Book Review: Umbilicus by Paula Gruben

Title: Umbilicus Author: Paula Gruben Published: May 2016 Genre: YA/Contemporary Fiction Rating: 8/10 Charlotte van Katwijk guards herself like a secret. Kids are cruel, and…

Book Review: Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

Title: Boy, Snow, Bird Author: Helen Oyeyemi Publisher: Pan Macmillan SA Published: March 2014 Genre: YA/Historical Rating: 6.5/10 In the winter of 1953, Boy Novak arrives…

Book Review: Not Working by Lisa Owens

Title: Not Working Author: Lisa Owens Publisher: Pan Macmillan SA Published: March 2016 Genre: Contemporary Fiction Rating: 8/10 Claire Flannery has just quit her office job,…

Book Review: The Unseen Trilogy by Johnny Worthen

TheUnseenTrilogy

Do you know why I love Johnny Worthen’s books? It’s because they pull you right into the story and then they keep you hostage until you’ve finished the book. It doesn’t matter what book of his you read and what genre they happen to fall into, you’re always right at the center of things. That, my friends, is the mark of a truly great author. Instead of reviewing each book individually (as I did with Eleanor), I decided to rather write a bit of a mini essay on why I love the trilogy in a whole. It’s a bit different to…

Book Review: Umbilicus by Paula Gruben

Umbilicus

Title: Umbilicus Author: Paula Gruben Published: May 2016 Genre: YA/Contemporary Fiction Rating: 8/10 Charlotte van Katwijk guards herself like a secret. Kids are cruel, and she knows if they find out she’s adopted, she’ll be a bully’s easy target. When they are fourteen, Charlotte’s best friend’s mom commits suicide. It triggers in Charlotte a sense of urgency to find her birth mother before it’s too late, and the answers to her burning questions are taken to the grave. Seven years later, a tormented Charlotte comes face to face with her past. Will discovering more about her biological parents, and the circumstances surrounding her relinquishment, be…

Book Review: A Different Kind of Daughter by Maria Toorpakai

A Different Kind of Daughter

Title: A Different Kind of Daughter Author: Maria Toorpakai Publisher: Pan Macmillan SA Published: February 2016 Genre: Memoir Rating: 8.5/10 Maria Toorpakai hails from Pakistan’s violently oppressive northwest tribal region, where the idea of women playing sports is considered haram-un-Islamic-forbidden-and girls rarely leave their homes. But she did, passing as a boy in order to play the sports she loved, thus becoming a lightning rod of freedom in her country’s fierce battle over women’s rights. A DIFFERENT KIND OF DAUGHTER tell of Maria’s harrowing journey to play the sport she knew was her destiny, first living as a boy and roaming the violent back alleys of the…

Book Review: Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

Boy, Snow, Bird

Title: Boy, Snow, Bird Author: Helen Oyeyemi Publisher: Pan Macmillan SA Published: March 2014 Genre: YA/Historical Rating: 6.5/10 In the winter of 1953, Boy Novak arrives by chance in a small town in Massachusetts, looking, she believes, for beauty—the opposite of the life she’s left behind in New York. She marries a local widower and becomes stepmother to his winsome daughter, Snow Whitman. A wicked stepmother is a creature Boy never imagined she’d become, but elements of the familiar tale of aesthetic obsession begin to play themselves out when the birth of Boy’s daughter, Bird, who is dark-skinned, exposes the Whitmans as light-skinned African Americans passing…

Book Review: Not Working by Lisa Owens

Not Working

Title: Not Working Author: Lisa Owens Publisher: Pan Macmillan SA Published: March 2016 Genre: Contemporary Fiction Rating: 8/10 Claire Flannery has just quit her office job, hoping to take some time to discover her real passion. The problem is, she’s not exactly sure how to go about finding it. Without the distractions of a regular routine, Claire confronts the best and worst parts of herself: the generous, attentive part that visits her grandmother for tea and cooks special meals for her boyfriend, Luke, and the part that she feels will never measure up and makes regrettable comments after too many glasses of wine. What emerges is…

Book Review: Frozen Tides by Morgan Rhodes

Frozen Tides

Title: Frozen Tides (Falling Kingdoms #4) Author: Morgan Rhodes Publisher: Razorbill Books Published: December 2015 Genre: YA/Fantasy Rating: 6/10 Rebels, royals, and monsters wage war over the Mytican throne in the shocking fourth book of the Falling Kingdoms series, from New York Times bestselling author Morgan Rhodes. CLEO: Reeling after a bloody showdown in Limeros ending with Amara’s abduction of the water crystal, and a vacancy in the Mytican throne, Princess Cleo must cast aside her feelings and look toward her kingdom with the eyes of a Queen. MAGNUS: With the kingdom in chaos, Princess Lucia still missing and quite possibly in danger, and a shocking…

Book Review: Marriages are Made in Bond Street: True Stories from a 1940s Marriage Bureau by Penrose Halson

Marriages

Title: Marriages are Made in Bond Street: True Stories from a 1940s Marriage Bureau Author: Penrose Halson Publisher: Pan Macmillan SA Published: March 2016 Genre: Non-Fiction Rating: 9/10 In the spring of 1939, with the Second World War looming, two determined twenty-four-year-olds, Heather Jenner and Mary Oliver, decided to open a marriage bureau. They found a tiny office on London’s Bond Street and set about the delicate business of match-making. Drawing on the bureau’s extensive archives, Penrose Halson – who many years later found herself the proprietor of the bureau – tells their story, and those of their clients. We meet a remarkable cross-section of British…

Book Review: The Other Mrs Walker by Mary Paulson-Elis

The Other Mrs. Walker

Title: The Other Mrs Walker Author: Mary Paulson-Elis Publisher: Pan Macmillan SA Published: March 2016 Genre: Mystery Rating: 9/10 Somehow she’d always known that she would end like this. In a small square room, in a small square flat. In a small square box, perhaps. Cardboard, with a sticker on the outside. And a name . . . In a freezing, desolate Edinburgh flat an old woman takes her last breath surrounded by the few objects she has accrued over a lifetime: an emerald dress, a brazil nut engraved with the ten commandments – and six orange pips sucked dry. Meanwhile, guided by the flip of a…

Book Review: The Constant Queen by Joanna Courtney

The Constant Queen

Title: The Constant Queen Author: Joanna Courtney Publisher: Pan Macmillan SA Published: April 2016 Genre: Historical Fiction Rating: 8.5/10 ‘You need not take England without me, Hari, because I will be your constant queen – there with you; there for you.’ Elizaveta is princess of Kiev, but that doesn’t stop her chasing adventure. Defying conventions, she rides the rapids of the Dneiper alongside her royal brothers and longs to rule in her own right as a queen. Elizaveta meets her match when the fearsome Viking warrior Harald Hardrada arrives at her father’s court seeking fame and fortune. He entrusts Elizaveta to be his treasure keeper, holding…

Book Review: Nick and Abe by Lex H. Jones

Nick and Abe

Title: Nick and Abe Author: Lex H. Jones Publisher: Whiteley Publishing Published: January 2016 Genre: Slice of Life Rating: 7.5/10 Every once in a while, God and Lucifer visit the earth and make a wager. Now it’s time for the next one; the most daring yet, and quite possibly the last. “This venture to live as men for a full year had been such a hilarious idea to start with. Prove Abe wrong… again… then head back to their respective domains and gloat about it forever. Only it hadn’t worked out that way. Things were different now. Having omniscient sight removed from him actually made Nick…