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rhian

rhian

Nine Coaches Waiting (Rediscovered Classics) - Mary Stewart, Sandra Brown One of my long term favourites. Love Raoul!
The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness - Mark         Williams, John D. Teasdale, Zindel V. Segal, Jon Kabat-Zinn Wordy, & about much more than depression, but very helpful.
Realising the ways in which the brain & body react to stress & unpleasant feelings, why they do that & how to tune into those signals in order to ward off major chain-reactions like acute stress and depression - pretty priceless.
NB, if the whole book seems too daunting, start at Chapter 11 which offers the structure of an 8 week program, instead of trying to swallow the thing whole.
Forever  - Maggie Stiefvater SIGH.
Had no idea how much I'd end up loving this trilogy. I almost didn't even finish Shiver. But now they are my favourites, my bests and my beloveds, & I will read them all again as soon as I can.
Outrageously well written, heart-swellingly romantic, weep-inducing, funny & cool.
LOVE.

PS #TeamCole
Linger - Maggie Stiefvater Liked Shiver, loved this.
Weep.
Swoon.

Weep.

(though, where is Olivia? Poor forgotten Olivia)

Delirium (Delirium #1)

Delirium (Delirium #1) - Lauren Oliver Stunningly good. Absolutely gorgeous writing, a strong character arc full of twists and believable pain, a satisfyingly well-realised future world/dystopia, perfectly paced with not a word out of place. I deeply resent Lauren Oliver's ridiculously impressive writing talent, and unequivocably recommend this to anyone considering it.
The Ordinary Princess - M. M. Kaye My favourite book.
City of Glass - Cassandra Clare I rate this nine out of five, & will now go back to the start & read it again.

The Day of the Triffids

The Day of the Triffids - John Wyndham My very favouritest book ever.
Ready Player One - Ernest Cline Reviewed for the Autumn 2011 Journal of the British Fantasy Society

It’s 2045, but the ‘80s are back. Most of humanity’s time is spent in the OASIS, a massive multiplayer online game that’s become a globally networked virtual reality. Halliday, the powerful loner who created it, was a pop-culture obsessive who grew up in the 1980s. When he dies, he leaves a challenge – whoever finds and solves the hidden puzzles he’s programmed into the game will inherit his fortune and controlling stock of the OASIS.
In true John Hughes/Spielberg fashion, our good guys are a group of lovable misfit loners. They are obsessed with finding the puzzles and they’re in with a chance, because they have immersed themselves in the ‘80s ephemera that Halliday’s quest revived. They rule at clunky console games and know Bladerunner word-for-word, as well as the Bon Jovi back catalogue. This time the geeks really might inherit the world, so long as they get there before the corporate bad guys. The bad guys with big guns and no scruples, who want to sell advertising and charge for individuality.
As a gamer and an ‘80s child I couldn’t ask for more. The OASIS is shaped like a Rubik’s Cube, inter-world travel is by teleportation, and one of the puzzles requires an exact recreation of all Matthew Broderick’s dialogue in WarGames in order to win. Cline references the 90s, too – Firefly, Spaced and The Simpsons get cosy alongside Gaiman, Vonnegut, LadyHawke and Endor. If you loved that stuff, you’ll be racing through this novel and dusting off your VHS collection while you read. Will you enjoy this if the words Atari, Airwolf or DeLorean mean nothing to you? Maybe not. But I’m sure there’ll be enough of us geeks out there to make it a best-seller.
Warm Bodies - Isaac Marion I just love your brraaiins: 3 reasons to fall in love with a zombie
Review written for Slacker Heroes

He lives in a plane

Post zombie plague, the undead hang out in large groups at abandoned places while the living hide in barricaded, joyless camps. ‘R’, our zombie narrator, lives in an abandoned airport, and has claimed a 747 commercial jet as his private pad. He spends his days travelling up and down the airport escalators, then up and down again. I guess they’re operating at the same level of animation. His friend ‘M’ is more down to earth (all zombies have forgotten their full, living names; M and R think they remember the first initials of theirs, at least) and is as sleazy and female obsessed in death as he was in life. M lives in the ladies bathroom, watching soft porn and tripping on hits from fresh brains. I know which bachelor pad I’d prefer.

‘My friend ‘M’ says the irony of being a zombie is that everything is funny, but you can’t smile, because your lips have rotted off.’

He loves music

It’s hard for the zombies to remember what happened to them, or what their lives were like before. R seems to be the only one who cares, and his inability to piece anything together is upsetting him. He collects records and memorabilia, paintings, movies and dolls, and piles them up in his plane-pad. He’s certain they were things of importance but unable to remember why. His mind is stretching beyond his zombie lot in life, but his memory won’t play ball and his vocabulary, limited to the occasional shuffling syllable, can’t help him ask what he wants to know. In one of the cutest, coolest scenes of the novel, he uses his vinyl stash to ‘scratch’ the words he wants to say, skipping through lines of Sinatra records to articulate his thoughts.

Who’s he trying to communicate with? Well. When he eats the brain of a twenty something soldier, he experiences the love the boy had for his bright, full of life girlfriend and decides to rescue her and bring her back to his plane. Yes, you’re right, not the cleverest idea ever. Bring a living girl into an airport full of zombies in order to protect her? Hmm. Anyway, while she’s there they start playing the records he’s amassed, and have a strange few days of hanging out, playing records and eating Thai food. Sounds like my 20s. Though I never had to cover myself in the blood of the dead to hide my scent from the hordes of hungry dead outside.

He values pop culture

Frustrated that none of the other zombies seem to remember or want more, R loses his temper and shouts at a zombie he meets when looping the escalators one day. She has a name tag – she has a name, a clue to her old life, but zombies can’t read so all it does is taunt him.

‘Name,’ I say, glaring into her ear. ‘Name?’

She shoots me a cold look and keeps walking.

‘Job? School?’ My tone shifts from query to accusation. ‘Movie? Song?’ It bubbles out of me like oil from a punctured pipeline. ‘Book?’ I shout at her. ‘Home? Name?’


I think I’d get on with this guy. Picture it. We’re in his plane, listening to Sinatra, eating pad Thai and talking about books. He’s kinda immortal. He’s got DJ skills. He wants to know where I’m from, what my favourite movie is. He’s eaten my boyfriend’s brain to get to know me better – if that’s not commitment, what is?

Every few pages of this novel has a reference to what this new, dead world is missing; Julie’s eyes are likened to ‘classic novels and poetry’, while R’s cravings for brraaiins pulse like pink Pollock fractals. Polaroids are valuable because memories are fading, Beatles songs weave in and out of the chapters, and R and his crew are a ‘cadaverous cadre…roaming the open roads like Kerouac beats with no gas money’. The people behind the barricades have no time to teach their children about art and music, because learning to load a gun and cut a zombie’s brains out are more urgent life skills. They dress in khaki and there’s no booze left in the pub. They are alive, but what for? Warm Bodies is a love letter to what we still have – culture, creativity, emotion, (vodka) – and inspires me to relish it now, before the zombie apocalypse takes it all away.
Rulebreaker - Cathy Pegau Reviewed for Slacker Heroes

Rulebreaker’s heroine, Liv, is a low-level criminal with a history of smash ’n grab jobs. She’s been a con since she was a kid, and has yet to find either an honest alternative or the job big enough for her to retire. The novel opens with her on the floor with a gun at her head, held hostage during a bank job. She is particularly peeved about this because she was there to rob the place herself. It’s a nice twist, and gives us Liv’s droll, down on her luck point of view from the start. The first person, ‘just-wants-an-easy-life-but-keeps-getting-into-trouble’ point of view reminded me of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum novels, and the light but fast-paced tone made this a quick and enjoyable read.

The story is set on Nevarro, a mining planet that’s seen better days. Like most of the drones who work for the mining company, Liv dreams of bigger things and a better life, legitimate or not. When her handsome ex-husband tells her about the job big enough to give her what she wants, she’s tempted despite how things ended between them. One last job, right? Right. We all know how that’s going to go.

As in all good crime capers, Liv gets involved despite the obvious danger. Before long she’s embroiled in corporate espionage, living with her ex and chillingly aware that the people she’s working for are seriously nasty criminals. They’ve hired her to get close to her sexy new boss, and do whatever it takes to get the information she needs. Did I mention that Liv’s long-lost mother (also a con) picks the worst time to reappear and move into her flat, or that her sexy new boss is a woman?

The scene is set for an engaging adventure with some deliciously saucy scenes. Pegau writes well and delivers humour and a believable plot along with the sexual tension. I’ll definitely look out for more of her books in the future, and especially recommend this for Stephanie Plum fans who like a little sci-fi (and a bit of girl-on-girl).
Daughter of Smoke & Bone - Laini Taylor Review copy, read for the British Fantasy Society

I demand that two new laws are immediately passed. 1) More books set in Prague. 2) More books by Laini Taylor. Read this and you will understand. With its secretive streets and tall spired towers, the Czech city perfectly suits this gothic, fairytale romance. The pages burst with art and romance, legend and tragedy, with fog and with teeth. Secret portals that cross the globe in a flash. Real angels on the Charles Bridge. This book could not have been set anywhere else.

I was nervous coming to read this ‘ I adore Taylor’s earlier work. This new book, about a girl with naturally blue hair, brought up by monsters, at art school in Prague ‘ it sounded too good. She has ‘true’ and ‘story’ tattooed on each wrist, decorates her flat from Parisian flea markets and wears a necklace made of wishes? And she has kung-fu skills? Too cool. My expectations were bound to ruin it. The book sat on my desk for a week while I tried to calm down.

And then I started it, and … finished it in less than 48 hours. Finished it breathless, tears in my eyes, aching to read the next part of the trilogy. Which I’m not sure has even been written yet. So, Laini, hurry up, dear. I need more Karou, and more of the secret worlds she is part of. I want more Morocco, more Prague and much, much more time with her divinely handsome love-interest. I have to find out how the fierce war is won, and who wins it. I hope it’s the monsters. You will too.
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald Joint second favourite book ever, along with Wide Sargasso Sea.
(Favouritest ever being The Day of the Triffids, of course)