Book Review: The Fact of a Body – Alexandria Marzano-Lesenevich 

Book Review: The Fact of a Body – Alexandria Marzano-Lesenevich 


I don’t really like true crime books, they’re often poorly written and lurid but this is nothing like those. Subtitled A Murder and a Memoir, this is not only the story of one terrible crime, but also a moving meditation on family, innocence and healing. 

Marzano-Lesenevich was an intern for famed lawyer Clive Stafford Smith when she started to investigate the case of one of his clients, Ricky Langley, a convicted paedophile who murdered a young boy, Jeremy Guillory in Louisiana in 1992 and was given the death penalty, which on appeal was commuted to life in prison. 

Combined with this case history is Marzano-Lesenevich’s own story. Hers is not a happy one either, life was often cruel and confusing and she is open about the hardships she too has suffered. 

A masterful writer, who manages to weave these disparate narrative strands together in a very compelling read. 

A mixture of court transcripts, reports and reconstructed scenes provide the story of Ricky, and Jeremy, while the author’s own memories and occasional family conversation build into her own. 

This was much more readable than I’m probably making it sound, and I was really fascinated. Obviously it’s not the cheeriest of reads, it is certainly an interesting one. 

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Book Review – Wonder Woman: Warbringer – Leigh Bardugo

Book Review – Wonder Woman: Warbringer – Leigh Bardugo

This book came in my recent Illumicrate and I have to admit I was a bit apprehensive about it. I haven’t seen the Wonder Woman film for a variety of reasons. But this isn’t a novelization of the film or really part of that narrative. 
Bardugo wrote some of my favourite recent fantasy books (The Grisha trilogy, Six of Crows, Crooked Kingdom), which meant I knew she could write but working with existing characters is not always a good idea (see some of the many recent continuation novels from Sophie Hannah, Anthony Horowitz etc, a rather uneven territory). 

However I was pleasantly surprised by her treatment of the DC super hero. Starting on the secret island Wonder Woman hails from, the novel really gets going once she leaves Themyscria for our modern world. 

Having saved Alia from a sinking ship and broken one of the laws of the Amazons, Diana must leave or face banishment. An ancient bloodline is also in play – and the end of the world could be nigh. 

In the end I read this very quickly, it certainly made my commute fly by, and it was really enjoyable. I hope this isn’t the one off it seems, Bardugo is a great writer and I really like the voice she gives to Wonder Woman. 

Have you read this book? Seen the film? Have anything you want to share? The comments section is waiting for you. 

Illumicrate Summer Box 

Illumicrate Summer Box 

Woohoo! Illumicrate is here. So many great bookish items and so many exclusive treats. 

There are so many good things in this box. I am almost too excited to know where to start! 

The book is Leigh Bardugo’s Wonder Woman: Warbringer which is published soon and will be reviewed once I’ve read it. This is such a great book and Bardugo is one of my favourite writers. There’s also a super cool enamel badge which will go nicely with my Wonder Woman Converses. 

Wisdom Journal from Hey Atlas Creative – it’s dot to dot so perfect for doodling. 

ARC of Nyxia by Scott Reintgen – another interesting looking advanced reader copy – review to follow. 

The Red Church Tea (may contain the blood of your enemies) from T-ology. 

Shakespeare canvas pouch from Miss Phi. 

Alethiometer Coaster from Hannah Hitchman Art

Book Money Jar & Sticky Bookmarks from Blossom Books 

Extras; Ringer, After the Fire, Harper 360, The Bear and the Nightingale, Moxie. 

I genuinely can’t pick a favourite item so I will just be here reading and patting my lovely new book things….

Book Preview: Love and Other Consolation Prizes – Jamie Ford

Book Preview: Love and Other Consolation Prizes – Jamie Ford

If you’ve read Ford’s previous works – The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet or The Song of Willow Frost, you’ll know his milieu is the Chinese and Japanese diaspora on the West Coast of America – chiefly Seattle and San Francisco. 
Ernest Young is sold by his starving, heartbroken mother and sent by ship as a small boy from China to Seattle in the early years of the twentieth century. There, after a tough few years, he is sold again, given as a raffle prize at the World Fair in 1909. 

His winners are the owner and manager of a notorious brothel where he falls in love, twice. 

Looking back from 1962, when the World Fair rolls round again, Ernest charts his life and loves for his daughter, a reporter, keen to learn about the boy won at a raffle. 

Ford’s writing is beautiful, you are totally transported into Ernest’s life as a young man, the sights, sounds and smells of the world he inhabits is vividly brought to life. 

I’m a bit biased because Hotel is one of my favourite reads of the last few years, but this is a strong contender to pip it. 

The book will be published on the 12th of September, which seems apt for a book about recollections of summers past.

Book Review: Letters to Eloise – Emily Williams 

Book Review: Letters to Eloise – Emily Williams 

This recently released debut novel from UK author Emily Williams is a love story following Flora, who becomes pregnant during her last year at uni. She is trapped in a complicated situation – keen to reconnect with an old love but currently involved with her lecturer. She confides her feelings and fears in a series of letters to her unborn baby. 

Emily got in touch with me recently and asked if I thought her book was something I thought I’d like. Well, I have a soft spot for epistolary novels and for new writers.  
I really liked the writing style and the plot whizzes along as Flora writes her diary to her Little Bump. This is a sweet story and a great read for the Bank Holiday weekend or your long summer hols. 

If you want to grab a copy, here’s some links. 

U.K. Amazon – http://amzn.eu/716SJ6U

U.S. Amazon – http://a.co/bNe9eEu

And if you’d like to know more about Emily and see what she’s up to next, she’s on Twitter or you can find her blogging too. 

At the library 

At the library 

I have always been a member of at least one library or another – at one point 4 (local library near my parents, British Library, uni library and the library I currently use). 

Libraries are wonderful places, offering community services and access to the internet all for free. All you need is a library card. 

Recently my local libraries have gone all high tech – and reduced librarians to computerised check out and card entry doors. I’m not sure I’m a fan. 

Today I returned 2 books (historical crime fiction) and took out 4. Two graphic novels, the reading group book (decided to join it for a bit) and another historical crime novel. 

I also checked out the Cityread London program – but the book in question was checked out! 

Libraries are for everyone – whatever age, race, identity, language you speak, the library is for you too. 

Book Review: Sweetbitter – Stephanie Danler

Book Review: Sweetbitter – Stephanie Danler

When I was 17 I got my first weekend job – I was a waitress. Luckily the restaurant I worked in was nothing like as claustrophobic as the one Tess works in in this book. 

Tess is 22 and newly arrived in New York, like me she read English Literature at uni but unlike me she’s not really a city girl. 

She gets sucked in to the swirl of drinking, drug taking, bickering and family meals of the restaurant, and even more so into the lives of Simone and Jake.

The writing is fluid, like quicksilver, Tess is a unreliable narrator, my favourite kind, filtering everything through her own self-interest. 

I really enjoyed this book, Danler’s first, and look forward to seeing what she does next.