Review: ‘The Beekeeper of Aleppo’ by Christy Lefteri

The Beekeeper of Aleppo is Christy Lefteri’s second novel, drawing on the stories of displacement and devastation with which she came into contact as a volunteer at a refugee centre in Athens. Herself the daughter of two Turkish refugees, Lefteri has an uncanny familiarity with themes of loss, nostalgia and exile – as well as a sensitivity to the ways in which the deeply personal element of these stories may be lost to sensationalised reports of faceless brutality. Her writing is in many ways a response to those senseless media portrayals and crisis imagery that can cause further damage to a population already vulnerable to extreme violence and prejudice…

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Review: ‘The Split’ by Sharon Bolton

The Split is an ambitious novel, not unlike a lot of Bolton’s other work. One of the things I enjoy most about her writing is that she never seems content to provide her readers with “just another thriller”. She explores territories and topics atypical to the genre, particularly in her standalone books, leaning into the curious and the unusual rather than shying away from it. Her protagonists are not the seasoned detectives or private investigators one might expect to populate the world of the fictional crime; they are herpetologists, nuns, true-crime authors, and – in this case – glaciologists.

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Review: ‘Missing Person’ by Sarah Lotz

Even if Sarah Lotz wasn’t one of my favourite authors, I would’ve found it difficult to talk myself out of buying her latest novel. I first fell in love with her writing in The Three – a twisty horror novel that mimics the style of “found footage” films like The Blair Witch Project. I impulse-bought The Four and The White Road without looking further than her name on the covers, and wasn’t disappointed with either. But when I found Missing Person just before the pandemic hit, I knew I was in trouble of losing touch with reality for a day or two. This one was going to need all my attention.

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Review: ‘The Witches are Coming’ by Lindy West

In this wickedly funny cultural critique, the author of the critically acclaimed memoir and Hulu series Shrill exposes misogyny in the #MeToo era. THIS IS A WITCH HUNT.WE’RE WITCHES,AND WE’RE HUNTING YOU. From the moment powerful men started falling to the #MeToo movement, the lamentations began: this is feminism gone too far, this is injustice, this is […]

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Review: ‘Grown Ups’ by Marian Keyes

Thank you to Netgalley and Michael Joseph Publishers for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Marian Keyes has a certain gift for writing alluring family drama. I know this for a fact because I’ve never really considered her novels “my thing”, what with the networks of secrets threatening to break apart already complex relationships – and yet there I was, utterly engrossed in the Casey family’s dysfunction. Honestly, it was difficult to focus on anything else for the three short days I spent reading Grown Ups.

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Review: ‘Craigslist Confessional’ by Helena Dea Bala

Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery Books for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

A collection of forty anonymous stories, Craigslist Confessional is the passion project of a D.C. lobbyist with a desire to fulfil a fundamental human need: to have one’s story heard. Helena Dea Bala’s story begins not with the ad she posted on Craigslist offering to listen (anonymously and without charge) to secrets people felt they couldn’t share with anyone, but rather with her own experience of confessing her own problems to a homeless man outside her work. The conversation prompted a realisation of the dissonance between her internal reality and the person she presented externally to the world: “I felt inherently dishonest,” she writes in her introduction. “And, I often thought, if I couldn’t be honest with others, how could I be honest with myself? Had I gotten so warped, so sucked into playing the role of the perfect daughter, the perfect employee, the perfect girlfriend, that I could no longer tell my genuine life from the one I was projecting?”

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Review: ‘The Price Guide to the Occult’ by Leslye Walton

When Rona Blackburn landed on Anathema Island more than a century ago, her otherworldly skills might have benefited friendlier neighbors. Instead, guilt and fear led the island’s original eight settlers to burn “the witch” out of her home. So Rona invoked the privileges of a witch; she cursed them. But such a spell always comes […]

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Review: ‘The Queen of the Night’ by Alexander Chee

Lilliet Berne is a sensation of the Paris Opera, a legendary soprano with every accolade except an original role, every singer’s chance at immortality. When one is finally offered to her, she realizes with alarm that the libretto is based on a hidden piece of her past. Only four could have betrayed her: one is […]

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Review: ‘Theodore Boone: The Fugitive’ by John Grisham

Theo thought the danger had passed, but he’s about to face off against an old adversary: accused mur­derer and fugitive Pete Duffy. On a field trip to Washington, DC, Theo spots a familiar face on the Metro: Duffy, who jumped bail and was never seen again. Theo’s quick thinking helps bring Duffy back to Strattenburg […]

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Review: ‘Peter Hunter and the Minions of Mara’ by Janie St Clair

Peter tried to convince himself that his karate teacher was just a little weird. Then in the fall of his eighth grade year, all his opinions changed: Sensei was completely and utterly crazy. He wanted to recruit Peter to become his apprentice in performing Buddhist exorcisms all over town. Peter thought he had enough on […]

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