Into the Drowning Deep – Mira Grant [Books]

into the drowning deepI’m still relatively new to audiobooks. During February, I tried to only start books written by women. I picked up Into the Drowning Deep as I was looking specifically for horror titles, and this seemed a good choice on Audible.

I was not wrong.

Into the Drowning Deep tells the story of a group of scientists, searching for mermaids. Prior to the events of this book, another ship had searched for the same, mysterious creatures, only for the ship to disappear along with everyone on board. All that remains is footage of what looks like a mermaid, attacking those involved.

Victoria Stewart’s sister was on board the ship, and she searches for some way to make sense of what happened. When she’s approached and offered a chance to join the new voyage, she takes the chance.

Christine Lakin, the narrator for this, did an absolutely fantastic job. Audiobooks are not something I’m used to, but Lakin really did well to bring every character to life in the dialogue.

The atmosphere builds up really well, and it becomes easy to imagine the main setting of the novel, the huge cruise ship full of scientists and models-dressed-as-security. The real nature of the company behind both ventures is clear, but the individual characters all have their own motives and desires, threaded throughout the story and driving them forward.

Whether it’s searching for answers, validating their life’s work, or just being part of something amazing, each character is fully realised, drawing the reader in and allowing them to understand even the most minor characters.

The book really shines in the second half. Like most good horror, after we’ve met the characters and formed a relationship with them, the fun really begins, and Grant doesn’t hold back, teasing us with her use of tension and buildup of suspense.

I’m really glad I listened to the audiobook for this one, as Lakin really adds that extra punch to the story, and was easy to get absolutely lost in the story. If you’re looking for creepy, sea-based horror – with an interesting, diverse cast of characters – this is definitely one to check out.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Volume Two – Alan Moore [Books]

league vol 2It took me a long time to get around to reading The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and now I’m two volumes in I feel deeply invested in this mash of classic genre characters. For those who aren’t aware, the first volume introduces us to the core group of characters, pulled from works like Dracula, The Invisible Man, and Jekyll & Hyde.

If you’ve seen the 2003 film, you might have some idea of the characters encountered, but honestly from what I can remember of that film, it’s really not a great adaptation. If you want something a touch closer to the tone, style, and characterisation found within the graphic novel, Penny Dreadful is a much better choice.

The group is made up of Mina Murray, Allan Quartermain, Captain Nemo, Hawley Griffin, and Henry Jekyll. Other characters from classic genre fiction are pulled in to serve various purposes, and the second volume follows the core characters as they battle against an invasion force from Mars.

This volume feels a bit darker than the first. From the moment we meet Griffin in the first volume, we know he’s a POS, a fact which is emphasised and really comes to play in this volume. From what I can remember of the first, the plot mainly revolves around gathering the League, and a plot against London. In this volume, the threat feels larger.

Not only that, but we get to see more of the characters, good and bad sides, as they are separated in order to find a way to end the war. Mina isn’t perhaps as formidable and powerful as she feels in the first volume, but the events that transpire almost push her to breaking point – and, fair warning, there are some graphic scenes regarding this. Not to mention each character feels as if their death is waiting, very close with the Martians seemingly unstoppable attacks.

This feels like a fitting sequel to the first volume, and pushes the events along nicely, leaving the reader with the sense of time passing as the century comes to a close.

There was one element I wasn’t too fussed on. At the end of the first volume is a story, giving the reader an idea of what Quartermain had been up to, prior to the events of the graphic novel. It was entertaining and interesting. At the back of this volume is a sort of traveller’s guide to interesting places around the world, mixed in with some glimpses as to what the League members might have got up to, both before and after the events in both volume one and volume two.

And it dragged. There are some interesting nods there to other classical works – such as a group going down a rabbit hole after a young girl disappeared, only to reappear sprouting nonsense about a strange land. The guide is worldwide, but it felt like it was too much information relayed in a really dry way.

The best parts of the guide were, without a doubt, the moments we dropped back in with Murray and Quartermain. Where we got to witness what happened to them after leaving London, and I suspect these were designed to plant the seed for the next volume in the series.

Overall, I think if you’re already read and enjoyed Volume One, Volume Two is worth picking up. It adds to the characters, and it has some brilliant references to other works that’ll make readers smile, as well as the interesting take on War of the Worlds.

 

 

 

January 2020 Wrap Up [Books]

January 2020 Reading Wrap-Up

This wasn’t something I did month by month last year, mainly because I was only reading a few books a month. But I managed to start the year by reading nine books in one month, so I thought a wrap up would be a good idea! And I know this is fairly late, but hopefully I can get ones up earlier throughout the year.

Sangre: The Wrong Side of Tomorrow – Carlos Colon

received_2714049208646313I read this as part of a blog tour, hence why the review isn’t yet up. But it is a book I definitely enjoyed, with interesting takes on the vampire mythos. The story is told in two strands – the MC’s past, entwined with his present, as he tries to avoid the attention of the authorities after a few too many murders. It’s a good book, and I can’t wait for you to see the blog tour in May!

Yuri – Steve Stred

yuriMy Review

Yuri is a short, tightly packed read. It was really enjoyable, had me absolutely gripped, and is definitely worth checking out. Stred creates a really interesting world here, and I’m really looking forward to checking out more by this author.

Children of Virtue and Vengeance – Tomi Adeyemi

COV&V_JKT_Trade_032819.indd

My Review

I was really looking forward to this, after having thoroughly enjoyed Children of Blood and Bone. I maybe didn’t enjoy this installment as much as the first, but I still liked it and am now eagerly awaiting the third book in the series.

Slay My Love – Lee Colgin

slay my love

My Review

This book reminded me of my love for paranormal romance, and for vampires. And the vampires presented here are fairly different from those in Sangre, so it was great to get the different genres and different views of them. I’ve always loved vampires, and I absolutely devoured Slay My Love.

Devil’s Creek – Todd Keisling

devil's creek

Review Coming Soon on Dead Head Reviews

This is a fantastic release from publisher Silver Shamrock, and if you’re not paying attention to them yet you really should be. They are seriously putting out some amazing horror into the world, and I’m always thrilled to get one of their releases. Devil’s Creek was no exception, an intriguing, gripping story based around a cult and the children of cult leader Jacob Masters. Keep an eye out for this one.

Will Haunt You – Brian Kirk

will haunt you

Review Coming Soon on Dead Head Reviews

I was kind of in two minds about this, but in the end it was an enjoyable book to read, and fairly twisted. If you like books that are a little off the rails, definitely worth checking this one out. And keep an eye out on Dead Head for my review, too!

The Roo – Alan Baxter

the roo

Review Coming Soon on Dead Head Reviews

Tell me what’s not to love about a demented kangaroo terrorising an Australian outback town? Baxter did an absolutely fantastic job with this, and just look at that cover! It’s a really engrossing novella, hard to put down, and if you like any sort of creature features, I cannot recommend this one enough.

A Heart So Fierce and Broken – Brigid Kemmerer

a heart so

My Review

This was another book I was really looking forward to, having absolutely loved A Curse So Dark and LonelyAgain however, it didn’t quite live up to the first book in the series. Grey and his new love interest just weren’t as gripping as Harper and Rhen, and I think I preferred the more limited view of Grey we got in the first book. But Kemmerer’s writing is absolutely fantastic all the same, and I’ll still be reading the third book when it comes out.

Magic Unleashed – Devri Walls

venators

This is another blog tour book, so keep an eye out for the blog tour with some amazing bloggers coming in March. This book was really enjoyable, combining so many different elements I thoroughly love. I’m really excited for the review to come out, and hopefully a few more people will pick this up on the back of the blog tour!

So there we have it, the wrap up for January 2020. Any books you read in the first month of this year you really enjoyed? Any of these you’ve picked up and liked? And yeah, hopefully I can get the February wrap up out much quicker!

Follow Him: Craig Stewart – Blackthorn Blog Tour

BLACKTHORN BOOK TOURS PRESENTS (1) (2).pngFirstly, thank you very much to Blackthorn for inviting me onto this book tour, and providing a free ebook of Follow Him. Today is my stop on the tour, and you should definitely check out the other bloggers to see what they’ve said about this novel, too.

Blurb

True love doesn’t die – it devours. Just outside the sleepy town of Dreury, a mysterious cult known as The Shared Heart has planted its stakes. Its followers are numerous. More join every day. Those who are lost and suffering seem to be drawn to it; a home for the broken. When Jacob finds himself in need of such a home, he abandons his dead name and gives himself over to the will of The Great Collector. However, love refuses to let Jacob go so easily; his ex-fiancé, Nina, kidnaps him in the hopes that he can be deprogrammed. As she attempts to return Jacob to the life they once had, a terrible fear creeps in: what if there isn’t enough of her Jacob left? When The Great Collector learns of his missing follower, the true nature of The Shared Heart is unleashed. Nina discovers what Jacob already knows: that hidden behind the warm songs and soaring bonfires is a terrifying and ancient secret; one that lives and breathes and hungers. And it’s coming for them.

Review

Follow Him is a dark, twisted novel with the sort of imagery that would be hard to shake off in a hurry. It’s told through different perspectives, mainly focusing on Jacob and Nina, a young couple, who have very contrasting views about The Shared Heart. After a slight breakdown of their relationship, Jacob seeks comfort in the cult and falls completely for what he’s told. Nina, desperate to locate her missing boyfriend, tracks him down, kidnaps him and takes him back home, where she discovers just how far she’s willing to go to keep him from the clutches of The Great Collector and The First.

And the beauty – and horror – in this book lies in discovery. In the discovery of what, exactly, The Great Collector has been doing to the cult members. In finding out why Jacob really left, and the slow revelations scattered throughout the book.

The gore is really amped up towards the end, as the Harvest approaches and the plans of The Shared Heart start to be revealed. This is not a novel for the faint of heart, with uncomfortable moments scattered throughout the book, and scenes that might just turn a reader’s stomach.

Characters

I don’t always have a section dedicated to characters in a review, but I wanted to have one here, because I feel it’s important. The two main characters of the novel are Jacob and Nina, and both conceal things from the reader and those around them. Nothing that feels forced when revealed, but information that deepens our understanding of both of them.

For Nina, we begin to understand her desperation in getting her boyfriend back, her close relationship with her brother, her fears about what is and isn’t out there, and it all combines to form a strong woman who may not always act in the best way, but who definitely has us, as readers, rooting for her, as she’s lured towards The Shared Heart but constantly pushes herself away from the cliffedge.

Jacob, on the other hand…

I started off rooting for Jacob, not necessarily wanting him to achieve what he wanted, but wanting to see him, in some way, succeed, anyway. That changed – Jacob is not the hero of the story, and by the mid-way point, I was almost wishing for his death. He’s just not a good guy, at all, as much as he pretends otherwise. He’s selfish, and cruel, even before he joined The Shared Heart.

But the way these two characters are put together, then apart, then opposite each other, it works really well, and carried me throughout the novel.

All in all, Follow Him is a twisted, creepy, gory novel, with plenty of tense and stomach-twisting moments, with a fantastic ending. Definitely gets a recommendation from me.

follow him

Author

Craig Stewart is a Canadian author and filmmaker who learned how to count from the rhyme, “One, two Freddy’s coming for you.” He’s a creator and connoisseur of everything horror; never afraid to delve into the dark. His first novel, Worship Me, received the New Apple Literary Award of Excellence for horror in 2018. He has also written and directed several short films that have enjoyed screenings across North America. He currently wanders dark hallways in Toronto, Canada.

Find out more about Blackthorn Book Tours 

Women in Horror Month

DHR_DeadHead_WIHM_InstaSCREAMQUEEN

February marks Women in Horror month, when the Horror Community raise up the voices of women in horror, celebrating everything they stand for, whether it’s the characters we remember kicking ass, the creators working behind the scenes, the women writers who create dark, twisted stories that drag you deeply in.

This is the first year I’ve actively participated in Women in Horror Month. I’ve always tried to pay attention to it, noting books others were reading, adding them to my ever growing wishlist. But this year, things are different.

See, in 2019, I became a contributor for Dead Head Reviews, and more recently became a copy editor for them, too. A few months back, I asked Patrick if we planning anything for Women in Horror. At that point, we decided we definitely should do something, and a small spark of an idea has flared into a full raging fire.

Throughout February, Dead Head will be featuring articles, reviews, interviews and stories, all focusing on and/or created by Women in Horror. As copy editor, I’ve had the great pleasure of reading many of these, and I can tell you, they are bloody fantastic. I also put together a ‘Love Letter to Horror’ article, featuring the Dead Head Ladies, and personally, I am so proud of how it’s turned out.

There are so many reasons why Women in Horror month is important. Women have long been creators and consumers of horror, yet historically have been overlooked in these roles. Horror is a constant presence in our lives, even in the media aimed at little girls. If you don’t think there are some dark as hell moments in Disney, you haven’t been paying close enough attention.

As we grow older, women from all walks of life face horror, in one form or another, in their every day lives. What woman doesn’t know the fear of walking down a street after sundown, and hearing footsteps behind them? Or the fear in a crowded bar, when a man starts talking to them and sometimes follows them back to their table, or outside, or are even waiting at the toilet door when they emerge. (Yes, that happened to me!)

Is it any wonder that even when they’re not creating Horror, women are often the focus?

Being a woman is dangerous. Danger and fear and horror are all part of it, and that’s without going deeper into the statistics and realities.

One thing, above all others, stands out to me as I read the articles appearing on Dead Head next month.  Women may live their lives in fear, but they take that, grabbing hold of the horror inflicted upon them, and they use it. They – we – turn it into a strength. The darkest parts of our lives are used to create amazing horror. The worst things we can imagine are brought to life, and through horror we find acceptance, and strength, and power.

Every single man I personally know in the horror community has been nothing but supportive regarding Women in Horror Month. Everyone – man and woman – has really come together, determined to make this month successful for all of us.

And I dare you to get through February without your TBR growing.

So, this February, check out Dead Head Reviews and the other horror sites. Read the articles and interviews and reviews, and read some work by amazing women in horror. Join us for the ride, cause I guarantee, it’s going to be a bloody good one.

DHR_WomenInHorrorMonth_FINALADJUSTMENTGraphics by the amazing, super talented @ImaginariumCS.

Dead Head Reviews

Twitter & Instagram: @ReviewsHead

Blogmas #8: End of Year Book Tag

Blogmas #8Again, big thanks to Jenn, for pointing me in the direction of her Blogmas list. One of the suggestions there was for an End of Year Book Tag, and you can read her post here.

If you read my previous tag post, you’ll know I don’t often do book tag things, but I did enjoy it, so maybe I shall do more in 2020. We shall see.

1. Are there any books you started this year you need to finish?

the testamentsSo far, just The Testaments and Cricket Hunters. I don’t tend to pick up then put down books for extended periods of time, unless it’s something really harrowing I can’t read straight through and need short gaps from. There are more books I’d like to read before the end of the year, but none I’ve actually started reading.

2. Do you have an autumnal book to transition to the end of the year?

I don’t get books for specific seasons, but if I get a book and it fits a specific season (such as my recently reviewed Season of Wonder) I will try and wait to read it. But right now, I don’t have anything like that on my TBR.

3. Is there a new release you’re still waiting for?

To be honest, so many great books come out so often, I don’t really keep track of new releases, or separate them from my other books. And if it’s a book I really do want, I’ll usually find an excuse to pick it up.

4. What are three books you want to read before the end of the year?

I maybe should have tried to do this earlier in the month. I’m not sure if I’m going to get acreature chance to read three books before the end of the year, but we shall see. If I can, I would love to read Ritual – Steve Stred, Creature – Hunter Shea, and other than that, I’m not quite sure. Depends how much reading I get done in the next week. If you saw my December TBR post, you’ll know I was planning on reading The Dragon Republic, but it’s so big I can’t really take it away with me Monday, so this will probably get left until the New Year now.

5. Is there a book that you think could still shock you and become your favourite?

Considering the amount of good things I’ve heard about it, it’s possible this happens with Creature.

6. Have you already made reading plans for 2020?

Not really, mainly because I don’t like to plan out what I’mm going to read and when, because I would really struggle to stick to it. That said, I am hoping to clear most of my now backlog of review books, and maybe possibly join Netgalley, if I have the time. We shall see. Other than that, more of the same, though with the way this year ended, I’ll be reading a lot more horror next year than this year. Which is definitely not a bad thing.

25-Post-Ideas-for-BlogmasBlogmas #1 – Christmas TBRBlogmas #2: The Most Wonderful Time of the YearBlogmas #3: Christmas ReadsBlogmas #4: Bookish Naughty or Nice ListBlogmas #6: 2019 Wrap Up & 2020 GoalsBlogmas #7: Favourite 2019 Books Part 1Blogmas #7: Favourite 2019 Books Part 2

Season of Wonder – Edited by Paula Guran

season of wonderSeason of Wonder is a winter holiday themed anthology, bringing together fantasy and science fiction stories centred around the darkest months. Christmas isn’t the only holiday contained in these stories, but it is the most prominent. Still, as a whole, I think this is a great festive read.

The stories vary enough to give a little something for everyone, with a mixture of science fiction, fantasy, and even some horror elements thrown in. There’s robots caring for the last man on Earth, a post-apocalypse society ruled by religion, a young boy who stands against an evil elf, a young woman who gets caught in the battle between the Holly and Oak king, a woman on a distant planet introduces the inhabitants to Christmas, and a story of mental health, a woman who believes in magic, told through the eyes of her best friend.

The absolute stand out story for me was The Christmas Witch, a story which uses horror and fantasy to do one of my favourite things those genres are capable of; drawing parallels to very real situations, and reflecting issues often faced, especially by younger people. In this story, a young girl grieves the death of her mother, and lashes out in her own way, but the adults all seem to turn a blind eye. Her father tries to help, but not in the best way, and no one actually listens to her. It’s a fantastic read, and one hard to forget.

Pal Of Mine was also particularly good, one of those stories where the fantastical element is in doubt, right until the very end. It was wonderfully written, and very bittersweet.

Home for Christmas is a very sweet story, about a young woman who can talk to objects. It’s wonderfully written, draws you right in with the MC and her unusual ability, and shows how even small acts of kindness can have a lasting impact.

Others I particularly enjoyed, and would have liked to have read more about their worlds, were The Night Things Changed and The Nutcracker Coup. Both wonderful tales with fantastic world building, especially for short stories.

Everytime I think I’ve listed the ones I really liked, more pop into my head. Okay, last one, I swear. Newsletter, the final story in the anthology, is another great read – it’s witty and engaging and had me laughing out loud at the last line. And it’s a really interesting way of telling the story, combined with an uncertainty at the end, leaving the reader with multiple questions, and no answers except for whatever they decide in their head.

I really do recommend this collection. It has interesting portrayals of Christmas and the various aspects associated with the holiday, with more than one take on Santa Claus and the legend of. It was an enjoyable, fun, sometimes downright dark collection, with stories to both warm your heart on these cold winter evenings, and make you snuggle under the covers, glad you’re safe in your bed.

Blogmas #3: Christmas Reads

Blogmas #3Day 3. How did we get here so quick? Work’s ramping up, Christmas is looming and now I start panicking about who I haven’t got presents for.

While we’re here, I just want to say a huge thanks to Jenn over at Jennielywho pointed me in the direction of her Blogmas list. Go check out her blog if you haven’t already.

And so we come to the third Blogmas post…

Christmas Reads

I’ve said it before – I’m not great when it comes to seasonal reads! I’d love to read more Christmas themed books, but I’m terrible at getting books with the intention of reading them at a particular time of the year. That said, a book doesn’t HAVE to be Christmas themed to be a good Christmas read. (I still haven’t read A Christmas Carol, either!) Here are some books which I think of when I think of Christmas, books which I actually have read. And as always, if you have any recommendations for me, feel free to throw them my way.

Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkabanhppoa

Something about the HP books makes me think of autumn and winter – I’m pretty sure I included this on a Blogtober list, too. But anyway. Yeah, Christmas makes me think of PoA, and that scene when Harry and Ron enter the Great Hall, only to find there are currently 11 people seated at the table, with the prediction made that the first to rise will be the first to die. The film, as well, with our first glimpses of Hogsmeade, covered in snow, feels a little more Christmassy than the others. This was also the first HP I got for Christmas – opening it and feeling a tad upset because I hadn’t yet read the second one, thinking my mother must have been confused and got me the wrong one and then I opened the present from my brothers, to find Chamber of Secrets looking up at me from the wrapping paper. Day saved.

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

the lion the witch and the wardrobeIs it possible to think of Christmas books without thinking of this classic? Again, another one I got for Christmas – I actually had the whole Chronicles of Narnia box set one year, and I cherished them. I watched the cartoon version of this over and over, tense at the Aslan scene even though I knew full well what was going to happen. Narnia, stuck in a constant winter with no Christmas, seemed like such a magical yet horrid place to me as a kid. Winter…with no Christmas? No lights and celebrations and amazing food and presents? And then, of course, Santa arrives, and things seem much more hopeful. In the middle of winter, when things are at their darkest, I think we could all do with that little touch of hope.

NOS4A2

nos4a2One for the horror fans and yes, I know the cover says R, but I’m British so my version said A.

(EDIT, Dec 4th: Friends, I was wrong. The above is a British cover, I thought it was American – my brain let me down when I was typing this yesterday. NOS4R2 = British, NOS4A2 = American, which makes more sense because the latter totally doesn’t sound like Nosferatu to me.)

This cover was just the one I found that seemed most Christmassy. Although the main events of this novel don’t actually take place at Christmas, the main villain of the story is obsessed with Christmas, in an almost childlike way – the kind of thinking kids have, about how amazing it would be if Christmas took place every single day. The book balances summer and winter, plunging you from July 4th fireworks into a wintery, snowy wonderland, and giving Christmas a really creepy, eerie edge. If you like horror and haven’t checked this out yet, I really can’t recommend it enough, especially for fans of King. Out of the novels from Joe Hill I’ve currently read, this is the one that, to me, reads most like his father’s work, yet unbelievably unique in its own right.

25-Post-Ideas-for-BlogmasBlogmas 1: Christmas TBR     /    Blogmas 2: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Blogmas #1 – Christmas TBR

Blogmas #1.pngSo I thought I’d give Blogmas a go this year, because why not. Although I likely won’t be posting every day, I’ll do my best to post as often as I can and offer up some Christmassy posts for your enjoyment. Jenn, who has an absolutely fantastic blog you really should check out, pointed me in the direction of her Blogmas list, (which you can check out here) so I’ll mostly be using that, with some amendments of my own.

My Christmas TBR, much like my October TBR which I talked about at the start of Blogtober, isn’t really centered around Christmas. Mainly because I have so many books waiting to be read, and with my Goodreads challenge cleared, I want to try and get to some of the bigger ones.

However, there is one book I’ve been waiting a good few months to read, and which I started last night.

season of wonderSeason of Wonder is an anthology of science fiction and fantasy stories, all centered around winter, Christmas and holiday themes. Edited by Paula Guran, the anthology brings together many names familiar to genre readers, and after reading the first story last night, I’m excited to dig into the rest, and nestle in with these wintery, Christmassy tales.

I tend now to have one book on the go for ‘pleasure’, and another for review. I do review ‘pleasure’ books, but they’re not ones I’ve specifically been asked to review and review books tend to be on my Kindle anyway. Right now, I’m reading Follow Him, by Craig Stewart, reading for a blog tour in Feb. I am really enjoying this one. It’s creepy and eerie, and I’m not really that far into follow himit. But it’s building up to be a tense, exciting read – keep an eye out for my post early next year.

Sticking with review books for now, I also want to try to get to Ritual by Steve Stred. I’ve heard really good things about this on Twitter from the horror community, so I am excited to dig into it. There’s also Cricket Hunters by Jeremy Hepler, which looks like a fantastic horror read.

The other two books I want to try and get to by the end of the year are both 2019 releases, and both sequels to books I’ve absolutely loved. The Testaments arrived with great fanfare, and because I pre-ordered with my local bookshop, and was the testamentsone of the first to do so, I was extremely lucky to get a signed copy. I’m eager to read this – I only read The Handmaid’s Tale this year, shortly before the sequel was announced, and one thing that kept hitting me was how relevant the novel still is. That’s not a good thing, but I think The Testaments is really needed in the current climate.

The last book is The Dragon Republic, which I feel everyone has probably read by now except me. The Poppy War was an amazing novel, and again, if I can get to this by the end of the year I’ll be super happy, especially as these are both fairly big books. We’ll see how it goes.

What about you, friends? What’s on your TBR for this month?

25-Post-Ideas-for-Blogmas

That Dreaded TBR #2

A while ago, I did a post about cutting down my Goodreads TBR. I thought it would be worth revisiting, and seeing if I can’t get it down just that little bit more.

I originally saw this at Becky’s Book Blog, as explained in the previous post.

Rules

Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.

Order on ascending date added.

Take the first 5/10/however many books. If done again, start form where you left off.

Read the synopses of the books

Decide: should it stay or should it go?

what happensWhat happens in office, stays in office – Ankur Mithal

A no-holds-barred account of life in the cut-throat world of large corporations, told in a unique humorous and ironical style. A world where millions are employed and are forever engaged in finding a balance between doing right for the organization and doing right for themselves. The domineering boss, the whining employee, the counter-productive policy-making, the jockeying for visibility, are all products of this interesting world. Not all, however, is as it appears on the smooth and shiny surface of this world. There are personal anxieties and fears which get carried into business interactions.

Though informal outlets are available to people in corporations, mostly through the often innocuous art of bitching, many of these subterranean currents never get recognized or discussed openly. Perhaps for the first time ever, this book discusses situations where these subtle (to the doer) and shameless (to the doee) acts often create outcomes that are both poignant and funny and, at times, downright disgusting. In the garb of humour and satire, this book delivers some hard-hitting management lessons. In doing so, however, Ankur may have inadvertently let out some never before talked about secrets of success of The Club that the Corporate world appears to be from outside.

I added this book to my TBR way back in May 2013, just under a year after graduating from uni, less than a year into an office job I would remain at for five years. Something about this book really intrigued me at the time, but I feel like now it might even have more of an impact. I’ve been in two office jobs since leaving university, and it would be great to read about different experiences. The one I was in for five years was for a big, global organisation. The company I work for now is much smaller, but some elements remain the same. I’m going to keep this one on, because rereading the synopsis has rekindled my desire to read it.

a prayer for owenA Prayer For Owen Meany – John Irving

Eleven-year-old Owen Meany, playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire, hits a foul ball and kills his best friend’s mother. Owen doesn’t believe in accidents; he believes he is God’s instrument. What happens to Owen after that 1953 foul is both extraordinary and terrifying. At moments a comic, self-deluded victim, but in the end the principal, tragic actor in a divine plan, Owen Meany is the most heartbreaking hero John Irving has yet created. 

I’m kind of on the fence about this one. Okay, so it has a lot of positive reviews on Goodreads and is one of those ‘must read’ books, but I’ve had really mixed experience with all kinds of absolute must reads. Hmm. Although I do kind of want to read this, I don’t really think I’m ever going to. It goes.

something wicked this way comesSomething Wicked This Way Comes – Ray Bradbury

A carnival rolls in sometime after the midnight hour on a chill Midwestern October eve, ushering in Halloween a week before its time. A calliope’s shrill siren song beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. In this season of dying, Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. And two inquisitive boys standing precariously on the brink of adulthood will soon discover the secret of the satanic raree-show’s smoke, mazes, and mirrors, as they learn all too well the heavy cost of wishes – and the stuff of nightmare.

This is another of those must read books, but more for horror rather than ‘literary’ purposes. I know this book has inspired a fair few American horror authors. Goodreads has it noted as the second in a series (after Dandelion Wine) but as far as I’m aware, they can be read as standalones? I definitely still want to try and read both, however. This one stays.

divine comedy

The Divine Comedy – Dante Alighieri

The Divine Comedy describes Dante’s descent into Hell with Virgil as a guide; his ascent of Mount Purgatory and encounter with his dead love, Beatrice; and finally, his arrival in Heaven. Examining questions of faith, desire and enlightenment, the poem is a brilliantly nuanced and moving allegory of human redemption.

I want to read this, I really do, and I’ve tried a few times, but I never can quite get into it. Maybe I need to give it another chance. Or, as I did with Camilla, try and find an audio version? I slogged my way through Paradise Lost, and most of that was – excuse the pun – hell to get through. There’s just too many other books I physically have that I know I’m going to enjoy, to get a book which I have a feeling I might not enjoy as much. Like I said, I’ll probably check out an audio version eventually, but for now, this goes.

brave new world.jpgBrave New World – Aldous Huxley

Far in the future, the World Controllers have created the ideal society. Through clever use of genetic engineering, brainwashing and recreational sex and drugs all its members are happy consumers. Bernard Marx seems alone in feeling discontent. Harbouring an unnatural desire for solitude, and a perverse distaste for the pleasures of compulsory promiscuity, Bernard has an ill-defined longing to break free. A visit to one of the few remaining Savage Reservations where the old, imperfect life still continues, may be the cure for his distress …

Huxley’s ingenious fantasy of the future sheds a blazing light on the present and is considered to be his most enduring masterpiece.

I have a feeling this is one those books which are now considered…problematic. I’m not entirely sure, but the fact ‘Savage Reservations’ is in the blurb makes me think yeah, I probably wouldn’t want to actually touch this. Even if that wasn’t the case, it’s another of those ‘classics’ that probably don’t hold up well, and there are way too many better books out there, by writers who aren’t white men, I’d rather spend time on. This one goes.

Not too bad today – three out of five taken off the Goodreads TBR. These ones leaned more towards ‘classics’ too, and I think I’ve grown out of feeling there are particular books I have to read. I’d rather spend my time now reading books I enjoy.

Have you read any of these? Agree or disagree with my choices?