Month: April 2019

The Fragments by Toni Jordan

The Fragments

The Fragments by Toni Jordan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a gem of a book. Right up with my faves of the year. It is a literary mystery and I’m always up for one of those.

Inga Karlsen was a beloved author, she and her publisher and every copy of her second book were killed and destroyed in a warehouse fire in 1938. This was a tragedy, the country and the world mourned because her first novel, All Has An End has become one of the most read books of all time. The world had such high hopes for her second novel, The Days, The Minutes and now nothing remains except for some fragments of pages, which have become a travelling exhibition, visiting art galleries worldwide. People queue to see these fragments, scholars study Inga and her life she is beloved still, even in death.

We also have Caddy, a young woman in Brisbane in 1986, who loves All Has An End, she has studied it and it has become part of the fabric of her life. She is standing waiting to enter the exhibition of The Fragments when she strikes up a conversation with the woman next to her in the line. This woman quotes lines from the destroyed book which doesn’t seem possible, how can she know these lines? Nobody knows them. Caddy is fascinated and begins to investigate. Along the way she meets Jamie, a rare book seller and he and she begin a love affair which I found just so lovely and heart-moving.

I can’t really put my finger on why this book appealed to me so much. Both storylines are glorious. Caddy with her quiet life, her observations of everyone around her, the steel beneath her quiet demeanour. And Rachel, whose life has ended up to be so completely different from where she started or thought it could be. This is a story full of tragedy and sadness but with moments of clear light and hope. It is written with a light touch about big feelings. I wanted it to go on and on and I want everyone to read it.

Thanks to Text Publishing and to Netgalley for approving me for this gorgeous book.

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The Disasters by M.K. England

The Disasters

The Disasters by M.K. England

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was so looking forward to reading this, the cover for a start is fantastic, the blurb sounded great and I started it immediately it arrived. And off we went on what I thought for the first few chapters was going to be a really exciting, action filled space action thriller. Then everything slowed down, a lot.

This book got bogged down in detail. Looking at the cover you really think that the crash helmet is going to be key, that it will be needed for all the action and that Nax our main character is going to end up with it being very dented. Not so much. Yes there is some action but it is just too spread out.

I did like the way that the characters interacted, great snappy conversations, good tensions between the siblings, but too much talking and not enough doing for my tastes in YA. I would have loved the whole novel to be just a bit tighter.

I also am probably a little bit ruined for space drama having just read Leviathan Wakes which does all this stuff so well. I will probably buy this novel for school because I think there are students who are desperate for space books with action, and to be fair there is action in this, but just not enough to keep me engrossed.

Thanks Netgalley and the publisher for giving me access to this novel.

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The Gifted, the Talented and Me by William Sutcliffe

Oh thank goodness, a YA book that isn’t full of angst and misery! 

This is a kind, good hearted, bouncy treat, our leading man is a little bit troubled by the fact that he has been moved from his old life and friends to a new life in the big city. Sam misses his old life and even his old school, he has been enrolled in a school which is specifically designed to bring out the creative side of it’s students, to cater to the artistic and dramatic side of them. Sam’s siblings are delighted, they are able to fit right in, Sam is alone and isolated, hopelessly in lust with a gorgeous girl who is not remotely interested in him, nobody plays football and he is isolated and lonely. Not to mention his mum who has also decided to unleash her latent creativity. Goodnatured Sam deals with all this, but it isn’t easy. He has to negotiate a lot on the way to his happy ending but the way he gets there is awesome. And along the way of course, Sam is going to find out that he too is as creative as the rest of the family.

I really like William Sutcliffe’s books, they are just the right size, they are engaging, his characters speak to each other like people in the real world would, he is a great writer for teens. Highly recommended for teenagers, just the right amount of bad behaviour and risk taking to be safe for even the most conservative. I really liked this book.

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

Any book which is recommended to people who like Ruth Ware is probably going to be right up my alley, I think this is better than the Ruth Ware novels I’ve read but it does have a similar feel. I loved the concept and I think it was pulled off incredibly well. 

A bunch of people who have been friends since university have a New Year holiday every year, they take turns at organising it and this time it is Emma who has done the job. She has chosen an extremely remote hunting lodge for them to spend New Year in the Scottish highlands. They are a volatile group of people, some get along better than others but a tradition is a tradition and they all turn up for these holidays. It is a classic scenario, remoteness in a lovely wild place, all kinds of disparate people trapped there in a snowstorm, no way in or out, no way to contact the outside world or get help when one of them turns up dead in the middle of the night. It could have been written by a modern day Agatha Christie. Along with the guests you have a young woman, running away from her previous life and a dour man who is riddled with his own secrets. These two run the lodge and the only other person on the scene is a handyman who doesn’t live on site. So, who was killed and why and who did it! 

This book is clever, chapters from various points of view leave you unsettled as secrets are revealed but which look different from other people’s perspectives. Of course, there are secrets between the couples, stories which have never been told and things which are buried deep in the past, the tension is so well played. It is really hard to pick who is going to die and even harder to figure out who committed the crime. Information is metered out cleverly and gradually. 

This book has a great deal to recommend it, the vocabulary is fantastic. I love the short chapters which keep you pushing forward to find out what will come next. This is a fantastic book. Highly recommended to those who like their thrillers full to the brim with tension.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for giving me access to this excellent read. I’ve gone out and bought a copy for our library, I know lots of people will love it.