Sunday, 6 December 2009

Blackberry Wine - Joanne Harris

Jay Mackintosh is trapped by memory in the old familiar landscape of his childhood, more enticing than the present, and to which he longs to return. A bottle of home-brewed wine left to him by a long-vanished friend seems to provide both the key to an old mystery and a doorway into another world. As the unusual properties of the strange brew takes effect, Jay escapes to a derelict farmhouse in the French village of Lansquenet, where a ghost from the past waits to confront him, and the reclusive Marise - haunted, lovely and dangerous - hides a terrible secret behind her closed shutters. Between them, a mysterious chemistry. Or could it be magic?

After enjoying her book Chocolat so very much I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this one and wondered if I would end up being disappointed by it. Not at all. :0)

Although based in the same area, having several characters who appear in both books and a few slightly similar aspects (young mother with young daughter with a mysterious past as outcast), the storyline is quite separate. It has likeable characters and an interesting storyline that pulls you in just the same as Chocolat. I didn't enjoy it as much as..... but it was a very close second. :0)

Am registering this with Book Crossing - it's available if anyone wants it. :0)

Sunday, 22 November 2009

The Book Thief, Markus Zusak

The Book Thief is set in Germany before and during World War II. The story is told from the point of view of Death, who narrates the story and gives a whole new image to the "death" image we see. "Death" finds the story of the book thief, Liesel Meminger. Liesel's story begins when she and her brother are sent to a foster home by their Communist mother when she is interned in Dachau Concentration Camp. On the way to the foster home, Liesel's brother Werner dies. As the gravediggers are burying her brother, Liesel takes a book which she finds lying on the ground, The Gravedigger's Handbook, despite her inability to read. She later arrives at the home of foster parents, Hans and Rosa Hubermann, near Munich. They treat her well, although Rosa swears fiercely. Liesel then meets Rudy Steiner, a neighbour of her own age who later becomes her best friend. Rudy is well known in the neighbourhood for his romp around the Hubert Oval as Jesse Owens. Max, a 24 year old Jewish man that the Hubermann family helps to hide, composes his experiences with Liesel in a series of sketches, as well as two homemade books.

This book was borrowed from the library after a recommendation by a friend. A nice book, but a sad story of a young girls life at that time.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

The Sixth Wife - Suzannah Dunn

Clever and compassionate Katerine Parr, Henry VIII's sixth and final wife, survived their four turbulent years of marriage. But when the ambitious and handsome Thomas Seymour won her heart, mere months after the old king's death, their hasty union undid a lifetime of caution.


Catherine, Duchess of Suffolk, her best friend, is the unwilling witness to the dowager queen's late-blossoming love. But as she harbours nagging suspicions of kate's new husband, it gradually becomes clear that she has her own dark tale to tell. For if Thomas might betray hiw wife for power, then cool, calculating Cathy might betray her for passion.

In times when the least discretion could mean arrest and death, Katerhine Parr's tragedy plays itself out amonsgt those who loved - and deceived - her most. As events reach their inevitable climax, it becomes clear that Cathy and Kate will risk all in a world where love is a luxury even royalty cannot always afford...

I love reading books set in Tudor times and have read many over the years, so this one was a must read for me but I couldn't understand why I initially struggled to get into this one...... until I realised that I wasn't that keen on the main character, Catherine of Suffolk. Odd, until I read the bumpf at the back of the book and realised that the writer hadn't particularly liked her character either, and it becomes obvious: the way she felt about the character has coloured the way she has written about and presented her and you can tell.

Despite this I still thought the whole a good read. There were enough of the known historical facts in there to keep it believable and the writer's twist to the story is different enough from the many others written about this time period to keep it interesting.

Am registering this with Book Crossing - available to anyone who wants it. :0)

Friday, 6 November 2009

The Lost Book of Salem - Katherine Howe

I watched today as Giles Corey was presst to death between the stones. He had lain so for two days mute. With each stone, they told him he must plead, lest more stones be added. But he only whispered, More weight. Standing in the crowde, I found Goodwyfe Dane, who, as the last stone lower'd, went white, grippt my hand, and wept. Salem Towne, 16 September, 1692

While clearing out her grandmother's cottage for sale, Connie Goodwin finds a parchment inscribed with the name Deliverance Dane. And so she steps into a mystery that dates from 1692 in Salem.... and the infamous witchcraft trials.

Nothing is entirely as it seems, and when Connie unearths the existence of Deliverance's spell book, The Physick Book, the situation takes on a menacing edge as interested parties reveal their desperation to find this precious artifact at any cost.

What secret does the Physick Book contain? What magic is scrawled across its parchment pages? Connie must race to answer these questions - and reveal the truth about Salem's women - before an ancient family curse fulfils its dark and devastating prophecy.

As it was leading up to Samhain I thought this would be a good book to delve in to. LOL It gives a slightly different take on the whole Salem story as it flows between Deliverance's story (and some of her descendants) and the current day Connie. The to'ing and fro'ing was easy to follow and keep track of what happened to which character and when - always important for the flow of the whole and the enjoyment of the tale.

A few interesting twists but I was still managed to suss several important "reveals" before they were duly revealed...... though it didn't spoil things. The book did, however leave one gaping hole: was the curse broken by Connie's extreme measure towards the end.... or not?

An enjoyable and entertaining read.... you just need to suspend belief a little. :0)

Registered with Book Crossing - available if anyone wants it. :0)

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

The Last Gospel - David Gibbins

WHAT IF - one of the Ancient World's greatest libraries was buried in volcanic ash and the rediscovered two thousand years later?

WHAT IF - what was found there was a document that could shatter the very foundations of the western world?

WHAT IF - you were the one who discovered this secret? And were then forced to confront terrifying enemies determined to destroy you to ensure it goes no further?

David Gibbins' electrifying new novel is the story of one last gospel, left behind in the age of the New Testament, and of its extraordinary secret, one that has lain concealed for years. Follow Jack Howard, man of action and the greatest archaeologist of his day, as he unearths the mystery - and must prevent others from doing the same...

After reading his first book (Atlantis) I was glad to get my hands on what has turned out to be the third novel in his series of books about Jack Howard. I thought I'd be OK to read them out of sequence - wrong! These need to be read in order, as there are vital plot themes that unfold in one book that lead on to subsequent details in the next book....... so I urgently need to read Crusader Gold to grasp some of the references in this book.

Otherwise it was an interesting action read that's based on some historical facts and characters. Definitely gets you thinking along that WHAT IF line. Though I couldn't help being slightly disappointed - this one didn't grab me and keep me as totally interested as his first book........ nevertheless, I'd still go out of my way to read the next one.

Registering this with Book Crossing and it's up for grabs if anyone wants it...... along with Atlantis too. :0)

Monday, 12 October 2009

Marshmallows for breakfast-Dorothy Koomson

When Kendra Tamale returns to England from Australia she rents a room from Kyle, a divorced father of two, and begins a new job. She's looking forward to a fresh start and simple life.
Kyle's five-year-old twins, Summer and Jaxon, have other ideas and quickly adopt Kendra as their new mother - mainly because she lets them eat marshmallows for breakfast. Kendra eventually becomes a part of their lives, even though she's hiding a painful secret that makes her keep everyone - especially children - at arm's length.
Then Kendra bumps into the man who shares her awful secret, and things fall apart: she can't sleep, she can't eat, she's suspended from work, and the kids are taken away by their mother. The only way to fix things is to confess to the terrible mistake she made all those years ago. But that's something she swore never to do . . .
Marshmallows For Breakfast is a tale of redemption, hope and finding love in unexpected places.

Another good storyline, takes you on an other emotional journey , you find yourself drawn to the twins and want the best for them, as with all chick-lits there's a happy ending

My Best Friend's Girl- Dorothy Koomson

What would you do for the friend who broke your heart? Best friends Kamryn Matika and Adele Brannon thought nothing could come between them - until Adele did the unthinkable and slept with Kamryn's fiance, Nate. Worse still, she got pregnant and had his child. When Kamryn discovered the truth about their betrayal she vowed never to see any of them again. Two years later, Kamryn receives a letter from Adele asking her to visit her in hospital. Adele is dying and begs Kamryn to adopt her daughter, Tegan. With a great job and a hectic social life, the last thing Kamryn needs is a five year old to disrupt things. Especially not one who reminds her of Nate. But with no one else to take care of Tegan and Adele fading fast, does she have any other choice? So begins a difficult journey that leads Kamryn towards forgiveness, love, responsibility and, ultimately, a better understanding of herself.

Okay first and foremost this is a chick-lit book, but don't let it put you of reading it. It also deals with sadness, betrayal, love, racism and friendships, an easy read but one with am emotional ride

I heard that song before- Mary Higgins Clark

When Kay Lansing marries wealthy widower Peter Carrington, she is well aware of the rumours surrounding the mysterious death of Peter's first wife Grace, who was found floating in the family pool ten years ago, pregnant at the time. Kay also discovers that Peter is a chronic sleepwalker who suffers from periodic nightmares. When the police arrive at her doorstep with a warrant for Peter's arrest in connection with another murder - that of a woman Peter had escorted to a high school senior prom twenty-two years ago - Kay begins to fear that she has married a sleepwalking murderer, and she resolves to find out the truth behind the puzzling deaths. But are the two deaths linked? And why does a melody that Kay cannot identify keep playing in her head every time she approaches the family chapel?

Another good one from MHC, kept me wondering who the murderer was right until it was revealed at the end!

Sunday, 11 October 2009

The Little House ~ Philippa Gregory

It was easy for Elizabeth. She married the man she loved. It was harder for Ruth. She married Elizabeth's son and then found that, somehow, she could never quite measure up. This thriller examines what women want and what they fear, as Ruth confronts the shifting borders of her own sanity.

Even though i enjoyed this book, sometimes it made me feel very disappointed/angry with the main character. (Rachael you wont like this one, its another of those female weak characters LOL) Her MIL was very domineering and controlling and you wanted to shout at the book and tell her to grow a backbone!

If you would like this one, please let me know

Julie x

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Stonehenge - Bernard Cornwell

What is it? So many people visit Stonehenge and come away asking just that question. Was it built by the ancient Greeks? By little green men visiting Wiltshire in UFO's? Was it a Druid temple? (No, no and no). But it was a temple, and it was built by the folk who lived on what is now Salisbury Plain four or five thousand years ago. Very often history can't give us the answers to our questions - we simply do not know who built Stonehenge, or why, or what religion was practised there. We will probably never know because there were no written records, so we can only make what we hope are intelligent guesses, and historical novelists are as well placed to do that as historians. So this book is Bernard Cornwells guess, and a story of love, rivalry, treachery and a great mysterious temple.

A good read, made the brain think!

This ones has found a new home.

Julie x

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Twilight Series By Stephenie Meyer


Bella Swan's move to Forks, a small, perpetually rainy town in Washington, could have been the most boring move she ever made. But once she meets the mysterious and alluring Edward Cullen, Bella's life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. Up until now, Edward has managed to keep his vampire identity a secret in the small community he lives in, but now nobody is safe, especially Bella, the person Edward holds most dear.

New Moon

Bella celebrates her birthday with her boyfriend Edward and his family, a unique clan of vampires that has sworn off human blood. But the celebration abruptly ends when the teen accidentally cuts her arm on broken glass. The sight and smell of her blood trickling away forces the Cullen family to retreat lest they be tempted to make a meal of her. After all is mended, Edward, realizing the danger that he and his family create for Bella, sees no option for her safety but to leave. Mourning his departure, she slips into a downward spiral of depression that penetrates and lingers over her every step. Vampire fans will appreciate the subsequently dour mood that permeates the novel, and it's not until Bella befriends Jacob, a sophomore from her school with a penchant for motorcycles, that both the pace and her disposition begin to take off. Their adventures are wild, dare-devilish, and teeter on the brink of romance, but memories of Edward pervade Bella's emotions, and soon their fun quickly morphs into danger, especially when she uncovers the true identities of Jacob and his pack of friends.


Jake, the werewolf met in New Moon, pursues Bella with renewed vigilance. However, when repercussions from an episode in Twilight place Bella in the mortal danger that series fans have come to expect, Jake and Edward forge an uneasy alliance. The plot patterns have begun to show here, but Meyer's other strengths remain intact. The supernatural elements accentuate the ordinary human dramas of growing up. Jake and Edward's competition for Bella feels particularly authentic, especially in their apparent desire to best each other as much as to win Bella.

Breaking Dawn

In Breaking Dawn, the fourth and final installment in the series, Bella’s story plays out in some unexpected ways. The ongoing conflicts that made this series so compelling--a human girl in love with a vampire, a werewolf in love with a human girl, the generations-long feud between werewolves and vampires--resolve pretty quickly, apparently so that Meyer could focus on Bella’s latest opportunity for self-sacrifice: giving her life for someone she loves even more than Edward. How close she comes to actually making that sacrifice is questionable, which is a big shift from the earlier books. Even though you knew Bella would make it through somehow, the threats to her life, and to her relationship with Edward, had previously always felt real. It’s as if Meyer was afraid of hurting her characters too much, which is unfortunate, because the pain Bella suffered at losing Edward in New Moon, and the pain Jacob suffered at losing Bella again and again, are the fire and the heart that drive the whole series.

I have read these four books over the last week or so and I have been totally drawn into these books and the nice warm feeling I get when reading them, strange considering they are about Vampires and Werewolves! These books are aimed at young adults, maybe I just never grew up.

I totally recommend them! There is another book the fifth, in the making called Midnight Sun, the first chapter can be read here. It mirrors Twilight from Edward Cullen's point of view!

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Eleven Hours by Paulina Simons

This book had me afraid for the Didi the main character and reading it before the story really unfolded had me feeling uneasy! I knew the worse was to come.

She is nine months pregnant and goes off in the noonday heat of Dallas to do some last minute shopping. She is approached while in the cool of the shopping mall by a pleasant young man, who asked could he help her with her bags; although he looks quite innocuous, she has a feeling of unease about him and says no. But because she thinks he is following her she phones her husband to meet early for lunch, of course like all hubbys when you need them their phones are on message.
Back out in the scorching heat of the day in the parking lot, she hears a voice behind her and the nightmare begins.

The book is written with each alternate chapter about Didi and her abductor and then her husband Rich and the FBI man who informs Rich in situations like this only 20% of victims are found alive.
This is a real page-turner and I stayed up till the early hours to finish it!
I am certainly going to look out the other two books written by this author in my library, in fact I am off this morning as we are away next week.
A thrilling frightening read!!


Friday, 4 September 2009

Coastliners by Joanne Harris

On the tiny Breton island of Le Devin, life has remained almost unchanged for over a hundred years. For generations, two rival communities, the wealthy La Houssiniere and the impoverished village of Les Salants, have fought for control of the island's only beach.

When Mado, a spirited local girl, returns to Les Salants after a ten-year absence, she finds her home threatened, both by the tides and a machinations of a local entrepreneur. Worse, the sommunity is suffering from an incurable loss of hope.

Mado is not so easily discouraged. Dogged by prejudice from superstitious villagers, she is forced to enlist the help of Flynn, an attractive drifter. But Mado's attempts to transform the dying community have unforseen consequences. As Les Salants returns slowly to life, so do past tragedies, including thew terrible secret that still haunts Mado's father. And is Flynn really who he says he is?

I loved this book, but then Joanne is my favourite author (she wrote Chocolat). I could not put the book down and I felt like I'd lost something when I'd finished.I need to read Five Quarters of an Orange next,then I have read all her books.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Lesley Pearse - Trust Me

'Trust me!' she spat. 'As soon as someone says trust me, you can be sure they're going to let you down or hurt you.'

All her life, people have told little Dulcie Taylor they'll look after her. And every time, she and her sister May have been hurt. Their parents. Their teacher. The convent. Then the two girls are offered the chance of a fresh start in Australia.

But the new life that they hope for in an exciting, vibrant country goes horribly wrong. Will Dulcie break away from her sad past and build a bright new future for herself?

This book was based on facts about the orphans that were sent over to Australia and how the nuns/brothers mistreated them and consequences that happened in their lives. You probably remember the stories that were in the news a while back and this was no exception, very sad in some parts but a very interesting read.

Barb sent this so me, so its now looking for a new home, if anyone would like it, please let me know.

Julie x

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Husbands and Lies-Susy McPhee

there are some people you would do anything for... For Fran that list would include her Daughter, her Husband and her best friend, Alison. Only Alison is now desperately ill and she needs Fran's help. She wants to find her husband a new wife, and leave her young child with a new mother. Fran finds the whole idea deeply uncomfortable, but it's hard to refuse your closest friend at the best of times, let alone ignore her dying wishes..

So Fran reluctantly logs on to an internet dating site, where she stumbles across an all to familiar profile. 'Footloose' describes himself as divorced, but his photo looks exactly like Fran's husband Max. What's a wife to do when she suspects her husband's cheating, and can't bear to confront him outright?
Posing as 'Sassy' Fran sends a reply to 'footloose' and sets out to date her own husband. But this increasingly crazy plan leads Max to start to have doubts of his own.
Torn between suspicion and love, life for Fran just got very complicated- can her marriage survive?

I really enjoyed this book, it takes you through several emotions. Although a really easy read, it's perfect for bedtime reading. I liked Susy's style of writing
I think i'll look out for Susy's next book due out in Sept.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Nineteen minutes-Jodi Picoult

In nineteen minutes, you can mow the front lawn, color your hair, watch a third of a hockey game. In nineteen minutes, you can bake scones or get a tooth filled by a dentist; you can fold laundry for a family of five.... In nineteen minutes, you can stop the world, or you can just jump off it.

In nineteen minutes, you can get revenge.

Sterling is a small, ordinary New Hampshire town where nothing ever happens -- until the day its complacency is shattered by a shocking act of violence. In the aftermath, the town's residents must not only seek justice in order to begin healing but also come to terms with the role they played in the tragedy. For them, the lines between truth and fiction, right and wrong, insider and outsider have been obscured forever. Josie Cormier, the teenage daughter of the judge sitting on the case, could be the state's best witness, but she can't remember what happened in front of her own eyes. And as the trial progresses, fault lines between the high school and the adult community begin to show, destroying the closest of friendships and families.

Nineteen Minutes is New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult's most raw, honest, and important novel yet. Told with the straightforward style for which she has become known, it asks simple questions that have no easy answers: Can your own child become a mystery to you? What does it mean to be different in our society? Is it ever okay for a victim to strike back? And who -- if anyone -- has the right to judge someone else?

Really enjoyed this one, and I never guessed the twist at the end.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Skellig - David Almond

There's something or someone strange in the tumbledown garage at the bottom of Michael's new garden. Shrouded in dusty cobwebs, dead bluebottles strung in his hair and crooked wings growing out through rips in his shirt, Skellig is the last thing Michael thinks he needs. But with his baby sister lying dangerously ill at the hospital, Michael and his new friend Mina begin to suspect that Skellig and the baby's fates may be connected. Perhaps as Skellig's strength returns and his beautiful wings unfurl, the baby's heartbeat will get stronger...

This is a children's book for ages 9 - 12. I have read it as we are using it in school . It's a very moving story, easy to read but full of meaning. Recommended for any youngster especially htose young at heart.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

It's the Little Things- Erica James

Dan and Sally Oliver and their friend Chloe Hennessey are lucky to be alive. Three years on, after surviving one of the world's biggest natural disasters - the Boxing Day tsunami - their lives have changed dramatically. Dan and Sally are now parents. Dan is enjoying being a stay-at-home father taking care of their young son, and Sally is the bread winner and loves her job as a partner in a Manchester law firm. The arrangement has so far worked well, but when Dan starts to question whether Sally has got her priorities right, the cracks in their marriage begin to appear. Dan and Sally have everything Chloe wishes for in life - a happy marriage and a beautiful child. Dumped by her long term boyfriend just weeks after the tsunami, she's been on a mission ever since to find the perfect father for the child she craves. When she meets Seth Hawthorne, she thinks she may have hit the jackpot. But is Seth the man she thinks he is? A life can change in a heartbeat but IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS is not simply about the moments when everything changes, but also a moving, compelling and inspiring story of how we lead our lives in the days and years that follow.

I really enjoyed this book, it's a good, easy summer read, likeable characters who I felt were quite believable. I have another 5 books on my shelf by this author so hopefully they will be as good as this one

Saturday, 25 July 2009

The Interpretation of Murder - Jed Rubenfeld

You can see Julie's synopsis here.

It took a little while to get used to the style the book is written in: occasionally first person (as if from the view of Stratham Younger) and then to a general narrative style. Other than that it was an interesting storyline with several unexpected twists that kept my interest right to the end: it often left me wondering what on earth was happening and not once did I manage to guess what had really happened.

If you like book that makes you think, not just about how the story will unfold, but about the motivations and reasonings of the characters, and about your own thought processes and reasonings, then this is well worth a read. :0)

Thanks again for sending me this Julie........ so good I didn't even make it last the whole fortnight! LOL

This has been registered with Book Crossing and has now been wild released in Cumbria. :0)

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

The Other Side of the Bridge by Mary Lawson

The Other Side of the Bridge by Mary Lawson
Story Over view
Two brothers, Arthur and Jake Dunn, are the sons of a farmer in the mid-1930s, when life is tough and another world war is looming. Arthur is reticent, solid, dutiful and set to inherit the farm and his father’s character; Jake is younger, attractive, mercurial and dangerous to know – the family misfit. When a beautiful young woman comes into the community, the fragile balance of sibling rivalry tips over the edge.

Then there is Ian, the family’s next generation, and far too sure he knows the difference between right and wrong. By now it is the fifties, and the world has changed – a little, but not enough.

These two generations in the small town of Struan, Ontario, are tragically interlocked, linked by fate and community but separated by a war which devours its young men – its unimaginable horror reaching right into the heart of this remote corner of an empire. With her astonishing ability to turn the ratchet of tension slowly and delicately, Lawson builds their story to a shocking climax. Taut with apprehension, surprising us with moments of tenderness and humour, The Other Side of the Bridge is a compelling, humane and vividly evoked novel with an irresistible emotional undertow.
This is one of the best novels I have ever read, I absolutely loved it and am in awe of the writing, the storytelling.
I couldn’t wait to read each night The characterisation was wonderful and such believable relationships, the hardship and romance, pain of life and love is told in superb and stunning prose. I love how the story is told, how the setting in rural Northern Canada is evoked so strongly that the reader can close their eyes and see Arthur farming his land and Ian helping him. I wanted to be there.
I have read her first novel Crow Lake which was wonderful too, why is it the authors I like only write two or three books and once you've read them that's it!!

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

A desperate childhood. An uncertain past. One chance at happiness ...Born into poverty and living under the roof of her violent and abusive brother-in-law, young Kitty Cox dreams of working in a women's dress shop in the West End - a million miles away from the reality of her life as a mud-lark, scavenging on the banks of the Thames. Fate soon intervenes and Kitty finds herself working as a skivvy for Sir Desmond and Lady Arabella Mableton in Mayfair. Bullied by the kitchen maids, Kitty is soon taken under Lady Arabella's wing and for the first time in her life Kitty dares to hope. But Lady 'Bella' has a secret and unable to live with her domineering husband she decides to leave, fighting for custody of their daughter, Leonie. Kitty will do anything for her mistress but her loyalty is severely tested as all their lives are thrown into turmoil and Kitty faces a life of poverty and hardship in the slums of the East End once more ...

Your heart will really go out to Kitty, as if life in the slums of London is not bad enough, she is also raped by her brother in law. Kitty is a determined, hard working young woman who has a dream. With a little bit of luck and plenty of determination, she too finds some happiness in her life. The book is filled with vivid descriptions of Victorian London, you can feel how hard it must have been for the people living there at the time.
Another great book from Dilly Court, if anyone fancies a read please let me know and I'll pass it on

Monday, 20 July 2009

A Mother's Courage - Dilly Court

When Eloise Cribb receives the news that her husband's ship has been lost at sea she wonders how she is ever going to manage. With two young children, the rent overdue and left with almost nothing to live on, she has no alternative but to turn to his estranged family for help.
She sets off on the long and arduous journey to Yorkshire, but is met with hostility and soon realises she has little choice but to return to London. Virtually destitute and desperate, Eloise is faced with her worst nightmare: she must either go to the workhouse, or abandon her children at the Foundling Hospital. But she is determined to keep them under her protective wing at all costs...

this was the 1st book I've read of Dilly Court's, and I really enjoyed it. It's a heart warming story showing the courage of a young widowed mother, who will go to any lengths to protect her children, even though it breaks her heart. She falls on some really hard times, but keeps on fighting for the sake of her babies. A beautiful story, with believable characters.

House of Echose ~ Barbara Erskine

A woman unexpectedly inherits a beautiful English manor from the mother she never knew--a place where her two young brothers died many years ago. The locals whisper of a dire curse on both the house and her family, as eerie, inexplicable occurrences begin to threaten her own two sons. Now she is completely on her own with her young family to face a centuries-old malevolence with the lives of those she holds dear hanging in the balance!

Thanks Rachael for sending me this one.

Another Barbara Erskine thriller, a really spooky read, sometimes it made me want to hide behind the sofa, especially on the days that we had thunderstorms!!!

If anyone would like it let me know otherwise i'll give it into the community centre library when they re-open 29th July

Monday, 6 July 2009

The Interpretation of Murder ~ Jed Rubenfeld

In this ingenious, suspenseful historical thriller, Sigmund Freud is drawn into the mind of a sadistic killer who is savagely attacking Manhattan's wealthiest heiresses
Inspired by Sigmund Freud's only visit to America, The Interpretation of Murder is an intricate tale of murder and the mind's most dangerous mysteries. It unfurls on a sweltering August evening in 1909 as Freud disembarks from the steamship George Washington, accompanied by Carl Jung, his rival and protege. Across town, in an opulent apartment high above the city, a stunning young woman is found dangling from a chandelier—whipped, mutilated, and strangled. The next day, a second beauty—a rebellious heiress who scorns both high society and her less adventurous parents—barely escapes the killer. Yet Nora Acton, suffering from hysteria, can recall nothing of her attack. Asked to help her, Dr. Stratham Younger, America's most committed Freudian analyst, calls in his idol, the Master himself, to guide him through the challenges of analyzing this high-spirited young woman whose family past has been as complicated as his own. The Interpretation of Murder leads readers from the salons of Gramercy Park, through secret passages, to Chinatown—even far below the currents of the East River where laborers are building the Manhattan Bridge. As Freud fends off a mysterious conspiracy to destroy him, Younger is drawn into an equally thrilling adventure that takes him deep into the subterfuges of the human mind.

A novel based on fact, a really interesting read

Friday, 3 July 2009

Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden

This is a rare and utterly engaging story. It tells the extraordinary tale of a geisha - summoning up a quarter century, from 1929 to the post-war years of Japan's dramatic history, and opening a window onto a half-hidden world of eroticism and enchantment, exploitation and degradation.

After hearing a lot of hype about this book, and now the film, I finally got nosey enough to want to find out what it was all about....... and I'm so glad I did.

The book is written as if the central character is an old woman, telling the tale of her life to a biographer - from childhood to present day. That tale is fascinating enough but the insights it gives into certain aspects of Japanese culture and the mentality of the time, plus the strong characters and wonderful way words are used to evoke just the right kind of mental imagery, gives the book several levels of interest and added depths of enjoyment.

It was a definite page-turner that kept me reading through the day and into the wee small hours, desperate to know what happened next, and it's certainly one that has left a lasting impression on me. Now I would like to see the film, in the hopes that it has managed to capture some of this at least.

Registering this with Book Crossing and adding it to my Swap List - let me know if you'd like it. :0)

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!