A Simple Romance by J.H. Knight

simple romance

Never has a title been so fitting.

Skip’s partner of nearly a decade, Monty, leaves him and stuck in the house they shared, he decides to upsticks and move back in with his mother to lick his wounds. It’s through doing that that he ends up teaching at his old high school, where a guy who came onto him in the locker room, Paul, is now the Physics teacher and their mothers are friends and have decided that they’d be good together.

What follows is a sweet romance where they fall for each other. It’s quite tender and touching at times, and quite steamy in places too (which is a nice contrast). There’s little big external forces at play here, mainly a man trying to move on from the hurt his ex caused him and learn to trust the man who’s clearly the one.

Nicely plotted and paced, JH Knight has a great way with words and both novels I’ve read from her have been surefire hits (although I preferred The Last Thing He Needs, purely because the cast was bigger and the book was longer).  Recommended.

5 Horror Novels To Watch Out For

im thinking
I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid (14 Jun 2016)
“”I’m Thinking of Ending Things” is one of the best debut novels I’ve ever read. Iain Reid has crafted a tight, ferocious little book, with a persistent tenor of suspense that tightens and mounts toward its visionary, harrowing final pages” (Scott Heim, award-winning author of “Mysterious Skin” and “We Disappear”).””
You will be scared. But you won t know why
“I m thinking of ending things. Once this thought arrives, it stays. It sticks. It lingers. It s always there. Always.”
“Jake once said, Sometimes a thought is closer to truth, to reality, than an action. You can say anything, you can do anything, but you can t fake a thought. ”
“And here s what I m thinking: I don t want to be here.”
In this smart, suspenseful, and intense literary thriller, debut novelist Iain Reid explores the depths of the human psyche, questioning consciousness, free will, the value of relationships, fear, and the limitations of solitude. Reminiscent of Jose Saramago s early work, Michel Faber s cult classic “Under the Skin,” and Lionel Shriver s “We Need to Talk about Kevin,” “I m Thinking of Ending Things” is an edgy, haunting debut. Tense, gripping, and atmospheric, this novel pulls you in from the very first page and never lets you go.”

binding
The Binding by Nicholas Wolff (28 Jun 2016)
When a rare mental disorder begins to consume his small-town neighbors, a young psychiatrist digs up the past for clues to the epidemic s bone-chilling source in this brilliant supernatural horror debut, written in the bestselling tradition of Peter Straub.
Convinced that evil spirits have overtaken his daughter, a desperate father introduces her to Nat Thayer, a young psychiatrist in their sleepy blue-blooded Massachusetts college town. Thayer quickly diagnoses the girl with Cotard Delusion, an obscure condition sometimes described as walking corpse syndrome. But Thayer soon realizes his patient and many of the local families are actually being targeted by a malignant force resurrected from the town’s wicked history. Thayer must discover the source of the spreading plague before there is no one left to save.”

in the shadow
In the Shadow of Frankenstein: Tales of the Modern Prometheus
(5 Jul 2016)
Frankenstein… His very name conjures up images of plundered graves, secret laboratories, electrical experiments, and reviving the dead.

Within these pages, the maddest doctor of them all and his demented disciples once again delve into the Secrets of Life, as science fiction meets horror when the world’s most famous creature lives again.

Here are collected together for the first time twenty-four electrifying tales of cursed creation that are guaranteed to spark your interest with classics from the pulp magazines by Robert Bloch and Manly Wade Wellman, modern masterpieces from Ramsey Campbell, Dennis Etchison, Karl Edward Wagner, David J. Schow, and R. Chetwynd-Hayes, and new contributions from Graham Masterson, Basil Copper, John Brunner, Guy N. Smith, Kim Newman, Paul J. McAuley, Roberta Lannes, Michael Marshall Smith, Daniel Fox, Adrian Cole, Nancy Kilpatrick, Brian Mooney and Lisa Morton.

Plus, you’re sure to get a charge from three complete novels: The Hound of Frankenstein by Peter Tremayne, The Dead End by David Case, and Mary W. Shelley’s original masterpiece Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. As an electrical storm rages overhead, the generators are charged up, and beneath the sheet a cold form awaits its miraculous rebirth. Now it’s time to throw that switch and discover all that Man Was Never Meant to Know. ”

raven and skull
Raven and Skull by Ashley Lister (7 Jul 2016)
Jean-Paul Sartre said, ‘Hell is other people.’ But he was only half right. Hell is the other people who work in the offices of Raven and Skull.After a week of horror and upset, six colleagues from the Raven and Skull offices get together in the pub to exchange stories and decide which of them has had the worst week.Each one has had a week plagued by adultery, theft, betrayal, murder, cannibalism, black magic and death. The stories they share are dark and twisted and reflect the regular reality of Raven and Skull. Do you dare to hear what they have to say?

pressure
Pressure by Brian Keene (13 Jul 2016)
Off the coast of tropical Mauritius, an ecological catastrophe with global implications is occurring. The ocean’s floor is collapsing at a rapid rate. World-champion free diver and marine biologist Carrie Anderson joins a scientific expedition determined to discover the cause-and how to stop it. But what they uncover is even more horrific. Deep beneath the surface, something is awake. Something hungry. Something…cold. Now, the pressure builds as Carrie and her colleagues must contend with the murderous operatives of a corrupt corporation, an unnatural disaster that grows bigger by the day, and a monstrous predator that may spell the extinction of all mankind.”Pressure” is this summer’s hot new thriller from bestselling author and World Horror Grandmaster Award winner Brian Keene.

 

Truth or Date by Portia MacIntosh

 

 

Turth-or-Date

Falling for the man of her dreams…

Ruby Wood is perfectly happy playing the dating game – until she has a red-hot dream about her very attractive flatmate, Nick. He might spend every day saving lives as a junior doctor, but he’s absolutely the last man on earth that fun-loving Ruby would ever date!

The solution? Focus on all of Nick’s bad points. And if that fails, up her dating antics and find herself a man! So what if she manages to make disapproving, goody two-shoes Nick jealous in the process…

Only, after a series of nightmare first dates, there’s still just one man on Ruby’s mind. Maybe it’s time to admit the truth and dare to ask Nick to be her next date?

Review:

This is the first book that I’ve read by Portia Macintosh. I liked the cover straight of the bat! It really catches the eye! If you’re in the mood for a light and quick read, with romance and humour, this book is for you! The characters are quirky, charming, and fun. I laughed a lot while reading this book! I was so glad I gave this book ago and I think I’ve found a new author. I will defiantly pick up more of her books in the future.

 

Brilliant Book Titles #18

I do love my reversals! Also, a fascinating topic!

the television

You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Blurb:
Many proclaimed the “end of television” in the early years of the twenty-first century, as capabilities and features of the boxes that occupied a central space in American living rooms for the preceding fifty years were radically remade. In this revised, second edition of her definitive book, Amanda D. Lotz proves that rumors of the death of television were greatly exaggerated and explores how new distribution and viewing technologies have resurrected the medium. Shifts in the basic practices of making and distributing television have not been hastening its demise, but are redefining what we can do with television, what we expect from it, how we use it—in short, revolutionizing it.

Television, as both a technology and a tool for cultural storytelling, remains as important today as ever, but it has changed in fundamental ways. The Television Will Be Revolutionized provides a sophisticated history of the present, examining television in what Lotz terms the “post-network” era while providing frameworks for understanding the continued change in the medium. The second edition addresses adjustments throughout the industry wrought by broadband delivered television such as Netflix, YouTube, and cross-platform initiatives like TV Everywhere, as well as how technologies such as tablets and smartphones have changed how and where we view. Lotz begins to deconstruct the future of different kinds of television—exploring how “prized content,” live television sports and contests, and linear viewing may all be “television,” but very different types of television for both viewers and producers.
Through interviews with those working in the industry, surveys of trade publications, and consideration of an extensive array of popular shows, Lotz takes us behind the screen to explore what is changing, why it is changing, and why the changes matter.

Brilliant Book Titles #17

Those of a certain age will remember Mary Whitehouse, and her campaign to sanitize television and culture in Britain. That, and her clarion call of “BAN THIS SICK FILTH!”

ban this filth

You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Blurb:
In 1964, Mary Whitehouse launched a campaign to fight what she called the ‘propaganda of disbelief, doubt and dirt’ being poured into homes through the nation’s radio and television sets. Whitehouse, senior mistress at a Shropshire secondary school, became the unlikely figurehead of a mass movement for censorship: the National Viewers’ and Listeners’ Association, now Mediawatch-uk.

For almost forty years, she kept up the fight against the programme makers, politicians, pop stars and playwrights who she felt were dragging British culture into a sewer of blasphemy and obscenity. From Doctor Who (‘Teatime brutality for tots’) to Dennis Potter (whose mother sued her for libel and won) to the Beatles – whose Magical Mystery Tour escaped her intervention by the skin of its psychedelic teeth – the list of Mary Whitehouse’s targets will read to some like a nostalgic roll of honour.

Caricatured while she lived as a figure of middle-brow reaction, Mary Whitehouse was held in contempt by the country’s intellectual elite. But were some of the dangers she warned of more real than they imagined?

Ben Thompson’s selection of material from her extraordinary archive shows Mary Whitehouse’s legacy in a startling new light. From her exquisitely testy exchanges with successive BBC Directors General, to the anguished screeds penned by her television and radio vigilantes, these letters reveal a complex and combative individual, whose anxieties about culture and morality are often eerily relevant to the age of the internet.

‘A fantastic read . . . I can’t recommend it highly enough.’ Lauren Laverne, BBC Radio 6 Music

Preparation for the Next Life

preparation

This first novel by Atticus Lish blew my socks off! It tells the story, a modern day love story, if you will, of illegal immigrant Zou Lei and Iraq war veteran Brad Skinner, who meet in New York – not the New York Frank Sinatra sings about, but a grimy, harsh, bitter underside of New York. This book is all about people living on the margins of a cruel society which chews up and spits those unlucky enough to have fallen through the ever widening gaps.

Skinner is a young veteran returned from his third tour of Iraq where he has witnessed unspeakable acts of violence. Clearly suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and utterly alone, he meets Zou Lei, half-Uighur, half-Han Chinese woman who has been smuggled into the US in a truck. Each seeking solace and refuge they begin an unlikely relationship.

Now it is clear from the beginning that this book is not going to deliver any fairy tale ending. In fact Preparation for the Next Life goes hurtling onwards towards its devastating conclusion and I could not put it down even though at times I had to remember to breathe.

Lish writes with an impressive rawness and lack of sentimentality which shows us the ugly process of illegal immigration and the utter destruction of war on the young men who serve and are then abandoned. This book hasn’t left me since I picked it up. What a debut novel but not one for the fainthearted.

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You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

5 Forthcoming Literary Fictions

vinegar girl
Vinegar Girl (The Taming of the Shrew Retold) by Anne Tyler (16 Jun 2016)
‘You can’t get around Kate Battista as easily as all that’

Kate Battista is feeling stuck. How did she end up running house and home for her eccentric scientist father and uppity, pretty younger sister Bunny? Plus, she’s always in trouble at work – her pre-school charges adore her, but the adults don’t always appreciate her unusual opinions and forthright manner.

Dr Battista has other problems. After years out in the academic wilderness, he is on the verge of a breakthrough. His research could help millions. There’s only one problem: his brilliant young lab assistant, Pyotr, is about to be deported. And without Pyotr…

When Dr Battista cooks up an outrageous plan that will enable Pyotr to stay in the country, he’s relying – as usual – on Kate to help him. Kate is furious: this time he’s really asking too much. But will she be able to resist the two men’s touchingly ludicrous campaign to win her round?

Anne Tyler’s retelling of The Taming of the Shrew asks whether a thoroughly modern, independent woman like Kate would ever sacrifice herself for a man. The answer is as individual, off-beat and funny as Kate herself.

‘I loved Kate and Pyotr and the way they discover the oversized, tender, irreverent relationship that fits them… It is joyful’ Rachel Joyce

‘Read her books and she can actually change your view, change how you see the world’ Judy Finigan,Mail on Sunday

‘Tyler writes with an apparent effortlessness which conceals great art’ Helen Dunmore, Stylist

‘Tyler’s sentences are wholly hers, instantly recognisable and impossible to duplicate’ Hanya Yanigihara, Observer

‘A new novel from Tyler is always a treat’ Daily Mail

infinite home
Infinite Home by Kathleen Alcott (26 Jul 2016)
“[E]xpect to find insights that make you stop, go back and read again…. Take it from us: You don’t know what’s coming in the last third of this book, and you”will”be astounded.” “O, “the Oprah Magazine
A beautifully wrought story of an ad hoc family and the crisis they must overcome together.
Edith is a widowed landlady who rents apartments in her Brooklyn brownstone to an unlikely collection of humans, all deeply in need of shelter. Crippled in various ways in spirit, in mind, in body, in heart the renters struggle to navigate daily existence, and soon come to realize that Edith s deteriorating mind, and the menacing presence of her estranged, unscrupulous son, Owen, is the greatest challenge they must confront together.
Faced with eviction by Owen and his designs on the building, the tenants Paulie, an unusually disabled man and his burdened sister, Claudia; Edward, a misanthropic stand-up comic; Adeleine, a beautiful agoraphobe; Thomas, a young artist recovering from a stroke must find in one another what the world has not yet offered or has taken from them: family, respite, security, worth, love.
The threat to their home scatters them far from where they ve begun, to an ascetic commune in Northern California, the motel rooms of depressed middle America, and a stunning natural phenomenon in Tennessee, endangering their lives and their visions of themselves along the way.
With humanity, humor, grace, and striking prose, Kathleen Alcott portrays these unforgettable characters in their search for connection, for a life worth living, for home.

wife of noble character
A Wife of Noble Character by Yvonne Georgina Puig (2 Aug 2016)
A juicy, sprawling comedy of manners about a group of thirtysomethings stumbling into adulthood among Houston’s high-powered, oil money elite

Thirty-year-old Vivienne Cally is wealthy in name only. Orphaned as a child and raised by a cold but regal aunt,” “Vivienne was taught to rely on her beauty and Texas tradition, and is expected to marry a wealthy and respectable man who will honor the Cally name. Friends with Houston’s most prominent families, she’s a beloved fixture at social events, and suffers no shortage of access to the city’s most eligible bachelors. Preston Duffin has known Vivienne and her set since childhood, though he’s never shared their social aspirations or status. About to graduate from a prestigious architecture program, he is both fascinated and repelled by this group of friends he sits on the cusp of, one that shares none of his curiosity about the world beyond Houston. He’s long admired Vivienne’s beauty, but isn’t sure he holds any place in so traditional a life. Intrigued by the extent to which Preston challenges the only way of life she’s ever known, Vivienne both courts his attention, and rebuffs his critiques of her antiquated values. Inspired by Edith Wharton’s “The House of Mirth, A Wife of Noble Character” shares the original novel’s sharp social commentary at the same time that it illuminates the trappings and rewards of coming-of-age that are wholly unique to the twenty-first century. Part biting wit, part good old-fashioned love story, it takes readers from Texas to Paris and Switzerland and back again, and will charm both fans of Wharton and anyone who has ever struggled to find their path in life.

no 4
No. 4 Imperial Lane by Jonathan Weisman (25 Aug 2016)
A sweeping debut novel by New York Times reporter Jonathan Weisman, NO. 4 IMPERIAL LANE tells of a little-known chapter of colonial history in a unique and moving coming-of-age story.

In Thatcher’s England, American David Heller is nearing the end of his year abroad in Brighton, where kids sport mohawks and light up to the Cocteau Twins. Not thrilled with having to leave his British girlfriend-or face his tragedy-wracked home-David takes a job working for Hans Bromwell, a helpless quadriplegic and fallen aristocrat. As David befriends Hans, his sister Elizabeth, and her daughter Cristina, the details behind the family’s staggering fall from grace are exposed: How Elizabeth’s love affair with a Portuguese physician carried the young, English girl right into the bloody battlefields of colonial Africa, where an entire continent bellowed for independence, and a single event left a family broken forever.

nutshell
Nutshell by Ian McEwan (30 Aug 2016)
From the bestselling author of “Atonement”, “Nutshell” is a classic story of murder and deceit, told by a narrator with a perspective and voice unlike any in recent literature. A bravura performance, it is the finest recent work from a true master.

“To be bound in a nutshell, see the world in two inches of ivory, in a grain of sand. Why not, when all of literature, all of art, of human endeavour is just a speck in the universe of possible things.””

Run Swift, Run Free by Tom Caughran

run swift

I have just re-read this book after a long time, we picked it for our junior book club here in Ballyroan, a lot of the kids really enjoyed it and it sparked a great discussion. I remember loving this as a child and think we might have even read it in school, I liked it just as much time around.

The story centers around the fox cubs young black tip and little running fox and their friends and family and follows their adventures and struggles to survive in the Irish countryside. Much of the story is quite fast paced and keeps you on tenterhooks as the fox cubs come across many dangers and enemies. There is great attention to detail and I found out all kinds of information about our native wildlife and surroundings.

This the 3rd part of a trilogy although it’s not necessary to have read the other books beforehand. Children’s stories about animals are often timeless and I think that is true of this book which has won many awards including CBI Bisto book of the decade.

Kids aged around 9+ who like adventure and stories about animals should give this a read.

Brilliant Book Titles #16

A great title summing up some stories in certain Irish rural and local newspapers.

medium sized town

You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Blurb:
Medium-Sized Town, Fairly Big Story is a window on the real soul of Ireland, a snapshot of the way we were, the way we are and, hopefully, the way we’ll always be.

For anyone with a sense of humour and a taste for the absurd, here are the best of the unique, hilarious stories from towns and villages the length and breadth of the country that made the headlines in the local newspapers … and nowhere else.

 

Brilliant Book Titles #15

Some titles are, perhaps, best left unexplained.

pig

You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Blurb:
Julian Baggini presents 100 thought experiments – short scenarios which pose a problem in a vivid and concrete way – and invites the reader to think about possible answers for him/herself. Experiments cover identity, religion, art, ethics, language, knowledge and many more. From Zeno’s paradox to Groundhog Day (how do you make sense of a life of eternal recurrence?), via the pig that wants to be eaten (so should you eat him?), Plato’s cave, Minority Report (is it right to punish people for what they are going to do, but haven’t yet done?), and an American Werewolf in London (how can we tell whether we are awake or dreaming?), this book makes philosophy not only mind-stretching but also entertaining.