Newest General Fiction Reviews

From TheBookbag
Jump to: navigation, search

1471173836.jpg

Where We Belong by Anstey Harris

5star.jpg General Fiction

I've always believed that places and buildings absorb what happens within them and reflect it back; this is how we can tell that a sacred space is sacred. Cate Morris believes a similar thing, she believes that A house absorbs happiness, it blooms into the wallpaper, the wood of the window frames, the bricks: that's how it becomes a home. She is having these thoughts as she packs up her home. She has to leave. A combination of circumstances means that is not only redundant, but also homeless. With nowhere else to go, she has called on her late husband's family for help. Just for a few weeks. Full Review

1642860670.jpg

A Life Without End by Frederic Beigbeder and Frank Wynne (translator)

4star.jpg Literary Fiction

I looked at the calendar the other week, and disappointedly realised I have a birthday this year – I know, yet another one. It won't be one of the major numbers, but the time when I have the same number as Heinz varieties looms on the horizon. And then a few of the big 0-numbers, and if all goes well, I'll be an OBE. (Which of course stands for Over Bloody Eighty.) Now if that's the extent of my mid-life crisis, I guess I have to be happy. Our author here doesn't use that exact phrase, but he might be said to be living one. Determined to find out how to prolong life for as long as he wants – he would like to see 400 – he hops right into bed with the assistant to the first geneticist he interviews, and they end up with a child, which is at least a way of continuing the life of his genes, and a motive to keep on going. But how can he get to not flick the 'final way out' switch, especially when foie gras tastes so nice? Full Review

B08774SJYN.jpg

The Greenbecker Gambit by Ben Graff

5star.jpg General Fiction

I suppose the odd fleeting sense of loneliness is a price all truly successful people must pay for our gifts. I tell myself that I do so willingly.

Tennessee Greenbecker. Isn't that a name to conjure with? There are hints that it might not have been the name he was given at birth, but many of us have moved on, so far as names go, from the one we were originally saddled with. Greenbecker's life is one of constant reinvention. He tells us that he's the foremost chess player never to have been world champion, and it does seem that he has some considerable talent as far as chess goes. He's determined that he's going to fulfil what he sees as his destiny. He just needs to do some study to be able to beat the current players ranked at numbers one and two in the world. Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana will not stand in his way. Full Review

0857303309.jpg

Daisy by J Paul Henderson

4star.jpg General Fiction

This is the story of Herod S. Pinkney, a rather unusual (yet somehow charming) man who is in search of a woman called Daisy, whom he first sees in an episode of Judge Judy on television and instantly falls in love with her! Rod is writing the novel of his quest, guided by an embittered ex-literary agent who is now clearing glasses in a pub for a living. Determined to find and meet Daisy, the book takes us through Rod's life, introduces us to his friends, and tells us of what happens in his quest for love. Full Review

1529123941.jpg

The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves

4.5star.jpg General Fiction

When we meet Professor Frank Hobbs and his wife, Maggie, Frank is playing chess against his computer, although not very successfully. Maggie, on the other hand, has just taken some pills - eight of them, in fact - and before long she will collapse. When Frank rings the emergency services in Oxford he has a bit of a problem. He has to admit that he and Maggie haven't actually spoken for a while. How long? Well, it's about six months since he spoke to Maggie and he can't really say if it's likely that Maggie has tried to take her own life. Full Review

1787633179.jpg

You Let Me In by Camilla Bruce

4star.jpg General Fiction

Eccentric, isolated romance novelist Cassandra Tipp has been missing for a year and has been pronounced legally dead by her lawyers. Her will instructs her niece and nephew to enter her home and find the key to their inheritance in an old manuscript left in her office: the last story she'll ever tell. Full Review

1471184668.jpg

Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed

4star.jpg Teens

We might give it our all and crash and burn. But we might win. We might actually change things. And that maybe makes it still worth going for, don't you think? Jaime has been spending his summer helping his cousin with campaigning in time for a special election. When his mother encourages him to go canvassing, he can't think of anything worse. However, Jaime has always wanted to be a politician and decides there is no time like the present to conquer his fear of speaking to the public. Maya is a Pakistani-American Muslim girl who is having the worst summer of her life. Her parents are going through a separation, she has zero plans for the summer to help take her mind off things and her only close friend is permanently busy. To help occupy her, her parents offer to buy her a car if she agrees to go canvassing. The pair could possibly be the worst canvassing duo in history, as neither of them really want to be there, but as the campaign goes on they discover that they care, a lot, about the election - and maybe even about each other? Full Review

1911545418.jpg

A Key to Treehouse Living by Elliot Reed

4star.jpg General Fiction

This is the story of a young boy, William Tyce, who is being raised by his uncle after the death of his mother and his father's abandonment. However, it isn't told in the usual narrative way. Instead, the book is made up of glossary entries, written by William, as a way of describing certain events, situations and emotions. It runs alphabetically, starting with ABSENCE, then moving to ALPHABETICAL ORDER. As I began to read I did find myself thinking 'what on earth?!' but I soon grew used to the style, and was instead caught up in William's story. Full Review

1734277211.jpg

What if They Knew by T R Hendrick

4star.jpg General Fiction

It's 2025. Underneath a lodge in the Blue Mountain resort in Pennsylvania, is a secret facility. Here, Dr Benton and his team are making some critical scientific advances on behalf of the Benefactor, their anonymous funder. Already, the team have succeeded in teleporting small primates from one place to another. But, unbeknownst to the Benefactor, Dr Benton has also coded for another type of teleportation altogether - travel through time. And he's ready to test. If successful, Benton has a very specific use for his technology in mind Full Review

0356513777.jpg

The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep by H G Parry

4star.jpg General Fiction

Brothers Rob and Charley have struggled to see eye to eye for years - Rob a sensible lawyer who exists in the "normal" world - and Charley a man who is blessed with an ability he can't fully control - one which allows him to bring literary characters into the real world. After years of protecting Charley, Rob wants to discharge his duties and leave Charley to his own devices - but circumstances soon take choices out of both their hands. As literary characters begin to appear everywhere, it soon becomes clear that someone out there shares Charley's powers and intends to use them for nefarious gains. Rob and Charley must team up to stop the madness - in a battle to win before they, the characters and the world reach The End… Full Review

1643785036.jpg

The Wondrous Apothecary by Mary E Martin

4star.jpg General Fiction

Those who have known Alexander Wainwright, the landscape artist famous for his Turner prize winning The Hay Wagon, and Rinaldo, renowned conceptual artist would say that they're chalk and cheese, if not sworn enemies. If you've watched the relationship, as has our narrator, art dealer Jamie Helmsworth, you'd have said that they were magnets, drawing and repulsing each other in equal measure. Wainwright was at the socially acceptable end of the artistic continuum, but with Rinaldo it was all too obvious that there was but a fine dividing line between conceptual art and public nuisance. As time has worn on, he's frequently been brought to the attention of the police. On this latest occasion we see him charged with arson and theft of The Hay Wagon. Full Review

0349003459.jpg

Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi

4star.jpg Teens

Pablo, a college drop-out, is working at a New York bodega. He's massively in debt, he's avoiding his mother, and he finds his joy in creating unusual snacks with random ingredients! Whilst working one evening, he's surprised to discover that the girl he is chatting with as he serves is a super-famous pop star and, as unlikely as it may seem, they start a relationship. With one character who is trying very hard not to be seen or noticed by anyone, and the other who is seen and followed and hounded by everyone all over the world, it's an interesting clash as they come together. This isn't just a love story though, and actually it's really just Pab's story, about the journey he takes in his life via his meet-up with Leanna Smart. Full Review

1789091934.jpg

Blood Sugar by Daniel Kraus

4star.jpg General Fiction

This is a difficult read. And not because of the dark subject matter – that'll come later – but because of the way in which it's told. This might put a lot of readers off, and to be honest it'd be hard to blame them. Kraus tells the story in a distinctive voice unlike any other I've read; an erratic dialect with heavy and frequent slang. The immediate effect is disorientating and distracting, and it takes some time to feel natural. It's a struggle to acclimatise to Jody's voice, to get acquainted with his mannerisms, but the story wouldn't be the same without it, and somehow it works. It shouldn't, but it does. Full Review

B07W4MNBSG.jpg

Be Careful Who You Marry by Lizzy Mumfrey

4star.jpg General Fiction

It was coming up to Halloween in 1987 and a group of sixth-form schoolgirls wondered what they would be doing when they were fifty. When you're only seventeen that seems positively ancient, but Liz was convinced that your entire life depends on who you marry. The only eligible boys were the Young Farmers and the idea of living in a farmhouse and having a couple of children called Will and Olly appealed to Charlotte, or perhaps William and Oliver if you were Elizabeth who was determined to marry the rather superior Patrick Shepley-Botham. The place to start their search was obviously the Young Farmers' Halloween disco that weekend. There was just one problem - there were too many Elizabeths in the class. Full Review

1912374838.jpg


Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews General Fiction

Nothing Important Happened Today is a dark, twisted, difficult read. Stories about cults often are, but this is different; it's written with a sense of style that is quite unlike anything I've read before. I can't remember ever having read a novel with such an odd, distinctive narrative voice. While a slim and relatively small book, the slow-moving nature of the plot makes it feel far larger than its 276 pages. Full Review

Williamabbey.jpg


The Pursuit of William Abbey by Claire North

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews General Fiction, Paranormal, Fantasy

When William Abbey fails to prevent the lynching of a young boy in 1880's South Africa, he finds himself cursed by the grieving mother. A naïve English Doctor, he slowly learns the weight of the curse upon him, as the shadow of the dead boy begins to follow him across the world. Never stopping, always growing – it crosses oceans and mountains in pursuit of William. As he finds himself unable to resist speaking the truths that he hears in others, he also learns that the dark shadow is deadly – and seeks to kill the one he loves the most… Full Review

1785656775.jpg


The Triumph of the Spider Monkey by Joyce Carol Oates

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Crime, Thrillers, General Fiction

Bobby is an angry, damaged man - damage that came from being abandoned as a baby in a bus station locker, and then being thrown from one foster home or detention centre to another, never far from violence or abuse. Eager to succeed as a musician, he arrives in Hollywood to find his dream - but it soon becomes clear that his paranoid delusions and seething rage will enable a capacity for acts of extreme violence. Unpublished for 40 years, this edition of The Triumph of the Spider Monkey comes combined with a connected novella – Love, Careless Love. Full Review

1542007232.jpg


The Rabbit Girls by Anna Ellory

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews General Fiction, Historical Fiction

Berlin, 1989. Miriam is in the middle of a city freshly united, with the Wall newly broken down and people able to cross at liberty for the first time in decades. She is in the middle of such euphoria, but cannot feel it, for she has not left her father's apartment in weeks, nursing him as he lies dying. One standard bed-bath, however, is very different, when he gasps the name Frieda that she does not recognise – and she sees for the first time ever a tattoo for his camp inmate identity under his watch. One bombshell outside, then, and two inside. And inside her father, Henryk, what is going on, as he has a first person narrative alternating with her story? What will we find happened, as he remembers back to the real Frieda, a young woman that shook him to the core when he was her literature professor? That's right, more bombshells… Full Review

0241365953.jpg


American Royals by Katharine McGee

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews General Fiction

Two and a half centuries ago, America won the Revolutionary War and General George Washington was offered the crown. Today, the House of Washington still sit on the thrown with Princess Beatrice next in line. Beatrice's whole life has been building up to her ruling the United States and the time for her reign is imminent. Full Review

1784742716.jpg


Train Man by Andrew Mulligan

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews General Fiction, Literary Fiction

I came to this book thinking I knew just what to expect, even though it is the author's debut in the adult novel market (hence the more mature name – he used to be an Andy). I thought it simple to sum up, the tale of a middle-aged man who knows too much about train travel having his life turned around in the most pleasant way. I hadn't opened it when I'd shelved it alongside Chris Cleave, and David Nicholls. I expected some whimsy, some warmth and some affirmative loveliness.

More fool me. Full Review

1785032461.jpg


The Girl at the Window by Rowan Coleman

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews General Fiction, Paranormal

Trudy Heaton is going home, to a house where her roots burrow back through the centuries and to a mother she hasn't spoken to for sixteen years. Home, her refuge, Ponden Hall, where she can heal herself and try to come to terms with the traumatic loss of her husband. She needs to build bridges with her mother and convince her grieving son that his father is dead. Where better than the house full of light and shadow, that nurtured her throughout her childhood? Full Review

0008291845.jpg


We Are Not Okay by Natalia Gomes

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Teens, General Fiction

Set in a typical American town, We Are Not Okay tells the story of four teenage girls facing the difficulties brought on by high school and growing up as a girl in today's society. The novel is told from four different perspectives, those of Lucy, Ulana, Trina and Sophia, whose friendship statuses vary from BFFs to sworn enemies. The reader is presented with a glimpse into each of their lives, but more importantly their minds, and at times the thoughts of those characters could have been taken directly from my own. Gomes has created a heartbreakingly real and relevant novel that focuses on prominent topic areas which are becoming ingrained in our society, particularly in relation to the Me Too Movement. We Are Not Okay reminds the reader of the importance of phrases like I'm With Her. Full Review