All posts filed under: Books

Book Review – ‘The Birdman’s Wife’

Title: The Birdman’s Wife Author: Melissa Ashley Genre: Fiction (historical) Release Date: 1st October, 2016 Rating: ★★★★★ “Artist Elizabeth Gould spent her life capturing the sublime beauty of birds the world had never seen before. But her legacy was eclipsed by the fame of her husband, John Gould. The Birdman’s Wife at last gives voice to a passionate and adventurous spirit who was so much more than the woman behind the man. Elizabeth was a woman ahead of her time, juggling the demands of her artistic life with her roles as wife, lover, helpmate, and mother to an ever-growing brood of children. In a golden age of discovery, her artistry breathed wondrous life into countless exotic new species, including Charles Darwin’s Galapagos finches. In The Birdman’s Wife a naïve young girl who falls in love with an ambitious genius comes into her own as a woman, an artist and a bold adventurer who defies convention by embarking on a trailblazing expedition to the colonies to discover Australia’s ‘curious’ birdlife.” (Simon & Schuster) So I need to …

Teaser Tuesday // ‘The Pigeon Tunnel’

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Jen at Books and A Beat. Anyone can play along! All you have to do is grab the book you’re currently reading, open to a random page and share two sentences from that page. But make sure you don’t share any spoilers! This is my most anticipated book of 2016. I have literally been waiting nearly a whole year for it and I even waited a bit longer for my local bookstore to order in a hardcover for me, because I wanted it to be extra special (nothing says “extra special” like a hardcover). It arrived last week and I actually nearly maybe started crying on page 2 because I was so excited to be finally reading it and what I was reading was just everything I had hoped for. Anyway, I’ll try and save some gushing for my review (which I’ll tell you now is going to be less review than gushiness) and share a couple of sentences from page 2. I know I’m meant to …

Six Degrees of Separation // Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Six Degrees of Separation is hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. It goes like this: “On the first Saturday of every month, a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. Readers and bloggers are invited to join in by creating their own ‘chain’ leading from the selected book.” Then you head on over to Kate’s blog and link up. Easy. This month’s chain [which accidentally turned out to be one filled with unread books and similar titles] starts with Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I’ve had a digital edition of this book sitting on my iPad for approximately forever and I’m yet to read it. Another book that I’ve had sitting around forever and haven’t read (one of many), is The Railway Man’s Wife by Ashley Hay. I have the suspicion that I purchased this book thinking that it was actually The Railway Man by Eric Lomax; that’ll teach me to not pay attention when going on a …

Book Review – ‘We Eat Our Own’

Title: We Eat Our Own Author: Kea Wilson Genre: Fiction (literary with a smidge of horror) Release date: 6th September, 2016 Rating: ★★★½ “When a nameless, struggling actor in 1970s New York gets the call that an enigmatic director wants him for an art film set in the Amazon, he doesn’t hesitate: he flies to South America, no questions asked. He quickly realizes he’s made a mistake. He’s replacing another actor who quit after seeing the script—a script the director now claims doesn’t exist. The movie is over budget. The production team seems headed for a breakdown. The air is so wet that the celluloid film disintegrates. But what the actor doesn’t realize is that the greatest threat might be the town itself, and the mysterious shadow economy that powers this remote jungle outpost. Entrepreneurial Americans, international drug traffickers, and M-19 guerillas are all fighting for South America’s future—and the groups aren’t as distinct as you might think. The actor thought this would be a role that would change his life. Now he’s worried if he’ll …

The round up // September 2016

IT’S OCTOBER. That’s all I’ll say about how fast the year is going. September was kind of a blur. I spent the first two weeks of the month on leave and I think not paying attention to the date for those two weeks made the month go by that much quicker. But it was still a reasonably productive month. I got the internet situation sorted in my new house, had some furniture delivered, got my little garden sorted, caught up on a bunch of NetGalley reviews, and just generally had a nice time. Some reading things from September: I had an ok reading month. My favourite read was definitely Heather Rose’s debut novel The Museum of Modern Love (my review). I read the first two books of my Bookabuy subscription (last month’s book and this month’s). The first, In the Month of the Midnight Sun, had loads of promise but it didn’t really deliver (my review). The second was a new thriller by Claire Douglas called Local Girl Missing and IT WAS SO GOOD. I …

Book Review – ‘Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of a Woman’

Title: Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of a Woman Author: Stefan Zweig (translated by Anthea Bell) Genre: Literary Fiction Release Date: 4th February, 2016 Rating: ★★★★ “‘The less I felt in myself, the more strongly I was drawn to those places where the whirligig of life spins most rapidly.’ So begins an extraordinary day in the life of Mrs C – recently bereaved and searching for excitement and meaning. Drawn to the bright lights of a casino, and the passion of a desperate stranger, she discovers a purpose once again but at what cost? In this vivid and moving tale of a compassionate woman, and her defining experience, Zweig explores the power of intense love, overwhelming loneliness and regret that can last for a lifetime.” (Pushkin Press) I’m starting to get to the point with Stefan Zweig that any comments I make about his work should be preceded by a disclaimer that goes something along the lines of, “In my eyes, he can do no wrong.” So if you read any further, you should keep in my …

Book Review – ‘In the Month of the Midnight Sun’

Title: In the Month of the Midnight Sun Author: Cecilia Ekbäck Genre: Fiction (historical) Release date: 14th June, 2016 Rating: ★★½  “Stockholm 1856. Magnus is a geologist. When the Minister sends him to survey the distant but strategically vital Lapland region around Blackåsen Mountain, it is a perfect cover for another mission: Magnus must investigate why one of the nomadic Sami people, native to the region, has apparently slaughtered in cold blood a priest, a law officer and a settler in their rectory. Is there some bigger threat afoot? Blackåsen seems to be a place of many secrets. But the Minister has more than a professional tie to Magnus, and at the last moment, he adds another responsibility. Disgusted by the wayward behaviour of his daughter Lovisa – Magnus’s sister-in law – the Minister demands that Magnus take her with him on his arduous journey.” (Hodder & Stoughton) I had a strange time reading this book. On the one hand I appreciated the themes thread through it: women having little choice in their lives; the destruction of native culture; …

Book Review – ‘The Museum of Modern Love’

Title: The Museum of Modern Love Author: Heather Rose Genre: Fiction (literary) Release date: 1st September, 2016 Rating: ★★★★★ “Arky Levin is a film composer in New York separated from his wife, who has asked him to keep one devastating promise. One day he finds his way to The Atrium at MOMA and sees Marina Abramovic in The Artist is Present. The performance continues for seventy-five days and, as it unfolds, so does Arky. As he watches and meets other people drawn to the exhibit, he slowly starts to understand what might be missing in his life and what he must do. This dazzlingly original novel asks beguiling questions about the nature of art, life and love and finds a way to answer them.” (Allen & Unwin) Approximately 15 pages into The Museum of Modern Love, I decided that it was a contender for my favourite new release of the year. Two pages later I became concerned that if I kept on reading that it would take a turn for the worse and I’d end up hating it; I contemplated putting it …

Teaser Tuesday // In the Month of the Midnight Sun

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Jen at Books and A Beat. Anyone can play along! All you have to do is grab the book you’re currently reading, open to a random page and share two sentences from that page. But make sure you don’t share any spoilers! I thought I’d jump back into Teaser Tuesday this week with the book I received for the first month of my Bookabuy subscription. I was pretty excited to get this book written by Cecilia Ekbäck as she had another book (Wolf Winter) out a couple of years that piqued my interest, but that I’m yet to read. Thus far I have mixed feelings about In the Month of the Midnight Sun. I like the plot; well, most of it anyway. The writing is really bothering me though. I won’t go into detail – I’ll save that for if I do a review – but I have a few problems, namely the different narrative voices (or lack thereof) and the use of loads of short sentences. Anyway, it’s good …

Six Degrees of Separation // ‘Flowers in the Attic’

Six Degrees of Separation is hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. It goes like this: “On the first Saturday of every month, a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. Readers and bloggers are invited to join in by creating their own ‘chain’ leading from the selected book.” Then you head on over to Kate’s blog and link up. Easy. This is my very first Six Degrees of Separation and it was so much fun to do. I would encourage everyone to join in – you might even learn some weird bookish facts on the way. And there’s very little in the way of rules, which is lucky for me because I think my links are the loosest ones in the history of any chains and are tenuous at best. Oh well. The starting point for this month’s chain, is Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews. Published in 1979, I haven’t read this book, but I have read the most …