Inés of My Soul – Isabel Allende
Isabel Allende is one of those authors who I’ve been aware of for years, but have never managed to find time to actually pick up any of her books. Now that I’m trying to read both books by women and books by authors from more diverse backgrounds, this seemed the perfect opportunity. I’ll admit I chose this specific book based on the fact it had the lowest list price on the Kindle store, but I definitely made a good choice.
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Déjà Dead – Kathy Reichs
I’m finding it hard to review Déjà Dead objectively. For one thing, as pretty much any review will mention, the novel’s protagonist, Dr Temperance Brennan, is much more recognisable from the context of the TV interpretation Bones, and as the two incarnations share very little common ground, for someone who has come to Kathy Reichs’ book by way of the adaptation, it’s difficult not to compare. The other reason is that apart from Murder on the Orient Express, Déjà Dead is the first straight crime novel I’ve read that wasn’t written by a Swedish or Icelandic author. Given that “Scandi-crime” has almost become its own genre in the last few years with a set of recognisable tropes and clichés, reading a book by an Anglophone author set in the 1990s was quite jarring to me, almost at culture shock levels. So for long time readers of crime fiction, bear with me.
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Labyrinth – Kate Mosse
This book is awful. Plain and simple. For someone who spent nearly a decade working in publishing and who built her reputation on championing female authors, Kate Mosse should be ashamed to have published such a sloppily edited book.
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Looking for Alaska – John Green
The last of John Green’s novels that I’ll read this year (Edinburgh City Libraries don’t stock An Abundance of Katherines or Will Grayson, Will Grayson) is coincidentally his first published work, Looking for Alaska, which yet again fails to live up to The Fault in Our Stars.
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The Spinning Heart – Donal Ryan
Another Booker longlisted novel, The Spinning Heart has been praised for it’s portrayal of “modern”, post-Celtic tiger Ireland. The book is rather innovative , in that each chapter is narrated by a different character. Each new chapter builds upon those it follows to give us not only a strong narrative, but also to paint a compelling picture of a small community.
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The Lost Books of the Odyssey – Zachary Mason
In terms of originality, I think that The Lost Books of the Odyssey is the best example I’ve read so far this year. Obviously, that’s with the caveat that the actual story is about three millennia away from being original. The premise is that the due to the Oral nature of Homer’s epics, the version of the Odyssey that has survived is not necessarily the only version that has survived. This links into a number of ideas I’m particularly fond of, so I was quite excited about the book.
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