Author Archive > burtybookworm

Purple Hibiscus

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Purple Hibiscus By Chimamanda Ngozi AdichieBased in Nigeria, 15 year old Kambili is desperately trying to keep her head above water, alternating between tip-toeing around her father and trying her hardest to make him proud (and keep him happy). Kambili is different to most girls her age in Nigeria, and even her cousin thinks that she is a stuck up snob with everything she can wish for from her big-shot father.

The truth of the matter is, Kambili is just plain terrified, and her family life is not what its cracked up to be. Whilst the whole community is in awe of her father and his godly, almost angelic ways of helping out the community, Kambili, her brother Jaja and her mother live every day in fear that they might upset him; just putting just one foot wrong in the eyes of their father (and husband), Eugine (or papa as Kambili and Jaja call him!) causes him to erupt with such force that they are left shaken for days.

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The Bay At Midnight

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The Bay at Midnight (MIRA) by Diane ChamberlainDuring the summer of 1962 the Bauer family are enjoying their usual summer holiday tradition down in their bungalow on the Jersey shore. That summer though, everything would change forever as seventeen years old Isobel is found murdered. Decades later, Isobel’s younger sisters, (Julie and Lucy) their mum Maria and the Chapman family are all still haunted by the past – not to mention the boy who went to prison for Isobel’s murder. Except, it now looks like the boy convicted of the murder may have been innocent after all, just like Julie suspected for all these years.

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The Russian Concubine

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 The Russian Concubine by Kate Furnivall I would imagine that most people would know the author Kate Furnivall from her book published in 2008, “Under The Blood Red Sky” – I have yet to read it, but even I recognise it’s distinctive cover and I’ve read a few reviews on it praising its contents.

The Russian Concubine”  is published before the aforementioned book in 2007 and tells the story of a beautiful Russian woman, Valentina, and her fiery daughter Lydia who have been exiled from Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution.  Valentina and Lydia are taking refuge in Junchow, China , living in poverty and unable to see a way out.  With her mothers increasing addiction to alcohol, Lydia takes it upon herself to survive their situation and resorts to stealing.

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Burtybookworm’s Top 10 Books

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I am a bookworm. It’s a name I’ve had (amongst many!!) since school as I forever had my nose stuck in a book. I haven’t changed much since then, although I don’t read as much as I used to. I do love the power of words and the escapism that it provides and I’m forever asking people/reading reviews and generally seeking out the next book which will take me away from my little life for five minutes or so. So Its only right that I contribute my thoughts and hope that some of you may agree with my choices or find my choices interesting enough to add to your own book lists to read.
In no particular order :

1.The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood (1985)

The Handmaid's Tale By Margaret AtwoodI have to start with my favourite author of all time, this is a classic that some of you may have read during you English classes at school/college/University. I was introduced to it by my lecturer at University who has written articles and critiques on Atwood’s work and was also a big fan. At the time I was stumped for a dissertation choice and she suggested I read a few Atwood and see if I liked – I loved! This one has to be my favourite.

This is a story of life in America when a group of Religious extremists take over the government.

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Opposite of Love

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 The Opposite of Love by Julie Buxbaum Upon first glance of the story and the characters within, you could assume that this book is the usual “chick lit” nonsense about a girl trying to save her love life, family and career. Emily Haxby is a 29 year old lawyer in Manhattan who on the surface appears to have everything; a successful job, a devoted doctor boyfriend in Andrew and good friends. However, from the start, it is clear that Emily is on the verge of a melt down! Andrew is about to propose and Emily believes it is the last thing that she needs whilst her job goes from bad to worse when she is given the task of helping out on a case that everyone in the office dreads and with a letchy boss. To top it off, her beloved grandfather has Alzheimer’s and her distant father is no help for her in times of crisis. As you can see, it’s the perfect set up for a romantic- type of book (I’ve also read a review that compared Emily to Carrie Bradshaw’s smarter sister, but aside from living in Manhattan, I fail to see the comparison!) but upon starting this book, I was taken in a different direction…


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The Monsters of Templeton

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The Monsters of Templeton By Lauren GroffWillie Upton returns to her home town of Templeton in New York the very same day that an enormous monster is discovered dead, floating on top of Templetons lake Glimmerglass.

The death of this 50 foot monster signifies more than one shocking discovery for Willie, whose ancestors were the founders of the town.  Willie returns home after a shameful affair with her archaeology professor on a field trip becomes public knowledge and his wife finds out.  Willie also discovers that she is pregnant.  Arriving to her childhood home, Willie’s hippie turned born again Baptist mother tells Willie that she is holding a secret from her

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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society

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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society By Mary Ann Shaffer, By Annie Barrows“…Then Elizabeth drew in her breath and stepped forward.  Elizabeth isn’t tall so those pistols were pointing at her eyes, but she didn’t blink.  She acted as if she didn’t see those pistols at all.  She walked up to the officer in charge and started talking.  You’ve never heard such lies. How sorry she was that we had broken curfew.  How we had been attending a meeting of the Guernsey Literary Society and the evenings discussion of ‘Elizabeth and her German Garden’ had been so delightful that we had all lost track of time.  Such a wonderful book – had he read it?”

Its 1946 and author Juliet Ashton has writers block.  Out of the blue, she receives a letter from a gentleman in Guernsey by the name of Dawsey Adams; he has a book that once belonged to her and he hoped that she would be able to shed some light on the author at he fascinated him so.

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Shiver

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Shiver by Maggie StiefvaterWhat a beautiful looking cover, it’s black, with leafy vines crawling around the sides, some dotted with red and the title in sketchy “shivery” writing in the middle. Although I (somewhat neurotically!) have my books stacked in the order in which I received or bought them and then that dictates what order I read them, my eye kept wandering to this book and eventually I decided that this one was far too tempting to let sit there gathering dust!

Shiver” tells the story of a sixteen year old girl called Grace who falls in love with a wolf. I’ve read a review that calls this book “Twilight , the Jacob version” and I have to agree that this is an extremely accurate way of summing up this book. Like Twilight, it falls into the teen romance category but this is not something I realised when I got this book as the cover seems much more sophisticated and almost has a horror/thriller feel to it.

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The Handmaid’s Tale

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The Handmaid's Tale By Margaret AtwoodFirst of all let me start with how I came across this book and the rest of Margaret Atwood’s novels. It was during the final year of my degree and my tutor suggested that I read “The Handmaid’s Tale”. After reading that, I went on to read many others of hers as such as the Blind Assassin, Alias Grace, The Edible Woman and The Penelopiad. I enjoyed her books so much that I decided to write my whole dissertation on two of her books, The Handmaid’s Tale and The Robber Bride.

Margaret Atwood is a Canadian writer who has written a huge amount of work ranging from novels, to short fiction to poetry to children’s books. She is known for her feminist views which do crop up time and again in her novels, none more so than “The Handmaid’s Tale.” She has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize 5 times and has won it once with one of my favourites, “The Blind Assassin” . Thankfully, to all Atwood fans, she is still writing today.


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