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Posts from the ‘3 star reviews’ Category

Non 1001 Book Review: Last Seen Alive Claire Douglas

 

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Last Seen Alive by Claire Douglas
Published in: 2017
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: ★★★
Find it here: Last Seen Alive

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

Synopsis from Goodreads:
The Hero

Libby Hall never really wanted to be noticed. But after she saves the children in her care from a fire, she finds herself headline news. And horrified by the attention. It all reminds her of what happened nine years ago. The last time she saw her best friend alive.

The Swap

Which is why the house swap is such a godsend. Libby and her husband Jamie exchange their flat in Bath for a beautiful, secluded house in Cornwall. It’s a chance to heal their marriage – to stop its secrets tearing them apart.

The Hideaway

But this stylish Cornish home isn’t the getaway they’d hoped for. They make odd, even disturbing, discoveries in the house. It’s so isolated-yet Libby doesn’t feel entirely alone. As if she’s being watched.

Is Libby being paranoid? What is her husband hiding? And. As the secrets and lies come tumbling out, is the past about to catch up with them?

Book Worm’s Thoughts: This was a solid 3 star thriller where nothing is what it seems and the line between guilty and innocent is blurred.

I always find it hard to review thrillers, as you don’t want to give away the twists and turns in the book that take the reader to the final conclusion. The fun of reading a thriller is seeing what you can guess for yourself (well at least it is for me).

What I can say is that Douglas does a good job in building up an oppressive atmosphere, in describing paranoia, and showing how even the people we love most in the world are not always truthful. I also loved the descriptions of a marriage in trouble and how much compromise is needed to keep things on an even keel.

Who would like this? I would recommend this to anyone who needs a break from heavy reading and who enjoys twisty books. I hate to say it but, if you liked Gone Girl you will probably enjoy this. Great literature it is not but it is great fun to read.

Want to try it for yourself? You can find a copy here: Last Seen Alive

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

Man Booker International Short List 2017: Compass by Mathias Enard

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With just hours to go (well maybe a whole day) I have finished the last book on the Man Booker International Short List 2017. This one was a struggle, not least because it is the longest book on the short list. Read on to find out more. Read more

Man Booker International Shortlist 2017: Judas by Amos Oz

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Next up in the review of shortlist books is Judas by Amos Oz. Both Book Worm and guest reviewer, Tracy, reviewed this book. I personally love Amos Oz but haven’t read this particular book yet (although I own a copy). Read the reviews below and make sure to check out the winner of the Bailey’s prize which will be announced later today. Read more

Difficult Women by Roxane Gay

I follow Roxane Gay on Twitter and I have heard her speak a few times but Difficult Women is the first book of hers that I’ve read. Overall, I have mixed feelings about the book and here’s my review… Read more

1001 Book Review: The Story of the Stone Cao Xueqin

 

Over the course of 2016 Book Worm and made our way through the 5 volumes of The Story of the Stone by Cao Xueqin. Considered to be one of China’s four great classical novels, it was written in the 18th century during the Qing Dynasty. I finally completed the last volume in December. Here are our reviews of this important Chinese Classic… Read more

Non 1001 Book Review: Under a Pole Star Stef Penney

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Under a Pole Star by Stef Penney
Published in: 2016
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: ★★★
Find it here: Under a Pole Star

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

Summary from Goodreads: Flora Mackie was twelve when she first crossed the Arctic Circle on her father’s whaling ship. Now she is returning to the frozen seas as the head of her own exploration expedition. Jakob de Beyn was raised in Manhattan, but his yearning for new horizons leads him to the Arctic as part of a rival expedition. When he and Flora meet, all thoughts of science and exploration give way before a sudden, all-consuming love.

The affair survives the growing tensions between the two groups, but then, after one more glorious summer on the Greenland coast, Jakob joins his leader on an extended trip into the interior, with devastating results.

The stark beauty of the Arctic ocean, where pack ice can crush a ship like an eggshell, and the empty sweep of the tundra, alternately a snow-muffled wasteland and an unexpectedly gentle meadow, are vividly evoked. Against this backdrop Penney weaves an irresistible love story, a compelling look at the dark side of the golden age of exploration, and a mystery that Flora, returning one last time to the North Pole as an old woman, will finally lay to rest.

Book Worm’s Thoughts: Having read and enjoyed The Tenderness of Wolves, I was excited to read this latest book by Stef Penney. Although it sells itself as a romance novel, that aspect of the book was actually the least interesting for me. The best parts were the details of exploration and survival.

Under a Pole Star is set in the early days of Artic exploration when the pole was yet to be discovered and there were miles of land just waiting to be claimed by the plucky British or Americans (yep they totally disregarded any claim that the native people might have to the land).

The frozen landscape is central to the story, showing how hardy the Inuit have to be to survive there year round and how tough the conditions are on those who are not native to the land. It also shows how English and American greed leads to tragedy for everyone involved with the exploration.

The book is scattered with Inuit words and with details and images of the stars used for navigation. This is an ambitious book that doesn’t really deliver on the romance, but that transported me to the frozen lands of the North.

Who would enjoy this? This is a long and detailed book so I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone looking for a light romance, instead if you are interested in details about polar exploration and survival with romance as a sideline then this could be the book for you.

Want to try it for yourself? You can find a copy here: Under a Pole Star

 We want to hear from you. Do you plan to read this book? Why or why not?

1001 Book Review: The Jungle Upton Sinclair

 

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I have finally returned to the land of the living. The last two days I’ve been knocked out by a horrendous cold which my daughter brought home from kindergarten. She had a mildly stuffy nose, while I felt like I was dying. I was even too sick to read. If you’d like to get a sense of what happens when you try to review a book while under the influence of a 103 degree fever you can check out this review. Anyway, I’m feeling well enough now to actually schedule a joint 1001 review that we read a while back: The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. Check out what we thought. Read more

1001 Book Review: Christ Stopped at Eboli Carlo Levi

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It’s been a while since we’ve reviewed a 1001 book so while we wait for our next 2016 Man Booker longlist book, we decided to sneak in a 1001 review that Book Worm read a few months ago: Christ Stopped at Eboli by Carlo Levi. Check out Book Worm’s review and if you’ve read it, let us know what you thought of it. Read more

Non 1001 Book Review: The Fireman Joe Hill

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Do you love apocalyptic novels? You will love the latest installment by Joe Hill. Check out my review… Read more

Non 1001 Book Review: Vinegar Girl Anne Tyler

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Next week we should be starting to post some of our Man Booker longlist book reviews so stay tuned for those. Our panel of judges is working hard to work their way through the list. Our contributor Kate predicted this book might make the longlist. Book worm happened to have read it and here is her review… Read more