Archive of: Book reviews

The Making of Mollie

The Making of Mollie

Anna Carey

An interesting historical tale for 11-14 year olds about the suffragette movement in Ireland in 1912. Nicely written but I didn't like the letter format.


The Ghosts of Magnificent Children

The Ghosts of Magnificent Children

Caroline Busher

A ghost story for 10–14 year olds. Imaginative and creepy in places, but don't believe the puff quotes (by which I mean: I don't wholly agree with the puff quotes).


Vinny's Wilderness

Vinny's Wilderness

Janet Shepperson

This is a quick and readable tale somewhat lacking in detail and well-rounded characters. It is about a single mother working hard for her daughter, and about the boy she tutors and his mother. It is about friendship and trust, the haves and the havenots. With a backdrop of an overgrown garden, I liked this book but I didn’t love it as I wanted to.


Aloysius Tempo

Aloysius Tempo

Jason Johnson

Aloysius Tempo is a freelance hit-man, arranging 'accidents' that can't be traced to him or to the people who hire him. This is a rollicking good book with lots of surprises. It is very well crafted and written and I hope there is more of Aloysius in the future ... although you can't be too sure of that from the ending.


Plain Jane: When does being stuck become ... unstuck?

Plain Jane: When does being stuck become ... unstuck?

Kim Hood

Kim Hood’s second book is even better than her first. It is realistic, with believable characters with whom the reader can empathise. It deals sensitively with mental and physical illness and explores relationships of many kinds. Sixteen-year-old Jane is a great character whose point of view we see throughout the book. It is superbly conceived and written, and although sold as YA is a book that any age from 13 upwards could enjoy.


The Easter Rising 1916: Molly’s Diary

The Easter Rising 1916: Molly’s Diary

Patricia Murphy

Molly’s Diary looks at the Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916 from a twelve-year-old girl’s point of view. There are parts I love and parts I am not so keen on, so a mixed review from me. But I would recommend it for 10-14 year olds, particularly those who live in Ireland or generally enjoy history.


A book so utterly shite I am not even going to tell you what it is

A book so utterly shite I am not even going to tell you what it is

Yes, it's self-published. Yes, my policy is to review books whether they deserve one star or five stars or anything in between. No, on this occasion I really can't.


Breakfast at Cannibal Joe's

Breakfast at Cannibal Joe's

Jay Spencer Green

Bonkers. Weird. Surreal. Satirical. Politically incorrect. Clever. Absurd. Witty. Disgusting. There you have it! Recommended.


To Fight Alongside Friends - The First World War Diaries of Charlie May

To Fight Alongside Friends - The First World War Diaries of Charlie May

Gerry Harrison (Ed.)

These are Captain Charlie May's First World War diaries and a love letter to his wife Maude and baby Pauline. They are eloquently written, and informative, sad, funny and loving. They show a very human side of a dreadful war. Charlie May was killed on the first morning of the Battle of Somme and these diaries, kept in secret, were delivered to his wife by a comrade. They have been superbly edited by his great-nephew, Gerry Harrison. Highly recommended.


The Book of the Poppy

The Book of the Poppy

Chris McNab

This short book is packed with easy-to-read but hard-to-stomach statistics of casualties of war over the last hundred years. It gives a quite fascinating history of the Remembrance Poppy movement. There are many stark and memorable graphics, newspaper extracts and poems. Well worth reading.


Daughters of the Lake

Daughters of the Lake

Jane Riddell

A novel about contemporary relationships. Four siblings gather at their mother's request for the fortieth anniversary of the family hotel next to a lake in Brunnen, Switzerland. There is plenty of family tensions and each of the characters has a secret. Although there is plenty of drama, this is a fairly gentle and largely satisfying read, even if sometimes you will want to give some of the characters a good talking-to.


Eggshells

Eggshells

Caitriona Lally

This book is SO going to divide reviewers. I loved it – in fact, in July, it is one of my top books for 2015. It is a stream of consciousness from a lonely, quirky, intelligent woman, who is perhaps not wired up quite like most of us; she is a wonderful character. Superb writing and a fabulous book.


Hot Property

Hot Property

Susanne O'Leary

This is a light romance set on the coast of County Kerry in Ireland. It is an escapist read, but has missed opportunities for giving it more substance.


A Bed of Barley Straw

A Bed of Barley Straw

Sam Russell

This is a light, romantic read, which lovers of the genre, particularly those who are also animal and country lovers, will enjoy. But I felt it needed a bit more structure and a clear view on who the intended audience is.


A Cage of Roots

A Cage of Roots

Matt Griffin

This is a dark and scary book for children aged ten plus. Children love it, judging by their reviews, and I love it too. It is set in Ireland and will appeal to readers anywhere. It is about love, loyalty, friendship and facing your demons (but is not in the least preachy). The writing is superb. I heartily recommend it.


Cliona's Wave

Cliona's Wave

Donal Minihane

The book brings together aspects of Ireland’s folklore, history, religion, social mores, prejudices, and the Church’s stronghold. It is about family ties, weaknesses and strengths. Above all it is about how lives change when other people take control. I was fascinated by the shocking historical aspects, but I enjoyed less the some of the characterisation.


Clay

Clay

Melissa Harrison

This is a book to be read slowly and every sentence savoured. Three lonely people live in an uncaring city, their lives coming together occasionally because of their love for the little park they live around. This is a book about nature and how we interact with it, or not; how even in the city the natural world continues its cycle, largely unnoticed by those who live next to it. It is a book about violence and suspicion, families and community. I loved it.


Disclaimer

Disclaimer

Renée Knight

Catherine finds in her house a novel which is apparently based on events that happened to her twenty years previously, and the disclaimer, “Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental” crossed through by hand in red ink. This is a suspenseful novel with a slow reveal of the characters' emotions and motivations. I enjoyed it.


Dance With the Enemy

Dance With the Enemy

Rob Sinclair

This is a well-written and fast-moving thriller. I liked it as an introduction to Carl Logan and look forward to reading further instalments. It would benefit from a small amount of polishing and tightening of the story, but hints of a long writing career for Rob Sinclair.


Gaia's Brood

Gaia's Brood

Nick Travers

Steampunk dystopian adventure with a strong female lead. Fast-paced and exciting. Shame about the lack of editing, though.


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