Saturday, 27 June 2009

Princess of Egypt - Vince Cross

It's 1490 BC and Asha, daughter of King Thutmose, lives a carefree life at the royal court in Thebes. But when a prophecy foretells that 'a young woman will prove to be the best man in the Two Kingdoms', she's caught up in a world of plots and danger....

This is a children's fiction book from the "My Story" range by Vince Cross.... but with this theme I just couldn't resist getting it when I spotted it on the shelf in the Hospice Bookshop. The children's fiction range of books has definitely improved since my childhood (Janet and John were a boring pair! LOL). Asha is Hatshepsut, so the story is based on actual historical characters.... but with a couple of liberties taken.

Quite an interesting way of presenting a little history to children without them realising they are actually learning. ;0) Whilst there isn't enough "meat on the bones" in the story to satisfy adults (not a complaint: it did give me a couple of evenings of light, enjoyable reading) it is written in a style that most kids could relate to and enjoy.

I'll be offering this to my friend Alex for her schools' library. :0)

Friday, 26 June 2009

An Angel saved my life - Jacky Newcomb

An Angel saved my life is an inspiring collection of true stories from the other side, revealing how our guardian angels intervene in our lives, often in our darkest hour of need.

  • Discover the incredible truth behind:

  • The 'angel airbag' that saved a man from death in a car accident

  • The woman who glimpsed the afterlife and was sent back from heaven

  • The family who were 'lifted' to safety when a tornado devastated their house

  • The psychic power of children who talk to spirits

  • The animals that came back from death to protect their owners.

The book has a little of the authors own story but is mostly a collection taken from ordinary people from around the world - a mix that, as well as having some Angel contact stories, also contains ones of loved ones or pets visiting from the Otherworld.

I found this an uplifting and comforting read that shows that little miracles can occur at any time and in any place and to ordinary people...... sometimes just for the asking....... and that those loved ones who have crossed over are still around us and don't stop caring for us. :0)

This one is going into my collection but I'll be happy to loan it to anyone who is interested. :0)

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Peacocks Dancing ~ Sharon Maas

In the suburbs of Georgetown, a small willful girl is growing up; a daughter of an easygoing man of Indian descent, and a mother she barely remembers. While she is still small, she must face the motherless world, into which a new entrant comes, an alien being, a horror of a new mother, and to tell the truth, nothing is as it used to be, for the stepmother is one great catastrophee, as Rita notes in her first diary. In time the small girl learns how to avoid the meddling substitute for a mother; that is not so easy, but neither is it too hard, given that the latter is not mean, but merely has a weird set of whimsical demands that are not a bother to comply with, merely a nuisance, or are easily worked around. As years pass, the situation stabilizes, and the abandoned girl grows into a wild child who is soon to become an equally wild woman. A permanent misfit, but despite that fact she is growing and developing as any other child with a normal family. Rita is charismatic, always has been. Initially, it is the queue of children who look up to her, knowing that no day is wasted when wild Rita Maraj is going to lead them to one adventure or another, devise a prank or two, or tell them stories.

The author says ......
"When I started writing this story I did not plan to enter Bombay's notorious Red Light District. I certainly did not plan to write a book ‘about’ child prostitution. I intensely dislike political manifestos disguised as novels; fiction, for me, is character driven, and the moment a novel becomes a platform for the author to rant about this or that social issue it loses its life. And yet this darkness exists, and that's where my cast of characters found themselves, and that's where I, their creator, had to follow them. But I refuse to wallow in sorrow and darkness forever, and I'll never to let my characters do so. I believe intensely in the transformation of pain into its opposite through spiritual growth, and for this reason, and this reason alone, I allowed my Peacocks Dancing characters to walk through that dark valley."

On the back cover of this one it has a recommendation from Barbara Erskine that says she was kept captivated with this book from the start, that is the reason i picked up this one from the table in the Community Centre library, i wanted to see what type of books she likes to read. I really enjoyed this one even though it was not a subject i would normally have chosen to read about. You can read about some of her other books and Sharon herself here

The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffeneger

This is the extraordinary love story of Clare and Henry who met when Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-two and Henry was thirty. Impossible but true, because Henry suffers from a rare condition where his genetic clock periodically resets and he finds himself pulled suddenly into his past or future. In the face of this force they can neither prevent nor control Henry and Clare's struggle to lead normal lives is both intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.

Whilst I generally tend to enjoy most books I read (with the occasional exception) this one certainly stands in a class of its own. I would love to ask the author how she came up with this concept..... and how on earth she kept track of all the comings and goings!

Yes, it can take a bit of keeping up with as to "when" Henry is, and also as to how something that happens at one point in time affects how his and Clare's story unfolds, but it is so worth the effort to do so. It's the most unusual love story I've ever read and has to be one of the most fascinating concepts ever. Be warned though: have a tissue ready when the story nears its end.

Book was registered with Book Crossing and has now been posted to Lisa. :0)

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Fatal Attraction- Carol Smith

When Rose sees Joe in an Oxford bar, for her it is instant infatuation. He is everything she could ever want: gifted musician, wit and high achiever. In her mind, at least, they are ideally matched and a burning desire for him takes hold. Fate, however, has other plans and Joe has no intention of settling down. All Rose will ever be to him is part of his student past. Instead he embarks on a dazzling career which takes him abroad for a number of years, leaving Rose alone with shattered dreams. She knows what true happiness can be like. Her parents have always been very well married, and the late arrival of her kid sister, Lily, helped make the family complete. But when Joe returns and falls for Lily, unaware that Rose still has feelings for him, a dangerous rivalry ensues that can only lead to murder.

although this isn't my favourite book that I've read lately, i still wanted to read it to the end. The plot was a little over the place, and I found it hard to believe that Rose get's away with all the terrible things that she does, but I still might try another of Carol Smith's books as some of them have quite good reviews

If anyone would like this book, just email me

The sooner the bettter- Lynda Page

Isobel Jenkins has spent the last fifteen years caring for Lawrence Clayton’s cantankerous mother, in the knowledge that once the old lady passes away, Lawrence will be free to marry her. However, Izzie is mortified to discover that Lawrence has been deceiving her, and when he flaunts his new bride, she decides enough is enough. But how can she start afresh? Izzie could never have predicted that helping an elderly lady find her way back to her residential home would provide the answer. The owner of the home, Mrs Johnson, instantly recognises Izzie’s worth and, in need of an extra pair of hands, offers her a job. Izzie soon attracts the admiration of one of the young doctors - if only she could forget her past experience. But not everyone is what they seem and there are those in the establishment who are using the atmosphere of openness and trust to their own advantage…

Another good one from Lynda, I read this one in two days. I'm sorry if you're getting fed up of me posting these

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

A Mother's Sin- Lynda Page

Things have never been easy for Dee Kirby. With her looks and personality she never wants for admirers, but as soon as people discover her mother is a prostitute, Dee is treated with disgust and cruelty. And when Dee’s mother dies owing a huge amount of money to a local gang, a grieving Dee finds herself face to face with ruthless criminals…
Meanwhile, Calum Jackson, convicted of a crime he didn’t commit, has just been released from prison and is determined to get a decent job and make a new life for himself. It’s not long before Dee crosses his path and he is instantly smitten. But will he be able to protect her, and give her the happiness she deserves?

This was another page turner from Lynda Page, although it was a little more serious/darker than the others I've read, it still was a fantastic story with believable characters
I have another one of Lynda's from the library, I think I've found another author to add to my list of favourites

Monday, 8 June 2009

The Last Templar - Michael Jecks

1314: Paris. Pope Clement has destroyed the Order of the Knights Templar, wrongly persuaded of their corruption. Watching through a veil of tears as his friends die at the stake, a surviving knight swears vengeance on their accusers.

1316: Devon. The newly appointed bailiff of Lydford Castle, Simon Puttock, is called to a village where a charred bosy has been found in a burned-out cottage. Unaccustomed to violence in this peaceful area, Simon assumes it's accidental death - but Sir Baldwin Furnshill, recetly returned from abroad, quickly convinces him that the victim had been killed before the fire began.

As Simon and the astute yet strangely reticent knight piece together the evidence, word comes of another murder, more horrible by far, for in this case the victim was undoubtedly burned alive. Are the two incidents connected.... and will the killers strike again?

I basically got this book to find out what happened after giving up on the poor quality audio-book version I had from the library some time ago. I think it was only just worth the curiosity satisfaction, as it didn't particularly grip me and I'd guessed what some of the outcome would be long before the end. That's not how a good whodunnit should unfold!

Reckon I'd class this as a sitting-on-the-beach or by-the-pool read - something to keep you lightly occupied whilst getting down to some serious ray catching. If you want something a bit more gripping then I reckon Ellis Peters probably does it better.

Adding to Book Crossing and my Swap List - shout if you want it. :0)

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards

I have now read this book twice but only because it was my Reading Group’s choice for this month. I hadn’t remembered it in detail nor the ending, so I quite enjoyed reading it again and it is well worth a read.
It had me gripped from the first page to the last. It starts with a young couple, Dr David Henry and his wife Norah who are very excited about the imminent arrival of their new baby. When Norah goes into labour it's in the midst of a blizzard, David and Norah can only make it as far as David's own surgery where David delivers his perfect son. Then David delivers an unexpected twin but immediately recognizes the signs.....his daughter has Downs Syndrome. In 1964 children with Downs weren't expected to have any kind of life so David makes a decision and hands his daughter over to his nurse (Caroline Gill) and tells her to take the child to an institution where she can be looked after. Norah is under the influence of the gas and air and doesn’t know she has had a live child. David tells her that their daughter died at childbirth. When Caroline sees the place where she is to leave Phoebe she makes a decision that will change her life. She disappears with Phoebe and decides to bring her up as her own daughter. Is a decision that changes so many lives.
David lives with the lies and continues with the deceit even after he receives a note and a photograph of little Phoebe. His hobby is photography and he takes photos of everything and everyone around and earns high acclaim for his talent; hence the title, photographs being a way to keep a memory.
Norah’s grief of a lost child and his lies slowly tears the family apart and you are drawn deeper into the entangled lives of two families.
I loved the story and although it moves slowly I liked that about it. The descriptions of Phoebe as a grown young woman with Downs Syndrome were very poignant and I really felt for her and her need to be allowed to live her life as normal young woman. And although David’s decision was wrong, he thought he was protecting his wife from the anguish of having a child with Downs, and I liked him
A good read in my view.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Force of Nature- Sue Cook

After three failed attempts at IVF, Jenny and Mark Elfick are overjoyed when their fourth attempt is a success. The arrival of their beautiful daughter, Chloe, marks the beginning of a new chapter in their lives and as they watch Chloe grow their happiness seems complete. When Chloe is two years old, however, Mark suddenly starts behaving very strangely and Jenny fears he is having an affair. But nothing can prepare her for the shattering truth as to why Mark is being so secretive. It is a revelation that threatens to destroy someone else's family as well as their own.

This is Sue Cook's (former radio and tv broadcaster) 2nd novel, and I really was hooked from the start. A heartfelt story, as two families lives are changed for ever, when a secret is let loose. A great read!

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Orphans of the storm- Katie Flynn

Jess and Nancy, girls from very different backgrounds, are nursing in France during the Great War. They have much in common for both have lost their lovers in the trenches, so when the war is over and they return to nurse in Liverpool, their future seems bleak.

Very soon, however, their paths diverge. Nancy marries an Australian stockman and goes to live on a cattle station in the Outback, while Jess marries a Liverpudlian. Both have children; Nancy's eldest is Pete, and Jess has a daughter, Debbie, yet their lives couldn't be more different.

When the second world war is declared, Pete joins the Royal Air Force and comes to England, promising his mother that he will visit her old friend. In the thick of the May blitz, with half of Liverpool demolished and thousands dead, Pete arrives in the city to find Jess's home destroyed and her daughter missing. Pete decides that whatever the cost, he must find her...

From the rigours of the Australian Outback to war-ravaged Liverpool, Debbie and Pete are drawn together... and torn apart...

this book has lay on my bookshelf collecting dust for a couple years, something just made me want to pick it up and read it over the weekend. I'm so glad I did, very likeable characters and a great discription of what Liverpool would have been like during the war. It might be a little slow paced at the begining for some, but I'm sure once you get into the story you'll want to read to the end

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

The Light in the Window ~ June Goulding

When i took Serpent in the Garden back to the library at the Community Centre last week, i saw this book had been left on the table. Being a nosey parker i had to have a look and see what had made someone leave it out. When i read the back i just knew i would have to read this one ....

"I promised that I would one day write a book and tell the world about the home for unmarried mothers. I have at last kept my promise." In Ireland, 1951, the young June Goulding took up a position as midwife in a home for unmarried mothers run by the Sacred Heart nuns. What she witnessed there was to haunt her for the next fifty years. It was a place of secrets, lies and cruelty. A place where women picked grass by hand and tarred roads whilst heavily pregnant. Where they were denied any contact with the outside world; denied basic medical treatment and abused for their 'sins'; where, after the birth, they were forced into hard labour in the convent for three years. But worst of all was that the young women were expected to raise their babies during these three years so that they could then be sold - given up for adoption in exchange for a donation to the nuns. Shocked by the nuns' inhumane treatment of the frightened young women, June risked her job to bring some light into their dark lives. June's memoir tells the story of twelve women's experiences in this home and of the hardships they endured, but also the kindness she offered them, and the hope she was able to bring.

This truly was an insight into what not only young girls but ladies in their 30's and 40's had to endure when they became pregnant out of wedlock and were sent to the convent to be 'cared for' in Ireland and what a humiliating and sad time they had. It was a very moving read. I do admire June Goulding for telling this true story and bringing the facts out into the open for all.

I will return this to the library tomorrow.