#816: World War Z by Max Brooks

World War Z by Max BrooksIt began with rumours from China about another pandemic. Then the cases started to multiply and what had looked like the stirrings of a criminal underclass, even the beginnings of a revolution, soon revealed itself to be much, much worse. Faced with a future of mindless, man-eating horror, humanity was forced to accept the logic of world government and face events that tested our sanity and our sense of reality.

Based on extensive interviews with survivors and key players in the 10-year fight-back against the horde, World War Z brings the very finest traditions of American journalism to bear on what is surely the most incredible story in the history of civilisation.

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Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone GirlOn a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge.

Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

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Review: Bathing the Lion by Jonathan Carroll

Bathing the LionIn Jonathan Carroll’s surreal masterpiece, Bathing the Lion, five people who live in the same New England town go to sleep one night and all share the same hyper-realistic dream. Some of these people know each other; some don’t.

When they wake the next day all of them know what has happened. All five were at one time “mechanics,” a kind of cosmic repairman whose job is to keep order in the universe and clean up the messes made both by sentient beings and the utterly fearsome yet inevitable Chaos that periodically rolls through, wreaking mayhem wherever it touches down—a kind of infinitely powerful, merciless tornado. Because the job of a mechanic is grueling and exhausting, after a certain period all of them are retired and sent to different parts of the cosmos to live out their days as “civilians.” Their memories are wiped clean and new identities are created for them that fit the places they go to live out their natural lives to the end.

For the first time all retired mechanics are being brought back to duty: Chaos has a new plan, and it’s not looking good for mankind…

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Review: Forty Acres by Dwayne Alexander Smith

Forty AcresWhat if overcoming the legacy of American slavery meant bringing back that very institution? A young black attorney is thrown headlong into controversial issues of race and power in this page-turning and provocative new novel.

Martin Grey, a smart, talented black lawyer working out of a storefront in Queens, becomes friendly with a group of some of the most powerful, wealthy, and esteemed black men in America. He’s dazzled by what they’ve accomplished, and they seem to think he has the potential to be as successful as they are. They invite him for a weekend away from it all—no wives, no cell phones, no talk of business. But far from home and cut off from everyone he loves, he discovers a disturbing secret that challenges some of his deepest convictions…

Martin finds out that his glittering new friends are part of a secret society dedicated to the preservation of the institution of slavery—but this time around, the black men are called “Master.” Joining them seems to guarantee a future without limits; rebuking them almost certainly guarantees his death. Trapped inside a picture-perfect, make-believe world that is home to a frightening reality, Martin must find a way out that will allow him to stay alive without becoming the very thing he hates.

A novel of rage and compassion, good and evil, trust and betrayal, Forty Acres is the thought-provoking story of one man’s desperate attempt to escape the clutches of a terrifying new moral order.

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Review: Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky

Gracefully GraysonAlone at home, twelve-year-old Grayson Sender glows, immersed in beautiful thoughts and dreams. But at school, Grayson grasps at shadows, determined to fly under the radar. Because Grayson has been holding onto a secret for what seems like forever: “he” is a girl on the inside, stuck in the wrong gender’s body.

The weight of this secret is crushing, but leaving it behind would mean facing ridicule, scorn, and rejection. Despite these dangers, Grayson’s true self itches to break free. Strengthened by an unexpected friendship and a caring teacher who gives her a chance to step into the spotlight, Grayson might finally have the tools to let her inner light shine.

Debut author Ami Polonsky’s moving, beautifully-written novel shines with the strength of a young person’s spirit and the enduring power of acceptance.

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Review: The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

The Good GirlI’ve been following her for the past few days. I know where she buys her groceries, where she has her dry cleaning done, where she works. I don’t know the colour of her eyes or what they look like when they’re scared. But I will.’

Mia Dennett can’t resist a one-night stand with the enigmatic stranger she meets in a bar. But going home with him might turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia’s life…

An addictively suspenseful and tautly written thriller, The Good Girl is a compulsive debut that reveals how, even in the perfect family, nothing is as it seems…

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Bookish Ardour’s Thank You Prize #1

To thank my wonderful readers, long-time and new, I have decided to run a weekly competition. Up for grabs will be ARCs, pre-releases, and the victims of my occasional library-culling. Some of these are pre-loved and some of these have never even been flicked through.

For Australian readers only, apologies international readers! Overseas postage is just too expensive.

Competitions open on 7am Sunday mornings, run till 7pm Friday evenings, and then I will randomly draw a winner that Saturday! I’ll have the prize posted to you on the Monday, but I won’t tell you beforehand. It’s a surprise!

This week’s Thank You Prize is;

 Small Town Storm by Elise K. Ackers

Small Town StormNineteen years after a devastating crime almost killed her, Erica Lawrence has returned home. In the small mountain town of Olinda, her story is legend. And now everyone knows she’s back, including top cop and childhood best friend, Jordan Hill, the first and only person to ever touch her guarded heart.

When a woman goes missing and her body is found brutally murdered, fear swallows the town. And suspicion soon turns on Olinda’s newest resident: Erica. As the cop in charge of the murder investigation, Jordan has to face the awful truth that the prime suspect is the woman he always swore to protect. While Jordan and Erica struggle with their feelings for one another, the murders mount up and the tension grows. Not only that, but Erica has a dark secret that she’ll do anything to stop Jordan from finding out…

Small Town Storm is a gripping read that captures the intensity and passion of first love and the terror of a town where trust has broken down. This is the unforgettable story of a lifelong romance, and of an innocent childhood tainted by evil that won’t let go. Continue reading