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Posts from the ‘5 star reviews’ Category

Book Beer Pairing: The Shepherd’s Hut – Tim Winton

Grab a strong one, you’re going to need it!

shepherds hut

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Non 1001 Book Review: The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale

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The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale
Published in: 2018
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: ★★★★★
Find it here: The Toy Makers

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

Synopsis from Goodreads: Do you remember when you believed in magic?

The Emporium opens with the first frost of winter. It is the same every year. Across the city, when children wake to see ferns of white stretched across their windows, or walk to school to hear ice crackling underfoot, the whispers begin: the Emporium is open!

It is 1917, and London has spent years in the shadow of the First World War. In the heart of Mayfair, though, there is a place of hope. A place where children’s dreams can come true, where the impossible becomes possible – that place is Papa Jack’s Toy Emporium.

For years Papa Jack has created and sold his famous magical toys: hobby horses, patchwork dogs and bears that seem alive, toy boxes bigger on the inside than out, ‘instant trees’ that sprout from boxes, tin soldiers that can fight battles on their own. Now his sons, Kaspar and Emil, are just old enough to join the family trade. Into this family comes a young Cathy Wray – homeless and vulnerable. The Emporium takes her in, makes her one of its own. But Cathy is about to discover that while all toy shops are places of wonder, only one is truly magical…

Book Worm’s Thoughts: From the opening line I was hooked and transported to a world where Christmas is still a magical time and children can loose themselves in the wonders of a toy store.

Having read and loved The Night Circus, I can confirm that this book has that same kind of feel. The descriptions of the Emporium, and the magic weaved by the toymakers, made me wish I lived in a world where such a store was possible. Yet, while the public face of the store is one of magic, in private sibling rivalry and jealousy threatens to rip the family and the store apart.

For those who think this is a simple children’s story of magic, be warned that the story gets very dark. The inside of the Emporium may be magical to start it with it but it doesn’t protect those inside from the horrors of the real world. Papa Jack manages to survive in pre-war Russia living by the simple maxim of remembering everyone was once a child and played with toys. However, it is harder to keep this magic in mind when faced with the horrors of WW1. The novel tackles the first World War, describes how so many of the young men who went to fight never returned home, and highlights how the war changed those who did survive.

This book also covers several important issues including the right of soldiers to choose which wars to fight, the treatment of immigrants, the importance of understanding and communication, and what makes something truly alive.

Who would like this? I would recommend this to those who enjoyed The Night Circus and those who want to believe in magic toy shops and the power of toys to save a soul.

Want to try it for yourself? You can find a copy here: The Toy Makers

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

Non 1001 Book Review: White Tears Hari Kunzru

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We’re starting off the month with a book that gets a rare 5-star rating. Book Worm reviews White Tears by Hari Kunzru. Keep reading to see what she thought. Read more

1001 Book Review: Oranges are not the Only Fruit Jeanette Winterson

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Jeanette Winterson just came out with a new book this holiday season. She is one of our favorite authors and it just so happened that Book Worm and I were reading her first novel at the time of her latest release. Here are our thoughts about Oranges are Not the Only Fruit. Read more

1001 Book Review – White Noise Don DeLillo

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White Noise by Don Delillo
Published in: 1985
Literary Awards: National Book Award
Reviewed by: Nicole
Rating: ★★★★★
Find it here: White Noise

“Helpless and fearful people are drawn to magical figures, mythic figures, epic men who intimidate and darkly loom.”

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Non 1001 Book Review: The Power Naomi Alderman

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In less than two weeks, we’ll be starting our winter reading challenge. Our challenge page is currently up and in the next 5 days we’ll be updating the page with our official game board. If you want to join in for a fun chutes and ladders based reading game, sign up in the comments on this page and send me your TBR list. In the meantime, we’ll continue with our regular book reviews and features. Book Worm read a book she would like to recommend to our readers: The Power by Naomi Alderman. Here’s her review… Read more

Non 1001 Book Review: Small Great Things Jodi Picoult

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Jodi Picoult’s book is a timely release since it tackles issues of racism in America. Book Worm reviewed the book and here are her thoughts… Read more

Non 1001 Book Review: Swing Time Zadie Smith

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I was hoping to get to this book so that Book Worm and I could post a joint review. Unfortunately life got in the way and I stunningly have read nothing in the last week. I have been working out some details for our next reading challenge so stay tuned to learn more about that (coming very soon). I’ve never been a huge fan of Zadie Smith’s work. I think she is brilliant and clearly very intelligent but I’ve never really connected with her novels. Keep reading to see Book Worm’s review of Zadie Smith’s newest book coming out this month.  Read more

Nicole’s Reviews – Helter Skelter Vincent Bugliosi

*Caution: controversial (and contains spoilers, but … uh … it’s history so … spoiler alert?!)

tell me, tell me, tell me the answer

you may be a lover but you ain’t no dancer

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Non 1001 Book Review: A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding Jackie Copleton

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This is another book I had predicted would make it on to the Man Booker long list, sadly Jen has informed me that this is not possible as it was published too early to qualify. Looks like I won’t be winning the predictions league. 

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