Book reviews


And the Birds Kept On Singing

And the Birds Kept On Singing

Simon Bourke

Pregnant at seventeen in 1980s Ireland. Do you keep your baby and be a single mum, or would your boy have a better life if he was adopted by an English couple? This book shows two ways this dilemma could pan out. It is funny, poignant, heart-breaking and insightful. The writing from the points of view of the main characters is outstandingly good.


Enter The Dark

Enter The Dark

Chris Thomas

A gripping thriller involving the dark web. Well plotted and an enjoyable read, but not for the faint-hearted (some quite graphic violence). It could have done with another editing pass, but that doesn't take away from the enjoyment of the story.


The Black Hornet

The Black Hornet

Rob Sinclair

Second in the James Ryker series. Another good read, slightly less fast-paced than book one. Some of the writing is a little cumbersome and would have benefitted from some cutting. The author's strength lies in writing about the settings – the scenes in the prison are particularly vivid.


The Red Cobra

The Red Cobra

Rob Sinclair

First in the James Ryker series. An enjoyable and pacey read for readers of action thrillers. Could do with tightening up the writing a bit, but an easy read.


Red Dirt

Red Dirt

E. M. Reapy

An ‘easy’ but uncomfortable read. This is a tale about three people: how they came together and caused mainly harm to each other and those around them. Wonderfully crafted writing.


They All Fall Down

They All Fall Down

Cat Hogan

An easy but frustrating read. Slow to start with but picks up pace towards the end. Lovely setting on the coast of Ireland. Some interesting characterisation and relationships between the people, but some clunky writing, especially the dialogue.


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.


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