waveformTitle: Waveform – 21st Century Essays by Women

Author: Marcia Aldrich (Editor)

Pages: 256 Pages

Publisher: University of Georgia Press

The Blurb

Waveform: Twenty-First-Century Essays by Women celebrates the role of women essayists in contemporary literature. Historically, women have been instrumental in moving the essay to center stage, and Waveform continues this rich tradition, further expanding the dynamic genre’s boundaries and testing its edges. With thirty essays by thirty distinguished and diverse women writers, this carefully constructed anthology incorporates works ranging from the traditional to the experimental.

Waveform champions the diversity of women’s approaches to the structure of the essay—today a site of invention and innovation, with experiments in collage, fragments, segmentation, braids, triptychs, and diptychs. Focused on these explorations of form, Waveform is not wed to a fixed theme or even to women’s experiences per se. It is not driven by subject matter but highlights the writers’ interaction with all manner of subject and circumstance through style, voice, tone, and structure.

This anthology presents some of the women who are shaping the essay today, mapping an ever-changing landscape. It is designed to place essays recently written by women such as Roxane Gay, Cheryl Strayed, Margo Jefferson, Jaquira Diaz, and Eula Biss into the hands of those who have been waiting patiently for something they could equally claim as their own.

The Review

I like reading essays. I like that most essays I read give me access to a world that I usually have no concept of or have never experienced. This is why I chose to request Waveform from NetGalley. As expected, the essays featured in Waveform opened up doors to the writers minds and let me be privy to events that I didn’t previously have access too.

What I found was that some of the essays were so beyond my ken that I struggled to actively follow along whereas others had be turning the page so quickly so that I could absorb more. I realised that essays, like great novels can be read at any time but there are certain times when a great piece of writing finds you when you need it most. I think that is what is special about Waveform. It is that kind of collection.

Waveform by Marcia Aldrich is available now.

3-stars

life-by-committeeTitle: Life by Committee

Author: Corey Ann Haydu

Pages: 309 Pages

Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books

The Blurb

Secret: I kissed someone else’s boyfriend.
Assignment: Do it again.

Like most who find Life by Committee, Tabitha is a little lost. Her best friend has ditched her, her Vermont town is feeling way too small, and she’s falling head over heels for a guy named Joe—who already has a girlfriend. Just when Tab is afraid she’ll burst from keeping the secret of Joe inside, she discovers Life by Committee. The rules of LBC are simple: tell a secret, receive an assignment. Complete the assignment to keep your secret safe.

Tab likes it that the assignments push her to her limits, empowering her to live boldly and go further than she’d ever go on her own. But in the name of truth and bravery, how far is too far to go?

Perfect for fans of E. Lockhart and Jennifer E. Smith, Life by Committee is a fresh, vibrant novel about the power of wanting, the messiness of friendship, and the truths we hide and share.

The Review

I really loved the concept of Life by Committee. That you put your secrets out into the world with the added knowledge of knowing that you have anonymity and you have to take on a challenge related to the revealed secret. Genius. Especially in out media soaked environment and furthermore when we have social media on tap and young adults believe their lives are really just one click away.

So yes, I loved the concept of Life by Committee. However, I did find things that jarred on me a little. Firstly, the pacing. I felt like I was always trying to hurry the story along a little bit. I wanted to get to the intriguing stuff but was slowed down quite a lot. The second thing (and the one that was more crucial to me) was that I felt like Corey Ann Haydu tried too hard to sound young. I felt that in every other sentence Haydu added the word ‘like’ because that is what a teenager would supposedly say. It began to grate after a while.

Overall, Life by Committee is a good read with a brilliant concept.

Life By Committee by Corey Ann Haydu is available now.

For more information regarding Corey Ann Haydu (@CoreyAnnHaydu) please visit www.coreyannhaydu.com.

3-stars

get-evenTitle: Get Even (Don’t Get Mad, #1)

Author: Gretchen McNeil

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

The Blurb

The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars in Gretchen McNeil s witty and suspenseful novel about four disparate girls who join forces to take revenge on high school bullies and create dangerous enemies for themselves in the process.

Bree, Olivia, Kitty, and Margot have nothing in common at least that s what they d like the students and administrators of their elite private school to think. The girls have different goals, different friends, and different lives, but they share one very big secret: They’re all members of Don t Get Mad, a secret society that anonymously takes revenge on the school s bullies, mean girls, and tyrannical teachers.

When their latest target ends up dead with a blood-soaked DGM card in his hands, the girls realize that they’re not as anonymous as they thought and that someone now wants revenge on them. Soon the clues are piling up, the police are closing in . . . and everyone has something to lose.”

The Review

Christmas 2014 I asked a friend of mine to get me Get Even as a Christmas present. We have a long standing tradition of giving each other a list of books and selecting a few off the list to give each other. Inevitably, once we have read our selection of books we then swap them. It is the circle of book life.

However, Get Even by Gretchen McNeil has been sitting on my bookshelf since that Christmas. I have a million other books to read so it was put on my ever growing book pile. This year I took over from the aforementioned friend in helping to run a school library and since we have no budget for books I have been systematically been working my way through all the YA fiction that I own so that I can donate it to the school and help encourage a culture of reading. After reading Get Even I cursed myself for having waited so long. It is bloody brilliant.

The premise of the book is that four high school girls come together to right the wrongs in their high school like modern day superheroes but without the cool costumes. In all seriousness, the four girls couldn’t be more different, they don’t hang around with each other a friends and it is questionable if they even like each other but together they have formed DGM – a secret underground group that helps the helpless.

My one bug bear about Get Even was that as I got ever so close to the end I kept thinking to myself that this book best not end on a cliffhanger because I did not have the second book in the series in my possession. It ended on a cliffhanger. Woe is me.

My recommendation is this:

  • Read Get Even – you won’t regret it.
  • Buy the sequel as soon as you start the first book. Your sanity relies on it!

Get Even by Gretchen McNeil is available now.

For more information regarding Gretchen McNeil (@GtretchenMcNeil) please visit www.gretchenmcneil.com.

For more information regarding Balzer + Bray (@BalzerandBray) please visit www.facebook.com/BalzerBray/

4-stars

 

I think we can all admit that 2016 was a weird year. I have never known a year like it for celebrity deaths, mad political decisions and for just plain weirdness. One of the few constants in my life is that I have read and reviewed some really good books.

So, as I sit here watching Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince I thought I would write a little review of my year. You lucky ducks best strap up your seatbelt…or you know just stay sitting comfortably; it is going to be a rather smooth ride.

This year I have read 187 books (soon to be more before the year is out). That worked out at 43,326 pages which I must say is pretty impressive although less than last year when I read 194 books but more than the year before which was 179 books. It works out that I read about 3.5 books per week so that is cool. I read books by 140 authors that I have never read before.

Of the 187 books that I have read 138 books by female authors but only 49 by male authors – a massive disparity. I had intentions of raising my NetGalley percentage by 10% this year but that didn’t go to plan. In fact, I went down by a whole percent. Woe is me. Even though this happened I did read 94 review books.

I read some very impressive books this year. The following books won the following awards…by me…they are like the Oscars for books…just not quite as prestigious.

Most Surprising: The Next Together by Lauren James

Most Powerful: They Can’t Kill Us All by Wesley Lowery

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Most Wonderfully Frustrating: Miss You by Kate Eberlan

Great Series: The Queen B Series by Christa McHugh

Get Even Series by Gretchen McNeil

The Next Together Series by Lauren James

Most Anticipated: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling

Most Empowering: The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

Moranifesto by Caitlin Moran

Book that Broke Me: Our Song by Dani Atkins

Best Book of the Year: The People We Were Before by Annabelle Thorpe

Favourite Book of the Year: Lobsters by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison

So there you have it folks. 2016 was good for books. Here is to 2017. Let’s hope it is a good year!

Love Lisa x

the-one-with-the-hen-weekendTitle: Bridesmaids – The One with the Hen Weekend

Author: Erin Lawless

Pages: 69 Pages

Publisher: Harper Impulse

The Blurb

Nora Dervan is ready for her Happy Ever After. With her darling Harry waiting at the altar, and all her family and friends around her. She is certain that her special day will not be forgotten/will be one to remember…

But with her four bridesmaids hiding more secrets, than bottles of champagne. Will her big day be remembered for all the right reasons?

Bea has barely gotten past the fact that her two best friends are dating, and now they’re engaged, whilst cupid’s arrow points in a forbidden direction for Cleo. She is so distracted by her off limits, hot new colleague that she has forgotten Daisy, who has been left dreading the singles table. There’s more romance in the cheesy pick- up lines than Sarah’s own marriage, which hasn’t turned out as she hoped it would be.

With her wicked sense of humour and refreshingly honest voice, Erin Lawless brings to the life the romance (and horrors!) of wedding season.

(Amazon Blurb)

The Review

Well pardon my language but sh*t just got serious. Holy moly, the latest instalment of the Bridesmaids series by Erin Lawless packed a hell of a punch.

In The One with the Hen Weekend, the female bridal party head to Paris for some coquettish fun and a bit of ooh la la but it’s not long before jealousy and rivalry become uninvited guests. Let’s just say that like any night out with the girls more than just drinks were spilled.

The One with the Hen Weekend I the most explosive book of the series so far. I was genuinely left gasping in shock when I turned the last page. It was an ordeal to read…and I want more. I cannot wait for the fourth and final instalment of this epic series.

Erin Lawless, once again, you have knocked my socks off!

Bridesmaids – The One with the Hen Weekend by Erin Lawless is available now.

For more information regarding Erin Lawless (@rinylou) please visit www.erinlawless.co.uk.

For more information regarding Harper Impulse (@HarperImpulse) please visit www.harperimpulseromance.com.

4-stars