May Review Round-up!

Blog · Posted May 19, 2023

Our Books Team share what they loved reading over the last few weeks.

We have done a review round-up of  what we have read and loved over the last few weeks. We know that there are so many wonderful books on our shelves, with more being added every day, that sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming to choose your next great read from them all. Hopefully this can help you find your next great read from among the shelves. 

Yellowface by R.F Kuang – Reviewed by Rosamund

Anthea Liu is a Bright Young Thing in the literary world.  Her old college friend and fellow writer, June Hayward, less so.  

Anthea has it all with a Netflix cherry on top of her newly-completed manuscript, until she dies in a freak accident. Witness to this shocking event, June acts on impulse and takes the first draft of Anthea’s masterpiece from her apartment – the world needs to read this important work…  Surely it’s her job to finish, edit and bring the book to market…under her own (newly ambiguous) name, Juniper Song.

This is a fast, furious satire, packed with the blackest of humour.  The author pulls no punches with the literary world, nor her amoral first person narrator.

Buy the book. 

The Institution by Helen Fields – Reviewed by Vicky 

An unthinkable murder and abduction has been committed in a high-security hospital for the criminally insane. It’s up to Dr Connie Woolwine, a forensic profiler, to find out the truth. But first she must conquer her own traumatic past… and the clock is ticking.

Working undercover, Connie meets the doctors and nurses, as well as the security and kitchen staff, who collectively care for their permanent ‘guests’. These inmates range from the dangerously psychotic to just plain evil. Each one of them has nothing to lose.

Being trapped in a ward with serial killers is truly the stuff of nightmares, but the tension pushes you to the edge of your seat, and you’ll find this difficult to put down.

Read this with the lights on. And trust no-one…

Buy the book.

West by Carys Davies – Reviewed by Sarah 

West is short but conveys a lot about how we process grief, loneliness, regret and hope. Transporting us back to a different time and switching between father and daughter narratives, Davies lets us see both sides of an epic search into theNorth American wilderness. She tells us the story of those who explore and those who are left behind. 

This is a novel that is both sobering and beautiful, poetic yet haunting. The thread of wonder that first takes Cy on his adventure is never lost throughout the whole story and this allows for an ending that will live with you past the handful of hours it takes you to read this from start to finish.

Buy the book. 

Voyager by Nona Fernandez – Reviewed by Sarah 

In this short book, Fernandez tells some of her own story, her mother’s and the one of the complex nation she calls home. It makes you question what is at risk when we forget and things slip away into the black holes in our minds.

Expertly crafted to weave astrology, astronomy, history, politics and personal stories into one moving memoir, Fernandez looks at the power of remembrance and fragility of memory. However, above all, Voyager reminds us to ensure that crimes, violence and names from the past are not lost in the archives to avoid history repeating itself. 

Buy the book. 

Meantime by Frankie Boyle – Reviewed by Rosamund 

A riotous stagger through the drug-fuelled underbelly of Glasgow.  Strong language, hard drugs and hilarious descriptive fireworks on every page.  This is a murder mystery where the barely functioning narrator teams up with the sardonic but brilliant crime writer, by way of a healthy dose of nihilism.  Enjoy.

Buy the book. 

The Maiden by Kate Foster – Reviewed by Vicky 

It’s October 1679 and Lady Christian Nimmo sits in the Edinburgh Tolbooth accused of murdering her lover – her uncle James Forrester. 

To understand how this true crime could have been committed, Foster weaves together the narratives of two women. Each will keep their secrets until the end, but both live in the shadow of the maiden.

Although not much is known about the real-life Christian Nimmo, it feels as if this fiction has uncovered some truth. Foster has taken an invisible woman from the historical record and given her a voice. The writing also captures a vivid sense of place with events set in Corstorphine, where the author grew up and where the ghost of Lady Christian is said to haunt to this day… 

Compulsive. Gripping. Relentless. Cancel your plans – you won’t want to go anywhere until you’ve finished this.

Buy the book. 

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