Monday, 31 October 2016

A Month in Books - October 2016

Happy Halloween!

I've got a few spooky and horror reads included in my October roundup so, if you're not chaperoning sugar-crazy kids this evening, you might like to curl up and scare yourself silly with a book instead.

I read twenty books during the past 31 days, nearly half of which were indie authors so I am happy to have been able to support their work. One is even my Book of the Month with another vying for the title. You'll have to read on down to find out which they are!


Patchwork Man by Debrah Martin

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Buy the paperback from The Book Depository

Read my original book review on Literary Flits

I received an ebook copy of this crime thriller from the author and liked her depictions of Lawrence's poverty-stricken Croydon childhood. I recognised Eastbourne's bitter seafront winds too! The overall storyline didn't convince me though so Patchwork Man ended up a 3 star read.


While The World Watched by Carolyn Maull Mckinstry with Denise George

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

Another 3 star rating, this time a listen, was for Carolyn Maull McKinstry's memoir of growing up in Birmingham, Alabama during the Civil Rights era. Carolyn was actually in the bombed 16th Street Baptist Church and her experience that day shaped the rest of her life. This is an interesting memoir, albeit overly repetitive for my taste.


The Second Stage Of Grief by Katherine Hayton

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

I've read several crime books this month, the second being this New Zealand set police procedural which I received as a reward for nominating it for publication via KindleScout. I enjoy Katherine Hayton's writing and the different flavour her Kiwi settings bring to the Ngaire Blakes mysteries. Although this second in the series was only just published, I am already eagerly awaiting the third!


In The Line Of Duty by Carolyn Arnold

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

An American city is the setting for In The Line Of Duty, my third book review as part of Beck Valley Book Tours. This book is the seventh in its series so I had missed out on some back story, but it was still a good read as a standalone novel as I plan to now start at the series' beginning and catch myself up.


The Lovely Brush by Heather Awad

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

I first read Heather Awad's poetry almost exactly a year before ago and was delighted to be offered an advance copy of her second collection, The Lovely Brush. Heather's words can be bleak and emtional but I love how she presents her universal themes though intensely personal experiences.


An Ishmael Of Syria by Asaad Almohammad

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

This indie author debut was hit and miss for me. It is an incredibly powerful fictional portrait of the trauma of life in exile and the writing is certainly impassioned, but also sometimes awkwardly paced and edited.


Ghost Money by Andrew Nette

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

More crime fiction here and Ghost Money is an atmospheric noir mystery set in 1990s Cambodia just as Khmer Rouge power is fading and the broken country is trying to rebuild itself. I thought it a good read for the well evoked setting as much as the mystery.


Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

I've got March by Geraldine Brooks awaiting me as an audiobook, but wanted to revisit Little Women first as I hadn't read the classic since childhood. It is still just as good as I remember and I appreciated its underlying feminism far more now. I doubt I noticed thirty years ago!


Bitter Fruit by Achmat Dangor 

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

Another country on the cusp of change, South Africa this time, viewed through the experiences of one disintegrating family. Bitter Fruit was a tough book to read and took a while to draw me in, but I think it will be memorable.


Squashed Possums: Off the Beaten Track in New Zealand by Jonathan Tindale

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

I got so jealous while reading this fiction-memoir of Jon's months living in a caravan in ultra-rural New Zealand! The book is narrated by the caravan itself which is a fun, quirky idea and is interesting for its history and nature of New Zealand as well as for details of the way-off-grid lifestyle.


Halo Round The Moon by Steve Turnbull

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

Halo is the third of Steve's Maliha Anderson steampunk mysteries that I have read and I love his combination of Edwardian India and fantastical steampunk inventions. The train in this book is simply wonderful and I want to take the same journey as Maliha!


Live This Book! by Tom Chatfield

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

Part self help book, part stunning piece of design, Live This book impressed me with its thoughtful questions, exercises and writing prompts. It doesn't promise instant life hacks and fixes, but rather asks its owner to consider their own ideas for contented living. A good Christmas gift for bloggers, writers, unsatisfied souls and anyone searching for hygge.


Refugee Tales edited by David Herd and Anna Pincus

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

An intellectual collection of short stories and poetry based in the true experiences of 'invisible' detainees in Britain. Authors include Patience Agbabi, Chris Cleave, Marina Lewycka and Ali Smith and this is a saddening glimpse into an aspect of British justice that I suspect most of us would like to pretend doesn't happen.


I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

A lighter choice now and I loved Jandy's use of flamboyant language and hyperbole in this book. She completely understands her lead characters, teenage twins Jude and Noah, speaking convincingly through them in this coming-of-age tale of family, art, self-identity and love.


Occupied by Joss Sheldon

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

I didn't know what to expect from this audiobook, but Occupied is definitely be my Book of the Month and might become my Book of the Year too. It's brilliant! If you only allow yourself to be swayed by one of my reviews this month, make this the book you buy!


Courage Has No Color, The True Story Of The Triple Nickles: America's First Black Paratroopers by Tanya Lee Stone

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Buy the audiobook download from Audible via Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk
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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

Yes, yet another audiobook, but this one is short and was a little disappointing. There are interesting snippets of information about the Triple Nickles, but I didn't think Stone really had enough material to justify a whole book.


Crocheted Mandalas by Lynne Rowe

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

I love to crochet - you might already know that - and this neat little craft book has some great ideas and bold designs. If you'd like to win it, my Literary Flits Giveaway is open worldwide until the 2nd November. Get your entries in now!


The Last Pilgrim by Gard Sveen

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

A WW2 crime in Norway and its 2003 police investigation provide the dual timelines for this novel. I thought the book might have been stronger had it focussed solely on one or the other, but it was still a pretty good read and got more engrossing as it went on.


The Last September by Elizabeth Bowen

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

Bowen's depiction of Anglo-Irish aristocracy in 1920s Ireland has some of the most irritating characters I have read, intentionally so I believe. History tells us it won't end well for them and I could quite understand why!


anemogram. by Rebecca Gransden

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

Finally for October's reads is this superbly creepy horror novel which is just perfect for Halloween. I loved Rebecca's richly detailed descriptions and post-industrial landscapes. The story starts out one way before deftly twisting around and I found it to be utterly compelling writing!


So that's everything for October and I hope you are encouraged to pick up a few of these titles. Let me know in the comments of books you think I would like too.

I'm planning to read a Spanish book, Berta La Larga by Cuca Canals, to coincide with my WorldReads post on the 5th November, and also have classic fiction, indie authors and more Scandinavian crime lined up awaiting reading. Roll on November!

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