June Picks

Running towards dangerClough, Tina (2015) Running towards danger. Vanguard Press. Karen witnesses the murder of her flatmate and within days she becomes a target. To evade the killer she criss-crosses New Zealand, changes her name and appearance, and settles in a small Hawkes Bay community. But, when she becomes the reluctant hero in a river rescue her anonymity is threatened and violent danger once again stalks her, and her new friends.  An old-fashioned psychological  thriller, with a host of characters and a ingenuous protagonist.  Rating: 7/10.

boston-girl-Diamant, Anita (2014) The Boston Girl. Simon & Schuster.  When Ava, Addie’s granddaughter, asks her “how did you get to be the woman you are today?” eighty-five year old Addie tells her story.  In 1915, the year she joined the reading club, Addie’s her life took on a new shape. We see early twentieth century Boston through the eyes of a plucky girl, who seeks to escape the suffocating expectations of her Jewish parents and immigrant life, and find her way in the world.  This is a pleasant and undemanding monologue about family and friendship, and of women finding their place in a changing world.  Rating: 8/10.

The Underground girls of KabulNordberg, Jenny (2014) The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan. Crown. In Afghanistan’s patriarchal society, the birth of a son is a celebration and the birth of daughter is a misfortune. A bacha posh is the third kind of child, a girl temporarily raised as a boy.  Investigative journalist, Jenny Nordberg, gives an account of the lives of girls secretly living as boys, and of the unwanted sex in this deeply segregated society, where women have no rights and little freedom. Whilst challenging the limits of cross-cultural understanding of gender and resistance, Nordberg also exposes the profound impact of gender prejudice on a nation.  Compelling and insightful.  Rating: 9/10.

Invasion of the TearlingJohansen, Erika (2015) The Invasion of the Tearling. Bantam.  In this second volume of Johansen’s Tearling trilogy we find Queen Kelsea Glynn well ensconced as the ruler of the Tearling. She has quickly asserted herself as a just and powerful queen, but she is facing many challenges.  The brutal Red Queen’s armies are poised to invade the Tearling, and the Church is actively working against her. At the same time Kelsea is strongly connected to the time before the Crossing, the fate of which is the key to her future and that of her people.  A cleverly imagined dark and magical fantasy. Looking forward to the final instalment.  Rating: 8.5/10.

Love may failQuick, Matthew (2015) Love May Fail. Picador. Portia Kane escapes her cheating husband, and their posh Tampa lifestyle, and returns home to Philadelphia and her agoraphobic and compulsive hoarder mother. She is back at square one and sets out to discover her resolute younger self by finding her beloved high school English teacher. But, Mr Vernon is severely damaged and in her quest to save him she connects with some new champions. Portia’s bid to find new hope is tender and uplifting.  Quick, the author of The Silver Linings Playbook, again takes us on a journey with quirky, obsessive and damaged characters to discover the restorative power of love.  Rating: 8.5/10.

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