Posts Tagged ‘4.5+ Stars’
Tuesday, June 18th, 2013
Fun & Games Synopsis
The 1980’s: it’s the time of Dungeons & Dragons, banana clips, and Atari. Jonathan Schwartz is growing up in a family like no other. His sisters, Nadia, the dark genius, and Olivia, the gorgeous tease and temptress, manipulate Jon and his friends for their own entertainment. And his Holocaust survivor grandparents? Their coping techniques are beyond embarrassing. A disastrous visit to Jon’s class by his grandmother unhinges his famous father, setting off a chain of events that threatens to send the dysfunctional Schwartz clan up in flames once and for all.
Fun & Games is a heartbreaking and hilarious story of faith, family secrets, betrayal, and loss—but it’s also a tale of friendship, love, and side-splitting shenanigans.
(Library Tales Publishing)
BOOK REVIEW by Tony Ziemek
Fun & Games is a rare combination of intelligence and entertainment. As the title suggests it’s a fun read and I finished it in one evening after a couple of false starts as I struggled to get past the initial 1980’s setting. I’ve been there once and didn’t really want to go back! But after a few pages the characters and the plot, the humour and the faultless prose take over and this reader at least was fully engaged. The characters are beautifully rounded with marvellous eccentricities (especially the sister Nadia) but there is never a sense that Mr Slater is straining for effect.
Monday, April 22nd, 2013
The Start of Everything Synopsis
In this stunning psychological thriller for readers of Tana French, Kate Atkinson, and Donna Tartt, Emily Winslow has crafted a literary prism told through the eyes of her many intricately drawn characters. Masterly and mesmerizing, “The Start of Everything” will captivate until the very last page.
“If you don’t want to see me again, say so. But it’s not right to say nothing. It’s not right to go silent. You know what to do.”
Cambridge, England: Outside the city, the badly decomposed body of a teenage girl has washed up in the flooded fens. Detective Inspector Chloe Frohmann and her partner, Morris Keene, must work quickly to identify the victim before the press takes off with the salacious story. Across the hallowed paths and storied squares of Cambridge University, the detectives follow scant clues toward the identity of the dead girl. Eventually, their search leads them to Deeping House, an imposing country manor where, over the course of one Christmas holiday, three families, two nannies, and one young writer were snowed in together. Chloe Frohmann begins to unravel a tangled web of passions and secrets, of long-buried crimes and freshly committed horrors. But in order to reveal the truth–about misaddressed letters, a devastating affair, and a murdered teenager — she may have to betray her partner. (The Book Depository)
Emily Winslow opens The Start of Everything through the eyes of an intriguing character, a young woman named Mathilde Oliver. It quickly becomes apparent that Mathilde has some form of autism, given her hypersensitivity to the people and objects around her. This viewpoint is utterly captivating and before you realise it, this book becomes impossible to put down.
Wednesday, April 10th, 2013
From the author of The Book of Lost Fragrances comes a haunting novel about a grieving woman who discovers the lost journal of novelist Victor Hugo, awakening a mystery that spans centuries
In 1843, novelist Victor Hugo’s beloved nineteen-year-old daughter drowned. Ten years later, Hugo began participating in hundreds of séances to reestablish contact with her. In the process, he claimed to have communed with the likes of Plato, Galileo, Shakespeare, Dante, Jesus — and even the Devil himself. Hugo’s transcriptions of these conversations have all been published. Or so it was believed.
Recovering from her own losses, mythologist Jac L’Etoile arrives on the Isle of Jersey — where Hugo conducted the séances — hoping to uncover a secret about the island’s Celtic roots. But the man who’s invited her there, a troubled soul named Theo Gaspard, has hopes she’ll help him discover something quite different — Hugo’s lost conversations with someone called the Shadow of the Sepulcher.
What follows is an intricately plotted and atmospheric tale of suspense with a spellbinding ghost story at its heart, by one of America’s most gifted and imaginative novelists. (Atria Books)
Seduction is the fifth novel in the very successful Reincarnationist Series from prolific author M J Rose. Last year I had the pleasure of reading the fourth book in this series The Book of Lost Fragrances and as well as being highly entertained, I was struck by the quality of Rose’s writing. Her artistic and lyrical prose shone again in Seduction.
Thursday, April 4th, 2013
The Wild Girl Synopsis
Dortchen Wild fell in love with Wilhelm Grimm the first time she saw him.
Growing up in the German kingdom of Hessen-Cassel in the early nineteenth century, Dortchen Wild is irresistibly drawn to the boy next door; the young and handsome fairy-tale scholar Wilhelm Grimm.
It is a time of war, tyranny and terror. Napolean Bonaparte wants to conquer all of Europe, and Hessen-Cassel is one of the first kingdoms to fall. Forced to live under oppressive French rule, the Grimm brothers decide to save the old tales that had once been told by the firesides of houses grand and small all over the land.
Dortchen knows many beautiful old stories, such as ‘Hansel and Gretel’, ‘The Frog King’ and ‘Six Swans’. As she tells them to Wilhelm, their love blossoms. Yet the Grimm family is desperately poor, and Dortchen’s father has other plans for his daughter. Marriage is an impossible dream.
Dortchen can only hope that happy endings are not just the stuff of fairy tales… (From the book cover)
The Wild Girl is another novel from Kate Forsyth that is terribly difficult to do justice to in a review. Just as in her previous novel Bitter Greens, Forsyth delves much deeper into the origins of the fairytales we grew up with, adding her innate sensitivity and passion for people to produce a very adult tale. She acknowledges the greatest characters are often born from hardship, and does not shy away from the brutality of life, in all its forms.
Thursday, March 14th, 2013
The Darkest Little Room Synopsis
Patrick’s Holland’s haunting new novel arises from his experiences in Indochina. An atmospheric literary thriller, it tells the story of Joseph, an Australian journalist living in Saigon who, shortly after reporting on a murdered girl washed up in Saigon River, is approached by a foreign businessman describing a brothel known as ‘the darkest little room in Saigon’. This mysterious informant shows him a photograph of a beautiful woman covered in wounds. Joseph sets out to investigate, not only to uncover the mistreatment of these women, but in the hope of at last finding the one woman he cannot forget. Rich in setting and characterisation, and pure in voice, The Darkest Little Room explores the elemental dilemmas of being an outsider, the nature of desire, and the risks of loving, especially in a world where no one is who they seem. (Booktopia)
The Darkest Little Room is my first experience with the prose of Aussie author Patrick Holland. His writing has a visceral, uncensored quality – it is as if the reader has been transported to Saigon and can smell the odours in the seedy back alleys; or feel the rain running down their face in the dense jungle. (more…)
Wednesday, March 6th, 2013
Today Booklover Book Reviews is hosting Nicole Wolverton’s virtual book tour celebrating the release of her debut novel The Trajectory of Dreams.
The Trajectory of Dreams Synopsis
For Lela White, a Houston sleep lab technician, sleep doesn’t come easy – there’s a price to be paid for a poor night’s sleep, and she’s the judge, jury, and executioner. Everyone around Lela considers her a private woman with a passion for her lab work. But night time reveals her for what she is: a woman on a critical secret mission. Lela lives in the grip of a mental disorder that compels her to break into astronauts’ homes to ensure they can sleep well and believes that by doing so, she keeps the revitalized U.S. space program safe from fatal accidents. What began at the age of ten when her mother confessed to blowing up the space shuttle has evolved into Lela’s life’s work. She dreads the day when an astronaut doesn’t pass her testing, but she’s prepared to kill for the greater good.
When Zory Korchagin, a Russian cosmonaut on loan to the U.S. shuttle program, finds himself drawn to Lela, he puts her carefully-constructed world at risk of an explosion as surely as he does his own upcoming launch. As Lela’s universe unravels, no one is safe. (Amazon)
I was unable to resist the original synopsis of Nicole Wolverton’s debut novel The Trajectory of Dreams. I also love a good unreliable narrator so had very high hopes for this novel. Fortunately, Wolverton’s execution not only lived up to my expectations, it surpassed them. (more…)
Wednesday, February 20th, 2013
The Girl You Left Behind Synopsis
The Girl You Left Behind is a hauntingly romantic and utterly irresistible new weepy from Jojo Moyes, author of the Richard and Judy bestseller, Me Before You.
What happened to the girl you left behind?
France, 1916. Sophie Lefevre must keep her family safe whilst her adored husband Edouard fights at the front. When she is ordered to serve the German officers who descend on her hotel each evening, her home becomes riven by fierce tensions. And from the moment the new Kommandant sets eyes on Sophie’s portrait – painted by Edouard – a dangerous obsession is born, which will lead Sophie to make a dark and terrible decision.
Almost a century later, and Sophie’s portrait hangs in the home of Liv Halston, a wedding gift from her young husband before he died. A chance encounter reveals the painting’s true worth, and its troubled history. A history that is about to resurface and turn Liv’s life upside down all over again…
In The Girl You Left Behind two young women, separated by a century, are united in their determination to fight for what they love most – whatever the cost. (Amazon)
I really enjoy Jojo Moyes‘ writing style – I have always found her characters believable, their stories compelling and her prose smooth as silk. Her latest novel The Girl You Left Behind is more of the same high quality contemporary fiction I have come to expect from Moyes. The first chapter, where we are introduced to the indomitable character Sophie Lefevre, is an absolute cracker. (more…)