Book Review: Remember Tomorrow by Amanda Saint

Remember Tomorrow Amanda Saint

The Blurb

England, 2073. The UK has been cut off from the rest of the world and ravaged by environmental disasters. Small pockets of survivors live in isolated communities with no electricity, communications or transportation, eating only what they can hunt and grow.

Evie is a herbalist, living in a future that’s more like the past, and she’s fighting for her life. The young people of this post-apocalyptic world have cobbled together a new religion, based on medieval superstitions, and they are convinced she’s a witch. Their leader? Evie’s own grandson.

Weaving between Evie’s current world and her activist past, her tumultuous relationships and the terrifying events that led to the demise of civilised life, Remember Tomorrow is a beautifully written, disturbing and deeply moving portrait of an all-too-possible dystopian world, with a chilling warning at its heart.

The Review

This is a well written and emotive dystopian novel about a bleak future world where everyone is suspicious of ‘the others’ and the darkest parts of history are being relived.

It is clear from the writing that the author has a deep understanding of the world we are currently living in and the dangers our political and environmental damage is doing. Some moments in the book sound spookily accurate and possible in the current climate, and for our immediate future. We should take heed from this if we do not want our planet to end up like the one in this novel.

Evie’s story is compelling. There are a lot of twists and turns, and often you hope for the best whilst fearing the worst. Whilst some parts of the novel are quite dark there is a thread of hope that weaves through the book, which you find yourself clinging to as you read on. An enjoyable and recommended read, with a very topical warning thrown in for good measure!

Author Quotes

“A dystopian future that echoes the present times. A reflection of society in a stark, unforgiving mirror. Unsettling, honest and unputdownable.” Susmita Bhattacharya, author of The Normal State of Mind

“A chilling descent into the chaos that lies in the hearts of men. A searing portrait of a dystopian future where civilisation’s thin veneer has been ripped away, and it is women who suffer most as a result. Excellent.” Paul Hardisty, author of Absolution

 

Man Booker Prize 2018 Longlist

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• 171 submissions • Two Canadian authors • Six authors from the UK • Two writers from Ireland • Three writers representing the USA • Four writers under the age of 30 • Three previous nominees • One previous winner • Four debut novels • Seven women • Six men

The statistics are in. The jury is assembled.

The Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2018 longlist is revealed. Featuring the first-ever nomination for a graphic novel and the electrifying return of a Man Booker grandmaster, the spellbinding search to find the greatest fiction novel of 2018 is on.


Including a work of crime fiction, a noiresque thriller written in verse and a genre-defying graphic novel, the longlist for this year’s award is amongst the most diverse and exhilarating in the prize’s history. Excitingly, it’s also a list that showcases an array of new writing talent. In works that span time and space – from antebellum-era Caribbean to inner-city London and beyond – thirteen authors (the so-called ‘Booker Dozen’) compete for a place on the shortlist, which will be announced on 20 September 2018.

The longlist is:

  • Snap, Belinda Bauer
  • Milkman, Anna Burns
  • Sabrina, Nick Drnaso
  • Washington Black, Esi Edugyan
  • In Our Mad and Furious City, Guy Gunaratne
  • Everything Under, Daisy Johnson
  • The Mars Room, Rachel Kushner
  • The Water Cure, Sophie Mackintosh
  • Warlight, Michael Ondaatje
  • The Overstory, Richard Powers
  • The Long Take, Robin Robertson
  • Normal People, Sally Rooney
  • From a Low and Quiet Sea, Donal Ryan

The final winner will be announced at a ceremony on 16 October 2018.

You can read the blurb and/or buy a copy of the books by following this link: https://www.waterstones.com/book-awards/the-man-booker-prize

The Perfect Girlfriend: Book Review

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So, I was lucky enough to attend the book launch for my fantastically talented friend, Karen Hamilton, and pick up a copy of her debut.

I have to say, I have just finished it and it didn’t disappoint.

Juliette is troubled and twisted but absolutely determined to get her man. And as the pieces fall into place you find yourself rooting for her. The plans that she chooses to employ get more and more obscene, and yet when you see the world through her eyes they make perfect sense.

Juliette is calculating, obsessive and ruthless in her quest. She wants to succeed, no matter what the cost, which makes for a gripping and enthralling ride. This is one of those books that I couldn’t stop reading, even into the early hours in the morning, because I just had to know what she was going to do next!

Incredibly addictive, I highly recommend this book for thriller fans.

Happy reading!


Juliette loves Nate.
She will follow him anywhere. She’s even become a flight attendant for his airline, so she can keep a closer eye on him.

They are meant to be.
The fact that Nate broke up with her six months ago means nothing.
Because Juliette has a plan to win him back.

She is the perfect girlfriend.
And she’ll make sure no one stops her from getting exactly what she wants.

True love hurts, but Juliette knows it’s worth all the pain…

There’s a new spate of psychological thrillers in town – where things are mixed up a bit and the main protagonists are not all sympathetic characters stuck in an untenable situation – sometimes the main protagonists ARE the untenable situation as is true with Juliette, the star of “The Perfect Girlfriend” – and what a star she is.

Obsessive – Yes. Brilliantly engaging – Yes. Really quite scary – Yes, absolutely! Also occasionally witty, always focused, and actually has a real beef, Nate isn’t exactly the most reliable or the nicest of men. Still, you know, she wants him back and boy will she do absolutely anything to get him.

Follow Karen on Twitter

Purchase The Perfect Girlfriend

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Via: http://lizlovesbooks.com/ones-to-watch-in-2018-the-perfect-girlfriend-karen-hamilton/

Claire Dyer on Research and Imagination | The Literary Sofa

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My lovely friend, Isabel Costello of The Literary Sofa, has been talking to Claire Dyer about her new book The Last Day. Here is what they had to say…


Today I am delighted to welcome the first of my Spring Spotlight guests, poet and novelist Claire Dyer. Her novel The Last Day is published by the independent Dome Press, who appear to have an eye for the magic combination of literary merit and broad appeal.  It is very much my kind of book and in my review at the end you can find out why.  But first let’s hear Claire’s thoughts on something which has always preoccupied writers and fascinated readers: the delicate balance between research and imagination in writing fiction:

I once heard that James Joyce trod the pavements of Dublin to make sure it took precisely thirteen minutes to get from point A to point B so he could represent this faithfully in his writing. Also, Wilkie Collins was known to consult astronomical charts to ensure he had a firm grasp of exactly what kind of moonlight fell on the precise night about which he was writing. In addition I also read somewhere that Audrey Niffenegger carefully researched paper making so she could write authentically about Clare’s work in The Time Traveler’s Wife.

However, authors also make stuff up, and it’s achieving a balance between research and imagination that fascinates me and is the topic I wish to explore whilst I’m here on Isabel’s Literary Sofa.

I too have embarked on many and varied types of research: I’ve done pottery lessons (for The Moment), travelled to Athens (for The Perfect Affair), interviewed carpenters, estate agents, doctors, florists, gardeners, bankers and many more to gain insights into the professions I have chosen for my characters along the way. I’ve also checked out train routes, fashions, newspaper headlines, TV listings, the music hits of the day on the internet; I’ve trawled through photographs, books, stared at Google Maps, sent detailed questionnaires to family and friends both here and in the US and have even stood on Newgale Sands in Pembrokeshire breathing in the salty air to help me prepare for the final scene in one of my books. I’ve visited the London Aquarium, Kew Gardens, the Surrey hills and plumbed deeply personal experiences of birth and death and the many stages in between.

I even visited a medium for a scene in my latest novel, The Last Day, a decision which produced a very surprising result. I went fully prepared to take notes, remain unmoved by anything she said and only think of my character, Honey, while I was there. However, half way through the session, the medium told me my mother, who had died when I was a girl, had arrived and wanted to say something to me. I can’t pretend it wasn’t a shock, one that I’m still coming to terms with, and it made me realise that sometimes the line between research and imagination can get very blurred indeed.

Yet amongst all this fact-finding, my imagination is churning away because in the foreground of all this research are my characters and their stories and it’s for them I have to get it right.

And what if I get it wrong? I remember when researching for the day at the races scene in The Perfect Affair, I looked up which horse had won which race, I studied the notes I’d made when I’d been to the races to remind myself of the small details, like how the tannoy sounds, how the horses skitter to the starting post, the press of bodies, the sweat on the animals’ flanks in the winners’ circle, and yet my scene was set in the 60s and so it was only when I pulled up some photographs on the internet that I realised two very important small details which I nearly missed. The first was that all the men in the pictures were wearing hats and the second was that the majority of the punters were smoking. And so, in my scene, I had my characters take off their hats when they arrive in the function room, which itself fills with the smoke of numerous cigarettes as the day progresses.

What if I deliberately fudge the issue? There have been times when I’ve been less than exact about road names, or the distances between places, or timelines, and also when I’ve used a little bit of artistic licence because to me such facts could be in danger of getting in the way of the all-important story. I do feel guilty about this but, on balance, I believe that it’s best for writers to try and achieve a balance between what’s made up and what’s real so that our readers (and, after all, the reader is the person for whom we are writing) can be immersed in the narrative, lose themselves in the ups and downs of our characters’ lives without worrying too much about whether the weather on the particular day in question was actually sunny or not.

And what is getting it right? Is it this immersion, this losing of oneself in the world of the novel? I think it is. And I guess I’m lucky because at least I can check my facts (if I wish to) whereas others who, for example, write fantasy novels can’t. They make up their worlds, they invent currencies, modes of transport, food, clothes and complete ways of life and I admire them greatly for doing so. I don’t think I ever could. And there are even those who like Laini Taylor blend the real with the imagined. In Daughter of Smoke and Bone which I read recently for BBC Radio Berkshire’s Radio Reads, she seamlessly melds modern-day Prague with a fantastical world of angels and monstrous creatures and gives them all hearts and consciences, hopes and fears. It is a huge achievement and one I admire immensely.

I shall continue to base my stories in this world, whether it be now or ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty years ago and I shall do my utmost to mix fact with fiction, the exact with the inexact, research with imagination in the hope that my characters will have room to breathe and a voice with which to tell their stories.

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See the original article, including a review of Claire’s book, The Last Day, here: https://literarysofa.com/2018/03/02/guest-author-claire-dyer-on-research-and-imagination/

And check out more fantastic author interviews and book reviews on Isabel’s blog: the Literary Sofa.

Book Review: ‘Three Things About Elsie’ by Joanna Cannon

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I found this lovely review on Emma’s Bookish Corner, and I simply had to share. I love Joanna Cannon’s work, and was lucky enough to be present in the room when her first novel The Trouble With Goats And Sheep won at a Literary Festival that ultimately landed her an agent. She is an amazing and inspiring person, and I hope you enjoy this beautiful review of her second novel Three Things About Elsie.


THE BOOK

“There are three things you should know about Elsie.
The first thing is that she’s my best friend.
The second is that she always knows what to say to make me feel better.
And the third thing… might take a little bit more explaining.”

84-year-old Florence has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. As she waits to be rescued, Florence wonders if a terrible secret from her past is about to come to light; and, if the charming new resident is who he claims to be, why does he look exactly a man who died sixty years ago?

From the author of ‘The Trouble With Goats and Sheep’, this book will teach you many things, but here are three of them:
1) The fine threads of humanity will connect us all forever.
2) There is so very much more to anyone than the worst thing they have ever done.
3) Even the smallest life can leave the loudest echo.


THE REVIEW

“’No matter how long or short a time you are here, the world is ever so slightly different because you existed.’”

Oh, this book, this lovely lovely book. There are books that move us beyond words. Books that set up home in our hearts. Books that make you see the world that little bit differently. Those are the books that are truly special and ‘Three Things About Elsie’ is one of those books. It is a book that is as wonderful to read as it is to look at. It brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. Thank you Joanna Cannon, for bringing Florence, Elsie and Jack into my life!

At the heart of this book is a tale of friendship, the friendship between Florence (who certainly did not buy those twenty-three Battenberg cakes in her cupboard) and Elsie, (who is ‘difficult to clip’ when having her toenails seen to). And also their friendship with General Jack, one of the rare male Cherry Tree residents. These two ladies have literally been best friend’s the whole of their lives and now they are spending their twilight years at Cherry Tree, sheltered accommodation, full of universal beige and with no actual cherry trees.

“We held hands as we climbed hills, as we waited on pavements, and as we ran through fields, as we held hands as we faced all the things in life we didn’t think we could manage alone.”

I love these two ladies, I can picture them perfectly sitting at Flo’s window, watching possibly spying, on the goings-on in the courtyard. When new resident, Gabriel, arrives at Cherry Tree, a ghost from Florence’s past, our intrepid threesome become determined to prove all is not right. The antics these three get up are so entertaining, they are certainly the troublesome, naughty children of Cherry Tree.

All the characters in this book leap from the page, they are so true to life it’s hard to believe they are fiction. During Florence’s story, we also get to hear a little from Miss Ambrose, who is second in command at Cherry Tree and Handy Simon, the handy man. The addition of these chapters really makes the story feel more whole. We get to see life from Flo’s point of view but also from the view of the people who care for her. This book really does show what life is like in care homes, from the residents to the workers to the visitors. It’s all too easy to forget that old people are still people and they have lived and are still living, Joanna Cannon has looked at this important subject with so much heart and sympathy.

“History is littered with people who achieved great things in old age.”

There are so many moments I adored when reading this. My copy is covered with post-its! There are moments where I laughed aloud, many moments when I laughed aloud actually. There are moments I cried. There are moments where I just had to sit and take in what I’d read. Joanna Cannon’s writing is beautiful, I am in awe of her ability to create such wonder with her words.

I honestly cannot tell you how much I love this book, I’ve already read it twice and I know I’ll be reading it again. It is something truly special. How I feel about this book can be summed up in one of my favourite quotes from it “it wasn’t always something you could necessarily put down in words. Words are not always adequate.”

Three Things, for me, is the most perfect of books. So settle into your favourite reading spot, pour a cup of tea, grab a something yummy (I recommend Battenberg, you can’t go wrong with Battenberg) and prepare to read a story that will touch the innermost corners of your heart and meet characters who will become your friends.

BOOKISH CORNER RATING – ALL THE STARS IN THE SKY!!


THE AUTHOR

Joanna Cannon graduated from Leicester Medical School and worked as a hospital doctor, before specialising in psychiatry. Her first novel ‘The Trouble With Goats and Sheep’ was a top ten bestseller in both hardback and paperback. She lives in the Peak District with her family and her dog – Seth.

‘Three Things About Elsie’ is published in hardback on the 11th January 2018 by Borough Press.

Via: https://emmasbookishcorner.wordpress.com/2017/12/22/book-review-three-things-about-elsie-by-joanna-cannon/

17 Books That Should Be On Your Radar: December 2017

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Every month, the Writer’s Bone crew reviews or previews books they’ve read or want to read. This series may or may not also serve as a confessional for guilty pleasures and hipster novels only the brave would attempt. Here are their recommendations for December 2017:

  1. SMOTHERED BY M.C. HALL

  2. THE DEMON CROWN BY JAMES ROLLINS

  3. THERE ARE MORE BEAUTIFUL THINGS THAN BEYONCÉ BY MORGAN PARKER

  4. THE LOST PRAYERS OF RICKY GRAVES BY JAMES HAN MATTSON

  5. AMERICA’S WOMEN: 400 YEARS OF DOLLS, DRUDGES, HELPMATES, AND HEROINES BY GAIL COLLINS

  6. KING OF SPIES BY BLAINE HARDEN

  7. WHAT WE BUILD UPON THE RUINS BY GIANO CROMLEY

  8. CHASING PORTRAITS BY ELIZABETH RYNECKI
  9. THE FROZEN HOURS BY JEFF SHAARA

  10. DOUBLE FEATURE BY OWEN KING

  11. COLORADO BOULEVARD BY PHOEF SUTTON

  12. THE REPUBLIC FOR WHICH IT STANDS: THE UNITED STATES DURING RECONSTRUCTION AND THE GILDED AGE, 1865-1896 BY RICHARD WHITE

  13. A NEGRO AND AN OFAY BY DANNY GARDNER

  14. THE LAST PLACE YOU LOOK BY KRISTEN LEPIONKA

  15. THE PLOT IS MURDER BY VM BURNS

  16. ARE YOU SLEEPING BY KATHLEEN BARBER

  17. THINGS THAT HAPPENED BEFORE THE EARTHQUAKE BY CHIARA BARZINI

Click on the links above for a detailed synopsis of each book, or follow the following link to see what the Writer’s Bone crew had to say: http://www.writersbone.com/book-recommendations/2017/12/7/17-books-that-should-be-on-your-radar-december-2017

 

19 Books That Should Be On Your Radar: November 2017

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Every month, the Writer’s Bone crew reviews or previews books they’ve read or want to read. This series may or may not also serve as a confessional for guilty pleasures and hipster novels only the brave would attempt. Here are their recommendations for November 2017:

  1. Little Fires Everywhere By Celeste Ng
  2. The Winter Of Frankie Machine By Don Winslow
  3. Garden Of The Lost And Abandoned By Jessica Yu
  4. In The Distance By Hernan Diaz
  5. Mister Monkey By Francine Prose
  6. Siddhartha By Hermann Hesse
  7. The First Day By Phil Harrison
  8. Vacationland By John Hodgman
  9. Eileen By Ottessa Moshfegh
  10. A Head Full Of Ghosts By Paul Tremblay
  11. Jane Steele By Lyndsay Faye
  12. Sunburn By Laura Lippman
  13. Little Deaths By Emma Flint
  14. The Castle By Jason Pinter
  15. Under The Harrow By Flynn Berry
  16. The Cutaway By Christina Kovac
  17. Titus: The Life Story Of Dr. Plomaritis by Dr. Titus Plomaritis
  18. Strange Weather By Joe Hill

Click on the links above for a detailed synopsis of each book, or follow the following link to see what the Writer’s Bone crew had to say: http://www.writersbone.com/book-recommendations/2017/11/8/18-books-that-should-be-on-your-radar-november-2017