4 stars

10 Posts Back Home

Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag

Vincent is a waiter at Coffee House. – Opening sentence Ghachar Ghochar is only  a short story – I read in all in one sitting – but one with a big impact; something which I think only the very talented can achieve in their writing. I admit, I was initially drawn in by the striking cover design – but also by the opportunity to expand on my own personal range of  genres. Ghachar Ghochar is the first of  Shanbhag’s works to be translated into English, and has been praised as being a masterclass of crafting. I can see why. Set in Bangalore, the story is told from the perspective of one unnamed character, referred to only once by his childhood nickname ‘Krukane’. In some ways it reminded me of Stoner: A Novel as both are stories about men who consider themselves to be thoroughly ordinary and boring. Both stories describe the…

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

She’s buried beneath a silver birch tree, down towards the old train tracks, her grave marked with a cairn. – Opening sentence You might have heard of this book. Published in January 2015,  The Girl on the Train was an instant success. It had sold over 1 million copies by March 2015, and occupied the number one spot of the UK hardback book chart for 20 weeks (a record!). For whatever reason, I didn’t get swept up in the initial hype. I knew that the book was a sensation, but I just never got around to owning a copy. Then it got made into a movie a year later in 2016. And I still hadn’t read it. By now I was starting to hear things like “overrated” and “not worth the hype”, and I decided that I really should read it myself to what all the fuss was about. So I borrowed my Mum’s…

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

He was still bleeding. – Opening sentence A massive thanks to Georgina Moore who sent me a proof copy of this book after I felt like the only book blogger who hadn’t read it yet! I don’t know if this is just me, but I hadn’t heard of the historic Lizzie Borden case before reading this book, so the poem on the back sort of gave it away a little bit: Lizzie Borden took an axe, and gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one (Apparently this is quite famous and well-known, but I’ve been living under some sort of rock.) For those of you who are also unfamiliar with the Borden case, here are the quick facts: On 4th August 1892, the bodies of Andrew and Abby Borden were discovered by their daughter, Lizzie Borden. Both had been violently murdered with an axe.…

Ink by Alice Broadway

I was older than all my friends when I got my first tattoo. – Opening sentence I was extremely excited to win this special copy of Ink from @ScholasticUK, as I have wanted to read it ever since I got my hands on the teaser back in August 2016. In Ink, tattoos (or ‘marks’ as they are referred to in this book), are obligatory. You get your first mark, you name, two days after you are born and from then on every important milestone in your life in inked; the good and the bad. Upon your death, your marks are preserved and compiled into a Skin Book, and your book is judged in the “weighing of the soul ceremony”. If your life is deemed to be good – and your soul is worthy – your book remains with your family and your name will be forever remembered. But if your soul…

Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was by Sjon

The October evening is windless and cool. – Opening sentence I didn’t really have any expectations for Moonstone. I’d heard good things about it, and because it was set in Reykjavik, Iceland, where I was heading for a long weekend – I picked up a copy from BookBridgr. I certainly didn’t expect to be confronted with a graphic sex act on page one. It kind of made me want to hide what I was reading, in case people knew. And because I knew nothing about Moonstone beforehand, I didn’t know if it was some sort of erotica novella. Back in the hostel, in the privacy of my room, I continued reading. And I’m glad I did, because what I read wasn’t erotica, but one of the most deeply moving stories I have ever read. Based on true events that happened after the war in 1918, Mani Steinn is a boy…

Harmless Like You by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan

The small, female oblong stood in the shadows beyond the doorway. – Opening sentence Harmless Like You may be one of the most haunting books I have ever read. In that sense, it reminded me a bit of Stoner, another book who’s main character lives a painfully slow and lonely life. The story is told by two narrators, Yuki and Jay, who’s stories are separated by fifty years yet are combined in an unbreakable way; mother and son. Yuki is a high-schooler in New York in the 60s. Born in Japan, her english-speaking father was assigned a position in America, so Yuki has grown-up with only her parents word for how wonderful Japan is (and how they can’t wait to go back). However, Yuki doesn’t want to go back. She has no memories of Japan, and when her parents speak in Japanese and talk about their old life it feels…

Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent

My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it. – Opening sentence When I picked Lying in Wait from my bookcase earlier this afternoon, I didn’t intend to read it all in one sitting – I just couldn’t stop reading! Lying in Wait is dramatic and ensnaring straight from the off. Seriously – just look at the first sentence (above)! That pretty much sets the tone for Lydia Fitzsimons, a wealthy, upper-class housewife who lives in her father’s stately home in Ireland with her husband, Andrew, and their son, Laurence. With a secret, troubled past, Lydia is heartbroken after a series of miscarriages after the birth of her first son. Desperate, and somewhat neurotic, she enlists the help of her husband to find an alternative solution…but not everything goes to plan. Now with two secrets, Lydia must ensure that Laurence continues to grow up to be a…

The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola

Through her left eye she could see nothing now. – Opening sentence I received an intriguing-looking proof copy of The Unseeing from @TinderPress a few months ago, and was immediately drawn into the mystery. I knew The Unseeing was based on a true Victorian crime, which intensified my expectations. I know how the Victorians were quick-to-judge and unjust (compared with our standards) in their methods and treatment of prisoners, so I had a rough idea what to expect. I have to admit, however, I initially struggled through the first chapter – it didn’t grab my full attention from off. But I kept reading, and after the first chapter I got into it and from there it flowed naturally for the rest of the novel. The Unseeing follows the stories of Sarah Gale, a woman with a death sentence for the murder/dismemberment of her ex-lover’s new fiancé, and Edmund Fleetwood, appointed…

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

A huge thank you to Francesca Russell, who sent me a beautiful hardback copy of The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish. I waited until my recent holiday to Menorca before tucking into The Swimming Pool, and spent the majority of my time either on the beach or at the hotel swimming pool, devouring each chapter. The main character, Natalie Steele, is an instantly likeable and relatable character. A teacher, wife and mother of a teen daughter, Natalie Steele understands the hardships faced by a middle-class family living in London. Her daughter, Molly, suffers from aquaphobia – an abnormal fear of water – which is so bad that she tenses at even the mention of “lido”. Natalie, ridden with guilt from an incident that happened when Molly was a baby, suffers equally, if not more, with her daughter. Continuing with their autonomous – but not unhappy – way of life, the Steeles’…

The Mountain Can Wait by Sarah Leipciger

The night was still black when Curtis pulled his suburban away from the curb and turned toward the mountain highway, leaving his apartment, his sleeping street behind him. – Opening sentence I requested a copy of The Mountain Can Wait via BookBridgr, and would like to thank Katie for accepting that request and sending me this beautiful book. Set in the Canadian mountains, The Mountain Can Wait revolves around single father Tom Berry, and his son Curtis. Tom Berry is a quiet and practical man, who owns his own forestry businesses and dreams of retiring in a restored barn where his two grown-up children can come and visit. Curtis, who is less like his father and who wears his heart on his sleeve, just wants to run and hide from the thing that he’s done. But can he run from this? And even if he can, can he run from his…

Navigate