Vinny's Wilderness by Janet Shepperson. This is a quick and readable tale somewhat lacking in detail and well-rounded characters. It is about a single mother working hard for her daughter, and about the boy she tutors and his mother. It is about friendship and trust, the haves and the have-nots. With a backdrop of an overgrown garden, I liked this book but I didn’t love it as I wanted to.
Aloysius Tempo. Aloysius Tempo is a freelance hit-man, arranging 'accidents' that can't be traced to him or to the people who hire him. This is a rollicking good book with lots of surprises. It is very well crafted and written and I hope there is more of Aloysius in the future ... although you can't be too sure of that from the ending.
The Easter Rising 1916: Molly’s Diary
The Easter Rising 1916: Molly’s Diary The Easter Rising 1916: Molly’s Diary Molly’s Diary looks at the Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916 from a twelve-year-old girl’s point of view. There are parts I love and parts I am not so keen on, so a mixed review from me. But I would recommend it for 10-14 year olds, particularly those who live in Ireland or generally enjoy history.
A book so utterly shite I am not even going to tell you what it is
A book so utterly shite I am not even going to tell you what it is. Yes, it's self-published. Yes, my policy is to review books whether they deserve one star or five stars or anything in between. No, on this occasion I really can't.
Breakfast at Cannibal Joe's
Breakfast at Cannibal Joe's, by Jay Spencer Green. Bonkers. Weird. Surreal. Satirical. Politically incorrect. Clever. Absurd. Witty. Disgusting. There you have it! Recommended.
To Fight Alongside Friends - The First World War Diaries of Charlie May
To Fight Alongside Friends - The First World War Diaries of Charlie May, edited by Gerry Harrison. Review from the TBR Pile: Captain Charlie May's diaries are a love letter to his wife Maude and baby Pauline. They are eloquently written, and informative, sad, funny and loving. They show a very human side of a dreadful war. Charlie May was killed on the first morning of the Battle of Somme. The diaries have been superbly edited by his great-nephew, Gerry Harrison. Highly recommended.
Daughters of the Lake
Daughters of the Lake, by Jane Riddell. Review by The TBR Pile: A novel about contemporary relationships. Four siblings gather at their mother's request for the 40th anniversary of the family hotel next to a lake in Brunnen, Switzerland. There is plenty of family tensions and each of the characters has a secret. Although there is plenty of drama, this is a fairly gentle and largely satisfying read, even if sometimes you will want to give some of the characters a good talking-to.
The Book of the Poppy
The Book of the Poppy, by Chris McNab. Review by The TRB Pile: This short book is packed with easy-to-read but hard-to-stomach statistics of casualties of war over the last hundred years. It gives a quite fascinating history of the Remembrance Poppy movement. There are many stark and memorable graphics, newspaper extracts and poems. Well worth reading.
A Bed of Barley Straw
A Bed of Barley Straw by Sam Russell. This is a light, romantic read, which lovers of the genre, particularly those who are also animal and country lovers, will enjoy. But I felt it needed a bit more structure and a clear view on who the intended audience is.
Eggshells by Caitriona Lally. This book is SO going to divide reviewers. I loved it – in fact, in July, it is one of my top books for 2015. It is a stream of consciousness from a lonely, quirky, intelligent woman, who is perhaps not wired up quite like most of us; she is a wonderful character. Superb writing and a fabulous book.
A Cage of Roots
A Cage of Roots by Matt Griffin. This is a dark and scary book for children aged ten plus. Children love it, judging by their reviews, and I love it too. It is set in Ireland and will appeal to readers anywhere. It is about love, loyalty, friendship and facing your demons (but is not in the least preachy). The writing is superb. I heartily recommend it.
Cliona's Wave by Donal Minihane. The book brings together aspects of Ireland’s folklore, history, religion, social mores, prejudices, and the Church’s stronghold. It is about family ties, weaknesses and strengths. Above all it is about how lives change when other people take control. I was fascinated by the shocking historical aspects, but I enjoyed less the some of the characterisataion.
Clay by Melissa Harrison. This is a book to be read slowly and every sentence savoured. Three lonely people live in an uncaring city, their lives coming together occasionally because of their love for the little park they live around. This is a book about nature and how we interact with it, or not; how even in the city the natural world continues its cycle, largely unnoticed by those who live next to it. It is a book about violence and suspicion, families and community. I loved it.
Dance With the Enemy
Dance With the Enemy by Rob Sinclair. This is a well-written and fast-moving thriller. I liked it as an introduction to Carl Logan and look forward to reading further instalments. It would benefit from a small amount of polishing and tightening of the story, but hints of a long writing career for Rob Sinclair.