Multiple books are gonna be reviewed today… and they are…
Front Lines was sent to me from Electric Monkey
A Bear Called Paddington was a book I bought from the Paddington shop in Paddington Station.
Tonight The Streets Are Ours
The Lie Tree
The Dark Light were all sent to me by Leanne from MyKindaBook.
First up I’m going to review the books sent to me from MyKindaBook.
The Dark Light by Julia Bell.
It started off quite promising, considering I find books about cults so interesting I thought this would be a great one and oh my god was it a great one. Now, there’s always that one book you go into not knowing a single thing about. This makes twists/characters become ever more surprising and intriguing.
So we have two girls. Alex and Rebekah.
Alex is miserable, queer and developing a propensity for minor acts of arson when she is sent, seething with anger at her neglectful birth mother, hopeless foster parents and the world, to a religious ‘community’ on an island off the Welsh coast.
Rebekah has been raised on New Canaan by her father, in a community led by a charismatic preacher figure who believes that The Rapture is imminent.
When Alex arrives and The Rapture doesn’t, events take a sinister turn.
The people of New Canaan, in thrall to their insane leader, huddle like frightened sheep. But friendship, stolen kisses and the promise of love galvanise Rebekah into hoping a life outside the island might just be possible.
Told in alternate first person, tension builds to an utterly devastating climax in this outstanding LGBT. And oh my god did I love it!
Buy it here:
The Dark Light
Tonight The Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales
I first read This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila way back in 2013 and loved it!
And again, this was no exception!
Arden Huntley has always thought of herself as recklessly loyal.
Arden is a seventeen year old from a tiny town on the borders of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia. Her life is pretty uninteresting until, suddenly, her mum ups and leaves one day. After that, everything basically implodes. Her father is incapable of looking after his children, and Arden and Roman, her 11 year old brother, and left to their own devices. Arden’s boyfriend, Chris, seems to only care about himself, and was majorly annoying. I hate characters like that. Then Arden stumbles upon a website called Tonight the Streets Are Ours created by a New York City writer called Peter and just like that, he seems to get her in a way that no one else does, and he hasn’t even met her.
Then when dick face (sorry, Chris) forgets their anniversary Arden and her friend, Lindsey, decide go to New York to find Peter.
This is a book of many realizations about life, love and friendship – a bildungsroman of sorts. It looks at many different relationships – between parent and child, between friends, between lovers, between author and reader – and each exploration is fascinating.
Buy it here
Tonight The Streets Are Ours
The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge
Super excited about this book as it’s won a Costa Book Award!!
I went into this book knowing this paragraph;
The leaves were cold and slightly clammy. There was no mistaking them. She had seen their likeness painstakingly sketched in her father’s journal. This was his greatest secret, his treasure and his undoing. The Tree of Lies. Now it was hers, and the journey he had never finished stretched out before her.
Now if that doesn’t hook you in I do not know what would.
The Lie Tree is a complex narrative of subtle interwoven storylines that are surprising, dark, sad and incredibly beautiful. In fact, I’d say this is Hardinge’s most beautiful book to date. That sort of beauty that comes from things that are so real they feel make you like your heart has been pierced. But in the nicest way possible.
I can totally see how it won an award.
It starts off with Faith’s family moving to this small island, so they get away from everything they know so Faith’s father can work at a new fossil excavation. At first greeted with the fanfare an honourable guest deserves, things turn sour very soon when whispers of her father’s possible fraudulent actions reach their retreat. All of a sudden, no one wants to talk to the family. And then, Faith’s father turns up dead.
Ruled an accident but under suspicion of suicide, Faith suspects his death is something else altogether: murder. And deep in her heart she knows she must avenge the death of her dearest one.
And Faith knows exactly what do to, for hidden deep in a cave by the sea, there is a tree that if fed lies, gives out fruits of truth. At the centre of Faith’s life is the dichotomous separation between her father and mother. She is incredibly loyal to her genius father, a prestigious Natural Scientist just as she completely disdainful of her mother, Myrtle, a lady who uses her looks to get what she wants. It’s the Victorian era and this division of roles and the perceived inherent quality that separates them is at the core of The Lie Tree.
In a way, everything about The Lie Tree could be seen as fantastical, especially with regards to gender. But then again: no. Better not to reduce what was very real and very painful to flights of fancy.
Either way, I loved this book and will happily re-read it for years to come.
Buy it here:
The Lie Tree
Next up is my review of A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond.
I purchased this at the Paddington Store and devoured it on the train journey home. Paddington is a bear from Darkest Peru and has been sent away to find a new home by his Aunt Lucy who has gone to a home for retired Bears.
Whilst picking up their daughter from Paddington Station, Mr & Mrs Brown stumble upon Paddington and adopt him.
Hijinks ensue with Paddington flooding the bathroom on his first night. As well as causing mayhem on the tube station. There are many stories in this collection and I think my favourite one was the first.
There is something so sweet about a bear who is so polite and adorable. As well as being so humble and helpful. Who doesn’t know how to live alone and doesn’t even expect someone to come along and help him. As soon as I finished this book I desperately wanted to read the rest of the Paddington books. But I may have to leave those for a while and watch the film first.
Buy it here:
A Bear Called Paddington
Aaand finally, my review of Front Lines by Michael Grant. One of my most anticipated reads of 2016 came early as I received this book in 2015.
This story is basically how the WW2 would’ve been had women been allowed to fight alongside the men.
“You’re a girl.”
“No, sir, I’m a sergeant.”
Three girls sign up to fight. Rio Richlin, Frangie Marr, and Rainy Schulterman are average girls, girls with dreams and aspirations, at the start of their lives, at the start of their loves. Each has her own reasons for volunteering: Rio fights to honor her sister; Frangie needs money for her family; Rainy wants to kill Germans. For the first time they leave behind their homes and families—to go to war.
Firstly I must say, I’m a little worried that books like this could further hide women from history – the fact being that over 400,000 U.S. women really did serve with the armed forces during World War II, and this fact is already often forgotten.
But on to the review of the book:
Front Lines, book one of the Soldier Girl series, contains a lot of elements we would find in traditional war stories – brutal training of soldiers, incredibly young men and women having no idea what they’re getting into, tanks, bombs and poorly-trained medics… but this particular tale is also about social injustice; a reminder that social injustice is at the heart of the Second World War.
With a title like Front Lines you’d expect 99% of it to be on the front lines with maybe 1% of a future time post-war.
But we only really see the front lines in the second half of the book, which is great for a first book because with three main characters you’ve gotta do a lot of character building and world building. I commend Grant for his fierce attention to sexism, racism, and anti-Semitism because they do need to be addressed. These issues were infused and helped the plot along but didn’t overtake it.
Needless to say I devoured this book and want you all to devour it too!
Released on 28th January pre-order here: