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On Our Bedside Table: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

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On Our Bedside Table: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Book Recommendation October 2021 Part 2

Our Book Recommendations October 2021 Part 2 are here

Tom Clancy’s Target Acquired by Don Bentley

Published by Penguin Random House

Reviewed by Feige

 

Target AcquiredIn a Nutshell

Jack is an elite operative for a private organisation that works alongside the CIA. He’s given a simple assignment from an old CIA friend that comes along with an all-expenses paid trip to Israel. Settled into enjoying his “vacation” and strolling the market he sees a knife and throws himself in front of a woman and her son under attack. Doing so he blows his cover, is arrested by Israeli intelligence and asked to leave the country. On his way to the airport he checks in on mother and son only to find them under attack again. Jack can’t leave before uncovering who the family is, who is threatening them and stopping them.

 

Book Club Notes

In short, I really did not enjoy this book. I found the storyline flat and the focus to be more about the bells and whistles (I.e. flashy fight scenes, armour, technology etc.) than on creating a truly engaging and thought provoking story line. I would call this book very “Bro-centric”.

 

That being said, for fans of action-packed thrillers where no doubt the heavy emphasis is placed the action, this won’t disappoint. It is truly jam packed with action from start to finish.

 

The Break by Marian Keyes

Published by Penguin Random House

Reviewed by Zissy

 

The BreakIn a Nutshell

Amy’s husband Hugh makes the shocking announcement that he needs a break – from their marriage and life together. Six months, he tells her, just six months to himself travelling in South East Asia and he’ll come back. It’s not a divorce, it’s a break. Amy has no say in the matter and his departure sends Amy and her crazy family teetering over the edge. Will he return and if he does can things go back to how they were and if Hugh is on a break, then surely it means Amy is on a break too?

 

Book Club Notes

I picked this up after a string of reading DNF’s and was looking for something light and funny to get me back into reading. And it did just that. The break is a laugh out loud funny, witty and easy to read all round wonderful book. At the same time it has a good storyline filled with multi-dimensional characters and a string of female characters who are unashamedly themselves. It’s size (568 pages) makes it the perfect book to take along on a weekend away or as in-flight reading, it provides hours of joyous entertainment.

  

They Got To You Too by Futhi Ntshingila

Published by Pan Macmillan 

Reviewed by Zissy

 

They Got To You TooIn a Nutshell

Hans van Rooyen is a former police general with a troubled past who was raised by two women who survived the 1899 South African war. Near the end of his life, he finds himself at an old-aged home being cared for by the daughter of liberation struggle activists, Zoe. Zoe and Hans form an unlikely bond and trust that sees him opening up about his time during the border wars, as a police officer during Apartheid and later under the new democratic government, training new recruits. As Covid-19 sees the world shut down and local lockdowns prevent all visitors to the home, Zoe and Hans’s bond grows stronger as they spend their days trading stories and histories.

 

Book Club Notes

They Got to You Too is very much historical fiction and is well researched and drawn out into a compelling story with complex protagonists. Futhi Ntshingila manages to capture the essence of Hans, an old white former policeman and Zoe, a young black nurse – two very different characters – in a way that seems human and authentic. It would be remiss if I didn’t make mention of Covid-19 being a main part of the storyline. In general I don’t enjoy books or TV (pretty much any fiction) that includes Covid-19 in the storyline. To me it feels too soon (we’re still living it), too much (we’re already bombarded by Covid-19 news daily, why does it need to be in fiction too) and often feels plopped in for relevance. However, They Got to You Too, includes it as a seamless part of the storyline (helped by this being historical fiction which is brought to present day) – it may just be the best inclusion I have seen yet.

I also had the joy of asking author Futhi Ntshinhila a few questions on this book, which you can read here.

 

The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa

Published by Picador, an imprint of Pan Macmillan

Reviewed by Feige

 

The Cat Who Saved BooksIn a Nutshell

When Rintaro Natsuki’s grandfather dies, he is devastated, alone and left with the task of closing his grandfather’s tiny second hand bookshop. Natsuki books, crammed with wonderful books, is the place this teenaged recluse has spent many happy hours reading and developing his love of books. Stuck and struggling to grapple with his emotions, a talking tabby cat appears asking Rintaro for help. Together they embark on magical adventures to save books.

 

Book Club Notes

Originally written in Japanese, this version is one of the over twenty translations around the world. Louise Heal Kawai took on the English and I really enjoyed her note at the end on how she tackled the task. This is such a charming book, written with finesse and simplicity. Despite it falling within a fantasy genre, the overall messaging is stemmed in reality and it’s a precious read that celebrates the power of books.

 

A line that stuck with me

It’s not true that the more you read, the more you see of the world. No matter how much knowledge you cram into your head, unless you think with your own mind, walk with your own feet, the knowledge you acquire will never be anything more than empty and borrowed.

 

Never Tell a Lie by Gail Schimmel

Published by Pan Macmillan

Reviewed by Zissy

 

Never Tell a LieIn a Nutshell

Mary is a single mother to a 12 year old son, living an uncomplicated comfortable life when two events happen that shake it up. First is an old postcard she accidentally discovers that throws her entire past into question. Second is a high-school reunion where she meets an old classmate, April who she barely remembers. They become fast friends but as they become closer, Mary finds herself drawn into April’s life and marriage, which the closer they get, seems less and less perfect. Between her shocking discovery in her own private life and April’s dramas, Mary’s life becomes more complicated and she doesn’t know who she can trust and who’s telling the truth.

 

Book Club Notes

I flew through this book and found it an easy entertaining read, much like her previous novel Two Months. I enjoyed how she keeps the readers guessing and changing one’s mind about who the bad guy really is, right up until the end, so much so that by the final chapter I could not put it down, wanting to know how it all ends. I did, however, find Mary to be a bit of an unlikeable and irritating character that was a little too self-obsessed. It made me think about the difficulty of being there for others especially when things are busy for you and the balance between looking after yourself but also being their for your circle.

 

I always love when author’s include the inspiration for the book, which Gail Schimmel did – it was her own high school reunion that sparked the idea and goes to show that inspiration can come from anywhere.

 

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