

Sypnosis  from Goodreads

Kate Weston can piece together most of the bash at John Doone’s house: shots with Stacey Stallard, Ben Cody taking her keys and getting her home early—the feeling that maybe he’s becoming more than just the guy she’s known since they were kids.

But when a picture of Stacey passed out over Deacon Mills’s shoulder appears online the next morning, Kate suspects she doesn’t have all the details. When Stacey levels charges against four of Kate’s classmates, the whole town erupts into controversy. Facts that can’t be ignored begin to surface, and every answer Kate finds leads back to the same question: Where was Ben when a terrible crime was committed?

This story—inspired by real events—from debut novelist Aaron Hartzler takes an unflinching look at silence as a form of complicity. It’s a book about the high stakes of speaking up, and the razor thin line between guilt and innocence that so often gets blurred, one hundred and forty characters at a time.

Legacy of Kings (Blood of Gods and Royals, #1)

Author: Eleanor Herman

Publisher: Harlequin Team

Published: 18th August 2015

Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction

Sypnosis from Goodreads

Imagine a time when the gods turn a blind eye to the agony of men, when the last of the hellions roam the plains and evil stirs beyond the edges of the map. A time when cities burn, and in their ashes, empires rise.

Alexander, Macedonia’s sixteen-year-old heir, is on the brink of discovering his fated role in conquering the known world but finds himself drawn to newcomer Katerina, who must navigate the dark secrets of court life while hiding her own mission: kill the Queen. But Kat’s first love, Jacob, will go to unthinkable lengths to win her, even if it means competing for her heart with Hephaestion, a murderer sheltered by the prince. And far across the sea, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander’s unmet fiancée, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly Spirit Eaters.

Weaving fantasy with the salacious and fascinating details of real history, New York Times bestselling author Eleanor Herman reimagines the greatest emperor the world has ever known: Alexander the Great, in the first book of the Blood of Gods and Royals series.This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)

Author: Amie Kaufman

Publisher: Knopf books for Young Readers

Expected Publication: 20th October 2015

Genre: YA, Sci-Fi

Synosis from Goodreads

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be pr

otecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is th

e first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

This Raging Light

Author: Estelle Laure

Publisher: HMH books for Young Readers

Expected Publication: 22nd December 2015

Genre: YA, Contemporary

Sypnosis from Goodreads

Her dad went crazy. Her mom left town. She has bills to pay and a little sister to look after. Now is not the time for level-headed seventeen-year-old Lucille to fall in love. But love—messy, inconvenient love—is what she’s about to experience when she falls for Digby Jones, her best friend’s brother. With blazing longing that builds to a fever pitch, Estelle Laure’s soulful debut will keep readers hooked and hoping until the very last page.

Not If I See You First

Author: Eric Lindstrom

Publisher: Poppy

Expected publication: 1st December 2015

Genre: YA, Contemporary

Sypnosis from Goodreads

Parker Grant doesn’t need 20/20 vision to see right through you. That’s why she created the Rules: Don’t treat her any differently just because she’s blind, and n

ever take advantage. There will be no second chances. Just ask Scott Kilpatrick, the boy who broke her heart.

When Scott suddenly reappears in her life after being gone for years, Parker knows there’s only one way to react-shun him so hard it hurts. She has enough on h

er mind already, like trying out for the track team (that’s right, her eyes don’t work but her legs still do), doling out tough-love advice to her painfully naive classmates, and giving herself gold stars for every day she hasn’t cried since her dad’s death three months ago. But avoiding her past quickly proves impossible, and the more Parker learns about what really happened–both with Scott, and her dad–the more she starts to question if things are always as they seem. Maybe, just maybe, some Rules are meant to be broken.

Dumplin'

Author: Julie Murphy

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Expected publication: 15th September 2015

Genre: YA, Contemporary

Sypnosis from Goodreads

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has

always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the

ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . . until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.


Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine— Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here

Author: Patrick Ness

Publisher: Walker books

Expected Publication: 27th August 2015

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Sypnosis from Goodreads

What if you aren’t the Chosen One?

The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and

blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions.

Everything, Everything

Author: Nicola Yoon

Publisher: Delacorte books for Young readers

Expected Publication: 1st September 2015

Genre: YA, Contemporary

Sypnosis from Goodreads

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lea

n and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

So there it is my most anticipated books for winter/fall 2015! Let me know what books you are most excited about. Thanks for reading xLouisex

S

Lumberjanes 1 and 2 by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis and Brooke A.Allen.

Lumberjanes #1Lumberjanes #2

Published: #1 9th April 2014 #2 14th May 2014

Publisher: Boom studios

Genre: Graphic Novels, Comics, YA

Date read: 23.08.2015

So these are my first graphic novels that I have ever read and I thought they would be a good place to start.

There are 5 girls Jo, April, Mal, Molly and Ripley who are best friends currently residing in a scout camp – Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqal Thistle crumpet’s Camp for hardcore lady types and their motto is “Friendship to the Max”.

#1.This edition is about the girls encountering an old lady outside their cabin that transforms into a bearwoman,it’s past their curfew but that doesn’t stop then from going to investigate and follow the bear woman into the woods. They don’t find the bearwoman but they do find a group of three-eyed foxes which ends up in a mass brawl, one of the foxes disappears into dust when Ripley punches it in the eye. Once this happens the foxes howl a warning of ‘beware the kitten holy’. As none of them have a clue what this warning is about they head back to the camp.

When they get back to the camp they are admonished by their bunk leader but not kicked out even though they broke eight camp rules.

I really liked the artwork for this graphic novel it was very cute and girly which I felt was right for the story, I liked how the tiles were set out too but as I read this as an Ebook I didn’t feel like I could really appreciate it and will definitely be having a look at the paperback edition.

This was  really really short and so easy to read, however because it was so short, the character development was basically non-existent. All I really took away from the book was that they are friends that will be having adventures  and there will be monsters involved.

I rated this 3 out of 5 stars.

#2 The second edition to the series starts off as a normal day for the girls to obtain their Naval gauging badges, this requires them to go down the river in canoes. As they are drifting along they are suddenly swept into a current which is made by a RIVER MONSTER! This monster appears to have tentacles  which lifts the canoes out of the river and throws the girls overboard, the monster is defeated by April and a scrunchie (that’s all I am telling you).

This one was so much better than the first as you start to get an idea of what the series is going to be about and it starts to delve into the character’s personalities.

There was one part that let the story down, where did Jen the bunk leader go? It wasn’t explained at all. I wonder if this will get answered in the third – I don’t know! There is a cliffhanger to this book which will want to make you read the third.

I rated this 4 out of 5 stars.

What did you guys think of the series? What other series do you recommend? Let me know and thank you for reading.

C

Mad about the Hatter by Dakota Chase

Mad About the Hatter

Published: 20th August 2015

Publisher: Harmony Ink Press

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Date Read 21st August 2015

I received a free copy of this book to review from Netgalley.

Hatter has been kept prisoner in the red queens dungeons for longer than he can remember. Eventually the day has come, he has been summoned by the Queen herself what can only be for none the less a beheading as everyone knows this is her favourite pastime. To the Hatters amazement she is sparing his head by striking a deal that he can’t refuse (really he can’t refuse) by capturing  ‘boy Alice’ –  and returning him for a right old head lolloping.

‘Boy Alice’ is in fact Alice’s younger brother Henry(17). He has never believed Alice’s stories of wonderland and always thought she was attention seeking, for which they have never seen eye to eye.

All Henry remembers is Alice apologising after their recent altercation,  handing him a glass of punch and telling him to find the Hatter!

Henry finds himself in a mysterious place of oversized flowers and a caterpillar sitting upon a mushroom that speaks in riddles –  can it really be Wonderland? Was Alice really an attention seeking twit?.

When Hatter finds Henry they grow to like each other and try to figure a plan to get Henry back to his home but by doing so they have to cross some challenging areas within Wonderland such as the Neverglades and Drawrof, during this adventure the relationship between the Hatter and Henry blossom.

Rules are merely a fistful of conundrums, obstacles and barriers knotted and twisted together for the sole purpose of sucking the last bit of fun out of every experience

I loved this book so much! The world-building was amazing that I felt like I was in Wonderland alongside the Hatter and Henry. Every section of Wonderland they crossed was so different from the last and every bit as magical.

The book is only 190 pages so a very fast and easy read. I liked that all the original characters were used and they all had the same traits as from Alice in Wonderland and that new creatures added and were blended in well.

The friendship between Henry and that Hatter was very sweet and heartwarming as they ventured on through the mystical lands and defied death, the feelings for one another become more than companions.

There were some particularly funny moments in the book that did make me laugh out loud as they were quite witty and there were still some essence of nonsense but not as much as Alice in Wonderland.

Alice to me was the only character that I didn’t really feel genuine, it felt a bit forced like she had to been in the book because it was based on Alice in Wonderland by C.S Lewis.

Nearing the end of the book there was a particular cheesy bit that I didn’t really like as it was a bit of a cliché but other than that I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I was sucked in to the magical world that was Wonderland!

I think there is definitely room for a sequel.

That’s the secret to Wonderland. Believing. It’s what fuels magic.

I would recommend this book for anyone that reads/likes Young Adult and Lite fantasy novels.

I have never read anything else by Dakota Chase, though she has other books published such as ‘Changing Jamie’ and ‘Monster Town’.

Overall I rate this 4 out of 5 stars

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A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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Published: May 2011

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Fantasy, YA.

Thirteen year old Conor has been having a re-occuring dream for months that no one knows about, one evening he is awoken by a monster but not any old childhood monster, it is in the form of a yew tree that grows in the graveyard beyond his houseThe monster insists that Conor has summoned him and that three stories are to be told and then Conor must tell the fourth (the truth).

Meanwhile Conor’s mother is going through a bout of chemotherapy again which makes her sick and exhausted leaving Conor making his own dinner and organizing his daily routine which a thirteen year old boy should not be worrying about.

Conors father lives over in America with his new family and his only other relative is his grandmother but they don’t see eye to eye.

Conor is also being bullied at school and has a pretty miserable existence that he starts starts acting out as a result of the meetings with the monster.

This book was beautifully written and emotionally heart wrenching. This book writes about the anger, pain and every other emotion that comes with a child coming to terms with a parent who has cancer. The premise for this book was created by Siobhan Dowd who unfortunately died of cancer in 2007. This is my second Patrick Ness novel and it just keeps getting better.  

Just utterly brilliant!

I rated this 5 out of 5 stars

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Worst. Person. Ever by Douglas Coupland

Raymond Gunt is the Worst. Person. Ever! Raymond is a foul-mouthed man that speaks his mind without any regards to be peoples feelings. Ray who is behind on his rent decides to see his ex wife (Fiona) for a job as a B cameraman, luckily for him she gives him the opportunity to turn his life around and offers him, only the job is in Kiribati for a show called Survival(Pretty much I’m a celebrity get me out of here!)
A homeless guy, Neal, in which Ray started a fight with in the street is employed as his assistant and a friendship is born. Unfortunately for Ray, life goes from worse to worse and Neal’s just keeps getting better.
Things start going downhill from London airport where he gets caught up in all sorts of dramas such dropping an atomic bomb on the Pacific trash vortex!
I am really not sure about this book and how really to rate it, Coupland did a really good job in making me hate the vile-mouthed, sexist, homophobe that is Gunt. I also enjoyed how his life started going down hill but only because of what a horrible human being he is. The other characters in the book such as Fiona (Fi)is just the female version of Raymond and very unlikeable. My favourite character was Neal as he seemed the most genuine out of them all. I found the plot of this book, disasters and characters rather far-fetched.
Every couple of chapters there are subtexts with factual information with regards to the scenario’s at the time.
This is Douglas Couplands fourteenth novel, and have to say that I am a bit apprehensive about reading any of his other work.

I gave this book 2 out of 5 stars

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