Sea witch by Sarah Henning

cynthia-sea-witch.jpgA story that reimagines the beginning of the little mermaid story, full of friendship (love), revenge and magic. The pace builds throughout the story, making the second half of the story more enjoyable.

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Arcadia by Di Morrissey

cynthia-arcadia.jpgThe landscape of Tasmania is wonderfully described in this story, being both wild and comforting. There is mystery, friendship and love in there but the overiding message is all about the environment. While this is an important message I think it could of been handled a little more subtlety and let the story and characters shine more.

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Swing time by Zadie Smith

amy-swing-time.jpgSwing Time is the story of two brown girls from London, who love to dance and have a complicated relationship. We follow them from childhood to adulthood, in London, New York and Africa. It is, as you would expect from Zadie Smith, beautifully written, and I never found it dull, but I was not entranced, either. The narrator, not named, is detached, without ambition, even shiftless, so I found the themes of parenthood, race, belonging, poverty, charity, fame, purpose, and meaning not, perhaps, as powerful as they might have been.

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Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine by Gail Honeyman

Amy Eleanor OliphantEleanor Oliphant is an island. She lives a quiet, regimented life, working in an office and drinking vodka all weekend. One day, she and a colleague perform an act of kindness and Eleanor’s life changes; she needs to remember what she drank to forget. This book is quirky, funny, thoughtful and gently romantic, and it is also pretty dark. It’s a bit like A Man Called Ove or The Rosie Project, but set in Glasgow, and with a very hard edge.

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Orphan train by Christina Baker Cline

Amy Orphan trainThree and a half stars for Orphan Train, the dual stories of the early history of an elderly woman, and the current struggles of a young one. One came to America from Ireland in the 1920s before being moved to the mid-west by train with other homeless children. The other moves from one foster home to another, trying to find a place and purpose for herself. It’s about resilience, friendship and belonging and is an uplifting read, if a little predictable and flat in areas for my taste.

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The turning tide by C.M. Lance

Cynthia The Turning TideI enjoyed this story and characters mainly based around the WWII campaign in Timor. I love it when a story makes me experience a range of emotions throughout the story. It is a story on the horror of war and its aftermath, mateship, complicated families, love and ultimately hope. The story jumps time periods several times per chapter, sometimes throwing me off the flow of the story, but this is only a minor complaint.

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The kite runner by Khaled Hosseini

Amy Kite RunnerI thought I hadn’t read this before, but given that the first half of the book held no surprises, it seems I must have at least started reading it, years ago. Broadly, it’s about the terrible things that have happened in Afghanistan, and it is also about a boy who does something terrible, and, years later, gets a chance to try and make things right. It’s a moving story, though I found it a little predictable and overwrought.

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