Title: The Hiding Game

Author: Naomi Wood

Pages: 383 Pages

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

The Blurb

In 1922, Paul Beckermann arrives at the Bauhaus art school and is immediately seduced by both the charismatic teaching and his fellow students. Eccentric and alluring, the more time Paul spends with his new friends the closer they become, and the deeper he falls in love with the mesmerising Charlotte. But Paul is not the only one vying for her affections, and soon an insidious rivalry takes root. 

As political tensions escalate in Germany, the Bauhaus finds itself under threat, and the group begins to disintegrate under the pressure of its own betrayals and love affairs. Decades later, in the wake of an unthinkable tragedy, Paul is haunted by a secret. When an old friend from the Bauhaus resurfaces, he must finally break his silence. 

Beautifully written, powerful and suspenseful, Naomi Wood’s The Hiding Game is a novel about the dangerously fine line between love and obsession, set against the most turbulent era of our recent past.

The Review

I have a rule that has been put in place since my NetGalley backlist is currently over 900 books (shh! If I pretend it isn’t there then maybe it will go away) and the rule is that I am not allowed to stick with a book if it isn’t gripping me. I will give it a good try but if I’m not getting along with it then I will have to put it down. Life is too short for books I am not enjoying. Unfortunately, The Hiding Game fell into this category.

I feel bad because I am sure others have loved this book. It may have been a case of right book wrong time but at this point in my life I cannot continue with a book that I can’t remember the names of the main characters for when I am over 10% into it. It just isn’t for me.

The Hiding Game by Naomi Wood is available now.

For more information regarding Naomi Wood (@NaomiWoodBooks) please visit www.naomiwood.com.

For more information regarding Pan Macmillan (@panmacmillan) please visit www.panmacmillan.com.

Title: To Paradise

Author: Hanya Yanagihara

Pages: 720 Pages

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

The Blurb

From Hanya Yanagihara, author of the modern classic A Little LifeTo Paradise is a bold, brilliant novel spanning three centuries and three different versions of the American experiment, about lovers, family, loss and the elusive promise of utopia.

In an alternate version of 1893 America, New York is part of the Free States, where people may live and love whomever they please (or so it seems). The fragile young scion of a distinguished family resists betrothal to a worthy suitor, drawn to a charming music teacher of no means. In a 1993 Manhattan besieged by the AIDS epidemic, a young Hawaiian man lives with his much older, wealthier partner, hiding his troubled childhood and the fate of his father. And in 2093, in a world riven by plagues and governed by totalitarian rule, a powerful scientist’s damaged granddaughter tries to navigate life without him – and solve the mystery of her husband’s disappearances.

These three sections are joined in an enthralling and ingenious symphony, as recurring notes and themes deepen and enrich one another: A townhouse in Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village; illness, and treatments that come at a terrible cost; wealth and squalor; the weak and the strong; race; the definition of family, and of nationhood; the dangerous righteousness of the powerful, and of revolutionaries; the longing to find a place in an earthly paradise, and the gradual realization that it can’t exist. What unites not just the characters, but these Americas, are their reckonings with the qualities that make us human: Fear. Love. Shame. Need. Loneliness.

To Paradise is a findesiecle novel of marvellous literary effect, but above all it is a work of emotional genius. The great power of this remarkable novel is driven by Yanagihara’s understanding of the aching desire to protect those we love – partners, lovers, children, friends, family and even our fellow citizens – and the pain that ensues when we cannot.

The Review

Oh boy.

Okay, so I should preface this review by saying I bloody loved A Little Life. It broke me in ways I didn’t know I could be broken and I would read it all again even though that broken hearted feeling would get me again. Therefore, I was both excited and terrified of reading To Paradise – Hanya Yanagihara’s latest release. I tried to not compare it to A Little Life and tried to go into it with the knowledge that I just liked the writers style and I swear I gave it a good college try. I read up to 51% of the novel before having to admit defeat. I just couldn’t finish it.

I loved the first part of the story, the arranged marriage between the two main characters and if the story carried on being about them I think I could have carried on with the novel – although at 720 pages it probably was a bit too long – but then the story switched. It took me a while to get my bearings with the second section and whilst I didn’t fin the story as engaging as I did the first I really wanted to try and keep going. However, when the third storyline hit and it was set in space I had to tap out. I just stopped caring for the characters and the story.

So unfortunately To Paradise was a DNF but not without lack of trying.

To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara is available now.

For more information regarding Hanya Yanagihara (@YanagiharaHanya) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Pan Macmillan (@panmacmillan) please visit www.panmacmillan.com.

Title: How To Read Like A Writer – 10 Lessons to Elevate Your Reading and Writing Practice

Author: Erin M. Pushman

Pages: 347 Pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic

The Blurb

The first step to becoming a successful writer is to become a successful reader. Helping you develop your critical skills How to Read Like a Writer is an accessible and effective step-by-step guide to how careful reading can help you improve your craft as a creative writer, whatever genre you are writing in.

Across 10 lessons – each pairing published readings with practical critical and creative exercises – this book helps writers master such key elements of their craft as:

· Genre – from fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry to hybrid genres such as graphic narratives and online forms

· Plot, conflict, theme and image

· Developing characters – physical descriptions, psychological depths and actions

· Narrators and points of view – 1st, 2nd and 3rd person narratives

· Scenes and settings – time, space and place

· Structure and form – length, organization and media

· Language, subtext and style

The Review

Like most readers I have always held a desire to write a novel. To see my name on the spine of a book in Waterstones (other bookshops are available) and to know the joy of unboxing your own written work. Alas, I do not have the discipline. I chose to read this book because it seemed like a perfect way to get started. However, I had to add the book to my DNF pile. I just wasn’t feeling it. I felt it was too heavy.

When I started to review this title I saw that it was released under Bloomsbury Academic which goes someway to explaining my feelings towards it. I feel like I wanted something that would make the act of writing a little more fun but straight away I was thrown into a book that came with homework which I don’t think I was expecting.

Sadly, A DNF for me.

How To Read Like a Writer – 10 Lessons to Elevate Your Reading and Writing Practice by Erin M Pushman is available now.

For more information regarding Bloomsbury Academic (@BloomsburyAcad) please visit www.bloomsbury,com/uk/academic/.

Title: The Latecomers Fan Club

Author: Diane V. Mulligan

Pages: 198 Pages

Publisher: Broad Universe

The Blurb

What is it about musicians that makes them so irresistible? If Abby and Maggie could answer that question, maybe they could finally get over Nathaniel.

Abby was first sucked in by Nathaniel’s rock and roll swagger four years ago when a drunken fling turned into a series of drunken hook-ups that became something like a relationship. Now, as New Year’s Eve promises a fresh start, she wants to believe he’s finally going to grow up and take their relationship seriously.

What does Nathaniel hope the New Year will bring? An escape from reality. He’s thirty-four years old and he’s barely making ends meet as an adjunct philosophy professor, which was always only a backup plan anyway. Nathaniel’s real goal was always to make his living as a musician, but his band, The Latecomers, broke up a couple of years ago, and he hasn’t picked up his guitar in months. When he decides to spend the holiday with some high school friends instead of hanging out at the bar where Abby works, he gets the happy surprise of reuniting with his long-lost friend Maggie. Newly divorced, Maggie has just moved back to her mother’s house to regroup.

Nathaniel and Maggie were supposed to be the ones who left central Massachusetts forever to conquer the world. He was going to be a rock star. She was going to take the world of art by storm. He’s never gotten farther than Boston, and her best efforts only left her broke and heartbroken. As they ring in the New Year together, Nathaniel decides it’s time to take control of his life and to start making his dreams come true. He thinks the first step will be easy. All he needs to do is break up with Abby and finally admit his feelings for Maggie. But the New Year has more surprises in store, and nothing is ever as simple as it seems.

The Review

Oh dear. Another DNF, I’m afraid.

Diane V. Mulligan’s book The Latecomers Fan Club just wasn’t for me and believe me I really tried. I got halfway through it before I accepted this fact.

For me, the problem was the characters. I really, really hated them. Well, no, that is unfair. I didn’t hate Abby. Abby was a victim in all of this However Nathaniel and Maggie were insipid, selfish and came across like the world owed them both a favour. They were both ‘arty’ characters and life hadn’t gone their way and somehow that was meant to endear you to them and how their will-they-won’t-they love affair was meant to override the fact that Nathaniel was treating the mother of his unborn child like crap.

Nope. I just couldn’t give this book anymore of my time or attention when there are far more likeable characters out there.

The Latecomers Fan Club by Diane V Mulligan is available now.

For more information regarding Broad Universe (@BroadUniverse) please visit www.broaduniverse.org.