Wednesday, 4 November 2015

The Ninth Life by Rose Montague / X by Ilyasah Shabazz / George's Grand Tour by Caroline Vermalle

The Ninth Life by Rose Montague
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Buy the ebook from Amazon.co.uk

I received a copy of Rose Montague's short story directly from the author herself during the recent Halloween Facebook party, All Hallows Reads, about which I previously blogged. The party was a fun way to discover new authors and meet other bookworms and I hope it becomes an annual event. I came away with a novel, a whole trilogy, and this story, The Ninth Life.

At just twenty pages, The Ninth Life is a nice introduction to Montague's writing style and could also be a novel prequel although I understand that novel does not yet exist - hopefully I will find out if/when it does! We meet a cat who hasn't been born yet and a young woman with unrealised witchy powers, and their meeting up makes for a cute tale. I especially liked reading from the cat's perspective. The Ninth Life's short duration did not allow much space for digression so I appreciated Montague's talent for scene setting and concise description. She has certainly piqued my interest towards reading her full length novels.

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Rose Montague / Fantasy fiction / Books from America


X: A NovelX: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Download the audiobook from Audible via Amazon.co.uk
Buy the hardback from The Book Depository

X by Ilyasah Shabazz was an AudioSYNC audiobook download this summer. I have still got a half dozen that I haven't listened to! Written by his daughter, X is a fictionised biography of American Civil Rights activist Malcolm X, however it interested me because the book tells the story of his formative years from school age until his early twenties. I knew nothing about this time for him and little about life for black people in 1940s Boston and Harlem.

X is intended as a YA novel so there is significant repetition of key scenes and phrases, but the writing doesn't shy away from violent realities and copious drug use. I liked how we see the young Malcolm believing himself to always be 'on the up' even as his physical and mental health are really sliding downhill and his character is both believable and compelling. Short factual essays following the novel give further insights into Malcolm's America and how the novel differs in small details from true life. It is frightening that such vicious discrimination was commonplace until so recently and campaigns such as #BlackLivesMatter show such outdated attitudes have still not truly disappeared.

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Ilyasah Shabazz / Historical fiction / Books from America


George's Grand TourGeorge's Grand Tour by Caroline Vermalle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of my WorldReads from France

Buy the ebook from Amazon.co.uk
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository
Buy the paperback from Waterstones

I received a copy of George's Grand Tour by Caroline Vermalle from its publisher, Gallic Books, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.

George's Grand Tour caught my eye by its marketing towards fans of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, a book I enjoyed a couple of years ago. The two do share the similarity of elderly men going on seemingly impossible travels, but where Harold walked off unexpectedly, George and his longtime neighbour, Charles, have spent months planning their epic excursion. They are going to follow in the tyre tracks of the 2008 Tour de France cycle race - in a Renault Scenic.

I found this novella to be surprisingly moving, even welling up a couple of times during the latter pages. Vermalle's characters are well-drawn with even peripheral figures such as Charles' wife Therese being thoroughly believable. As Dave and I are on our own French tour at the moment I easily identified with the wanderlust aspect and was able to draw on my own memories of Carnac and the Emerald Coast to add to the evocative written descriptions. What, on the face of it, appears to be a simple story of George and his London-based grand-daughter, Adele, re-establishing their lost friendship, develops into a emotionally layered tale of memories and loss, with a strong message of the importance of seizing every moment before it is too late.

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Caroline Vermalle / Humorous fiction / Books from France

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