Sunshine Coast Locals provide June’s Book reviews July 14, 2016 – Posted in: Blog, Books, Review – Tags: reviews
June’s Book review group is based on Sunshine Coast Locals providing us insight into teen action, glorious and sometimes difficult fiction, some heart felt action and memoirs with a twist
Fiction: How to Find Love in a Book Shop By Veronica Henry
Publication date: 14 Jun 2016
Review – Set in the beautiful Cotswold’s region in England. Owner of Nightingale books, inherited from her father. Beautifully written book with many stories filled with passion. A very good read, that I’d read again.
Father, was a big reader and loved books so he setup a bookshop. He was every bodies friend. Each person had a story that he took on board and offer books to help them. His daughter takes on the bookshop after his death, because he would have loved her too. She ended up making so many friends through the bookshop and helped so many people. Each story surrounding the bookshop had twists and turns but has lovely outcomes. It reminded me of Little Paris Bookshop but different. Would love to read more of her books after reading this book.
Non Fiction: Heartlines: The Year I Met My Other Mother by Susannah McFarlane and Robin Leuba
Publication date: 2 May 2016
Susannah McFarlane is an Australian well known children’s author and Robin Leuba is her mother. It was 1965, Robin was convinced to give up Susannah after falling pregnant early on in life. When Robin was 50, she decided to contact Susannah, but it wasn’t until Susannah was 50 that she decided to get back in contact with her mother. This is the story of them sharing their relationship, and the extended family provides enriching relationships. The meeting of mother and daughter is a roller coaster at times. Robin is deeply religious and Susannah is a creative, with different personalities, by they come to appreciate each other time. I had trouble starting the book off as the email and text style communication that began their relationship was a little difficult to read. But when they actually meet, the story gripes you as the style of writing improves with emotion and heart warming connection.
Teens: The Other Side of Summer by Emily Gale
Publication date: 30 May 2016
Summer is a young girl with a sister wren, who has a mental disorder. She had a brother Floyd who gets killed in a bombing in the UK. He had a guitar that he loved and he maintains contact with Summer through her mind. The father and Summer move to Melbourne but she is a bit of a recluse. Her mother stayed in England with her Mother. It is all about Emily’s life and a friend that that is introduced during the story. There is a so much happening in the story, and the effect of the storylines keep you guessing all the way through the story. If a 16-year-old girl was really into reading, she’d really like this book. Highly recommend for teens, 14 or above, and should be made into a chick flick. Emily Gale had a bit of a displaced upbringing herself so the subject matter is explained well.
Crime: Redemption Road by John Hart
After 5years, this thrilling crime novel is the 5th book by John hart, a well known and respected crime novelist. This book is a gritty, dark thriller which will definitely have you unable to stop turning the pages, with its interwoven stories and intricately clever plot. Set in a small town in north Carolina, the story comprises many interesting and varied characters, with the main 3 being:
- A 14 year old boy, Gideon with a gun and a burning desire to kill the man who killed his mother.
- Elizabeth Black, a troublued young detective with dark secrets in her past, now on suspension after a brutal shooting in which she is involved.
- Adrian Wall, a good police officier, who has been in prison for 13 years, enduring extreme torture and brutality at the hands of the ruthless, cruel warden and his cohort of guards.
The characters in the book are very memorable, the writing is evocative, descriptive and sinister. The preacher in this town, where religion appears to rank highly and secrets run rampant, appears to be a man involved in everyone’s lives. The altar of an abandoned church is a pivotal place. The crime novel is very fast paced & never boring. It’s a stunning thriller, but very violent and graphic.
Fiction: Happy People Rad & Drink Coffee By Agnes Martin-Lugand
My first impression was the title. I thought yes! Relaxing with a good book, a cup of coffee and, that makes me happy. It was enough for me to delve a little closer and see what its all about. The book was originally written in French and translated into English. Set in Paris initially, then moved onto rural Ireland.
Happy People is the name of a literary café in Paris which Diane owns. Tragedy strikes on page 2 and the story and characters evolve. Without giving too much away, the story is lively, sentimental and funny. It’s a book I couldn’t put down and enjoyed immensely. Ideal for holidays or simply an escape. Can’t wait for the sequel, which you get a glimpse of at the back of the book and I will look out for more novels by the same author.
Historical Fiction: In the land of paper gods by Rebecca Mackenzie
As the name suggests, the novel has a Chinese influence. Narrative told by a young girl, as the daughter of missionaries couples working in china around 1941. Due to their parents working as missionaries, they are sent away to boarding school high in the mountains. They receive basically an English schooling and are taught the stoic nature of making do with what they have.
The primary character is a young girl, Henrietta, and tells the story of the life in the boarding school. While communication with the outside world and her parents is tenacious at best, there life is somewhat cocooned, most news is received by word of mouth. When planes are spotted in the sky, talk of Japanese’s invasion is the main conversation of the school’s teachers. While the students are sheltered from such news, they are encouraged to go about their structured and routine lives.
The life of Henrietta takes a dramatic turn when she befriends a local girl 5 years of age who’s slightly disfigured, who she thinks she can heal with the power of the scriptures like she has been taught. The events result in Henrietta running away from school for something of a wild adventure, where she sees first hand the reality of the Japanese invasion. The troops reach the school and life changes and the whole school is moved to a camp, where the brutality of the invasion is played out on a daily basis. Life continues with limited food and medicine and contact with the outside world.
Rebecca Mackenzie has done well with this her first novel and is likely to continue to shed light on the clash of cultures of colonialism and the countries they work in.