Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Sharks in the Time of Saviours by Kawai Strong Washburn


Sharks in the Time of Saviours by Kawai Strong Washburn
UK Publication Date: 2nd April 2020
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: [★★★]

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

Synopsis from Goodreads: In 1995 Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, on a rare family vacation, seven-year-old Nainoa Flores falls overboard a cruise ship into the Pacific Ocean. When a shiver of sharks appears in the water, everyone fears for the worst. But instead, Noa is gingerly delivered to his mother in the jaws of a shark, marking his story as the stuff of legends.

Nainoa’s family, struggling amidst the collapse of the sugarcane industry, hails his rescue as a sign of favor from ancient Hawaiian gods–a belief that appears validated after he exhibits puzzling new abilities. But as time passes, this supposed divine favor begins to drive the family apart: Nainoa, working now as a paramedic on the streets of Portland, struggles to fathom the full measure of his expanding abilities; further north in Washington, his older brother Dean hurtles into the world of elite college athletics, obsessed with wealth and fame; while in California, risk-obsessed younger sister Kaui navigates an unforgiving academic workload in an attempt to forge her independence from the family’s legacy.

When supernatural events revisit the Flores family in Hawai’i–with tragic consequences–they are all forced to reckon with the bonds of family, the meaning of heritage, and the cost of survival.

My Thoughts: The writing is lyrical and I lost myself in the patois. This book has made me wish I knew more about Hawai’i and the myths and legends that abound there. I personally feel that a better understanding of the background of the novel would make for a greater appreciation of what you are reading.

I loved the magical realism that comes into everyday life even when away from Hawai’i on the mainland. Each member of the family maintains a spiritual connection with their homeland even if it is not always obvious. Hawai’i is beautifully described in all it’s deadly gloriousness. The story highlights the poverty of the native islanders and how while to the rest of the world Hawai’i may appear to be an island paradise those who are part of the island face an everyday struggle for survival.

As we follow each member of the family we see how the hands of the Hawai’ian gods rather than uniting a family end up by forcing it apart. Every single member of the family has something they wish they could change, that they could do better or that they could simply just do over. While it is Nainoa who appears to be the “special one” it soon becomes clear that the gods have touched the entire family but will they realise this and find each other again before it is too late.

Ultimately this is a book about family and the mistakes you make all while trying to do your best, it’s about the power of home and of the land where you were born and most importantly it is about giving something back and sharing whatever gifts you are given.

Who would like this? I would recommend this to anyone who already knows the myths of Hawai’i and can appreciate the story as well as those who want to learn more and who enjoy magical realism and stories that show there is a place for ancient gods in our modern world.

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

Booker International 2020 the Official Shortlist


Well I think we can honestly say that list took us all by surprise.

Read more

Booker International 2020 – Our Shortlist Predictions


MBI 2020

It is time for us to test our judging skills in the free for all that is known as the shortlist predictions. So who do we think will make it?

Read more

1001 Books Round-Up: March 2020

Time for the winners and losers of March 2020

Read more

Booker International Longlist 2020: Red Dog by Willem Anker

Red Dog

And that ladies and gentlemen is a wrap. We have successfully managed between us to read every book from the longlist. For our final review and rating I will hand you over to RachelO.

Read more

Bookworm Recommends: Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore


Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore
UK Publication Date: 31st March 2020
Rating: [★★★★★]

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

Welcome to Texas the year is 1976 and Odessa stands on the brink of an oil boom where men will make and lose their fortunes, but what about the women?

Read more

Booker International Longlist 2020: Little Eyes by Samanta Schweblin


Book 12 – This was the one the panellist were most excited about however due to publication dates, finances and Coronavirus only Bookworm has managed to read this so far. So did it live up to expectations?

Read more

Read Around the World 2020 Ireland


As the map might suggestion our visit this month was to the Republic or Ireland.(Northern Ireland is still waiting for the randomiser to choose it)

Fun facts about Ireland from this website – some of these cover Northern Ireland as well..

  • As a largely Catholic country, St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. But what many people do not realize that St. Patrick was not, in fact, Irish.
  • Although part of the legend of St. Patrick is that he chased snakes out of Ireland, scientists have proved that there were never snakes in Ireland.
  • Did you know that Ireland’s national symbol is the harp? Ireland is, in fact, the only nation in the world with a musical instrument as its national symbol.
  • Most countries around the world use some kind of postal codes (zip codes in the United States) on their addresses. But, did you know that the Republic of Ireland was the only state in the European Union that did not have postcodes until very recently?
  • The tradition of wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day started during the 1798 rebellion. Why green? Because one of the national symbols that was adopted then was the clover.
  • Eurovision Song Contest – Ireland has participated 52 times since 1965 and with 7 wins, it is the country that has won the most in the history of the contest.
  • Although most people in Ireland now speak English, the Irish have their own language. Known as Irish, Gaelic, or the Irish language, Irish is a Celtic language.
  • Did you know that Halloween has its origins in the Celtic harvest festival of Samhain, that took place in Ireland at the end of the summer?

I choose to visit Ireland via The Heather Blazing by Colm Tóibín the story takes place in Dublin and Wexford and switches between the past and present as the reader is given the life story of a prominent judge in Ireland’s high court.

This was a 3 star read for me I enjoyed the build up as we are slowly shown the events that lead to Eamon Redmond being a high court judge and the events unfolding around him in the present day.

Throughout the book it is clear that Eamon is a man in love with the law and the guidance of society while not actually really connecting with the people who form that society including his own family. The book really tugs on the heartstrings when the reader realises the extent to which Eamon has essentially isolated himself even within his own marriage.

While I enjoyed the book I didn’t love it and I found the ending to be puzzling, hopeful yes but definitely puzzling in terms of what had come before.

Other readers read the following: Simona on Litsy – Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney and gave this a pick and 4 stars.

Currey on Litsy – Girl by Edna O’Brien a pick.

Did you join the trip this month? Let us know in comments what books you choose.

Next month we are off to Colombia will you be joining us and what will you read? I really need recommendations!



Booker International Longlist 2020: The Adventures of China Iron by Gabriela Cabezón Cámara

China Iron

Book 11 and once again it’s over to Tracy for reviews and ratings.

Read more

Booker International Longlist 2020: The Other Name Septology by Jon Fosse

Other Name

Book number 10 tackled by Bookworm, Tracy and Emily.

Read more