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This novel is heartrending in places, with a split time narrative by Carol, the main character, recounting her present and a significant time in her past. Little Monster is how her aunt describes her, and is a fitting description for the child in the present part of the narrative. The fact that this child has taken the name of a cartoon character didn't scape me from early on in the novel, although it took Carol a while to make the connection. The character the girl has called herself after is a fairly nasty character.
I agree with the comment from "Time Out" 'Lambert reads like a writer at the height of his game rather than one just starting out'.

When I was thirteen, my father killed my mother.....
How do you recover from something like that? Carol never quite does. Sent to live with an aunt who barely tolerates her presence, life would be unbearable were it not for Uncle Joey. Years later, he's also the man with whom she builds a home and a future - but when Carol helps to rescue a young refugee from the sea, all that threatens to unravel, just as surely as it did when she was thirteen.

This book had me hooked, and again, I didn't want to put it down.

Charles Lambert's blog is here

A first person narrated novel. Mostly internal recollection, but when the main character talks to someone it is reported as first person narrative. It isn't until almost then end of the novel we learn the main character's name, and unless the name hadn't been used by the other character, in place of their own, it probably would never have been revealed. In that respect I found the novel rather like Rebecca, in that we are shown things through the eyes of a character who we don't know the name of.
The whole of the novel is the reminiscences of the narrator.

In the early sixties on an East Anglian beach a fragile wooden hut is harried daily by the sea. It is ignored by the boys from the nearby boarding school who stumble past on their birch-enforced runs. Until the day one sixteen-year-old boy stops and comes face to face with the hut's owner: enigmatic, beguiling, beautiful Finn. The hut and the beach - but most of all Finn - provide a haven away from petty rules and bullies. But they also hold a mysterious, fragile secret. A secret that will be tested by friendship, growing adolescent love and the terrifying fury of the sea. . .

This novel is a lovely lyrical recollection of the narrator's youth, a particular fondly remembered episode.
To find out more about Meg Rosoff and her books, click here

After the previous abandoned book, this one was a pleasant surprise. It is Flynn's debut novel, but don't let that put you off. The plot is sufficiently complex to keep the reader busy. The timeline, is mostly straightforward, although there are times when the main character, Camille, remembers past events. I was completely hooked, and I know it's a cliche, but I really couldn't put it down. I look forward to seeing more from Gillian Flynn.

When two little girls are abducted and killed in Missouri, reporter Camille Preaker is sent to her home town to investigate. Camille has been estranged from her neurotic mother for years. Now she find herself installed in her family home, reacquainting herself with her half-sister, a precocious thirteen-year-old who holds a disquieting grip on the town.
Working alongside the police, Camille tries to untangle the mystery of who killed these little girls and why.
But there are deeper psychological puzzles: why does Camille identify so strongly with the dead girls?
and how is this connected to the earlier death of her sister years earlier?

A link to Flynn's website is here, so you can find out more, and maybe read an extract for yourself. At the end of this book there was something that I have noticed appearing in many books these days, that is a section on points to consider if using this book with a book group/club.

Am around a third of the way through this book. I don't normally blog about a book until I have finished it. This book is subtitled, "Notes for a Novel". I know it is a first novel, but after reading as far as I have, I would rather read the novel the notes are for than the book I am reading.
I hope I see this book through to the end, and may be able to add something more positive, but at the moment I keep looking how many more pages there are left .....until I can start something else.
I KNOW that no-one is looking over my shoulder, and I KNOW that I do not have to write an essay focused on this book, but I really just keep hoping it will improve, although 65 pages into a 164/5 page book...I think I might be reading in vain.
I hate giving up on a book, but think I just might with this one, despite it's brevity.

I've read to p 94 now, and am getting heartily fed up with this book. The series of incidents are driving me mad. I'm afraid this book is going to be abandonded, and quite possibly given away.

This book won the Costa First Novel Award.
It drew me in, and just had to keep reading. I felt an empathy with Kate, and the other two main characters also evoke the sympathy of the reader.

A lost little girl with her notebook and toy monkey appears on the CCTV screens of Green Oaks shopping centre, evoking memories of junior detective, Kate Meaney, missing for 20 years. Kurt, a security guard with a sleep disorder and Lisa, a disenchanted deputy manager at Your Music, follow her through the centre's endless corridors - welcome relief from the behaviour of customers, colleagues and the Green Oaks mystery shopper. But as this after-hours friendship grows in intensity, it brings new loss and new longing to light.

Part ghost story, part observation of the tedium of the main characters lives "What was Lost" is engaging from the first to last page. For a little more about the book and author, click here. I would say that Catherine O'Flynn is an author to look out for.

I loved this book, but some may not do, as the book itself "talks" to the reader at intervals throughout the book. These passages are quite clearly the book talking, but I can appreciate it may un-nerve some.
The main character, Jennet Stearne is a very strong willed girl/woman, who has a grasp of many things that are usually the province of men at the time. I think the bumph probably tells it better than me.

In the spring of 1688, Walter Stearne, Witchfinder-General for Mercia and East Anglia, roams the countryside in search of heretics. His daughter Jennet is left behind in the care of her Aunt Isobel, who schools her in the New Philosophy expounded by Isaac Newton. But her aunt's style of scientific enquiry soon attracts the attention of the witchfinders.
To save her aunt, Jennet travels to Cambridge to seek the help of Newton himself. On the way, she meets Dr. Barnaby Cavendish and his "Museum of Wondrous Prodigies" including the Bird-Child of Bath and the Sussex Rat Baby. Jennet's masterplan is ultimately doomed, but in Isobel's dying moments, Jennet agrees to devote her life to overturning the Parliamentary Witchcraft Act. It is a task that will lead her to picaresque adventures: to the witch trials of Salem; to capture by Algonquin Indians; to an affair with Benjamin Franklin; to a shipwreck; and to the great final showdown between old superstition and new science.

Jennet's father and brother are merciless in their witchfinding quest, but Jennet withstands all her trials. James Morrow weaves a spell binding tale. Apologies for the lousy pun. :)

No, I'm not pulling your leg, neither was I pulling the assistant's leg in the bookshop when I ordered it.
I was looking to see what other books Walter Moers had written, and came across this one. It is thought that he might have written it, but to date no-one has claimed author-ship of this novel.

The book is fast paced, made up of short chapters, following the various characters as the plot lines converge. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, I wish I knew who the author is. It could be Walter Moers, as it is a humourous as his books.

Whatever you do, don't read the Book with No Name.
An untitled book by an anonymous author brings death to anyone who reads it.
"The Eye of the Moon" - a mysterious blue stone - has gone missing.
And in Santa Mondega, all hell is about to break loose. Literally.
Sanchez the bartender, El Santino the crime boss, several bounty hunters and a hitman dressed as Elvis, two hard-as -nails monks, a detective from the Department of Supernatural Investigations, a retired cop who can't let go, a bare-knuckle fighter on a chopped Harley, and a whole bunch of low-lifes are going to meet on the violent streets of Santa Mondega. A total eclipse will soon cast the town into darkness, and it's gonna get bloody.
Because let's not forget the Bourbon Kid....
It is some weeks since I read the book, and I'm still alive....mind you I don't expect to live in a way the first bit of the bumfh is correct. For more reviews, etc, click here. I couldn't find an author page, due to the author being anonymous.

This novel is set in the siege of Leningrad during the second world war. It has some similarities to Helen Dunmore's "The Siege", but is altogether a different story. It has a certain humour that lifts the reader, but gently reminds them at the same time that the situation of the main characters is dire. The book had a "wrap" on it...saying the reader would enjoy, or they could claim two other books from the publisher. I did enjoy, so won't be chasing that offer up.

In the coldest winter in history, in a starving city under siege, two prisoners are thrown together on a desperate adventure.
Lev, a shy, chess-loving teenager and Kolya, a charismatic chancer.
They are given one week to complete an extraordinary mission: to scour the ravaged countryside and find a dozen eggs.
Or come back empty-handed and die.

The novel follows Lev and Kolya on their hunt for the eggs, which takes them behind enemy lines and into danger. If they manage to find eggs, they still need to negotiate their way back into Leningrad with them. Along the way they encounter difficulties, and manage to do something unexpected.
The novel has been very well researched but the author doesn't bludgeon you with the facts, as some are wont to do.

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