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A Novel Page reviews

pile of assorted novel books

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AION’s resident book reviewer A Novel Page has read plenty this month, and here’s what she thinks of four of them. Follow ANovelPage on insta.

Dog Days by Ericka Waller

Long story short: George, Dan and Lizzie are all struggling in one way or another. With the help of their dogs, they’re able to make some life-changing decisions. 

So this was a @readr_books pick of the month from a while back, but I’ve only just had the opportunity to post this review! 

I am very pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this novel. It’s not the most intellectually stimulating read, but who cares? It was very entertaining and absorbing! 

This was my first book after reading ‘A Little Life’ and I thought this would be the cheery/happy novel I needed! It was humorous, but it also had a darker side. 

There are some very strong and emotional themes, so be prepared! Some of the themes include depression, homophobia, sexuality and domestic abuse. It’s a very surface-level exploration, but it was perfect for the novel. 

The whole novel, especially George, reminded me ‘A Man Called Ove’ – just a little bit more light-hearted and a British version! 

I really liked how each chapter was headed by which character it was about and a little preview of events from the chapter. It isn’t a fast-paced novel, but I don’t think it would have worked any other way.

The prose is written in the third person. It’s very simple and easy to read – I’m pretty sure I read this entire book in a single sitting! It was very different, but it worked so well! It really kept me on my toes as there were some surprise twists which I didn’t expect! 

I absolutely loved the illustrated dog pictures after some chapters. It was a very welcome addition! 

For a debut novel, it’s brilliant! Definitely one to pick up if you love dogs, Frederik Backman and/or heartwarming novels. 

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N.B.: I was kindly gifted this book in exchange for an honest review.

A Novel page rates this book 8/10


Take my Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

Long story short: Civil is working at the Montgomery Family Planning Clinic. She’s on a mission to ensure that all women make their own informed choices, but not everyone agrees…

This is an absolutely incredible novel. I’m a sucker for historical fiction, especially if it centres around race relations in the US. My dissertation analysed the centralisation of reproduction to the lives of enslaved women in antebellum America. 

Despite studying this extensively, I cannot believe that I didn’t know about the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. This novel has definitely spurred me to research further into this and others! Honestly, I’m so shocked and angry. 

But you don’t care about that – you want to know about the book… I’m not exaggerating when I say that this was such an easy read. The prose is eloquent, lyrical and addictive. The fact that this novel is so unputdownable is a real testament to the writing as the subject matter is tough and heavy. I couldn’t stop reading and it took me less than 2 hours to get through it! 

Unsurprisingly, the topics covered (abortion, rape, forced sterilisation, racism, etc) may prove to be a bit much for some people. Nevertheless, Perkins-Valdez does a stellar job in tackling these issues head-on with extreme sensitivity and research. I’m not giving away any spoilers when I say that it is an emotional and sad journey. 

Although I wish that the characters were a little more fleshed out, I do understand why they weren’t the main focus. The characters were mainly plot vehicles and could have been one of the millions of black American girls subjugated to this horrifying regime. 

I think that the ending was rather rushed. I would have liked an overview of what had happened between 1973 and 2016, or even a follow up at the end. Basically, I wish the book was longer… I say this for every good review I write though! 

This is a hard hitting, educational and uncomfortable – it’s not one to miss, especially with the current situation in the US surrounding Roe v Wade. 

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A Novel page rates this book 9/10

N.B.: I was kindly gifted this book in exchange for an honest review.


A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins

Long story short: A young man is found stabbed to death on a boat, and it sets off a chain of events that will change a lot of lives. Who did it and why?

Thank you so much to @blueberry_pancakes7 for gifting this to me on my birthday! 

Girl on The Train has to be a classic psychological thriller. Therefore, expectations were high for Hawkin’s third book! 

Let’s start at the beginning…

The thing that stopped this book from being a 9/10 was the pacing. It felt a little too slow at points. I do think that the second half is a lot stronger than the first. I understand that it was “setting the scene” but it didn’t grab me as much as I wanted it to. 

Once the 50% mark hits, the story becomes much more compelling. More in line with my expectations! There were so many red herrings! I had goosebumps at points because I was visibly surprised at the direction of some events. Did I see the ending coming? Nope! Not at all! 

Along with the many twists and turns, there were a whole host of characters. Most (if not all) were unreliable narrators, but all of their stories wove together to create an exceptionally thrilling tale. 

It is a dark and disturbing novel, but I love that. I think the world needs more of these. 

I absolutely loved the book within a book concept – it really added a certain je ne sais quoi to the novel. A.K.A it made it even more creepy. 

I can’t believe how late I was to the bandwagon on this book, but I’m glad that I’ve finally read it. Definitely, one to pick up and read this winter.

A Novel page rates this book 8/10

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N.B.: I was kindly gifted this book in exchange for an honest review.


The Dilemma by B A Paris

Long story short: Livia has been waiting her whole life for her 40th birthday party, but she’s got a secret she’s been keeping from her husband… But he is also hiding something from her. 

So I thought this was going to be a thriller… it wasn’t, but I still loved it! 

I don’t want to say too much about this, but it is intense. I know a lot of people have cried when reading this, so maybe make sure you have some tissues on standby. I didn’t shed a tear (cold-hearted), but the ending was incredibly sobering. 

I loved the alternating narratives between the two main characters. Some of it did feel a little bit repetitive, but I guess this mirrored the inner conflicts of both of them. The main characters weren’t the most loveable, but I was definitely 110% invested in what was going to happen. It’s one of those books that you’ll remember for a long time after. 

BA Paris’ writing is so addictive. I genuinely didn’t want to put the book down – I just wanted to keep reading. 

Some parts of the plot are slightly predictable, but it doesn’t detract from the fact that it’s an incredibly well-written piece of fiction. 

Despite not being what I expected, I loved it and would definitely recommend it! Such a quick and easy read. 

A Novel page rates this book 8/10

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