Books

Review: Animal by Lisa Taddeo Rating 92%

Review: Animal by Lisa Taddeo

With Lisa Taddeo’s debut novel we meet Joan. Once you meet Joan, it’s difficult to un-meet Joan. In fact, despite being half-way through another novel, as soon as I picked up Animal the other novel got shoved aside. Taddeo’s character is beguiling, unflinching and through Alice, you are keen to find out more.

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Review: Growing Pains by Alison McLennan and Melissa Johns Rating 90%

Review: Growing Pains by Alison McLennan and Melissa Johns

Growing Pains, by Alison McLennan and Melissa Johns, has fun illustrations reflective of a scrapbook which lends warmth to an already sweet story. This wonderful representation of a child’s mind follows Finn as he shows empathy and kindness towards a newly planted tree. With the freedom of his imagination, he cares for the tree as he would a friend. Through his questioning and kindness, he teaches himself to be brave. Finns’ ragdoll-like appearance fits in perfectly with the books patchwork style illustrations which evoke whimsical and wholesome feelings.

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Review: Where the Heart is by Irma Gold and Susannah Crispe Rating 100%

Review: Where the Heart is by Irma Gold and Susannah Crispe

Mr. Joao Pereira de Souza is a 71-year-old retired brick layer who lives on a small island off the coast of Rio de Janeiro called Ilha Grande. In 2011 he came across a Magellanic penguin who had become paralyzed from an oil spill. After Dindim, the penguin, was healed he left Ilha Grande only to return every year in June and spend eight months with his friend Joao.

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Review: Fifty Sounds by Polly Barton Rating 72%

Review: Fifty Sounds by Polly Barton

Polly Barton, so widely known for being a translator (the recent There’s No Such Thing As An Easy Job and Spring Garden come to mind) has a clear connection to Japan as is hinted with this essay book published by Fitzcarraldo Editions. Fifty Sounds is a title that treats each Japanese sound as a chapter marrying it up to real lived experiences as well as illustrative examples, highlighting nuances and quirks in Japanese culture and language that is certainly new information for me.

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Review: Milk Fed by Melissa Broder Rating 67%

Review: Milk Fed by Melissa Broder

Melissa Broder, the acclaimed author of The Pisces and So Sad Today, has given us an erotic and indulgent novel about food, sex, and god, with Milk Fed. With themes of sexuality, family and eating disorders there is much to contend with in quite clearly a contemporary setting, and Broder does it wilfully.

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Review: Blue in Chicago by Bette Howland

Blue in Chicago is my first dive into the work of Bette Howland as tragically this is the only work of hers available in the UK, with recent noise of W-3 soon to be published. This book pulls together the bittersweet short stories of this remarkable American writer, often regarded nomadic and retreating. Hailed as a major talent before all but disappearing from public view, this tenderly compiled collection restores her interesting voice to our shelves.

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Review: Paul by Daisy LaFarge Rating 85%

Review: Paul by Daisy LaFarge

From an award-winning poet, Daisy LaFarge comes a hypnotic debut novel about a young woman falling under the spell of an older man. Paul, inevitably the focus of the novel, is not only concealing his hidden past but openly uses Frances’ willingness to please as the foundation of their relationship. A formidable and heady novel, Paul has the potential to be triggering and emotive, but surely this is the basis of a great novel.

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Review: Funny Weather by Olivia Laing Rating 81%

Review: Funny Weather by Olivia Laing

Whether it’s a novel or one of her more long-form essay style titles, I am always beguiled by the work of Olivia Laing, a writer with astute observation and an exploratory approach, which entices me to purchase and read her work. Funny Weather is the book I am referring to here, one of her essay form titles, the one that came out pre Every Body but post Crudo. A title with a strong admiration and reference towards the work of Derek Jarman along with many others, Funny Weather is a wonderful consideration of art during turbulent times.

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Review: This is Not a Book by Kellie Byrnes and Aska Rating 81%

Review: This is Not a Book by Kellie Byrnes and Aska

Most of you do not know me so you wouldn’t be aware of the fact that I work as a children’s bookseller, and this means that I have the pleasure to read a lot of picture books every day. And let me tell you there aren’t that many picture books out there that challenge our reading preconception by throwing in a lot of metafiction in as funny and engaging a way as This is Not a Book by Kellie Byrnes and Aska.

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Review: Circus of Wonders by Elizabeth MacNeal Rating 76%

Review: Circus of Wonders by Elizabeth MacNeal

When we initially think of the circus it’s all too easy to think of the spectacle and bright lights for it is a show after all. And when I first stumbled across the book Circus of Wonders by Elizabeth MacNeal it was too easy to glimpse at it and get excited about the escape and potential magical realism that exists within the pages. However, it is something far more than this.

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Review: Twitch by M. G. Leonard Rating 95%

Review: Twitch by M. G. Leonard

“In order to see birds, it is necessary to become a part of the silence.” Said Robert Lynd and silence is what Twitch has learnt is, indeed, in the core of birdwatching. Silence and patience to wait, observe and become one with your surroundings. It is always a joy when you find a great children’s book and M.G.Leonard’s latest novel Twitch will certainly bring a lot of joy to many a reader out there, including this reviewer.

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