Readers Choice fiction selections

Reviews from library patrons are a great way to find out what people have loved reading from the new additions to the fiction collection. These selections are highlighted with Reader’s Choice stickers so that others can find great reading material.  You can find slips for Reader’s Choice reviews in new books, or ask staff for one if you have a review or recommendation to embellish the library collection.

Here are some recent reviews featuring an interesting mix of subjects and genres: mysteries, historical novels, science fiction, humour, psychological fiction, thrillers and New Zealand environmental activism.

The changeling : a novel / LaValle, Victor D.Book Jacket for: The changeling : a novel
“This captivating retelling of a classic fairy tale imaginatively explores parental obsession, spousal love, and the secrets that make strangers out of the people we love the most. It’s a thrilling and emotionally devastating journey through the gruesome legacies that threaten to devour us and the homely, messy magic that saves us, if we’re lucky.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “Excellent. An unusual voice, but marvellous blend of modernity and fairy-tale, with powerful themes and insight.  Very Satisfying.” (5/5 stars)
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Book Jacket for: Stranded

Stranded / MacLeod, Bracken
“Badly battered by an apocalyptic storm, the crew of the Arctic Promise find themselves in increasingly dire circumstances as they sail blindly into unfamiliar waters and an ominously thickening fog.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “I thought this book was suspenseful, gripping and well researched. Doesn’t lean on the numerous clichés of the horror genre which makes it so engaging.  A great read!” (4/5 stars)
⭐⭐⭐⭐

Book Jacket for: Hanna who fell from the skyHanna who fell from the sky / Meades, Christopher
“With lush, evocative prose, award-winning author Christopher Meades takes readers on an emotional journey into a fascinating, unknown world–and, along the way, brilliantly illuminates complexities of faith, identity and how our origins shape who we are.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “What a well written novel, thoroughly enjoyed it, well worth reading. Never read any of Meades novels before would love to read more of his material.” (5/5 stars)
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Book Jacket for: The last hoursThe last hours / Walters, Minette
“When the Black Death enters England through the port of Melcombe in Dorseteshire in June 1348, no one knows what manner of sickness it is or how it spreads and kills so quickly.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “Well written, engaging, couldn’t put down – read all night. Can’t wait for the sequel this year.” (5/5 stars)
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Book Jacket for: EurekaEureka / Quinn, Anthony
“Summer, 1967. As London shimmers in a heat haze and swoons to the sound of Sergeant Pepper, a mystery film – Eureka – is being shot by German wunderkind Reiner Kloss. The screenwriter, Nat Fane, would do anything for a hit but can’t see straight for all the acid he’s dropping.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “Was an enjoyable read, especially in it’s evocation of London in the ‘swinging sixties’.” (4/5 stars)
⭐⭐⭐⭐

Book Jacket for: KrusoKruso / Seiler, Lutz
“It is 1989, and a young literature student named Ed, fleeing unspeakable tragedy, travels to the Baltic island of Hiddensee. Long shrouded in myth, the island is a notorious destination for hippies, idealists, and those at odds with the East German state.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “I thought this book was compelling.  Via fantasy and fact Seiler deftly weaves a story about East German idealists, refugees and escapists told through the perspective of a challenged young man” (5/5 stars)
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Eye of the songbird / Munro, Michael
“What happens when a New Zealand team of scientists find one of the world’s largest flawless diamonds on the last piece of sovereign-less land, Antarctica?” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “A highly relevant New Zealand thriller with it’s plot centred on one of the big issues of the day; climate change.  Highly recommended” (4/5 stars)
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The miranda : a novel / Nicholson, G. J.
“The Miranda is at turns a biting satire about the secrets we keep from our neighbors, and about the invisible and unceasing state of war in which most Westerners unconsciously live.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “I thought this book was like a Coen Brothers movie: darkly satirical. The detachment of the protagonist is key to this novel – he was a psychologist turned government agent training operatives to withstand torture. He is not disaffected, quite the reverse, but he is clinical , perceptive and interesting. A good dark read.” (4/5 stars)
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Zombified Liverpudlians and the British Zombie Invasion? New humour/satire/black comedy novels

Every month, as well as our regular lists of new science fiction, general novels, and mysteries, we pick another genre to profile and list out our favourite new titles. The selection for Other Genre novels this month is humour/satire/black comedy. As the present trend in fiction is towards the paranormal, undead, and vampire novels, some humorous versions of this fiction are included in this selection, with a few normal situation comedies for the less adventurous reader!

Syndetics book coverUndead and undermined / MaryJanice Davidson.
” Continuation of this popular series, now with a re-vamped cover, finds Vampire Queen Betsy Taylor, who thought she couldn’t die in a morgue? It could have something to do with a time-traveling trip she made, and a foe with a wicked agenda that could finally be the real death of Betsy, if she’s not careful.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFlorida roadkill : a novel / Tim Dorsey.Florida Roadkill: A Novel
“Two guys on their way to a fishing trip in the Florida Keys have no idea that $5 million is stashed in the back of their Chrysler. But others do, including an unbalanced trivia buff, his brain-dead partner, and a cocaine-loving stripper.”(adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPaul is undead : the British zombie invasion / Alan Goldsher.
“In this hilarious chronicle of the zombified Liverpudlians’ rise to fame, “bloody” is no longer just a four-letter word. It’s a way of life for the undead moptops, whose arrival is heralded by the bloodcurdling screams of sanguine American girls who twitch, and writhe, and scratch their own eyes out in manic ecstasy. Using hidden messages in their songs, the Beatles mind-meld millions of delicious fans. That is, until a notorious zombie hunter named Mick arrives, the fierce wiggle of his lithesome hips and shoulders his only defence against a seemingly impenetrable glut of reanimated corpses.” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverFriends like these / Wendy Harmer.
“Greed, fraud, betrayal and resurrection, this is a search for something to believe in. Jo, recently single, 45-year-old mother of two, is the former deputy headmistress of Sydney’s most exclusive private girls’ school, Darling Point Ladies College. A year ago she was forced to abandon her post in a scandal that had all the social set talking. In fact, they’re still talking. Jo is moving on, but with friends like hers, maybe leaving them behind is her only option.” (adapted from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverHow to flirt with a naked werewolf / Molly Harper.
“The first in a new paranormal romantic comedy series about a woman who moves to Alaska and finds love with a handsome, rugged werewolf” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe stray sod country / Patrick McCabe.
“Cullymore in 1958 is a backwater on the border between the north and south of Ireland. This complex literary novel focuses on the daily lives of its Catholic residents and their interactions with each other and Protestant fellow citizens. Central to the story is the outrageous Father Hand whose plans to bring Cullymore to national attention include resurrecting an ancient Easter rite while his parishioners act out the Crucifixion of Christ on Good Friday. The omniscient narrator is a malicious and contrary spirit who, as the story progresses, assumes a more active part by leading some characters to behave in ways they loathe or to believe in and act upon the unreal. “(adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBertie sings the blues / Alexander McCall Smith ; illustrated by Iain McIntosh.
“This seventh satirical instalment of the adventures of the people at 44 Scotland Street. Domestic bliss seems in short supply as over at the Pollocks, dad, Stuart, is harbouring a secret about a secret society and Bertie is feeling kind of blue. Having had enough of his neurotic hot-housing mother, he puts himself up for adoption on eBay. Will he go to the highest bidder or will he have to take matters into his own hands? Will the lovelorn Big Lou find true love on the internet? And will Angus Lordie and Domenica make it up the aisle?” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverThe second coming / John Niven.
An outrageous, irreverent look at faith, religion, modern culture and what might happen to the Son of God if he ever came back to Earth.“ (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverAbout last night / Adele Parks.
“Steph, eternally solid, considerate and dependable, is begging her best friend to lie to the police as she’s desperately trying to conceal two shocking secrets to protect her family. Pip, self-consigned to the role of scatty, frivolous hot-head is overwhelmed; she’s normally the one asking for help in a crisis although never anything as catastrophic as this. Both women have always believed that friendship is built on mutual selflessness, compromise and trust. Are those beliefs now to be tested beyond endurance?” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverAttachments / Rainbow Rowell.
“It’s 1999 and for the staff of one newspaper office, the internet is still a novelty. By day, two young women, Beth and Jennifer, spend their hours emailing each other, discussing in hilarious detail every aspect of their lives, from love troubles to family dramas. And by night, Lincoln, a shy, lonely IT guy spends his hours reading every exchange. At first their emails offer a welcome diversion, but as Lincoln unwittingly becomes drawn into their lives, the more he reads, the more he finds himself falling for one of them. By the time Lincoln realizes just how head-over-heels he really is, it’s way too late to introduce himself. After a series of close encounters, Lincoln decides it’s time to muster the courage to follow his heart.” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)