Top Ten Most Anticipated Reads for the Rest of 2017

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme run by the lovely ladies of The Broke and the Bookish bringing together two of my favourite things – books and lists. This week’s topic is the ten books we are most excited to get our hands on during the rest of 2017.

Listed in order of release…

Spellbook of the Lost and Found – Moira Fowley Doyle (Corgi, 1st June)

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I adored Moira Fowley Doyle’s magical debut, The Accident Season, and have been eagerly anticipating this book. The author has described it on Twitter as a ‘weird little book about poteen & patron saints, tattoos & rusty keys, secrets & magic, longing & lost things’ and I am sure I will be enthralled by her beautiful writing once more. Launch in Eason O’Connell St on June 2nd.

One of Us is Lying – Karen M McManus (Penguin, 1st June)

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This sounds like a tense and thrilling read, and I do love a good mystery!

Once and for All – Sarah Dessen (Penguin, 6th June)

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What better to read in summer than a Sarah Dessen book? No more needs to be said.

When Dimple Met Rishi – Sandhya Menon (Hodder, 13th July)

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A YA romance told from alternating perspectives of two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married. It’s been getting great reviews, and I’m trying to read more diverse YA.

The Guggenheim Mystery – Robin Stevens (Penguin Random House, August)

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This is the sequel to Siobhan Dowd’s fantastic book The London Eye Mystery. Dowd was a brilliant talent – Bog Child is an incredible book – and Stevens is a wonderful choice to continue on this story. I look forward to seeing what she does with it, and to re-reading The London Eye Mystery in preparation!

Genuine Fraud – E. Lockhart (Hot Key Books, 5th September)

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When I got a proof copy of this through the bookshop my excitement was uncontainable. So far Lockhart’s voice is as sharp and intriguing as ever.

Moonrise – Sarah Crossan (Bloomsbury, 7th September)

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Sarah Crossan is queen of the verse novel, and of strong voices. One is one of my favourite YA books and so deserving of the many awards it has won. I am sure this book, about a boy whose brother is on death row, will be as moving and poignant as her other books.

The Break – Marian Keyes (Penguin, 7th September)

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Marian Keyes’ novels blend comedy and drama with memorable characters and note perfect dialogue. I only came to her books a couple of years ago, and I flew through them. I know I will love this!

It Only Happens in the Movies – Holly Bourne (Usborne, 1st October)

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While I will miss the Spinster Club girls, I am very much looking forward to Holly Bourne’s next YA venture!

Tangleweed and Brine – Deirdre Sullivan (Little Island, October)

Tangleweed and Brine will be a collection of feminist fairytale retellings, illustrated by Karen Vaughan. Her Rumpelstiltskin story was previewed on online Irish design journal Make Believe and gives an idea of how dark and magical the book will be.

 

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Review: Like Other Girls by Claire Hennessy

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Like Other Girls

Claire Hennessy

Hot Key Books (2017)

YA, Contemporary

Like Other Girls is the story of Lauren, a 16-year-old bisexual girl grappling with the sometimes harsh realities of being a young woman in contemporary Irish society. Lauren is struggling with her identity – with the expectations of perfect femininity espoused by her all girls school, with dismissive attitudes towards bisexuality she finds even within the LGBTQIA community, and with her relationships, particularly with her boyfriend and the best friend she is still somewhat in love with. Then, she finds out she is pregnant. Readers familiar with Irish law will know the implications of this for Lauren, as she journeys alone to England for an abortion.

Lauren is a complex protagonist, and one in an incredibly difficult situation. She makes some bad choices, and Hennessy doesn’t shy away from showing Lauren’s darker and more ‘problematic’ (to use a much discussed word) thoughts. At times this can make for uncomfortable reading, particularly when Lauren is dealing with a close friend (whom she still has feelings for) coming out as transgender, or considering the degree of privilege you have as a cisgender woman in a country that denies women bodily autonomy. I do wish some of Lauren’s attitudes had been challenged a bit more, the transphobia in the book did make me uncomfortable, however her friend Ellie does call her out and at the end of the book there is a sense of Lauren growing as a person. Besides, in other ways Lauren’s flaws are a strength of the book and part of the way it pushes back against the pressure on girls to always be perfect.

Hennessy’s book is incredibly timely and will make readers angry. She uses articles very similar to those Irish readers will have encountered over the last few years, and a chilling scene in which her protagonist is given misleading and false information at a ‘counselling’ service. It evokes a very true-to-life sense of what it is like to be female in a country in which you don’t have bodily autonomy, in which abortion is illegal, and in which girls and women like Lauren must travel to the UK every single day for a medical procedure that should be available safely and legally in their home country. The trauma Lauren goes through makes the book painful to read, and shows how damaging the lack of access to abortion in Ireland is. Acclaimed Irish writer Marian Keyes has said that this book ‘all but quivers with righteous anger’, and I think its readers will too.

Like Other Girls tackles a number of very sensitive topics without falling into that dangerous trap of becoming an issue novel, without moralising or preaching, and without demonising its protagonist or giving her an unrealistic ‘happily-ever-after’ type ending. It is also a funny book, filled with pop culture and musical references, and with a strong, snarky voice at its centre. It also has a fantastic cover – it’s a label! for a book about labels! – designed by Leo Nickolls.

To sum up – Like Other Girls is a fierce, feminist book that while not an easy read, is an important one. We need stories like Lauren’s, and we need to repeal the eighth amendment.

Like Other Girls will be launched tonight, May 25th, in Dept 51 at Eason O’Connell Street at 6pm.

Review: The Forever Court by Dave Rudden

I have been eagerly awaiting this, the second book in the Knights of the Borrowed Dark trilogy, and am happy to say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Thanks to the lovely folks at Puffin Books for sending me a copy to review!

30287713The Forever Court (Knights of the Borrowed Dark #2)

Dave Rudden

Puffin Books (2017)

Fantasy, 10+

Denizen Hardwick is getting used to his new life, as much as anyone can get used to a world of magic and shadowy monsters, that is. He is training hard to become a Knight, and struggling to control the swirling mass of magic in his mind. The fire wants to find a way out, but Denizen must remember the Cost that comes with using his powers, a price paid in iron. Then, the Knights of the Borrowed Dark are summoned to a meeting of the Forever Court, the higher powers among the monstrous Tenebrae. For Denizen this also means seeing Mercy, the Endless King’s daughter, for the first time since he saved her (and the world) and confronting his feelings for her…

With the same mixture of beautiful writing, exciting plot and strong characters that made me love Knights of the Borrowed Dark, this was a gripping and exciting read. I have a lot of love for Denizen, Rudden’s anxious bookish protagonist, and his voice (not to mention his repertoire of frowns) was even stronger in this sequel. I also feel that the relationship between Denizen and Vivian was explored very well in this book, the complexities for both of them in being reunited and trying to deal with their complicated past. The characters in the book are all nuanced and multi layered, and I enjoyed getting to know them better here.

The romance between Denizen and Mercy was sweet and endearingly awkward. Their interactions, and Simon and Denizen’s banter lightened the mood of the book which certainly has its dark and creepy moments.

Rudden’s language is lyrical, and there were many times where I stopped just to admire the way he phrases things. Things like:

Not beautiful in the way a human could be beautiful – no, this was a sparse and terrible kind of beauty, a beauty like that of the island, the kind of beauty that wanted you dead.

Or:

Dublin, however, was a liar of a city.

 I love reading books set in places I know, and it’s great seeing familiar parts of Dublin in the KOTBD books. There are some fantastic scenes in this book set in the Long Room at Trinity College Dublin, as can be seen on the cover. Large scale fight scenes such as the one in the Long Room show Rudden’s skillful writing of exciting action sequences, but he is equally adept at conveying Denizen’s more contemplative and conflicted moments. My one criticism was that I found myself getting confused with the who’s who of the Croit family at times. However, overall this was an exciting read and a very satisfying sequel.

As there is quite a bit of darkness in these books, as a bookseller I would tend to recommend them for readers aged 10/11+ but teens and adults will also enjoy this gripping and beautifully told fantasy adventure.

Review: Release by Patrick Ness

I love Patrick Ness’ writing and think he is one of the best YA writers working at the moment. I was delighted to receive an ARC of his latest book, Release, from LoveReading4Kids to review.

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Release

Patrick Ness

Walker Books (May 2017)

YA

Taking place over a single Saturday in summer, Release is the story of a day that will change seventeen-year-old Adam Thorn’s life forever. He feels trapped in his devoutly religious family, his crappy job, his mixed up personal life…he learns to escape and be able to really live. Meanwhile, across town, someone else is having an extraordinary day of their own…

Ness has stated that Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway and Judy Blume’s Forever influenced this book. The opening line is a nod to Mrs Dalloway, as is the one-day structure and some of the style. I think Release is most akin to Forever in its frankness and openness about sexuality and teenage life, arguably it could be seen as an LGBTQ Forever, or a modern day Forever. However, the nods are subtle and the reader does not need to be familiar with these texts. Release is unmistakeably a Patrick Ness book and showcases the power of his writing and the depth of his characters. Personally, I much preferred the Adam Thorn storyline to the supernatural/ghost story, and was found myself keen to get back to this when the narrative switched.

The book is set over a single day, this structure lends it an intensity and gives the reader a sense of being at a pivotal moment in Adam Thorn’s life, of the tumult and change of adolescence, in a powerful, poignant punch of a book. This book is one that will stay with me, and Adam is an incredibly well-drawn character.

Raw, powerful and moving, this is a book that draws the reader in, one they won’t want to be released from. Fans of Patrick Ness will not be disappointed.

 

 

Author Interview: Meg Grehan (The Space Between)

I loved Meg Grehan’s lyrical and honest verse novel The Space Between (my review) and was delighted when she agreed to an interview. Read on for more about verse novels, LGBTQIA YA, Meg’s writing process and her experiences as a debut writer.

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Did The Space Between start out in poetry or in prose?

It started as prose but that only lasted maybe a thousand words or so, the second I thought of verse that was that! It fit the story much better and felt much more natural.

 

When did you become aware of verse novels as a form, and what are some of your favourite verse novels?

I think the first one I read was Crank by Ellen Hopkins and I remember it as such a weird, visceral reading experience. It’s such a versatile type of writing, it can be so beautiful and rhythmic or hard and jutting or anything in between and that really appeals to me. As for favourites it has to be Sarah Crossan really, doesn’t it? She’s the queen of verse! One and The Weight of Water are such gorgeous books.

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On your blog you refer to the book as Mouse – when did you decide on The Space Between as the title?

I submitted it as Mouse but in my first meeting with Little Island we discussed changing it. I was pretty reluctant at first and we tried a couple different names but I think we landed on a good one! Once I saw it on the cover I knew it was the right fit.

 

Why did you choose to write in third person? I think one of the most skillful things about the book is how we still get into Beth’s head, even without the book being in first person.

I think the decision came from how personal the story is. Writing in first person didn’t feel right, it needed to be a little further from me or else it would have become a strange fictionalised journal! Third person let Beth be her own character and let me see her anxieties more clearly, instead of getting them muddled with my own.

 

Did you write the book chronologically, or were there certain poems you came up with first? Was there much shuffling around of poems?

I wrote it all out of order, it was a big messy muddle. I had a vague outline of the story in my head and I just wrote whatever popped into my head and pieced it together when I felt it was done. There were a lot of sticky notes involved!

 

Could you tell me about the editing process for the book, and when things like formatting (e.g. the breathing part), the use of italics for the ‘flashbacks’, or capitalisation (the plan/The Plan) came into the book?

They were all there from the start. My favourite thing about writing verse is the total freedom to use the page however you want, I put words where I felt they fit best and most, if not all of the formatting is the exact same way it was in the first draft. It’s all based on instinct, where the words fit and flow best. Capitals are the same, I feel like a capital gives a word extra importance or makes it a little more formal and I like playing with that.

 

Some of the poems are difficult to read emotionally as they are so powerful, were there particular poems you found hard to write?

The only poem that was difficult to write was the slightly saucy one nearer the end, I couldn’t stop blushing and smashing my laptop shut whenever anyone so much as looked at me! The emotional ones were easy, a lot of the time I used whatever was happening in my head at that moment as a starting point so they flew out. It was good, it always helped my head feel a little lighter.

 

What are some of your favourite YA books, and what would you like to see more of in YA this year?

Everything by Patrick Ness! I even have a tattoo of a line from Monsters of Men, his books are incredible. Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour is one I could read over and over. Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan, Needlework by Deirdre Sullivan, Ash by Malinda Lo, Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan Maguire… there are a lot!

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I’d love to see more positive representation for queer girls, more rep for people on the asexual and aromantic spectrums, more LGBTQIA rep in general!

 

I love that The Space Between has such a sweet and happy love story between two young women at its core. You have said on your blog ‘I’m all about inclusive own-voices lit and have made it my mission to fill the shelves with happy, diverse stories.’ What do you think the importance of these diverse stories is?

I’ve been with my girlfriend since we were 19, we had been living together almost a year and I’d been out and open for two years before I could comfortably refer to myself as a lesbian even if it was just her in the room with me. I didn’t see myself until I’d already scrambled my way through the identity maze and even now, six years in, I still get a lovely fuzzy happy feeling in my tummy when I see women loving women in books or movies or TV shows. It means the world to me. It’s immeasurably important for kids to see that they can be themselves and be happy. Representation normalises our experiences, it validates our experiences and shows people with different experiences that we exist! If all we see is sad, tragic or negative representation what does that tell us about ourselves and our futures?

 

One of the reasons The Space Between is so moving is its honesty, particularly about mental health. You have written on your blog about your own struggles, and I think readers will really identify with Beth. Was this something you set out to do in writing the book, and are there particular books that you have found helpful?

I set out to take my own messy brain and try to see it from a different perspective. Writing about the things I was struggling with let me see it a little more clearly and find new ways to ease it all a bit. It’s been quite strange because before I started writing the book I was incredibly private about my mental health, I didn’t tell anyone anything and would force myself to pretend I was ok and then deal with the exhaustion that brings later. The first time I mentioned it on my blog I completely panicked and almost deleted the post a bunch of times! Beth gave me a way to tell people what was going on, which was terrifying but so worth it. Now I’m completely comfortable talking about my experiences! I would love for her and the story to help people who feel similar feel a little less alone.

I didn’t really have any books that I felt helped directly, which is part of why I wrote The Space Between. Having said that, Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne is really special to me because it was the very first time I read about an agoraphobic character. The main character Evie’s sympathy and understanding for Oli really touched me and still means a lot to me.

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The Space Between is your debut – what has your experience of the publication process been like, and what advice would you give to new writers?

The whole experience has been wonderful! It’s something I’ve always, always wanted so it was overwhelming sometimes but I had such a positive experience.

My advice to new writers is to trust your instincts, but be wary of the ones that whisper negative things. There’s so much advice out there, don’t feel that you need to take it all. Find your own way of doing things and trust yourself. And always take lots of dance breaks! They will shake the dust away and give you a boost, I swear after every few pages I get up and dance like a fool and it’s the best!

 

What is next for you writing wise?

Lots of writing! I’m working away right now on a story I love, so who knows!

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Meg Grehan at the launch of The Space Between in The Gutter Bookshop, Dublin

Review: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

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The Upside of Unrequited

Becky Albertalli

HarperTeen (2017) – YA/Contemporary

Molly Peskin-Suso is seventeen years old, and has had a string of crushes (twenty six, to be exact) but has never had a boyfriend. Now that her twin sister Cassie besotted with Mina, Molly feels more alone than ever. But Mina’s friend Hipster Will is attractive and seems to be into Molly. Maybe this is a way for Molly to burst her cautious bubble, and to not be left behind by her sister. However, there’s also Reid from work, the guy who totally isn’t Molly’s type. yet who she can’t stop thinking about…

I loved Becky Albertalli’s debut Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, and so have been eagerly anticipating this book. While I didn’t love it quite as much as her first book, I found The Upside of Unrequited to be a very enjoyable read with diverse and complex characters.

Albertalli makes very effective use of social media in the book; for example the texting and emoji made it feel current,  and definitely a modern romance. Albertalli is one of my favourite contemporary YA writers at the moment, for her pop culture references, her ear for dialogue and nuanced exploration of all kinds of relationships.

She excels at creating very sweet romances, and like with Simon, she shows a diverse range of relationships here. However, while the romance was very swoon-worthy and well developed, I was pleased by the focus on sisterhood and friendship, and the changing nature of such relationships over time. Sometimes growing up does mean growing apart, and this is something that really is explored in this book.

Albertalli’s books are part of the growing body of wonderful LGBTQIA YA books out there.  One of my favourite things about this book was how diverse it was, without any tokenism or characters being shoehorned in. Molly and Cassie have two mothers, who are very much involved in the story and whose relationship and family are also explored. There are characters of different ethnicities and sexualities, and while different experiences are explored it never feels like an issue book. The more I think about this book, the more I realise just how much there is in it. Molly’s anxiety (and the matter of fact way in which her medication is discussed), her issues with body image, the layered relationships between the characters…

The Upside of Unrequited is an excellent book exploring a variety of relationships – romance, family, friends, self – with memorable characters and sweet romance. Highly recommended for fans of Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, or fans of brilliant contemporary YA!

Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

A YA novel inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas has been getting a lot of (much deserved!) attention lately. It is topping bestseller lists, and is to be made into a movie. Best of all, it is creating much needed dialogues.
Angie Thomas will be at Dept 51 in Eason O’Connell Street at 6pm this evening, and will be interviewed by YA author Deirdre Sullivan.
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The Hate U Give
Angie Thomas
Walker Books (April 2017)
YA Contemporary
What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?
Sixteen-year-old Starr is caught between two worlds, the poor neighbourhood she calls home and the posh high school in which she feels like an outsider. She isn’t quite sure which Starr is the ‘real’ Starr, and how to balance the different aspects of her life. When she witnesses a police officer shooting her friend Khalil, her world is shattered. Khalil was unarmed when their car was pulled over, but this isn’t the story the media is telling. If Starr speaks out she could put herself and her family in danger; but if she doesn’t, how will this prejudice ever change? Her voice is her weapon, but will she use it?
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a gripping and powerful read that I think should be essential reading for teenagers and adults alike. Thomas gives an emotional insight into the life of a black teenager grappling with racism and police brutality. The Hate U Give is a striking look at racial prejudice in the 21st century, both in tragic events like shootings and the insidious effect of racist remarks and slurs.
Starr’s struggle to get justice for Khalil is moving and heart wrenching. She is a complex character, and a very believable one. Starr is a brilliant heroine, she is real and conflicted and her voice is very strong. Angie Thomas really conveys the trauma Starr is going through after the loss of Khalil, and the impact of another death when she was a child. The family dynamics are also very well done and the dialogue is snappy and on point.
This is a brilliant and important book, one I want to press into people’s hands, it’s such an important book. It is a very impressive debut, and I look forward to reading more books by Angie Thomas in the future.

Review: The Space Between by Meg Grehan

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The Space Between

Meg Grehan

Little Island (March 2017)

YA

Beth has decided to take a year of solitude. Hidden away in her house, she lives according to a schedule, it makes her feel safe and secure. She has her own little world, and everything is under control there. Then, one day a dog called Mouse arrives at her window. Mouse brings Beth a rare and unexpected burst of joy, but it is his owner Alice who really changes Beth’s world. But Beth’s anxieties are still there, her year of seclusion rolls out, and letting someone else into her life is strange and scary.

This is a beautiful book in so many ways. The cover (designed by Paula McGloin) is gorgeous, and sets the tone for the book. The Space Between is a tender love story; quiet, emotional and moving. Grehan really conveys Beth’s anxiety and the ways in which her phobias trap and restrict her. At times the book can be difficult to read, and I felt panic setting  in myself reading some of the poems.

Just do the same thing

at the same time

just do it again and

again and again and

again and again and

again and again and

again until it sinks in

until your brain accepts it

until you can pretend

until you can pass as a person

Beth’s connection with Alice, the progression from friendship to something more, is handled tenderly. This relationship was built up slowly, in a manner that felt very realistic. Grehan explores the complexity for Beth of having a connection to the outside world once more. Beth has cut herself off from the rest of the world, and Alice’s ability to navigate it and to do things Beth isn’t able to do anymore is a source of tension. It is always good to see more LGBTQ love stories out there, particularly one portrayed in such a positive light. At times it did feel a bit too rosy, but of course I was glad Alice and Beth got their happy ending. I also would have liked the book to have been a bit longer,  I was enjoying it so much!

I also loved the fact that Alice, while playing a major role in Beth’s recovery, was not a knight in shining armour and Beth has to rely on her own inner strength to get better. Alice says to Beth at one point ‘I can’t be your reason.’ The Space Between shows how love and friendship can enrich your life and bring healing, but in the end Beth is the one who must take the steps, who must save herself. The ending is hopeful, but it is clear that Beth still has a long way to go and there is a sense that her recovery will be an ongoing process, with ups and downs. In this way, Grehan portrays mental illness in a very realistic way. Beth’s anxieties are by no means romanticised or beautified, and we really see how difficult coping with her agoraphobia, anxiety and depression is.

Above all, this is a beautifully written work. Even in the third person, we get right inside Beth’s head. The poems bring us right into her consciousness, and they flow beautifully. The formatting and typesetting are clever, and Grehan plays with the forms of the poems. I loved the part in which Beth is focusing on her breathing. In verse novels, words carry so much weight, and Grehan deftly weaves a moving tale of anguish, love and redemption. It is a short book, yet it has impact. Verse novels are much more prevalent in the US than in Ireland or the UK. Sarah Crossan is the most popular and prolific verse novelist in these parts, and it is great to see a new talent like Meg Grehan working in this format. Here’s to more Irish verse novels in the future!

The Space Between is an honest, delicate love story in verse, a book that warmed my heart and made me cry.

The Space Between will be launched in The Gutter Bookshop on Thursday March 30th by Deirdre Sullivan (author of Needlework and the Primrose Leary trilogy).

Space Between Launch

Review: Girl Reading by Katie Ward

I am always excited to discover a book that combines my two passions – books and art – and Girl Reading does so exceedingly well. I have been getting into reading short stories more of late, and this is a wonderful collection.

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Katie Ward

Virago Press (2011, this edition 2012)

Short stories – historical and contemporary fiction

This is an intriguing book, it has seven chapters or stories each focusing on an image of a girl or woman reading. I have also seen it described as a novel, but while it does come together at the end, it reads more like a collection of short stories to me. There is a great range in place and time – from early Renaissance Sienna to Victorian England to a futuristic virtual world. Each story is a world of its own, and completely involving at that. I loved how the final story linked the others together, but I also feel each story/chapter was very strong on its own.

Ward creates memorable and compelling characters – the twins who had a childhood career as mediums in the Victorian story are particularly striking, as is her innocent young artist in the Bloomsbury group-esque gathering at Arnault House, and her disillusioned political assistant having a drink in a London bar in the recent past.

I was resilient when I was younger. Headstrong. No one could talk me out of anything or stop me doing something I wanted to do. Recently I have begun to have doubts. Recently I’ve realised that version of myself has gone away.

There is a range of art forms too, from an altarpiece to a sketch to a photo posted on Flickr. The descriptions of the processes of studio photography in Victorian England were very interesting, but doesn’t take away from the story. There is a note at the end of the book (and links on Ward’s website) relating to the artworks that inspired the various stories. However, they work with or without this reference point. Art is central to each narrative, but so is identity, the sitter’s appearance and their inner life.

This is a book I have been thinking about since I finished reading it. The short story is a real art, and Ward succeeded in creating characters who are nuanced and complex, and who seem to live beyond the short page count of their narratives. A book I would recommend to readers with an interest in art, or with an interested in varied and absorbing narratives about women throughout history.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books on my Spring TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature run by wonderful blog The Broke and Bookish. This week’s theme is ten books on our Spring TBR (To Be Read) list.

I have recently moved out, and most of the books I brought with me are ones I haven’t read yet in an attempt to cut through my TBR list. (Of course some favourites like Fangirl, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, my special boxed Harry Potter set and my gift edition of Ballet Shoes also made the trip!) In that spirit, here are ten books on my shelves that I WILL read over the next few months.

Hidden Figures  – Margot Lee Shetterly

Having seen the fantastic film with my sisters, I am currently reading and loving the book that inspired it. The film was uplifting and entertaining, but the book has a wealth of information and history that didn’t make it to the screen.  I am learning lots, it is very well written and informative. Highly recommended!

The Call – Peadar Ó Guilín

This book has been on my shelf for a while…but I have been a bit afraid to read it. It has been described to me as ‘if the Hunger Games were set in Ireland’ and many of my fellow bookclubbers love it. With its recent shortlisting for the YA Book Prize and the CBI Book Awards now seems like the time to gather my courage and step into its creepy world…

NW – Zadie Smith

As I have mentioned on this blog before, I recently discovered Zadie Smith’s writing and now can’t get enough! A friend lent me NW and I just know I will love it. Next on my Zadie Smith list is White Teeth.

The Treachery of Beautiful Things – Ruth Frances Long

I love Long’s Dubh Linn trilogy, so I can’t wait to check out her earlier YA novel. It sounds like a spellbinding fantasy read, and the main character’s name is Jenny…already a good sign!

The Shadow Gate – Elizabeth Kostova

I was sent this book to review for LoveReading. I adored the spooky and atmospheric The Historian, and while I was less keen on Swan Thieves, Kostova is still always on my reading list!

After the Last Dance – Sarra Manning

I loved Sarra Manning’s Adorkable and have been meaning to read more of her books. While this is a very different book – historical fiction rather than contemporary YA – the premise is intriguing and I know the writing will be good.

Lives Like Loaded Guns – Lyndall Gordon

I am a big fan of Emily Dickinson’s poetry, so this book about her life and her family is right up my street. My great aunt passed it on to me, and the little bit I have read was very good. I am eager to get back to it, and have brought a book of Dickinson’s poetry with me also.

The Wild Air – Rebecca Mascull

This is a proof I picked up in the bookshop I worked in. The gorgeous cover and intriguing blurb were irresistible! It’s about female pilots in the Edwardian era. (Release date: April 2017)

The Lotterys Plus One – Emma Donoghue

I was intrigued to see Emma Donoghue has written a book for children (9-12 age group I believe) and couldn’t leave this proof behind in the shop. (Release date: April 2017)

Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index – Julie Israel

Another proof, this time from the Eason event with Ally Carter, Alwyn Hamilton and Marie Lu. I have been told by a trusted fellow bookclubber that I will love it! (Release date: June 2017)

Leave a link to your TTT in the comments, I would love to discover more great books. And follow me on Goodreads to see how I get on with this pile of books.