A Novel Page reviews

pile of assorted novel books

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.

The Phone Call by AJ Campbell

Long story short: After his father’s death, Joey assumes his position in looking after the family. However, it’s not an easy job and he is struggling… 

Thoughts: Thank you so much @ajcampbellauthor for sending me a copy of this and having me on the book tour! 

This isn’t my favourite AJ Campbell book, but it’s still very very good and I really enjoyed it. 

What Campbell does extraordinarily well creates characters that you can’t help but root for. They’re normal ordinary people in situations that we all could be in at some point. That’s the real beauty of this book. 

The exploration of poverty, especially in the current economic climate, was greatly explored, especially in relation to how it can affect families. I just felt so sorry for Joey and I wanted the absolute best for him. The other characters were incredibly vivid and well-constructed. Again, they were just real people! 

I cannot express how easy and simple the prose is. It is a little predictable at points, but it doesn’t stop it from completely and wholeheartedly absorbing you! Just be warned that it is a slow-burn, but an addictive slow-burn. The second half is a lot quicker than the first. 

Whilst the simplicity of the prose was excellent, I did find that the plot was a little too simple. Hence, the predictability that I mentioned above. However, the ending did have a nice little twist that left me with a smile on my face. It is definitely more of a character-driven novel than a plot-driven one. 

Nevertheless, this is the perfect summer read that you will very quickly devour! 


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

A Novel page rates this book 8/10

Men Who Hate Women by Laura Bates

Long story short: Laura Bates examines the secretive and extremist communities who hate women. 

Thoughts: Wow, this book had me feeling an unnatural amount of anger… which I didn’t even know was possible! Obviously, it is a must read for everyone. 

Quick disclaimer: this is not an easy read. It’s uncomfortable, shocking and disturbing. Laura Bates is brutally honest and, quite rightly so, refuses to censor the true barbarity of these groups. There are graphic descriptions of abuse and rape. 

Whilst I’ve heard of incels (courtesy of Lisa Jewell’s ‘Invisible Girl’), I had no idea just how prevalent they actually are, and just how extreme their views are. I just cannot believe that it’s not talked about more in mainstream media…but then I can believe it. I think the phrase I’m looking for is ‘disappointed, but not surprised’. 

It really made me laugh when I read some reviews about this. Some people have really misunderstood the book: it isn’t a platform for misandry. It’s about genuine concerns and fears of far-right alt movements that are having an actual impact on society. It possesses a lot of empathy for young men who are lured into these groups and that really says a lot about Bates’ ability to remain impartial. 

This is a ridiculously well-researched book. Despite being brutally honest, the prose is very easy to read and the language is simplistic. It is quite a dense read so I do think it’s best to dip in and out of it. 

The chapters are split into different aspects of the manosphere and that really makes you appreciate the vast amount of sub-groups. I can’t really decide which horrified me more… it seemed to get worse and worse! I learnt so much and it’s really opened my eyes.

I don’t know whether I can say that I enjoyed reading this, but I do know that this is an essential read! 


A Novel page rates this book 9/10

A Certain Hunger by Chelsea G Summers

Long story short: Long story short: Dorothy Daniels is a notorious food critic… who also happens to be a murderer. 


Thank you so much @faberbooks for sending me a copy of this and having me on the book tour! 

There is no other way to describe this other than the ‘feminist American Pyscho’. It was not what I was expecting at all… but I loved it more for that very reason. 

Just a quick caveat: it is graphic and gory. So if you’re sqeamish, perhaps give this one a miss. It is quite shocking just how calm and detached Dorothy was when describing how she kills and eats her former flames. This is counteracted by how amusing the narrative is: it’s witty and dry. Honestly, I chuckled many times, most often at inappropriate moments…whoops! 

I loved the analysis of language! I never thought of how cannibalistic the English language could be. It’s gave me some serious food for thought… (get it?!). 

The book is narrated from the first person and does jump around quite a bit as you follow Dorothy’s stream of consciousness. I wouldn’t say that it’s particulary gripping or that it possesses much tension/suspence. It literally is a women’s memoir. 

I did feel that the prose tried a little too hard at times. Don’t get me wrong, this is a pretentious book and it is meant to be. However, there were points were I did think it was too forced. 

Nonetheless, it is a very clever book. Yes, it can be viewed as a feminist rendition of the aforementioned cult classic, but it can also be seen as a commentary on industrial meat production. It’s incredibly provocative, but it’s a fine piece of literary fiction. 

Is it weird to say that I love Dorothy? I know she’s a psychopathic murderer, but she’s just great! 

If you like feminism, sex and food (with a splashing of murder)… then this is the book for you. 

A Novel page rates this book 8/10


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

The Chirk Castle Killings by Simon McCleave

Long story short: DI Ruth Hunter and DS Nick Evans are called to an incident in which a man is shot dead… Who killed him and why? 

Thank you so much @edpr for sending me a copy of this! 

Okay so before I even get into this book, I have to say that Simon McCleave might just be the cliffhanger king… I was on tenterhooks from the last book and I was very glad that it was resolved in this book. However, I was thrown another cliffhanger and I NEED the next book to be released immediately. 

It’s an incredibly easy read. The prose is very simplistic and the plot is not overly complex. Did I guess the perpetrator? Yes. Did I guess why or how? No!

So despite the predictability of that, the plot is very immersive and entertaining. I’m pretty sure I read it in one sitting – and a very quick one at that! That’s not to say that it’s completely plain sailing. There are many twists and turns that keep you hooked! 

Despite how short the book is, the characters were well-fleshed out. I really enjoyed picking up from where I left Ruth and Nick last time! That’s remarkable, especially considering I only joined the series at book 11! I just love how realistic and flawed the characters are in their own way. 

I definitely prefer this one to the last, and I think this might be a series where it gets better with each book! 

Simple, easy and entertaining! Definitely a guilty pleasure if there ever was one.

A Novel page rates this book 8/10


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