3 Stars Reviews

Review: Pan’s Labyrinth by Guillermo Del Toro and Cornelia Funke

Inspired by the film of the same name, Guillermo del Toro and Cornelia Funke brings this nightmarish fairytale to book form. In Spain during the summer of 1944, the aftermath of the civil war plays out in the forests, in between the trees and under the cover of darkness. Republican rebels hide out in the woods, hunted by the capitán and his soldiers who make an old mill their base. Ofelia and her mother, who is heavily pregnant and very weak, arrive at the mill to be reunited with Captain Vidal, Ofelia’s new stepfather. Most do not take notice of her, the cruel capitán is irritated by her presence, but under the ground, creatures are stirring – they sense the return of the long-lost Princess Moanna. Ofelia discovers an overgrown labyrinth and meets the Fawn, who sets her three tasks to prove she is the missing Princess. Ofelia’s love of fairytales guides her, but things soon become far more sinister than they ever did in her storybooks.

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3 Stars Reviews

Review: Lost and Wanted by Nell Freudenberger

When leading physics professor Helen Clapp begins receiving texts from her college best friend, Charlie, she starts to doubt everything she thought she knew about science and about life. After all, Charlie’s dead. As Helen becomes more involved in the lives of Charlie’s grieving husband and daughter, she begins to uncover things she had long forgotten, not only about Charlie, but also herself.

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3 Stars Reviews

Review: The Farm by Joanne Ramos

When immigrant Jane is offered a chance to make a life-changing amount of money at Golden Oaks Farm, she hesitantly agrees. After all, she’s not left with many other options. Jane leaves her cramped Queens dorm that she shares with her baby daughter, her super-nanny cousin Ate, and a host of other immigrants, to become a Host. For the next nine months she’ll carry the unborn child of an ultra-rich Client. Every piece of food she consumes, every action she takes, every phone call she makes, will be monitored by the Coordinators, headed up by the ambitious Mae Yu. At first Jane marvels at her surroundings, more luxurious than she’s ever known herself, but fear soon sets in as she begins to fret about her daughter’s well-being and the other Hosts’ suspicions about Golden Oaks become her own.

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3 Stars Reviews

Review: Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta

Ijeoma is coming of age during the Nigerian Civil War, a conflict that devastates her home and her family. Sent away by her mother for her own safety, Ijeoma finds herself embarking on a passionate love affair with another girl. She quickly learns the consequences of expressing this part of her identity and struggles to navigate the violent prejudices of her people.

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3 Stars Reviews

Review: Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is a coming-of-age story that follows a young Northern girl named Jeanette. Adopted and raised in a religious family, Jeanette believes she is destined to become a missionary. As Jeanette reaches her teenage years, she finds herself falling in love with another girl, and her strict Pentecostal church responds with vehemence.

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3 Stars Reviews

Review: The Tyranny of Lost Things by Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

When Harmony drops out of university, she decides to return to her childhood home: a North London commune that’s now a decrepit block of flats. She hopes by moving back she’ll discover the source of her unsettling nightmares. The house has changed a lot, but at the same time so much is the same. It’s still a hotbed of vices, which fuels Harmony’s search for answers, answers that may change everything she thought she knew about her parents and herself.

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3 Stars Reviews

Review: The Silver Road by Stina Jackson

Lelle’s teenager daughter, Lina, went missing three years ago. He still drives the Silver Road, lit by the Swedish Midnight Sun, searching for anything that may help bring Lina back to him. Meja has just moved to Northern Sweden with her volatile mother. She’s no stranger to relocating and never bothers to try to settle down in one place. She’s surprised to find herself so attached to local boy Carl-Johan and his eccentric family. Meja and Lelle’s storylines play out in parallel to each other for most of the book, only to finally collide in the latter half as Lelle is drawn to Meja by her resemblance to his missing daughter.

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3 Stars Reviews

Review: The Glass Woman by Carolina Lea

Rósa is sent to the remote Icelandic village of Stykkishólmur to marry Jón Eiríksson. His villagers distrust him deeply after the mysterious death of his previous wife Anna, and Rósa struggles to settle, isolated from everyone. She soon fears that the circumstances around Anna’s death were far more suspicious than she first expected, and she wonders if she may soon meet the same fate.

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