Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Friday, 21 February 2014

Guest Book Reviews Special!

Three new guest reviews here - and a massive thank you to three lovely guest reviewers for reading these novels and reviewing them for The Little Reader Library. 

Under the Same Stars by Tim Lott
published by Simon & Schuster
guest book review by Angi Holden

It’s 2008. The world is in the grip of a banking crisis and America, still recovering from the ravages of hurricane Katrina, has elected its first black president. Against this background of global meltdown, Salinger Nash and his older brother Carson embark on a road trip in search of their estranged father.
Salinger – named after JD, author of Catcher in the Rye – is forty, an artist who lives with his girlfriend Tiane in London. He has suffered from phases of intense depression since adolescence. Carson – named after McCullers, author of The Ballad of the Sad CafĂ© – followed their father to the States many years ago and has made an all-American life for himself. He is a born-again Christian, unrelentingly optimistic.
Their relationship is distant, strained - Cain and Abel for modern times. The last time they met was at their mother’s funeral. They come from very different cultures and have equally different outlooks on life. It is with justified foreboding that Salinger sets off with his brother across the Southern States – from Carson’s home in New Orleans, through the Texas plains and on to New Mexico. Sibling rivalry confined in Carson’s shiny new Lexus is not an attractive proposition. There are old misunderstandings; there are new ones. And all the time Salinger’s e-mails and phone messages to Tiane go unanswered.
This is a fascinating road trip. A touch of Thelma and Louise, a nod to On the Road, even a short stretch by motorbike, to evoke memories of Easy Rider. Salinger is an intriguing character; deeply flawed yet likeable. He is capable of great trust and compassion even whilst delivering the cynical observation of an outsider.

Under the Same Stars is a tender, unflinching exploration of the childhood baggage we carry into our adult lives. Do the brothers find their father? Do they resolve their differences? And what is the significance of the photograph Salinger carries in his pocket. Well, I’m not going to tell you. You’ll simply have to read it, and I recommend you do.

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The Outline of Love by Morgan McCarthy
published by Tinder Press
guest book review by Josie Barton

"It started with obsession"

Persephone Triebold escapes the isolation of her home in the Scottish Highlands and at the earliest opportunity heads for university and the bright lights of London, where she immerses herself wholeheartedly into student life. She hopes that the lure of new friends, endless parties and the promise of grand passion will grant her the excitement she so desperately craves. When she comes into contact with the famous writer, Leo Ford, and gets drawn into his mysterious world, the fascination she feels for him and his lifestyle soon becomes an overriding infatuation. However, Leo harbours a secret from his past which, if exposed, threatens to damage his growing reputation.

The description of student life in London is nicely done and in many ways seems to be a rather good interpretation of being young and carefree in a lively environment. However, Persephone’s character is rather harder to analyse, she is strangely immature in many ways, which somehow makes her attachment to Leo Ford rather unrealistic. The events of the past which threaten to engulf their unlikely relationship seem more of a damp squib rather than a huge revelation but the dĂ©nouement when it comes does seem to make sense in an understated sort of way.

Overall, this is a competent coming of age story; however, it’s not literary dynamite as the characters are not compelling enough to drive the narrative completely, and even though the story gets off to a good start, for me it rather fizzled out somewhere in the middle. I would give the book 3 out of 5 stars.

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Dark Possession by Carol Goodman
published by Ebury Press
guest book review by Wendy Rowley

This is the third book in the Fairwick Chronicles.  The first book, Incubus, I enjoyed immensely however I was disappointed with the second one, Water Witch.  Therefore it was with some trepidation I began this book.  However, I’m glad to say I found Goodman to be back on form. 

Callie is half witch, half fairly and this novel tells the story about how only she can save the magical folk of Fairwick from some evil characters. Callie travels through time to carry out this task and fans of Diana Gabaldon’s Voyager series will very much enjoy this episode.

There’s plenty of magic, peril and romance, all written in an easily read, free flowing style which gives escapism and entertainment without taxing the brain cells. 8/10


  1. Ooh, I love the look of Dark Possession (such a pretty cover) and the story sounds good as well. This is definitely a series of books I'll have to check out.

  2. Seems to be a bunch of interesting books.

    Under the Same Stars looks to be particularly interesting. We know of many stories that involve journeys. However, it is interesting that this one is infused with such recent history.

  3. Of the three I would choose Under the same stars, but they all sound interesting.


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