Category Archives: Book Review

Review: Crow Shine by Alan Baxter

Atmospheric scenes and constant tension stoke the fire of mystery in this collection of short stories. ‘Aha’ moments are delivered with skill and precision.

Alan Baxter’s work can’t be confined to a single genre, or even a known fusion of genres. His stories are a kaleidoscope of colour; of piercing light and darkest shadow.

In Baxter’s world, fantasy is woven tightly with realism. Dive in and you will be transported to believable scenarios in magical settings. You’ll meet supernatural characters that feel as real as people.

I’ve never encountered such a diverse range of stories written by an author. Baxter’s unclassifiable work enables him to successfully play an unexpected card at any point.

Within the fantasy, I found genuine depth and meaningfulness in each story. Baxter is a masterful short story writer – a true word alchemist with a strong, enthralling voice.

4.5 out of 5 stars for Crow Shine. Thank you, Alan, for drawing me into your ethereal world of dark beauty, where unfamiliar subjects were made accessible to me; the reader.

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Book Reviews

I’ve read a few decent books of late, so I thought I’d share two reviews with you.

 

YOUR HEART IS AS BIG AS A FIST by Sunil Yapa

312 pp. Lee Boudreaux/Little, Brown & Company.

The plot is centred on the 1999 Seattle WTO protests where the main character, Victor, finally comprehends what the meaning of life is.

At the centre of the novel is the same question posed by the protests themselves: what kind of world do we want, and what must we do to get it?

You’ll either love this book, or hate it. There is a lot of violence throughout, so it’s definitely not for the faint-hearted.

Yapa has a unique writing style that is both raw and engaging.

You’ll find Yapa’s characters interesting and relatable. I believe he has successfully captured a deep beat of the human heart.

Yapa has brought a piece of modern history to life on the page and made it personal. An undercurrent of strong themes exists below a surface of evocative imagery.

FATES AND FURIES by Lauren Groff

390 pp. Riverhead Books.

Fates and Furies is a modern Greek tragedy which focuses on the marriage of Mathilde and Lotto (Lancelot). The book is divided into two sections – Fates depicts Lotto’s point of view; and Furies depicts Mathilde’s point of view.

Surprisingly, the story is more about life than marriage. It’s about screwing things up, surviving, trying and sometimes hitting on a win.

Fates and Furies isn’t your typical ‘women’s fiction’ book. It’s brooding, soap-opera style reminds me of Cloud Street, by Tim Winton.

Groff has a writing style that many readers will grow impatient with. Fellow writers, however, will appreciate the skill with which she weaves words.

If you’re looking for a light, easy read – this isn’t the book for you. It doesn’t have a typical happy ending and there is a lot of doom and gloom throughout.

Fates and Furies is a very good, but very oppressive story. You will carry a sense of dread with you through every chapter.

This book isn’t for the average reader, but for the select few who have a greater-than-average appreciation for drama.

 

Have you read any brilliant books lately?

 

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Review: The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell

Guest Post by Steve Daykin

Jen Campbell must have had a lot of fun compiling this book. The Bookshop Book is a labour of love; it’s part travelogue, part guidebook. Campbell writes of all the weird, unique and sometimes bizarre bookshops and the equally weird, unique and sometimes bizarre people who work in them.

I don’t know if Campbell actually travelled to the hundreds of shops she describes in her book. Nevertheless, she has produced a handy book to stow in your own suitcase if you’re packing for a trip to Europe or North America. It’s a kind of guidebook.

The Bookshop Book is an eclectic mix of interviews with bookstore owners and employees, customers, authors about bookshops, their role as community hubs, and much more. We hear from those who love bookshops and those who dream about them. Those who work in them, and some who live in them and some who do all of these things.

Some people do plain eccentric things, like Marta Minujin, who built a 25 metre high tower of books in Buenos Aires with 30,000 titles of all languages. She called it the Tower of Babel.

We hear, too, from famous authors, like Bill Bryson and Audrey Niffenegger.

The Bookshop Book contains the secret for success for bricks and mortar bookshops trying win in a world of e-books and online retailers. It’s a secret so powerful yet basic, and which many retail outlets – be they bookshops or others – appear to have forgotten. And it’s this: be interesting, and give meaningful customer service.

 

Steve loves reading, writing, excellent coffee, good company, new and secondhand bookshops, libraries, and much more besides!

Find Steve online: twitter.com/Steve_Comet 

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