Friday, 2 January 2015

That's all folks!

Drawing a line under this blog now. It's become a chore. I'm reading loads and loads and loads of books but no longer feel like reviewing them here.

Over and out.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

October books

I seem to be falling into a pattern of a once-monthly update now. Oh dear.

In the Shadow of Deception by David Hough
A Cornish historical crime mystery by a prolific writer.

Policeman Pascoe Carne falls in love with a woman who has a secret, though she doesn't know what it is. As her past is uncovered it causes a rift between them...

I loved the characters here and the many twists and turns. I felt there were possibly a few too many plot elements and I lost sight of the main story at one point, but it kept me reading wanting to know how everything was going to be resolved.

Some Veil Did Fall by Kirsty Ferry
Timeslip novel told in two parts - first the contemporary story then the historical.

Becky puts on a historical costume for a photography shoot, and begins experiencing flashbacks, as does the photographer Jon with whom she is falling in love. They investigate the characters and uncover mysteries from the past.

I loved the setting here - Whitby during the Goths festival and also a country house hotel. Very atmospheric. I enjoyed the contemporary story more than the historical and felt the book would have been improved by alternating the chapters.

Beneath the Moon and the Stars by Amelia Thorne
Pen name for Holly Martin.
Joy Cartier moves into 'Britain's Friendliest Village' and finds it anything but. Hunk Finn MacKenzie lives next door and although there is immediate chemistry between them he seems to push her away unable to form a relationship. Joy has an unusual job of chainsaw carving - taking on commissions to create sculptures in woods, anonymously.

There are loads of twists and turns in this very lively but rather unbelievable story. I absolutely loved it although i did have to suspend disbelief on many occasions. The power of the writing kept me going, and the originality of the plot.

Room In Your Heart by Wendy Clarke
A delightful collection of warm, life-affirming stories all previously published in People's Friend.

Summit 8000 by Andrew Lock
Birthday present from a friend. Andrew is the only Australian to have climbed all of the world's 8000-metre peaks, This is the story of all those climbs and the unsuccessful attempts along the way. It's an exciting read if you love mountain adventure books, but so sad, as there are many little epilogues telling of the fate of people he climbed with along the way.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Catching up

Seem to be a bit behind here, having read a number of books lately and not written them up. All Kindle books.

First to Fall by Carys Jones 
A fellow Carina author. I bought the book when it was on promotion. Not my usual sort of thing but I'll try anything. It's set in the US even though Carys is a UK writer. A lawyer has moved to a small town, and he quickly gets caught up in a case where a young woman has murdered her husband. She's confessed, but there's something wrong here. Trouble is her husband was the town's footballing hero - everyone loved him but the lawyer comes to realise he was a wife-beater...

There's a great twist in this book and it kept me reading. Well written and enjoyable though some aspects of the book didn't ring true, perhaps because it was set in the US.

The Novel Writer's Toolshed by Della Galton
Brilliant little guide to writing novels, especially if you've come from a short story writing background. Concise and informative.

A Not Quite Perfect Christmas by Annie Lyons 
Using characters from her novel Not Quite Perfect, Carina author Annie Lyons has sent them to New York for Christmas. Enjoyable but short romp.

The Bookshop on the Corner by Rebecca Raisin
Another short book using characters introduced in other, longer novels, also from a Carina author. Sarah runs a bookshop and lives through the books she adores. Then a hunky journalist comes to town and her friends at the cafe across the road start pushing them into each others' arms... Fun easy read.

Regency Romance Collection by Christina Courtenay 
Three great little romances in one ebook. I really enjoyed these. They're predictable in the way that all such romances are - you know the main characters are going to end up together - but you don't know how they're going to get there or what obstacles will get in their way first. These books have all sorts of problems for our hero and heroine to overcome - from social ostracism to murder attempts - and they keep you reading.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Two books by mates

The trouble with being a writer is that I know lots of other writers and they write such a lot of very good books and I want to read them all. Have I whinged about that before on here? Very probably. Anyway, here are the latest two I've read.

The Last Dance by Sally Quilford 
Sally is probably the best writer I know at plotting. Her books twist and turn and keep you guessing and turning the pages or clicking the kindle buttons. This is the first of a series (yay!) featuring 1960s policewoman Bobbie Blandford. She's new to the job but in her small town posting still ends up helping solve a murder case. Great setting, very evocative of the era (I can tell loads of research was done on policing in the 1960s!) and some wonderful characters. And through it all, there's a great plot as usual.

The Good Guy's Guide to Getting the Girl by Peter Jones
I first heard chapter one of this a couple of years ago at a writers' conference, and read another chapter on Peter's website afterwards. The finally finished book is structured quite differently I think to what I read before though my memory is atrocious so that might not be the case.

Jason Smith is around 30 and in need of a good woman. He's a good guy, but has no idea how to go about finding and chatting up suitable women. Until he takes up glamour photography, after losing his nine-to-five job. This book follows his adventures, the various women he comes across, some of whom take their clothes off for him (for the photos!) all the while aided or not by his best mate Alex.

There were times I wanted to slap Jason and give him some advice - in the way I'd want to slap a male friend who behaved the way he did. That I think is the mark of a great character - one who begins to feel like he's a real mate of yours.

Warm and humorous and brilliantly written. I hope this is the first of many novels from Peter.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

The Gallery of Vanished Husbands

The Gallery of Vanished Husbands by Natasha Solomons

Bought in Waitrose, as I have read her earlier two books and love her quirky style. Plus she's a local Dorset author!

Set mostly in the early 60s, Juliet is a young Jewish mother whose Hungarian refugee husband has deserted her. He just left, on her birthday, taking a portrait of her but leaving no explanation. No amount of searching for him by the local Jewish community throws up any trace as to where he has gone. Juliet needs to rebuild her life - and she does this by opening an art gallery. She has an eye for what's good and what's not, and it becomes a huge success. Along the way she acquires dozens more portraits of herself.

Eventually news comes that possibly her husband is in California, and Juliet goes there with her children in search of him...

I loved this book, just like Solomons' previous titles. Quirky, unusual, firmly rooted in its time period and community and with a heroine I won't forget quickly. As an 'aguna' (deserted wife) Juliet has no real identity in her community. That, I think, is why she felt the need to collect so many portraits of herself.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Two novellas

Gypsy Heart by Rosemary Smith

Read this on the way to London a couple of days ago.  Katharine is a well brought up young lady living with her aunt and uncle. On her 20th birthday she meets a gypsy, Kane, falls instantly in love and marries him secretly. Her aunt disapproves and won't allow her to see him. She needs to uncover the secrets of her birth before he can be accepted by her family.

A gentle, escapist tale. True love wins, and the twist ending is not much of a surprise. A pleasant way to pass a long train journey!

A Place of Peace by Sally Quilford

After the above book, I read this, on the same day. Sally's become a bit of an expert at writing romantic intrugue novellas. In this one, Nell goes to live in a house-swap on an island in New England, where she soon falls for the dishy police chief. She's escaping a scandal in England, but finds herself investigating another possible crime on the island.

A satisfying romance, an intriguing mystery and an unexpected ending - this was the perfect novella.

Monday, 25 August 2014

From Paris With Love

From Paris with Love by Samantha Tonge

This is the sequel to Sam's highly successful Doubting Abbey, and features the same mad woman, Gemma and her aristocratic boyfriend Edward. They're working for a month in Paris, learning more about the restaurant industry, as the plan is to save Edward's ancestral home by setting up a cookery school in it.

Then Gemma gets recruited by MI6 to try to uncover a potential threat to the royal family...

It's a wacky plot, but a really fun read, and is highly recommended for a bit of escapism.