The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
by Haruki Murakami
GOODREADS – AMAZON
Released: 12th April 1994
Keywords: Adult, Japan, Magical realism
“Toru Okada’s cat has disappeared. His wife is growing more distant every day. Then there are the increasingly explicit telephone calls he has recently been receiving. As this compelling story unfolds, the tidy suburban realities of Okada’s vague and blameless life, spent cooking, reading, listening to jazz and opera and drinking beer at the kitchen table, are turned inside out, and he embarks on a bizarre journey, guided (however obscurely) by a succession of characters, each with a tale to tell.”
I honestly have no idea how to review this book, but here is my feeble attempt. It took me roughly 2 months on and off to finish and not because I wasn’t enjoying it, I just found it to be quite a heavy read compared to Kafka on the Shore which I finished within a week. This is mostly due to quite a few historical flashbacks which did get quite graphic and quite honestly a bit depressing. I found this book had a lot of nods to depression which I personally found to be relatable but also at times hard to read.
It was filled with all of the usual weird magical realism elements that I love and most of it really didn’t make much sense, but then I’m not sure it’s supposed to. What a great cast of characters though, I particularly loved any scene that involved May and the role she played for the main character.
I’m glad I read this book and look forward to reading more of Murakami’s novels, would recommend for fans of magical realism and weird stories that don’t quite make sense but make you think hard about the world.
My rating: 4.5/5 stars
S.T.A.G.S by M.A. Bennett
GOODREADS – AMAZON
Released: 10th August 2017
Keywords: YA, Thriller, Hunt, Mystery, Bullying, Violence, Contemporary, Romance, Animal deaths
“Nine students. Three bloodsports. One deadly weekend.
It is the autumn term and Greer MacDonald is struggling to settle into the sixth form at the exclusive St. Aidan the Great boarding school, known to its privileged pupils as S.T.A.G.S. Just when she despairs of making friends Greer receives a mysterious invitation with three words embossed upon on it: huntin’ shootin’ fishin’. When Greer learns that the invitation is to spend the half term weekend at the country manor of Henry de Warlencourt, the most popular and wealthy boy at S.T.A.G.S., she is as surprised as she is flattered.
But when Greer joins the other chosen few at the ancient and sprawling Longcross Hall, she realises that Henry’s parents are not at home; the only adults present are a cohort of eerily compliant servants. The students are at the mercy of their capricious host, and, over the next three days, as the three bloodsports – hunting, shooting and fishing – become increasingly dark and twisted, Greer comes to the horrifying realisation that those being hunted are not wild game, but the very misfits Henry has brought with him from school… “
I went in to this book expecting it to be way more gritty and gruesome with less of the romance aspect which is mostly why my rating is on the lower side. Sometimes it even felt like I was reading a middle grade novel and as we are in the protagonists head some of her thoughts were very immature and inappropriate for the situation so perhaps I’m not the target audience for this. Nonetheless it was still a pretty fun read and focused hard on discrimination by class/race which is obviously a very relevant topic.
Too much focus from our main girl on how hot the main guy is and way too many movie referencing for me. The actual ‘hunt’ parts were more enjoyable and there were a few times that got my heart rate up. Plot twists were mostly predictable but I did enjoy the character of Henry (gave me some Cardan from The Cruel Prince vibes).
Would recommend for contemporary fans that like a hint of thriller, wouldn’t recommend for someone looking to read a gritty intense thriller.
My rating: 3/5 stars
The first book I chose for my Japanese Book Club was Goodbye Tsugumi by Banana Yoshimoto which I had previously read last year and loved. I figured it would be a good book for people who maybe havn’t read any Japanese authors before (cos they can get a lil crazy), so here is my spoiler review and for anyone who has read the book too, please leave comments for us to discuss!
Continue reading “Goodbye Tsugumi”
Book Review: Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa (sequel to Shadow of the Fox)
Published: 27th June 2019 by HQ
Keywords: YA, Fantasy, Japan, Anime, Adventure, Demons, Gore, LGBTQ
SPOILER WARNING FOR SHADOW OF THE FOX
One thousand years ago, a wish was made to the Harbinger of Change and a sword of rage and lightning was forged. Kamigoroshi. The Godslayer. It had one task: to seal away the powerful demon Hakaimono.
Now he has broken free.
Kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko has one task: to take her piece of the ancient and powerful scroll to the Steel Feather temple in order to prevent the summoning of the Harbinger of Change, the great Kami Dragon who will grant one wish to whomever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. But she has a new enemy now. The demon Hakaimono, who for centuries was trapped in a cursed sword, has escaped and possessed the boy she thought would protect her, Kage Tatsumi of the Shadow Clan.
Hakaimono has done the unthinkable and joined forces with the Master of Demons in order to break the curse of the sword and set himself free. To overthrow the empire and cover the land in darkness, they need one thing: the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. As the paths of Yumeko and the possessed Tatsumi cross once again, the entire empire will be thrown into chaos.
Continue reading “eARC: Soul of the Sword”
Book Review: The Girl in Red by Christina Henry
Published: 18th June 2019 by Titan Books Ltd
Keywords: Horror, Dystopian, Post apocalyptic, Gore, Retelling, LGBTQ, Amputee
It’s not safe for anyone alone in the woods. There are predators that come out at night: critters and coyotes, snakes and wolves. But the woman in the red jacket has no choice. Not since the Crisis came, decimated the population, and sent those who survived fleeing into quarantine camps that serve as breeding grounds for death, destruction, and disease. She is just a woman trying not to get killed in a world that doesn’t look anything like the one she grew up in, the one that was perfectly sane and normal and boring until three months ago.
There are worse threats in the woods than the things that stalk their prey at night. Sometimes, there are men. Men with dark desires, weak wills, and evil intents. Men in uniform with classified information, deadly secrets, and unforgiving orders. And sometimes, just sometimes, there’s something worse than all of the horrible people and vicious beasts combined.
Red doesn’t like to think of herself as a killer, but she isn’t about to let herself get eaten up just because she is a woman alone in the woods….
Continue reading “ARC: The Girl in Red”
Book Review: White Peak by Ronan Frost
Published: 21st May 2019 by St. Martin’s Press
Keywords: Thriller, Action, Adventure, Mystery, Sci Fi
Greg Rask, a dying tech billionaire, has invested millions chasing miracle cures. None of them are worth a damn, but he refuses to give up. Now, he’s gathering a team willing to go to the ends of the earth chasing life.
Each of Rask’s crew has beaten incredible odds to rise from the ashes of their old lives to where they are now. Together, their next task is to retrieve a painting that is believed to hide a map which, if genuine, marks it as a treasure of the Ahnenerbe, the occult wing of the SS, who had devoted dozens of expeditions in search of the three cintamani stones for their combined properties, and the lost city where they were rumored to lay hidden: Shambhala. But a mystical brotherhood sworn to protect the secrets of the ancients—the same secrets that allow its members to defy death—will stop at nothing to ensure that Rask’s crew fail.
In an adrenalin-pumping quest through some of the most savage terrains known to man, the crew will be pushed to the limits of endurance and beyond.
Continue reading “ARC: White Peak”
Book Review: Other Words for Smoke by Sarah Maria Griffin
Published: 2nd April 2019 by Titan Books Ltd
Keywords: YA, Fantasy, Ireland, LGBTQ, Witches, Paranormal, Mystery, Horror
The house at the end of the lane burned down, and Rita Frost and her teenage ward, Bevan, were never seen again. The townspeople never learned what happened. Only Mae and her brother Rossa know the truth; they spent two summers with Rita and Bevan, two of the strangest summers of their lives… Because nothing in that house was as it seemed: a cat who was more than a cat, and a dark power called Sweet James that lurked behind the wallpaper, enthralling Bevan with whispers of neon magic and escape. And in the summer heat, Mae became equally as enthralled with Bevan. Desperately in the grips of first love, she’d give the other girl anything. A dangerous offer when all that Sweet James desired was a taste of new flesh…
Continue reading “Other Words for Smoke”