The First Bad Man – Miranda July

First Bad Man Miranda July

Title: The First Bad Man
Author: Miranda July
Publisher: Scribner
Date of Publication: 13 July 2015
Number of Pages: 288

Rating: ⭐️ DNF @ 44%

Disclaimer: Copy provided free by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Summary: Here is Cheryl, a tightly-wound, vulnerable woman who lives alone, with a perpetual lump in her throat. She is haunted by a baby boy she met when she was six, who sometimes recurs as other people’s babies. Cheryl is also obsessed with Phillip, a philandering board member at the women’s self-defence non-profit where she works. She believes they’ve been making love for many lifetimes, though they have yet to consummate in this one.

When Cheryl’s bosses ask if their twenty-one-year-old daughter Clee can move into her house for a little while, Cheryl’s eccentrically-ordered world explodes. And yet it is Clee–the selfish, cruel blond bombshell–who bullies Cheryl into reality and, unexpectedly, provides her the love of a lifetime.

Review: I’ve read some terrible books. I’ve read some horribly messed up books but this…
This makes me want to peel my skin off & vomit.

I really didn’t like this book and I never want to see or hear of it again. There isn’t one single redeeming feature to give praise and I always look for that no matter how bad I think a book is.

This isn’t my only one star review of 2016 but it’s definitely the front runner for being the worst book. Yuck.

(Read between 7-11 July 2016)

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The Sudden Departure of the Frasers – Louise Candlish

The Sudden Departure of the Frasers Louise Candlish

Another reviewer on Goodreads called the blurb of this book click bait and I’m inclined to agree. When you have a fairly good idea how the book is going to go and what the ending is at page 20 there’s no point reading. P.S I skipped to the end and it turns out I was right.

The Wolf Border

The Wolf Border Sarah Hall

Title: The Wolf Border
Author: Sarah Hall
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Date of Publication: 3 March 2016
Number of Pages: 435

Rating: 4 stars

Summary: For almost a decade Rachel Caine has turned her back on home, kept distant by family disputes and her work monitoring wolves on an Idaho reservation. But now, summoned by the eccentric Earl of Annerdale and his controversial scheme to reintroduce the grey wolf to the English countryside, she is back in the peat and wet light of the Lake District. The earl’s project harks back to an ancient idyll of untamed British wilderness – though Rachel must contend with modern-day concessions to health and safety, public outrage and political gain – and the return of the grey after hundreds of years coincides with her own regeneration: impending motherhood, and reconciliation with her estranged family.

Review: I actually don’t know how to rate this book.
I enjoyed it but I didn’t like it.
I found it interesting with strong characters but they felt unreal and too human at the same time.
The Wolf Border is worth four stars because the writing was neat and engaging. Hall uses words sparingly but with maximum impact. At the time when I was reading this book, the UK was both pre and post Brexit and parts of the book were cutting. It was almost like Hall had predicted the outcome of the Referendum by looking at the Scottish Independence vote.

(Read between 18 June – 1 July 2016)

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Thank you publishers!

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The Essex Serpent – Sarah Perry

Essex Serpent Sarah Perry

Title: The Essex Serpent
Author: Sarah Perry
Publisher: Serpent’s Tail
Date of Publication: 27 May 2016

Rating: 5 stars

 

Summary: Set in Victorian London and an Essex village in the 1890’s, and enlivened by the debates on scientific and medical discovery which defined the era, The Essex Serpent has at its heart the story of two extraordinary people who fall for each other, but not in the usual way.

They are Cora Seaborne and Will Ransome. Cora is a well-to-do London widow who moves to the Essex parish of Aldwinter, and Will is the local vicar. They meet as their village is engulfed by rumours that the mythical Essex Serpent, once said to roam the marshes claiming human lives, has returned. Cora, a keen amateur naturalist is enthralled, convinced the beast may be a real undiscovered species. But Will sees his parishioners’ agitation as a moral panic, a deviation from true faith. Although they can agree on absolutely nothing, as the seasons turn around them in this quiet corner of England, they find themselves inexorably drawn together and torn apart.

Review: I have nothing but admiration and awe for Sarah Perry. There are so many highlights I could spoil the entire book but instead I’ll share the most poignant part.

One of the characters is depicted sharpening a pencil with a razor and an almost tangible memory of my Grandad burst from the page. I remember he always had a pencil sharpened this way. It also made me remember the old, battered suitcase, full of felt pens and pencils that were kept for all the grandkids to use. I don’t know what happened to that. Thanks for the memory, Sarah. It makes the book so much more for me.

The Essex Serpent is one of my contenders for book of 2016.

(Read between 4-18 June 2016)