Posted in arc

​The Power of MeaningEmily Esfahani Smith

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

This book explores the things that make for a contented life; arguing that money and possessions don’t always make us feel happy. The author, utilizing personal experience and academic sources, argues that, in order to live a contented life, a person needs to live a fulfilled life connected to a close knit community. 

This book didn’t blow me away.  Much of the argument seemed obvious. But, it’s a pleasant read and could be a great primer for those new to the subject.

Posted in arc, Diversity, literature, reviews, world fiction

​Ida By Alison Evans

I was given this by by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Ida is a normal, unmotivated, individual who can time travel or that is what she believes.  She is in a relationship with a non binary artist.  She lives with her father and autistic relative and has no idea what to do with her life.  All she knows is that she can jump around in time. At first, she only uses that power in emergencies. But, then it becomes addictive. Then, Ida loses control of her powers,  having no control concerning when she jumps. The places where she lands get more surreal and frightening with each jump. Soon she discovers that there is more to her power than meets the eye. 
In many ways this book is nothing to write home about. It is a conventionally written speculative fiction work. However,  this book has a diverse range of characters and that is its major selling point. Both the autistic and non binary characters are fairly well drawn.  This book would make a great option for those wishing for a diverse YA/ spec read. 

Posted in arc, reviews

​Dreadnought April Daniels (penguin)

This book has been given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review via Netgalley. On the surface, Danny Tozer is a normal teenage boy, with two parents, who attends an average public school. However, first impressions often prove false.  Danny Tozer is unhappy. He hates; the sports that he is forced to play, the clothes that he is forced to wear, and he really hates his masculine body. He feels that he is in the wrong body.  They feel that they are truly female. They feel restricted by; society, their parents, school, and friends; and the way that these outside forces view  Danny’s identity. 
Then, one day they encounter the dying superhero, Dreadnought.  As he dies, dreadnought passes his powers to Danny Tozer. One of the advantages of Dreadnought’s superpowers is that the person who takes the power is given the body of their dreams. Normally, this means that male bodies become; more buff, more toned, and more masculine. Nevertheless, Danny Tozer desires a female body and that is exactly what they get.  
In fact,  Danny is the first woman to assume to the Dreadnought persona. The book sees her navigate her world in her new body. She must learn to be a super hero. She must find out how to live within a female body. Her attempts are inhibited by the hostile, confused reactions of the people surrounding her: she must deal with the confusion of; her parents, friends and her school.

This book is an exciting superhero story written in a modern manner. It includes a voice of a person whose voice often goes unheard, i.e a trans individual. Written by a writer who shares that identity. I highly recommend this work. 
    

Posted in reviews

​They can’t kill us all Wesley Lowery 

 I was given this book, by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.  Sometimes wishes come true. At the beginning of the year, I had placed this book on the list of my most anticipated reads. I was going to order a copy when the publisher emailed me; asking me if I wished to be sent a copy. Of course, I said ‘yes’.
I was really looking forward to reading this book and I was not disappointed. This book explores the events surrounding the ‘Black lives matter’ campaign, as seen by someone who was actually there. Lowery’s tale begins when he was sent to cover a single death of one man, at the hands of the police, and then continues to tell the story of a story that just kept growing, as more police shootings were brought to light
Lowery tells us how a single commission, a week’s work, would  lead to a grueling six month odyssey to capture the slaughter of black men and the campaign that sought to fight against the ever growing tide of deaths. On the way, he outlines: the actions of the police and their differing reactions to the ‘black lives matter campaign’; the individuals who made up that campaign and his role as a, Black African American, journalist covering this story.  
This book is an insider view of a very important story. It is a valuable contribution to an important debate. It is a must read for anyone wishing to understand today’s America.

Posted in miscellaneous

Reading slump blues (and how to recover) 

As readers, we all know the feeling. Those times when we just don’t want to read. We’re too tired, too stressed, too busy, physically ill or just not in the mood to read. We even have a name for this phenomenon. We call it a book slump/reading slump. I suffered from a reading slump last year.  Let’s face it,  2016 was horrible. At least, my 2016 was horrible.   It started with the death of celebrities.  Then it threw Brexit and Trump at me. Then, if that wasn’t enough, the year threw family ill health at me with several family members enduring periods of ill health.  It felt like every telephone call, news broadcast, or Twitter sprint brought sad, worrying or anger inducing news.  Every contact with the outside world left me depressed and lethargic. This made me open to distractions. Reading was the last thing I wanted to do.  On top of this, my enormous TBR list and tbr shelf made reading feel like a chore. So, how did I beat my reading slump. I simply took these steps. 


Firstly,  I sent a load of books to the charity shop. I gutted my tbr shelf, keeping only the books that I really wanted to read.  This meant that I did not feel overwhelmed by my books. Secondly, I took all distractions off my phone and tablet.  This left me with more time to read.  Thirdly, I limited the time that I spent on twitter. I, also, cut back on times that I check my email.  I no longer start my day with email and twitter. This meant that I had more time . This meant that I had more time to read and that I did not start my day feeling discouraged and depressed, more likely to read and write.  That’s how I got back into the reading habit. Hope it helps.




Posted in arc, books, reviews

Bear and Nightingale by Katherine Arden

 

 

I was given this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.    A family grows in rural Russia.  Their lives are in constant struggle with the natural world which is beyond their control.  They find comfort in a mixture of old ‘pagan’ beliefs and the newer beliefs of the Christian church.   A young woman fights outside pressures to find a path in an ever-changing world.    This world is made up of Vasilisa and her family.  Vasilisa is a young girl who loves folk tales and lives one. Her empathy with the natural and spiritual world makes her the apex of the conflict between old and new beliefs. This book shares the Fairy-tale feel of Catherynne M. Valente’s Deathless and the Brothers Karamazov’s (by Dostoyevsky) questioning of spirituality, magic, and religion.  I highly recommend this book.