We made it to the final round!

V for Very Blog Awards 2017_Judging Round Button_Finalist

Ballyroan Reads is a FINALIST in the Best Books & Literature category, as is my work colleague Eleanor’s Young Adult blog YAPS.

Super excited for the award ceremony on October 5th!


Etching Our Way by Abigail Davies and Danielle Dickinson

etching our way.jpg

Wow just wow! I was so lucky to get an advanced copy of Etching Our Way by two amazing authors Abi and Dani. This is the first co-written book with these two authors, I’ve read their individual books and loved them. I was looking forward to this read and intrigued.

This book starts with heartbreak and this continues throughout the book. At points I wanted to hit Tristan across the head and tell him to wake up and open his eyes. But on the other hand my heart broke for him and his family. Harmony was just a strong woman that in real life I feel I could be good friends with.

This book was amazing, I was hooked from the first chapter. It was such a rollercoaster of emotions and I found the tears falling at points throughout. I felt Both Tristan and Harmony’s heartbreak. There was fab secondary character’s which is a must for me and we will get more in this series from these authors which has me very excited!

A must read, pick it up you wont regret it!

Also check out their Spotify playlist for Etching Our Way! I love a good playlist! https://open.spotify.com/user/mrsabid…    


5 New Fantasy Books to Watch Out For

The Core by Peter V. Brett (28 Sep 2017)
the core
Prepare for the final descent into darkness.

Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling author Peter V. Brett brings one of the most imaginative fantasy sagas of the twenty-first century to an epic close.

The war has begun…

For time out of mind, bloodthirsty demons have stalked the night, culling the human race to scattered remnants dependent on half-forgotten magics to protect them.

Two heroes arose―men as close as brothers, yet divided by bitter betrayal. Arlen Bales became known as the Painted Man, tattooed head-to-toe with powerful magic symbols that enable him to fight demons in hand-to-hand combat―and emerge victorious. Ahmann Jardir, armed with magically warded weapons, called himself the Deliverer, a figure prophesied to unite humanity and lead them to triumph in Sharak Ka―the final war against demonkind.

But in their efforts to bring the war to the demons, Arlen and Jardir have set something in motion that may prove the end of everything they hold dear―a Swarm. Now the war is at hand, and humanity cannot hope to win it unless Arlen and Jardir, with the help of Arlen’s wife, Renna, can bend a captured demon prince to their will and force the devious creature to lead them to the Core, where the Mother of Demons breeds an inexhaustible army.

Trusting their closest confidantes, Leesha, Inevera, Ragen, and Elissa, to rally the fractious people of the Free Cities and lead them against the Swarm, Arlen, Renna, and Jardir set out on a desperate quest into the darkest depths of evil―from which none of them expects to return alive.

A Pocketful of Crows by Joanne M. Harris (19 Oct 2017)
a pocketful
I am as brown as brown can be,
And my eyes as black as sloe;
I am as brisk as brisk can be,
And wild as forest doe.
(The Child Ballads, 295)

So begins a beautiful tale of love, loss and revenge. Following the seasons, A Pocketful of Crows balances youth and age, wisdom and passion and draws on nature and folklore to weave a stunning modern mythology around a nameless wild girl.

Only love could draw her into the world of named, tamed things. And it seems only revenge will be powerful enough to let her escape.

This is a stunning and original modern fairytale.

Strange Weather: Four Short Novels by Joe Hill (7 Nov 2017)
strange weather.jpg
Four short novels from the author of THE FIREMAN and HORNS, ranging from creepy horror to powerful explorations of our modern society.

One autumnal day in Boulder, Colorado, the clouds open up in a downpour of nails, splinters of bright crystal that tear apart anyone who isn’t safely under cover. ‘Rain’ explores this escalating apocalyptic event, as clouds of nails spread out across the country and the world. Amidst the chaos, a girl studying law enforcement takes it upon herself to resolve a series of almost trivial mysteries . . . apparently harmless puzzles that turn out to have lethal answers.

In ‘Loaded’ a mall security guard heroically stops a mass shooting and becomes a hero to the modern gun movement. Under the hot glare of the spotlights, though, his story begins to unravel, taking his sanity with it…

‘Snapshot, 1988’ tells the story of an kid in Silicon Valley who finds himself threatened by The Phoenician, a tattooed thug who possesses a Polaroid that can steal memories…

And in ‘Aloft’ a young man takes to the skies to experience parachuting for the first time . . . and winds up a castaway on an impossibly solid cloud, a Prospero’s island of roiling vapour that seems animated by a mind of its own.

Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson (16 Nov 2017)
From the bestselling author who completed Robert Jordan’s epic Wheel of Time series comes a new, original creation that matches anything else in modern fantasy for epic scope, thrilling imagination, superb characters and sheer addictiveness.

In Oathbringer, the third volume of the New York Times bestselling Stormlight Archive series, humanity faces a new Desolation with the return of the Voidbringers, a foe whose numbers are as great as their thirst for vengeance.
The Alethi armies commanded by Dalinar Kholin won a fleeting victory at a terrible cost: The enemy Parshendi summoned the violent Everstorm, and now its destruction sweeps the world and its passing awakens the once peaceful and subservient parshmen to the true horror of their millennia-long enslavement by humans. While on a desperate flight to warn his family of the threat, Kaladin Stormblessed must come to grips with the fact that their newly kindled anger may be wholly justified.
Nestled in the mountains high above the storms, in the tower city of Urithiru, Shallan Davar investigates the wonders of the ancient stronghold of the Knights Radiant and unearths the dark secrets lurking in its depths. And Dalinar realizes that his holy mission to unite his homeland of Alethkar was too narrow in scope. Unless all the nations of Roshar can put Dalinar’s blood-soaked past aside and stand together – and unless Dalinar himself can confront that past – even the restoration of the Knights Radiant will not avert the end of civilization.

‘I loved this book. What else is there to say?’ Patrick Rothfuss, New York Times bestselling author of The Name of the Wind, on The Way of Kings

Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Imaginarium by Paul Kidby (23 Nov 2017)
Paul Kidby, Sir Terry Pratchett’s artist of choice, provided the illustrations for The Last Hero, designed the covers for the Discworld novels since 2002 and is the author of the bestseller The Art Of Discworld.

Now, Paul Kidby has collected the very best of his Discworld illustrations in this definitive volume, including 40 pieces never before seen, 30 pieces that have only appeared in foreign editions, limited editions and BCA editions, and 17 book cover illustrations since 2004 that have never been seen without cover text.

If Terry Pratchett’s pen gave his characters life, Paul Kidby’s brush allowed them to live it, and nowhere is that better illustrated than in this magnificent book.

Art Sex Music by Cosey Fanni Tutti

art sex music
As much as I love books about music, I can sometimes approach them with trepidation since the fact that the authors are successful musicians, doesn’t necessarily mean that they can write a book.

However, Cosey Fanni Tutti has an excellent, engrossing way with words that surprised and delighted me. And of course, Cosey is much more than just a musician.

Art Sex Music tells the story of her life – from her difficult childhood (and eventually complete separation from her parents) to meeting Genesis P-Orridge at a young age and how her life changed; her becoming a part of the artist collective COUM Transmissions, and a founding member of industrial band, Throbbing Gristle.

I came to this book as a huge fan of TG, and having read Simon Ford’s Wreckers of Civilisation: The Story of COUM Transmissions and TG which gets a heavy critical drubbing as warping the story of both projects in favour of one person; Genesis (and interestingly, is being reprinted this year – I wonder if it will be revised in light of this?).

And it is the tales of Genesis and Cosey that are the meat of this book.

You know when you know someone’s public persona, and are afraid that behind it all they are not a very nice person, but you’ve never had any proof. That’s how I felt deep down about Genesis – and Art Sex Music gives that proof in abundance (and I can feel the truth ringing out from the page, as well as that other people, in fact all TG by the end can’t stand Gen). He was hugely emotional manipulative, he was physically abusive, he was an all-round not-nice guy, and while I’m not surprised, I am disappointed. It’s clear in his ego. From what Cosey says, Gen has to be the star, the leader, the founder, the visionary. Never mind that there were others in COUM and TG and Gen’s subsequent projects, the world revolved around Gen, and it was that attitude that killed COUM and Throbbing Gristle (both in its original and more recent incarnations). At every turn, he screwed over his bandmates, was barely there in the studio, or onstage, and it seems, purely concerned with money.

But enough about Gen. This is a fascinating book about Cosey’s life as a musician, as an artist (which I didn’t realise was so expansive, and interesting, until I read this book) and her sex work (she was an adult model, in both print and movies) which she viewed from a feminist perspective, and incorporated heavily into her art work (non-music fans might have heard of her primarily through the furore that accompanied COUM’s 1976 ‘Prostitution’ exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, which led to them being called the aforementioned ‘Wreckers of Civilisation’ by a Conservative MP) but also about her decades-long partnership, both personal and professional, with Chris Carter. And I must say, the two of them are very clearly made for each other, and I was SO happy when Cosey finally left Gen for Chris. I was shocked to read about her unfortunate luck with medical issues, which have plagued her throughout her life, and was always delighted when they receded and she was joyous about being able to get back to work.

A fascinating memoir by an utterly fascinating individual in which she tells her own story, clearly, truly, and once and for all. Recommended.


You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Brilliant Book Titles #143

You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Shalom Auslander was raised with a terrified respect for God. Even as he grew up, defying and eventually being cast out of his community, he could not find his way to a life in which he wasn’t locked in a daily struggle with Him. Foreskin’s Lament is a rich and fascinating portrait of a man grappling with his faith, his family and his community.

‘Bracing and witty . . . Never, frankly, can there have been a more blasphemous book . . . Foreskin’s Lament somehow expresses the ideas of Richard Dawkins in the tone of David Sedaris. You can read it for the humour, you can read it as reportage into a secretive and bizarre world, you can read it as a personal tale of triumph over adversity, or you can just read it for the misery. It doesn’t really matter. But do read it’ William Sutcliffe, Independent on Sunday

‘One of the funniest books I’ve ever read, killingly so’ Hilary Spurling, Observer

‘Exceptional . . . very, very funny’ Time Out

‘Painfully poignant and hilariously noir’ Jewish Chronicle

‘By turns hilarious and devastating . . . Few books are laugh-out-loud funny. This one is’ Naomi Alderman, Sunday Times

‘America’s hottest, funniest, most controversial young Jewish memoirist . . . blackly hilarious, groundbreaking’ The Times

Brilliant Book Titles #142

round ireland
You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

‘I hereby bet Tony Hawks the sum of One Hundred Pounds that he cannot hitchhike round the circumference of Ireland, with a fridge, within one calendar month’

A foolhardy attempt to win a drunken bet led to Tony Hawks having one of the most unforgettable experiences of his life. Joined by his trusty travelling-companion-cum-domestic-appliance, he found himself in the midst of a remarkable, inspirational and, at times, downright silly adventure.

In their month of madness, Tony and his fridge surfed together; entered a batchelor festival; and one of them had sex without the other knowing. The fridge got christened, and they even met the poorest king on Earth.

An absurd story of an extraordinary adventure, Round Ireland with a Fridge follows the fearless pair as they battle towards Dublin and a breathtaking finale that is moving, uplifting, and a fitting conclusion to the whole ridiculous affair.

Sex Criminals Volume 1

sex criminals
Not only is the title wonderful clickbait (they’re not committing sexual crimes) but the premise of this book is wonderfully bonkers. When Suzie has sex, can stop time. She thought she was the only one until she met Jon. So they do what anyone would that situation – decide to rob a bank to get enough money to save Suzie’s ailing library.

This shouldn’t work at all but the writing is top-notch, making the characters grounded and three-dimensional. I loved Suzie’s voice throughout the book – she is a certainly a woman who knows who she is. I also loved Jon, and how the author Fraction treats his character – Jon’s mental health issues slowly creep in over the course of this first book.

Did I mention that they have sex to stop time so that they can rob banks? And that it’s good? And that there’s sex police who aren’t happy that they’re doing it (literally, and figurateively). I mean, if that doesn’t make you want to read the book – I don’t know what will! Beautiful art from Chip Zdarsky also. Recommended – I’m off to read the next few books.

5 New Comics to Watch Out For

Savage Town (26 Sep 2017)
In Limerick City, Jimmy ‘Hardy’ Savage is a gangster on the rise, facing trouble from all sides. With the local cops, rival gangs, his best mate and his mammy all out to stick a knife in him, will the bollicks live long enough to get to the top? More importantly, will he pay me back for that fiver I gave him last week?

From the savage minds of DECLAN SHALVEY (All Star Batman, Injection), PHILIP BARRETT and JORDIE BELLAIRE (Vision, They’re Not Like Us) comes an original Irish graphic crime novel that’ll leave you gaspin’ …for a pint!

Batman: The Dark Knight III: The Master Race (19 Sep 2017)
One of the most highly anticipated sequels of all-time is finally here in DARK KNIGHT III: THE MASTER RACE!

In 1986, Frank Miller introduced his iconic take on Batman and changed the face of comics forever. Now, three decades after BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, Miller himself has returned with a third chapter to his groundbreaking saga.

DARK KNIGHT III: THE MASTER RACE continues Frank Miller’s landmark DARK KNIGHT SAGA that began with 1986’s THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS and continued with its 2001-2002 sequel THE DARK KNIGHT STRIKES AGAIN. Co-written by Brian Azzarello and drawn by Andy Kubert and Klaus Janson, DARK KNIGHT III: THE MASTER RACE returns to a world gone awry left in the aftermath of the toppling of Lex Luthor and the apparent death… of Batman himself? Then who will save Gotham City and the rest of the planet against the mysterious Master Race?

Also collected in this graphic novel are the nine mini-comics that originally appeared in the monthly periodical release of DARK KNIGHT III: THE MASTER RACE, each of which focuses on a different character from within the world of Miller’s Dark Knight. The minicomics are also written by Miller and Azzarello and will be drawn by some of the greatest artists currently working in comics, including Miller himself, Eduardo Risso and John Romita, Jr.!

Collected here are all nine chapters of DARK KNIGHT III: THE MASTER RACE as well as the nine mini-comics.

Heart and Brain: Body Language: An Awkward Yeti Collection (3 October 2017)
heart and brain
From the New York Times bestselling creator of the hugely popular Awkward Yeti comics comes the third collection in his Heart and Brain series. Heart and Brain: Body Language continues the adventures of the loveably conflicted sentimental Heart and rational Brain, as well as other bodily inhabitants like Gallbladder, Muscle, and Tongue. Warm-hearted and laugh-out-loud funny, these comics bring our inner struggles to vibrant, humorous life.

Death Note (All in One Edition) (21 Sep 2017)
This hefty omnibus combines all 2,400 pages of the megahit thriller into a single massive tome, presented in a beautiful silver slipcase. A perfect collectible conversation piece and a must-have for Death Note fans. Also contains an epilogue chapter never before seen in English!

Light Yagami is an ace student with great prospects—and he’s bored out of his mind. But all that changes when he finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by a rogue Shinigami death god. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies, and now Light has vowed to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil. But when criminals begin dropping dead, the authorities send the legendary detective L to track down the killer. With L hot on his heels, will Light lose sight of his noble goal…or his life?

All 12 volumes of Death Note in one massive book, also containing a chapter never published in English!

* Netflix original Death Note movie released worldwide on August 25th, and was one of their most-watched titles over the launch weekend.
* One of the most successful manga series of all time, Death Note volumes 1–12, Death Note: How to Read, omnibus Black Editions, Death Note Box Set, and two novels have sold a combined 1.8 million copies (US Bookscan 3/17); UK sales across all volumes stand at +723,000 copies, with UK Bookscan sales of +510,000 copies (08/17).
* An incredible bargain at a fraction of the shelf space: less than half the price of all 12 individual volumes.

Mangasia: The Definitive Guide to Asian Comics (19 Nov 2017)
This beautiful and engaging volume charts the evolution of manga from its roots in late 19th-century Japan through the many and varied forms of comics, cartoons and animation created throughout Asia for more than 100 years.
World authority on comic art Paul Gravett details the evolving meanings of the myths and legends told and retold by manga artists of every decade and reveals the development and cross pollination of cultural and aesthetic ideas between manga artists throughout Asia. He explores the explosion of creativity in manga after the Second World War with the emergence of such artists as Osamu Tezuka, whose pioneering Astro Boy spawned a new and much imitated visual dynamic. He highlights how creators have responded to political events since 1950 in the form of propaganda, criticism and commentary in manga magazines, comics and books.
There have been many remarkably powerful and sophisticated graphic novels, although some sexually explicit and emotionally dark adult manga has also attracted criticism, raising questions about taste and acceptability. Gravett discusses the influence of censorship on manga and concludes with a survey of current multi- platform offerings of manga in Asia and the transition from cut-price rental libraries to the booming specialist emporia and comic conventions that champion the kaleidoscope of creativity apparent in the digital age.

Lion by Saroo Brierly


This book was originally published under the title “A Long Way Home”.

It is said that it’s better to read the book before you see the film, but in the case of this book I would definitely recommend the film over the book. Having been very moved by the film, a true story of an incredible series of events which led a tiny Indian child from his home village, to eventual adoption in Australia and concludes with his search to find his original family, I couldn’t wait to get the book on which the film was based.

This story of a life does indeed prove that fact is stranger than fiction. So, all the ingredients were there for a cracking good read. I was prepared to go through a rollercoaster of emotions, following the journey of this little lost boy, through the trials he endured, and moving on to his uprooting from India and being transplanted to Australia. The tale unfolds there with his incredibly nurturing adoptive parents providing him with a stable and loving home. However, the longing for his family of original just won’t be denied and he takes on a seemingly impossible task, to find his original home.

So, why does the book leave me cold? There is a degree of detachment in Brierley’s writing that makes it evident that his collaborator on the project, Larry Rose did much of the text. This is an opportunity lost, we never really get to the heart of Saroo, the work is descriptive rather than engaging us with the emotions and thoughts of the subject of the memoir. On the positive side, the photos perform what the writing doesn’t; they made real the participants. However, the emotion conveyed in the final scenes of the film, with actual footage of the real people involved, is never matched by this well-meaning, but ultimately unsatisfying book. Watch the film!


You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.