Review: His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet

His Bloody Project: Documents Relating to the Case of Roderick Macrae by Graeme Macrae Burnet

Categories: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Mystery

First Publication Date: November 5th 2015


Synopsis: The year is 1869. A brutal triple murder in a remote community in the Scottish Highlands leads to the arrest of a young man by the name of Roderick Macrae.

A memoir written by the accused makes it clear that he is guilty, but it falls to the country’s finest legal and psychiatric minds to uncover what drove him to commit such merciless acts of violence.

Was he mad? Only the persuasive powers of his advocate stand between Macrae and the gallows.

Graeme Macrae Burnet tells an irresistible and original story about the provisional nature of truth, even when the facts seem clear. His Bloody Project is a mesmerising literary thriller set in an unforgiving landscape where the exercise of power is arbitrary.

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Review: Tryst Six Venom by Penelope Douglas

Tryst Six Venom by Penelope Douglas

Categories: Romance, LGBT+

First Publication Date: June 3rd 2021


Synopsis:

๐‘จ๐’˜๐’‚๐’š ๐’ˆ๐’‚๐’Ž๐’†๐’”, ๐’ƒ๐’‚๐’„๐’Œ ๐’”๐’†๐’‚๐’•๐’”, ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’๐’๐’„๐’Œ๐’†๐’“ ๐’“๐’๐’๐’Ž ๐’‚๐’‡๐’•๐’†๐’“ ๐’‰๐’๐’–๐’“๐’”โ€ฆ ๐‘ฎ๐’†๐’• ๐’“๐’†๐’‚๐’…๐’š!

๐˜พ๐™‡๐˜ผ๐™”

Marymount girls are good girls. Weโ€™re chaste, weโ€™re untouched, and even if we werenโ€™t, no one would know, because we keep our mouths shut.

Not that I have anything to share anyway. I never let guys go too far. Iโ€™m behaved.

Beautiful, smart, talented, popular, my skirtโ€™s always pressed, and I never have a hair out of place. I own the hallways, walking tall on Monday and dropping to my knees like the good Catholic girl I am on Sunday.

Thatโ€™s me. Always in control.

Or so they think. The truth is that itโ€™s easy for me to resist them, because what I truly want, they can never be. Something soft and smooth. Someone dangerous and wild.

Unfortunately, what I want I have to hide. In the locker room after hours. In the bathroom stall between classes. In the showers after practice. ๐‘€๐‘ฆ โ„Ž๐‘’๐‘Ž๐‘‘ ๐‘ ๐‘ค๐‘–๐‘š๐‘š๐‘–๐‘›๐‘”. ๐‘€๐‘ฆ โ„Ž๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘‘ ๐‘ข๐‘ โ„Ž๐‘’๐‘Ÿ ๐‘ ๐‘˜๐‘–๐‘Ÿ๐‘ก.

For me, life is a web of secrets. No one can find out mine.

๐™Š๐™‡๐™„๐™‘๐™„๐˜ผ

I cross the tracks every day for one reasonโ€”to graduate from this school and get into the Ivy League. Iโ€™m not ashamed of where I come from, my family, or how everyone at Marymount thinks my skirts are too short and my lipstick is too red.

Clay Collins and her friends have always turned up their noses at me. The witch with her beautiful skin, clean shoes, and rich parents who torments me daily and thinks I wonโ€™t fight back.

At least not until I get her alone and find out sheโ€™s hiding so much more than just whatโ€™s underneath those pretty clothes.

The princess thinks Iโ€™ll scratch her itch. She thinks sheโ€™s still pure as long as itโ€™s not a guy touching her.

I told her to stay on her side of town. I told her not to cross the tracks.

But one night, she did. And when Iโ€™m done with her, sheโ€™ll never be pure again.

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Review: Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

Categories: Fantasy, Mystery, Literary Fiction

First Publication Date: September 15th 2020ย 


Synopsis: Piranesi’s house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls are lined with thousands upon thousands of statues, each one different from all the others. Within the labyrinth of halls an ocean is imprisoned; waves thunder up staircases, rooms are flooded in an instant. But Piranesi is not afraid; he understands the tides as he understands the pattern of the labyrinth itself. He lives to explore the house.

There is one other person in the houseโ€”a man called The Other, who visits Piranesi twice a week and asks for help with research into A Great and Secret Knowledge. But as Piranesi explores, evidence emerges of another person, and a terrible truth begins to unravel, revealing a world beyond the one Piranesi has always known.

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Review: Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters

Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters

Categories: Contemporary Fiction, LGBTQIA+

First Publication Date: xx


Synopsis: Reese almost had it all: a loving relationship with Amy, an apartment in New York City, a job she didn’t hate. She had scraped together what previous generations of trans women could only dream of: a life of mundane, bourgeois comforts. The only thing missing was a child. But then her girlfriend, Amy, detransitioned and became Ames, and everything fell apart. Now Reese is caught in a self-destructive pattern: avoiding her loneliness by sleeping with married men.

Ames isn’t happy either. He thought detransitioning to live as a man would make life easier, but that decision cost him his relationship with Reeseโ€”and losing her meant losing his only family. Even though their romance is over, he longs to find a way back to her. When Ames’s boss and lover, Katrina, reveals that she’s pregnant with his babyโ€”and that she’s not sure whether she wants to keep itโ€”Ames wonders if this is the chance he’s been waiting for. Could the three of them form some kind of unconventional familyโ€”and raise the baby together?

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Review: Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller

Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller

Categories: Literary Fiction

First Publication Date: January 28th 2021


Synopsis: What if the life you have always known is taken from you in an instant? What would you do to get it back?

Twins Jeanie and Julius have always been different from other people. At 51 years old, they still live with their mother, Dot, in rural isolation and poverty. Their rented cottage is simultaneously their armour against the world and their sanctuary. Inside its walls they make music, in its garden they grow (and sometimes kill) everything they need for sustenance.

But when Dot dies suddenly, threats to their livelihood start raining down. At risk of losing everything, Jeanie and her brother must fight to survive in an increasingly dangerous world as their mother’s secrets unfold, putting everything they thought they knew about their lives at stake.

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Review: Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

Categories: Contemporary Fiction

First Publication Date: August 31st 2020


Synopsis: As a child Gifty would ask her parents to tell the story of their journey from Ghana to Alabama, seeking escape in myths of heroism and romance. When her father and brother succumb to the hard reality of immigrant life in the American South, their family of four becomes two – and the life Gifty dreamed of slips away.

Years later, desperate to understand the opioid addiction that destroyed her brother’s life, she turns to science for answers. But when her mother comes to stay, Gifty soon learns that the roots of their tangled traumas reach farther than she ever thought. Tracing her family’s story through continents and generations will take her deep into the dark heart of modern America.

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Review: The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Categories: Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction

First Publication Date: June 2nd 2020


Synopsis: The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Many years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?

Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race,ย The Vanishing Halfย considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.

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Review: No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood

No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood

Categories: Contemporary Fiction

First Publication Date: February 16th 2021


Synopsis: As this urgent, genre-defying book opens, a woman who has recently been elevated to prominence for her social media posts travels around the world to meet her adoring fans. She is overwhelmed by navigating the new language and etiquette of what she terms “the portal,” where she grapples with an unshakable conviction that a vast chorus of voices is now dictating her thoughts. When existential threats–from climate change and economic precariousness to the rise of an unnamed dictator and an epidemic of loneliness–begin to loom, she posts her way deeper into the portal’s void. An avalanche of images, details, and references accumulate to form a landscape that is post-sense, post-irony, post-everything. “Are we in hell?” the people of the portal ask themselves. “Are we all just going to keep doing this until we die?”

Suddenly, two texts from her mother pierce the fray: “Something has gone wrong,” and “How soon can you get here?” As real life and its stakes collide with the increasingly absurd antics of the portal, the woman confronts a world that seems to contain both an abundance of proof that there is goodness, empathy, and justice in the universe, and a deluge of evidence to the contrary.

Fragmentary and omniscient, incisive and sincere, No One Is Talking About This is at once a love letter to the endless scroll and a profound, modern meditation on love, language, and human connection from a singular voice in American literature.

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eARC Review: Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore

Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore

Categories: Historical Fiction

First Publication Date: March 31st 2020 


I received an advance copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


Synopsis: Mercy is hard in a place like this . . .
Itโ€™s February 1976, and Odessa, Texas, stands on the cusp of the next great oil boom. While the townโ€™s men embrace the coming prosperity, its women intimately know and fear the violence that always seems to follow.

In the early hours of the morning after Valentineโ€™s Day, fourteen-year-old Gloria Ramรญrez appears on the front porch of Mary Rose Whiteheadโ€™s ranch house, broken and barely alive. The teenager had been viciously attacked in a nearby oil fieldโ€”an act of brutality that is tried in the churches and barrooms of Odessa before it can reach a court of law. When justice is evasive, the stage is set for a showdown with potentially devastating consequences.

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eARC Review: Permafrost by Eva Baltasar, trans. by Julia Sanches

Permafrost by Eva Baltasar, translated by Julia Sanches

Categories: Literary Fiction, Translated from Catalan

First Publication Date: 6. April 2021


I received an advance copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.


Synopsis: Permafrostโ€™s no-bullshit lesbian narrator is an uninhibited lover, a no-hope employee, and a some-time suicidal student of her own dislocated self. As she tries to break out of the roles set for her by a controlling, overprotective mother, a relentlessly positive sister, and a society which imposes a gut-wrenching pressure to conform, she contemplates the so-called will to live when that life is given, rather than chosen. Attempting to bridge the gap between the perennially frozen reaches of her outer shell and the tender core of her being, watching her relationships with family fracture and her many lovers come and go, the protagonistโ€™s reservations about staying alive become ever more pressing.

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