How do you choose a new book? Most of us start by looking at the title or the cover. Each person has their own private code of colours, typefaces and titles which signal whether a book is bad – consciously or unconsciously.
I like geometric or abstract covers with well-chosen colours; I refuse to read anything with a title that begins “The Girl/Boy Who…” Most of all, I avoid books with one-word titles. These rules of thumb are usually quite accurate. I trust the authors and cover designers to do their job well, and help me find the books I like by creating covers that appeal to me.
But sometimes, you have to break your own rules: because a book comes highly recommended, or you’re in a rush to choose a book before your plane leaves, or because it’s personal. Fen, the first collection of short stories from Daisy Johnson, ticked all those boxes for me.
Continue reading “Fen – Daisy Johnson (Review)”
Young Adelia Wright is left alone in the wild back country of 1890s Oregon to deal with her unpleasant brother, puberty, and not much to eat. So she takes matters into her own hands and sets out to find a better life.
Fog Coast Runaway is in the best traditions of novels from the 19th century. We have a tough young heroine with a kind heart – and she needs to be both tough and kind, because scarcely a paragraph goes by without a birth, death, fight to the death, or romantic gesture.
Continue reading “Fog Coast Runaway – Linda B. Myers (Review)”
“In 1914 a large number of British women doctors and nurses formed their own medical units for war service; but, as women, they were rejected by their own authorities so they volunteered for service with Allied armies, and nowhere were their courage and fortitude put to the test more savagely than in Serbia where bitter campaigns raged between 1914 and 1918 in circumstances the equal of those faced by Florence Nightingale in the Crimea.” Continue reading “The Quality of Mercy: Women at War, Serbia 1915-1918 – Monica Krippner (Review)”
Jack Reynolds does not remember why he was in the carriage. All he knows is that he was pulled from its wreckage by the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen.
Rosalind – a widow with a scandalous reputation – is not expecting another Christmas guest, particularly not a mysterious, devastatingly handsome Yorkshire carpenter, but she has no intention of sending an injured man out into the snow.
Continue reading “Joy to the Earl – Nicola Davidson (Review)”
Convenience Store Woman has been a bestseller in Japan since 2016, and was released in English last year as a translation by Ginny Tapley Takemori. So, because this is a blog for book nerds (among other types), we’re going to review both the story and the translation.
The story goes like this: Keiko is a woman who doesn’t understand the rules. Nobody seems to like the way she is, so she watches other people to see how they behave, and then copies them. She finds work in a chain convenience store because they have an employee manual that tells her exactly what to do. How to stand, how to say hello, how to move.
But it’s still not enough; she still doesn’t fit in. Everyone wants her to get a career, a husband and a baby. And when she meets a man who is desperate for a girlfriend and a place to stay, she thinks she has found the solution. Continue reading “Convenience Store Woman – Sayaka Murata (Review)”
Emerson is clever, not pretty, because everyone knows that you can only be one or the other. Because she’s clever, she’s not popular like the other girls at school, but at least she isn’t as shallow as them.
When Emerson’s mind gets transplanted into the body of a world-famous, beautiful (and therefore vapid, selfish, and superficial) supermodel, she has to struggle with new social commitments, living a life she has no memory of, and everybody thinking that she’s dead. Continue reading “Airhead – Meg Cabot (Review)”
In a society where power, status, and freedom are only given to those with magic, Kellen has a problem. Despite being from a powerfully magical family, and with only days to go before he either demonstrates his powers or is enslaved, Kellen’s magic has yet to appear.
It’s not a great situation to be in, and his personal problems pale into insignificance compared to the increasingly unstable political situation – an internal power vacuum, spies from a hostile kingdom, and the re-appearance of an extinct enemy. Kellen has little time(and even less power) to fix anything, but apparently it’s all his responsibility.
Continue reading “Spellslinger – Sebastien De Castell (Review)”