Tuesday, 28 February 2017

A Month In Books - February 2017

Considering that February is the shortest month, I still seem to have read a lot of books including four for a FeministFebruary reading challenge! And I am delighted that Literary Flits hosted another four Guest Reviews. If you have an indie author, small press or global literature book review that you would like to share please do get in touch. It doesn't need to be exclusive content and you can check here to see if a book has already been reviewed. I look forward to hearing from you!


Guest reviews

Nothing Is Strange by Mike Russell

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Author Rebecca Gransden was kind enough to donate February's first guest review and chose to talk about this collection of short stories that are full of surreal imagery.


Ivy Feckett Is Looking For Love by Jay Spencer Green

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A Brummie romance for people who don't like reading romance books and "a helluva lot more as well" says author and poet, Harry Whitewolf.


The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola

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Blogger and author Vikki Patis guest reviewed Mazzola's historical fiction novel set in Victorian England where a woman called Sarah Gale is sentenced to hang for murder. I reviewed Vikki's short story collection, Weltanschauung, this month too - scroll down for the link.


One-Two by Igor Eliseev

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For February's last Guest Review, author Mark Benjamin talks about a Russian novel. One-Two is a tale of conjoined twins, Faith and Hope, set against a bleak background of 1980s and 1990s Perestroika Russia.


My reviews

The Secret Book Of Kings by Yochi Brandes

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This was my first book for the Feminist February Challenge. Based on biblical history, Brandes explores the theory that our knowledge of the past is overly influenced by only knowing the stories of the victors. Here, she imagines the founding of Israel from the point of view of the vanquished House of Saul instead of the victorious House of David.


Blue Light Yokohama by Nicolas Obregon

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This Spanish-authored crime novel set in Tokyo has some of the most gorgeous descriptive prose I have read in months. I was disappointed by the unoriginal direction the story takes, but, for crime fiction fans especially, this novel is worth consideration.


Three Daughters Of Eve by Elif Shafak

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My second Feminist February read and also my Book of the Month! I loved this Turkish philosophical novel with its many thoughtful discussions on faith and culture, religion and God. It is a slow burn which might not appeal to some readers, but I thought the pace suited Shafak's themes perfectly.


Rhoda Fleming by George Meredith

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And from the best of the month to the worst! This novel was so dull, I actually gave up on it after seventy pages. DNF.


Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

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A second Japan-set novel, this historical fiction epic follows the fortunes of a Korean family who emigrate to Japan in search of a better life and struggle to ever beseen as more than second-class citizens.


The Queen Of Diamonds by Patricia Loufbourrow

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After Patricia interesting world building in the first of this steampunk series, I was keen to see how the books would progress. Unfortunately this second instalment is more a rambling diversion and I don't think I will continue through the planned eleven further volumes.


We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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Feminist February again and Adichie's essay, based on a talk she gave in 2014, is essential reading on the subject! It focuses particularly on Nigerian situations and experiences, but I could easily identify similarities in my own life.


The Model by Lars Saabye Christensen

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My enjoyment of this Norwegian thriller was marred by my utter dislike of its artist protagonist who was so completely self-centred that I struggled to see past him to the story itself. A shame because otherwise this novel is nicely written, but it didn't work for me.


Revenge Of The Mantis by Vered Ehsani

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My fourth Feminist February book and the third of Ehsani's African steampunk series. Mrs Beatrice Knight is fast becoming one of my favourite characters and I think this is her best adventure yet.


The Good Dictator by Goncalo J Nunes Dias

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If you like dystopian fiction this Portuguese indie authored novel portrays an interesting perspective on the end of society as we know it. I liked the ambiguity of Dias' title which becomes more compelling a question as the story progresses.


Russian Absurd: Selected Writings by Daniil Kharms

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This new translation of Kharms' 1930s Absurdist short stories and poetry was certainly an experience to read. It took me a while to get into and the stories present a surreal and dark impression of the Soviet era.


The Fashion In Shrouds by Margery Allingham

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Another 1930s read and this book unexpectedly turned out to be the complete antithesis of feminism. One of the Campion series, it is a competent mystery tale but I was frequently amazed at its vicious misogyny and racism. We have certainly come a long way in eighty years!


The Case Of The Killer Divorce by Barbara Venkataraman

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The second in the Jamie Quinn cosy mystery series. These Florida crime stories are good fun reads and I liked that we get to know our heroine, Jamie, much better in this book. I am currently running a Giveaway to win the Jamie Quinn trilogy. The Giveaway is open worldwide until midnight on the 4th March. Click through here to enter.


Dan's Narrowboat Life by Daniel Mark Brown

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This second volume of Dan's narrowboating memoirs again does a good job of portraying just how beautiful and serene the British countryside is around the Llangollen canal along the Welsh borders. He makes the lifestyle sound incredibly tempting - even in the depths of winter!


The Question Of Red by Laksmi Pamuntjak

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My first ever Indonesian novel, this book explores events surrounding the Communist purges and mass imprisonments after the Civil War. I thought too many characters took centre stage leading me to get confused at time. I would have also preferred more history and less doomed romance.


Purple, Silver, Olive, Orange by Helen Smith

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At just fifty pages Purple, Silver, Olive, Orange is a quick futuristic read, but one which I found provoked disproportionate levels of thought about romance, relationships and expectations. It's themes are deceptively deep considering the apparent simplicity and brevity of the tale.


Weltanschauung by Vikki Patis

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In this collection of five short stories Patis explores dark themes, putting her mostly very ordinary characters into extraordinary situations where their mental health and resilience are severely tested. She is not constrained by any specific genre so the tales encompass horror, thriller and dystopian science fiction, all with a chilling psychological aspect that I particularly enjoyed.


Behold The Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

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This novel of Cameroonian immigrants attempting to settle and build themselves an American life in New York is very readable. I was impressed by a strong start, but as the book progressed I found it to be too lightweight for its themes.


Fyre by Katherine Bogle

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Finally a rich fantasy short story collection which is set in the years preceding Bogle's novel, Haven, and shows the young queen as a child with her brothers and sister. This book review will publish at noon (UK time) today.


So that's it for Literary Flits' 23 February books. I hope at least one of these might tempt your reading tastebuds! Don't forget to enter the Jamie Quinn boxset giveaway. I already have some great books lined up for March including the second in my Jane Austen Challenge, three Guest Reviews, and titles from as far afield as India, Japan and Finland.

2 comments:

  1. Wow! you read so many books and very diverse ones at that. Most of these I haven't heard of before.

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    Replies
    1. I do like to search ut unusual books!

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