Thursday, 21 November 2013

Prizes I've won

Recently I won a lovely prize via facebook from www.Tripfiction.com everything in the picture all in a lovely Paris keepsake box

Today I got an email from http://mebookshelfandi.co.uk saying I've won a signed paperback of the cheesemakers house by Jane Cable which sounds a great read.

The One Plus One - Jojo Moyes

The One Plus OneThe One Plus One by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this a while ago and now reviews are starting to pop up everywhere I thought I'd add mine.

I feel I should begin this review with an apology to Diane Chamberlain ... Whenever I'm asked who my favourite author is - I name her, as she never fails to delight and presses all my buttons with her lovely romantic family dramas - Well I'm sorry Diane, I'm not dumping you, honest I'm not, its just that Jojo Moyes is my flavour of the month at the moment and looks to be taking top spot for some time yet, I feel almost as though I'm being unfaithful but she just gets better and BETTER.

When I was offered an advance galley of the new book by Jojo Moyes to read and review through the wonderful Netgalley - I was delighted, I adored "the girl you left behind" and so loved her book "Me before you", I really didn't think she could even come close to writing anything that good ever again.

Well I was wrong! She HAS done it again and completely blown me away with her latest romantic novel "the one plus one". I just knew from the first few pages it was going to be something special - you know when you pick up a new book and with some you think "OK I'm sure I'll get into this soon", or "Hmm this looks good", and on the all too rare occasion you get a shiver down your back and go ... "OMG this is AMAZING" - straight off, well that's what I did with this - shivers - immediately.

It's a simple storyline, really. At the start we are introduced to Jess, single parent of a young daughter and stepson, working as a cleaner, living on a sink estate, scrimping and struggling to make ends meet - and this is done so beautifully I found it impossible to believe Jess wasn't someone not only real but very well known to me, I kept wanting to shout out loud at things she thought and felt "me TOO"

Jess really wants better for her kids, and they are amazing kids - down to earth, real, loveable and flawed. Daughter Tanzie 8 years old going on 80, doesn't fit in at school, is regarded as a swot for her passion and uncanny ability with maths. Her stepbrother Nicky, full of teenage angst, Goth verging on Hippy, picked on for his differentness, finds it hard to relate to anyone.

When Tanzie is offered the opportunity of a lifeline, Jess tries desperately to seize the chance for her to gain a scholarship to the school of her dreams but being a real person, and therefore not perfect, Jess makes a few bad decisions and what follows is a comic tragedy of grand proportions - resulting in a journey of a lifetime and the opportunity to change all their lives - but can she make the most of it or will she just make everything a whole lot worse?

Enter Ed, with a story of his own to tell - his life's falling apart and the very last thing he needs in his life are a cleaner, her 2 weird kids and their flatulent, farting, hearth rug of a dog, but he gets sucked into their story and as his own situation gets worse he tries to help Jess - and the unlikely couple hit it off against all odds, even though they are from lifestyles too diverse to even be able to relate to one anothers' problems.

The emotions this book stirs up are very mixed - I gasped aloud with laughter many times, (and it takes quite a lot to tickle my funny bone) I shrieked aloud and I sobbed. My vocabulary can't even begin to do justice to just quite how brilliant I think this book is, how much I loved it.

The sheer poetry of Jojo Moyes writing elevates this page turner of a romance, way above the genre of chick-lit and into the realms of literary fiction, such a pleasure to read and an easy to follow story told with amazing assurance and realism. Every word a joy to read from start to finish. I loved all the main characters especially Norman the great lump of canine daftness and unswerving loyalty who is their dog.

This book is sheer class, pure quality and its what reading is all about. I'm so envious of everyone who hasn't read it yet as you've got all this pleasure ahead of you - read it and enjoy every nuance.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Letters from Skye - Jessica Brockmole

Letters from SkyeLetters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was provided with a review galley of this book from Netgalley, however when I began to read it and realised the whole book was in the form of correspondence I struggled somewhat. This is not my favourite kind of writing as I find the short snatches of conversation in the form of letters doesn't often allow me to get as deeply involved as a first or second person narrative. It's also a dual time story - this is a genre I often enjoy, however I did find the 2 settings of world war one and world war two a little difficult to distinguish between. Because of this I picked it up and put it down a few times and had a couple of false starts.

It tells of 2 romances, first we have a long distance relationship forming by letter between Elspeth, a poet living on the remote Isle of Skye in Scotland who gets a letter from a young man who has read her poetry, they begin their friendship by letter and it develops into love. We are also introduced to Elspeths daughter Margaret and more letters some of them lengthy and a mystery involving missing letters. For me it was uneccessarily confusing and complicated with some flowery phrases and parts which didn't ring true.

For anyone who loves books in letter format and world wars one and two this is an unusual romantic story with a few twists to keep you turning the pages. I'm just a little disappointed that for me it didn't quite live up to my hopes for it I always feel guilty if I don't totally enjoy a book which has been so kindly provided free of charge.



I'll be seeing you - Suzanne Palmieri-Hayes

I'll Be Seeing YouI'll Be Seeing You by Suzanne Palmieri-Hayes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a lovely, moving and engrossing story. I won this freebie through Goodreads giveaways and possibly wouldn't have rushed out and bought it, even though something about it really appealed to me, so I'm glad I won a copy.

It's set during the second world war and is written in the format of letters exchanged by two American war brides who become penpals and good friends, through writing to each other whilst their husbands are away fighting.

Glory is a young mother from a wealthy background longing for her husband Robert to return, whilst Rita is an older wife devoted to her beloved husband Sal, and missing not just him the love of her life but their only son also enlisted in the armed forces.

As the 2 women share their thoughts and feelings, triumphs and tragedies we are drawn into their lives and the lives of those around them, some fabulous characterization takes place and the reality of war hits home. Interspersed with fascinating war time recipes which the 2 women also exchange you can't fail to get sucked into their lives with this emotional highly charged peek into their lives.

If you enjoyed The Postmistress I can highly recommend this.

The Asylum - Johan Theorin

The AsylumThe Asylum by Johan Theorin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A friends review of this book brought it to my attention, and I really enjoyed it. I barely noticed that it was a translation from the original language as it doesn't lose anything in translation although I did find myself reading it with a faint Swedish accent in my head!

I found it quite a sad and empathetic story about loneliness and the different ways it affects different people. Its also psychologically very chilling which I like in a story.

The main character is Jan who goes to work in a childcare facility attached to a High security mental health facility where criminals and the insane are locked up and their children cared for in the adjoining nursery and aloowed to visit their parents. Jan has his own secret past involving a missing child, failed suicide and other issues which is gradually revealed and what unfolds is a story of longing, betrayal, deception and revenge with quite a few well concealed twists I didn't pre guess, my only gripe was the ending which just left a couple of issues unresolved and left me wondering what would happen next to a couple of characters.

Theres a great book giveaway on Annes blog today click through the link to her blog to enter for a chance to win "the Second life of Amy Archer" by the way Google found me this when I was searching for Archers Ice cream - Ice cream and books the perfect combo !!
http://randomthingsthroughmyletterbox.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/author-interview-giveaway-r-s-patemen.html?showComment=1383821711708#c5780768852772355927