Protesting Princesses | International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day!

I recently came across these images by the incredibly talented artist  Amanda Allen Niday, and what better day to share them than on International Women’s Day! Inspired by the recent Women’s March that took place across the globe, the ‘Protesting Princesses’ series reimagines Disney’s beloved heroines as female protesters, each with their own individual issues.

In a recent interview with Teen Vogue, Niday explained that she used Disney Princesses for the project because she feels Disney has been making an effort to use the cartoons to remind girls that they’re brave, strong and valuable, and she wanted to pay homage to that. The images are incredibly powerful and striking, and I adore them!

“Being strong when you are being told you are weak is a form of protest. Being yourself when you are being told that isn’t acceptable is a form of protest. Never giving up hope is a form of protest. I wanted to show that we can control the narrative.” – Amanda Allen Niday

Review: Wing Jones by Katherine Webber

Review: Wing Jones by Katherine WebberWing Jones Published by Walker Books on 5th January 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
Jandy Nelson meets Friday Night Lights: a sweeping story about love and family from an exceptional new voice in YA. With a grandmother from China and another from Ghana, fifteen-year-old Wing Jones is often caught between worlds. But when tragedy strikes, Wing discovers a talent for running she never knew she had. Wing's speed could bring her family everything it needs. It could also stop Wing getting the one thing she wants.

My Thoughts

Katherine Webber’s debut YA novel Wing Jones was easily one of my most anticipated releases of the year, and so it is safe to say that my expectations prior to reading were set fairly high. Having followed Katherine’s writing progress via the Down the Rabbit Hole podcast throughout 2016, I had a feeling that I was going to fall head-over-heels in love with her writing and characters, and indeed, I did. Set in 90’s Atlanta,Wing Jones is an extremely refreshing read, and nothing like any other YA novels that I have read before. It is a truly special book about family, first love and learning who you are, with a good dash of magical realism for good measure. To put it simply, I adored it.

The novel follows Wing Jones, a spirited biracial teenage girl who doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere. With a grandmother from China and another from Ghana, Wing struggles to find her identity both at home and in school, and feels that she is always standing in the shadow of her seemingly perfect brother, Marcus. But when Marcus is involved in a car accident, and Wing and her family have to deal with the fallout, she is left to find herself on her own. Taking up running as a way to escape her problems, Wing discovers a talent that she never knew she had, a talent that could bring her everything that she’s ever dreamed of.

Wing is easily one of the most inspirational YA heroines I’ve ever read about. Her voice is strong yet relatable, and  her development throughout the novel felt natural and progressed wonderfully. Webber expertly deals with a range of issues, such as race, bullying and cultural identity, and as such  both Wing’s character and the book itself are multi-layered and well fleshed out. While the romance element of the plot is certainly not the focal point, it is extremely sweet and well-crafted, and did not fall into the overused YA trope of ‘instalove’. It felt real, and true, and the kissing scenes had me audibly squealing!

Wing Jones is a beautiful, moving and heartfelt story about discovering both your potential and your place in the world, and running after your dreams. It is one of those rare books that you’ll want to rush through and savour both at the same time, and it’s certainly one that I will be returning to in the future. Webber’s debut was a complete joy to read, and I can’t wait to read more of her work in the future – if Wing’s story is anything to go by, Webber is certainly an author to watch!

Rating

Review: Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill

Review: Only Ever Yours by Louise O’NeillOnly Ever Yours Published by Quercus on 3rd July 2014
Genres: Dystopian, Feminism, Young Adult
Pages: 392
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
frieda 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 boy arrive, eager to choose a bride.
frieda must fight for her future - even if it means betraying the only friend, the only love, she has ever known...

My Thoughts

Only Ever Yours has been on my radar for a long time, ever since it won the YA Book Prize back in 2015. Billed as a cross between The Handmaid’s Tale and Mean Girls, this YA dystopian has attracted a lot of buzz and acclaim since publication. Having heard many great things about it I recently decided to pick up a copy and see what all the hype was about for myself, and I’m so glad that I did. This dark and often disturbing tale raises a lot of questions regarding the way in which society treats women, and will keep you thinking long after you’ve finished the book and returned it to the bookshelf.

I’m not going to lie, this book is terrifyingly real. Everything that the girls are taught mimics our own society in some way; fat is ugly, skinny is attractive, but not too skinny. A girl shouldn’t say no to sexual advances from a guy, but saying yes mean’s that you’re a slut. The other girls are your best friends, but they are also you enemies, and ultimately your competition. O’Neill cleverly tackles these very real issues, but amps them up a notch in a way that at times becomes increasingly difficult to read. Dealing with topics such as fat shaming, eating disorders, friendships and the ups and downs of young love, Only Ever Yours does not shy away from these very real topics, and as such the novel has an extremely dark tone that makes for compelling yet thought provoking reading.

In one extremely memorable scene, a girl is forced to stand naked in front of the class, while critiques from her fellow students are pointed out to her. The reader is under no illusions that isabel and frieda story will have a happy ending; just when you think Only Ever Yours couldn’t get any more bleak, it does. This probably isn’t a novel to pick up if you’re looking for a light, easy read, but it excels as a strong critique of society with a great feminist stance. The reading experience is clearly designed to be uncomfortable, but as difficult as it may be, it’s near impossible to tear yourself away.

This is an extremely important book that raises some really important questions about the world that we live in and where society is heading in the future. O’Neill’s writing, albeit dark, is also beautiful, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this appear on high school reading lists in the not-to-distant future. Clever, compelling and extremely thought-provoking, Only Ever Yours is just as page-turning as it is eye-opening, and its message will stay with me for a very long time.

Rating

Happy World Book Day!

Happy World Book Day, everyone! Growing up, World Book Day was one of my favourite days of the year; getting to dress up and talk about books all day was always brilliant, and my school made it such good fun. While I am now (unfortunately) a little old to be dressing up as my favourite fictional characters, I do still love to talk about books. To honour World Book Day I thought I’d share a few recommendations with you, of books that I have read and loved and books that I’m looking forward to reading soon.

A favourite book: This is a difficult question, as I have far too many to name, but I shall narrow it down to just a handful. The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson, Stardust by Neil Gaiman, I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith and The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice. I’ve read all of these many times over, and they are books that I always turn to if I need something cosy, comforting and familiar.

A book people may not have read, but really should: For this I’m going to go with a book that I recently read and really haven’t heard that much about, which is a great shame. Not Forgetting the Whale by John Ironmonger is a heartwarming and uplifting story that focuses on the importance of community and looking out for one another, a message that I think, given the awful things that are happening in the world around is, more people need to hear.

A book that was recommended to me: My boyfriend is often recommending books to me, and while the majority of them I am yet to read, I have read a couple of Robert Harris novels on his recommendation that I have really enjoyed. Fatherland is a dark alternate-history novel in which the Nazi’s won WWII and are attempting to hide the truth about the Holocaust, and The Ghost is a fast-paced political thriller focusing on a ghost writer who learns too much about a former controversial British Prime Minister. Both are a little outside of my comfort zone, but I’m very glad that I gave them a try as I loved both Harris’ writing and the plot. I’ll definitely be picking up more of his work in future, and perhaps I should pay a little more attention to my boyfriend’s book recommendations, too.

A book I wish everyone to read: The Optician of Lampedusa by Emma Jane Kirby is an extremely moving and important book that I think everyone should read at least once. Telling the true tale of a man caught up in the migration issue currently affecting Europe, it is a deeply upsetting and powerful book that is 100% relevant to the world we live in today. Please, read it, but you might need to have some tissues handy!

A book that I can’t wait to read: There are so many books that I’m excited to read at the moment, I don’t know where to begin! Traitor to the Throne, the second in the Rebel of the Sands trilogy by Alwyn Hamiliton, is a book that I am bursting with excitement for and will definitely be picking up in the next few days (you can read my review of the first instalment here). As for upcoming titles, A Court of Wings and Ruin, the third novel in Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses series, is one of my most anticipated releases of the year, and it’s publication day in May cannot come quickly enough!

How are you celebrating World Book Day? Don’t forget to use your book token to pick up one of the World Book Day titles!

My Reading Week | #2

Read This Week

I am extremely happy to report that, after the pretty slow reading week I had last week, the past seven days have been far better. For the first time this year I’m not behind with my Goodreads goal, which I’m feeling pretty proud of, and I feel like I’m ready to pick up the pace a little and attempt to get a good chunk of my TBR list read in the coming weeks. Tomorrow is my birthday (eeeek!) and to celebrate my boyfriend and I are heading off for a few days in the Lake District for plenty of relaxing and, hopefully, reading! It will be great to have some time to switch off and read to my heart’s content, without feeling guilty that I should be doing other things. That being said, I managed to read three books this week and get part way through a fourth, which isn’t too bad at all.

The first book I read this week was Chance Developments: Unexpected Love Stories by Alexander McCall Smith (☆☆☆☆). I purchased this beautiful little collection of short stories, each one inspired by an old photograph, last year, but it was soon forgot and hidden away on my bookcase. While organising my shelves last week, I rediscovered it, and picked it up this week as I thought it would make a sweet little read for Valentines Day. I’m not usually the biggest fan of short story collections, as inevitably there’s some that you’ll enjoy more than others, but I can honestly say that I loved each and every one included in this volume. Given the length, McCall Smith did a fantastic job of making the characters feel so very really, and his writing style is beautiful. I’m so glad I decided to give this a go, and I’ll definitely be picking up more of Alexander McCall Smith’s work in the future.

I also finally got around to reading The Perplexing Theft of the Jewel in the Crown, the second in the Baby Ganesh Agency Investigation series by Vaseem Khan (☆☆☆☆). I read the first instalment in this fun, Mumbai-based mystery series last year and really enjoyed it, so I was pretty certain I was going to love this one. The books follow the adventures of Private Detective Chopra and his baby elephant Ganesha as they find themselves in all sorts of trouble! This volume sees Chopra attempting to track down Koh-i-Noor diamond, which has been stolen from a Mumbai exhibition of the crown jewels, with a little help from Dairy Milk-loving Ganesha. This was a really light, quick story that I devoured in just a couple of sittings, and was exactly what I was in the mood for. I’m already looking forward to the next installment, which, luckily, isn’t too far away.

Finally, yesterday I took part in the #GettingGraphic readathon, hosted by BookTubers Kitty G and Elena Reads Books. The aim of the one-day readathon was to read solely graphic novels and comics, so I thought that it would be a great time to read Agatha: The Real Life of Agatha Christie by Anne Martinetti, Guillaume Lebeau and Alexandre Franc (☆☆☆☆). This graphic biography offers a very insightful glimpse into the world of the best-selling crime novelist, right from her childhood until her later years. The art style was charming, and I particularly enjoyed the imagined conversations that Agatha had with her famous Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot! If you enjoy Agatha Christie’s novels and want to learn a little more about the woman behind the pen, this graphic novel is a great place to begin.

I’m currently around a third of the way into Not Forgetting the Whale by John Ironmonger, a literary-dystopian novel set in Cornwall. I stumbled upon this while shelving books in the charity shop that I volunteer in, and was instantly sucked in by both the beautiful cover and the premise. I managed to read a good 100 pages while on the till (it was a slow afternoon…) and couldn’t put it down, so of course it had to come home with me. I love this so far – it’s both witty, clever and deeply moving all at the same time, and I’ve already grown very attached to the characters. I’ll be continuing on with this over the next few days, and while I don’t want to speak too soon, I think Not Forgetting the Whale has the potential to be a 5 star read for me!

Quote of the Week

“She sent him away. She closed her eyes. Such happiness, she thought; such happiness came from knowing who you were and where you came from. And from knowing, too, that you did not have to go back unless you really wanted to, and sometimes you did.” 

– Chance Developments: Unexpected Love Stories by Alexander McCall Smith 

To DNF, Or not to DNF?

As I mentioned last week, I’m currently reading The Dark Days Club, a YA historical fiction/fantasy by Alison Goodman. Well, I say currently reading – I haven’t picked it up, or had any inclination to do so, in over a week. Now, I don’t usually like to DNF books, as I feel that I should give them a proper go and persevere in the hope that the book will become better or more enjoyable. To put it simply, I don’t want to give up. Yet despite hearing many good things about this book, I haven’t found myself in the mood to read it, and I’m contemplating just putting it back on the shelf for now. I can’t really say that I’m currently reading it if it’s not being read at all, and I don’t want to force myself to read it incase it puts me in a slump. So, to DNF or not to DNF? That’s proving to be a tougher question that I first anticipated.

Another (Not-So-Little!) Kindle Splurge

Yes, I know that I bought quite a few Kindle books last week, but what can I say – cheap books are my weakness, and I am powerless to resist a good Kindle deal! I managed to find a good mix of genres all reduced this week, and many of the titles have been on my wishlist for quite some time. I’m planning on taking my Kindle when we go away this week, as it’s far easier than travelling with a stack of paperbacks, and having an eBook-reading binge, but now I have so many Kindle books I’m excited for that I don’t know where to begin!

Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor, The Killing at Badger’s Drift by Caroline Graham, The Mirror World of Melody Black by Gavin Extence, The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

The J.M. Barrie Ladies’ Swimming Society by Barbara J. Zitwer, Lobsters by Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison, The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, In Love and War by Alex Preston

How was your reading week? What are you currently reading?

Review: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Review: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn HamiltonRebel of the Sands Published by Faber & Faber on 4th February 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 358
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
Dustwalk is an unforgiving, dead-end town. It's not the place to be poor or orphaned or female. And yet Amani Al'Hiza must call it 'home'.
Amani wants to escape and see the world she's heard about in campfire stories. Then a foreigner with no name turns up, and with him she has the chance to run.
But the desert plains are full of dangerous magic. The Sultan's army is on the rise and Amani is soon caught at the heart of a fearless rebellion...
An epic story of swirling desert sands, love, magic and revolution.

My Thoughts

It’s been a while since I read a good Young Adult fantasy, but that’s exactly what I found myself in the mood for one grey and miserable afternoon last month. Set in a world that’s a strange mash-up between the Wild West and Arabian Nights, Rebel of the Sands completely swept me away into a world of sun, sand and rebellion, and I simply could not put it down. A fast-paced adventure with just the right amount of romance, this first instalment in Hamilton’s YA fantasy trilogy was everything that I was looking for and more, besides.

Rebel of the Sands tells the story of a young gunslinger named Amani, who has lived her whole life in a small town that has too many of two things: guns, and sand. In Amani’s land, everything a woman possess is owned by a male, whether that be husband, father, brother or uncle. Fearful of being trapped in a life as simply a man’s possession, Amani decides to take her fate into her own hands and forge a better future for herself, far way from the greedy eyes of her Aunt and Uncle. Disguised as a boy, Amani enters the local gun shooting contest, determined to win the prize money that will buy her the train ticket out of her mundane life. But she quickly finds herself on the run with a mysterious stranger, in an adventure that will soon place her at the very heart of a rising rebellion against the Sultan.

Right from the first chapter I was completely and utterly enthralled by the world that Hamilton had created; a far cry from the typical medieval setting most commonly found within the fantasy genre, Rebel of the Sands felt completely unique and a nice, refreshing change. There was a very real sense throughout the book of the dry, desert land in which Amani lives, which could not have been further from my own reality, and the history of the world was also brilliantly thought out and explained. I enjoyed reading of Amani’s struggles as a woman, which felt somewhat relatable to the world and society that we live in today, and I loved the way in which she refused to accept her lot in life and was completely and utterly determined to change it for the better. The way in which people treated Amani when she was disguised as a boy really worked to emphasis this gender divide, and it was an interesting element that gave the reader a lot to think about in addition to being captivated by the exciting plot.

Not only did I adore Amani, but I also really enjoyed the blossoming romance between her and Jin. I thought that this was really well handled, and didn’t fall into that (often overused) YA trope of insta-love. I can’t wait to see how their relationship develops in the later books in the series, especially as Jin’s secrets begin to come to light.

Overall, Rebel of the Sands is an exceptionally strong start to what promises to be a stand-out fantasy series within YA fiction. Fast paced, beautifully written and full of characters you’ll fall in love with, this was certainly one of the most fun and enjoyable books I’ve read in a long time. I can’t wait for the next book in the series, as I have a feeling that it’s going to be just as wonderful as the first.

 Rating

Review: The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

Review: The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola YoonThe Sun Is Also A Star Published by Corgi Childrens on 3rd November 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 348
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.
Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.
The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

My Thoughts

Set during the span of one Autumnal day in New York City, The Sun Is Also A Star is a love story about the Universe, fate, destiny, and what it means to fall in love with the idea of falling in love. Having previously ready and enjoyed Nicola Yoon’s debut YA novel, Everything, Everything, last year, I was very much looking forward to reading her most recent offering, and while at first I was a little sceptical given the huge amounts of hype that I had heard, I certainly was not disappointed. In fact, I loved this even more than her debut – anything that leaves you a sobbing mess upon reading the final chapter deserves nothing less than a full 5-star rating!

The novel follows the story of Natasha, our headstrong heroine who believes greatly in science and facts and most definitely not on love and fate. As the book begins, Natasha and her family are just hours away from being deported back to Jamaica, having come to the United States illegally while she was a child in order for her father to pursue his dreams of making it big in the acting profession. Natasha loves her life in New York, and plans to head off to college in less than a year, and so, on this particular day, she has taken it upon herself to fight for one last appeal to remain in the US. Daniel, on the other hand, has his own dreams of becoming a poet, but as the son of Korean immigrant parents he is expected to study hard and follow the path that they have set out for him – the path to Yale and medical school. Daniel is in the city for an admission interview for Yale when, under the strict instructions of his mother to head to the hairdresser beforehand, he stumbles upon Natasha. And the rest, as they say, is history.

While this is, at it’s heart, a YA love story, Nicola Yoon also deals with a plethora of heavy subjects not too often found within YA contemporary fiction; from loneliness, heartbreak, race and suicide to the perils of falling in love, both with a person and a place, this book truly does have substance. Don’t be put off by the one-day love story element, as The Sun Is Also A Star is so much more than that. It is a clever, thoughtful and emotive book about fate, humanity, and the ways in which we are all connected, and the impact that our actions can have on others. Natasha and Daniel’s story was skilfully interwoven with that of numerous side characters who, when mentioned in one chapter, were given their own short history in the next. I really loved this element, as it so wonderfully explored the idea of the interconnectedness of humanity and fate.

In short, I absolutely adored this. Beautiful yet bittersweet, every page of The Sun Is Also A Star was a complete joy to read, and I have no doubt that I will be returning to it many, many times in the future. Instantly captivating and wonderfully written, this is one that you’re going to have trouble putting down!

Rating

My Jane Austen Project

One of my reading goals for this year was to read more classics, at least one each month if we’re being specific. Well, we’re into February now and I’m still yet to read one, so in a bid to push and motivate myself a little further I’ve decided to embark upon a Jane Austen project. Austen is an author beloved my many, and while I have read a handful of her novels I feel that I should attempt to read them all.

Over the coming months I will be reading her all of her novels, in addition to a selection of retellings/other fiction and non-fiction works about Austen and her characters, as well as attempting to watch as many of the film and television adaptations as I can. I really can’t wait to get started with this project; Austen is such an influential and iconic writer, and I have adored everything that I have previously read by her. I’ll be posting updates every now and then, letting you know my thoughts on everything that I have read and watch, but for now let’s get onto the books!

Sense and Sensibility (1811)

I’m sorry to admit that Sense and Sensibility is a novel that I have neither read nor watch an adaptation of, and as such I am completely unfamiliar with the story. I know that this one is loved my many, so I’m very much looking forward to getting around to it.

I’ll also be reading Sense & Sensibility by Joanna Trollope, the first in the Austen Project series, which sees a number of best-selling modern day authors retelling the original classic. I’ve heard mixed things about Trollope’s instalment, but I think it will be interesting to compare the original to a modern-day take on the story.

Pride and Prejudice (1813)

The very first classic that I read, and one of the first books that I fell head-over-heels in love with, Pride and Prejudice has long been my favourite Austen. While I read the adventures of Elizabeth and Darcey countless times when I was a teenager, I haven’t re-read the book in a good few years, so I’d definitely like revisit it this year. I think I’ll be reading this alongside listening to the audiobook, narrated by Rosamund Pike, to fully immerse myself in what is, undoubtedly, one of the greatest love stories of all time!

There are quite a number of Pride and Prejudice inspired books on my shelves that, once again, I am still yet to read. Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld is another instalment in the Austen Project series, and as I love Sittenfeld’s other novels I can’t wait to see her take on this classic. I’d also like to read Longbourn by Jo Baker, which sounds very Downton Abbey inspired, and Death Comes to Pemberley by P. D. James, the mystery that inspired the 2013 BBC adaptation. There’s also Lizzy Bennet’s Diary by Marcia WilliamsLady Catherine’s Necklace by Joan Aiken, and, finally, The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick, the companion to the Emmy Award–winning YouTube series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

Mansfield Park (1814)

This is another Austen that I, sadly, have not yet read or watched an adaptation of. I have heard mixed things about Austen’s third novel, but I’m looking forward to giving it a go, particularly as I don’t have too much of an idea about the plot or the characters. I’d also like to read Mansfield Revisited by Joan Aiken. 

Emma (1815)

While I have not yet read the original novel, the 2009 BBC adaptation starring Romola Garai as our heroine is something that I am greatly familiar with! Given my love of the television series, I think that it’s about time I read Austen’s classic, and I hope that I enjoy it as much as it’s on-screen counterpart.

I’ve very much looking forward to reading Emma by Alexander McCall Smith, a further instalment in the Austen Project series, as McCall Smith is fast becoming one of my favourite contemporary writers. I’d also like to watch the Emma Approved web series, which promises to be a lot of fun!

Northanger Abbey (1817)

Yes, you guessed it, another that I haven’t read! I’m really looking forward to this one, as it sounds like a bit of a departure from Austen’s other work, so I’m definitely intrigued. I’m also very much looking forward to getting to Val McDermid’s retelling of Northanger Abbeywhich sounds like a bit of a gothic mystery perfect for a cold, dark night.

Persuasion (1818)

Finally, we’re onto Persuasion, yet another that I have not read. See, I told you that I wasn’t the most well-read when it comes to Jane Austen! I’ve got a lot of catching up to do…

And everything else…

In addition to Austen’s novels and their numerous retellings, there are also a number of Austen-inspired fiction and non-fiction titles I’d also like to read as part of this ongoing project. Austenland by Shannon Hale promises to be a fun, Austen-inspired chick-lit, and has it’s own 2013 film adaptation that I’d like to try to watch, too. As for non-fiction, I’m really looking forward to Jane Austen at Home by Lucy WorsleyWhat Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew by Daniel PoolJane Austen: A Life by Claire Tomalin and, finally, Fashion in the Time of Jane Austen by Sarah Jane Downing.

Clearly, I have rather a lot of reading to do! I’m not going to set myself a time limit for this Jane Austen project, but I’ll be sure to keep you updated with my progress along the way.

What is your favourite Jane Austen novel? Are there any retellings or non-fiction titles about her work that you’d recommend?

Review: The River at Night by Erica Ferencik

Review: The River at Night by Erica FerencikThe River at Night Published by Bloomsbury on 12th January 2017
Genres: Adult Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 304
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
'A thought came to me that I couldn't force away: What we are wearing is how we'll be identified out in the wilderness.'
Win Allen doesn't want an adventure. After a miserable divorce and the death of her beloved brother, she just wants to spend some time with her three best friends, far away from her soul-crushing job. But athletic, energetic Pia has other plans.
Plans for an adrenaline-raising, breath-taking, white-water rafting trip in the Maine wilderness. Five thousand square miles of remote countryside. Just mountains, rivers and fresh air.
No phone coverage. No people. No help

My Thoughts

This book is, at it’s heart, exactly what it says on the tin. Wini, Rachel, Pia and Sandra plan on spending the weekend together, catching up and escaping the drudgery of their day-to-day lives, white water rafting in the Maine wilderness. What starts off as a fun girls break away quickly turns into something deadly, when disaster strikes and the women are left to fend for themselves in the wilderness. A thrilling, fast-paced tale of survival, The River at Night is a fun (while also being slightly disturbing) tale of female friendship and adventure.

All in all I found this to be a really refreshing read. I enjoyed how our central characters were women in their late thirties, who struggled a little with the physical demands of white water rafting in the wilderness! Typically, survival or adventure tales such as these tend to focus on groups of men, or young women that are a little more kick-ass than normal, so I enjoyed that we were able to experience this sort of tale with a more relatable and real cast of characters. The book is told through the eyes of Wini, and as the book progresses we get to see more about her background, and those of Rachel, Pia, and Sandra, too. I will admit, I did find the first half a little slow paced for my liking, as it was more character development and setting the scene for the later survival aspects of the story, but from the halfway point onwards I was hooked.

The book gradually builds into a fast-paced, pretty frightening thriller, following the introduction of two characters the girls encounter while trying to find their way out of the woods. I wasn’t too keen on this element of the book, as I found the new characters to be a little unrealistic, and I didn’t enjoy the dynamic that existed between them. However, it was extremely action-packed, and I feared for Wini and her friends as they battled with not only survival in the wilderness, but also the very real threat posed by the new characters.

Overall, this was a fun, thrilling read that I think would make a fantastic movie, and is certainly one to try if you’re looking for something you can get through in a day or two. While it wasn’t my favourite book that I’ve read within the genre, it was certainly atmospheric, given the wilderness setting, with a great cast of characters. I’ll definitely be looking out for more of Erica Ferencik’s work in the future; her writing is unique, fast-paced, and not to be missed by fans of Ruth Ware and Hollie Overton.

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