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Posts from the ‘Non-1001 Book Review’ Category

Shakespeare Retold: Macbeth Jo Nesbo

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Book Worm has been reading through the Hogwarth Shakespeare retelling series. Next up for her is a modern-day retelling of Macbeth by master of suspense/thrillers, Jo Nesbo. The book comes out today in the US. Check out her review and let us know what you think. Read more

Non 1001 Book Review: Territory of Light Yuko Tsushima

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I’ve got admit that I’ve been in somewhat of a reading slump which is why we’ve had fewer posts over the last month. I’m not sure if the reading slump has to do with not finding much appealing or due to a crazy work schedule. I’ve spent the last week listening (I had previously read it) to the audiobook for Ready Player One (because Wheaton’s narration is awesome) and getting irritated by how much it differs from the movie (the book is better). Book Worm, however has been plowing ahead with her reading and is bringing you her latest review of a book that sounds right up my alley. Check out her review. Read more

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: The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin

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Looking for an engaging historical mystery? Then this may be the book for you. Book Worm shares her thoughts on this recently published mystery novel. Read more

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

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Having just finished this book a few days ago, I can understand why it’s getting such mixed reviews from readers. People seem to either love or hate this book. As someone who doesn’t typically love short stories, I was skeptical about this book but Carmen Machado made me a believer. Here’s why.. Read more

Non 1001 Book Review: The Reservoir Tapes Jon McGregor

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Happy Holidays to all our loyal readers! We hope everyone has had a lovely holiday season. As we approach 2018, Book Worm and I have lots of plans for the blog. In a few days we’ll be posting our top 10 books of 2017 and we’ll also be announcing a new schedule for Read Around the World for those who want to join us. Today, Book Worm will be reviewing a new book by Jon McGregor. Keep reading to find out what she thought. Read more

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? 

Gradle Bird by J.C. Sasser

Looking for a good Southern Gothic novel that’s perfect for the summer? I just finished a book that might be the perfect addition to your summer reading list: Gradle Bird by J.C. Sasser. Keep reading to find out why.  Read more

Man Booker International Short List 2017: The Unseen by Roy Jacobsen

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Next up on my Man Booker International journey is The Unseen, a book about which I have mixed feelings. Keep reading to find out why. Read more

Man Booker International Short List: A Horse Walks Into a Bar by David Grossman

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Next up on my Man Booker International challenge is A Horse Walks Into a Bar by David Grossman. Check out my review and see where it ranks in my personal list of Man Booker nominees. Read more