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Mary Higgins Clark – Let me Call You Sweetheart

21 Oct

I have read Higgins Clarks work for as long as I can remember. I was hooked from the first book, and have quite often sat down to indulge in some afternoon TV for the adaptations.

Each book has the same set up. Each ends the same way, very predictable. However, I am yet to guess the outcome on any book. Oh, and the titles I think are so similar that I almost didn’t read this one thinking I had read it some time before. I guess that’s why this blog features a reading list. Once you have it written down what you have read, you never forget.

 

Anyway, back to this book. Kerry McGrath is a prosecutor. After her daughter is injured in a traffic accident, she visits a plastic surgeon. Whilst waiting to be seen, Kerry spots a familiar looking woman exiting the surgery. When she enquires about who this lady is, the name rings no bells. Fast forward several weeks and Kerry is sat in the waiting room again. the same face appears, but is definitely not the same woman.

As Kerry digs for info, she starts releasing demons from a past trial, putting not only her own life, but her daughters too, in danger. Throughout the twists and turns you think you have it figured, just be surprised by the turn of a page.

Well done Higgins Clark, you’ve done it again.

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Susan Lewis – The Mill House

14 Oct

This book as with all others was passed on to me. It still has the sticker on it telling me it was purchased from a Supermarket for a £1.

I could weep for Susan Lewis.

This book is by far one of the best I have read in a long time. It has beautiful imagery, and a compelling storyline. So I figured out the ending long before it happened, but sometimes that just doesnt matter.

The story is about Julia Thayne, a wannabe writer, with a successful past in the publishing industry. Her husband Josh is a successful agent, and to die for. But Julie has a secret in her past that threatens to destroy everything she has. when she receives some shocking news, Julie heads down to Cornwall to find the truth.

This story is about Julie, her husband, her children, her family, and everyone who has ever been close to her. It shows the fragility of friendship, the awful extents some families will go to, not to protect, just to hide.

I believed every word Lewis said, I never once doubted the actions of the characters. I wanted to hug Julia. I wanted to help reveal the past.

Read this. I have no more to say.

Rachel Hore – The Dream House

7 Oct

This book had me hooked from the start. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the text, I will say it was more a personal connection that had me hooked.

Kate Hutchinson and her hubby decide to up sticks and move from London to her hubby’s home village in Norfolk. In a big romantic whir of what life would be for them, they get caught up in the oh so not important details. It is only when Kate’s hubby, who has continued to work in London starts to stay away, that the reality of the situation hits them.

Out walking the dog one evening, Kate stumbles across a house. she feels s strong connection to it. peering through the window she finds the elderly owner in need.

I will stop there. I know I will give away the ending if I continue.

The reason I say my enjoyment may well be to do with a personal connection, is because this story had one major flaw. Dreams, mystical links, coincidence – Kate had found a necklace and it turns out it is the elderly owners who just happens to be distantly related to Kate…

If you are stuck for something to read, or want something light for a holiday, then dive straight in. If you are an old romantic, then yeah, you should pick this up. If you pull a writers work to pieces, don’t bother. You will be pulling your hair out by the end.

 

Kate has no friends, no one to rely on. Yet, her surroundings are wonderful, and the kids love it.

Ian Rankin – Hide & Seek

30 Sep

Before I start, I just want to say I absolutely love Ian Rankin, so this is totally biased.

Rebus by far is my favourite Detective. He has so many foibles, can at times come across as a bumbling idiot, yet he is brilliant. The more I read, the more in awe of Rankin’s writing I become. I just wish I had read the books in order.

Each book has its main story, each book stands alone. Yet, just like with many of the great detective novels, there is an ongoing story about the detective himself.

This novel starts with ethe discovery of a body in an Edinburgh squat, to many it would seem an open and shut suicide case, but not Rebus. Digging deep into the murky undertones of the city, Rebus discovers a much more sinister and sleazy layer than even he could ever imagine.

As I have already said, I love Rankin’s writing so for me to say I couldn’t put the book down probably doesn’t surprise you. All I will say, don’t make the same mistake as me. If you havent read any of the Rebus series, start at the begiining. You wont regret it.

Erica James – Airs & Graces

2 Sep

We all know I read anything, and we all know my reading lists aren’t recommendations, merely comments on what I have read. So, what can I say about Airs & Graces?

It was a really easy relaxing read. Perfect for the beach I guess, albeit a little tame. Sure you could read it through in one go, but I sure wasn’t bothered when I did put it down. Pleasant, that’s my choice description.

I’m just nodding my head. I have nothing else to say.

Barbie Probert – Wright –Little Girl Lost

26 Aug

Little Girl Lost was an accidental read. Amongst my piles of books that had been passed onto me, one night having finished one novel, I just took the next one-off the pile and began reading. I had no idea I was embarking on a journey of two girls survival during World War 2 in the form of a memoir. Even more so, I had no idea I was reading about what happened to two ordinary German girls.

Maybe it is just me, but the stories I only ever hear/read/view from WW2 are those that involve the British sense of survival, sticking together, doing what has to be done, or the stories of the Jews fight for survival. I just want to say that I believe that it is right we hear what happened to the Jews, just as I think it is important for the British to know how important it was for everyone to unite (although my Grandmother had plenty to say that opposed the common view). however, when I realised what I had in my hands, I was slightly wary, I for one had not been told much about the Germans, I am not even sure I ever considered what had happened to the children.

I accept a certain naivety on this front, but lets face it, in a British classroom learning history the view is somewhat limited.

I can honestly say reading this text I went through a rollercoaster of emotions. Human kindness is very rarely discussed, as if we have some shame in being happy to help others, but this book really showed how much difference just a hug, a simple gesture of a glass of water, companionship can make to others. The bonds that tie us, our desires to do whatever is necessary not to just survive ourselves, but to make sure the stranger on the pavement survives also.

It wasn’t all kindness though. The strangers that turned two girls away during the night, refusing to offer a bed, the men that destroyed their possessions and raped the elder sister.

The book is mixed with encounters with various nationalities, including the German, British and American soldiers. It also talks about seeing men looking dazed at the roadside. It is with hindsight that the author can say it was the men recently released from the concentration camps.

This book is not an easy read, nor is it an actual account of the war. It is a memoir. A tale as seen through a childs eyes. It will make you smile, make you cry, scream and shout. It is extremely well written, and very sympathetic to all sides involved. Memoirs may not be your thing, but do give this a go. It really does make you realise the war images we see on TV are just one part of the story, I think we could all do with a reminder of that.

John Grisham – The Testament

19 Aug

In typical Grisham style, the Testament takes us on a mysterious journey involving the good lawyer, the slightly off track lawyer and a legal case that would tie most up in knots.

In typical Grisham style, just as we would expect from work by Mary Higgins Clark, you know the format, you understand the twist and turns that the plot will take, the personal dilemmas, but you can never quite nail the story line, and you do stay guessing until the end. In my book, that makes it a good read.

What? I hear your cries…there are so many better writers…that maybe so, but I want to tell you more about this text. Now it is no work of literary fiction, don’t get me wrong. If it was, I would have run away screaming, that’s just not my thing, but this was an extremely well written novel.

The part I wish to focus on is the descriptive prose of the deepest jungles of Brazil, when Nate O’Riley goes in pursuit of Rachel Lane, a woman who has given her life to God, and unaware she has just been made a billionaire. I have never been to Brazil, the last images I have seen would I imagine be those we were shown in geography some 15 years ago (ssh I know!). With this in mind, maybe I am not the one to judge whether the description was accurate, but what I do know, was the area Grisham was describing, I was soaking it in. I could feel the heat, the muggy air, the complexities of life within such basic surroundings.

‘At the edge of the village, a group of small children stood waiting for a look at the strangers. Nate offered them all a frozen smile. He’d never felt so white in his life, and he wanted to be liked. Some naked mothers gawked from the first hut. When he and Jevy entered the wide common area, everyone stopped and stared.’

[I chose this extract merely to show the simplicity of the writing, which really enhances the ideology of the primitive Indians.]

Maybe it is the news that has made this image so imaginable, or it could be travel oversees. I will allow myself this once to say that Grisham’s apparent choice to take the time to simplify what was in mind, and to do this repeatedly throughout the book, is what made the image. Had this not been a Grisham novel, I would have told you about this author that really takes his time with setting. Maybe it is something that is always there within his work, but this novel, this imagery, really stood out.