Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Penance Room by Carol Coffey

The Penance Room is set in the small mining town of Broken Hill in Australia. It follows the story of Christopher, a deaf young boy who feels a special connection to the hurt and damaged souls of the residents in the nursing home which his parents run. There are the eccentric English sisters, the lonely German man and the inseparable Hungarian couple. When a young man arrives to document the lives of those who came seeking a better life in Australia for his sociology thesis, Christopher follows their stories as each character reveals their hurt, heartache and regret so that each one can find redemption and peace. Most of all though this is Christopher's journey. Carol Coffey is a very talented author who tells heartbreaking stories that are still filled with hope. She is a must for fans of Jodi Picoult.
Reviewed by Lisa Doyle-Redmond

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Name of the Star
By Maureen Johnson

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson represents a change of direction for the author who is venturing for the first time into paranormal fiction for teens. Thankfully she avoids the usual clich├ęs of the genre; i.e. vampires and angels. Instead Maureen has brought Jack the Ripper back from the dead.
The book is witty and well-written and offers some genuinely frightening moments.
The main character; American teenager Rory is a gorgeous creation fizzing with intelligence and energy but feeling lonely and isolated in a new country and at a new school, she attempts to form friendships with wise cracking and the author gives her some sparkling dialogue. The villain remains a constant threatening presence however and the menace grows throughout. I was delighted to discover that this title is only the first in a series and look forward to more in the near future.

Reviewed by Lisa Doyle-Redmond

The Carrier of the Mark
By Leigh Fallon

I eagerly anticipated The Carrier of the Mark as I was longing to read a paranormal romance with an Irish setting. I was not disappointed the author’s own Irish roots were evident as the language and landscape were pitch-perfect. Leigh made clever use of Irish mythology and history while at the same time giving the background detail of the story a unique edge that is all her own.
The novel tells the tale of Megan; newly arrived in Ireland who is instantly drawn to Adam de Ris and his family who seem to have strange magical abilities. Soon Megan discovers a magical heritage all of her own. I was glad to see that the author had avoided the vampires and angels which are currently saturating the market in favour of a more unique story.
The characters are well drawn and the writing style is confident and assured. As the book ends before all of Megan’s powers are explored I assume that there will be a sequel. I look forward to more from this author and the world that she has created for her characters.

Reviewed by Lisa Doyle-Redmond