Monday, 28 May 2012

The Week Ahead 27/05 - 02/06

Plenty of sunshine about this week, so I'm going to attempt to get a lot of reading done outdoors.  Now that I've typed that the rain clouds will probably approach!

First up is S.J Watson's Before I Go To Sleep.  We've had this on our shelf for a couple of months now, after hearing plenty of good things through various media outlets, and I'm (hopefully) attending an author Q+A in Norwich this week so this book is on the top of my list to be read this week.  I'm currently a hundred pages in and it is definitely an intriguing read.

Memories define us.
So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep?
Your Name, your identity, you past, even the people you love - all forgotten overnight.
And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story.

Next is The Troupe.  There was a single thought when I ordered this: I hope there's going to be some Hell Train-esque antics.

Vaudeville: Mad, mercenary, dreamy, and absurd, a world of clashing cultures and ferocious showmanship and wickedly delightful deceptions.
'You're wrong, kid.  I am just a performer.  I'm just putting on a show you haven't seen before.' - Silenus

Sixteen-year-old pianist George Carole has joined vaudeville for one reason only: to find the man he suspects to be his father, the great Heironomo Silenus.  Yet as he chases down his father's troupe, he begins to understand that their performances are strange, even for vaudeville.
For there is an ancient and dangerous secret within Silenus's show.  And it's not until after he joins them that George realises the troupe is not simply touring - they are running for their very lives.

And Finally, Intrusion.  I spotted this in Norwich Waterstone's, which always seems to have good selection, and, if I'm honest, the cover alone is the reason I picked it up as I found it is really striking.  It fits in with my Sci Fi craving

Imagine a near-future London where advances in medical science have led to the development of a single-dose pill which, taken when pregnant, eradicates many common genetic defects from an unborn baby.
Hope Morrison, mother of a hyperactive four-year-old, is expecting her second child.  She refuses to take The Fix, as the pill is known.  Her refusal divides her family and friends and puts her and her husband in danger of imprisonment or worse.
Is Hope's decision a private matter of individual choice, or is it tantamount to wilful neglect of her unborn child?

Enoy the sun while it lasts and happy reading! x

Monday, 14 May 2012

The Weird Sisters

Set in a picturesque university town, 'the weird sisters', who are named after Shakespearean characters and raised to revere books above all, find themselves returning to their parents house at the same time for different, life altering, reasons.  Homebody Rose's fiancee has accepted a job overseas, and now she's struggling with the decision to either end her relationship or break out of her comfort zone.  Bianca, nicknamed Bean, gets caught embezzling a large sum of money from the company she works for in New York and is forced to return or she'll be pursued by the people she owes money to.  And the youngest sister, Cordy, who has been living like a vagabond, and can barely look after herself has found out she's pregnant by a man she barely knew.

This book was a pleasure to read. The unusual collective narrative style allowed for access all areas, like a cloud consciousness, into the Andreas sisters lives, and added to the allusions of them being the mystical witches from Macbeth, aware of everything their sisters were up to without being told.  By forming their personalities around certain characters traits of their Shakespearean counterparts, the sisters still manage to come across as someone you may know.  This either proves the strength of Brown's ability to write strong characters or that of Shakespeare's enduring relevance. My only complaint would be that the ending was a little twee, but for a novel that could have easily strayed into chick-lit territory, the weird sisters refused to be put down until finished.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012


S.G Browne's debut has a uniqueness that set it apart from the over crowded market for zombie tales.  In Breathers, reanimating after death is purely down to chance.  Andy, the narrator, reanimated after he rammed his car into a tree.  The same accident killed his wife, but she didn't come back, and this resulted in their daughter being taken to live with her aunt and uncle, and Andy living in his parents basement turned wine cellar with feelings of guilt and anguish.
  Browne is quick to set up the premise that zombies are people, too, the only difference is that they often have the physical ailments that caused their original demise.  For Andy and his friends, formed at a local support group, there's no slow walking, no moaning, no craving of human flesh.  Their problems are due to the fact that they live in a world that was subjected to zombie movies and Breathers, what they call the non-dead, cannot separate Hollywood zombies from the ones that share their world.

 Breathers has all the necessary ingredients for an interesting read, but I found it hard to empathise with Andy.  Throughout, Andy repeats the line 'you wouldn't understand' with different variations applicable to his increasingly strange situation.  Towards the end, I realised that I didn't want to understand, and it made it hard to have a positive response to this book.  I think I liked it, there's plenty of comedy elements in there to stop it from becoming too politically motivated, but I don't think I'll rushing to read it again.

The Week Ahead 30/04 - 06/05

The choices for this week are a mix of two new additions to my local library and a book that I have been struggling with.  

The Dead Tossed Waves - Carrie Ryan 'Gabry lives a quiet life, secure in her town next to the sea and behind the Barrier.  She's content to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse.
Home is all she's ever known and all she needs for happiness.  But life after the Return is never safe and there are threats that even the barrier can't hold back.  Gabry's mother thought she'd left her secrets behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth but now, to save the one she loves, Gabry must face the Forest of her mother's past.'

My main aim this week is to finally finish reading The Dead Tossed Waves, but if that doesn't happen then I may have to be returning it unread. 

Wide Sargasso Sea - Jean Rhys  'If Antoinette Cosway, a spirited Creole heiress, could have foreseen the terrible future that awaited her she would not have married the young Englishman.  Initially drawn to her beauty and sensuality, he becomes increasingly frustrated by his inability to reach into her soul.  He forces Antoinette to conform to hos rigid Victorian ideals, unaware that in taking away her identity he is destroying a part of himself as well as pushing her towards madness.' 

I've always wanted to read Wide Sargasso Sea, and this bag friendly, new edition, was screaming at me to be read.  Part of the penguin essential read collection which looks to have very pretty covers *shallow moment*.

Finally, I've got an impulse pick up.  I was struck by the cover and how it sounded simillar to Jeffrey Eugenides' The Virgin Suicides.

The Fates Will Find Their Way - Hannah Pittard 'Sixteen-year-old Nora Lindell is missing.  And the neighbourhood boys she's left behind are caught forever in the heady current of her absence.  As the days and years pile up, the mystery of her disappearance grows kaleidoscopically.  A collection of rumours, divergent suspicions, and tantalising what-ifs, Nora Lindell's story is a shadowy projection of teenage lust, friendship, reverence, and regret, captured magically in the disembodied plural voice of the boys who still long for her.'

Has anyone read any of these books?  Thoughts are much appreciated! Here's to the week ahead...