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Books we've read and loved

Defender
Defender

Defender by G X Todd

 

In a desolate and treacherous world, where it’s dangerous to listen to the voice in your head, Pilgrim comes across a young girl selling lemonade by the roadside; the Voice in his head tells him stop. So begins a journey to find family, friendship, hope, and ultimately answers as to why the world has gone mad, and just what are the voices that people are so afraid of? Tense, unsettling, creepy, I couldn’t read this at night! During daylight hours though, I was enthralled by Pilgrim and his quietly composed demeanour. There are some vivid, disturbing scenes that only highlight the sheer menace that seems to linger just out of sight, dogging the main characters, whom I quickly became attached to. I was in turn shocked, disgusted, scared and saddened throughout the book, but did manage a few smiles during much needed lighter moments. This is an impressive debut that takes you on a roller coaster ride. Thumbs up.


Sometimes I Lie
Sometimes I Lie
The Best of Adam Sharp
The Best of Adam Sharp

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

 

I have recommended this to so many people! Sometimes I Lie is a gripping, edge of your seat thriller that had me hooked. With a title like that, you know something isn’t quite right with the narrative, but I didn’t have any idea as to what that was. Told in flashbacks and diary entries, as well as the present day point of view from Amber who is in a coma, the tight plot runs at a pace that makes you turn just one more page. I didn’t see the almighty twist coming which is always good I think! I’m sure I won’t be the only reader who returns to the beginning after the final pages. A really great debut.

 

 

 The Best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion

 

Adam Sharp is gaining on 50 and re-evaluating his life, when his first love Angelina gets back in touch. Since leaving her in Australia many years ago, life has sort of chugged along; partner Claire has become more of an acquaintance in recent years, he has the pub quiz and his piano but something feels off. Is Angelina the key to changing his life? An enjoyable, easy to read story peppered with musical references. This is a far more sober and reflective narrative than The Rosie Project though; Adam is a middle aged man who has never quite fulfilled his potential. I particularly enjoyed the first half of the book, but during the second half as Adam becomes embroiled in Angelina and Charlie’s marriage, I’ll admit to finding some scenes uncomfortable and I found myself not really liking Adam or Angelina. That being said, this is a believable portrait of a middle aged life and the regrets that come with looking back.

 

The Wild Air
The Wild Air
The Nowhere Man
The Nowhere Man

The Wild Air by Rebecca Mascull

 

The dawn of aviation and Della’s Aunty Betty has returned from America to live in Cleethorpes. Having witnessed the Wright brothers testing their aeroplanes at Kitty Hawk, she infuses Della with her passion for this new invention. With great support and encouragement from her aunt and at the same time, overcoming dreadful prejudice from pilots and mechanics alike, Della does learn to fly. However, her career as a pilot is interrupted by World War I where is forced to be a bystander while less qualified male pilots take part in the aerial war effort. With Della, we experience the euphoria of her first flight, her determination to succeed in a male-dominated world, her helplessness in the face of war, heartbreak at loss and ultimately, great courage. Satisfyingly good historical fiction!

 

The Nowhere Man by Gregg Hurwitz

 

There’s certainly no lack of action in The Nowhere Man, Hurwitz’s second book featuring Evan Smoak. Evan, The Nowhere Man, is a bit of a cross between Jack Reacher and James Bond: a talented and seemingly indestructible survivor of a secret government program, he now attempts to atone for his past by rescuing those in dire need of help. It’s a fast paced thriller of a book but I must admit that by the end my disbelief wasn’t just suspended - it had left the room, run out the door, down the street, across the road, reached an airport, taken off in a helicopter and eventually landed on the moon via a rocket. Highly entertaining.

 

 

See What I Have Done
See What I Have Done
Stasi Wolf
Stasi Wolf

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

Sarah Schmidt tells the story of Lizzie Borden, accused of brutally murdering her father and stepmother with an axe. The story is told from the points of view of Lizzie, her sister, Emma, their housemaid, Bridget and Ben, hired by Lizzie’s uncle “to have a talk with” Mr Borden. Their stories reveal a claustrophobic, unhappy and oppressive household and Lizzie, herself, as a deeply disturbed young woman. Beautifully descriptive, Sarah Schmidt brings the Massachusetts town of Fall River to life in sights, sounds and smells.

 

Stasi Wolf by David Young

 

I love the setting and the atmosphere in this series! It’s East Germany, 1975. Karin Müller, sidelined from the murder squad in Berlin, jumps at the chance to be sent south to Halle-Neustadt, where a pair of infant twins have gone missing. Halle-Neustadt is the pride of the Communist state and so the authorities refuse to allow any publicity of the disappearances – which makes Karin’s job difficult. 1970s East Germany is very well portrayed and the main characters, especially Karin, are sympathetic and satisfactorily multi-dimensional. The ending to Stasi Wolf, though, was a bit too melodramatic for my taste. Very enjoyable read, though, and I’ll be back for more.

 

 







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