Sorry to disrupt the peace by Patty Yumi Cottrell

amy-sorry-to-disrupt-the-peace.jpgHelen Moran learns of her adopted brother’s suicide and returns to her childhood home to investigate, learning about her family, her brother and herself. This is a strange book, funny, disturbing, uncomfortable. Helen is sensitive, oblivious, well-meaning, disastrous, cringeworthy and compelling.

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I am, I am, I am by Maggie O’Farrell

Amy I amMaggie O’Farrell is one of my favourite authors, so I was really looking forward to this, her unconventional memoir. Seventeen brushes with death sounds like an awful lot, and it is, but some of them are the sort we all experience. For all that is about her near death experiences, the book is a reflection on life; its tenacity, young people’s carelessness with it, the difficult, the baffling, the beautiful. It is very personal, very relatable, and beautifully written as always.

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The end of days by Jenny Erpenbeck

amy-the-end-of-daysI read that The End of Days was like Life After Life, but better. It does have a similar premise, but I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as Life After Life. It is about possibilities; how everything can change in a second, and it imagines various options for a woman’s life if things had been slightly different. It is set largely in Vienna, between and after the wars, and it is interesting to consider this time from a German perspective. I found parts very slow, almost dull, but others profound and moving.

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Men we reaped by Jesmyn Ward

Amy Men we reapedThis is a powerful book; not an easy subject, though beautifully written and compelling. It is a memoir of a southern, Black woman, who lost five men in her life. They died because of drugs, accidents and suicide, but their deaths were about more than that; the extraordinary disadvantage of their heritage in Mississippi. Ward’s grief is raw and harsh, not lessening as the years go past, and the questions raised are worth raising, and worth deliberating on, particularly given what has been happening. This is an American story, but black lives matter everywhere.

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Everything I never told you by Celeste Ng

Amy Everything I never told youSet in the 70s, Everything I Never Told You is about a teenaged girl who has just died. Her American born Chinese father, blond mother, older brother and younger sister are left wondering what happened to her. I expected a psychological thriller, but it wasn’t so much about how Lydia died, but how life, love and happiness can so easily get off track. It’s about belonging, ambition, hope, frustration, longing, misunderstanding and the fragility of love and life.

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The pause by John Larkin

DONE The pause by John LarkinIf you like books by John Green this book should be on your list to read next! Nominated for the 2016 Children’s Book Council’s Older Readers Book of the Year Award.

‘It was easier to call it quits.’ This is a powerful statement about teen suicide and John Larkin explores the world we may leave behind if we can but manage to pause. John Larkin’s technique is unique, skilfully merging two possible realities for a potent effect. We are shown the many wonderful opportunities in life that Declan will miss if he succeeds in his attempt to end his life, then the author cleverly twists our perceptions as if Declan’s moment of mental anguish did not allow even the tiniest pause. Continue reading

The trap by Melanie Raabe

Vicki The TrapLinda Conrad is a famous reclusive author who recognises her sisters killer twelve years after her brutal murder. The case goes unsolved and Linda decides to set a trap for the killer by writing a thriller about the unsolved murder of a young woman.

This is a great psychological thriller full of twists and turns, that will have you questioning till the end. I thoroughly enjoyed Melanie’s debut novel, and highly recommend it.

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The minnow by Diana Sweeney

The minnow by Diana SweeneyI cannot find any bad reviews of this book, it appears to be lauded by all, receiving awards and acclamation on every site, but, I’m sorry, I hated this book. Too much metaphorical analysing for me to enjoy any storyline – which I struggled to find. Shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council’s Book of the Year 2015 for Older Readers I was annoyed that I had to pull it out again and think up something for a review. There are possibly good points but I couldn’t get past the lack of focus on the abuse which is piled atop tragedy – especially how there are no consequences for a grown man who gets a young traumatised girl pregnant. Continue reading