[REVIEW] The Real Lolita by Sarah Weinman @EccoBooks @sarahw

Prior to reading The Real Lolita by Sarah Weinman I was familiar with Nabokov’s Lolita but haven’t read it so keep in mind that these thoughts come form someone who hasn’t read Lolita. What initially drew me to The Real Lolita was the true-crime aspect of it and the parallel between the Sally Horner case and Lolita was a big plus as well.

The Real Lolita is a true-crime book focused on the kidnapping of an eleven year old girl named Sally Horner in 1948 by a man who posed as an FBI agent in order to deceive Sally into going with him. The happenings in Lolita as well as the kidnapping are connected and Weinman [the author] within this book explains the connection between the two. From the first few chapters we are introduced to the story of Sally’s kidnapping which is quite chilling and disturbing. It reads like fiction and it’s hard to believe it’s not. When you pass one hundred pages you will notice that a lot of research went into this book and I really appreciated that while reading. The book feels like an essay or a thesis defending the subject matter at hand since we do not have actual proof [in verbal form or written] that the Sally Horner case inspired Lolita. I have seen some reviews complaining that the book mainly focuses on Nabokov and his life but I would disagree and say that fair amount of chapters discuss both subjects presented to the reader. As the book title clearly says ‘The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World’ you should expect Nabokov’s origin story and analysis of early influences prior to the writing of Lolita. Weinman discusses many things and focuses on certain characters whose stories I found unnecessary although some were interesting. I want to go back to the book ‘feeling like a thesis’, Weinman discusses and shows [in a form of a handwritten note] that Nabokov knew about the Sally Horner case before the publication of Lolita but there is mystery around what exactly inspired his master novel Lolita. I would also like to discuss the cover of the book which is absolutely brilliant and showcases the book in the most perfect way. The picture is of Sally Horner on the phone with her family after being rescued – you can see the excitement in her eyes because after twenty-one months of being apart from her family she’s talking to them – and the butterflies which are a connection to Nabokov who had a passion for butterflies. In the book, Weinman points that she’s not the first person to discover the connection between Sally and Lolita because before her we had Peter Welding who wrote an article about it in a paper called Nuggets and we have a Nabokovian scholar called Alexander Dolinin who discussed the parallel between the two as well. Weinman also points out where both went wrong and corrects their mistakes by shining light on Sally Horner who, first, was a victim of a lunatic called Frank La Salle and then an inspiration for the well-known novel by Vladimir Nabokov. What particularly fascinated me was the fact that after several decades people didn’t realise that the character Dolores Haze aka Lolita is a victim of abuse and not someone to be blamed for it. I honestly wish I read Lolita before reading this book because I might’ve seen it as something that it’s not. Now, there are many things I didn’t discuss that are in this book because this review would’ve been very long but I tried my best to share key points.

Although I was familiar with Lolita and what it dealt with [a relationship between an older man and an underage girl] I did get spoiled when it came to certain happenings in the book so if you are someone who doesn’t like to get spoiled I suggest you pick up a copy of Lolita and then get The Real Lolita so you can compare both.

I would like to thank the publisher Ecco Books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and weren’t influenced by anything.

My rating: 

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Sarah Weinman is the editor of Women Crime Writers: Eight Suspense Novels of the 1940s & 50s(Library of America) and Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives (Penguin). She covers book publishing for Publishers Marketplace, and has written for the New York Timesthe Washington Postthe New Republicthe Guardian, and Buzzfeed, among other outlets. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Find her on: Website, Twitter and Goodreads.

[REVIEW] The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon @ViragoBooks

What caught my attention to The Incendiaries was the hype around it which was huge and everyone seemed to be talking about it. I wanted to check what all the hype was about, of course.

The Incendiaries is told from three voices although it mainly focuses on Will Kendall, who is a scholarship student who juggles both work and studying and whose life is quite hectic. Our second ‘narrator’ is Phoebe Lin, who we get to meet but no in the same amount as Will. Third person is the cult leader called John Leal whose craziness we get to read in half-page chapters. The story revolves around Will and Phoebe and their relationship which begins like any other but it changes when she becomes acquainted with John Leal. Phoebe has a tragic past which she’s secretive about even to her boyfriend Will, but as she joins the enigmatic John Leal she begins to open up  – not to Will – but to Leal and other cult members. Will begins to see changes in Phoebe and decides to find out what is making Phoebe distracted and distanced from him. When bombings of several abortion clinics happen and Phoebe vanishes he refuses to believe that she’s the one responsible.

I have to say that I enjoyed Kwon’s writing in this novel the most. I just liked the way she crafted sentences because they felt magical at times. Now, since this novel is about two-hundred and ten pages long I have to say that I felt some of the characters weren’t developed fully and I would’ve liked to see their POV deepend – e.g. Leal and Phoebe. The characters weren’t likable to me at all but I did feel for Will towards the end of the novel. The beginning of the book confused me because the author shifted from first person to third person but once I got used to it I didn’t mind it much. Onto what I liked in The Incendiaries – the way Kwon described Leal and his manipulation effects on Phoebe is something I liked because you can see how easily a wounded and broken person can fall under someone else’s power.  The psychology behind that was point on because it often happens that way – lost souls are always in need of guidance and light. There wasn’t an appeal to Phoebe’s character for me nor did I feel sympathy for her because of the way she was crafted although I wish we got to see more from her POV in the book –  that would’ve given her more dimension [if that makes sense] and depth. I liked Will’s willingness to save Phoebe from the dangerous world she was entering because that shows how far a person will go to save someone he/she loves.

I found The Incendiaries to be a well written debut novel with quite an interesting story but it did fail when it comes to other characters in it – whether it was intentional or not I found it to be something missing. I would recommend reading this book because it will make you think as well as get you out of a reading slump if you’re in one because of the great writing.

I would like to thank the publisher Virago Press for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and weren’t influenced by anything.

My rating: 

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R.O. Kwon’s first novel, The Incendiaries, is published by Riverhead (U.S.) and forthcoming from Virago (U.K.) in September 2018. She is a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellow. Her writing has appeared in The Guardian, Vice, BuzzFeed, Time, Noon, Electric Literature, Playboy, San Francisco Chronicle, and elsewhere. She has received awards and fellowships from Yaddo, MacDowell, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Omi International, and the Norman Mailer Writers’ Colony. Born in South Korea, she’s mostly lived in the United States.

Find her on: Website, Twitter and Goodreads.

(BLOG TOUR)[REVIEW] Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett @JoFletcherBooks @robertjbennett

Robert Jackson Bennett is an author I’m familiar with because I bought his first novel City of Stairs two years ago for my birthday so when I saw that he had a new trilogy coming out I jumped at a chance to see what his writing is all about. I’ve yet to read City of Stairs but after Foundryside I am sure I’ll be reading more of him.

I don’t usually read fantasy books but I am always interested in trying new genres and seeing how I’ll like them so this since this is my first fantasy in a long time. Read the synopsis below:

She thought it was just another job. But her discovery could bring the city to its knees . . .

The city of Tevanne runs on scrivings, industrialised magical inscriptions that make inanimate objects sentient; they power everything, from walls to wheels to weapons. Scrivings have brought enormous progress and enormous wealth – but only to the four merchant Houses who control them. Everyone else is a servant or slave, or they eke a precarious living in the hellhole called the Commons.

There’s not much in the way of work for an escaped slave like Sancia Grado, but she has an unnatural talent that makes her one of the best thieves in the city. When she’s offered a lucrative job to steal an ancient artefact from a heavily guarded warehouse, Sancia agrees, dreaming of leaving the Commons – but instead, she finds herself the target of a murderous conspiracy. Someone powerful in Tevanne wants the artefact, and Sancia dead – and whoever it is already wields power beyond imagining.

Sancia will need every ally, and every ounce of wits at her disposal, if she is to survive – because if her enemy gets the artefact and unlocks its secrets, thousands will die, and, even worse, it will allow ancient evils back into the world and turn their city into a devastated battleground.

Considering that this is my first fantasy book in a while I have to say that I genuinely enjoyed being lost in the world that Robert Jackson Bennett has created. What I liked the most is how skilled the author is at world-building and how he describes certain things. I find the author to be hugely creative and loved reading his descriptions but at times I did feel like they were long and tiring. Our main character Sancia Grado is such a good one because of her strength and resilience – what I loved most about her character is her intelligence. Oh I have to mention Clef! Oh how much I adored Clef (Mr. Clef :D)! He was so funny and I loved the bond that Sancia and he made because it added more depth to the story. I loved the whole magic system that Bennett has created and its complexity. There are also many other characters in this book who are smart, brave, crafty, some who are pure evil! who will enrich your reading experience. The beginning of the book grabbed me because it started off with a heist and it was so action packed that you couldn’t look away. There were parts where I felt the book dragged and that made me frustrated at times but the last two-hundred pages were very fast-paced and action packed. This is the first book in a trilogy called Founders and the book leaves a satisfying ending and also leaves us with something more to look forward and discover in the second book.

What can one say? Foundryside is a very good action-packed, cleverly written and thought out book that every fantasy lover should read.

I would like to thank the publisher Jo Fletcher Books for sending a copy of this book my way in exchange for an honest review. All opinions written here are my own and haven’t been influenced by anything.

My rating: 

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Robert Jackson Bennett is a two-time award winner of the Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novel, an Edgar Award winner for Best Paperback Original, and is also the 2010 recipient of the Sydney J Bounds Award for Best Newcomer, and a Philip K Dick Award Citation of Excellence. His fifth novel, City of Stairs, is in stores now. He lives in Austin with his wife and son.

Find him on: Website, Goodreads and Twitter.

[REVIEW] The Aladdin Trial: A Burton and Lamb Thriller by Abi Silver @EyeAndLightning

I was contacted by the publisher to review this book and when I read the synopsis it immediately made me want to read it. I love reading thriller/mystery genre and what stood out with this one for me is the setting and a very interesting murder case – a hospital cleaner gets blamed for the murder of an artist who happens to be a patient there! How exciting!

The Aladdin Trial begins with a, you guessed it, murder of an old woman who went in for  an operation and was recovering at the hospital. Her death is very mysterious because where her body was found doesn’t make sense if you try and explain it with suicide – she couldn’t have jumped from a balcony because of her condition as well as age so there must be something more to it. Ahmad – the cleaner – gets thrown into jail and is awaiting trial for the murder of Mrs. Hennessy – the old woman – but there is something more to it. Mrs. Hennessy had children to whom she left an inheritance of two million pounds which could give one of the children the motive for her murder or the doctors might have something to do with it since one of them is trying to cover something up. To help us find the truth we have Constance Lamb and Judith Burton – two brilliant and flawed characters – who are trying to prove that Ahmad is innocent and there’s something more to Mrs. Hennessy’s death.

I have to apologize for my bad synopsis summary but you can always check out the Goodreads page for this book and get the better version of the synopsis. The chapters in this book are short and very readable. I found The Aladdin Trial to be such a thrilling read that after about 50% made me want to read on and don’t stop until I find out what exactly happened to Mrs. Hennessy. At times The Aladdin Trial fails with chapters finishing abruptly or being out of place which some people might find annoying. I found Ahmad to be so interesting as well as the mystery around his wife and sometimes I wanted to yell at him because I wanted him to tell more to Constance and Judith about his life and events that happened that night. The resolution of this book was very good and I found it satisfying.

The Aladdin Trial is a thrilling book that will make you want to read and read so you can find out the truth behind the mysterious death of one of Hampstead hospitals patients.

I would like to thank the publisher Eye/Lightning Books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions written here are my own and weren’t influenced by anything.

My rating: 

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Yorkshire-bred, Abi Silver is a lawyer by profession. She lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and three sons. Her first courtroom thriller featuring the legal duo Judith Burton and Constance Lamb, The Pinocchio Brief, was published by Lightning Books in 2017 and was shortlisted for the Waverton Good Read Award. Her follow-up The Aladdin Trial, featuring the same legal team, was published in 2018.

Read more about Abi and her work at www.abisilver.co.uk.

Find her on: Twitter and Facebook.

[REVIEW] The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton @MantleBooks

If you haven’t heard of Kate Morton then what you need to do is: Open a new tab in your browser -> type in: goodreads.com -> in the search box type: Kate Morton -> voilla you can now investigate every book of hers and see which one you like the best and pick it up ASAP. I’m sure most people have heard of Kate Morton but this is written to save a life in case someone hasn’t. You can imagine my delight when I got an early copy of The Clockmaker’s Daughter, the newest book from Kate Morton.

‘They remain, as they age, the people that they were when they were young, only frailer and sadder.’

The Clockmaker’s Daughter has a great synopsis on its Goodreads page so I am going to copy it here:

‘In the summer of 1862, a group of young artists led by the passionate and talented Edward Radcliffe descends upon Birchwood Manor in rural Oxfordshire. Their plan: to spend a secluded summer month in a haze of inspiration and creativity. But by the time their stay is over, one woman has been shot dead while another has disappeared; a priceless heirloom is missing; and Edward Radcliffe’s life is in ruins.

Over one hundred and fifty years later, Elodie Winslow, a young archivist in London, uncovers a leather satchel containing two seemingly unrelated items: a sepia photograph of an arresting-looking woman in Victorian clothing, and an artist’s sketchbook containing the drawing of a twin-gabled house on the bend of a river.

Why does Birchwood Manor feel so familiar to Elodie? And who is the beautiful woman in the photograph? Will she ever give up her secrets?’

I honestly couldn’t write a better synopsis because I would spoil the book and reveal too much – with reading only the synopsis above I believe that the reader will get enough information before they dive into The Clockmaker’s Daughter.

‘All human beings crave connection, even the introverts, it is too frightening for them to think themselves alone.’

Kate Morton is someone whose books are an excellent escape into a world filled with mystery and wonderful settings. I loved reading about the Birchwood Manor and Morton has managed to capture this place in a magical way which made you picture it vividly. The story is told from multiple perspectives – we have Elodie, Birdie, Juliet, Tip, Lucy etc. – which give the reader a complete picture on all happenings in the book. The writing is what you can expect – lyrical, gorgeous – from Kate Morton. I have noticed that Morton is a great psychologist when it comes to human nature as well as perception. The way Morton writes makes you want to read more and get lost in the world her imagination has created.  The characters in this novel were wonderfully crafted and I especially liked Lucy and well as Lily (Birdie). Although I’ve enjoyed this book it a lot, this isn’t her best one – you still feel that satisfaction of going back into her world and getting lost in it but the story, for me, didn’t have a ‘wow’ factor. I have expected more of the magic that she puts in it but sadly I didn’t feel it with The Clockmaker’s Daughter. The first one-hundred pages were very slow and I couldn’t wait to get past them because I knew it would pick up. I believe that other Kate Morton fans will relate with me about these issues but who knows I might be the only one.. If anyone is on the edge about reading this book just know that after I read half of the book I couldn’t put it down and read more than three-hundred pages in a day.

‘..And so she avoided love. That is, she avoided the complication of locking hearts with another human being.’

The Clockmaker’s Daughter is nothing short of a great summer read which will transport you to a beautiful world of mystery, art, love and into the amazing place called Birchwood Manor.

The Clockmaker’s Daughter will be out on September 20th 2018 published by Mantle.

I would like to thank the publisher Mantle Books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions written here are my own and weren’t influenced by anything.

My rating: 

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Kate Morton was born in South Australia, grew up in the mountains of south-east Queensland and now lives with her family in London and Australia. She has degrees in dramatic art and English literature, and harboured dreams of joining the Royal Shakespeare Company until she realised that it was words she loved more than performing. Kate still feels a pang of longing each time she goes to the theatre and the house lights dim…

Find her on: WebsiteInstagram, Facebook and GoodReads.

[REVIEW] The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech @OrendaBooks

I have seen this book on Twitter and saw that it’s LGBTQ+ so I immediately had to get a copy of it and read it! I found the synopsis of the book to sound very interesting because of different settings the story takes place in.

The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a book about two people, Ben and Andrew, who seem to meet each other in unusual circumstances and quite often. From the moment Ben sets eyes of Andrew [in a library] he falls for him and something gives him courage to leave his number in a book Andrew was reading. Fast forward to some more coincidence-meetings and they start a relationship with each other. They spent much of their time together, hanging out at Ben’s place, going to the circus etc. Ben’s father is a peculiar being who drinks a lot, Ben is afraid that his father wouldn’t accept his sexuality so he keeps it quiet. During their relationship Ben and Andrew learn a lot about each other, Ben shares that he always wanted to travel to Africa and take care of lions while Andrew shows Ben a wish box he believes is magical. Ben goes to Africa, but why has he gone? What happened between Ben and Andrew?

I love that this book is LGBTQ+ because I feel like it would’ve been boring if it wasn’t. I found The Lion Tamer Who Lost to be an interesting read filled with heart and great writing but I did have some issues with it. My issues with it are based on my tastes (of course) and some may disagree with me but this bothered me: I found the book to be predictable at times and felt that there were cliches in it. I have to keep this review spoiler free so I can’t get into exactly what bothered me but I can say that the tragedy in the book was something I found to be okay for this story [meaning it compels you to read on] even though I didn’t find it necessary. Ben and Andrew’s love story is something I loved reading about and the author made them come to life with her writing. The chapters alternate between past and present and we have a number of parts which are titled BEN and ANDREW. Out of both main characters in this book I found Andrew to be most likable and so sweet. I loved Andrew and enjoyed reading his parts the most. Aside from my issues with it I believe that many people will enjoy picking this book up and I salute Louise for writing an LGBTQ+ book because we need more of them in the world.

The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a love story between Ben and Andrew that  begins as a series of meet-cutes which eventually forms into a love story that grabs you and doesn’t let go until the very end.

I would like to thank the publisher Orenda Books for sending a copy of this book my way in exchange for an honest review. All opinions mentioned here are my own and weren’t influenced by anything.

My rating: 

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Louise Beech knew from being small that she wanted to write, to create, to make magic. She regularly writes travel pieces for the Hull Daily Mail, where she was a columnist for ten years. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice and being published in a variety of UK magazines. Her debut novel was a Guardian Readers’ Pick for 2015. Louise lives with her husband and children on the outskirts of Hull – the UK’s 2017 City of Culture – and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012. She was also part of the Mums’ Army on Lizzie and Carl’s BBC Radio Humberside Breakfast Show for three years.

Find her on: Website, Twitter and GoodReads.

[REVIEW] Heart Berries: A Memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot @BloomsburyBooks

What I love about reading memoirs is the true life stories that really affect the reader and Heart Berries: A Memoir was no exception.

“Nothing is too ugly for this world, I think. It’s just that people pretend not to see.” 

I will keep this review short because this is a short book – about one hundred and twenty pages. In this short memoir Mailhot describes so much of her life in such a vivid way that you feel like she’s telling it to you. The writing style of this book isn’t your usual one because this memoir is more like a diary where thoughts go from one place to the other. I found Terese to be so strong and even though she always got back to that person I felt for her and understood why she did it. This memoir includes mental illness because Terese suffers from PTSD and Bipolar II. I enjoyed reading her hospital stays because I am very much interested in mental health and facilities where people are treated. I love how she portrays mental illness honestly and this story was something I needed to read. In the end of this book some stories she tells are repeated but that didn’t bother me.

I found this to be a great memoir which I would definitely recommend to people who enjoy them. It’s a must read.

Heart Berries: A Memoir is a brilliant book written by Terese Marie Mailhot – in it she deals with her rough upbringing as well as family and relationship issues in a way that is so interesting and fascinating.

I would like to thank the publisher Bloomsbury UK for sending a copy of this book my way in exchange for an honest review. All opinions written here are my own and weren’t influenced by anything.

My rating: 

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Terese Marie Mailhot is from Seabird Island Band. She graduated with an MFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts. She served as Saturday Editor at The Rumpus and was a columnist at Indian Country Today. Her writing appears in West BranchGuernicaPacific StandardElle, and elsewhere. She is the author of the New York Times bestselling Heart Berries: A Memoir. She serves as faculty at the Institute of American Indian Arts and she’s a Tecumseh Postdoctoral Fellow at Purdue University.

Find her on: Website, Twitter and GoodReads.

[REVIEW + GIVEAWAY] The Last Watchman of Old Cairo by Michael David Lukas #prhpartner @PRHGlobal

When it comes to this book what I fell for was the cover because if you look at it you will fall in love with it too. The synopsis of this book is the second thing that drew me because it sounds so mysterious and I love that it’s set in Egypt.

The Last Watchman of Old Cairo is a story about a young man called Joseph who receives a package after the death of his father which carries a lot of mystery around it and makes Joseph wonder why was this package sent to him by his father as well as pose a question: what family secrets hide in it. We have three storylines the first one is about the first watchman called Ali al-Raqb set thousand years earlier where we learn more about sacred texts which were guarded, the second one set in 1897 where we follow two twin sisters, Margaret and Agnes on their journey to uncover many secrets revolving around sacred texts disappearing  and finally we have Joseph and his journey to find out more about his family history and the meaning behind the package he’s received. All of their stories are linked and each chapter alternates between them.

What first caught my eye is the gay main character which I am so grateful for. Joseph was a very intelligent character whose journey through Cairo made me read on and on. Usually I always favour the LGBTQ+ character in books but the characters who warmed my heart were Margaret and Agnes – both of them were brilliant and I loved their personalities. I love how the story progressed when it comes to Ali, how he found a better place for himself as a watchman and found purpose in life. The Last Watchman of Old Cairo offered a lot of history which I appreciate and enjoyed reading. I feel like Joseph’s story could’ve been fleshed out better because even though it was interesting it felt flat compared to the other two.

The Last Watchman of Old Cairo is a book about a man called Joseph who after the death of his father receives a mysterious package addressed to him [sent by his father] which opens up a world of unanswered questions and family secrets.

I would like to thank Penguin Random House International for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions written are my own and weren’t influenced by anything.

I am hosting a signed giveaway of this book on my Instagram account and if you’re not on IG you can RT this tweet on Twitter. It is open to EU residents.

My rating:

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Michael David Lukas has been a Fulbright Scholar in Turkey, a late-shift proofreader in Tel Aviv, and a Rotary Scholar in Tunisia. A graduate of Brown University and the University of Maryland, his writing has been published in the Virginia Quarterly Review, Slate, National Geographic Traveler, and the Georgia Review. He has received scholarships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Squaw Valley Community of Writers, and the Elizabeth George Foundation. When he isn’t writing, he teaches creative writing to third and fourth graders.

Find him on: Website, Goodreads and Twitter.

[REVIEW] Only Killers and Thieves by Paul Howarth @PushkinPress

What attracted me to this book was that it’s something different from what I usually read. I wanted to challenge myself and discover a new genre to see how I will perceive it.

The year is 1885, the location Queensland, Australia where racial tensions and land-owning have become big issues. We meet Tommy and his brother Billy who live with their parents and sister Mary on land which their father takes care of, they live a somewhat normal life but all that is about to change when coming from horse-riding they find their parents dead in their own home. Their sister Mary is injured so they decide to take her to John Sullivan, a wealthy land-owner, in seach of help. Both brothers want to find out who murdered their parents and why so they seek help from Sullivan who brings in the mysterious Inspector Noone and they begin their journey.

I have to admit that I have struggled with the first hundred pages of this book because the author went on to describe the lives of both Tommy and Billy into great detail which I didn’t find that necessary – having said that I would’ve cut the book by at least 60-80 pages. I waited for something interesting to happen and by the page one-hundred-and-something I have been revived and sucked into the wild world of both brothers in Queensland. From that point the story became much more interesting but I still felt that it dragged at times with a few details. From page two-hundred the story becomes so compelling that you can’t stop reading because you want to find out more and more. I didn’t feel for most of the characters because they weren’t good people but I did have a soft spot for Tommy, who was kind and intelligent. I love how the author created the ‘drifting apart’ of the two brothers and exactly that enriched the story even more. It’s the 19th century so we see the racial tensions and how awfully people of colour were treated and I have to admit that reading these parts was hard because even though this story is fictional, these things happened in real life. The conclusion to this book was satisfying but a bit melancholic. Even though this is a debut you can see that the author has great skills and great imagination.

Only Killers and Thieves is a story about two brothers who, struck by deaths of their parents, enter a very dangerous world and begin to drift apart from each other set in the 1885’s Queensland, Australia.

I would like to thank the publisher (Pushkin Press) for sending a copy of this book my way in exchange for an honest review. All opinions written here are my own and weren’t influenced by anything.

My rating: 

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Paul Howarth was born and grew up in Great Britain before moving to Melbourne in his late twenties. He lived in Australia for more than six years, gained dual citizenship in 2012, and now lives in Norwich, United Kingdom, with his family.

In 2015, he received a master’s degree from the University of East Anglia’s creative writing program, the most prestigious course of its kind in the UK, where he was awarded the Malcolm Bradbury Scholarship.

Find him on: Goodreads, Twitter.

[REVIEW] An American Marriage by Tayari Jones @OneworldNews

“But how you feel love and understand love are two different things.”

I’m sure we have all heard of An American Marriage either on social media or in newspapers, television etc. This book has become very widely known after being selected for Oprah’s Book Club and since then it has been religiously read by people. Prior to this I have seen a few of my blogger friends read and review this book which intrigued me and made me want to do the same thing.

An American Marriage evolves around Roy and Celestial a young, married couple whose lives are very good considering where they live but while on a trip to Roy’s parents house something terrible happens – Roy becomes involved in a rape case which eventually gets him sent to jail and sentenced to twelve years. Both Celestial and Roy know that he didn’t do it because they were next to each other all night, but in the eyes of the justice system that doesn’t matter and with the sentence the judge ruins both their lives. Being distanced from each other their lives are destined to change and Celestial falls for another man while her husband is in prison. This is all you need to know before starting this book.

I admit that I was sort hesitant to start An American Marriage because of the hype it got after Oprah’s Book Club chose it as their next read but I have to admit that even though it wasn’t what I expected it was a good read. I didn’t find any of the characters likable, except for Olive who I really liked, both Roy, Celestial and Andre are flawed, very flawed and have their own issues. I have to say that I love the way the author created Roy and Celestial because some of the things they said about each other were very deep, deep in the way that both characters really know each other and are very perceptive when it comes their physicality. While reading the book I wondered how in the world would the author wrap this complex situation and she did wrap it in an interesting way which was okay. Some actions of the characters weren’t to my liking and I wanted to scream at them to just say what they mean, just say it! The author shares the correspondence between Roy and Celestial and I love how she gradually introduced the distance which appeared in this situation.

An American Marriage is a tale of two people whose lives completely change after an incident gets one of them wrongfully convicted, from then on we see a marriage spiral out of control leaving both parties shaking.

I would like to thank the publisher (Oneworld Publications) for sending a copy of this book my way in exchange for an honest review. All opinions written here are my own and weren’t influenced by anything.

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Tayari Jones is the author of the novels Leaving Atlanta, The Untelling, Silver Sparrow, and An American Marriage (Algonquin Books, February 2018). Her writing has appeared in Tin House, The Believer, The New York Times, and Callaloo. A member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, she has also been a recipient of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, Lifetime Achievement Award in Fine Arts from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, United States Artist Fellowship, NEA Fellowship and Radcliffe Institute Bunting Fellowship. Silver Sparrow was named a #1 Indie Next Pick by booksellers in 2011, and the NEA added it to its Big Read Library of classics in 2016. Jones is a graduate of Spelman College, University of Iowa, and Arizona State University. She is currently an Associate Professor in the MFA program at Rutgers-Newark University.

Find her on: Website and Goodreads.