SourdoughTitle: Sourdough

Author: Robin Sloan

Pages: 262 Pages

Publisher: Atlantic Books

The Blurb

Leavened by the same infectious intelligence and lovable nerdiness that made Robin Sloan’s Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore such a sensation, Sourdough marks the triumphant return of a unique and beloved young writer.

Lois Clary is a software engineer at General Dexterity, a San Francisco robotics company with world-changing ambitions. She codes all day and collapses at night, her human contact limited to the two brothers who run the neighbourhood hole-in-the-wall from which she orders dinner every evening. Then, disaster! Visa issues. The brothers close up shop, and fast. But they have one last delivery for Lois: their culture, the sourdough starter used to bake their bread. She must keep it alive, they tell her – feed it daily, play it music, and learn to bake with it.

Lois is no baker, but she could use a roommate, even if it is a needy colony of microorganisms. Soon, not only is she eating her own homemade bread, she’s providing loaves daily to the General Dexterity cafeteria. The company chef urges her to take her product to the farmer’s market, and a whole new world opens up.

When Lois comes before the jury that decides who sells what at Bay Area markets, she encounters a close-knit club with no appetite for new members. But then, an alternative emerges: a secret market that aims to fuse food and technology. But who are these people, exactly?

The Review

Ok, I genuinely don’t know what to write. After nearly four years of book reviews a book has me stumped. I cannot for the life of me tell you what Sourdough was about. I mean on a surface level it is about bread but on a deeper level I don’t have a clue.

I can only say that reading it was an experience but to give an opinion over whether or not I liked it is going to be a bit ambiguous. I would have to go with no I did not enjoy reading Sourdough but mainly because I have no idea what the story was about. That is a very different reason than disliking the writing. Sloan is a good writer and tells the story he wants to tell. That I did not enjoy it is not a reflection on his creativity or writing skills. We just didn’t mesh.

Sourdough by Robin Sloan is available now.

For more information regarding Atlantic Books (@AtlanticBooks) please visit www.atlantic-books.co.uk.

2 Stars

 

Title: Young Girl with a Ukulele

Author: Terence Blacker

Pages: 32 Pages

Publisher: Amazon Media

The Blurb

It all starts with a young girl playing her ukulele in a dingy folk club. There is something different about the song she sings – a song called ‘Life is Beautiful.’

It breaks hearts. It makes money. It might even change the world.

But no story of beauty or success in our cruel modern world can be entirely innocent.

Can it?

Young Girl with a Ukulele is a dark and clever story of music and fame – and the sinister forces which can lie behind them.

The Review

Young Girl with a Ukulele is an unusual little story of one man’s (and indeed the world’s) obsession with a young musician.

The “young girl” in question is Sali – an elusive one hit wonder. In a media saturated society the lure of something original and intangible gets the world gripped. In particular, a fellow musician tries to know more but hits roadblocks along the way.

Young Girl with a Ukulele wasn’t the most interesting short story I have read but I did find the intensity with which Sali captured the world to be quite compelling.

Young Girl with a Ukulele by Terence Blacker is available now.

For more information regarding Terence Blacker (@TerenceBlacker) please visit www.terenceblacker.com.

2 Stars

Title: Messages from Henry

Author: Rebecca Scarberry

Pages: 30 Pages

Publisher: Amazon Media

The Blurb

Henry is special. Evelyn Bury becomes the unlikely victim in a random kidnapping. Henry, her loyal homing pigeon, flies to the rescue. Tammy, Evelyn’s next-door neighbour, the lackadaisical authorities,, and Evelyn’s son assist in Evelyn’s rescue. Henry hurdles many obstacles to the point of endangering his own life in order to save his dear master.

You will find yourself routing Henry on, cheering his progress and praying for Evelyn’s safe return. Read Messages from Henry and lose yourself in a fun, fast-paced suspense thriller written for age twelve up, but mainly adults will find this book extremely entertaining.

The Review

Messages from Henry is a farcical story passing as a mystery.

When Tammy’s neighbour Evelyn goes missing Tammy is alerted to the crime by a note attached to the leg of Henry, Evelyn’s chicken. Now, you would think at this point the premise would be enough to make me put down the book but as a child I loved the movie That Darn Cat so I kind o accepted it and carried on.

What I can’t accept is the ineptitude of the police in this silly crime caper and also the police are constant checking in with Tammy. What investigation keeps civilians in the loop?

None. None is the answer.

Messages from Henry is just plain ludicrous.

Messages from Henry by Rebecca Scarberry is available now.

For more information regarding Rebecca Scarberry (@Scarberryfields) please visit www.scarberryfieldsforever.blogspot.com.

1 star

Meet CuteTitle: Meet Cute

Author: Various

Pages: 224 Pages

Publisher: HMH Books

The Blurb

Whether or not you believe in fate, or luck, or love at first sight, every romance has to start somewhere. MEET CUTE is an anthology of original short stories featuring tales of “how they first met” from some of today’s most popular YA authors.

Readers will experience Nina LaCour’s beautifully written piece about two Bay Area girls meeting via a cranky customer service Tweet, Sara Shepard’s glossy tale about a magazine intern and a young rock star, Nicola Yoon’s imaginative take on break-ups and make-ups, Katie Cotugno’s story of two teens hiding out from the police at a house party, and Huntley Fitzpatrick’s charming love story that begins over iced teas at a diner. There’s futuristic flirting from Kass Morgan and Katharine McGee, a riveting transgender heroine from Meredith Russo, a subway missed connection moment from Jocelyn Davies, and a girl determined to get out of her small town from Ibi Zoboi. Jennifer Armentrout writes a sweet story about finding love from a missing library book, Emery Lord has a heartwarming and funny tale of two girls stuck in an airport, Dhonielle Clayton takes a thoughtful, speculate approach to pre-destined love, and Julie Murphy dreams up a fun twist on reality dating show contestants.

This incredibly talented group of authors brings us a collection of stories that are at turns romantic and witty, epic and everyday, heartbreaking and real.

The Review

Meet Cute is a gorgeous collection of short stories all about how people meet. What is great about the collection is that each author has a different and unique take on how that initial meeting between two characters should happen. Not one of these stories is the same.

Personally, my favourite stories in the collection are: The Unlikely Likelihood of Falling in Love by Jocelyn Davies and Say Everything by Huntley Fitzpatrick. But this anthology is chock-a-block with stories and characters to fall in love with so there really is something for everyone. It is also a nice introduction to some seriously talented YA authors whom you may not have come across before.

What is also pretty awesome about the book is that it makes you consider all the meet cutes that you have had in your life and it also makes you think of the meet cutes that you have yet to have had.

Go on, read it and bask in the cuteness.

Meet Cute by Various is available now.

For more information regarding HMH Books (@HMHbooks) please visit www.hmhco.com/at-home.

3 Stars

The Most Dangerous Place on EarthTitle: The Most Dangerous Place of Earth

Author: Lindsey Lee Johnson

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

The Blurb

An unforgettable cast of characters is unleashed into a realm known for its cruelty – the American high school – in this captivating novel.

The wealthy enclaves north of San Francisco are not the paradise they appear to be, and nobody knows this better than the students of a local high school. Despite being raised with all the opportunities money can buy, these vulnerable kids are navigating a treacherous adolescence in which every action, every rumour, every feeling is potentially postable, shareable, viral.

Abigail Cress is ticking off boxes towards the Ivy League when she makes the first impulsive decision of her life: entering into an inappropriate relationship with a teacher. Dave Chu, who knows himself at heart to be a typical B student, takes desperate measures to live up to his parents’ crushing expectations. Emma Fleed, a gifted dancer, balances rigorous rehearsals with wild weekends. Damon Flintov returns from a stint at rehab looking to prove that he’s not an irredeemable screw-up. And Calista Broderick, once part of the popular crowd, chooses, for reasons of her own, to become a hippie outcast.

Into this complicated web, an idealistic young English teacher arrives from a poorer, scruffier part of California. Molly Nicoll strives to connect with her students – without understanding the middle school tragedy that played out online and has continued to reverberate in different ways for all of them.

Written with the rare talent capable of turning teenage drama into urgent, adult fiction, The Most Dangerous Place on Earth makes vivid a modern adolescence lived in the gleam of the virtual, but rich with sorrow, passion and humanity.

The Review

The Most Dangerous Place on Earth was a very uncomfortable read. It is, for want of a better description. The OC minus the glamour.

Author, Lindsey Lee Johnson looks at the seedy underbelly of what the lifestyles of the rich is really like and how that life of privilege can do more harm than good.

What is especially clever about The Most Dangerous Place on Earth is that the characters feel intangible. They always feel separate and you don’t form a connection with the characters. You dance a limbo in between feeling sorry for them and also a little like they deserve everything they get.

As I say, The Most Dangerous Place on Earth is not the most comfortable read but it is a great book to read if you are looking at modern day affluent youth culture.

The Most Dangerous Place of Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson is available now.

For more information regarding Lindsey Lee Johnson (@lindseyleej) please visit www.lindseyleejohnson.com.

For more information regarding Hodder & Stoughton (@HodderBooks) please visit www.hodder.co.uk.

35 Stars