Friday Finds (12) – 19 December 2014

Image1Friday Finds is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading which encourages you to share the books you have discovered over the past 7 days with your fellow bloggers. Whether you found them in a bookshop, online, in the library or just heard about them from a friend, Friday Finds is a great way to spread the love with other readers. All books are linked to their Goodreads pages so you can discover them too.

Sooooooo, I suck at getting my posts done on time, especially when I have a list of them that I’m excited about (4 at the moment) so once again I’ll just be posting each book’s synopsis as it’s written on Goodreads, rather than putting it into my own words like usual. Hopefully I’ll be more productive and organised in the New Year!

Here are my finds for this week:

1) The World’s Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette’s, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family by Josh Hanagarne: Josh Hanagarne couldn’t be invisible if he tried. Although he wouldn’t officially be diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome until his freshman year of high school, Josh was six years old and onstage in a school Thanksgiving play when he first began exhibiting symptoms. By the time he was twenty, the young Mormon had reached his towering adult height of 6’7″ when — while serving on a mission for the Church of Latter Day Saints — his Tourette’s tics escalated to nightmarish levels.

Determined to conquer his affliction, Josh underwent everything from quack remedies to lethargy-inducing drug regimes to Botox injections that paralyzed his vocal cords and left him voiceless for three years. Undeterred, Josh persevered to marry and earn a degree in Library Science. At last, an eccentric, autistic strongman — and former Air Force Tech Sergeant and guard at an Iraqi prison — taught Josh how to “throttle” his tics into submission through strength-training.

Today, Josh is a librarian in the main branch of Salt Lake City’s public library and founder of a popular blog about books and weight lifting—and the proud father of four-year-old Max, who has already started to show his own symptoms of Tourette’s.

2) Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley: Lucy is in love with Shadow, a mysterious graffiti artist. Ed thought he was in love with Lucy, until she broke his nose. Dylan loves Daisy, but throwing eggs at her probably wasn’t the best way to show it. Jazz and Leo are slowly encircling each other. An intense and exhilarating 24 hours in the lives of four teenagers on the verge: of adulthood, of HSC, of finding out just who they are, and who they want to be.

3) Dreamwalkers (Dreamwalkers #1) by Corinne Davis: Emma Owens is a seemingly ordinary seventeen-year-old girl who covertly possesses the power to do anything she desires, without limitation, in a world filled with both infinite beauty and interminable danger, that exists only while she sleeps. Emma is a dreamwalker.

She inherited the dreamwalking trait from her father and inexplicably shares it with her best friend, Zoë. There are rules to dreamwalking that Emma and Zoë live their lives by. The most important of which is not to interact with unknown people who can see them while they dreamwalk, or risk becoming lost in a world of unrelenting darkness. Emma and Zoë have always followed the rules without question, but their conformity is tested when Emma learns that she is the only one capable of rescuing a young girl who has become profoundly lost on a dreamwalk.

When Emma launches a crusade to travel deep into the world of dreamwalking, gambling her own life to save the girl, Zoë agrees to stand by her side, unknowingly opening the door to her own astounding hidden faculties and uncovering a three hundred year old family secret in the process. Emma’s world is turned even further upside down when Charlie, the boy who shattered her heart into a thousand pieces, mysteriously returns with information that sends her head… and heart, spinning.

4) The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp: Sutter Keely. He’S the guy you want at your party. He’ll get everyone dancing. He’ ll get everyone in your parents’ pool. Okay, so he’s not exactly a shining academic star. He has no plans for college and will probably end up folding men’s shirts for a living. But there are plenty of ladies in town, and with the help of Dean Martin and Seagram’s V.O., life’s pretty fabuloso, actually.

Until the morning he wakes up on a random front lawn, and he meets Aimee. Aimee’s clueless. Aimee is a social disaster. Aimee needs help, and it’s up to the Sutterman to show Aimee a splendiferous time and then let her go forth and prosper. But Aimee’s not like other girls, and before long he’s in way over his head. For the first time in his life, he has the power to make a difference in someone else’s life—or ruin it forever.

5) The Time of My Life by Cecelia Ahern: Lucy Silchester has an appointment with her life – and she’s going to have to keep it.

Lying on Lucy Silchester’s carpet one day when she returns from work is a gold envelope. Inside is an invitation – to a meeting with Life. Her life. It turns out she’s been ignoring itand it needs to meet with her face to face. It sounds peculiar, but Lucy’s read about this in a magazine. Anyway, she can’t make the date: she’s much too busy despising her job, skipping out on her friends and avoiding her family.

But Lucy’s life isn’t what it seems. Some of the choices she’s made – and stories she’s told – aren’t what they seem either. From the moment she meets the man who introduces himself as her life, her stubborn half-truths are going to be revealed in all their glory – unless Lucy learns to tell the truth about what really matters to her.

I also came across this great list of upcoming YA novels due to be published in early 2015 which is worth checking out.

So what books have you discovered this week? Have you read any of the ones I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments!

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Friday Finds – 11 December 2014 (11)

Image1Friday Finds is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading which encourages you to share the books you have discovered over the past 7 days with your fellow bloggers. Whether you found them in a bookshop, online, in the library or just heard about them from a friend, Friday Finds is a great way to spread the love with other readers. All books are linked to their Goodreads pages so you can discover them too.

I’m having another one of those weeks where time seems to evaporate like rain drops on lava, so this post will be shorter than normal. I haven’t made as many finds this week as I’ve been too busy with my head stuck in the ones I already found (my review for Falling into Place will be up asap and I already posted the one for Things Grak Hates) but I really like the sound of the ones I did find. I usually try and put my own spin on the synopsis for each one and tell you why I want to read it, but unfortunately I don’t have time tonight, so I’ll just share the ones from Goodreads, which sound pretty awesome anyway.

* I just realised that I posted this yesterday because I actually thought it was Friday not Thursday. I really am having a crazy week! Oh well, you got my finds a day early! 🙂

1) Brown Skin Blue by Belinda Jeffrey:

My mum’s skin is white, my skin is brown and I have a blue birthmark.

Two secrets rule my life. One is something I need to know and the other is something I need to forget. They won’t let me go.

Some people say you can’t death roll with a beast that has already survived a million years and live to tell the story.

Or can you?

2) The Earth Hums in B Flat by Mari Strachan:

Every night, 12-year-old Gwenni Morgan flies in her sleep. She leaves the bed she shares with her sister and soars into the night sky, listening to the nighttime sounds of her small Welsh village below. Irrepressible Gwenni — a dreamer full of unanswerable questions and unbounded curiosity — is childlike yet touchingly adult. Reluctantly facing a modern world, she prefers her nightly flights to school and her chores. Blessed with the uncommon insight of a young girl, Gwenni’s view of the world is unparalleled.

Quaint, odd, touched, funny in the head: Gwenni is all too familiar with the taunts of her peers and fields them with equanimity beyond her years. She knows she can no more change her nature than stop the sun from rising. And when a neighbour goes missing, Gwenni turns amateur sleuth, determined to solve the mystery of his disappearance. Little does she realize that the trail she’s pursuing will bring her uncomfortably close to home, and a dark secret.

3) Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan:

First there is a Before, and then there is an After. . . .

The lives of three teens—Claire, Jasper, and Peter—are altered forever on September 11, 2001. Claire, a high school junior, has to get to her younger brother in his classroom. Jasper, a college sophomore from Brooklyn, wakes to his parents’ frantic calls from Korea, wondering if he’s okay. Peter, a classmate of Claire’s, has to make his way back to school as everything happens around him.

Here are three teens whose intertwining lives are reshaped by this catastrophic event. As each gets to know the other, their moments become wound around each other’s in a way that leads to new understandings, new friendships, and new levels of awareness for the world around them and the people close by.

So what books have you discovered this week? Have you read any of the ones I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments!

Friday Finds (10) – 5 December 2014

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Friday Finds is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading which encourages you to share the books you have discovered over the past 7 days with your fellow bloggers. Whether you found them in a bookshop, online, in the library or just heard about them from a friend, Friday Finds is a great way to spread the love with other readers. All books are linked to their Goodreads pages so you can discover them too.

I missed Friday Finds last week as I was ill, so I’m going to share those finds this week. I love participating in this meme and it’s helped me find some great books and interesting blogs to follow. I was able to buy a couple of my previous finds in my pre-Christmas book haul earlier this week and I can’t wait to get stuck into them.

1) The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan: I’m aware that David Levithan is very popular in the YA world but I haven’t read much of him before except for Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares which he co-wrote with Rachel Cohn. That book was pretty good, but this one sounds even better. The synopsis starts with six words that really drew me in: One school. Twenty voices. Endless possibilities. It sounds like a really interesting exploration of the issues facing teenagers in the 21st century through the lives of twenty dynamic and compelling characters. My only concern is that twenty narrators are a lot for one novel, so I’m not sure how well that will work out. I guess I’ll have to read it to find out!

2) The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin: George Orr has the power to conjure things into reality through his dreams, which isn’t always a good thing. Desperately seeking help he turns to a psychotherapist who he hopes can assist him in controlling this ability. Unfortunately, this man has only dark intentions and may lead George into his biggest nightmare. As I’ve said in previous posts, I’m always interested to read stories centred around dreams because ever since I was a child I have always been able to remember my own in vivid detail. I don’t think I’d want many of them to become reality though!

3) Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin: After falling and hitting her head, Naomi wakes up with amnesia. Unable to remember anything about her former life she has to re-discover everything she used to know, and in the process comes to realise that some things are better the second time around – especially when you make different choices. I really like the concept for this one. What would you do if the slate was wiped clean and you had to start your life over again? If who we are is the sum of our experiences, then who do we become when those experiences are forgotten? I’m really interested to see how Naomi deals with these questions.

4) Deadline by Chris Crutcher: Ben Wolf is a 17-year-old high school student stuck living in the “nowheresville” town of Trout in Idaho. He wants to make his mark on the world, but there’s a problem – he only has one year to live. Deciding to keep this news to himself, Ben sets out to become the best football player in Trout high school’s history; annoy his ignorant civics teacher every day; and try to help the town drunk get sober. A secret like Ben’s can be a burden, though, especially when he realises he’s not the only one in Trout with secrets. I’m looking forward to finding out what Ben manages to achieve with the time he has left and what other secrets are lurking in Trout!

So what books have you discovered this week? Have you read any of the ones I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments!

Friday Finds (9) – 21 November 2014

Image1Friday Finds is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading which encourages you to share the books you have discovered over the past 7 days with your fellow bloggers. Whether you found them in a bookshop, online, in the library or just heard about them from a friend, Friday Finds is a great way to spread the love with other readers. All books are linked to their Goodreads pages so you can discover them too.

I’ve had a very busy week and I’m heading out to a family dinner tonight, so I’m afraid I’ve run out of time to write my usual length Friday Finds post. Today has completely gotten away from me! I’ll be back on form next week though.

1) The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton: My local indie bookseller said this was one of the best books she had read this year, which is good enough for me! I feel like this might remind me of watching The Borrowers when I was younger.

2) The Everything by Richard C. Cox: This book sounds crazy and really interesting. I love novels that turn the usual concepts of genre, style and layout on their heads, so I’m looking forward to this one.

3) Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz: I had seen this one popping up around Goodreads for a while before I finally put it on my TBR list. It’s another coming of age novel, but instead of the usual male and female pairing we have two male leads, which is what drew me to it. I love YA but the male/female journey of self-discovery can get a little repetitive, so I’m looking forward to a change of pace with this one.

4) Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills: I’m not sure how I feel about the title, but I’ve never read a novel which deals with the issues faced by those who identify as transgender before, so I’m curious to see how the author handles this subject, particularly since this is a YA novel. I hope it’s done well and sensitively.

So what books have you discovered this week? Have you read any of the ones I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments!

Friday Finds (8) – 14 November 2014

Image1Friday Finds is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading which encourages you to share the books you have discovered over the past 7 days with your fellow bloggers. Whether you found them in a bookshop, online, in the library or just heard about them from a friend, Friday Finds is a great way to spread the love with other readers. All books are linked to their Goodreads pages so you can discover them too.

My birthday was last month and I’ve been saving the money I received for a book haul. My local indie bookshop doesn’t have a huge selection and I managed to make it out of there with some money still in my possession, so I’ll definitely be heading up to Waterstones in Edinburgh for another haul soon. I find a lot of new books on Goodreads or Facebook, so it was really nice to find some new reads in an actual bookshop. I had a list of books I was looking for when I went in there, but since they didn’t have any of them I spent some time browsing and talking with the shop’s owner, who of course had some great recommendations for me! Here are the ones I decided on:

Book Stack

1) The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence: I rarely leave a bookshop without picking up at least one YA novel, and this trip was no exception. “When, aged seventeen, Alex is stopped at Dover customs with 113 grams of marijuana, an urn full of ashes on the passenger seat, and an entire nation in uproar, he’s fairly sure he’s done the right thing.” I’m very interested to know how Alex ended up in this unusual situation, and find out more about life with his clairvoyant mother and his unlikely friendship with the irritable and antisocial Mr Peterson. My YA-loving friend has told me this one is really good, so I think I’ve done the right thing too!

2) The Road Headed West: A Cycling Adventure Through North America by Leon McCarron: I don’t often read non-fiction books so this was an unusual pick for me, but I’ve been missing my friends and adventures in the US a lot over the last year, so I was drawn to this one. It’s the account of Leon McCarron’s 6,000 mile journey across North America beginning in New York and ending up at the Mexican border. After realising the fear of being stuck behind a desk for the rest of his life was greater than the fear of taking on such a journey with nothing but a backpack and a bicycle, he took off alone and had what sounds like the adventure of a lifetime. I’m definitely not a cyclist but I have had some wonderful experiences travelling along the west coast of the US, and I think this book will remind me of those times. I’m particularly interested to find out about his stop in Seattle as it’s probably my favourite city in the world and I miss it all the time.

3) TheMole Original Cover Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 ¾ by Sue Townsend: My Mum had mentioned enjoying this book when she was younger so when I saw it on the shelf I just had to have it. This is the first of a series of Adrian Mole novels and is written in the form of a diary which chronicles the trials of Adrian’s early adolescence. The few extracts I’ve read are hilarious, so I’m really looking forward to reading it. The one I bought is the 30th anniversary edition so it has lots of additional features like a reprinting of the original 1982 cover on the inside (pictured left) and more details about Adrian from the author’s original manuscripts.

4) The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai: Firstly, I love the cover of this novel. Not the car andThe Borrower Cover the road so much but the bookshelves and the fact that all the text and images are made up of printed words from a book. The top corners of the back and front are also deigned to look like they’re from an old and worn book. It caught my eye right away and after reading the synopsis I was definitely keen to read it. Lucy Hill is a young children’s librarian who finds a ten-year-old boy has set up camp in her library after running away from his mother and the anti-gay classes she forces him to attend. Driven to help the young Iain Drake whose passion for reading rivals her own, Lucy agrees to “escape” with him from Missouri to Vermont. Their road trip takes them on an adventure involving an unwelcome boyfriend, the shadowy Russian connections of Lucy’s father, moral dilemmas, self-discovery … and some ferrets. I’m intrigued!

I’m also really excited to have received my first ARC. It was an unexpected surprise when the author, Peter J. Story, sent me a message on Goodreads and asked me why I was interested in his debut novel Things Grak Hates, which I had added to my “to-read” list, and if I would like a free copy in exchange for an honest review. Of course I said yes! I know this isn’t unusual but I’m not on NetGalley or anything so I wasn’t expecting to get any ARCs, hence the excitement! I’m nine chapters in at the moment and I’m quite enjoying it … I think. It’s certainly giving me a lot to think about! I’ll post the review once it’s done. On a side note, isn’t his surname awesome? How could he not become an author with a name like that?!

So what books have you discovered this week? Have you read any of the ones I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments!

Friday Finds (7) – 7 November 2014

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Friday Finds is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading which encourages you to share the books you have discovered over the past 7 days with your fellow bloggers. Whether you found them in a bookshop, online, in the library or just heard about them from a friend, Friday Finds is a great way to spread the love with other readers. All books are linked to their Goodreads pages so you can discover them too.

I’ve had a busy day today (which included spending an hour in a bookshop, yay!) so I’m a little late posting this as it’s technically Saturday in Scotland now, but I reckon a lot of you in different time zones are still up!

This is the longest that I’ve ever stuck with a weekly meme, and I’m so glad that I have. Between my own discoveries and those of other Friday Finders I’m building my “to-read” list faster than I’ll ever be able to keep up with, but that’s a cross all we bibliophiles must bear! I’m also enjoying the challenge I set myself every week of rewriting the synopsis of each book into my own words as much as possible. I could just copy the synopsis from Goodreads, and I do include the occasional quote if it is particularly interesting, but one of the reasons I started blogging was because I wanted to practice my writing and publishing skills. If I ever get a marketing job in a publisher, the ability to write a good synopsis will serve me well. I’m sure I don’t always get it quite right, which is why I provide the Goodreads link too, but it’s a fun activity and makes me feel even more excited about the books I discover.

1) The Young Elites (The Young Elites #1) by Marie Lu: This was recommended to me by a book loving friend. She gave it a 9.5 in her review, which is a rare thing, so I’m optimistic about it. Also, it sounds pretty damn awesome. Having survived a deadly illness which killed most of those it infected, Adelina Amouteru finds herself with an altered appearance and strange powers. She is now one of the Young Elites, and there are those in society who see her and those like her as a threat. The Inquisition Axis is tasked with killing any Young Elites they can find, while a secret group of Young Elites known as the Dagger Society set out to find and protect those like them before they’re killed, like Adelina. But Adelina isn’t just any Young Elite; she has abilities no one has ever seen before, and a desire for vengeance which may be the biggest threat of all. Sounds good to me!

2) Beggar Magic by H.L. Burke: The Strains are musical magic which weave their ever-changing melodies through the world of Gelia City. The ability to use them is hereditary, but not all citizens are created equal. The city is divided between the Highmost, those who can access the full power of the Strains, and the Commons, those who have only limited use, known as beggar magic. When Common teen Leilani befriends Highmost born Zebody, both girls get a new understanding of each other’s worlds. As their friendship grows, they discover a dangerous threat to the Strains hiding within the manors of the Highmost; one which could silence the music forever. In order to save their beloved Strains, the girls must risk everything, including death, to stop those responsible. I love the idea of music as power. I think most people would argue that music does have power, like its ability to calm, inspire and move us, but I’m really looking forward to reading about a world where music is truly magical, and about who would dare to destroy it!

3) Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King: This title really intrigued me and reading the synopsis sealed the deal. Lucky Linderman has a difficult life. His grandfather died in the Vietnam War, leaving his father devastated. His mother refuses to acknowledge the problems within their family, preferring to pretend that everything is just fine. And every day Lucky has to deal with the constant bullying of Nader McMillan, which is getting dangerously out of control. At night, though, Lucky has a unique escape from all this. His vivid dreams take him to the jungles of Laos during the Vietnam War, where he can be the person he wants to be and succeed where his grandfather failed. But reality is never far away, and Lucky must face the fact that he can’t hide in his dreams forever. I’m always intrigued by stories which feature dreams as a key element. Ever since I was a young girl, I have been able to remember my dreams in vivid detail. Going to sleep every night is like entering another world where anything can happen and the laws of physics do not exist. I love it, especially those rare occasions when I realise I’m dreaming, or lucid dreaming as science calls it, and that I’m no longer bound by the limitations of reality. Flying is usually my favourite activity, but I do like a bit of telekinesis! I’m really looking forward to finding out what Lucky does with his dreams.

4) Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig: “I want life. I want to read it and write it and feel it and live it. I want, for as much of the time as possible in this blink-of-an-eye existence we have, to feel all that can be felt. I hate depression. I am scared of it. Terrified, in fact. But at the same time, it has made me who I am. And if – for me – it is the price of feeling life, it’s a price always worth paying.” Like a lot of people, I can definitely relate to this. There are parts of my past that I would never want to relive, and I have to keep fighting with my illness-affected body and anxiety-riddled mind every day not to go to back to the place I was in as a teenager, but at the same time I would never change the things I’ve gone through. I draw strength from how far I have come in the last 10 years and all I have accomplished, and from the knowledge of how far I know I will go as I pursue the goals I have set for myself. We are shaped as much by our bad experiences as we are by our good ones, and accepting that fact is an important part of life. Having read Haig’s The Humans, I know he is very skilled in writing about human emotions, so I’m sure he will do the subject matter of this novel justice.

So what books have you discovered this week? Have you read any of the ones I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments!

Friday Finds (6) – 31 October 2014

Image1Friday Finds is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading which encourages you to share the books you have discovered over the past 7 days with your fellow bloggers. Whether you found them in a bookshop, online, in the library or just heard about them from a friend, Friday Finds is a great way to spread the love with other readers. All books are linked to their Goodreads pages so you can discover them too.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN, EVERYONE!!!

None of my finds this week are Halloween inspired, so this will just be a regular finds list. I do love this holiday though, so I’ve added in a few random images to get into the spirit of things!

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1) My Idea of Fun by Will Self: I’m a bit confused as to why this ended up on my TBR list, especially since the cover looks like a creepy version of one of my first year Philosophy texts! When he becomes an apprentice to a mysterious financial and marketing master, Ian enters a dark world ruled by money, violence and psychosis, where the human soul is the ultimate commodity. Those kind of dark themes are ones I would usually avoid, but I think I’ll be giving this one a try. Not least because I want to find out if the phrase “a wickedly sharp, technically acute display of linguistic pyrotechnics that glows with pure white-hot brilliance” is an accurate assessment of the book’s quality, or just a real world example of masterful marketing.

Halloween Image 22) Things Grak Hates by Peter J.Story: This story is set before the start of recorded history, which is a cool concept in itself. Grak is a member of a nomadic tribe, and he hates a lot of things, but has a particularly intense hatred of olives. I have a bizarrely intense hatred of blueberries (come to think of it, I don’t think much of olives either), so I can relate to this, although, unlike Grak and his olives, I would never set out on a quest to rid the world of blueberries! What begins as a mission to eradicate olives becomes a descent into evil and manipulation which explores “power, politics, religion, redemption, the dissemination of ideas, and human nature itself.” Sign me up! Halloween Image 4

 3) When She Smiled by Ritoban Chakrabarti: This is a YA romance with a difference: it’s set in the Himalayas, and there’s no modern technology in sight. I’m definitely a fan of YA, but novels set in the Western World can sometimes be repetitive and deal with a lot of the same conflicts and settings, especially ones with strong romantic elements, so I’m keen to try a different take on the genre. Mrityunjoy Roy is a member of a very academic family, but he wants more than a life of studying. When he meets Akanksha, his world is turned on its head as she leads him down a path of romance, heartbreak, tragedy and self-discovery. I’ve entered a Goodreads giveaway for this one, so fingers crossed!

4) Casket of Stars by Julia Debski: First of all, I LOVE both the title and the cover of this book, so I was attracted to it straight away. I thought it was a novel at first, but it’s actually a collection of short stories and poems. The synopsis is very short and doesn’t give much away, but it still has me curious: “A collection of short stories and poetry written as a memoir of sorts, and takes a look at human relationships that are often not spoken about, as well as exploring the deep emotions found with them.” I love poetry and I don’t read short stories very often, so this would be a lovely change of pace.

So what books have you discovered this week? Have you read any of the ones I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments!

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Friday Finds (5) – 24 October 2014

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Friday Finds is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading which encourages you to share the books you have discovered over the past 7 days with your fellow bloggers. Whether you found them in a bookshop, online, in the library or just heard about them from a friend, Friday Finds is a great way to spread the love with other readers. All books are linked to their Goodreads pages so you can discover them too.

I surprised myself with my finds this week, as the first two on the list are not normally the kinds of books I would read. Not because I don’t think they’re worth my time, but simply because they’re not my taste. I believe in broadening my horizons, however, especially when it comes to literature, so I’m happy to have them on my TBR list. I would be delighted if I enjoy them as that would encourage me to explore these genres further.

The first is a crime novel and the second is a psychological thriller: two very popular and perfectly respectable genres, but ones I rarely, if ever, choose to read. I’ll try to explain why. For whatever reason, I have always been VERY sensitive to depictions of graphic violence and torture (both physical and psychological). I understand why these things can be important elements of storytelling, but my vivid imagination runs wild and these images take root in my mind and remain there for years. There is a scene I once read in a Karin Slaughter novel that my friend left lying around 10 years ago which STILL makes me nauseous. Don’t even get me started on things like the Saw film franchise, which I once forced myself to watch the first of in a misguided attempt to immunise myself against the horror (needless to say, it didn’t work AT ALL). So, basically, I’m a giant wuss, but I’m trying to address that (again) with my first two finds this week.

1) Quite Ugly One Morning (Jack Parlabane #1) by Christopher Brookmyre: This is a crime novel and there were a few elements in the synopsis which made me want to set aside my aversion to this genre and click the “Want to Read” button. Firstly, it’s set in Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital, which is only about an hour north of where I live. Secondly, it won the First Blood Award for the best debut crime novel in the UK, so it’s obviously a good quality example of crime fiction for me to start with. Thirdly, and this is what really swayed me, it’s described as being “laced with acerbic wit and cracking dialogue” with a protagonist “who is not afraid to bend the laws of the land (or even the laws of gravity) to get to the truth.” The laws of gravity part has me curious, and the promised humour should (hopefully) take the edge off any gruesome descriptions. Fingers crossed!

2) Shift by Em Bailey: The words “chilling psychological thriller” in a synopsis would usually be enough to make me move on to a different book, however this one sounds really interesting and I want to give it a shot. Olive has a troubled past and only wants to take her meds, lay low at school, and try to forget about “the incident”. When manipulative new girl Miranda arrives and gets her “parasitic” claws into queen bee Katie, she causes Olive to question her own sanity and wonder if she’s right about Miranda … or just plain crazy. I’m pretty sure that this is on the tame end of the psychological thriller spectrum, but that’s probably a good thing for me!

3) Being Here by Barry Jonsberg: Now this book is more my style! “Sixteen-year-old Carly is interviewing Leah Cartwright for her local history project. But Leah resists, determined instead to tell her own story: that of a lonely child on an isolated farm, a girl whose only escape is into the world of books. And when Adam appears in the orchard Leah discovers a friend … an unlikely boy who changes everything.” Like a lot of us, I can definitely relate to a protagonist who escapes her real life by delving into books, and I’m interested to learn more about Leah’s story which weaves together her past, her present – and her secrets.

4) Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories by Alisa Krasnostein: “What do a disabled superhero, a time-traveling Chinese-American figure skater, and a transgendered animal shifter have in common?” I don’t know, but I can’t wait to find out! As the title suggests, this is a collection of sci-fi and fantasy stories (my favourite genres) geared towards YA readers, and it sounds awesome. I don’t read a lot of short stories, but these sound really interesting and I look forward to delving into a collection of “fun, edgy, meditative, and hopeful” stories.

So what books have you discovered this week? Have you read any of the ones I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments!

Friday Finds (4) – 17 October 2014

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Friday Finds is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading which encourages you to share the books you have discovered over the past 7 days with your fellow bloggers. Whether you found them in a bookshop, online, in the library or just heard about them from a friend, Friday Finds is a great way to spread the love with other readers. All books are linked to their Goodreads pages so you can discover them too.

*I’ve now added a Friday Finds Archive page to the blog where all the books featured are listed.*

Before I share my finds for the week, I wanted to mention an interesting quote I came across which seemed relevant.

“If you read one book a week, starting at the age of 5, and live to be 80, you will have read a grand total of 3,900 books, a little over one tenth of one percent of the books currently in print.” – Lewis Buzbee, The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop

First of all – WOW. That’s quite a thought! Whenever I discover new books for my TBR list, I’m reminded of all the other books out there that I’ll never encounter, much less get the chance to read. Even if I limited my discoveries to Goodreads, I could keep on clicking the “Want to Read” button or the Recommendations tab over and over and over again and I would still never get to the end of the list. This very activity has been responsible for my staying up late more times than I can count. Just one more click, one more giveaway … you know how it goes!

Anyway, I just wanted to share that with you. I think it’s nice to remind ourselves every once in a while of how lucky we are to have access to an endless supply of books for the rest of our lives. We will never run out of stories. There will never be an end to the adventures.

Now, on with my latest discoveries!

1) Tales of the Marvellous and News of the Strange translated by Malcolm C. Lyons: This one first caught my eye when I saw the beautiful cover on the Penguin Classics Facebook page. It’s much nicer than the one on Goodreads! The book is a collection of medieval Arab fantasy stories which have been translated into English for the first time. They date back at least 1,000 years and survived in only one decaying manuscript in an Istanbul library. Isn’t that awesome? The fact that these long forgotten stories are now available to everyone is a wonderful thing, and I definitely want to take advantage of the opportunity to read them.

2) The Summer I Learned to Fly by Dana Reinhardt: “Drew’s a bit of a loner. She has a pet rat, her dead dad’s Book of Lists, an encyclopedic knowledge of cheese from working at her mom’s cheese shop … [then] she meets a strange boy in the alley named Emmett Crane. Who he is, why he’s there, where the cut on his cheek came from, and his bottomless knowledge of rats are all mysteries Drew will untangle as they are drawn closer together.” I can’t put my finger on exactly why, but this offbeat-sounding plot appeals to me. I want to know what Drew’s dad made lists of; what kind of interesting (or disgusting?) facts about rats that Emmett possesses; and what that cut on his cheek is all about. The only way I’ll get answers is by reading the book, so that’s what I’m going to do!

3) The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater: Puck Connolly is the first girl ever to enter the Scorpio Races; an annual event where riders risk their lives (and sometimes lose them) racing their water horses to the finish line. She’s up against Sean Kendrick, the taciturn returning champion who plays his cards close to his chest. Puck never wanted to be a rider, and she’s completely unprepared for what the race has in store for her. I’m intrigued by these water horses. The novel is listed in the fantasy genre on Goodreads, so I’m assuming that means the horses have some unusual or magical qualities which could be interesting. I would also like to know more about the race itself and what’s in store for the characters. I’m all about getting questions answered this week!

4) Breakfast Served Anytime by Sarah Combs: “This one time, at band camp …” Well, in this case it’s “geek camp”, and Gloria is sent there for the summer shortly after losing her grandmother. She meets some interesting characters; the enigmatic Professor X (hmm, X-Men rip off much?) who leaves mysterious clues about his Secrets of the Written Word class; her conservative roommate from a coal-mining family; and the annoying guy who dresses like the Mad Hatter (I would love to see that) who she can’t stop thinking about.  It’s a coming-of-age story at a summer camp I think I would have loved as a teenager, so I think I’ll enjoy this one.

So what books have you discovered this week? Have you read any of the ones I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments!

Friday Finds (3) – 10 October 2014

Image1Annnnnnnnd it’s Friday again (actually we’re 15 minutes into Saturday here in Scotland, but nevermind). These weeks are going by far too fast for my liking! Oh well, time for Friday Finds!

Friday Finds is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading which encourages you to share the books you have discovered over the past 7 days with your fellow bloggers. Whether you found them in a bookshop, online, in the library or just heard about them from a friend, Friday Finds is a great way to spread the love with other readers. All books are linked to their Goodreads pages so you can discover them too.

1) When She Woke by Hillary Jordan: This novel sounds fantastic and really interesting. A modern reimagining of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, convicted criminals, known as Chromes, have their skin colour genetically altered to match their crime and their movements broadcast to the public as entertainment. The main character, Hannah Payne, is coloured red for the murder of her unborn child, and must live with this public humiliation and the loss of her baby’s father, whose identity she must keep hidden. Set in a futuristic America where the separation of church and state no longer exists, this book really interests me as it deals with a lot of issues I studied during my American Studies degree. I also really enjoyed The Scarlet Letter, so I’m looking forward to finding out what this modern version is like.

2) The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist: Dorrit Weger has reached the age of fifty, is childless, unmarried, and considered an outsider by society. She is now required to submit to medical tests and donate her organs to higher valued members of the population. Though she lives in luxury and is well cared for, it is still a death sentence. Dorrit is willing to accept her fate, until she meets a fellow outsider and falls in love with him. Suddenly, she doesn’t want to die, and is faced with an impossible choice. This is an unusual pick for me, as the protagonist is a woman in her fifties and I tend to go for novels centred around characters who are closer to my age. That being said, this one sounds really interesting, and I’m hoping that the author’s characterisation skills will allow me to relate to the struggles Dorrit faces despite the age difference.

3) Coda (Coda #1) by Emma Trevayne: This novel sounds seriously cool, especially for those of us who love both books and music. The protagonist, Anthem (isn’t that an awesome name?), lives in a world where music has been encoded by the powerful Corp in order to control and manipulate the population. Anthem is one of the conduits, whose life force powers the Grid. He finds solace in the underground music scene where music is free and unencoded, and soon finds himself caught up in a revolution which could cost him everything, including the girl he loves. Music, love, danger and dystopia? Count me in!

4) Blind by Rachel DeWoskin: “What do you see when your world goes dark?” While watching the fireworks on the 4th of July, an accident causes fourteen year old Emma to be blinded. The novel follows her attempts to be known as more than the PBK – Poor Blind Kid. I’m always interested in novels which explore how illness or injury affects a person and forces them to change in ways they’ve never imagined, so I definitely want to read this one. It also struck a chord with me as my health problems began when I was Emma’s age, and though I have never had to deal with something so tragic and life-altering as losing my sight, my life and my sense of identity were fundamentally changed when my health went south, so I think I’ll be able to relate to Emma.

So what books have you discovered this week? Have you read any of the ones I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments!