Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Book Review Club (December 2013)

December??!!! Seriously?! Still, nothing beats celebrating the end of the year with a list of books to read in 2014. And, of course, there are always holiday gifts...Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all the reviewers! What an amazing year of reviews we've had! 


I love breaking out of the old comfort zone and reading an author from another country. I'm not sure what lead me to Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma (that is a mouthful of a title!), but I'm glad I wound up there. The author, Kerry Hudson, is from Aberdeen, Scotland and, from the little poking around I've done, had a tough life similar to our diamond-in-the-rough heroine. This is Ms. Hudson's first novel, and it won the Scottish First Book Award. It was also short-listed for a bunch of other awards.

Janie Ryan is born into a world of poverty, domestic violence, alcohol, sex, drugs, despair. Her family's very dysfunctional with a single, hard-living mother, a grandmother who loves "the bingo" over all, an uncle who's a dealer and an addict. Janie's not expected to amount to much. Her guidance counselor (careers adviser) tells her to be realistic when Janie says she wants to go to university.

What this book is chock full of: voice! "We'd been having a nice night, sleepy from a big dinner, cosied up with cups of tea and old magazines with Catchphrase humming away in the background...Now we were face to face and I could tell that there was no edging back from a full-on slanging match." (pg. 240)

I loved the characters, their poor choices and bumpy lives. I loved the language, especially the dialogue that felt so real. I loved all the setting details.

Here's the cover of the American version that pubs next month.

Ms. Hudson's second novel, THIRST, will be out next year.

And, now, onto to everyone’s marvelous reviews!


Ellen Booraem of Freelance Ne'er-do-well: ONE FOR THE MURPHYS by Lynda Mullaly Hunt (MG)

Sarah Laurence: ROOMIES by Sarah Zarr and Tara Altebrando (YA, contemporary)


Lucy Sartain of Ranting and Raving: THE PARTNER TRACK by Helen Wan (legal)
                                                            THE OPPORTUNIST by Tarryn Fisher (romance)
                                                             TAKEDOWN TWENTY by Janet Evanovich (mystery)

Stacy of The Cat's Meow: HYPERBOLE AND A HALF by Allie Brosh (humor)

Linda McLaughlin: MY MAI TAI ONE ON by Jill Marie Landis (cozy mystery)
                                THE CHRISTMAS CUCKOO by Mary Jo Putney (regency romance)
                                 SILENT NIGHT: A LADY JULIA CHRISTMAS NOVELLA
                                    by Deanna Raybourn (historical mystery)

Prairie Rose of Prairie Rose's Garden: AND THE MOUNTAINS ECHOES by Khaled Hosseini
                                                              FLIGHT BEHAVIOR by Barbara Kingsolver 

Patti Abbott: LET HIM GO by Larry Watson

Stacy Nyikos: THE DOG STARS by Peter Heller (guy book!)


Jenn Jilks of Cottage Country: COACHING FOR CAREGIVERS: HOW TO REACH OUT BEFORE YOU BURNT OUT by Yosaif August (self help)

 Alyssa Goodnight of the Writers' Road Less Traveled: BOMB by Steve Sheinkin (middle grade)

Note to Reviewers: Any errors (broken link, missed review, etc), just shoot me an email or leave a comment. Thank you so much for your reviews!


  1. Will recommend that book immediately to a Scottish friend I have. Thanks!

  2. The title alone would grab my attention! Before I did anything else, I pinned this to my Pinterest reading board so I wouldn't forget it:) Sounds like just my type of story!

  3. I would not have picked up a book with that title, but it's going on my TBR list after reading your marvelous review. I think my daughter might like it too. Hmm, maybe I'll send the hint to my British relations. Thanks for hosting!

  4. Yum! You had me at ice cream :-) The fact that the author is foreign is the cherry on top!

  5. The link didn't work to Jenn's post and I couldn't find it on her blog home page either, but I was pleased to see all the other ones up early today. A fine list of books for holiday shopping!

  6. This one sounds very fun! (I love a good title!) Thanks for the review and for hosting. Happy Holidays!

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  8. Good review, Barrie.
    We've been enjoying both a Swedish and Icelandic mystery writers. It gives one a great picture of the culture! Very different policing strategies!

  9. JUst from reading your review, I'm steaming mad at that guidance counselor! Great recommendation, Barrie...thanks!

  10. Awesome recommendations. I feel inspired after simply reading this list. Thanks for sharing your insights and warmest New Year's wishes to you!

  11. I have to endorse The Partner Track, Barrie!
    I'm quite enjoying it!
    cheers from Perth, -30 C. this a.m. but it's warmed up to -20!
    A good day to read indoors!


Comments are always welcome!