The Road Through the Wall

Title: The Road Through the Wall

Author: Shirley Jackson

Summary: In Pepper Street, an attractive suburban neighbourhood filled with bullies and egotistical bigots, the feelings of the inhabitants are shallow and selfish: what can a neighbour do to triumph over another neighbour, what may be won from a friend? One child stands alone in her goodness: little Caroline Desmond, kind, sweet and gentle, and the pride of her family. But the malice and self-absorption of the people of Pepper Street lead to a terrible event that will destroy the community of which they are so proud.

Exposing the murderous cruelty of children, and the blindness and selfishness of adults, Shirley Jackson reveals the ugly truth behind a ‘perfect’ world.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 3/5

Review: The first Jackson novel i have given less than four stars to. I’m not sure if i’m more disappointed in the book or myself.

It’s classic Jackson. She takes the suburban setting of Pepper Street with its various families, and simply following them in their daily routines shows them as slightly off. Exposing their idiosyncrasies and private relationships in subtle, slowly creepy ways. Children had budding malice, marriages had simmering hatred, families had rivalries and favourites, neighbours had polite distaste, and everyone had secrets.

I simply found, for my tastes, it wasn’t quite creepy enough. I think perhaps the book has not aged well; the concept of secrets and not all being as it seems beneath the surface of happy families is so common these days on TV and in film. The secrets and lies that have been explored and exposed in modern media has been so much more extreme, that Jackson’s attempt here just isn’t shocking.

The plot was minimal; it was much more of a character study with mini stories throughout. I liked this concept, but overall it didn’t leave me with the drive to keep reading. Long chapters with no arc or obvious advancement of the story didn’t help. Although i enjoyed reading when i did, i didn’t think about the book much when i wasn’t reading.

Talking of characters, there are a lot. Almost all were families, with all adults being referenced as “Mr X” or “Mrs Y”. I found it hard to keep track of most of them, relying on context to remember each character’s story and personality, rather than simply their names. It made for a hard slog, and often I’d be halfway through a particular section before realising who it was about and the full meaning of what was happening. There were only a handful of characters i remembered strongly enough by name alone, and for only this reason, they became my favourites. Though, with the nature of the book, i didn’t like any of the characters–and that’s a positive point as far as i’m concerned!

Although this is far from my favourite, it is so quintessentially Jackson. A slow-moving, quiet, unassumingly sinister tale. I would have just liked it to be a little more sinister.

Nimona

nimonaTitle: Nimona

Author: Noelle Stevenson

Summary: Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic.

Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are.

But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona’s powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.

Rating: ★★★★★ 5/5

Review: In contrast to the last book i read, i had no expectations of this one. I heard about it somewhere, thought it looked fun, bought it. By the time i finally picked it up to read, well… i was in love by the end of page two.

Where do i start? It’s hard when i really did love everything about this book. Its premise is wonderfully subversive. Our two main characters are the villains, working to expose and overthrown the heroes and their institution. It’s been said that to the villain of a story, they see themselves as the protagonist–in this book, they are the protagonists. And this book is funny. Perfectly, wonderfully, brilliantly funny. Just the perfect about of silly, heartfelt and witty.

Nimona is an absolute joy. She’s straight-talking, smart, silly and brave. She can be any shape she wants to, and as standard she chooses a plus-size, shaven-head, short-skirt-wearing kick-arse woman. She is my favourite. Blackheart is a bloody sweetheart! Sad and angry about his past, he’s a villain who lacks the passion for evil, while constantly showing compassion. I could happily read about this crime-committing duo for many, many more comics.

Ambrosius… has a fantastic name. He was purposely vapid at first, i think–a play on the attractive but ultimately dull hero. As his past with Blackheart is revealed, however, he becomes more complex, interesting, and likable. His and Blackheart’s relationship was wonderfully played out, so subtle but with such depth. Blitzmeyer is another delight. Incredibly smart and incredibly peculiar, she won me over swiftly. I only wish there had been more of her.

The art in this comic was enchanting. Bright, bold, and clear, with cute little details like Nimona’s piercings, Blackheart’s scars, and subtle use of shades. I often wanted to whizz quickly over panels to follow the story i was so engrossed in, but i kept making myself pause to fully appreciate the action- and emotion-focused panels. They are gorgeous. The sketches at the end of the book are lovely, too. To see the development and evolution of Nimona, and how that is reflected in her various hair dos, poses and facial expressions was nice to have.

Honestly, i don’t have a bad word to say about this book. Which is why it’s got five stars. The only (very mildly) annoying thing about the entire experience is that i’ve spent the last few days with Guster’s Ramona in my head… “Nimona, where have you been?”

Lagoon

lagoonTitle: Lagoon

Author: Nnedi Okorafor

Summary: A star falls from they sky. A woman rises from the sea. The world will never be the same.

Three strangers, each isolated by his or her own problems: Adaora, the marine biologist. Anthony, the rapper famous throughout Africa. Agu, the troubled soldier. Wandering Bar Beach in Lagos, Nigeria’s legendary mega-city, they’re more alone than they’ve ever been before.

But when something like a meteorite hits the ocean and a tidal wave overcomes them, these three people will find themselves bound together in ways they’ve never imagined. Together with Ayodele, a visitor from beyond the stars, they must race through Lagos and against time itself in order to save the city, the world… and themselves.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 3/5

Review: Science fiction, gorgeous cover, female POC author–i was all over this book! I also already had my eye on several other books by Okorafor, and really wanted to enjoy her writing enough to want to rush out and get them. Suffice it to say, my hopes and expectations were high, and i think it was those expectations that let it down the most.

The opening was great. Being in the point of view of a sea creature, but not fully knowing which, why or what they were doing was intriguing. It was these small, seemingly random points of views throughout the book that i enjoyed the most. The swordfish, the bat, the monsters, spider the artist, the unspecified humans and aliens amongst the chaos of Lagos. I could have read and enjoyed the entire book told this way, to be honest. On the flip side of this, I found the point of view shifts between the main characters a bit choppy. Sometimes the point of view would switch mid-chapter or even mid-paragraph, which could be jarring and hard to following. Though overall i did enjoy getting to know all the characters through their own points of view.

The characters were… lacklustre, honestly. Adaora, Anthony and Adu all felt rather composed (both in themselves and as works of fiction). They expressed emotion, but in very muted and controlled ways–i never felt it along with them. Ayodele i enjoyed much more. She was also quite dispassionate, but as part of her character. She was rational, pragmatic, and realistic about events (most of the time…). After Ayodele, my favourite character by far was Kola. She was so curious and brave and lovely.

There were a lot of characters, but despite reading it quite bitty chunks and not picking up the book for stretches of days, i had no problems remembering who was who and what their story lines were. And of course, as the book’s cover suggests, the ocean creatures are important characters themselves–ones i would have liked to get to know a little more!

There is a lot going on in the book, a lot of threads and themes and ideas. They don’t all get fully explored; some are dropped in with little explanation and others barely hinted at. The concept of the monsters that were already here on earth and Udide Okwanka was one of the threads that interested me the most. The idea that they are here, that humans didn’t even know it, but the aliens seemed to understand them perfectly. We get very little information about them, and that both pleases and frustrates me.

In some ways, i was annoyed that the main storyline took away from these other themes and ideas–the parts of the book i wanted to know more about. The bulk of the book focused on our four main characters, but the plot did not seem to move very quickly. At times it felt like a struggle to pick up the book, not because i didn’t enjoy it, but because there was nothing driving it; i was not often left needing to know what happened next.

I definitely think i would have enjoyed this book more without putting so much of my own hope and expectation on it. And with that in mind, I do plan on venturing into more books by Okorafor. The question now is, which ones?

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Bird Box

birdboxTitle: Bird Box

Author: Josh Malerman

Summary: Most people dismissed the reports on the news. But they became too frequent; they became too real. And soon it was happening to people we knew.

Then the Internet died. The televisions and radios went silent. The phones stopped ringing.

And we couldn’t look outside anymore.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 4/5

Review: I remember reading the synopsis for this book and being fascinated. What on earth could stop people being able to look outside? What happened if they did? I didn’t even speculate on answers to those questions, and jumped into this book without expectations, ready to find out.

The multiple narratives are great. We follow our main character, Malorie, during three stages of her life. In the present day she leaves the safety of her home with two children, blindfolded, to take a boat 20 miles down river. One flashback narrative is told in reverse, how Malorie trained the children to use their hearing, how she struggled being a new mother alone in a post-apocalyptic world, and how she risked her life gathering tools and provisions shortly after giving birth. A second flashback narrative documents the disaster, how Malorie arrived at the house and lived with her new housemates before giving birth. The two flashback narrative converge, completing the story’s history, just as Malorie is reaching the final stage of her journey down the river.

The thing that is stand out for me, is how freaking creepy this book is. For the most part, the characters are locked up inside the house, which creates a claustrophobic atmosphere with tensions often running high; i was just waiting for something to kick off. The worst(/best) parts, though, were when the characters ventured outside. Blindfolded for protection against what they must not lay eyes on, the loss of such a main sense was palpable in the writing. I felt as anxious and on edge as the characters just reading. Most often i read in bed at night before sleep, and most nights i couldn’t read more than two or three chapters, because it would freak me out too much. (I loved it.)

It wasn’t until today, when i started reading during daylight hours, that i could plough through the book and got the second half finished in a matter of hours. Because that’s the other thing about this book: it kept me reading. I needed to know what happened. It’s the nature of the three time lines–i knew certain things of the future, but not how they came to pass, and i was desperate to find out.

The book isn’t perfect. The characters are somewhat lacking in depth; you have the main few who we’re supposed to like, a couple who are obviously supposed to be questionable, and the rest are pretty much filler without much individual personality. The writing is simple, but far from bad; it makes it an easy read, but (as above) still manages to create quite an atmosphere. None of these were so bad as to be off putting, just ways the book could be improved.

There was one question that i couldn’t help but ponder quite early: Where were all the blind people? In a world where seeing things proved deadly, surely there would be a higher proportion of blind folk still around, perfectly fine? Thankfully, this is addressed… but i wouldn’t want to spoil anything for you!

I loved the ending. I thrive on open endings, and this delivers that in the best ways, while simultaneously wrapping the narrative up nicely. If you’re reading to find out exactly why people can’t look outside, don’t expect a definitive answer. I’m still wavering between all the options, because i don’t want to have to settle on one. Aliens? New species? Parallel universe? Mass hysteria? I want them all!

TTT: No Great Expectations

TTT These days i don’t often read books I don’t at least know a little something about. I’ll either have heard of or about it somewhere, or I’ll have read a few (negative, aha!) reviews, or it’ll be a book that’s received a lot of attention… all of these things lead to me forming some kind of expectation. I expect the book to be good, I expect it to be written a certain way, to include certain things. In some cases I may actually know what happens (sometimes I want spoilers, okay!?).

It’s important to me to find out something about a book before reading it, so I can be fairly certain i’m going to enjoy it. If i’m going to commit hours of my life to a book, it’s nice to know ahead of time that those hours won’t be wasted. Because when I do pick up a book I don’t know anything about, either on a whim or following a recommendation from a friend, to then really not enjoy it is one of the worst feelings.

On the other hand… there is no better feeling than reading a book you know nothing about and falling head over heels in love with it. This list is about those books.

1. The Passage
The book that inspired this topic. All I knew about this book was apocalyptic/dystopian and vampires. I had no idea on the plot, the characters or the writing style… but I bloody loved it all.

2. The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet
Requested on a whim from NetGalley, I dragged my heels on reading it – which I regret mightily. This book surpassed my wildest dreams with the characters and subject matters it incorporates. I adore it.

3. The Sisters Brothers
A random recommendation from a friend, all I knew was ‘western’ and didn’t know what else to expect. I could not put this book down. The narrative voice, the characters and comedy… I whizzed though it and instantly counted deWitt as a new favourite author.

4. Tiny Deaths
This is a book of short stories I came across on a friend’s couch. I read the first one or two when I had nothing else to do, and instantly ordered my own copy when I got home. I still need to get my hands on more Shearman story collections.

5. The Paper Men
I’m a big Golding fan and want to read all his work, regardless of what the books are about. I chose to read this one simply to tick of a box in my bookish bingo in 2015. I fell in love pretty quickly, and on reading some reviews before i’d finished the book, I was surprised to find a lot of other people hated it!

6. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
I can’t even remember why I bought this one, but I fell in love with the unique narrative voice so strongly, I was thinking in-character for weeks after i’d finished it.

7. Carter Beats the Devil Foisted on me by my SO when I couldn’t decide what to read, I thought I’d quickly give up and start something else. Instead I fell head first into this world, so much so I was still living in it several books later.

8. American Gods
This has been in my possession for so many years I do not know how I acquired it. Did I buy it from a charity shop? Did I steal it from my mother’s collection? Did it just materialise on my shelf? We may never know. I pulled it from my shelf to read impulsively, and despite the title putting me off, thoroughly enjoyed it. (In fact i’m currently trying to get my SO to read it before the TV series comes out!)

9. The Gigantic Beard the was Evil
I caught sight of this in my local comic book shop (how could it not?). All I knew was evil gigantic beard and comic book. To be fair, maybe that was enough to know i’d love this one…

10. Why I Write
An impulse buy as I was leaving a bookshop, I started reading it because it was short. I got so much more than I anticipated from the title, and I spent a lot of time underlining some excellent quotes.

The Passage

the-passageTitle: The Passage

Author: Justin Cronin

Summary: Amy Harper Bellafonte is six years old and her mother thinks she’s the most important person in the whole world. She is. Anthony Carter doesn’t think he could ever be in a worse place than Death Row. He’s wrong. FBI agent Brad Wolgast thinks something beyond imagination is coming. It is.

Unaware of each other’s existence but bound together in ways none of them could have imagined, they are about to embark on a journey. An epic journey that will take them through a world transformed by man’s darkest dreams, to the very heart of what it means to be human. And beyond.

Because something is coming. A tidal wave of darkness ready to engulf the world. And Amy is the only person who can stop it.

Rating: ★★★★★ 5/5

Review: It’s sort of a thing, now, that i read an epic apocalyptic distopian over the Christmas and new year period; this one was recommended to me by Claire over at Bitches with Books. The synopsis intrigued me, and though i was wary on the vampire front, i clung to their concept in I Am Legend and bought the damn book. So, going in i had very few expectations of this book. It blew me away.

I was literally sobbing by the end of the first chapter and i though, “Shit, this book is going to ruin me, isn’t it?” It did, and i loved every second of it.

Where to start? The book takes its time settling in. It introduces you to the characters mentioned in the synopsis, as well as a few others, before their paths cross. It doesn’t jump straight to the apocalypse, instead we follow its making as we meet our heroes, villains and those in between. This first part of the story is almost a book in itself. An extended prologue. It sets the groundwork for details and relationships and meaning that last literally all the way to the last page. At this point i was enjoying the book, but i wasn’t loving it.

Once the apocalypse comes, the narrative jumps almost 100 years in time, with a new location, a new cast of characters, and a new focus. I barely paused. I was fascinated by this new world and these new people. It was quite an experience leaving behind all the other characters, but i took the leap wholeheartedly, trusting that that first story i’d read would pay off, that the threads would meet. By halfway through the new story, i’m not sure i’d’ve been bothered if they hadn’t, but i was only more sure that they would.

I’m honestly finding it hard to articulate my feelings about this book, because it’s simply the entire book. I guess, with that, the key thing is the writing. I was immersed in it. It read as effortless, though i’d bet it was far from it. Nothing was spelled out, but everything was so clear. What some writers take paragraphs to explain, Cronin captures in a sentence or two. So many times i had to stop and marvel at the perfect simplicity in the writing. I even made note of a few my favourites:

“A blast of quiet that felt like noise.”

“An absence of torment so abrupt it was like pleasure.”

“…to his right, an abyss of blackness, a plunge into nothing. Even to look at it was to be swept away…”

“Courage is easy, when the alternative is getting killed. It’s hope that’s hard.”

I was just in awe of the writing, half the time. The other half i was swept up in the story. The story that encompassed so much, but seemed never to become muddled or confuse me. It was simple enough to follow, but interesting enough to keep me constantly thinking. I am a reader who is always looking ahead; i think about what facts and clues and hints i’ve been given, and where they might lead, what twists and turns are up ahead. With this book, though, i didn’t–i didn’t want to. I wanted to be caught up in the story, and i was. I didn’t try to guess what was coming, i just kept reading until i got there.

A big part of the story i keep coming back to is the relationships–all the different kinds. Family, friends, romance, loyalties, responsibilities… this books has all sorts of relationships, and none of them hog the spot light. None of them are forced or over done or saccharine or meaningless. In a lot of ways, they are all quiet. They are all part of the story, rather than being a story in themselves. There weren’t two characters who were ~destined~ to be together from the start. The focus was never on anyone’s–or any one–relationship. They all simply develop over time, when you aren’t quite looking, until the differences in how people interact and what they mean to each other just make a new sense.

I feel like this review is all over the place and that i’m not making any sort of sense; i’m rubbish at explaining why i loved something–it’s not always able to be articulated (case in point: i wanted to use the made up word “articulatable”).

This book just hits all my likes: apocalyptic, dystopian, sci-fi/horror mix, strong female characters. It’s excellent writing, well constructed and followed through on every point to the final page. I sobbed at the start and i sobbed at the end. The ups and downs in the books were not a punch in the gut of my emotions–they crept up on me, then engulfed me.

I never imagined a book of this length could be this good. The longer a book is, the more chance there is of there being something i don’t like. I was not prepared for this. I was not prepared to love everything about this book. But here i am, ruined and in love. And with the sequel already ordered.

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Prudence and the Crow: December 2016

img_20161218_145356After last month’s parcel—how much I loved it and how much fun I had making the little stop motion video—it should come as little surprise that I ordered a Prudence and  the Crow parcel for December. A little Christmas present to myself, I decided, was a brilliant idea.

It came mid-December, and I filmed and made another little video. However, December was a pretty hectic month for me, and I’ve only now really found the time to sit still with my thoughts and actually get myself together enough to share it all online.

As with the first parcel, I chose sci-fi as my genre. I also tried to complete their form a little more, giving them extra scope and suggestions for book choices. Specifically I mentioned that I would like to read more female science fiction authors, and that if they knew of any in some way similar to John Wyndham (my fave), i’d be a happy bunny.

Below is my silly little unboxing video and details of what was inside my parcel…

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img_20161218_145514The envelope this month had a woman and a bird on it, under the stars. I don’t know the reference, but I love the artwork, and it wouldn’t look out of place in a frame on the wall.

There was a winter-themed ‘this book belongs to’ label and two unusual stamps. I especially like the one with the constellation on.img_20161218_145544

More tea and nibbles; I love them!

img_20161218_145829A Prudence and the Crow pencil, and adorable little doily and—thanks to the little video I made last month—i was rewarded with a rare merit badge! I shall wear it with pride! ♥

There was also a collection of postcards, one of which included a personal message, which was very lovely and much appreciated!

img_20161218_145943img_20161218_150105The star of the show, of course, I the book. And as requested, I received a female science fiction author I had not read before: Anne McCaffrey. The books is called The Ship Who Sang’; the title alone intrigues me! It also came in a beautiful and festive holly-patterned book bag, which I love.

This subscription box is such a delight, I can’t wait to order and receive more in the future. Thank you Prudence, and thank you Crow! ♥

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2016 End of Year Book Survey

2016-end-of-year This is my fourth time completing this end of year book survey (2013, 2014, 2015). As always, posting on the 1 January marks the anniversary of me starting this silly little blog. FOUR YEARS! It some how seems like no time at all and all the time in the world simultaneously. I love this bookish blog of mine, and i have hopes (and plans!) to do more with it in the coming months and years.

This survey is put together and hosted by The Perpetual Page-Turner, and as with last year, i’ve just omitted any questions that don’t work for me and my own style of reading, writing and being. Feel free to leave any comments, if you’ve read or want to read any of these books, and point me towards your own completed survey, if you’ve done one! Happy 2017!

2015 Reading Stats

Number of books read: 22.5
Number of re-reads: 0
Genre most read: Science fiction

Best In Books

Best Book You Read In 2016?
Without a shadow of a doubt: A Long Way to A Small Angry Planet.

Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
I’m sad to say it was Castle in the Air. I loveloveloved Howl’s Moving Castle, but the sequel wasn’t what I expected, and I just didn’t love it as much.

Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
Definitely Why I Write, because while I thought it would be a simple little read about writing, I got a hell of a lot more, and I LOVED it.

Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
I bought a friend a copy of A Long Way to A Small Angry Planet for Christmas, because I think she’ll enjoy it, and i’m still trying to bully convince my SO to read it.

Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?
I don’t read a lot of series, so by default the answers are A Long Way to A Small Angry Planet, Castle in the Air and Emperor of Thorns, respectively.

Favourite new author you discovered in 2016?
Has to be Becky Chambers—I can’t wait to read more from her.

Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
I don’t read so much non-fiction, so i’ll say We Should All Be Feminists

Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
Through the Woods was very moreish in several ways. It was interesting stories well-told, the art was gorgeous, and the horror/mystery kept me reading to find out what was happening.

Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
Why I Write. It’s short, brilliant, relevant and informative. I’m pretty sure i’ll at least be re-reading sections for quotes and inspiration.

Favourite cover of a book you read in 2016?
I love covers that are simple, striking, with negative space, so it has to be Slaughterhouse Five:

S5

Most memorable character of 2016?
Oh, Mr Olderglough from Undermajormono Minor. What a straightforward, quirky fellow. I loved him.

Most beautifully written book read in 2016?
With beautifully written short stories an accompanying beautiful artwork, this one has to be Popshot Magazine: The Adventure Issue.

Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?
Why I Write. This book inspired me significantly this year. In terms of writing generally, but also in my motivations with my writing. It also engaged me in politics in a way nothing else ever has (that’s not to say i’ve been disengaged with politics, only that this book engaged me in an entirely new way and re-engergised me).

Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read?
It always surprises me when I sit on a Christopher Brookmyre book for so long: Dead Girl Walking.

Favourite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016?

Nothing in the media provides pleasure as reliably as books do—if you like reading.
And a good many people do. Not a majority, but a steady minority.
And readers recognize their pleasure as different from that of simply being entertained. Viewing is often totally passive, reading is always an act. Once you’ve pressed the On button, TV goes on and on and on… you don’t have to do anything but sit and stare. But you have to give a book your attention. You bring it alive. Unlike the other media, a book is silent. It won’t lull you with surging music or deafen you with screeching laugh tracks or fire gunshots in your living room. You can hear it only in your head. A book won’t move your eyes for you like TV or a movie does. It won’t move your mind unless you give it your mind, or your heart unless you put your heart in it. It won’t do the work for you. To read a good novel well is to follow it, to act it, to feel it, to become it—everything short of writing it, in fact. Reading is a collaboration, an act of participation. No wonder not everybody is up to it.

– Ursula Le Guin ‘Staying Awake While We Read’ (from The Wild Girls, Plus…)

Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?
Show Me the Map to Your Heart & Other Stories is 36 pages
The Passage is 963 pages

Book That Shocked You The Most
The Scorch Trials surprised me by how BAD it was. I slogged through half of it before having to give up.

Favourite couple of 2016
Rosemary/Sissix from A Long Way To A Small Angry Planet for the representation alone: Same sex, interracial and polyamorous ♥

Favourite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
Lucy/Mr Olderglough from Undermajordomo Minor. Their conversations were highlights for me. I could have read a whole book of them alone.

Favourite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
Undermajormono Minor. And now I sit and wait patiently for deWitt to write another book. *twiddles thumbs*

Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure
Popshot Magazine: The Adventure Issue, which wasn’t technically a recommendation, but was bought for me on a whim by my SO.

Best 2016 debut you read?
A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet

Best World building/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
Emperor of Thorns, and more generally the Broken Empire Series as a whole. So many little throw away details amongst the larger image of the world—i only want to know MORE.

Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
For all it wasn’t the utter delight it’s predecessor was, Castle in the Air was still silly, light-hearted fun that made me laugh out loud on a number of occasions.

Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016?
I’m currently still reading it, but when I started it (in 2016!) The Passage’s very first freaking chapter had me sobbing.

Hidden Gem Of The Year?
An impulse by at the till in my local comic shop, Show Me the Map to Your Heart and Other Stories is absolutely lovely.

Book That Crushed Your Soul?
The Scorch Trials–in a BAD way; I wasn’t sure my soul was going to survive.

Most Unique Book You Read In 2016?
The Girl in the Road was, in small, subtle ways, not quite like other books.

Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
Fragile Things, because I love short stories, but I don’t think they’re Gaimen’s strong suit. And it made me mad because it should have been BETTER.

Your Blogging/Bookish Life

New favourite book blog you discovered in 2016?
None, because I have been a terrible blogger this year; not posting much myself and barely reading or commenting.

Favourite review that you wrote in 2016?
The Girl on the Road. Reading it back, I think I really encapsulated the issues I had with the book and ways I think it could have been better, while still highlighting the aspects I enjoyed about the book.

Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
This or That revealed some interesting similarities and differences between people’s reading preferences.

Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
I’m currently, and have been for a few months now, having fun taking part in monthly photo-a-day challenges on instagram. Fine me at Wendleness!

Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2016?
Getting to know a bunch of lovely people over on instagram, and finding it far easier to interact and make connections over there.

Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
I had a pretty deep slump this year, in reading and therefore also in blogging. I just didn’t read at my usual speed, I felt unmotivated. I’m actually surprised I made it to may reading goal (even after I lowered it!).

Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
By views: No Monsters Allowed, by comments: Bookish Resolutions.

Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
Why I Write, because I loved that book and wanted to write another post, quoting lots and linking it back to the state of politics today. I never got around to it…

Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
Prudence and the Crow!! ♥

Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
Yes, by the skin of my teeth, and after lowering my goal, I met my 2016 goodreads reading challenge.

Looking Ahead

One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2016 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017?
All the books that I currently have lent to me, so I can make sure I give them back!

Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)?
A Closed and Common Orbit. There’s not book or author I love enough to buy in hardback, but I am so excited for this to come out in paperback this year!

Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017?
The Boy on the Bridge (prequels counts, right?).

One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2017?
It’s my plan to post more, more regularly, and possibly start posting some original short story fiction. HOPEFULLY.

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The Invisible Man

timTitle: The Invisible Man

Author: H G Wells

Summary: There are good scientists and there are bad scientists, but Griffin is out on his own. A dazzling mind and a driving ambition have carried him to the very frontiers of modern science, and beyond into territory never before explored. For Griffin has pioneered a new field, the science of invisibility, and dedicated his life to the achievement of a single goal – that of becoming invisible himself.

With such a prize at stake, what sacrifice could be too great? What personal tie would not seem trivial; what ethical scruple not pale into insignificance? Through long, lonely days and nights Griffin has pursued his fantasy of invisibility, yet even as he attains his dream, his nightmare begins…

With undreamt power comes an unimaginable price: out of the ordinary, out of society, out of life – can an invisible man be a man at all?

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 3.5/5

Review: I’ve read two books by Wells before–The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds–one i loved and one i hated. I was nervous about reading another, to say the least. It was my review of the latter where someone recommended The Invisible Man as another i might enjoy, so when i spotted it in a charity shop, i decided to give it a go.

Thankfully, i loved it!

The start had me hooked. Instead of meeting the scientist and discovering how he turns himself invisible, we meet Mrs Hall, the proprietor of an inn, who welcomes her newest lodger. He’s a strange fellow, but she’s friendly and accommodating. Discovering the invisible man along with the entire population of this small town was a delight and a much more interesting way of following the story.

At first i sympathised with the invisible man right alongside Mrs Hall; it was only once he’d had to flee the town and move on that i began to question his tactics and state of mind. By the time he’d stumbled upon Kemp, i was rooting for his downfall.

Talking of Kemp–i adored him; he’s second only to Mrs Hall. His grasp of the entire situation, how to handle it, and how he teased out the back story we were missing was wonderful to read. I feared the worst for him by the last couple of chapters, but i saw it through.

This is perfectly the kind of Wells i want to read more of. There is science, with fudged but sensical enough facts for it make sci-fi sense. But it’s more than just the science. It’s a good story, with interesting characters, well told. So well told! It being self-referencing and omniscient point of view made the reading casual and fun.

I’ve already taken the plunge and bought more Wells. For as disappointing as i found War of the Worlds, The Time Machine and The Invisible Man are brilliant and I wouldn’t hesitate to read more like them. Fingers crossed i pick the right ones!