Set 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.
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.
Evelyn seeks out Monique to tell her life story to, there is a connection which we discover only at the end of the story. Evelyn reveals her life story, what she did to make it in Hollywood and the one person she truly loved. The story is well written with realistic characters, making me wonder if it was actually based on a Hollywood star.
I can see why some people have not enjoyed Nutshell. The idea of an eight month old foetus narrating from the womb, having learned about the world from podcasts and conversations, is definitely ludicrous. It’s clever, though, and while the other characters are less than likeable, I found it totally compelling. It’s about the state of our world, love, lust, and hope.
I 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.
This 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.
Howling 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.
Having 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.
Set in Japan just after World War II when it was unde American occupation. I loved the characters and their stories, that while occupying the same space crossed paths only occasionally. It was a very human story and brought to life a small part of history.
It 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.