Sunday, 28 December 2008

Astraea - Jane Stevenson

The Netherlands, the 1640's. Two royal exiles meet - Elizabeth of Bohemia, daughter of James I of England, and Omolojou/Pelagius, once heir to the Yoruba kingdom of Oyo but now a freed slave with shamanic powers. They fall in love and clandestinely marry. Secretly, Eizabeth gives birth to a son, Balthasar Stuart, whom both of them see as a new hope for the future.

At the start I found the book confusing, as initially it was difficult to decide whether it was meant to be read as factual or fiction based on actual historical characters (which it is). It was a relief when the whole tale seemed to settle into a more natural "story telling mode", as it started to flow more smoothly from then and drew me in. A reasonably interesting read for those who like historically based books...... although be prepared for an ending that is not only not particularly happy but is also a little disappointing. I would have liked to have known the ultimate fate of both main characters but instead all was left "hanging", rather than following things through to a more natural conclusion. I guess that's a way of ensuring you go on to read the following two books in the trilogy.

This is now registered with Book Crossing and has also been added to my Swap List on the Swap Blog - shout if you want it. :0)

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Rosie - Alan Titchmarsh

Nick Robertson thought he'd got used to his grandmother Rosie's dotty behaviour. At 87-years-old she is determined that before life passes her by she will live a little. Or, preferably, a lot.

It wouldn't be so bad if Nick had nothing else to do. But with a living to make on the Isle of Wight, two warring parents on the mainland to cope with and a love life in terminal decline, he would prefer his grandmother to get on with things a little more quietly.

But there is no time like the present, Rosie insists. Life is to be enjoyed to the full and to hell with the consequences. She will help Nick find the soul mate he clearly lacks, and he can help her find out more about her past. It seems a simple task, but it turns out to involve rather more skulduggery than Nick had anticipated.....

A nice, fun book and a real wind down, easy read - definitely got a high feel-good factor to lift you out of the doom and gloom mood prevalent at the moment. Very likeable characters and, as with most Alan Titchmarsh books, turns of humour that often made me laugh out loud.

The character of Rosie is a perfect role model to follow for those who realise that growing older doesn't necessarily mean you have to lead a staid life, watching TV or going to Bingo. I so wanna be like her! LMAO :0)

Book was registered with Book Crossing and was a controlled release: given to my DSis to read, when finished she will wild release it in the Thornton's Cafe at The Outlet, Doncaster. :0)

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Lady of Hay - Barbara Erskine

Jo Clifford, a successful journalist, is all set to debunk the idea of past-life regression in her next magazine series. But when she herself submits to a simple hypnotic session, she suddenly finds herself reliving the experiences of Matilda, Lady of Hay, the wife of a baron at the time of King John.

As she learns of Matilda's unhappy marriage, her love for the handsome Richard de Clare and the brutal threats of death at the hands of King John, it becomes clear that Jo's past and present are hopelessly entwined and that, eight hundred years on, history is about to repeat itself.

You can read another synopsis here.

Dealing with things like past life regression and reincarnation it's a given that I would enjoy the storyline but I couldn't help having a couple of niggles with the characters. If you don't trust someone's motives why let them hypnotise you? If someone keeps phoning and you don't want to speak to them why not hang up as soon as you realise who it is? Better still: ever hear of call filtering?

Tot up all the booze they consume between them and they're definitely exceeding their recommended daily allowances - they could float a flippin' cruise liner on it! LOL

Jo is supposed to be a modern, go-getting career woman, an incisive journalist, yet she occasionally dithers so badly it gets annoying. She's kicked Nick out of her flat yet lets him keep a key..... when he keeps letting himself in, assaults her and generally behaves like a psychotic stalker she still lets him keep the key, doesn't always bolt the door when she's in, doesn't change the locks, doesn't report him to the police or take out an injunction against him. Yes, I know it's only a book, a work of fiction....... but it rather spoilt that modern woman image the main character was supposed to have.

Putting those niggles aside I did enjoy the bulk of the book. The karmic payback for one character was satisfying and there was a happier ending........ though it did leave a bit of a question mark that left me wondering if it would stay happy or if history would end up repeating itself.

The book is registered with Book Crossing and has now been released into the wild at the Earth Energies Clinic on my local High Street. :0)

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Tell No One by Harlan Coben

Written by an american author, a friend at the stitching club passed this on. It was what i call an easy read. Only a small book, but it grabbed my interest from the start. I finished it in record time for me, although i did spend 2 whole nights when up with the cat reading it LOL

TELL NO ONE is a story of loss and redemption. It begins innocently enough. Dr. David Beck and his beloved wife, Elizabeth, are celebrating the anniversary of their first kiss in the quiet of Lake Charmaine. They grew up together, first kissed at age twelve, and now, twenty-five years old and married less than a year, they return for an idyllic weekend away.

Tragedy shatters their solitude. Elizabeth is abducted and murdered, her body found in a ditch. Her killer is caught and brought to justice. But for David Beck, there can be no closure. Eight years pass. He never gets over Elizabeth's murder. He loses himself in his work as an inner city pediatrician.

But everything changes on the eighth anniversary of Elizabeth's death. Two unidentified bodies are found at Lake Charmaine, unearthed years after their deaths. But even more disturbing, Beck gets a bizarre email that mentions a specific phrase - a phrase known only to him and Elizabeth. The email also tells him to click a hyperlink the next day at a specific hour - “kiss time” - 6:15PM.

It's back on my bookshelf looking for a new home, or it will find its way into the community centre library next week.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Picture Maker - Penina Spinka

Picture Maker is the daughter of a powerful warrior, named for her ability to foretell the future in her drawings. Taken as a trophy prisoner by the rival Algonquin tribe, she kills her brutal captor and escapes north, alone and pregnant, but determined to find the people and places prophesied for her. As she grows beyond her once narrow confines, Picture Maker becomes an amazing and very human survivor.

You can read more here.

The book is described as similar in tone to Jean M Auel's books - whilst this is a good read I feel it doesn't come anywhere near her books for depth of characters and thorough descriptions of customs, scenery, hunting techniques etc etc. Jean M Auel is in a class all her own, IMO.
Having said that, what is described is interesting and gives a fascinating insight into some of the the customs and outlooks of early Ganeogaono (Mohawk), Algonquin and Inuit tribes, as well as Greenlander history.

I felt the book started off a little stilted but soon developed a smoother style which had me turning pages long after I should have gone to sleep.

The ending was left open, as the story continues in the next book, Dream Maker: I'll be keeping my eyes open for that and hope it's as good a read as this one.

Book is now registered at Book Crossing and has been added to my Swap List. :0)