Review: The Map of Bones by Francesca Haig

 

Title: The Map of Bones {The Fire Sermon #2}

Author: Francesca Haig

Published: Harper Voyager March 2016

Read an Excerpt

Status: Read from May 29 to June 01, 2016 — I own a copy courtesy HarperCollins

My Thoughts:

The Map of Bones picks up from where Francesca Haig’s debut novel, The Fire Sermon, left off. Cass, Piper and Zoe are on the run following the deadly confrontation at the Silo between the Confessor and Kip, with the knowledge of the Alpha Council’s horrifying plan for the Omega’s.

Despite the dramatic ending of The Fire Sermon, the narrative in The Map of Bones is slow to start. We’re almost a quarter of the way into the book before Haig introduces a new element to the story that finally prompts the characters to take action. From there the pace begins to pick up as Cass and her allies recognise the need to actively stand against the Council and pursue a new possibility for salvation despite the odds that are stacked again them.

I wasn’t really a fan of Cass in the first novel and I found her to be no less frustrating here. Drowning in guilt and struggling with her visions, her thoughts are often repetitive and circular. Piper and Zoe serve as good companions but I found neither character to be particularly compelling.

What I did admire was Haig’s descriptive writing and continued world building. She provides further detail about the cataclysmic events that destroyed the world and the twinning phenomenon.

Though I found The Map of Bones to be a somewhat dreary read, the story ends on a hopeful note and I am curious to learn how the trilogy will resolve in book three.

Available to purchase from

HarperCollins AU

boomerang-books_long I Booktopia I Amazon AU I via Booko

Amazon US I Amazon UK

Review: The Light on The Water by Olga Lorenzo

 

Title: The Light on the Water

Author: Olga Lorenzo

Published: Allen & Unwin March 2016

Read an Excerpt

Status: Read from May 28 to 29, 2016 — I own a copy  courtesy of Allen & Unwin

My Thoughts:

The Light on the Water by Olga Lorenzo is a thoughtful novel exploring a myriad of the themes, most notably motherhood, grief, guilt and love.

Two long years after her young autistic daughter disappeared during an overnight hike, Anne Baxter is on the precipice of being charged with Aida’s murder. Shunned by her neighbours and vilified by the media, Anne waits…and hopes.

This is a story that focuses on character rather than action. Anne is a hugely sympathetic character, trapped in a hellish kind of limbo. The main figures of The Light on the Water are complex, and Lorenzo avoids many of the typical stereotypes of the genre, even with the dysfunction that plagues the members of Anne’s family.

Of particular note is the manner in which Lorenzo explores the response of the wider community to Anne’s plight. From almost the moment Aida is reported missing, Anne must endure the suspicion of strangers, all too ready to condemn her for any real, perceived, or even imagined action that has led to her daughter’s disappearance. No matter the truth of Aida’s fate, Anne is judged to be at fault.

The Light on the Water is a quietly compelling story. Simply written, it nevertheless evokes a wealth of emotion. The tension builds nicely as the story unfolds at a measured pace, though I felt the subplot involving the refuge was an unnecessary distraction.

Available to purchase from

Allen & Unwin RRP $29.99

Iboomerang-books_long I Booktopia I Amazon AU I via Booko

Amazon US

Stuff On Sundays: Bookshelf Bounty

It’s that time of the month or near enough,  so here is what I have added to my shelves recently.

Click on the cover images to view at Goodreads

For Review (print)

 

 

 

For Review (electronic)

 

Stuff On Sundays: Bookshelf Bounty

It’s that time of the month or near enough,  so here is what I have added to my shelves recently.

Click on the cover images to view at Goodreads

For Review (print)

 

For Review (electronic)

 

Acquired

Stuff on Sundays: 2016 Eclectic Reader Recommendations Part 3

2016EclecticReader_BookdOut

I’m happy to welcome those that have signed up for the Eclectic Reader Challenge so far this year, and several already have already gotten started and shared reviews.  The challenge asks participants to read 12 books over the year, each from a variety of different categories. These are:

  1. A book about books (fiction or nonfiction)
  2.  Serial killer thriller
  3.  Paranormal romance
  4.  A novel set on an island
  5. Investigative journalism (non fiction)
  6. Disaster fiction
  7. Steampunk sci fi
  8. Any book shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize
  9. Psychology (non fiction)
  10. Immigrant Experience fiction
  11. YA historical fiction
  12. A debut author in 2016

I encourage participants who aren’t sure what to select for each category to look for recommendations from other book bloggers who they read and follow, or browse lists such as Goodreads Listopia , Library Booklists, or whatever source is favoured, however I thought I might offer a few gleaned from my own browsing.

You can learn more and SIGN UP here

CLICK HERE to view 2016 Eclectic Reader Recommendations Part 1

CLICK HERE to view 2016 Eclectic Reader Recommendations Part 2

Click the cover for more information about each title.

7. Steampunk

The term ‘steampunk’ was coined in the late 1980’s and I’ve read very little of this relatively new speculative fiction sub genre.  Steampunk works often set in an alternative history of the 19th century, or in a future during which steam power has maintained mainstream usage.

 

8. Any Book Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize

The Man Booker Prize is an annual award. Any novel originally written in English and published (not self published) in the UK in the year of the prize, regardless of the nationality of their author is eligible. You can select any title shortlisted since the awards inception in 1969. Wikipedia has an easy reference list.

 

9. Psychology (non-fiction)

I’ve deliberately kept this category general, but I’ve listed mostly popular psychology titles below with great ‘readability’.

 

Feel free to share your recommendations in the comments.

 You can join the challenge at any time up until December 1st 2016.  For more details, click HERE

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

 

bookdateimwayr

The It’s Monday! What Are You Reading meme is now hosted at Book Date

Life…

This week I was an ‘in class’ guinea pig for my daughter who is training as a nail technician and for the first time in my life I possess long nails, courtesy of the gel technique. They look lovely but they are driving me crazy, everything is more difficult from typing and texting, to opening the multiple cans of Pepsi Max I drink every day. I don’t know how women with even longer nails manage, nor bear the regular long appointments for their application and maintenance. Luckily I spent most of the time chatting to my daughter’s instructor when we figured out we shared a mutual friend and a love of books.

nails

 

What I’ve Read Since I last Posted

Darkest Place by Jaye Ford

The Flood Girls by Richard Fifield

Viral by Helen Fitzgerald

Breakdown by Jonathon Kellerman

 

New Posts

Review:  Darkest Place by Jaye Ford ★★★★1/2

Review: Honky Tonk Samurai by Joe R Lansdale ★★★★

Review: The Flood Girls by Richard Fifield ★★★

Review:  This Was Not the Plan by Cristina Alger ★★1/2

Brooklyn Winners!

Review: Viral by Helen Fitzgerald ★★★1/2

Stuff On Sundays: Stuff on Sundays: 2016 Eclectic Reader Recommendations Part 2

 

What I Am Reading Today

The best things in life . . . can be just around the corner. Rachel and Becca aren’t real sisters, or so they say. They are step-sisters, living far apart, with little in common. Rachel is the successful one: happily married with three children and a big house, plus an impressive career. Artistic Becca, meanwhile, lurches from one dead-end job to another, shares a titchy flat and has given up on love. The two of them have lost touch but when Rachel doesn’t come home one night, Becca is called in to help. Once there, she quickly realises that her step-sister’s life is not so perfect after all: Rachel’s handsome husband has moved out, her children are rebelling, and her glamorous career has taken a nosedive. Worst of all, nobody seems to have a clue where she might be. As Becca begins to untangle Rachel’s secrets, she is forced to confront some uncomfortable truths about her own life, and the future seems uncertain. But sometimes happiness can be found in the most unexpected places…

 

 What I Plan To Read This Week

(click the covers to view at Goodreads)

Just before dawn on a Sunday morning, three teenage boys go surfing. Returning home, exhausted, the driver lets the car drift off the road into a tree. Two of the boys are wearing seat belts; one is sent through the windshield. He is declared brain-dead shortly after arriving at the hospital. His heart is still beating. The Heart takes place over the twenty-four hours surrounding a fatal accident and a resulting heart transplant as life is taken from a young man and given to a woman close to death. In gorgeous, ruminative prose it examines the deepest feelings of everyone involved–grieving parents, hardworking doctors and nurses–as they navigate decisions of life and death. As stylistically audacious as it is emotionally explosive, Maylis de Kerangal’s The Heart has mesmerized readers in France, where it has been hailed as the breakthrough work of a new literary star.

Born in Alabama, Paula Vauss spent the first decade of her life on the road with her free-spirited young mother, Kai, an itinerant storyteller who blended Hindu mythology with Southern Oral Tradition to re-invent their history as they roved. But everything, including Paula’s birthname Kali Jai, changed when she told a story of her own—one that landed Kai in prison and Paula in foster care. Separated, each holding her own secrets, the intense bond they once shared was fractured. These days, Paula has reincarnated herself as a tough-as-nails divorce attorney with a successful practice in Atlanta. While she hasn’t seen Kai in fifteen years, she’s still making payments on that Karmic debt—until the day her last check is returned in the mail, along with a cryptic letter. “I am going on a journey, Kali. I am going back to my beginning; death is not the end. You will be the end. We will meet again, and there will be new stories. You know how Karma works.” Then Kai’s most treasured secret literally lands on Paula’s doorstep, throwing her life into chaos and transforming her from only child to older sister. Desperate to find her mother before it’s too late, Paula sets off on a journey of discovery that will take her back to the past and into the deepest recesses of her heart. With the help of her ex-lover Birdwine, an intrepid and emotionally volatile private eye who still carries a torch for her, this brilliant woman, an expert at wrecking families, now has to figure out how to put one back together—her own.

What if the most terrifying person you’d ever met was your ten-year old sister? A spine-chilling psychological thriller from one of Australia’s finest YA authors.  ‘I promise,’ said Rosa. ‘I won’t kill and I won’t make anyone else kill.’ I can’t see the loophole. Since the guinea pig there’s been nothing. Months now without Rosa killing as much as a mosquito. As far as I know. Che Taylor has four items on his list: 1. He wants to spar, not just train in the boxing gym. 2. He wants a girlfriend. 3. He wants to go home. 4. He wants to keep Rosa under control. Che’s little sister Rosa is smart, talented, pretty, and so good at deception that Che’s convinced she must be a psychopath. She hasn’t hurt anyone yet, but he’s certain it’s just a matter of time. And when their parents move them to New York City, Che longs to return to Sydney and his three best friends. But his first duty is to his sister Rosa, who is playing increasingly complex and disturbing games. Can he protect Rosa from the world – and the world from Rosa?

Reclusive literary legend M. M. ‘Mimi’ Banning has been holed up in her Bel Air mansion for years. But after falling prey to a Bernie Madoff-style ponzi scheme, she’s flat broke. Now Mimi must write a new book for the first time in decades, and to ensure the timely delivery of her manuscript, her New York publisher sends an assistant to monitor her progress. The prickly Mimi reluctantly complies-with a few stipulations: No Ivy-Leaguers or English majors. Must drive, cook, tidy. Computer whiz. Good with kids. Quiet, discreet, sane. When Alice Whitley arrives at the Banning mansion, she’s put to work right away-as a full-time companion to Frank, the writer’s eccentric nine-year-old, a boy with the wit of Noel Coward, the wardrobe of a 1930s movie star, and very little in common with his fellow fourth-graders. As she slowly gets to know Frank, Alice becomes consumed with finding out who Frank’s father is, how his gorgeous ‘piano teacher and itinerant male role model’ Xander fits into the Banning family equation-and whether Mimi will ever finish that book. Full of heart and countless ‘only-in-Hollywood’ moments, Be Frank with Me is a captivating and unconventional story of an unusual mother and son, and the intrepid young woman who finds herself irresistibly pulled into their unforgettable world.

***********

 

Thanks for stopping by!

Stuff on Sundays: 2016 Eclectic Reader Recommendations Part 2

2016EclecticReader_BookdOut

I’m happy to welcome those that have signed up for the Eclectic Reader Challenge so far this year, and several already have already gotten started and shared reviews.  The challenge asks participants to read 12 books over the year, each from a variety of different categories. These are:

  1. A book about books (fiction or nonfiction)
  2.  Serial killer thriller
  3.  Paranormal romance
  4.  A novel set on an island
  5. Investigative journalism (non fiction)
  6. Disaster fiction
  7. Steampunk sci fi
  8. Any book shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize
  9. Psychology (non fiction)
  10. Immigrant Experience fiction
  11. YA historical fiction
  12. A debut author in 2016

I encourage participants who aren’t sure what to select for each category to look for recommendations from other book bloggers who they read and follow, or browse lists such as Goodreads Listopia , Library Booklists, or whatever source is favoured, however I thought I might offer a few gleaned from my own browsing.

You can learn more and SIGN UP here

CLICK HERE to view 2016 Eclectic Reader Recommendations Part 1

Click the cover for more information about each title.

4. A novel set on an island

I’ve selected these titles that feature islands that are both imaginary and real, large and small, from allacross the world.

5. Investigative Journalism

Investigative journalism is a form of journalism in which reporters deeply investigate a single topic of interest to shed light on a specific issue, such as crime or social injustice.

6. Disaster fiction

It was a lot more difficult than I expected to find examples of disaster (also known as catastrophe or apocalyptic) fiction, given the plethora of disaster films like San Andreas, Poseidon, Independence Day and Twister. Disaster fiction should focus on the disaster itself and the days immediately following, but post apocalyptic fiction, where years or decades have passed since a disaster, is far more common.

 

 

 

Feel free to share your recommendations in the comments.

 You can join the challenge at any time up until December 1st 2016.  For more details, click HERE

Review: This Was Not The Plan by Cristina Alger

 

Title: This Was Not The Plan

Author: Cristina Alger

Published: Touchstone Feb 2016

Read an Excerpt

Status: Read from February 06 to 07, 2016 — I own a copy {Courtesy the publisher/Edelweiss}

My Thoughts:

I’ve delayed writing this review because I don’t really have a lot to say about This Was Not The Plan by Cristina Alger.

It’s a quick, light read populated by charming characters (especially young Caleb), but there isn’t anything particularly unique or memorable about it. Perhaps it is because it features a single father in a role more often relegated to a single mother, struggling with the work/life balance and difficult relationships, that it is receiving rave reviews online, or perhaps I have missed some profundity.

Not a bad read, just not a particularly special one.

Available to purchase via

Simon & Schuster I BookDepository I Amazon US I Indiebound

Booko

Brooklyn winners!

Congratulations paper sign over confetti. Vector holiday illustration.

Congratulations to the following people who have each won a double pass to see Brooklyn in Australian cinema’s.

Diane V, Katy E, Benjamin T, Gloria B, Diane C,

Shannon, Kate W, Ross S, Marlene P, Rosemarie D

Emails have been sent.

Winners were drawn via random.org

Brooklyn_A4Poster

2[3]

 

Review: The Flood Girls by Richard Fifield

 

Title: The Flood Girls

Author: Richard Fifield

Published: Gallery Books Feb 2016

Read and Extract

Status: Read from February 09 to 11, 2016 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher/netgalley}

My Thoughts:

The Flood Girls by Richard Fifield is an engaging story of regrets and redemption set in small-town America.

After almost a decade’s absence, Rachel Flood is back in Quinn, Montana (Population:956) to make amends for the devastation she wrought as a wild teen to an openly hostile collection of family, (ex) friends and enemies. After a week of scathing silence, pointed glares and outright threats, Rachel is on the verge of admitting defeat when her mother, Laverna Flood, the proprietor of one of Quinn’s two taverns ‘The Dirty Shame’, is targeted in a robbery and her injuries require Rachel to take her mother’s place behind the bar, and on the local women’s softball team.

This is a story full of family dysfunction, addiction, friendship, failure and forgiveness. Rachel’s search for redemption is complicated, and no-one is inclined to make it easy on her, least of all her self.

Fifield has created an eccentric and often outlandish cast, including the uncompromising Laverna, the frightening Red and Black Mabel’s (distinguished by a rotten smile), Rachel’s no nonsense sponsor, Athena, and the members of the softball team. The town’s three rookie firefighter volunteers are all named Jim, the Police Chief runs the local AA meetings, and Reverend Foote is determined to convert the town’s sinners.

Of all the characters however is Rachel’s neighbour, twelve year old Jake, who is the most endearing. A devotee of Madonna and Jackie Collins, with an individual sense of style and fashion, he is mature beyond his years, but his effeminate manner infuriates his brutal stepfather. Jake is one of the few residents of Quinn willing to give Rachel a chance, and a delightful bond develops between them.

Though the humour is a little uneven and the plot not particularly original, The Flood Girls is written with heart and a genuine feel for small town life. A strong debut.

Available to purchase via

Simon & Schuster I BookDepository I Amazon US I Indiebound

Booko

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