Archive of: Book reviews

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.


The First Vet: A story of love and corruption inspired by real events

The First Vet: A story of love and corruption inspired by real events

Linda Chamberlain

I love the premise of this historical romance (set in 1794) – (the real) Bracy Clark, one of the first students at the Veterinary College of London, set up his own practice in London and devoted his life to the healing of horses and researching new cures, but was in long-term conflict with the (real) head of the college, Edward Coleman. The romance comes in the form of (the fictional) Christina, sister of Edward. The reality is well depicted, but I wasn't so keen on the romance.


The Bloodless Boy

The Bloodless Boy

Robert J. Lloyd

This fictional story is set in 1678 during the Reformation. I loved it. There are real people from the time side-by-side with fictional characters. You don't need to know the history as it is well explained (quite naturally, as part of the story). It is well researched and well written. I highly recommend it – particularly if you like historical fiction, but even if you normally don't: it can be read just as well as a darn good mystery.


Letting In Light

Letting In Light

Emma Davies

This relationships/romance story couldn’t half do with a spit and polish and redesign. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed it. The tone of the writing is warm and engaging and the storyline not quite what you’ll expect.


Finding A Voice

Finding A Voice

Kim Hood

This is a beautiful and moving story about the friendship between a thirteen-year-old girl who acts as an unofficial carer to her mother, and a fifteen-year-old young man with cerebral palsy who most other people assume is unable to understand what is happening around him. It was short-listed for the Bookseller YA Book Award 2015. It is YA, but those As who are not quite so Y will enjoy it, too.


Avon Street: A Tale of Murder in Victorian Bath

Avon Street: A Tale of Murder in Victorian Bath

Paul Emanuelli

This novel is set in Victorial Bath, but unlike most novels set in this city in this era, the characters range from grubby criminals to those in society, with the working class and the professional class in between. It's a really enjoyable read: well researched, well plotted and tantalising to the last page as what could happen is anybody's guess.


The One Saving Grace

The One Saving Grace

Julie Houston

This is a light and amusing escapism book, which nevertheless touches on some serious subjects. It is about families and friendships and loyalties. It's an enjoyable read.


Goodness, Grace and Me

Goodness, Grace and Me

Julie Houston

This is a light and amusing escapism book, which nevertheless touches on some serious subjects. It is about families and friendships and loyalties.


The Cinderella Reflex

The Cinderella Reflex

Johanna Buchanan

This is a fairly typical contemporary romance. It is written well, so if you devour books in this genre I am sure you will love it.


London Irish Dublin English

London Irish Dublin English

Daniel M Doyle

The story is about Donal’s working life as an IT salesman for the Dublin division of a US parent company in the 1980s. It focuses largely on one pitch to a bank and the people involved in that. There is a lot of detail about how the sales process worked and the various conversations he and his colleague had with the bank. It is a novel, but reads more like a memoir. There is a lot of gentle humour, and much detail on the sales pitch.


Window On the World

Window On the World

Hugh Cornwell

This is Hugh Cornwell's first novel. There are some glaring plot holes, but the story sucked me in against my will. This is a book about obsession.


Irish Farming Life: History and Heritage

Irish Farming Life: History and Heritage

Jonathan Bell and Mervyn Watson

I found this book to be completely absorbing. It is scholarly but eminently readable for anyone interested in rural Ireland and/or farming over the last few hundred years. The authors bring together their research from thirty years of working at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum. They quote and reference work from historians (written and oral), anthropologists, novelists, poets, photographers and artists, and the history encompasses the whole of the island of Ireland (with a few forays into Scotland and England).


Would You Marry A Farmer?

Would You Marry A Farmer?

Lorna Sixsmith

This is a humorous look at the life of a farmer's wife, although there are some serious sections too on the history of farming relationships and the future of them. It will appeal to both women and men, farmers and non-farmers. It can act as a warning or as a catalyst for getting in touch with a matchmaker – you read it and decide!


Me and My Backbone

Me and My Backbone

Siobhán Mungovan with Carol Byrne

It was predicted that Siobhán would never walk, would be brain damaged and would need round-the-clock care. This is Siobhán’s story – from her birth to today, where as an independent twenty-eight-year-old woman she is living in her own house, working in an office and getting around on her own two legs. An easy (in the best meaning of the word) and witty read.


From Here to Nashville

From Here to Nashville

Julie Stock

This is a contemporary romance, but not quite so predictable as some of the genre. I liked it. It is well crafted and an enjoyable read, with believable characters and interesting backdrops.


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