SUNDAY SHOUT OUT

Is there ever such a thing as too many books? I don’t think there are too many books to read, but there can definitely be too many to review. Often I’m sent books and, with an already sagging review shelf, these unsolicited books often often don’t fit in to my schedule. Other times, I am unable to finish a book I intended to review (for various reasons), or I don’t have time for a full review. Sunday Shout-Out aims to acknowledge these books and the publishers who have sent them to me.

Sunday Shout Out is a bookish meme hosted by Monique of Write Note Reviews. If you’re a book blogger and you want to join in, just:

  • Share the title, author, blurb and image from a book (or more than one) you want to acknowledge
  • Share the genre, price and link to the publisher so readers can follow up if they like the sound of the book
  • Ping back to Write Note Reviews in your post.

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Tennis elbow has impacted greatly on my reviewing over the past six weeks and looks set to be an issue for a while. Reading’s not an issue, but typing is, so I’m having to reconsider my reading priorities and review approach for the time being.

1. The Dynamite Room by Jason Hewitt, Simon & Schuster RRP $29.99. Available from Simon & Schuster here.

The Dynamite Room

July 1940. Eleven-year-old Lydia walks through a village in rural Suffolk on a baking hot day. She is wearing a gas mask. The shops and houses are empty, windows boarded up and sandbags green with mildew, the village seemingly deserted. Leaving it behind, she strikes off down a country lane through the salt marshes to a large Edwardian house — the house she grew up in. Lydia finds it empty too, the windows covered in black-out blinds. Her family is gone. Late that night he comes, a soldier, gun in hand and heralding a full-blown German invasion. There are, he explains to her, certain rules she must now abide by. He won’t hurt Lydia, but she cannot leave the house. Is he telling the truth? What is he looking for? Why is he so familiar? And how does he already know Lydia’s name? Eerie, thrilling and piercingly sad, The Dynamite Room evokes the great tradition of war classics yet achieves a strikingly original and contemporary resonance. Hypnotically compelling, it explores, in the most extreme of circumstances, the bonds we share that make us human.

Going by the blurb, this is the kind of book I am usually drawn to but sadly it didn’t grab me straight away. I normally would persevere, but given my injury at the moment, I decided to leave this for another time. Reviews on Goodreads range from three to five stars, so if you are feeling a little more patient, see what you think.

2. The Destiny of Violet and Luke by Jessica Sorenson, Sphere RRP $16.99. Available from Hachette here.

Luke Price’s life has always been about order, control, and acting tough on the outside. He uses meaningless relationships as a distraction and a way to tune out the twisted memories of his childhood. He secretly wishes that one day he could find that one perfect person, but deep down he doesn’t believe that perfection really exists. Violet Hayes has had a rough life, surrounded by drugs, neglect, and irresponsible parents. She thought she could escape that kind of life when she went to college, but her past catches up with her. To protect herself from getting hurt, she acts tough and keeps her distance from everyone. But then she meets Luke. The two of them clash, yet they can’t seem to stay away from each other. The more they get to know one another, the more they realise just how similar their lives are, and that maybe the perfection they’ve always been looking for lies in each other.

I read the first in this best-selling series (The Redemption of Callie and Kayden) and didn’t mind it, but it’s a bit young for me. From a glance, I can see that this one’s going to have widespread appeal in the new-adult market.

 

3. Martin Harbottle’s Appreciation of Time by Dominic Utton, Oneworld. Available from Oneword here.

Dan’s got a new job. But he’s moved out of town in order to start a family and had to start commuting into London every day, leaving his young wife Beth and newborn daughter at home. After fourteen months of the trains either making him late for work or late getting home, he’s had enough. Tracking down the email address of the MD of the train company, he starts to write him letters. Emails that take as long to write as the delay to his journey has been. If his time’s been wasted, why shouldn’t he waste the MD’s? And so begins an hilarious and extraordinary correspondence. When the MD begins to write back, Dan has a dysfunctional father-confessor to talk to – one who he never imagined would care. In truth, he probably doesn’t. But Dan finds solace in opening up to a stranger about the dramas of his day job at a scandal-hit newspaper, the challenges of his night job as the father of a baby who isn’t sleeping, and about life as it is played out for a bit over an hour (well, sometimes longer) every morning and every evening in the confines of Coach C, while world events pass its odd mix of inhabitants by.

This looks like a really clever book and reviews have been excellent. I can’t fit it in at the moment, though. Shelleyrae at Book’d Out describes the book as “a funny and engaging novel” adding “I expect this novel would capture the imagination of many a commuter, no matter the mode of transport, it did mine.”

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Which of these books would you read?