THEY SAY: The second novel from the author of the Baileys Prize-winning The Glorious Heresies. Fast-paced, compelling, and thrilling, Lisa McInerney writes the type of fiction that is both beautifully crafted and immensely enjoyable.
Joanne SAYS: The Blood Miracles is a continuation of Lisa McInerney’s previous book The Glorious Heresis. This is very apparent as the book is a very slow start and I felt the scene had already been set. It took me the first 5/6 chapters to get into the story. As I followed the twists and turns, I had to read each line very carefully as not to miss out on anything! It starts with Ryan, who is a pianist and DJ, with an Italian mother and Irish father, who is helping establish an Irish-Italian drug deal in the Cork city underworld with his boss Dan Kane. There is a decision for Ryan to make. To follow his girlfriend Karine, give up crime and become her ideal partner or continue making his life a mess with infidelity and drunkenness. Overall, he is a 20 year old, out of prison, trying to find himself!
THEY SAY: Summer has arrived to Ballyanna on the south-west coast of Ireland, and so, too, has an American family …
Anne SAYS: At 10pm on a Sunday evening, as I readied myself for bed, I looked for a book to read. A few pages usually sends me happily off. I was still reading Fiona O’Briens latest novel at 2am. The Summer Visitors is set in the fair-sized fictional village of Ballyanna in Co Kerry and tells the personal stories of Annie Sullivan and Dan (Daniel) O’Connell. Annie is the daughter of local hotel owners and has recently returned from London with a broken heart, only to be faced with family drama and disfunction. Dan is an elusive American documentary maker, who comes to Ballyanna to research for a documentary on the transatlantic Cable Station near Ballyanna. He comes with hopes that a summer in Kerry will heal his heart from personal trauma. I was transported to a quaint village in west Kerry by delicate yet expansive descriptions of the countryside which brought me back to family holidays of yesteryear. There are no stereotypes here. Indeed, her affectionate descriptions of Kerry life and the accent of its locals could be mistaken with those of a long-emigrated Kerryman, forced to live far from his native sod. I could almost smell the salty breeze and see the village along with its inhabitants as they go about their daily lives. Fiona’s characters are real and their stories tangible.
THEY SAY: Double the nutrition in every ingredient with this unfaddy blueprint for a healthier life, with more than 80 easy recipes.
Esther SAYS: In the words of the author James Wong, “This book is not about what to eat, but how to eat the foods you love to get the very most out of them”. All too often books can preach to a reader on what is best for them, without giving a thought to each person’s personal circumstance; but not this book. In How To Eat Better James gives in-depth reasons on when it is best, or not, to cook blend or peel certain foods, fruits or vegetables, so we can get the best from them. This book does not call for fancy gadgets, obscure ingredients or a lot of time. James uses proven scientific studies to back up his claims from one pot meals to booze. Essentially, he is telling us what we have been hearing for years with a new twist, eat lots of fruit and veg and less red meat, fat and sugar. James is not afraid to try new flavor combinations and encourages creativity with what you have in your cupboards. Hot chocolate with beetroot and fruit in salads to boost antioxidants, vitamins and minerals in your diet. From vegan meatballs and burgers to creamy indulgent cauliflower and potato mash. This Book has something for everyone. I really enjoyed reading and cooking from this book.
Nutritional Therapist Elsa Jones’ revolutionary programme targets
both physical and emotional dependency on sugar.
Part cookbook, part memoir, part self-help manual, Recipes for a Nervous Breakdown is a hilarious take on the life of a modern millennial woman.
THEY SAY: The Husband is a gripping human story of love in its many guises, of losing everything and ultimately of rediscovering the meaning of family.
MARGOT SAYS: I found this story well written but very sad, very Irish – a real and human story which could happen to any of us. Marion’s first husband Peter was a doctor and a wonderful man and she knew it, but she divorced him because she fell in love with his colleague, Daniel. She didn’t see through him. She was blinded by love. I believe she was really her own worst enemy but a very strong person who endured a lot of sadness. She had lost her mum, her husband and then her dad, whom she had looked after for a long time. The fact that she was from Chicago made me wonder why she ended up here in Ireland after all her sad experiences, leading me to believe she was punishing herself for her own weakness. I really enjoyed reading this book.
THEY SAY: It is deep winter. The darkness is unending. The private detective named Jaycob Eklund has vanished, and Charlie Parker is dispatched to track him down. Parker’s employer, Edgar Ross, an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has his own reasons for wanting Eklund found.
Helen SAYS: Book 15 in the Charlie Parker series. They are all there, Charlie, Angel, Louis, Sam, Jennifer. A good writer, weaving an intriguing tale, Connolly carries us along, although he does get bogged down by the supernatural elements during the middle section. This book is best not read as a stand-alone but as one in a series. Book 11 ties Parker in with Ross from the FBI. In this tale, Ross asks Parker to track down Jaycob Ecklund, a private investigator who recently went off the grid working a case for Ross. This search is the story which leads into murky depths of the underworld, natural and supernatural. The otherworldly elements of the haunted Parker, which breaks through, are reflective of Connolly’s fascination with the supernatural themes in the works of Irish writers such as Bram Stoker. This book leaves one wondering if the end may be in sight for Parker who is feeling his age, and his friends Louis and Angel are fearful of medical indications that all is not well. Even in fiction, old age is not for the faint-hearted. I feel overall, that there was too much paranormal activity, some of it beyond the reach of credibility – for me. It is still a page turner and I shall read the next in the series to see where it is going.
In a very clear, practical way Claire shows us how to make sense of our distressing feelings, to become aware of our unhelpful thoughts and our core beliefs, and most of all, to focus on what we can actually do to improve things for ourselves.
Authors Paula Mee and Kate O’Brien had a lot of questions when they reached menopause. While doctors were matter-of-fact and friends had light-hearted conversations about the changes occurring in their bodies, there was no road map for what can, if you’re unprepared, be a turbulent transition. Your Middle Years provides just that.
THEY SAY: Horace Winter doesn’t, strictly speaking, have friends. Ever since the long-ago day when the ‘very bad thing’ happened, he prefers to spend his time in the company of moths and butterflies, who are far less likely to disappoint him than humans.
Deirdre SAYS: A page turner – I read it way into the night as I couldn’t put it down. Horace, a bank manager, displayed a lack of intuition and took people at face value. He lives his life consumed by what happened in the past, his sister drowning in the bathroom when he was six, and his father’s heart attack as a teenager. He blamed himself for these two incidents and so did his mother, who was very critical of him all of his life. So he retreated into this imaginary life where he classed people as butterflies (the good people) and moths (the bad people). He lived a lonely, unhappy, unusual life until near his death when he resolved his difficult past … or did he? That is the question that leaves you hanging in mid-air. Was it all only in his imagination? A great read which leaves you wanting more.