The memory of love by Aminatta Forna

Amy The Memory of loveSet in Freetown, Sierra Leone, from the late sixties until the early two thousands, this book is about the effects of war, and desire and betrayal. A slow, powerful, novel, that explores one man’s obsession with another’s wife, and what acts it drive him to, years ago, and an English psychologist’s attempts to help after Sierra Leone’s civil war.

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Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Amy Dumplin'This is cute, but not cutesy , feel-good YA. It’s about a teenaged girl named Willowdean, who lives in small town Texas and happens to be fat. She and a few other unlikely girls decide to enter the town’s great event, a beauty pageant. The setting is great, the characters are diverse, and interesting, the angst is believable and not overdone, and the romance is sweet. There aren’t a lot of body positive books out there; this is one, and it’s also a fun read.

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Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Amy LolitaI was more than half way through, when I realised I really didn’t like Lolita. A grown man’s destructive obsession with a young girl, leading them down a terrible path, makes for a disturbing read. The language is beautiful, but it is so dark and creepy that I couldn’t wait for it to be over.

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Dragon teeth by Michael Crichton

cynthia-dragon-teeth.jpgThis was a fun romp through early America and the Bone Wars (which actually happened!). We are thrown into the middle of two palaeontologists rushing to find dinosaur bones in America’s west. It did feel a bit rushed, but I guess that is because Michael is not around to fully develop the characters and storyline. I enjoyed reading about the harshness of life in the west, the adventure of it all and the thrill of discovery.

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Words in deep blue by Cath Crowley

Amy Words in Deep BlueHowling Books is a second hand bookshop, with a collection of books for people to leave letters in. Rachel comes back to town and starts working there, with the boy she used to love. This is young adult fiction, with an Australian setting, references to so many books, sweet and complicated relationships, and not too much teenage angst. It’s about loss, connection and the power of books. There’s a lot to like.

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Little fires everywhere by Celeste Ng

Amy Little Fires EverywhereHaving loved Everything I Never Told You, I expected to enjoy this book, and I did. It’s about a family with four teenaged children, living more than comfortably in an upper-middle class, American suburb. Their lives are going along as planned, until Mia and Pearl, an artist and her daughter, arrive and set in motion events that cause everyone to question what they believe about themselves. It’s about privilege, prejudice, vocation, love, fear and power. You know what has happened from the beginning, and then go back to understand why.

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La belle sauvage by Phillip Pullman

Amy la belle sauvageIt has been a long time since I read His Dark Materials, and I very much enjoyed my time back in Pullman’s Brytain. A curious and thoughtful young boy lives with his parents, in a pub outside Oxford, but as he becomes involved in the life of baby Lyra, he must make a dangerous journey. It’s a magical world, in many senses, and the journey is delightful, frightening, heart-wrenching and full of wonder. I do hope we don’t have to wait too long for the next instalment.

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