TBR Pile Review: The Rabbit Factor, by Antti Tuomainen, translated by David Hackston

Hardcover, 300 pages
Published October 28th 2021 by Orenda Books (first published August 19th 2020)
Original Title: Jäniskerroin
ISBN:191319387X (ISBN13: 9781913193874)

An insurance mathematician’s carefully ordered life is turned on its head when he unexpectedly loses his job and inherits an adventure park … with a whole host of problems. A quirky, tense and warmly funny thriller from award-winning Finnish author Antti Tuomainen.

What makes life perfect? Insurance mathematician Henri Koskinen knows the answer because he calculates everything down to the very last decimal.

And then, for the first time, Henri is faced with the incalculable. After suddenly losing his job, Henri inherits an adventure park from his brother – its peculiar employees and troubling financial problems included. The worst of the financial issues appear to originate from big loans taken from criminal quarters … and some dangerous men are very keen to get their money back.

But what Henri really can’t compute is love. In the adventure park, Henri crosses paths with Laura, an artist with a chequered past, and a joie de vivre and erratic lifestyle that bewilders him. As the criminals go to extreme lengths to collect their debts and as Henri’s relationship with Laura deepens, he finds himself faced with situations and emotions that simply cannot be pinned down on his spreadsheets…

Warmly funny, rich with quirky characters and absurd situations, The Rabbit Factor is a triumph of a dark thriller, its tension matched only by its ability to make us rejoice in the beauty and random nature of life.

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Review: Sergeant Salinger, by Jerome Charyn

21 Oct 2021 | 9780857304711 | Format: Paperback Original | £9.99

Grounded in biographical fact and reimagined as only Charyn could, Sergeant Salinger is an astonishing portrait of a devastated young man on his way to becoming the mythical figure behind a novel that has marked generations.

2021 marks the 70th anniversary of the first publication of The Catcher in the Rye.

J.D. Salinger, mysterious author of The Catcher in the Rye, is remembered today as a reclusive misanthrope. Jerome Charyn’s Salinger is a young American WWII draftee assigned to the Counter Intelligence Corps, a band of secret soldiers who trained with the British. A rifleman and an interrogator, he witnessed all the horrors of the war – from the landing on D-Day to the relentless hand-to-hand combat in the hedgerows of Normandy, to the Battle of the Bulge, and finally to the first Allied entry into a Bavarian death camp, where corpses were piled like cordwood. After the war, interned in a Nuremberg psychiatric clinic, Salinger became enchanted with a suspected Nazi informant. They married, but not long after he brought her home to New York, the marriage collapsed. Maladjusted to
civilian life, he lived like a ‘spook,’ with invisible stripes on his shoulder, the ghosts of the murdered inside his head, and stories to tell.

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TBR Pile Review: The Story of Silence, by Alex Myers

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Hardcover, 400 pages
Published July 9th 2020 by Harper Voyager
ISBN:0008352682 (ISBN13: 9780008352684)

I have this edition, gifted by Harper Voyager in a Twitter giveaway to Queer people. It’s very pink,

A knightly fairy tale of royalty and dragons, of midwives with secrets and dashing strangers in dark inns. Taking the original French legend as his starting point, The Story of Silence is a rich, multilayered new story for today’s world – sure to delight fans of Uprooted and The Bear and the Nightingale.

There was once, long ago, a foolish king who decreed that women should not, and would not, inherit. Thus when a girl-child was born to Lord Cador – Merlin-enchanted fighter of dragons and Earl of Cornwall – he secreted her away: to be raised a boy so that the family land and honour would remain intact.

That child’s name was Silence.

Silence must find their own place in a medieval world that is determined to place the many restrictions of gender and class upon them. With dreams of knighthood and a lonely heart to answer, Silence sets out to define themselves.

Soon their silence will be ended.

What follows is a tale of knights and dragons, of bards, legends and dashing strangers with hidden secrets. Taking the original French legend as his starting point, The Story of Silence is a rich, multilayered new story for today’s world – sure to delight fans of Uprooted and The Bear and the Nightingale.

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I also have this edition! I completely forgot that it was a Goldsboro Books SFF Fellowship book until both arrived!
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Review: This green and pleasant land, by Ayisha Malik

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Paperback
Published April 30th 2020 by Zaffre (first published June 13th 2019)
ISBN: 1785764500 (ISBN13: 9781785764509)

In the sleepy village of Babel’s End, trouble is brewing.

Bilal Hasham is having a mid-life crisis. His mother has just died, and he finds peace lying in a grave he’s dug in the garden. His elderly Auntie Rukhsana has come to live with him, and forged an unlikely friendship with village busybody, Shelley Hawking. His wife Mariam is distant and distracted, and his stepson Haaris is spending more time with his real father.

Bilal’s mother’s dying wish was to build a mosque in Babel’s End, but when Shelley gets wind of this scheme, she unleashes the forces of hell. Will Bilal’s mosque project bring his family and his beloved village together again, or drive them apart?

Warm, wise and laugh-out-loud funny, This Green and Pleasant Land is a life-affirming look at love, faith and the meaning of home. 

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Review: ‘The Space Between Time’, by Charlie Laidlaw

UK Publication: June 2019
Publisher: Accent Press
ISBN: 9781786156945
Price: £8.99

Blurb

There are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on Earth…
Emma Maria Rossini’s perfect life begins to splinter when her celebrity father becomes more distant, and her mother dies suspiciously during a lightning storm. This death has a massive effect on Emma, but after stumbling through university, she settles into work as a journalist in Edinburgh.
Her past, however, cannot be escaped. Her mental health becomes unstable. But while recovering in a mental institution, Emma begins to write a memoir to help come to terms with the unravelling of her life. She finds ultimate solace in her once-derided grandfather’s Theorem on the universe – which offers the metaphor that we are all connected, even to those we have loved and not quite lost.

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Bonus Review #5: ‘Unmarriageable’, by Soniah Kamal

Cover of Unmarriageable
Published By: Alison & Busby
Publication Date: 15th January 2019
Format: Hardback
I.S.B.N.: 9780749024413
Price: £14.99
Purchase Link

Blurb


It is a truth universally acknowledged that when a family’s fortune is destroyed by scandal and rumour, they must look to their daughters to marry well.

Alys Binat, however, loves life as it is: teaching English literature and encouraging her female students to aspire to more than society expects of them. She is resolute: she will not marry.

However, her mother thinks differently and when the family receive an invite to a big wedding, Mrs Binat immediately coaches her daughters to snag rich, eligible bachelors. There, Alys’s eldest sister, Jena, catches the eye of Fahad ‘Bungles’ Bingla, a successful entrepreneur, but Alys is irked when she overhears Bungles’ friend Valentine Darsee’s snobbish assessment of her. As the festivities unfold, the Binats hold their breath, waiting to see if Bungles will propose. And Alys realises that Darsee’s apparent rudeness and contempt may conceal a different man from the one she first judged him to be.

An essential guide to marriage, class and sisterhood in modern-day Pakistan.

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Review: ‘The Book of Air’, by Joe Treasure

 

Published By: Clink Street Publishing

Joe Treasure Final front cover only

Publication Date: 4th April 2017

I.S.B.N.:  978-1911525097

Format: Paperback

Price: £8.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blurb

Retreating from an airborne virus with a uniquely unsettling symptom, property developer Jason escapes London for his country estate, where he is forced to negotiate a new way of living with an assortment of fellow survivors.

Far in the future, an isolated community of descendants continue to farm this same estate. Among their most treasured possessions are a few books, including a copy of Jane Eyre, from which they have constructed their hierarchies, rituals and beliefs. When 15-year-old Agnes begins to record the events of her life, she has no idea what consequences will follow. Locked away for her transgressions, she escapes to the urban ruins and a kind of freedom, but must decide where her future lies.

These two stories interweave, illuminating each other in unexpected ways and offering long vistas of loss, regeneration and wonder.

The Book of Air is a story of survival, the shaping of memory and the enduring impulse to find meaning in a turbulent world.

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Review: ‘We Were The Salt Of The Sea’, by Roxanne Bouchard, trans. by David Warriner

 

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Published By: Orenda

Publication Date: 28th February 2018

I.S.B.N.: 9781912374038

Format: Paperback

Price: £8.99

Information here

 

 

 

 

Blurb

As Montrealer Catherine Day sets foot in a remote fishing village and starts asking around about her birth mother, the body of a woman dredges up in a fisherman’s nets. Not just any woman, though: Marie Garant, an elusive, nomadic sailor and unbridled beauty who once tied many a man’s heart in knots. Detective Sergeant Joaquin Morales, newly drafted to the area from the suburbs of Montreal, barely has time to unpack his suitcase before he’s thrown into the deep end of the investigation. On Quebec’s outlying Gaspe Peninsula, the truth can be slippery, especially down on the fishermen’s wharves.

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Review: ‘The Flawed Ones’, by Jay Chirino

Published By: CreateSpace Independent Publishing

Publication Date: 30th October 2017

I.S.B.N.: 9780692928332

Format: Kindle and Paperback

http://theflawedones.com/

Blurb

In this compelling novel, Jay Chirino channels his own struggles with depression and addiction, creating a universal story that is painfully relatable for those with similar issues, and eye-opening for the ones that 

haven’t dealt with the challenges of mental illness.

After leaving behind a trail of drug-addled destruction, Jay finds himself confined to the walls of a psychiatric hospital. He is now compelled to confront his actions, his issues, and the past that led him to such downhill spiral. But what surprisingly affects him most are the people that he becomes surrounded by; people with considerable deficiencies that will shed some light on the things that truly matter in life.

“The Flawed Ones” is a thorough examination of the struggles of mental illness, depression, addiction, and the effects they have on the human condition. Most importantly, it proves that physical and mental shortcomings do not necessarily define who we truly are inside- that the heart is, in fact, untouched by our “flaws”, and that love will always prevail above all.

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Review: ‘Who’s to blame?’, by Jane Marlow

Published by: River Grove Books

Publication date: 18th October 2016

I.S.B.N.: 9781632991041

Blurb

Set during the mid-1800s in the vast grain fields of Russian, Who Is to Blame? follows the lives of two star-crossed serfs, Elizaveta and Feodor, torn apart by their own families and the Church while simultaneously trapped in the inhumane life of poverty to which they were born.

At the other end of the spectrum, Count Maximov and his family struggle to maintain harmony amidst a tapestry of deception and debauchery woven by the Count’s son. The plot twists further when the Tsar emancipates twenty million serfs from bondage while the rural gentry’s life of privilege and carelessness has taken its final bow and much of Russia’s nobility faces possible financial ruin.

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