Sunday, 27 July 2014

Confessions by Kanae Minato

Kanae Minato - Confessions

Description:

When Yuko Moriguchi's four-year-old daughter died in the middle school where she teaches, everyone thought it was a tragic accident. 

It's the last day of term, and Yuko's last day at work. She tells her students that she has resigned because of what happened - but not for the reasons they think. 

Her daughter didn't die in an accident. Her daughter was killed by two people in the class. And before she leaves, she has a lesson to teach...

But revenge has a way of spinning out of control, and Yuko's last lecture is only the start of the story. In this bestselling Japanese thriller of love, despair and murder, everyone has a confession to make, and no one will escape unharmed.


My Thoughts:

As soon as this book arrived I was totally intrigued. The cover and the synopsis were so disturbing. I started reading it straight away. I can honestly say that I was not disappointed.

I found the story to be dark and disturbing with no respite from the bleakness of the situation. Having said that I feel that the author has weaved an intricate story surrounding an atrocious event, with characters I actually despised. I personally enjoy reading a story with flawed characters, I find them much more interesting. 

I like the way that the background behind the death reveals itself over the course of the pages, in a series of confessions and told from the perspectives of different characters only adds tension to build up. 

I thought I had it all figured out and was shocked at the end, by the final event. Every action has a reaction. 

Quite short at 234 pages this story packs a punch and portrays the lives of a group of people that is thoroughly well written and beautifully translated by Stephen Snyder.

I wasn't surprised to learn that a film has was made in 2011. I think it would lend itself very well to that, as the writing is very cinematic in places.



About the Author:

Kanae Minato was a housewife before her debut novel CONFESSIONS sky-rocketed to the top of the Japanese charts and turned her into the year's bestselling novelist. A recipient of the Radio Drama Award, the Detective Novel Prize for New Writers, and the National Booksellers' Award, Minato lives in Japan.

This book will be published by Mulholland Books on 14th August 2014. My thanks to them and Book Bridgr for sending me a copy to review.




Sunday, 13 July 2014

Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan



DESCRIPTION (FROM AMAZON):

Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a Web-design drone and serendipity coupled with sheer curiosity has landed him a new job working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. And it doesn't take long for Clay to realize that the quiet, dusty book emporium is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few fanatically committed customers, but they never seem to actually buy anything, instead they simply borrow impossibly obscure volumes perched on dangerously high shelves, all according to some elaborate arrangement with the eccentric proprietor. The store must be a front for something larger, Clay concludes, and soon he has plugged in his laptop, roped in his friends (and a cute girl who works for Google) and embarked on a high-tech analysis of the customers' behaviour. What they discover is an ancient secret that can only be solved by modern means, and a global-conspiracy guarded by Mr. Penumbra himself...who has mysteriously disappeared.


MY THOUGHTS:

I thoroughly enjoyed this quirky, interesting and witty tale. Who doesn't love a book about books? 

The characters were all well written and added a great sense of time and place to the story. Clay Jannon is intelligent and inquisitive and I loved the bond that he formed with Mr Penumbra who is something of an enigma. 

An insight into the world of technology and how things have moved forward and will continue to do so. Specifically Google and all of its capabilities. My only criticism being that I thought that the story tailed off slightly toward the end. 

This book was a wonderful fusion of literature and technology. I thoroughly recommend it if you would like something a little out of the ordinary, original and can open your mind to the old and the new.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Robin Sloan grew up near Detroit and has worked at Poynter, Current TV and Twitter in jobs that have generally had 'something to do with figuring out the future of media'. He has previously published short fiction in Kindle-only editions (Mr Penumbra started out as a 6000-word ebook). He lives in San Francisco.

He can be found at his website http://www.robinsloan.com/ and on twitter @robinsloan

This edition was published in paperback by Atlantic Books on 27th February 2014.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Twin Truths by Shelan Rodger



Twin Truths 


Jenny and Pippa are twins. Like many twins they often know what the other is thinking. They complete each other. When one of the twins disappears the other woman is left to face the world alone as she tries to find out what happened to her "other half". Vividly set in Argentina, Brazil, Greece and the UK, Shelan Rodger's stunning debut is a beautiful examination of identity and how much this is moulded by our relationships with others.


Review:

As the title suggests this book is about Twins, the relationship between them and Truths and all of the things that entails. Ohh but it is so much more than that. You have to dive in and devour this one. It absorbs you, pulls you in and spits you out at the end with one hell of a twist that I for one did not see coming. I will not go any further into the plot, to do so would spoil enjoyment for others. 

I love the fact that we got to follow the story of Jenny and Pippa from their childhood into adulthood. I found it a great insight into how the events that happen to us can shape our future. Also that things are never quite what they seem on the surface, we just need to scratch that bit deeper.

Everything is in there, the plot is superb, the psychological element outstanding and a growing suspense throughout that is second to none. 

The prose is beautiful even lyrical in parts. This is an outstanding accomplishment that has left me thinking for days. 

If you like clever fiction that has something to say, a point to make then this is one that you certainly shouldn't miss.



I would like to thank Cutting Edge Press for sending me my copy to review, they have managed to publish yet another stunning work. Please check them out as the have some amazing authors and titles. 

Twin Truths was published in June 2014.




About the Author:

Shelan's life is a patchwork of different cultures. Born in Nigeria, she grew up among the Tiwi, an aboriginal community in Australia, and moved to England at the age of eleven. After graduating in Modern Languages from Oxford, she travelled to Argentina, where she spent nine years teaching and setting up a language school. Another chapter in England was followed by six years in Kenya, where she got involved in learning and development, with an emphasis on anti-discrimination. She now lives in Spain, working in international education - and writing. 

www.shelanrodger.com