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Rachel’s Summer-ish Reads: Wool
Blog , What We're Reading / October 15, 2018

Genres: Sci-Fi/Dystopian Well booklovers, I meant to write about what I’d been reading this summer a long time ago, but somehow this autumn is flying by! In August, my list of books read was dominated by two authors: Hugh Howey and Gail Carriger (more on her later…). Hugh Howey’s Wool trilogy was a wonderful dystopian tale. The synopsis from the back of the book didn’t really grab me… but the book itself definitely did, and it’s hard to know what further to say without giving anything away:   In a ruined and hostile landscape, in a future few have been unlucky enough to survive, a community exists in a giant underground silo. Inside, men and women live an enclosed life full of rules and regulations, of secrets and lies. To live, you must follow the rules. But some don’t. These are the dangerous ones; these are the people who dare to hope and dream, and who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple and deadly. They are allowed outside. Jules is one of these people. She may well be the last.   Like any good dystopia, it gave some moments of thought-provoking terror about the possibility of a…

What Rachel’s Reading This Month: July
Blog , What We're Reading / July 26, 2018

Genres: Non-Fiction, Fantasy, YA, Sci-Fi One of my goals for this year had been to read more non-fiction, and another was to keep track of what I’d read – I’m curious to see how many books I actually read in a year! Well, Matthew asked me about non-fiction the other day, and I was sad to say that I’d read a grand total of two so far this year, one of which was The Lost Words by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris – a beautiful book of images and poems, but not quite what I had in mind when I told myself to read more non-fiction! So, I finally decided to sink my teeth into Nothing is True and Everything is Possible: Adventures in Modern Russia by Peter Pomerantsev. This is a pretty fascinating look inside Russia, and reads kind of like a Jon Ronson book – the author isn’t trying to be exhaustive in his record, but paints a picture through the experiences he’s had, covering ground from a school where women learn how to marry a millionaire, to the mafia, to working for a television station in Russia, to supermodel sects. It’s a glimpse into a world where…

What Matthew is Reading this Week
Blog , What We're Reading / July 3, 2018

I never thought I’d love a zombie novel that my thirteen-year-old daughter recommended, but M.R. Carey’s The Girl with all the Gifts is so gripping that some bad words may have left my mouth when I had to put it down. It tells the story of Melanie who waits in her cell every morning to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite. But they don’t laugh. Melanie is a very special girl. I was carried away as the story developed as the author has that very special talent of giving you enough to keep turning the pages without giving you so much that you can guess what is going to happen next. The ending is satisfyingly surprising – if only because it relieves the tension you feel from the start of the book. Not a deep read, but a fun one and if you are looking for a summer page-turner then you need look no further.   I was delighted to be sent a copy of Monsieur Quincampoix…

What Rachel’s Reading This Week
Blog , What We're Reading / June 20, 2018

Genres: Fantasy, YA, Children’s, Thriller So. I wrote what was going to be this post yesterday at work, intending to post it today, which was as follows: The fantasy book I’m reading right now is The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg. I’d read good things about it in reviews and the basic premise hooked me: Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic…forever. The synopsis then of course has more about the plot (an evil magician and an adventure through the chambers of her teacher’s still-beating heart), but I like this little glimpse of an interesting magic system! As I’m only about twenty pages in at this point, you’ll have to bear with me to hear my thoughts on this one once I’m done.   Well, turns out it’s a pretty gripping read (and at 214 pages, shorter than many fantasy novels) and I finished the whole thing yesterday. Holmberg’s…

What Rachel’s Reading This Week
Blog , What We're Reading / June 9, 2018

Genre: Fantasy, YA                     Happy Saturday, booklovers! I just finished reading Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff, the second book in an epic fantasy trilogy, with the first being Nevernight, which was recommended to me by a customer in the bookshop and I loved it! It ticks all the boxes for me – some fun world-building (triple suns, hello), an interesting magic system, and a very compelling protagonist and story. As it’s the second in a trilogy, I’m going to put the synopsis here for the first book, Nevernight, as you should definitely start there (synopsis from jaykristoff.com): In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family. Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined. Now, Mia…

The Essex Serpent
Blog , What We're Reading / June 5, 2018

As well as having the most beautiful cover in the world, The Essex Serpent caught my attention with its unique style and careful plot. Reviewers described it as a mix between Bram Stoker and Charles Dickens, and it does read like a Victorian gothic novel. When Cora Seaborne’s controlling husband dies, she steps into her new life as a widow with as much relief as sadness. Along with her son Francis – a curious, obsessive boy – she leaves town for Essex, in the hope that fresh air and open space will provide refuge. On arrival, rumours reach them that the mythical Essex Serpent, once said to roam the marshes claiming lives, has returned to the coastal parish of Aldwinter. Cora, a keen amateur naturalist with no patience for superstition, is enthralled, convinced that what the local people think is a magical beast may be a yet-undiscovered species. As she sets out on its trail, she is introduced to William Ransome, Aldwinter’s vicar, who is also deeply suspicious of the rumours, but thinks they are a distraction from true faith. As he tries to calm his parishioners, Will and Cora strike up an intense relationship, and although they agree on absolutely nothing,…