J. Shurin

Top Reviewer Ranking: 3,457
Helpful votes received on reviews: 84% (471 of 564)
Location: London



Top Reviewer Ranking: 3,457 - Total Helpful Votes: 471 of 564
Feast, Famine & Potluck by Karen Jennings
Feast, Famine & Potluck by Karen Jennings
5.0 out of 5 stars A feast, 5 Sep 2014
Feast, Famine and Potluck, edited by Karen Jennings, was last year's anthology from Short Story Day Africa. With two stories on the Caine Prize shortlist - including the eventual winner, "My Father's Head" - this collection hasn't been short of praise. And, honestly, it deserves every word.

Feast contains an eclectic collection of stories that uses its theme - food - as a way of talking about everything from families to futures. As well as the superb "My Father's Head" and "Chicken" (the two already recognised by the Caine Prize), I was particularly impressed by Jayne Bauling's "Choke" (the tension between spiritual and actual hungers, with a clever and satisfying resolution) and… Read more
You Don't Know Me by Sophia Bennett
You Don't Know Me by Sophia Bennett
You Don't Know Me has a lot stacked against it. The premise is utterly improbable (the core story involves four girls winning an X-Factor-style competition sponsored by a Facebook-style site), the lead character is the popular hot girl (and not, on paper, sympathetic) and, in essence, we're supposed to feel for some bullies.

Except... not really.

Somehow this manages to combine the best trashy escapism of Gossip Girl with real emotional depth when discussing a harrowing and important topic. Sasha and her friends are simply ordinary girls, who screw around with music for fun. When a video they made (for themselves) sneaks into a talent competition - and then they… Read more
Sir John Hawkwood a Tale of the White Company in I&hellip by Marion Polk Angcllotti
A pulp author for titles like Adventure, Angellotti's best-known creation was the English mercenary, Sir John Hawkwood. Apparently this book is the first (a novel collected from a long-running serial), but there are other Hawkwood adventures that follow. I'm interested how they work chronologically, as this one feels a bit like "Hawkwood's Last Adventure".

Sir John Hawkwood follows Hawkwood as he navigates the swamp that is 14th century Italian politics - near-perpetual warfare and bickering between city-states and microduchies. Hawkwood gets caught between the proverbial rock and unboiled pasta when his odious employer asks him to kidnap the local princess. One thing leads to… Read more

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