Tuesday, 25 June 2019

On My Radar: July

Is your TBR getting a little sparse? Haha, yeah right, but I bet you're still interested to see what's hitting the shelves next month. These are all books that have caught my eye, but as always inclusion is not an endorsement because I haven't read them yet. Dates are for the UK print edition unless otherwise noted.


Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey
The Virtue of Sin by Shannon Schuren (US)
Five Midnights by Dávila, Ann Cardinal (US)


Heartstream by Tom Pollock
The To-Do List and Other Debacles by Amy Jones


The Survival of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson
Hope Rides Again by Andrew Shaffer


Exhalation by Ted Chiang
Becoming Dinah by Kit de Waal
Syria's Secret Library by Mike Thomson
The Woman in the Photograph by Stephanie Butland
Wilder Girls by Rory Power (e)
The First Time Lauren Pailing Died by Alyson Rudd
The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg
Teeth in the Mist by Dawn Kurtagich
All the Things We Never Said by Yasmin Rahman
Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips
Heartstopper Volume Two by Alice Oseman


This is How You Lose the Time War Paperback by by Amal El-Mohtar + Max Gladstone


The House of Sundering Flames by Aliette de Bodard
Shadows of the Short Days by Alexander Dan Vilhjálmsson
Nightingale Point by Luan Goldie
Lock Every Door by Riley Sager


Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott

(US) = no official UK release scheduled but US edition readily available
(e) = UK ebook release

Sunday, 23 June 2019

The Incredible True Story of the Making of the Eve of Destruction

The Arkansas town of Griffin Flat lives in the shadow of a nuclear facility. It's the 80s and Laura is convinced the Soviet Union will bomb America, living in fear of the end of the world. It's only natural considering where she lives and what her dad works on. One of her favourite books is The Eve of Destruction, about a nuclear accident in a town much like hers... and Hollywood is adapting it right there in Griffin Flat.

I so wanted to love this book, there's so much nuclear nerdery in it. I won't say as much as the official blurb does because it mentions an event that takes place nearly at the end of the book. So I was reading expecting something to happen and then the big event was so rushed. Seriously publishers, if an event doesn't happen in the first 100 pages, don't put it on the cover.

Laura wins a radio contest to star in the film, and much of it is about the anticipation of Hollywood coming to town. The narrative is interspersed with news articles and FEMA instructions (in case of nuclear detonation). There were great historical details, like people painting their houses white because they thought it would deflect the radiation. I also know that America had many close calls and it is not absurd to imagine them nuking themselves.

I'm really not sure what was going on with the side story of Laura's family. Her mother had an affair with black man, who she then married, so Lauren's step-brother is black, something she points out a lot. Maybe the author wanted to highlight the racism of the time, his presence is an inconvenience to the film-makers because now they have to justify a black person in the film. It just all feels a bit awkwardly inserted.

After the big event happens, it came across as a bit flippant. I dunno, was she trying to make light of a horrible thing? Why did no one notice it was happening? I'm not sure given the circumstances what happened afterwards was very accurate, biologically. And in the follow-up bit, there was no mention of any ongoing effects.

I picked this as my fiction pairing to read with a non-fiction book for Around the Year, so at least I can look forward something which takes its subject matter seriously. I'm going to pair it with either Command and Control or Full Body Burden.

ATY: 7. 2 books related to the same topic, genre, or theme: Book #1

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Book Source: Borrowed from library

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Top Ten: Most Anticipated

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Here are my top ten most anticipated releases for the second half of 2019 (I can't believe we're nearly half way already). There are some fabulous sounding books to look forward to. There are a few big autumn releases missing from this list that I'll be reading but I'm setting low expectations on...

Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff
To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers

The Rosewater Redemption by Tade Thompson
The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman

Monstress Volume 4 by Marjorie Liu + Sana Takeda
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes
Unleashed by Amy McCulloch

Heartstream by Tom Pollock
The House of Sundering Flames by Aliette de Bodard

I did have The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin on this list but I think it's been moved to 2020? If not it's definitely one of my most anticipated!

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

This Green and Pleasant Land

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.

Bilal isn't a devout Muslim but his mother's dying wish is on his mind. She wanted him to build a mosque... in the small English village he calls home.

Richard knew cages would be rattled. It was inevitable when people lived in such small ones.

Ayisha Malik's warm writing finds the perfect balance in showing what everyday Islamophobia is, especially among people who would not consider themselves racist. Before his announcement, Bilal was "one of them" often called Bill, but he becomes othered when he talks of wanting a mosque.

Bilal literally digs his own grave, copying what his mother did and lying down in it to contemplate his life and decisions. Maybe he should honour his mother's wish. The metaphor of digging your own grave is also applicable as he decides to take on the villagers, knowing there will be conflict.

His main ally turns out to be the village priest. The story also does a good job in reflecting many a Brit's relationship with religion. The villagers are protective of their church but it is barely used. They feel it is their right to have a place or worship, just in case, so shouldn't others have the same right? It's also pointed out that there wouldn't be so much objection if he were from another religion.

You can regret things you can't change, too. It's just a bit more depressing.

Bilal's auntie comes to stay with them and she doesn't speak English. There is a lovely side plot where she somehow becomes friends with one of the villagers who is opposing the mosque. Both characters are pushed out their bubbles and there's a lot to be said for meeting in the middle.

It's certainly different from the Sofia Khan books, but does contain similar themes and compassion. If you liked those you should definitely give her new book a chance.

No, it had nothing to do with the Hashams' skin colour. It was the unknown. Unknown people harboured unknown ideas. And ideas could be a dangerous thing.

This Green and Pleasant Land is published by Bonnier Zaffre and will be available in hardback and ebook editions from 13th June 2019. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review via NetGalley.

ATY: 21. A book from one of the polarizing or close call votes

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Saturday, 1 June 2019

The Month That Was... May 2019

+International Giveaway

It's starting to feel like summer! There are flowers everywhere, from the beach to all the wildflowers in our little front garden. Scully is getting quite skilled at photobombing it seems, as here's a nice photo of the cliffs at Barton-on-Sea, with a doggo just in shot.

Keep reading if you want to win one of the books mentioned in this post. Please note that the giveaway is open to countries Wordery and/or The Book Depository ship to. The winner will receive a brand new copy of their chosen title, direct from the retailer.


Also read:

This Green and Pleasant Land by Ayisha Malik ☆☆☆☆
The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas ☆☆☆☆
The Incredible True Story of the Making of the Eve of Destruction by Amy Brashear ☆☆
Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse ☆☆☆
Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier ☆☆☆
Isola Volume 1 by Brenden Fletcher + Karl Kerschl ☆☆☆


I made loads of progress on ATY but am stalling a little on Popsugar. I think there are a few prompts I just have to get over and done with! The ATY group on Goodreads is also hosting a laid-back summer challenge which I'll be doing over the next three months. You don't have to be doing the main challenge to participate, although the prize is challenge related.