Popcultureboy’s #CBR5 Review #96: The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan

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My Booker Longlist Challenge continues apace (though will spill over into next year’s Cannonball). This is the 2nd shortest entry of the longlisted books, an unusually narrated story of how a small town in Ireland was affected by the economic downturn. Doesn’t sound great, does it? Well, it is. Full review is on my blog here.

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Popcultureboy’s #CBR5 Review #95: The Yonahlossee Riding Camp For Girls by Anton Disclafani

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With a book like this, you know what you’re getting. The biggest surprise is probably that with a name like Anton, the author is actually female. It’s fine enough, but you have to have a high tolerance for nasty teenagers to really enjoy this book. The full review is on my blog here

Popcultureboy’s #CBR5 Review #94: The Testimony by James Smythe

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My 2nd oral history of the year, by an author I only discovered because he’s re-reading everything Stephen King ever published. It’s an excellent debut detailing the unravelling of civilisation in the wake of a mysterious broadcast that not everybody is able to hear. Full review is on my blog here

Popcultureboy’s #CBR5 Review #75: The Night Guest by Fiona McFarlane

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Already being talked up in the UK as “THE debut novel of 2014”, this is a painfully bad book. Overwritten, underplotted and entirely dreadful, the hype on this one has me well and truly baffled. Read my full review on my blog here.

Popcultureboy’s #CBR5 Review #64: Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures by Emma Straub

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The daughter of Peter Straub makes her full length novel debut with a story a million miles away from anything her dad ever published. Following the titular heroine as she conquers Hollywood in the 1940s, this is an assured first novel. Full review on the blog here

Popcultureboy’s #CBR5 Review #56: The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison

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I suppose a more honest title would be How a Bunch of Respected Crime Writers Overpraised a Piece of Crap. I bought this on the strength of its praise from other novelists and its comparisons to Gone Girl. I should have known better. You can find the whole furious, disappointed review here.