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Posts by Book Worm

Non 1001 Book Review: The Survival Game by Nicky Singer

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Tomorrow our shadow panel returns with our 2018 Man Booker feature. For the next month we’ll be sharing our views on the Man Booker longest (announced tomorrow). While we wait for the announcement, here’s a “lighter” (aka less literary) review for those of you who are fans of YA dystopia. Read more

Non 1001 Book Review: The Poison Bed by E C Fremantle

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The Poison Bed by E C Fremantle
Published in: 2018
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: ★★★
Find it here: The Poison bed

This ARC was provided by Penguin UK (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis from Goodreads: Elizabeth Fremantle’s THE POISON BED is a chilling, noirish thriller ripped straight from the headlines.

A king, his lover and his lover’s wife. One is a killer.

In the autumn of 1615 scandal rocks the Jacobean court when a celebrated couple are imprisoned on suspicion of murder. She is young, captivating and from a notorious family. He is one of the richest and most powerful men in the kingdom.

Some believe she is innocent; others think her wicked or insane. He claims no knowledge of the murder. The king suspects them both, though it is his secret at stake.

Who is telling the truth? Who has the most to lose? And who is willing to commit murder?

Bookworm’s Thoughts – This was a solid 3 star read for me. I loved how the author took the bare bones of a Jacobean murder case and made a work of fiction around the main protagonists, giving them means, motive, and opportunity.

The story begins in the Tower London where Frances Howard is being held on suspicion of murder by poisoning. Due to her status, she has been given a “nice” room and a wet nurse to look after her new born daughter. While not sure if she can trust the wet nurse (Nelly), Frances has no one else to talk to and so begins to tell the story of how she fell in love and came to be imprisoned in the Tower.

Each chapter then alternates from the point of view of “Her” and “Him”, Frances and her husband as they both explain the events that lead to their imprisonment. Her sections are set in the present with her recounting the past to Nelly. In contrast, “His” sections start at the beginning of the story and move forward in time until both narratives meet at the point where the fate of Him and Her is to be decided.

With all the political game playing around the court who stands to gain most from the murder? Who is manipulating who? And, can you actually trust what anyone says?

For more information about the actual murder you read the Wiki article here

Who would like this? I would recommend this to those who enjoy historical fiction and gentler murder mysteries without too much blood and gore thrown about.

Want to try it for yourself? You can find a copy here: The Poison Bed

We want to hear from you! Have you read this book? What did you think? 

Man Booker International Shortlist 2018: The World Goes On by Laszlo Krasznahorkai

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As the 2018 Man Booker longlist announcement looms closer, Book Worm continues making her way through the international Man Booker shortlist. Book Number 5 from the shortlist and is a short story collection. If you follow us regularly, you’ll probably be able to predict how this will go… Read more

Man Booker International Shortlist 2018: Like a Fading Shadow by Antonio Munoz Molina

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Book Worm is continuing to read through the International Man Booker shortlist. Book Number 4 for her is Like a Fading Shadow by Antonio Munoz Molina. Read more

Man Booker International Shortlist 2018: Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi

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Third up in Book Worm’s reading through the International Man Booker list is Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi. Read more

Swan Song by Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott

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Swan Song by Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott
Published in: 2018
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: ★★★
Find it here: Swan Song

This ARC was provided by Random House UK (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis from Goodreads: They told him everything.

He told everyone else.

Over countless martini-soaked Manhattan lunches, they shared their deepest secrets and greatest fears. On exclusive yachts sailing the Mediterranean, on private jets streaming towards Jamaica, on Yucatán beaches in secluded bays, they gossiped about sex, power, money, love and fame. They never imagined he would betray them so absolutely.

In the autumn of 1975, after two decades of intimate friendships, Truman Capote detonated a literary grenade, forever rupturing the elite circle he’d worked so hard to infiltrate. Why did he do it, knowing what he stood to lose? Was it to punish them? To make them pay for their manners, money and celebrated names? Or did he simply refuse to believe that they could ever stop loving him? Whatever the motive, one thing remains indisputable: nine years after achieving wild success with In Cold Blood, Capote committed an act of professional and social suicide with his most lethal of weapons . . . Words.

A dazzling debut about the line between gossip and slander, self-creation and self-preservation, SWAN SONG is the tragic story of the literary icon of his age and the beautiful, wealthy, vulnerable women he called his Swans.

‘Writers write. And one can’t be surprised if they write what they know.’

Bookworm’s Thoughts: Having read and appreciated Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood, I saw the blurb for this book and was intrigued.

This is a well research piece of historical fiction which gives possible explanations for what Truman Capote actions told in the voices of the women he betrayed. Each new chapter takes the reader back in time to when these women first met Capote and follows their relationships forward, ending with an examination of why that specific woman, or “Swan,” ended up being targeted in his tell all exposé. As the women are part of a distinct “set,” a lot of the narrative overlaps because key moments are shared by multiple “Swans.” Therefore the reader gets to see the same events from different viewpoints.

We see how Truman Capote goes from lost lonely boy to media darling to social outcast.  He throws away all success on either vengeance or a misguided belief that he is beyond criticism and will be forgiven.

I certainly learnt a lot about Truman Capote from this book. I learnt about his height, his squeaky voice and fittingly for Pride month I learnt he was openly gay and in a long term relationship. It was an interesting book for me because I am: a) too young to remember the original scandal and b) live in a country where this story is not widely known. My reservations about the book are that for anyone old enough to remember the events, the book doesn’t add anything new. It is airing the dirty laundry to a new generation of readers and like the book Capote wanted to write, it is largely a gossipy, tell all story.

Who would like this? I would recommend this to those who don’t remember the original scandal and who have an interest in Truman Capote. I would also recommend it to anyone who like me read the blurb and thought I must read that.

Want to try it for yourself? You can find a copy here: Swan Song

We want to hear from you! Have you read this book? What did you think? 

Man Booker International Short List 2018: The White Book by Han Kang

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Second on my list is a novel from South Korea: The White Book by Han Kang. Read more

2018 Man Booker International Short List: Vernon Subutex One by Virginie Despentes

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Well it’s that time of year again when I tried to read all the Man Booker International Short List books before the winner was announced and failed miserably. I have only managed to get hold of half the list from the library and that doesn’t even include the book that actually won. However, in the interest of science, I do intend to read all the books as soon as I can so I can see if I agree with the verdict.

First up from France is Vernon Subutex by Virginie Despentes so lets dive in… Read more

Non 1001 Book Review: The Burning Chambers Kate Mosse

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The Burning Chambers by Kate Mosse
Published in: 2018
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: ★★★
Find it here: The Burning Chambers

This ARC was provided by Pan Macmillan (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis from Goodreads: Bringing sixteenth-century Languedoc vividly to life, Kate Mosse’s The Burning Chambers is a gripping story of love and betrayal, mysteries and secrets; of war and adventure, conspiracies and divided loyalties . . . Read more

Non 1001 Book Review: Song of Blood and Stone by L.Penelope

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I’ve been a bit crazed with work and haven’t been posting as much. That will all change in a few weeks when I should be back to my regular reading schedule. Be on the lookout for a burst of literary fiction reviews and a recap of our March Madness challenge that wraps up on May 15.

In the meantime, it’s publication day for this next book, reviewed by Book Worm. Are you looking for a YA epic fantasy read? This might be the book for you. Read more