The Map of Bones picks up from where Francesca Haig's debut novel, The Fire Sermon, left off. Cass, Piper and Zoe are on the run following the deadly The Map of Bones picks up from where Francesca Haig's debut novel, The Fire Sermon, left off. Cass, Piper and Zoe are on the run following the deadly confrontation at the Silo between the Confessor and Kip, with the knowledge of the Alpha Council's horrifying plan for the Omega's.
Despite the dramatic ending of The Fire Sermon, the narrative in The Map of Bones is slow to start. We're almost a quarter of the way into the book before Haig introduces a new element to the story that finally prompts the characters to take action. From there the pace begins to pick up as Cass and her allies recognise the need to actively stand against the Council and pursue a new possibility for salvation despite the odds that are stacked again them.
I wasn't really a fan of Cass in the first novel and I found her to be no less frustrating here. Drowning in guilt and struggling with her visions, her thoughts are often repetitive and circular. Piper and Zoe serve as good companions but I found neither character to be particularly compelling.
What I did admire was Haig's descriptive writing and continued world building. She provides further detail about the cataclysmic events that destroyed the world and the twinning phenomenon.
Though I found The Map of Bones to be a somewhat dreary read, the story ends on a hopeful note and I am curious to learn how the trilogy will resolve in book three.
The Light on the Water by Olga Lorenzo is a thoughtful novel exploring a myriad of the themes, most notably motherhood, grief, guilt and love.
Two long The Light on the Water by Olga Lorenzo is a thoughtful novel exploring a myriad of the themes, most notably motherhood, grief, guilt and love.
Two long years after her young autistic daughter disappeared during an overnight hike, Anne Baxter is on the precipice of being charged with Aida's murder. Shunned by her neighbours and vilified by the media, Anne waits...and hopes.
This is a story that focuses on character rather than action. Anne is a hugely sympathetic character, trapped in a hellish kind of limbo. The main figures of The Light on the Water are complex, and Lorenzo avoids many of the typical stereotypes of the genre, even with the dysfunction that plagues the members of Anne's family.
Of particular note is the manner in which Lorenzo explores the response of the wider community to Anne's plight. From almost the moment Aida is reported missing, Anne must endure the suspicion of strangers, all too ready to condemn her for any real, perceived, or even imagined action that has led to her daughter's disappearance. No matter the truth of Aida's fate, Anne is judged to be at fault.
The Light on the Water is a quietly compelling story. Simply written, it nevertheless evokes a wealth of emotion. The tension builds nicely as the story unfolds at a measured pace, though I felt the subplot involving the refuge was an unnecessary distraction. ...more
The Flood Girls by Richard Fifield is an engaging story of regrets and redemption set in small-town America.
After almost a decade's absence, Rachel Fl The Flood Girls by Richard Fifield is an engaging story of regrets and redemption set in small-town America.
After almost a decade's absence, Rachel Flood is back in Quinn, Montana (Population:956) to make amends for the devastation she wrought as a wild teen to an openly hostile collection of family, (ex) friends and enemies. After a week of scathing silence, pointed glares and outright threats, Rachel is on the verge of admitting defeat when her mother, Laverna Flood, the proprietor of one of Quinn's two taverns 'The Dirty Shame', is targeted in a robbery and her injuries require Rachel to take her mother's place behind the bar, and on the local women's softball team.
This is a story full of family dysfunction, addiction, friendship, failure and forgiveness. Rachel's search for redemption is complicated, and no-one is inclined to make it easy on her, least of all her self.
Fifield has created an eccentric and often outlandish cast, including the uncompromising Laverna, the frightening Red and Black Mabel's (distinguished by a rotten smile), Rachel's no nonsense sponsor, Athena, and the members of the softball team. The town's three rookie firefighter volunteers are all named Jim, the Police Chief runs the local AA meetings, and Reverend Foote is determined to convert the town's sinners.
Of all the characters however is Rachel's neighbour, twelve year old Jake, who is the most endearing. A devotee of Madonna and Jackie Collins, with an individual sense of style and fashion, he is mature beyond his years, but his effeminate manner infuriates his brutal stepfather. Jake is one of the few residents of Quinn willing to give Rachel a chance, and a delightful bond develops between them.
Though the humour is a little uneven and the plot not particularly original, The Flood Girls is written with heart and a genuine feel for small town life. A strong debut....more
Maybe because I have never really been single, I just found this trite. From the perspective of being married, I want to tell these thirty something wMaybe because I have never really been single, I just found this trite. From the perspective of being married, I want to tell these thirty something women to grow up and get over the princess in waiting attitude. I feel like most of the women have completely unrealitic expectations of what love and commitment are. Really if the reason Julie can't get a guy is because she is only a size 6 and has celluite - then how does that explain the hordes of happily coupled/married size 12 and up women? Julie in particular is shallow and unlikeable, even before she decides that her true love lies in an already married man (no matter how open his marriage may be). I mean, really? I am wondering why she even bothered leaving her hotel when "researching" - somehow I think speaking to less than a dozen people in an entire country does not count as thorough investigation. The girls who are left at home are much more interesting - Georgia falling apart in the wake of her husband leaving her, Ruby contemplating single motherhood, Serena acting like a total flake and Alice holding on to an ideal in the face of reality. There were moments in this book - warm and humourous, but overall I think this book is irritating and I am not the least bit suprised that Julie remains single....more
I should have known better, being familiar with Jaye Ford's previous novels. I picked up Darkest Place at 2am to read a few pages before bed and didn' I should have known better, being familiar with Jaye Ford's previous novels. I picked up Darkest Place at 2am to read a few pages before bed and didn't put it down til I finished the last page, just minutes before my husband's alarm woke him for work at 5am.
After enduring years of guilt, heartbreak, and regret, Charlotte Townsend has finally found the strength to leave her past behind. In a new town, with a new apartment, and a new name, Carly has enrolled in college and is looking towards her future, but three days into her new life she wakes to find a stranger in her bedroom. When the police answer Carly's call for help, they find no sign of the man and assure her it was likely a crime of opportunity. Though shaken by the intrusion Carly refuses to let the incident destroy her fledgling confidence...until then it happens again, and then again.
Darkest Place is an absorbing tale of psychological suspense. The tension builds slowly, gathering momentum until you realise you are holding your breath in anxious anticipation.
"She wants to scream. It’s building in her chest. Trapped there, scratching at her lungs as though her ribs are the bars holding it back. She hears breathing. Not her own. Deep and unhurried. It whispers across her face like a warm cloth. It turns her skin to ice. She lashes out. Hits, twists, kicks. She sees it in her mind, feels it in her muscles. But it doesn’t happen. She doesn’t move. Neither does he. She sees him now. A shape in the darkness. Above her, black and motionless. He is watching. She watches back. Fear roaring through her bones, pulse thumping in her ears. Her voice is wedged in her throat now and choking her. No. Something else is squeezing, pushing down, making blood pound in her face. Warm hand, hard fingers. She doesn’t want to see. Doesn’t want to feel. She shuts her eyes. Waits. "
Carly is a complex character, and given her emotionally fragility, I was never quite sure if I could trust her perception of events as the story progressed. The police certainly have their doubts about the reliability of her reports, and Carly's psychiatrist offers a rational opinion that could explain her experiences, but I was sympathetic to her distress.
"She caught sight of herself in the mirror. Hair a mess, face tear-stained. Dark-ringed, pale, wild-eyed. And she spun away, the image burned onto her retinas. Distraught, panicked, confused. She looked like Charlotte. No, worse than that. She looked crazy."
I have to admit I was ambivalent about the ending, though it works within the context of character and story, I didn't find it wholly satisfying, though I can't really reveal why I feel that way without the risk of spoilers. Nevertheless, there is closure and a sense of triumph and hope.
Darkest Place is Ford's fifth novel and I would say her best to date. Clever, thrilling and gripping. ...more
Summer Skin offers a 'girl meets boy' story, a typical trope in YA/NA fiction, but author Kirsty Eagar has stripped back the common artifice of the co Summer Skin offers a 'girl meets boy' story, a typical trope in YA/NA fiction, but author Kirsty Eagar has stripped back the common artifice of the construct to present a love story that honest, unique and relevant.
I found Jess to be a particular refreshing character for the YA/NA genre, though a mess of contradictions, she reflects a realistic young woman still figuring out that life and its challenges are rarely black and white.
Mitch challenges Jess in interesting ways, at first glance he is everything Jess despises - an arrogant rugby playing sexist pig, and she holds tightly to that initial assessment, which she often uses as an excuse and justification throughout their relationship for her own behaviour, even as she learns that Mitch is a much more than that. They both struggle to define their relationship in terms of both their own identities, and each other.
There is real depth to this novel beneath the humor, mischief, drunken revelry, dress up balls, and instagram poses that exemplifies campus life. The author explores modern day feminism and how its meaning varies between individuals, illustrated by the differing attitudes and opinions of Jess and each of her close friends, Farren, Leanne and Allie. She captures the conflict many young women face when negotiating issues of lust, sex and intimacy in the age of the hook-up culture. Eagar also touches on several relevant issues affecting today's young adults including the use, and abuse of social media, the way in which porn distorts attitudes to sex, the risks of speeding and drink driving, but she never preaches.
Aimed squarely at a mature young adult/new adult audience, Summer Skin is smart, funny, sexy and thought-provoking. There is nothing typical about it....more