Difference between revisions of "Newest General Fiction Reviews"

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[[Category:General Fiction|*]]
 
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{{newreview
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|author= Lucy Daniels
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|title= Summer at Hope Meadows
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|rating= 4
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|genre= General Fiction
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|summary=''Animal Ark'' was a popular series of children's books written between 1994 and 2008. The stories focus on a young girl called Mandy Hope, the daughter of two vets who run a practice, Animal Ark, in the Yorkshire town of Welford. Along with her best friend James, the children seek to help out creatures in need. The series consisted of 94 books in total and was written by a collection of authors writing under the pseudonym Lucy Daniels. ''Summer at Hope Meadows'' is the first in a new series for adult readers, continuing grown-up Mandy's story now that she is a fully qualified vet.
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|amazonuk=<amazonuk>1473653878</amazonuk>
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}}
 
{{newreview
 
{{newreview
 
|author=Sophie Divry and Alison Anderson (translator)
 
|author=Sophie Divry and Alison Anderson (translator)
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|summary= There's a point early on in Paula McGrath's novel where I had that pleasant feeling of discovering a new, exciting author who was going to take me in a multitude of different directions. This feeling is fading fast after 40 pages. By 60 pages I'm scrabbling around for redeeming features - maybe some of the characters introduced earlier who have all mysteriously disappeared will reappear and administer life support. After 100 pages all hope is lost and I just want to finish the damn thing.
 
|summary= There's a point early on in Paula McGrath's novel where I had that pleasant feeling of discovering a new, exciting author who was going to take me in a multitude of different directions. This feeling is fading fast after 40 pages. By 60 pages I'm scrabbling around for redeeming features - maybe some of the characters introduced earlier who have all mysteriously disappeared will reappear and administer life support. After 100 pages all hope is lost and I just want to finish the damn thing.
 
|amazonuk=<amazonuk>1473641780</amazonuk>
 
|amazonuk=<amazonuk>1473641780</amazonuk>
}}
 
{{newreview
 
|author= Sheena Kalayil
 
|title=The Bureau of Second Chances
 
|rating= 5
 
|genre= General Fiction
 
|summary=Recently widowed, with a grown-up daughter forging her own life abroad, London-based optometrist Thomas Imbalil takes early retirement and returns to his native India. After a short period enjoying the peace of his house overlooking the Arabian Sea, he agrees to commute to the city for a few months to look after Chacko's Optical Store to help out an old friend. Thomas soon discovers that the eager young assistant Rani is running another business on the side, but he agrees to turn a blind eye and leave it to his friend to deal with on his return. However, it stirs up thoughts and doubts within Thomas and before long he's involved whether he wants to be or not.
 
|amazonuk=<amazonuk>1846973929</amazonuk>
 
 
}}
 
}}

Revision as of 12:11, 17 July 2017

Summer at Hope Meadows by Lucy Daniels

4star.jpg General Fiction

Animal Ark was a popular series of children's books written between 1994 and 2008. The stories focus on a young girl called Mandy Hope, the daughter of two vets who run a practice, Animal Ark, in the Yorkshire town of Welford. Along with her best friend James, the children seek to help out creatures in need. The series consisted of 94 books in total and was written by a collection of authors writing under the pseudonym Lucy Daniels. Summer at Hope Meadows is the first in a new series for adult readers, continuing grown-up Mandy's story now that she is a fully qualified vet. Full review...

Madame Bovary of the Suburbs by Sophie Divry and Alison Anderson (translator)

2.5star.jpg General Fiction

It starts with becoming a homeowner, then settling in, then reproducing.

Well, it actually starts a lot before then, with a set of fractured memories of our heroine's childhood – things she recalls her parents and relatives saying both to and about her. It goes through her childhood, and pen letters to a best friend conveying her wishes for her life, those wishes being revised and affirmed by the liberty of university years, those wishes being met with or denied by married life… Someone archly could point out that you should be careful what you wish for, but not even our wise, modern woman could not see the next step after the reproducing – standing disappointed in front of the refrigerator. Full review...

Some of Us Glow More Than Others by Tania Hershman

4.5star.jpg Short Stories

I won't be alone in stating that reading short story collections can be slightly awkward. Going through from A-Z, witnessing a bounty of ideas and characters in short order can be too much, but do you have the right to pick and choose according to what appeals, and what time you have to fill? The sequence has carefully been considered, surely. Such would appear to be the case here. The last time I read one of this author's collections, with The White Road, the only real difficulty was holding back and rationing them, but here you not only get a whopping forty pieces of writing, they are also spread into sections. Full review...

Court of Lions by Jane Johnson

5star.jpg Historical Fiction

Kate Fordham arrived in the sunlit city of Granada a year ago. In the shadow of the Alhambra, one of the most beautiful places on earth, she works as a waitress serving tourists in a busy bar. She pretends she's happy with her new life – but how could she be? Kate's alone, afraid and hiding under a false name. And fate is about to bring her face-to-face with her greatest fear. Five centuries ago, a message, in a hand few could read, was inscribed in blood on a stolen scrap of paper. The paper was folded and pressed into one of the Alhambra's walls. There it has lain, undisturbed by the tides of history – the Fall of Granada, the expulsion of its last Sultan – until Kate discovers it. Born of love, in a time of danger and desperation, the fragment will be the catalyst that changes Kate's life forever. Full review...

Together by Julie Cohen

5star.jpg General Fiction

This is a love story told backwards, in the most beautiful manner, so that we know from the very beginning that Emily and Robert love each other enormously, and that he is about to break her heart in the most dreadful way in order to protect a secret that they've lived with for decades. Seeing their love unfold in reverse is beautiful. We get to know them once they have already gotten to know each other, and it makes for an unusual and interesting structure. The secret they hold is referred to throughout, but it isn't revealed until very late in the book. I'm guessing very few readers will figure it out. Even once you know, you want to go back and read the whole story again in the light of the information you now hold. Full review...

Skylarking by Kate Mildenhall

4star.jpg General Fiction

Kate and Harriet are best friends growing up together on an isolated Australian cape. As the daughters of the lighthouse keepers, the two girls share everything, until a fisherman, McPhail, arrives in their small community. When Kate witnesses the desire that flares between him and Harriet, she is torn by her feelings of envy and longing. An innocent moment in McPhail's hut then occurs that threatens to tear their peaceful community apart. Full review...

The Shifting Pools by Zoe Duncan

2.5star.jpg General Fiction

Perhaps the most overused phrase in fiction publishing is life-affirming, closely followed by human condition. The Shifting Pools takes this to a whole new level. Its blurb boasts that it is charged throughout with the beautiful urgency of life, whatever that means. It isn't. And that's the problem. This isn't a bad book, but it sets itself up to fail. A cardinal rule of writing is focus on the small stuff. If you set out to write a life affirming novel that answers all the big questions, you'll struggle. And it is this trap that Zoe Duncan falls into. In her quest for profundity she loses her way. Full review...

The Sisters Chase by Sarah Healy

4.5star.jpg General Fiction

Mary and Bunny. That's how it has always been ever since Bunny was born. Two sisters with an unbreakable bond, twisted together so tight that they were two sides of the same coin. Bunny was Mary's whole world; nothing else really mattered; school...friends...boys...well, maybe one boy, but he was something altogether extraordinary. When the unthinkable happened, Mary and Bunny found themselves completely alone in the world, and that's when Mary decided to take an unforgettable road trip, just the two of them, across the United States, in search of a place where they could belong. Full review...

The Woolgrower's Companion by Joy Rhoades

4star.jpg General Fiction

1945: The war is in its dying days and creating problems far from the different fronts. For instance, in Australia, what can be done with the Italian POWs brought into the country? The solution seems to be their use as cheap labour. In this way Kate Dowd's father agrees to take two onto his sheep farm in drought-ridden New South Wales. Kate is initially wary of the two men – Vittorio and Luca – but gradually she realises that not all dangers come from outside her community. Life on a sheep station may be harsh but for Kate it's going to get a lot worse. Full review...

Septimania by Jonathan Levi

4star.jpg General Fiction

First and foremost a tale of love, Septimania delivers the frustrations and agony of two people who find each other and then lose each other, all on the same day. But what a momentous day! Life takes Malory and Louisa off in totally different directions but strangely their paths cross again and again. Malory, searching to uncover his past, moves to Rome and discovers great and incredible facts about his ancestry. Louisa, a brilliant mathematician, is head hunted for 'secret' work and is signed up by her father for a life time's contract with the American Government. She completely disappears from Malory's life and he has no way of knowing how to find her again. They are both trapped in their separate lives. Full review...

The Portrait by Antoine Laurain, Jane Aitken (translator) and Emily Boyce (translator)

4star.jpg General Fiction

Meet Pierre-Francois. He should by rights be an antiques dealer, as he made a fortune selling on his first collection (of erasers) while at school, and funded both his university and carnal education, with prostitutes, by trading too. He is, however, a patent and intellectual property lawyer, and his wife is forever demanding a reduction in the space his collections take up in their flat. But he still dabbles – although this latest visit to the showrooms will cause a lot of unexpected incident. In amongst the grot at a low-key sale he finds an ancient pastel, showing himself – a bewigged, antique version of himself, even if, however, nobody else sees the connection between Pierre-Francois and the picture's subject. Still, as an effeminate uncle told him, real objects carry memory of their past owners – and Pierre-Francois is intent on finding the truths behind those memories. Little does he know just what he will discover… Full review...

Vernon Subutex 1 by Virginie Despentes and Frank Wynne (translator)

5star.jpg General Fiction

Vernon Subutex is a wanted man. Following the death of Alex Bleach, Vernon's generous benefactor and publicly adored musician, Vernon now has the last recordings of Alex's drug induced ramblings. Kicked out of his apartment the story follows Vernon as he couch surfs his way across Paris, pursued by journalists and media moguls desperate to cash in on Bleach's death. Eventually finding himself out of luck, friends and money Vernon is left sleeping rough, half mad and forced to bear witness to a shocking act of violence. In a world of capricious friends and grasping avaricious journalists who can Vernon trust? Full review...

The Threat Level Remains Severe by Rowena MacDonald

3.5star.jpg General Fiction

Grace Ambrose isn't Brigitte Jones, honest; for one thing she doesn't keep a diary. Grace is our typical misogynistic Hollywood stereotype supporting female character. She is the secretly hot chick who will suddenly take off their glasses, shake out their hair and reveal themselves to have been beautiful all along. We follow Grace and her romantic adventures (and misadventures) over three years of her life at the House of Commons. Full review...

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

4.5star.jpg General Fiction

Tom is an albatross. That's not to say he has a freakish wingspan, or anything, but it means he's not a mayfly. In contrast to all us regular humans with our temperamental bodies living out short lifespans, he ages at a speed roughly one-fifteenth of that at which we do, and barely gets touched by any disease. It means he will live for several more centuries than the ones he has witnessed so far, but ever since his mother was drowned as a witch due to his teenaged self never ageing, he has known the best thing for him – and others – is to regularly move on. Solitude has been tempered since the late Victorian era, when other people even older than him press-ganged him into their society of albatrosses, but the fact of the matter is that falling in love really is a no-no. But that's not to say it never happened, and that's not to say that he can't feel things for the albatross daughter he's not seen for centuries. It might be the only thing he has to live for… Full review...

Castle of Water by Dane Huckelbridge

4star.jpg General Fiction

Barry Bleeker and Sophie Ducel are two very different people destined to take the same journey. As they are both aboard a flight to the Marquesas Islands, their tiny plane crashes leaving Barry and Sophie the only survivors. Until recently, Barry was an investment banker in New York before he decided to leave his life behind and pursue his dream of painting. Sophie meanwhile, was a French architect who along with her husband Etienne was planning a honeymoon of a lifetime. Now Barry and Sophie are alone on an uninhabited island in the South Pacific, where they must learn to put aside their differences and survive. Full review...

If We Were Villains by M L Rio

4.5star.jpg General Fiction

Murder most horrid amongst a group of 4th Year university students of Shakespeare. We open as our protagonist is released from jail having served his time for a crime that he may or may not have committed. What did he do? What happened that year? Why did things turn out the way they did? We have to push our way through the undergrowth of flashbacks to find out. Full review...

The Floating Theatre by Martha Conway

5star.jpg Historical Fiction

When young seamstress May Bedloe is left alone and penniless on the shore of the Ohio, she finds work on the famous floating theatre that plies its trade along the river. Her creativity and needlework skills quickly become invaluable and she settles into life among the colourful troupe of actors. She finds friends, and possibly the promise of more. But cruising the border between the Confederate South and the 'free' North is fraught with danger. For the sake of a debt that must be repaid, May is compelled to transport secret passengers, under cover of darkness, across the river and on, along the underground railroad. But as May's secrets become harder to keep, she learns she must endanger those now dear to her.

And to save the lives of others, she must risk her own... Full review...

You Should Have Left by Daniel Kehlmann and Ross Benjamin (translator)

4.5star.jpg General Fiction

Our narrator is a screenwriter, tasked with coming up with a sequel to his hit movie Besties – a film which helped pay for a house, but which his actress wife keeps letting him know, isn't art. To concentrate, the family – he, the wife, and their four year old daughter – have rented a large, modern house at the end of a horrid, hairpin bend-filled road, in a charming alpine landscape. But things aren't right. The couple are at loggerheads too much, things keep unsettling our narrator, and the sole shopkeeper for miles around is ready with the Hammer Horror styled warnings of strange events. Quickly we see the book's title in all its galling clarity – but it isn't too late to get out… is it? And out of what, exactly? Full review...

The Lie of the Land by Amanda Craig

5star.jpg General Fiction

The Bredins can't afford to divorce. The house in London would sell, but not for a priced that would allow Quentin and Lottie ( she with her son and their two girls) to each get somewhere to live. Unemployment has barrelled into the equation too: Lottie's lost her job as an architect and Quentin's prowess as a journalist is in reducing demand. There's not much in the way of family help available: Lottie's mother's house might be worth six million, but she barely scrapes by on her income. There's one solution that just might work: the house in London can be let and they'll move to somewhere cheap in the country and live as best they can on the rent they receive. Full review...

The Ludlow Ladies' Society by Ann O' Loughlin

3.5star.jpg General Fiction

The Ludlow Ladies' Society is the story of two women and their struggle to come to terms with the terrible tragedies in their lives. Connie Carter arrives at Ludlow Hall, a property she has inherited in Ireland, with no clue as to what to expect. The close-knit community are curious about The American, who seems to have no desire to integrate herself into the community. Nearby, lives Eve, a widow, who formerly lived at Ludlow Hall. She, too, has painful memories and scars that are slow to heal, but as she begins to form a friendship with the reclusive Connie, the two form a bond that will help them both face their grief together. Full review...

The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis

4star.jpg Thrillers

For as long as she can remember, Jemma has been planning the perfect honeymoon. A fortnight's retreat to a five-star resort in the Maldives, complete with luxury villas, personal butlers and absolute privacy.It should be paradise. But it's turned into a nightmare. Because the man Jemma married a week ago has just disappeared from the island without a trace. And now her perfect new life is vanishing just as quickly before her eyes. After everything they've been through together, how can this be happening? Is there anyone on the island who Jemma can trust? And above all - where has her husband gone? Full review...

Seven Days with You by Hugo Driscoll

3.5star.jpg General Fiction

There was little in eighteen-year-old Sean Johnson's life to give him joy. He was a farmhand in the small town of Bloxford and the highlights of his life were his daily chats with his friend Tom, helping out at the animal sanctuary and a trip to the pub on a Saturday night. The downsides were the boring job and having to live with a drunken father who seemed to have no intention of getting over the death of his wife many years earlier. But it would be the animal sanctuary which brought joy into his life in the form of Sophia Hillingdon, daughter of one of the top lawyers in the country and about to go to Oxford to study law herself. It was their love of animals which would spark their love for each other. Full review...

Time of Lies by Douglas Board

4star.jpg General Fiction

The Labour Party has split in two. So have the Conservatives. The smaller parties have descended into squabbling and internal strife. Brexit negotiations have trundled on in dribs and drabs, held up at every turn by a slow-moving and mostly unwilling Europe. Full review...

Me, Myself and Them by Dan Mooney

4.5star.jpg General Fiction

As witty as it is unsettling, Dan Mooney offers a story with the potential to open up public conversation around mental health and the human response to distress and trauma. Full review...

A History of Running Away by Paula McGrath

2star.jpg General Fiction

There's a point early on in Paula McGrath's novel where I had that pleasant feeling of discovering a new, exciting author who was going to take me in a multitude of different directions. This feeling is fading fast after 40 pages. By 60 pages I'm scrabbling around for redeeming features - maybe some of the characters introduced earlier who have all mysteriously disappeared will reappear and administer life support. After 100 pages all hope is lost and I just want to finish the damn thing. Full review...