Review: The Butterfly Man by Heather Rose

“Today I was dangerous. I wanted to confess. I wanted to tell her stories I had held back all these years. I wanted at last to be free of the seventh of November, 1974. And I wanted to be free of today. As if in the telling, there would be a cure.”

In November 1974 a young English nanny named Sandra Rivett was murdered in London’s West End. Her employer, Lord Lucan, was named as her attacker. It was widely assumed he had mistaken her for his wife. Lord Lucan disappeared the night Sandra Rivett died and has never been seen since.

Henry Kennedy lives on a mountain on the other side of the world. He is not who he says he is. Is he a murderer or a man who can never clear his name? And is he the only one with something to hide?

Set in Tasmania, Africa and London’s Belgravia, The Butterfly Man is an absorbing novel about transformation and deception.

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Continue reading

Review: Fourth Degree Freedom by Libby Heily

Fourth Degree Freedom explores the best of humanity and the worst. The stories range from hopeful realism to the dystopian side of speculative fiction. Each story twists and turns through darkness and light, settling somewhere in the shadowy area of day to day life.

Thank You For Calling – A young woman fights to keep her sanity, her marriage and her hope while working in a call center.

The Event – Do the youth decide to go along with the government’s plan to rid the population of the elderly, or will they fight back?

Fourth Degree Freedom – A family, shunned by neighbors and friends, struggles with their youngest son, a boy that was literally born a monster.

The Last Six Miles – Samantha has hit rock bottom. Her husband has left her and her only source of comfort is junk food. Her slip into depression seems inevitable until she discovers running. Samantha begins the long journey from barely being able to jog a minute to completing her first marathon.

She Floats – If you woke up and didn’t know where you were, would you panic? What if you were trapped in a giant aquarium? Continue reading

Review: The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas

At a suburban barbecue, a man slaps a child who is not his own.

This event has a shocking ricochet effect on a group of people, mostly friends, who are directly or indirectly influenced by the event.

In this remarkable novel, Christos Tsiolkas turns his unflinching and all-seeing eye onto that which connects us all: the modern family and domestic life in the twenty-first century. The Slap is told from the points of view of eight people who were present at the barbecue. The slap and its consequences force them all to question their own families and the way they live, their expectations, beliefs and desires.

What unfolds is a powerful, haunting novel about love, sex and marriage, parenting and children, and the fury and intensity – all the passions and conflicting beliefs – that family can arouse. In its clear-eyed and forensic dissection of the ever-growing middle class and its aspirations and fears, The Slap is also a poignant, provocative novel about the nature of loyalty and happiness, compromise and truth.

Review

If you’ve yet to hear of The Slap give me a moment to pause in surprise, well at least if you’re in Australia. I don’t see this novel as being as well known as say Stephen King or Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk, both of which are part of pop culture now, but The Slap is one of those books that has been slowly growing momentum as a subject you can hear murmured about on your periphery, if it hasn’t as yet made it into your direct line of sight. Continue reading

Review: House Rules by Jodi Picoult

Jacob Hunt is a teenager: brilliant at maths, wicked sense of humour, extraordinarily organised, hopeless at reading social cues. And Jacob has Asperger’s. He is locked in his own world – aware of the world outside, and wanting to make a connection. Jacob tries to be like everyone else, but doesn’t know how.

When his tutor is found dead, all the hallmark behaviours of Jacob’s syndrome – not looking someone in the eye, odd movements, inappropriate actions – start looking a lot like guilt to the police. And Jacob’s mother must ask herself the hardest question in the world: is her child capable of murder?

Review

I read House Rules for book club, for me it’s one of those books that I wouldn’t have picked up unless it was for something specific like book club. This is also the first Jodi Picoult novel I’ve read and if House Rules is anything to go by, then I’m never picking up another Picoult novel unless it’s for something specific. Like book club. Continue reading

Pending Books Update

I’ve just been going through my pending books list again and there have been some changes.

First – The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong (original date for Oz was May and April 16th for America) is now pending release on the 1st of April and The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss is now pending release early 2011 (original date was May).

It is a bit of a bugger about that last one, but after reading his first novel and knowing writers are not machines I am happy to wait for as long as it takes because that is one seriously great writer.

Second – I’ve added some new ones. I’m a God of War nut and have found out that there’s a comic series (end of March) coming out and a novel (May) so I’ve added those ones. I also added Ink Bloom which is a collaborative piece by Chris Seamen and Jim Pavalec (last name might be recognisable to some – he did art for Magic: The Gathering, World of Warcraft, and Warhammer).

Plus I’ve gone through some of my older books and came across pending books from those authors. – The Map Of True Places by Brunonia Barry (wrote The Lace Reader) and Beatric and Virgil by Yann Martel (wrote Life of Pi) – and last, but not least I have also added Mockinjay by Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games series).

If you’re interested in any of the books on that page don’t forget to check back closer to their release date for any changes because I try to keep it as up to date as possible.

The Time Traveler’s Wife

Finally.

Readers may appreciate this – when you’re reading book after book and all you really want is to read a story you can completely submerge yourself in to the point where when you open the covers and begin to read, from that moment on you forget all around you.

For the most part this year I have been reading the same story and it’s not that it’s an uninteresting story or lacking entertainment. The story so far has been interesting, entertaining, and humorous at times and I love the characters, but as much fun as I have had reading it I haven’t been so thoroughly absorbed when that’s what I’ve been wanting.

And now I have found a story that has met my wishes, finally.

I have just finished The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger after several days of blissful and utter submergence (which I’m finding hard to get myself out of now that the story has finished) and this is a book I would normally not have read. I doubt I would have read it at all if it didn’t have time travel and wasn’t the book of the month for my forum, especially with the way the synopsis is written. This is something that pisses me off because the synopsis doesn’t always completely portray what’s in between the covers and therefore a lot of people may miss out on a well written, engrossing story like I almost did (because I’m not a fan of romance).

Synopsis

This is the extraordinary love story of Clare and Henry who met when Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-two and Henry thirty. Impossible but true, because Henry suffers from a rare condition where his genetic clock periodically resets and he finds himself pulled suddenly into his past or future. In the face of this force they can neither prevent nor control, Henry and Clare’s struggle to lead normal lives is both intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.


I love how Niffenegger writes. I love how she portrays these characters, her descriptions, how she uses the idea of time travel as a genetic disorder and how she can put together a story following a time line that’s all over the place and not have it fall apart like it so easily could. You go from past to present to future and it’s seamless and gives the feeling of a piece of fruit.

Fruit? I know this is probably going to be one of the shittiest analogies, but the other objects I have popping into my head are a dividing line of sorts and a leveller.

Think of a piece of fruit. An orange (because I’m hungry and craving one) that’s being cut down the middle and the sides fall apart to reveal the textures and lines, but don’t look at them as if they are just the innards of this orange, but roads and patterns leading somewhere while being connected all at the same time. And then see the fruit come together again without the knife as if someone has filmed it and omitted the knife via editing.

Once again the fruit is whole and all is connected, but at the same time you know that there’s more then what the outside of the fruit presents. There’s roads diverging on the inside and intricate patterns.

This is the impression I get form this story. It’s like Niffenegger has cut right down the middle, but is telling the stories from two halves and she’s making them whole. The characters and their growth fit beautifully with the story, the ending ends it all perfectly, and I think I’m in love with this book. I think I might be in love with Niffenegger’s style.

I also think I have to go have lunch before I start rambling nonsensically.