Under Currents by Nora Roberts

under currents


From the outside, the house in Lakeview Terrace looks perfect and the Bigelows seem like the perfect family: the respected surgeon father, the glamorous, devoted mother and two beautiful children. But the perfect facade hides dark undercurrents.

Teenager Zane and his younger sister, Britt, are terrorised by their violent father until one dark, brutal night when their father’s temper takes a horrifying turn for the worse.

Over time, Zane moves on and builds a new life for himself but a childhood like that can cast a shadow the length of a lifetime. Can Zane ever really be free of his past? Or could those dark undercurrents rise back to the surface, forcing Zane to fight for his life once again…


I love Nora Roberts. Her books are easy to read and always keep me entertained until the end.  Under Currents will have a very familiar feel to it if you have read any of her thrillers before. If you are reading Nora Roberts for the first time this is a good place to start. The plot rocks along at a good pace and the characters are engaging if slightly forgettable. It is an ideal beach read or airport read.


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

The Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith and Katz Cowley

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Have you seen the video of the Scottish granny reading this? If not look at it straight away.  There has never been a better reason for buying a book.

This internet sensation has become a firm favourite for library storytimes.  It catches the attention with its hilarious storyline and cheeky illustrations. The children love doing the donkey sound effects and helping to recite the wonky donkey facts as the list gets longer and longer. It is a little like the “Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly” song (also fantastic) in that it is great for developing memory and sequencing skills.

As an adult reading it I challenge you not to laugh out loud. It is short and snappy and you may need to get used to it as it promises to be a bedtime story that could be requested again and again.


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

Brilliant Book Titles #295

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The internet isn’t the first technology to alter how we communicate, but it is making our language change faster and in more interesting ways than ever before. The programmers behind the apps and platforms we use decide how our conversations are structured, from the grammar of status updates to the protocols of comments and @replies. Linguistically inventive niche online communities spread slang and jargon exponentially faster than in the days when new dialects were constrained by physical space. What’s more, social media provides a fascinating laboratory for watching language evolve in real time.

Even the most absurd-looking slang has genuine patterns behind it. Internet linguist Gretchen McCulloch explores the deep forces that shape human language and influence the way we communicate with one another. She explains how the year you first accessed the internet determines how you talk online; how ~sparkly tildes~ became widely recognised as sarcasm punctuation; whether emoji are replacing words; and why internet dialects like doge, lolspeak, and snek are linguistically significant.

Because Internet is the perfect book for anyone who wants to understand how the internet is changing the English language, why that’s a good thing, and what our online interactions reveal about who we are.

Brilliant Book Titles #294

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In an election year, Don finds himself in the unlikely role of political operative. Rumors about the Tea Party’s opportunistic gubernatorial candidate, Kenyon Louderbush, paint him as an unfaithful, callous exploiter of young men…young men that he puts into the hospital…or perhaps the morgue. Don smells truth in those rumors. But, he’s confounded by a shadowy conspiracy, witnesses’ fear and a grieving family appallingly willing to give up on justice for a brutalized son and brother. In RED WHITE AND BLACK AND BLUE, series creator Stevenson takes witty aim at the polarization, dissembling and double-dealing of American politics. It’s a story that leaves even our hero, Don, tarnished and bruised.

Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor


No, not that Elizabeth Taylor, but the feted British novelist of upper/middle class Britain.

I stumbled across a film adaptation of this one day and fell for it. Whilst the film, in a lot of ways was warmer, this novel is a great story about the stoicness of older British people, the ‘keep calm and carry on’ crowd, even when they are alone and living in a hotel.

Mrs Palfrey, avoiding a nursing home and trying to keep some independence, moves into the Claremont hotel in London, alongside a few other elderly residents. A chance meeting with a young man who helps her up after a fall, and a subsequent misunderstanding where the other residents believe he is her grandson (who in reality is uninterested by his grandmother). Beautifully written and quite sad in places, this book isn’t quite as warm as the film adaptation, but in a way that suits it. I’ll certainly be reading more of Taylor’s books.


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

Out of Step: A Memoir by Anthony Moll

out of step

Occasionally, if I’m bored and looking for new things, I’ll search on amazon for books and low prices – Amazon tends to discount a title heavily when they’ve only one copy in stock – and see what I can find, and usually, due to the discount, I’ll find four or five new books that I’ve been meaning to read. This was one of them.

A very worth winner of the 2019 Lambda Literary Award for Bisexual Nonfiction, Out of Step, is a memoir in essays about a teenage, working class, bisexual boy who joins the military pre-Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. When he joined, he did so knowing his sexuality and was, in his words “a pink-haired queer punk” and it was interesting to see how he fared in the military.

This short book, written in essays, packs a lot into its short page count. From talking about his life before, to his experience of being a bi soldier, to dating women on base, to having dalliances with other male soldiers, to experiencing war (or not), to his job as a K-9 handler, and his queer friends in the military. This is a book about someone fully becoming themselves, and a fascinating read. Recommended.

Brilliant Book Titles #292


‘Sullivan has an eye for the uncanny, a taste for the macabre, and a gift for beautiful prose. Perfectly Preventable Deaths is her best book yet.’ Louise O’Neill

‘This is the novel the recent Sabrina reboot wishes it could be – a thrilling, eerie exploration of sisterhood, first love and dark powers hiding out of sight.’ Dave Rudden

Sixteen-year-old twins Madeline and Catlin move to a new life in Ballyfrann, a strange isolated Irish town, a place where the earth is littered with small corpses and unspoken truths. A place where, for generations, teenage girls have gone missing in the surrounding mountains. As distance grows between the twins – as Catlin falls in love, and Madeline begins to understand her own nascent witchcraft – Madeline discovers that Ballyfrann is a place full of predators. And when Catlin falls into the gravest danger of all, Madeline must ask herself who she really is, and who she wants to be – or rather, who she might have to become to save her sister.


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

Chain of Fools by Richard Stevenson

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This is the sixth Donald Strachey mystery (they can, of course, be read in any order). Don is a gay PI from Albany, and his boyfriend, Timothy Callahan, usually prominently features also. These are a very enjoyable series – four of which were made into movies (Shock to the System, Third Man Out, On the Other Hand Death and Ice Blues) which I’d also recommend.

Whilst not the strongest of mysteries in the series, it was an enjoyable enough romp centered around a family warring over selling their newspaper. A good, breezy read. Part of my summer reading, for which I want to read the ones I haven’t (about half – there’s 16, with the newest out this year!). I would recommend though – if you were reading this of the first time to start with the first Death Trick (which is the only pre-AIDS Strachey novel) and my favourite, Shock to the System which is set in a gay conversion therapy clinic.

There shall be more reviews of this series coming!