Wishful Drinking

Carrie Fisher

Only a few days ago I nearly bought a physical copy of this book in a bargain bookstore.
Since I've just a had a big clear out of books I didn't want to start adding new books to my shelves.
Imagine my delight when I saw it pop up in the Kindle Daily Deals on Amazon. Especially because I had a credit that meant I could get the book for nothing!
Wishful Drinking is a book adaptation of Fisher's successful one-man show of the same name.
It's a mostly hilarious, occasionally moving piece of autobiography. The best parts are when she talks about her family and her battles with mental illness but it's never less than entertaining.
Given it's stage show origins it's not surprising that it's a little on the short side but it's still very much worth reading - especially if you can pick it up at a bargain price.

Rating: A-



Me, Earl & The Dying Girl

Jesse Andrews

me, earl and the dying girlI read this after watching the film adaptation. I really enjoyed the film and I started to wonder how much of the weirdness of the characters actually came from the source material.
It turns out that it's a pretty straightforward adaptation of a wonderfully quirky novel.
Unlike the last book I read about a teenager with cancer this is significantly less manipulative of the reader's emotions.
I recommend both the book and the film if you like heightened reality in your contemporary YA entertainment

Rating: A-



Johnny and the Bomb

Terry Pratchett

johnny-and-the-bomb-largeThe final Johnny Maxwell book finds Johnny and his friends find themselves travelling to 1941 thanks to the contents of bag lady Mrs Tachyon's shopping trolley and caught up in events as German planes bomb their home town.
Pratchett has a lot of fun playing with time travel paradoxes and the trappings of war time provincial Britain.
I first reviewed this back in 2003 and as then I think it's just a very good book.
Very much recommended.

Rating: A-



Johnny and the Dead

Terry Pratchett

johnny and the deadThe second Johnny Maxwell book finds him living with his grandfather. His new short cut home takes him through the local cemetery.
This is a sweet tale of community activism and as least as much about how the living need the memory of their dead as about the fate those who have died.
Everything that makes Pratchett a great writer is in this book - his humanity, empathy, wit and intelligence.
I will repeat myself once again - everybody should read Pratchett.

Rating: A-



Only You Can Save Mankind

Terry Pratchett

Only You Can Save MankindThis is the first of the Johnny Maxwell young adult series and the first of Terry Pratchett's books I've been able to read since his death.
I stayed over at my parents on Christmas Eve and I woke up early on Christmas morning before dawn. As I sat, slightly cold, watching the sun rise over the Forth I borrowed this ebook from Edinburgh Overdrive.
I first read it a long time ago before this blog existed and never again since I started keeping a record of my reading.
This short book retains all of Pratchett's humour, insight, and empathy while squarely viewing the world from a the perspective of a twelve year old boy.
I don't want to spend a lot of time on the plot of this one - I just want to recommend it.
Everyone should read Terry Pratchett. If the fantasy trappings of Discworld are putting you off this is as good a place to start as any.

Rating: A-



Carry On

Rainbow Rowell

carry onThis is a super enjoyable piece of YA fantasy taking the fictional fantasy found in Rowell's Fangirl and turning it into a real story.
Simon Snow is the chosen one. Destined to save the World of Mages he cannot control his massive magical power.
As the stakes are raised in both the magical civil war and the battle against the magic destroying Insidious Humdrum he starts his final year at magical school with his room mate and nemesis Basilton Pitch missing.
I really enjoyed this book. The only issue I have is the state of ignorance the heroes are left in at the end. The reader knows more than Simon at the end and I felt sad that he didn't get to know some things revealed in other character's perspectives.

Rating: A-



A Red-Rose Chain

Seanan McGuire

a red-rose chainThe latest instalment of the Toby Daye story finds her in Portland on a diplomatic mission to avert war between Faerie kingdoms. Obviously this being Toby nothing quite goes to plan.
I seriously really enjoyed this book. I love the whole series so much. I've been rating them a bit harshly ever since I started because I'm certain that McGuire is capable of pushing her writing to another level but the consistent B+ rating doesn't really reflect how much I enjoy these books. Or indeed how excited I am to read what happens next.

Rating: A-



The Writer's Tale: The Final Chapter

Russell T Davies and Benjamin Cook

the writers tale the final chapterI do intend to actually write something about this one at some point...

Rating: A-



The Storied Life of AJ Fikry

Gabrielle Zevin

the storied life of aj fikryA.J. Fikry is a bitter widower settling into drunken middle age when a baby is left in his bookshop.
This is a surprisingly moving story of a man returning to the world from deep depression through the love of a child.
I have to say this book is so much better than the plethora of generic romance novels I've ploughed through lately.
Highly recommended if you like contemporary fiction and have a bit of a sentimental streak.

Rating: A-



The Cormorant

Chuck Wendig

the cormorantThe third Miriam Black book (after Blackbirds and Mockingbird) finds our favourite foul-mouthed and (ever so) slightly unhinged psychic pulled into a seemingly inescapable trap in the weirdest parts of Florida.
I found this book hugely enjoyable. It started off slowly but as the plot unfolds it reveals itself to be the strongest entry in the series yet.
One way it does this by giving Miriam some resolution about parts of her past. It also helps that when Wendig gets to the sharp end of events he makes it deeply personal for our nomally detached and cynical protagonist.
This is also the most overtly fantastical Miriam Black book to date but it's applied in a way that adds depth to Miriam's world without losing the noir feel.
The Cormorant is highly recommended but you will need to read the earlier books to get full value (luckily they're also great reads).

Rating: A-