3 Stars Reviews

Review: Pan’s Labyrinth by Guillermo Del Toro and Cornelia Funke

Inspired by the film of the same name, Guillermo del Toro and Cornelia Funke brings this nightmarish fairytale to book form. In Spain during the summer of 1944, the aftermath of the civil war plays out in the forests, in between the trees and under the cover of darkness. Republican rebels hide out in the woods, hunted by the capitán and his soldiers who make an old mill their base. Ofelia and her mother, who is heavily pregnant and very weak, arrive at the mill to be reunited with Captain Vidal, Ofelia’s new stepfather. Most do not take notice of her, the cruel capitán is irritated by her presence, but under the ground, creatures are stirring – they sense the return of the long-lost Princess Moanna. Ofelia discovers an overgrown labyrinth and meets the Fawn, who sets her three tasks to prove she is the missing Princess. Ofelia’s love of fairytales guides her, but things soon become far more sinister than they ever did in her storybooks.

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2 Stars Reviews

Review: If Cats Disappeared From the World by Genki Kawamura

Within the first few pages of If Cats Disappeared From the World, the narrator learns of his imminent death. He returns to his apartment, where he lives alone with little contact with his family following his mother’s death, and seeks solace in the fur of his beloved cat, Cabbage. Before he can truly come to terms with his prognosis, he encounters the Devil, a Hawaiian-shirt-clad version of himself who informs him that he has just a day to live. But the Devil offers him a deal: in exchange for removing one thing from the world, the narrator will be granted an additional day of life. What follows is an unusual week of decisions, in which our narrator learns what really matters to him and what he’s willing to lose in order to live.

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5 Stars Reviews

Review: Text Me When You Get Home by Kayleen Schaefer

Kayleen Schaefer’s debut takes a personal and sociological look at the way friendships between women have developed throughout history, to become more nuanced and intimate than ever. Drawing on personal experience and interviews with friends, celebrities, writers, and historians, Schaefer renders a touching account of the importance of friendship in strengthening and supporting our life experiences.

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4 Stars Reviews

Review: Where the Line Bleeds by Jesmyn Ward

Twin brothers Christophe and Joshua are about to graduate high school. Their feelings are mixed; joyful for the freedom they will finally have but apprehensive about how they will manage to make money to enjoy that freedom. Growing up in a poverty-ridden black community in rural Mississippi, the boys have few promising prospects. Gifted a car by their absent mother, they begin driving around the towns surrounding their home of Bois Sauvage, hunting for work. When Joshua gets a job working the docks on the Gulf Coast, Christophe becomes jealous and increasingly desperate to help contribute something to his ageing grandmother, who continues to care for the twins despite her blindness. He turns to his cousin Dunny and to drug-dealing, which widens the growing gulf between himself and his twin, who fears Christophe is veering down a path dangerously similar to that of their addict father, Sandman. Christophe’s choices set both the twins on course to a violent encounter with their father that could forever alter their lives.

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4 Stars Reviews

Review: Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Taylor Jenkins Reid’s hugely hyped up novel, Daisy Jones & The Six, comes after the success of her 2017 hit, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. Both play with an interview format, spanning the ups and downs of hugely successful celebrity icons. Daisy Jones & The Six follows the eponymous character, Daisy Jones, as she joins forces with rock band The Six to become one of the biggest groups of the 70s. Fuelled by sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll they embark on a rip-roaring career with a killer album and a sold-out tour to boot. But following one of their best shows, and at the peak of their success, they suddenly disband with no explanation, leaving fans heartbroken and bewildered. Decades later, the band and those close to them open up about what happened with Daisy Jones & The Six.

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5 Stars Reviews

Review: Notorious RGB by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was only the second woman to sit on the Supreme Court bench, nominated in 1993. Initially considered a moderate, RBG has now become an internet phenomenon as her lawyerly prowess has impressed and inspired thousands of young feminists. Borne out of the original Tumblr blog of the same name, Notorious RBG uses interviews with family, friends, clerks and Ginsburg herself to draw an honest, intimate, and entertaining portrait of a Justice that has devoted her career to making the world a better place.

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2 Stars Reviews

Review: The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells

David Wallace-Wells expands his viral article of the same name into a terrifying full-length examination of the consequences of unchecked climate change. By examining a multiplicity of effects of global warming, such as the increase in powerful natural disasters to economic depression like nothing we’ve ever seen, Wallace-Wells paints a stark picture of our future world and implores us to act.

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2 Stars Reviews

Review: House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara

House of Impossible Beauties charts the lives of the drags queens that formed the beginning of legendary Latino drag house, the House of Xtravaganza. In 1980s New York City, Angel is seventeen and finally coming into her own. When her mother rejects her, she looks for a new family in the ball scene, where she meets Hector. They fall in love and decide to create their own all-Latino house, with Angel as the ruling mother, and Hector beside her as house father. When Hector dies from AIDs-related causes, Angel must mother her drag children alone. Venus, Juanito and Daniel all lean on each other and their mother Angel, as they learn how to navigate the ballroom scene, along with sex work, drug addiction, and society’s rejection of their true selves.

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