Rubbernecker by Belinda Bauer

About the book

Life is strange for Patrick Fort – being a medical student with Asperger’s Syndrome doesn’t come without its challenges. And that’s before he is faced with solving a possible murder.

Because the body Patrick is examining in anatomy class is trying to tell him all kinds of things. And now he must stay out of danger long enough to unravel the mystery – while he dissects his own evidence

 

Reviewed by Wallington Wallace

“Short chapters with well developed characters. The first chapters were confusing Patrick was very well drawn. A bit different but believable  A good ending and an excellent sub plot which was well constructed”

star rating  – none provided

 

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We Need New Names by Noviolet Bulawayo

About the book

Darling and her friends live in a shanty called Paradise, which of course is no such thing. It isn’t all bad, though. There’s mischief and adventure, games of Find bin Laden, stealing guavas, singing Lady Gaga at the tops of their voices. They dream of the paradises of America, Dubai, Europe, where Madonna and Barack Obama and David Beckham live. For Darling, that dream will come true. But, like the thousands of people all over the world trying to forge new lives far from home, Darling finds this new paradise brings its own set of challenges – for her and also for those she’s left behind,

 

Reviewed by Basingstoke Tuesday Afternoons

An excellent read, very vivid characters and descriptions. Interesting to view politics and corruption leading to terrible living conditions and instability through the eyes of children, the problems of moving to another country and fitting in

star rating ****

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The Thief of Time by John Boyne

About the book

http://blogs.hants.gov.uk/libraries/bookgroupreviews/the-thief-of-time-by-john-boyd

Matthieu Zela has lived his life well. In fact, he’s lived several lives well. Because Matthew Zela’s life is characterised by one amazing fact: his body stopped ageing before the end of the eighteenth century.  Starting in 1758, a young Matthieu flees Paris after witnessing his mother’s brutal murder. His only companions are his younger brother Tomas and one true love, Dominique Sauvet. The story of his life takes us from the French Revolution to 1920s Hollywood, from the Great Exhibition to the Wall Street Crash, and by the end of the twentieth century, Matthieu has been an engineer, a rogue, a movie mogul, a soldier, a financier, a lover to many, a cable TV executive and much more besides.

Reviewed by Circuits

“An easy narrative style, but very disjointed and difficult to categorise. Fragmentary – needs to be read in one sitting

star rating **

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Waiting for Sunrise by William Boyd

About the book

Vienna, 1913. Lysander Rief, a young English actor, sits in the waiting room of the city’s preeminent psychiatrist as he anxiously ponders the particularly intimate nature of his neurosis. When the enigmatic, intensely beautiful Hettie Bull walks in, Lysander is immediately drawn to her, unaware of how destructive the consequences of their subsequent affair will be. One year later, home in London, Lysander finds himself entangled in the dangerous web of wartime intelligence – a world of sex, scandal and spies that is slowly, steadily, permeating every corner of his life…

Reviewed by Victoria Reading Group

“We thought the book an easy read and enjoyed the descriptions, but did not think that it was as good as Boyd’s other books. A littled contrived in places””

star rating **

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Away by Amy Bloom

Away by Amy Bloom

 About the book

Amy Bloom’s novel revitalises the American road trip novel, from the perspective of a vulnerable but spirited woman. It paints a vivid, earthy and surprising picture of 1920s America, its smells and textures, its population of drifters and con artists, pimps and prostitutes

Reviewed by Seagals

“we all found this book very disappointing. It was a promising story but had a weak ending”

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The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

About the book

“It’s not my fault. It’s yours. You shouldn’t shine. You shouldn’t make me do this.”

THE GIRL WHO WOULDN’T DIE

Kirby is lucky she survived the attack. She is sure there were other victims were less fortunate, but the evidence she finds is … impossible.

HUNTING A KILLER WHO SHOULDN’T EXIST

Harper stalks his shining girls through the years – and cuts the spark out of them. But what if the one that got away came back for him?

Reviewed by Rucstall Mums

“A slow burner but developed into a page turner. Strong female characters. Disturbing in parts. Good for a reading group as good to discuss. Probably wouldn’t have picked it up but very descriptive and a memorable read”

star rating **

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The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks

About the book

‘Two years after I killed Blyth I murdered my young brother Paul, for quite different reasons than I’d disposed of Blyth, and then a year after that I did for my young cousin Esmerelda, more or less on a whim. That’s my score to date. Three. I haven’t killed anybody for years, and don’t intend to ever again. It was just a stage I was going through.’

 

Reviewed by Alton U3A

“Carefully constructed and well written, but disturbing content not enjoyable. However – most of us were fascinated and wanted to get to the end”

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My Animals and Other Family by Clare Balding

About the book

I had spent most of my childhood thinking I was a dog, and suspect I had aged in dog years.’

Clare Balding grew up in a rather unusual household. Her father a champion trainer, she shared her life with more than 100 thoroughbred racehorses, mares, foals and ponies, as well as an ever-present pack of boxers and lurchers. As a toddler she would happily ride the legendary Mill Reef and take breakfast with the Queen.

She and her younger brother came very low down the pecking order. Left to their own devices, they had to learn life’s toughest lessons through the animals, and through their adventures in the stables and the idyllic Hampshire Downs. From the protective Candy to the pot-bellied Valkyrie and the frisky Hattie, each horse and each dog had their own character and their own special part to play.

The running family joke was that “women ain’t people”. Clare had to prove them wrong, to make her voice heard – but first she had to make sure she had something to say.

Reviewed by Ringwood Readers

“An interesting, well structured and funny book. A good, touching, relaxing read”

star rating ***

 

 

 

The Old wives tale by Arnold Bennett

About the book

First published in 1908, ‘The Old WivesTale‘ affirms the integrity of ordinary lives as it tells the story of the Baines sisters – shy, retiring Constance and defiant, romantic Sophia – over the course of nearly half a century.

Reviewed by Book Friends

Although we were daunted by the size of the novel, everyone in the group immensely enjoyed Bennett’s tale of the “old wives”. It was a wonderful story, skilfully told with great descriptions of life in the drapers shop and in Paris. We recommend other groups to read it.
**** 4 stars

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The Particular sadness of lemon cake by Aimee Bender

About the book

When 9-year-old Rose Edelstein bites into her mother’s home-made lemon chocolate cake, to her horror, she discovers she can taste her mother’s emotions in the slice. And her mother – her cheerful, can-do mother – tastes of despair and desperation. Suddenly food becomes perilous.

Review by CC Readers

People were puzzled and intrigued by this; disappointed that it offered no conclusions. Some were bored and found it lacking in action. The writing was good, poetic. Perhaps of more interest to younger readers. Described by one as “lemon drivel”
** 2 stars

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