Hello lovely folks - are you super pleased and surprised with today's post? I know. Another Book Club post already! I've been ploughing my way through so many books recently and I'm so incredibly pleased with myself. For the longest time I wasn't reading regularly because I didn't have time but I've made a conscious effort to change that this year and I've already smashed my target for amount of books read for 2O17 so I won't be putting a halt on it anytime soon. So here's a little round up of some things I've been reading lately and what I've thought of them:
Daughter by Jane Shemilt
Wowee wowee, where do I start with this book? I picked this up on a pure whim - I read the blurb and thought it sounded like something I would like:
She used to tell me everything.
They have a picture. It'll help.
But it doesn't show the way her hair shines so brightly it looks like sheets of gold.
She has a tiny mole, just beneath her left eyebrow.
She smells very faintly of lemons.
She bites her nails.
She never cries.
She loves autumn, I wanted to tell them. She collects leaves, like a child does. She is just a child.
ONE YEAR LATER
Naomi is still missing. Jenny is a mother on the brink of obsession. The Malcolm family is in pieces.
Is finding the truth about Naomi the only way to put them back together?
Or is the truth the thing that will finally tear them apart?"
Sounds pretty interesting but your standard crime/thriller novel right? Wrong. I loved this book so so much and let me tell you why. Daughter is a Sunday Times bestseller and a fave of Richard & Judy's Book Club and it's because it is brilliantly written. The story follows the Malcolm family - a bog-standard English family who have two busy career-driven parents, 3 teenage children, and a wee dog. One night, one of the children (Naomi) goes missing and the story follows what happens as a result. The story is not linear and tends to jump back and forth between the events leading up to Naomi going missing all the way up to the effects of it on her family afterwards. It's such an easy read as Shemilt is a fantastic writer so it never feels like a chore, but her writing also somehow manages to do that beautiful thing with your mind where "just one more chapter" happens again and again when you try to put the book down. The raw emotion of how the mum feels in the story about her daughter going missing is so palpable throughout the story that you can't help but get sucked in. You feel her frustration, her upset, her guilt in feeling joy when she feels she should be upset... It all resonates so strongly with the reader. I also loved that the book kept me guessing all the way up until the last few pages as to what had happened and what would occur next.
As soon as I finished Daughter I took to Twitter and felt compelled to tell Shemilt how much I bloody loved it. She was a sweet lady and tweeted me back and I've swore ever since to pick up her other work during this year. If you enjoy crimes or thrillers or if you've loved books like Room in the past, definitely give this one a go. You can pick it up in various formats here.
Fairest in All the Land by Bill Willingham
Next up let's discuss some graphic novels I've been reading and we'll start with Fairest in All the Land. The Fairest series is a companion series to one of my absolute favourite comic series ever, Fables. It is essentially a mature version of every classic fairytale/Brother's Grimm style story you have grown up with since a young age and Fairest is a spin off focusing on the female characters from the Fables franchise. Although Fairest is a companion series, this Fairest in All the Land is a stand alone edition to the whole Fables universe as it doesn't particularly follow any of the happenings in the Fairest stories. It does however follow some of the characters and namely focuses on Cinderella who is trying to investigate some murders and strange happenings that are going on in the Fables universe. I really enjoyed reading this as the story was told from the Magic Mirror's point of view which was a lovely spin on the usual style. It meant that you got a real feel for the storytelling aspect as the comic book story kept dipping back into characters sitting patiently in a room with Magic Mirror, listening to him telling this tale. It was just something a little bit different. The comic also celebrates a range of artists throughout each part of the story and it's great to see so many different art styles in one book and so intriguing to see how each artist portrays each character differently.
Although I really liked this little addition to the Fables world, I wouldn't recommend it to readers unless you are familiar with the original Fables series. This is because Fairest in All the Land relies heavily on the reader being aware of the backstories and relationships of the characters and the Fables world/environment in general. So if you think you'd be interested in Fables, check out my favourite graphic novels post for more info on the whole series, and if you're already an avid reader? Check out this standalone story if you just want some more Fables stories in your life (and you'll be pleased to know Willingham's excellent writing and humour doesn't falter at any point!). Pick up a copy of Fairest in All the Land right here
Low Volume 1: The Delirium of Hope by Rick Remender
Another graphic novel that I've read recently is Low. Low was something my mama bought for me for Christmas and I was super stoked to get stuck into it as it's from one of my fave comic publishing houses, Image Comics. It is a relatively new comic series that follows a family in the future in a post-apocalyptic kind of world. The story focuses on a time after the sun has started to burn up the earth and causes intense radiation so humans have descended into the oceans and are now living deep in the sea to hide from certain death on the surface. The humans who now inhabit the sea have adapted really well and send probes to look for other galaxies and planets which could be inhabitable for them to move to in future and go hunting in the sea on ships like some sort of underwater pirates. However as you can imagine, this underwater lifestyle can't be maintained as the oxygen supplies are running low and there's no way of collecting any more so Low starts to follow one family in particular when this issue begins to be more pressing.
The thing I really like about this comic is the art style. It reminds me of watercolour paintings and is very flowy and I guess, carefree, and seems almost in soft focus. A gorgeous colour soft colour palette is used throughout too so it's just a pleasure to flick through. The story itself is great and is a little different to the typical post-apocalyptic space story but I have to be honest, I found it kind of difficult to get my head around at first. It's a comic that jumps straight into the story and doesn't go out of its way to explain anything so I found myself flicking back a few pages a few times to get to grips with what was what. However once I was over that initial hurdle, the story was smooth sailing. Even just in this first volume, it's dramatic, gritty, and mature in a gripping but not over the top way. I'll definitely make sure to read the next volume as I honestly don't know how the story is going to unfold as it's quite unique and for that reason alone (if the artwork hasn't convinced you enough already), you should pick this up too.