All posts tagged: Review

Review: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

I like a grim(m) fairy-tale retelling as much as the next person, and a dark, modern re-imagining of Alice in Wonderland sounds fab, does it not? And yes, for the first third of The Hazel Wood, I was excited. Engrossed, even. The premise is mysterious and enticing: Alice, our teenage protagonist, has been moving from place to place her entire life, her mum her only constant. She’s never really known why her mum keeps packing them off different places, but best she can tell it’s to escape the vicious “bad luck” they can’t help but encounter. “But I still saw the shadow of the bad luck: a woman who trailed me through a used bookstore, whispered something obscene in my ear as she picked my phone from my pocket. Streetlights winking out over my head, one by one, as I walked down the street after midnight. The same busker showing up with his guitar on every train I rode for a week, singing “Go Ask Alice” in his spooky tenor.” There’s something creepy about the …

Review: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

“The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around”– and this much is true for Lazlo Strange, a junior librarian obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, a fallen world whose very name disappeared from the world, the city along with it. Filled with dreams and monsters, gods and magic, Laini Taylor’s new fantasy is just as fairy-tale-esque as it sounds. I was hooked from the start. Lazlo Strange is a sweet and likable protagonist who I enjoyed following. He suffers a bit from Laini Taylor’s typical protagonist blandness (they’re all just so nice!), but really it was the plot I was there for. Intriguing from page one, Laini Taylor presents us with so many fantastic ideas and interesting questions to be answered, all written with a prose so purple I should have hated it, but when it’s Laini Taylor I just lap it up. “There were two mysteries, actually: one old, one new. The old one opened his mind, but it was the new one that climbed inside, turned several circles, and …

Review: A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled by Ruby Wax

“Well, I have spent most of my waking hours (and some of the sleeping ones) in the Land of Frazzledom, so I feel qualified to act as an expert tourist guide, pointing out some of the more notable swamplands of confusion and self-doubt. Take comfort in knowing that you are not alone in these lands. I’ve come to the conclusion that we all in this together: many reside in the Land of Frazzledom and we all trying to find some kind of exit route. I’ve also decided that rather than spending all time complaining, or pointing a finger at problems outside in the world for making us feel so unhinged, we need to learn to navigate those sharp rocks of uncertainty and bewilderment. In this book, I’ll give you some recommendations for the best holiday destinations to rest and refuel.” The land of Frazzledom is probably familiar territory for the best of us. Everyday stresses are a constant companion, and In this semi-autobiography slash self-help guide, Ruby Wax attempts help us de-frazzle with an introduction …

Review: The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson

Jon Ronson is an accessible and relateable investigative journalist with some interesting books. Possibly his most famous, The Psychopath Test, was the one I was the most drawn to: an unassuming jaunt into the mind of the world’s most mentally ill? Yes please. Psychopathy is absurdly fascinating and I certainly don’t know enough about it. I just wish I could say I knew more after finishing this book.

Review: Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire

I’ve grown to really enjoy Seanan McGuire; her novel concepts are stellar, though her execution sometimes falls a bit short (as in the case of Every Heart a Doorway). I was excited to pick up her latest novella, a speculative take on ghosts and the concept of the Afterlife. Anyone who knows me will agree that ghosts are totally my jam. Protagonist Jenny, bit of a Mary Sue but nonetheless lovable, has an unhealthy obsession with her sister Patty. When it is discovered that Patty has died by her own hand, Jenny feels somehow responsible, and in her grief runs out of the house into a raging storm, killing herself in the process. Forty years later, Jenny is “living” in New York as a ghost. Having become fully aware that every soul is granted a specific time on earth, Jenny must continue to exist on this plane until she reaches the end of her allotted time. In McGuire’s world, ghosts are able to take time from the living, moving themselves closer to their deathday while …