Freida and Isabel have been best friends their whole lives.
Now, aged sixteen and in their final year at the School, they expect to be selected as companions—wives to wealthy and powerful men. The alternative—life as a concubine—is too horrible to contemplate.
But as the intensity of the final year takes hold, the pressure to remain perfect becomes almost unbearable. Isabel starts to self-destruct, putting her beauty—her only asset—in peril.
And then, the boys arrive, eager to choose a bride.
Freida must fight for her future—even if it means betraying the only friend, the only love, she has ever known…
First published: 2014
Content warning: eating disorders
‘I heard him before I saw him: his battle cry ringing round the walls…’
When her city falls to the Greeks, Briseis’s old life is shattered. She goes from queen to captive, from free woman to slave, awarded to the godlike warrior Achilles as a prize of battle. She’s not alone. On the same day, and on many others in the course of a long, bitter war, innumerable women have been wrested from their homes and flung to the fighters.
As told in The Iliad, the Trojan War was a quarrel between men. But what of the women in this story, silenced by their fates? What words did they speak when alone with each other, in the laundry, at the loom, when laying out the dead?
In this magnificent novel of the Trojan War, Pat Barker summons the voices of Briseis and her fellow women to tell this mythic story anew, foregrounding their experiences against the backdrop of savage battle between men. One of the contemporary writers on war and its collateral damage, here Pat Barker reimagines the most famous of all wars in literature, charting one woman’s journey through it, as she struggles to free herself and to become the author of her own story.
First published: 2018
Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it.
While January seemed to go on for ages, February felt like it was over in a heartbeat. I blame it on those three days we didn’t have. I didn’t read as much in February as I did in January, but I did have a ton of fun reading! I read what is now a new favourite classic, and I finally read Landline, which had been sitting on my shelves for a good long while.
I also really enjoyed doing these mini reviews wrap up style last month, so I think I’m going to keep on doing that! Although, I’ll still be doing occasional full-length reviews for books I really have a lot to say on (I’ll be finishing On the Come Up by Angie Thomas later today – you can bet I have a lot to say about that!).
Anyway, on to the books!
Landline by Rainbow Rowell ★★★⭑☆ (3.5)
After my fantasy-heavy rotation in January, I really felt like reading a light contemporary novel at the start of February and Landline was the perfect pick. Rainbow Rowell is one of my favourite writers, but I have to say I’ve loved her YA novels much more than her adult ones. Fangirl and Eleanor & Park are both favourites of mine, but Attachments and now this one, while definitely enjoyable, weren’t that memorable to me. I love Rainbow Rowell’s writing, especially her dialogues and she also writes amazing characters. They’re always interesting and Georgie and Neal in Landline were so well-rounded and vibrant. I loved getting to know them and their relationship better throughout the book. It was a wonderful, flawed, realistic love story. Apart from the magic phone – that’s the one thing that just didn’t really do it for me.
The first month of the year is already over! Well, I say “already”, but January definitely felt like it was longer than 31 days, didn’t it? Have we uncovered a conspiracy here?
One of the reasons why I think January was longer than most months is that I managed to read six books this month! That’s pretty crazy for me – even though two of the books were graphic novels/comic books. It was a wonderful month, reading-wise, and I figured a good way to update you on all the books I read is by doing another round of mini reviews.
So, since we’ve got six (!) books to get through, let’s get to it!
This review contains spoilers for the entire Throne of Glass series, including Kingdom of Ash itself
Aelin has risked everything to save her people―but at a tremendous cost. Locked within an iron coffin by the Queen of the Fae, Aelin must draw upon her fiery will as she endures months of torture. Aware that yielding to Maeve will doom those she loves keeps her from breaking, though her resolve begins to unravel with each passing day…
With Aelin captured, Aedion and Lysandra remain the last line of defense to protect Terrasen from utter destruction. Yet they soon realize that the many allies they’ve gathered to battle Erawan’s hordes might not be enough to save them. Scattered across the continent and racing against time, Chaol, Manon, and Dorian are forced to forge their own paths to meet their fates. Hanging in the balance is any hope of salvation―and a better world.
And across the sea, his companions unwavering beside him, Rowan hunts to find his captured wife and queen―before she is lost to him forever.
As the threads of fate weave together at last, all must fight, if they are to have a chance at a future. Some bonds will grow even deeper, while others will be severed forever in the explosive final chapter of the Throne of Glass series.
First published: 2018
Sarai has lived and breathed nightmares since she was six years old.
She believed she knew every horror, and was beyond surprise.
She was wrong.
First published: October 2018
This book is a sequel – read my review of the first book here.
Following the death of his mother, Max Friedman comes to believe that he is sharing his brain with a tumour. As he becomes focused on controlling the malignant tenant, he starts to lose touch with his friends and family, and with reality itself – so Max’s father sends him off to the artsy Baldwin School to regain his footing.
Soon, Max has joined a group of theatre misfits in a steam-punk production of Hamlet. He befriends Fish, a girl with pink hair and a troubled past, and The Monk, a boy who refuses to let go of the things he loves. Max starts to feel happy, and the ghosts of his past seem to be gone for ever.
But the tumour is always lurking in the wings – until one night it knocks him down, and Max is forced to face the truth.
Published by Pushkin Press in 2018
**I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review**
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.
First published: 2017
“I need you to be my person. I need to see you. And hear you. I need you to stay alive. And I need you to stop kissing other people just because they’re standing next to you when the ball drops.”
Two festive short stories
Midnights is the story of Noel and Mags, who meet at the same New Year’s Eve party every year and fall a little more in love each time…
Kindred Spirits is about Elena, who decides to queue to see the new Star Wars movie and meets Gabe, a fellow fan.
First published: 2017