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Modern Fiction

The Brandy of the Damned by JMR Higgs

The Brandy of the Damned by JMR HiggsThose of you who have visited this blog previously, may have noticed that I do like an occasional dose of the unusual or off-beat in my reading. I jump between styles and genres as the mood takes me, but every so often I just feel the need for something that makes the brow furrow, makes you flip back a page to see if you actually read that bit correctly. The Brandy of the Damned certainly fits the bill in that respect, because although it made easy reading it was also deliciously unconventional.

Read on for a full review…

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Man Booker Prize Long List 2012

Man Booker Prize 2012This has got to be my most eagerly awaited event of the literary year — the announcement of the authors and books who have successfully fought their way onto this year’s Man Booker Prize long list. The publication on the 25th July of the long list for the 2012 Man Booker prize will, as ever, cause much discussion and controversy — does the list follow mainstream trends too much? Is it brave enough? Is it too predictable? — these are generally the type of arguments that rage across the blogosphere and social media sites as soon as the list is released.

As usual, I don’t intend to slavishly read the entire list. My current TBR pile is growing ever larger anyway so, as usual, I will probably pick out several of the titles that most grab my imagination.

This years judging panel was chaired by Sir Peter Stothard, ably assisted by Dinah Birch, Amanda Foreman, Dan Stevens and Bharat Tandon, who have had to make their selections from a total of 147 submitted novels.

Read on to see the full 2012 Man Booker Longlist

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Indian Maidens Bust Loose by Vidya Samson

Indian Maidens Bust Loose by Vidya SamsonIndependent and Self-Publishing are possibly the hottest and most contentious topics in the literary world today. Although I am wholeheartedly behind this trend, as a reader and reviewer, it is unfortunately the case that I do see far too many books of a standard that vindicates the argument of mainstream publishers that their old style gate-keeping is the last bastion of quality.

Thankfully, I also come across novels such as Vidya Samson’s Indian Maidens Bust Loose, which are as well written and edited as anything I read from larger publishers but may simply not meet their commercial requirements, or perhaps even the author’s own plans for their work.

I do have to point out before you read the review, that at the time of writing  Indian Maidens Bust Loose is only available in eBook format, so apologies to those without access to eReaders.

Read on for a full review…

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Hemispheres by Stephen Baker

Hemispheres by Stephen BakerDo you ever get that glorious feeling of connecting with a book — like it was personally written just for you? Stephen Baker’s excellent first novel Hemispheres hit me just like that. Even from the moment I first saw the cover, as a keen bird watcher myself, I just had a feeling it was going to be right up my street.

But whilst there is a strong birding theme which runs throughout the book, and without doubt it will delight the bird watching fraternity, there is so much more to it than that. It really is a cauldron of human relationships and experience, which the author has cleverly woven into a highly exciting and beautifully intricate storyline.

Read on for a full review…

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