Friday Face Off : A Picture Within a Picture

FFO

Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .  This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book (this doesn’t have to be a book that you’ve read), compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future week’s themes are listed below – if you have a cover in mind that you’re really wanting to share then feel free to leave a comment about a future suggested theme.  I’ve also listed events that take place during the year, that I’m aware of, so you can link up your covers – if you’re aware of any events that you think I should include then give me a shout.  This week’s theme:

A picture within a picture

Well, I’m still playing catch up but I have been spending time visiting other blogs  to see what’s been going on.  I’m also almost caught up with reviews. Just need  to work on my own blog now in terms of comments and then I’m back up to speed.

I had a couple of specific books in mind  for this one but I’ve eventually gone for a book that’s on my kindle that I haven’t read yet.  The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North.  Have any of you read this one??

And my favourite this week:

I’m going for the one I’m most familiar with and it just happens to fit the theme perfectly:

1

Do you have a favourite?

I’ve updated the list now to include themes for next year.  If you know of an event that’s coming up let me know and I’ll try and include covers that work for the event itself so that you can link up to the Friday Face Off and, as always, if you wish to submit an idea then leave me a comment – or if you’d like to host a week then simply let me know.  Also, I would just mention that it’s very possible that some of these might be repeats from previous FFOs although I have tried to invent more ‘open ended’ prompt that can be interpreted differently and also prompts that relate to emotions.  Finally, don’t struggle with any of these, this is meant to be a fun way of highlighting books.  If you can’t come up with a book you think fits for a particular week use a freebie – perhaps a recent read for example:

Next week – A train or tram – travelling down the track, could be old style, futuristic, overhead, down below.

2021

April

2nd – A train or tram – travelling down the track, could be old style, futuristic, overhead, down below.

9th – Cartoonish or graphic

16th – I have to have it – a cover that gave you ‘grabby hands’

23rd – Your current read (if it has covers to compare) or any recent read

30th– A series that you love – highlight all the books in the series

May

Month of Wyrd and Wonder

7th – A Series where the cover changed midway through – which style do you prefer most

14th – The earliest fantasy you recall reading – or the first fantasy book you really loved, maybe the book that kickstarted your love of fantasy

21st – The Top Hat

28th – The Hood

June

4th – The nose boop – any animal, or human, with a close up shot.

11th – A cover that annoyed you and why

18th – Out of Perspective, or make you feel a bit dizzy

25th – Upside down, back to front or topsy turvy

July

2nd – A book with a landscape you’d like to visit

9th – A Wicked Grin

16th – Books with ‘book’ in the title

23rd – A Black Hole – could be in the universe or going deep into the ground

30th – Chaos – maybe too much going on in this one

August

6th – “They cluck their thick tongues, and shake their heads and suggest, os so very delicately!” – The Motel

13th – A favourite holiday read

20th – Dressed to kill (could be literally someone dressed to kill, or someone dressed up for a big night out

27th – Sunbathing or on the beach

September (RIP event)

3rd – 1920s feel, noir detective

10th – I’m Henry the Eighth I am – let’s look at Kings or other Emperors/rulers

17th – Books with ‘Murder’ in the title

24th – A favourite thriller

October

1st – A Halloween read

8th – Chills – anything at all that almost makes you too scared to pick up the book (your own pet hate)

15th – Your favourite book of magic

22nd – Books with ‘Queen’ in the title

29th – Must be gothic

November – Sci Fi Month

5th – Your earliest sci-fi read or the first sci-fi you reviewed

12th – A book with ‘star’ in the title

19th – Futuristic vista

26th – A Black Hole – in the universe or going deep into the ground

December

3rd – Windswept, the classic figure, stood majestically, with wind blowing out in a fetching way

10th – A fairytale retold

17th – Winter Solstice approaching – anything cold and seasonal

24th – All things fire – red hair, red covers, fire breathing dragons, simply fire?

31st – What’s your catnip – if it’s on a cover you have to pick it up

The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North

25746699The Sudden Appearance of Hope is an incredibly unique and, not a little, sad story of a young girl who, as she grows older, becomes forgettable to (almost) everyone around her.  I found this a really fascinating concept.

I confess that going into this novel I had little idea what it was about other than that the main character, Hope Arden, after having turned sixteen gradually becomes more and more forgettable to everyone around her until eventually not even her family can remember who she is.  I wondered if this was going to be more of a play on that concept, a look at people who never really stand out in society or perhaps even a look at those people in society who fall under the radar somehow.  Anyway, it’s nothing like that.  For some strange reason Hope Arden, as she reaches her mid teens literally becomes less and less memorable to people until basically, if she steps out of somebody’s sight for more than a minute, they forget who she is.  Of course this has massive implications not least of which is that she is unable to form any relationships or attachments.  She no longer lives at home because her parents forgot her, her school don’t know who she is and if she’s involved in an accident the doctors and nurses will forget that they need to return to her to give her the treatment she needs.

This obviously leads to a very lonely existence and one that eventually sees  Hope turn to a life of crime.  After all it’s easy for Hope to become a thief and in fairness she can’t really hold down a regular job can she!  She may make a few mistakes at the start of her career but she can pretty much get herself out of any situation with the minimum amount of fuss.  At the start of the story Hope is travelling among an elite set of people, basically weighing up her next job, and this is when we’re introduced to another thread that runs through the entirety of the story and becomes the central focus for Hope.  This is the notion of an App called Perfection.  People purchase this app and tap in their basic information following which the app helps them to identify what and where to eat and how much exercise to take, where to visit, what to wear, etc,.  The whole system works on the basis of punishment and reward with incentives such as free shopping and travel for those whose level of perfection increases.  I don’t really want to give away too much in relation to this aspect as it plays a major part in the story with Hope becoming a little bit obsessed with the app leading to a number of mistakes that almost lead to her undoing.

There are a number of things that I really enjoyed about this but also a couple of things that for me brought it down a little.

In terms of the positives, as I said above, this is a very original (to me at least) idea and one that was fascinating to read. The author doesn’t try to explain this strange phenomenon in a scientific way at all, we’re simply introduced to Hope and made slowly aware of her history and the life she now leads.  I can’t deny that sometimes it would irritate me not to have some sort of reasoning applied but in this instance I think it works better rather than being provided with a convoluted theory.  I also really enjoyed reading of Hope’s past and her current exploits.  This idea certainly gave the author plenty to work with and the first half of the book was incredibly compelling and fast paced and I was gripped with Hope’s plight and her way of life.  Which in turn leads into my slight criticisms.  The book definitely feels like it changes tack in the second half, which isn’t in itself a problem other than I didn’t find the focus nearly as entertaining.  The writing style also changes and becomes almost like a stream of conscious thought that becomes a little bit frantic.  I can appreciate why the author changed the style slightly but I just simply didn’t enjoy it as much and in turn it made the pace slow down for me.

Overall, I certainly wouldn’t discourage anybody from picking this up.  It’s an intriguing story, it has moments of outright suspense, it’s also quite sad and it’s basically a very thought provoking and fascinating idea to read about.  The change in style didn’t quite work out for me personally but I can see what the author was aiming for.  I would certainly pick up more by Claire North and in fact I have a copy of The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August which I’m really looking forward to reading now.

I received a copy of this book courtesy of the publisher though Net Galley for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

 

Waiting on Wednesday: The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.  Every Wednesday we get to highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week I’m highlighting: The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North.

25746699Listen.
All the world forgets me. First my face, then my voice, then the consequences of my deeds.
So listen. Remember me.

My name is Hope Arden, and you won’t know who I am. We’ve met before – a thousand times. But I am the girl the world forgets.

It started when I was sixteen years old. A slow declining, an isolation, one piece at a time.

A father forgetting to drive me to school. A mother setting the table for three, not four. A teacher who forgets to chase my missing homework. A friend who looks straight through me and sees a stranger.

No matter what I do, the words I say, the people I hurt, the crimes I commit – you will never remember who I am.

That makes my life tricky. But it also makes me dangerous . . .

The Sudden Appearance of Hope is the tale of the girl no one remembers. But this gripping story – of love and loss, of hope and despair, of living in the moment and dying to leave a mark – is novel that will stay with you for ever.

How gripping does this sound??!?