The spy who came in from the cold by John le Carre

Amy The Spy who came in from the coldI never knew before that this was a novel studied at school, but I can see why. It has the twists and turns, and treachery of an adventure filled spy novel, but it relentlessly dark, bleak even, and so very clever. Alec Leamas, after years of spying in Berlin, wants out, but agrees to one more assignment, which will take him into Communist Germany. It’s about how complicated politics, war, and life itself is; complicated, cruel, seemingly pointless, yet with the glimmer of light – love, kindness and what is deeply right – to strive for. I found it enthralling, powerful, and darkly beautiful.

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The good life by Martina Cole

cynthia-the-good-life.jpgCain is on top of The Game, what will he do to keep there? The characters in this story were full of contradictions. A loving kind man could slowly cut off anothers fingers and toes, a kind gentle woman could fling into a rage, it was alright to kill someone with a family but not if it was your family. Told in short chapters that moved the story along, it was interesting to see inside a criminal gang – is all the power and money worth it?

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You will know me by Megan Abbot

amy-you-will-know-meIt’s not hard to imagine that the world of serious, competitive gymnastics has dark possibilities. This is the story of Devon (no, I never got over the fact that this character has the name of a cheap, processed “meat”), a sixteen year old gymnast on the brink of real success, and her family, both biological and gym-related. A fatal car accident sets off a series of events and revelations that show how many secrets people can have from each other. It is a suspenseful book, and while I didn’t find the resolution shocking or powerful, I did enjoy the journey.

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Black out by Lisa Unger

jeannie-black-out

I unfortunately felt let down by this book. I have read Beautiful Lies by Lisa Unger and loved it, however Black Out was a convoluted story that felt like it was going somewhere but never really got there. The characters were all a bit mysterious and hard to like, and there was an effort by the author to blend reality and imagination that fell rather flat. All in the entire story was rather frustrating. So I don’t recommend this one – however, Beautiful Lies is a great little crime novel so give that a go if you wish to try this author.

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Trash by Andy Mulligan

Trash by Andy Mulligan - SharonThis author has masterfully conjured in my mind the extreme poverty of three dumpsite friends, Raphael, Gardo and Rat. These three have found a lot of money but this isn’t why they are being cruelly hunted.  They soon find out who they can trust … friends or family?  Now a major film I am so glad I have read the book and allowed the author to weave the story in my mind before seeing a director’s perception.  A truly powerful story about unthinkable poverty and the hope and the sly determination of three young boys which affects everyone they meet. A must read for everyone!

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The natural way of things by Charlotte Wood

Penny The natural way of things

It has been a while since I have read a book that I couldn’t put down. The Natural Way of Things had me hooked from the get go. Ten women are drugged and kidnapped and taken to a camp in the Australian outback. The girls all have something in common, related to a sexual scandal. The book is about survival of the fittest and what people will do for self-preservation.

A dark, ugly read – I loved it

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Scream series by Jack Heath

Scream series by Jack Heath

Strange things happen in the town of Axe Falls and I’m wrapped in this series! A bunch of horror books especially for kids 8 years and older who think reading is boring. These books will give you a spooky chill. They are easy-to-read and, at under 150 pages, can be finished in a few hours.

If you like books with awesome descriptions of giant spiders, scrambled gizzards and plants with teeth that can chase you, then this series is for you! Award winning Australian author, Jack Heath, started writing at the age of 13. He has a brilliant imagination and writes with enthusiasm.

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The girl with all the gifts by M. R. Carey

Amy The Girl with all the GiftsA librarian recommended this as the one book loved by every member of his fantasy/sci-fi book club. I am reasonably comfortable with sci-fi, indeed some of my favourite books happen to fit in that genre, but I was surprised to realise (about a third of the way through, a bit slow on the uptake) that this is a zombie book. I’m glad I didn’t know that , as I may have been put off and I really enjoyed this book. It is clever and suspenseful, with compelling, endearing characters and a satisfying and hopeful ending.

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