5 Stars Reviews

Review: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Marie-Laure is twelve years old when the Germans occupy Paris, forcing her and her father to flee to the home of her great-uncle Etienne on the coast. Marie-Laure has been blind since she was six, so her father quickly sets to learning the town and building Marie-Laure a miniature replica so that she can find her way around – not that he allows her to leave the house, for fear of her safety. But her father is hiding a secret, and a valuable one at that. Over in Germany, the young orphan Werner is building and repairing radios and catches the attention of the military. He’s immediately enlisted and begins on a path that eventually collides with that of Marie-Laure, and changes their lives forever.

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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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5 Stars Reviews

Review: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman

La Belle Sauvage is the first book in Philip Pullman’s second trilogy to take place in the world of His Dark Materials. Pullman describes the trilogy, named The Book of Dust, as an “equel” rather than a prequel or a sequel to the events of His Dark Materials. La Belle Sauvage takes place prior to the events of the first trilogy and follows a young innkeeper’s son, Malcolm Polstead, as he tries to protect baby Lyra from the forces that seek to do her harm. This is the story of how little Lyra ended up in the care of the scholars of Jordan College.

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4 Stars Reviews

Review: Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West

Lindy West grew up as a big girl in a world that tells women they should be small. She grew up with opinions in a world where women should be quiet. The subtitle of this book suggests a collection of essays, but it is really more of a memoir that is both humorous and heart-wrenching. From internet trolls to abortion clinics, Shrill takes you through the experiences that made Lindy West loud, and unapologetically so.

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4 Stars Reviews

Review: Happy Fat by Sofie Hagen

Sofie Hagen is a comedian, writer, and podcaster who wants to reclaim the word ‘fat’. Her debut book is part memoir, part social commentary on how society seeks to make us smaller. Drawing on her own experiences as a child and as an adult, and on the experiences of other fat activists and educators, Sofie builds an empowering book full of comical and sometimes moving anecdotes which show the reader that it is okay to be both happy and fat.

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4 Stars Reviews

Review: Last of the Magpies by Mark Edwards

The electrifying conclusion to the three-part thriller series The Magpies, Last of the Magpies puts to bed the furious game of cat and mouse that psychopath Lucy has been playing with Jamie and Kirsty for years. After Lucy’s last-minute escape, Jamie teams up with true crime podcast host Emma in a bid to flush out his tormentor and end her reign of terror over both his and Kirsty’s lives, once and for all.

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4 Stars Reviews

Review: Everything Under by Daisy Johnson

Gretel hasn’t seen her mother in sixteen years. Growing up on a boat on the Oxfordshire canals, Gretel and her mother created a world of their own, with words of their own, and a creature they called the Bonak that haunts the dark currents of the river. Now Gretel is grown, a lexicographer who tries to make sense of the words of the real world whilst not being able to make sense of her own past. Too many questions are left unanswered, and she hunts hospitals and morgues searching for her mother and for answers that only her mother can give her. When the two are reunited, Gretel begins to trawl through fragmented memories and asks, what happened to Marcus? What happened to the boy that lived with us that winter?

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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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5 Stars Reviews

Review: Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras

Living alongside the violence of Pablo Escobar’s Colombia are two young girls whose lives collide in ways that neither of them will ever forget. Seven-year-old Chula Santiago lives in a gated community in Bogotá with her sister and parents, though her father’s work often takes him out of the city. She grows up in a ‘kingdom of women’, but her kingdom is haunted by stories of the car bombs and kidnappings that go on outside the walls of her community. Petrona is a teenage girl from an invasión, an impoverished area in the hills of the city, who comes to work as a maid for the Santiagos. Chula is fascinated by Petrona’s silence and as the two grow closer, Chula herself adopts this silence, keeping Petrona’s secrets as though her life depends on it. Petrona desperately tries to steer her younger siblings away from trouble, but she soon falls for a young man who sees her wealthy employers as the perfect target.

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4 Stars Reviews

Review: The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

A short story that has become a staple of feminist literature, The Yellow Wallpaper consists of journal entries by a young woman who slowly descends into madness. The narrator is taken to a colonial mansion by her physician husband in an attempt to cure her ‘nervous depression’ through rest and relaxation. Sternly advised not to write or take up any pastime, the narrator takes to examining the garish yellow wallpaper in the room she’s staying in, soon becoming convinced that there is a woman trapped behind the florid patterns.

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