173. The Heart Goes Last -Margaret Atwood

 Title: The Heart Goes Last

Author: Margaret Atwood

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

On the Shelves: Fiction> Dystopian

Margaret Atwood puts the human heart to the ultimate test in an utterly brilliant new novel that is as visionary as The Handmaid’s Tale and as richly imagined as The Blind Assassin.
Stan and Charmaine are a married couple trying to stay afloat in the midst of an economic and social collapse. Job loss has forced them to live in their car, leaving them vulnerable to roving gangs. They desperately need to turn their situation around – and fast. The Positron Project in the town of Consilience seems to be the answer to their prayers. No one is unemployed and everyone gets a comfortable, clean house to live in… for six months out of the year. On alternating months, residents of Consilience must leave their homes and function as inmates in the Positron prison system. Once their month of service in the prison is completed, they can return to their “civilian” homes. 
At first, this doesn’t seem like too much of a sacrifice to make in order to have a roof over one’s head and food to eat. But when Charmaine becomes romantically involved with the man who lives in their house during the months when she and Stan are in the prison, a series of troubling events unfolds, putting Stan’s life in danger. With each passing day, Positron looks less like a prayer answered and more like a chilling prophecy fulfilled. (Goodreads 2017)

Sidenote: I am updating this from the wordpress app so I apologise for the lack of a cut to  save your pages-I will get it edited.

This is the second book of Atwood’s I have read, the first being The Handmaid’s Tale, back when I was doing A level English Lit in school. I have wanted to read more of her work since then but just hadn’t gotten around to it. 

The Heart Goes Last is a dystopian fiction where society has gone to the dogs. The economy is awful, no employment, the property bubble has burst and people, including Stan and Charmaine, are living out of their car on scraps and begging for any opportunity.  And then opportunity comes knocking-or so it seems.

The powers thay be have set up a “safe space” for any persons who get accepted into the programme. It will secure property, employment, boost the economy and help citizens feel they are valued again while ensuring they do not go cold and hungry. The catch? Half of their time will be spent in allocated accomodation, living normally with their families. The other half will be spent in prison, completing work such as factory work- horticulture, sewing and the like. It seems like a grand idea but it starts to unravel for Stan and Charmaine when Stan starts to get paranoid that Charmaine is having an affair…is he paranoid after all?

Atwood has a wonderfully subtle way of building up tension and using it to snowball the story from a simple gesture into a huge movement. The story itself is intriguing and the characters are likeable despite being flawed in numerous ways. There were one or two plot twists which I didn’t see coming and it is so refreshing to not be able to predict where a story will go.

I really enjoyed this and recommend it to anybody who likes dystopian fiction.

Advertisements

172. Strange the Dreamer- Laini Taylor

29748925

Title: Strange the Dreamer

Author: Laini Taylor

Rating:★★★★

On the Shelves: Young Adult> Fantasy

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real? (Goodreads 2017)

Continue reading

171. Caraval- Stephanie Garber

27883214

Title: Caraval

Author: Stephanie Garber

Rating: ★★★★

On the Shelves: Young Adult Fiction> Fantasy

Remember, it’s only a game…

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away. (Goodreads 2017Goodreads 2017)

Continue reading

170. Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4)

13206900

Title: Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4)

Author: Marissa Meyer

Rating: ★★★★

On the Shelves: Young Adult> Fantasy/Sci-fi/Fairy tales

Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mark her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend–the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters? Fans will not want to miss this thrilling conclusion to Marissa Meyer’s national bestselling Lunar Chronicles series.” (Goodreads 2017)

Continue reading

169. Emergency Admissions: Memoirs of an Ambulance Driver

31143793

Title: Emergency Admissions: Memoirs of an Ambulance Driver

Author: Kit Wharton

Rating: ★★★★

On the Shelves: Non-Fiction>Memoir

Shocking, funny and unflinchingly honest, Emergency Admissions gives us a fascinating glimpse into the extraordinary world of ambulance driving from the man behind the wheel.

Kit Wharton has been an ambulance driver for a dozen years. This book is his report from the frontline of that work: 999 calls that hurtle him to critical moments in other peoples’ lives. Nothing in this job is normal, every job is different. From the bizarre to the terrifying and tragic, Wharton takes the reader through his strange work.

There is an S&M party gone horribly wrong and bodily discharges sure to make you wretch. There is a man who calls 999 saying he has picked a spot – you can imagine Kit’s irritation. When he arrives, the patient is lying in a pool of his own blood. On the other hand there are colossal time wasters. There are extraordinarily sad stories, heart-warming, touching instances of human bravery and connection

Along the way Kit reveals more about his own unconventional upbringing, a childhood pickled in alcohol abuse and bohemian family set ups. As he says, he was well prepared for the ambulance service…(Goodreads 2017)

Continue reading

168. Fairyloot Subscription Box

fairyloot3

 

And now for something a little bit different from my usual programming. I have wanted to do a review post on this for a little while. I  give you my review of the UK Young Adult fantasy subscription box: Fairyloot!

*Note: I have not been paid or given any sort of gifting by this company to do this unboxing, I just am genuinely impressed and want to share the goods with others who may be interested!!

Continue reading

167. A Court of Wings and Ruin (ACOTAR #3)

23766634

Title: A Court of Wings and Ruin (ACOTAR #3)

Author: Sarah J Maas

Rating: ★★★★★

On the Shelves: YA fiction> Fantasy (WARNING: NSFW/Mature scenes)

Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s manoeuvrings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit – and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places. 

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all. (Goodreads 2017)

Continue reading

166. Home Front- Kristin Hannah

12022079

Title: Home Front

Author: Kristin Hannah

Rating: ★★★

On the shelves: Fiction> Contemporary

All marriages have a breaking point. All families have wounds. All wars have a cost. . . .

Like many couples, Michael and Jolene Zarkades have to face the pressures of everyday life–children, careers, bills, chores–even as their twelve-year marriage is falling apart. Then an unexpected deployment sends Jolene deep into harm’s way and leaves defense attorney Michael at home, unaccustomed to being a single parent to their two girls. As a mother, it agonizes Jolene to leave her family, but as a soldier she has always understood the true meaning of duty. In her letters home, she paints a rose-colored version of her life on the front lines, shielding her family from the truth. But war will change Jolene in ways that none of them could have foreseen. When tragedy strikes, Michael must face his darkest fear and fight a battle of his own–for everything that matters to his family.

At once a profoundly honest look at modern marriage and a dramatic exploration of the toll war takes on an ordinary American family, Home Front is a story of love, loss, heroism, honor, and ultimately, hope. (Goodreads 2017)

Continue reading

165. On the Other Side- Carrie Hope Fletcher

25744542

Title: On the Other Side

Author: Carrie Hope Fletcher

Rating: ★★★★

On the Shelves: Fiction> Romance

A love story like no other, this is the debut novel from Carrie Hope Fletcher, author of the Sunday Times No. 1 bestseller All I Know Now.

Evie Snow is eighty-two when she quietly passes away in her sleep, surrounded by her children and grandchildren. It’s the way most people wish to leave the world but when Evie reaches the door of her own private heaven, she finds that she’s become her twenty-seven-year-old self and the door won’t open.

Evie’s soul must be light enough to pass through so she needs to get rid of whatever is making her soul heavy. For Evie, this means unburdening herself of the three secrets that have weighed her down for over fifty years, so she must find a way to reveal them before it’s too late. As Evie begins the journey of a lifetime, she learns more about life and love than she ever thought possible, and somehow , some way, she may also find her way back to her long lost love . . .

On the Other Side will transport you to a world that is impossible to forget. Powerful, magical and utterly romantic, this is a love story like no other from everyone’s favourite ‘big sister’, Carrie Hope Fletcher. (Goodreads 2017)

Continue reading

164. Harry Potter & the Cursed Child

29056083

Title: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Author: J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne

Rating: ★★★

On the Shelves: Fiction> Young Adult/ Fantasy

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places (Goodreads 2017)

Continue reading