Profile for Ismay1012 > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Ismay1012
Top Reviewer Ranking: 466
Helpful Votes: 681

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-15
Without You
Without You
Price: £3.85

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Sister's Love, 17 July 2014
This review is from: Without You (Kindle Edition)
When 17-year old Eva is out sailing in the calm Suffolk seas with her father, a terrible storm brews up and Eva is swept over board. During the ensuing search her life jacket is discovered washed up on shore: it undeniably leads to the assumption that Eva has drowned, even though her body is missing. Her family mourn for her, but her younger sister Faith refuses to believe that she is gone forever. She visualises her sister held captive on the mysterious nearby island, one that they had secretly visited together. It is out of bounds to the public, but the two girls often visited it, keeping on the seaward side of the island to avoid detection and getting in trouble.

Over the months that pass, Faith’s mother and father become distant from one another, torn apart by guilt and grief. They cannot face living so near to the place where their cherished and feisty older daughter died so tragically. Still Faith believes that Eva is alive and being held captive by a monster. She is determined to find her and bring her home to her family.

But when the time comes, Faith’s life is put in to grave danger. She had never learnt to swim, but against this fact is her outright belief that Eva is in mortal danger and will be relying on her, and her alone to save her and rescue her. As she sets off on her mission she realises that the outcome may not be the one she craves.

This is an emotional tale about family love. It’s a thrilling mystery of a young girl’s disappearance, a story full of suspense, with lots of twists and turns in the plot. It’s a story about secrets and loyalty, promises and passion. Set against the rugged marshes and windswept coastline of East Anglia, this story will stir you up. It is a real page-turner, a story that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Another Night, Another Day
Another Night, Another Day
Price: £3.59

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking read, 17 July 2014
This poignant novel, set in Brighton, is about three strangers who are facing the most horrendous challenges in their lives and are failing miserably. Brought together at the Moreland’s Clinic, they are each seeking help and are on the very verge of mental breakdown. There’s Abby. Her marriage has failed, the house is due to be sold from under her feet, and she faces the challenge of single parenthood to her seven-year-old son who has autism and needs constant care. Then there’s Michael, a family man, but his florist business had failed. Everything must go, even the car. Unable to verbalise the strain he is going through, he returns home one night and smashes the garden shed to smithereens. Lastly there’s Karen, living alone with two small children, She misses her husband who died two years ago. When her father has a stroke she flips, she can no longer be the strong one, she can’t stop crying, she feels guilty about things she should have done and should not have done all the time.

They are receiving psychiatric counselling at the Clinic, at last talking through their problems and receiving the professional help they so urgently need, talking confidentially, unburdening themselves and at last beginning to heal. They build up friendships and learn about each other in ‘group meetings’. They are becoming stronger, they laugh together, support and console one another and are beginning to look forward to their new lives. But what will happen as they become more independent? Will they sink or swim?

This is a fantastic read. The mental health issues of each patient at the clinic are well described, as is their therapy. The characterisation is wonderful, the writing full of empathy and understanding. It’s a deep, interesting and thought-provoking read. I loved it.

A Wedding in Provence
A Wedding in Provence
by Ellen Sussman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.23

4.0 out of 5 stars Trouble in Paradise., 15 July 2014
This review is from: A Wedding in Provence (Hardcover)
When Olivia and Brody decide to get married they invite their closest friends and family to share a weekend with them in their friend’s beautiful old-fashioned Inn near to the small town of Cassis, in the south of France. The Inn has real ‘it factor’; it has everything, charm, gorgeous gardens where the ceremony will take place and a wonderful pool where guests can cool off after the hot Mediterranean sun has shone on them all day. As romantic venues go it’s a certain top tenner.

But as the guests arrive there are unexpected and shocking surprises and it looks as though their wedding may not be the tranquil event that they had dreamed of. During the course of the next couple of days there are startling revelations, unpredictable behaviour and near chaos. It seems as though each of their guests have packaged up their troubles and brought them along to be sorted out! But of course, the path of true love prevails, misunderstandings are put to one side, issues are dealt with and the climax of the story is wonderful and uplifting.

This is an enchanting novel about the love within families, loyalty, friendship and trust. It is very romantic and a real page-turner. I enjoyed reading this short novel and have no hesitation in recommending it as a perfect summer read, full of interest and romance.

Maeve's Times
Maeve's Times
Price: £3.85

4.0 out of 5 stars Great collection of memories, anecdotes and articles., 9 July 2014
This review is from: Maeve's Times (Kindle Edition)
Maeve Binchy was a guiding light in the writing of women’s fiction. I have read her novels, her quick reads, her short stories and some of the item she contributed as a journalist. I’ve literally enjoyed hours of pleasure from the writings of her pen, so when I had the chance to read this book in return for an honest review I was excited, as I was sure it would add to her whole package of writing and that I’d learn more about her. And I was right. It’s easy to see that Maeve was keenly observant and had a great eye for the little details that made her characters so endearing – like friends you come to know so well and enjoy catching up with. She wrote with great kindness and empathy, with humour and with flair. I was not at all disappointed.

With an introduction written by Gordon Snell, her devoted husband, he includes a biography of her early life and career in teaching, details of her travels abroad and her work in journalism. The book includes stories, memories and anecdotes from the early sixties right through to the 2000’s. There’s political comment, articles about royalty and wars, the nightmare of school trips, about her life and occasional visits to a kibbutz, commentary on medical no-no’s, news articles and a whole hotchpotch about the stuff of life and the joys of living it. It was great to dip in and out of, with some articles being very short.

There are also notes on Maeve’s time with The Irish Times. Upon her appointment the then news editor is quoted as saying ‘Won’t she be great crack to work with? And she’s a brilliant writer!’ Such wise words full of insight spoken spontaneously. She was a great writer and it was my pleasure to review this collection.

If You Were Me
If You Were Me
Price: £4.68

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chance encounter, 3 July 2014
This review is from: If You Were Me (Kindle Edition)
Gifted career girl Carlotta O’Keeffe works for Cadogan Consulting and is happily engaged to ophthalmolist Chris Bennett. They are in the throes of planning their wedding. They want small and tasteful but both mothers have a different idea and so the wedding arrangements burst out of all proportion, both Chris and Carlotta unable to deny their mothers their ‘special day’. So the wedding furore begins.

In the middle of all this Carlotta has to go away on business for three weeks. On the very last leg of her journey she has a breakfast meeting in Seville. Resting on her bed in the hotel room after the meeting she accidentally falls asleep, causing her to miss her train. This is a total disaster! Her dragon of a mother-in-law to be is having her longingly awaited birthday party. Carlotta, desperate to at last find the approval of Dorothea, was to give a speech and present her with flowers. But now it would be impossible to get there, she would miss the party and fall further into disgrace.

Arriving back at her hotel after her unsuccessful dash to the station, she bumps in to Luke Evans, her best friend from her childhood. Luke and his family had done a midnight flit years ago and she had not seen and heard from him for years and years. Forced to stay another night in Seville and with the hotel fully booked for that night she agrees to see the sights of Seville with him and accepts his offer of overnight accommodation in the spare room of his friends flat. They enjoy their evening together and Carlotta learns the truth of why Luke and his family left their lives behind them in Ireland and made new lives in Spain. The next morning he drives her to the station and kisses her goodbye. They will probably never see each other again, but that single kiss bothers Carlotta. The passion, the pure bliss, she has never known anything like it. She loves Chris; their future together is what she dreamed of. They are so good together but she can’t help brooding about what would have happened if Luke had stayed in Ireland

Unsettled by this chance encounter Carlotta has a big decision to make. Should she shake off her disquiet, put it down to pre wedding nerves, put her yearnings for Luke to bed and marry Chris? Or should she throw everything away just on a whim?

I enjoyed reading this novel. The characters were engaging and the setting in Seville truly idyllic. I could hear the music, taste the food; all of my senses were awakened. Where better to find romance on a sultry summer night? But what about the reality of this chance meeting? This is the dilemma faced by Carlotta. Throughout the story misunderstanding turn the story into another unexpected direction until at the end a really satisfying conclusion was revealed. This is the first novel I have read by Sheila O’Flanagan and I will certainly be checking out the back catalogue.

Lies Like Love (Black Heart Blue)
Lies Like Love (Black Heart Blue)
Price: £3.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, shocking psychological thriller, 3 July 2014
Audrey Morgan moves with her family, mother Lorraine and five year old brother Peter into a flat in a remote and run down property called The Grange, which is almost entirely surrounded by a moat. They are the sole occupants and their nearest neighbours seem miles away. For Audrey it is a new start. She has mental health problems and yearns to be normal and accepted more than anything. She has the most terrifying visions in bed at night, awoken from her dreams by an odious blood-seeking monster she calls ‘the thing’. But in her new start she hopes to get better. As long as she can remember she has had difficulties, but more so after her father left. Her mother is fighting her corner but it seems as though nobody cares or is listening. She adores her brother and watches out for him even more than their mother who works as a nurse in a nearby hospice.

At school she meets Leo and soon they become good friends. He is her nearest neighbour, living with his Aunt Sue across the fields from the Grange. They walk home together and gradually she learns that Leo has also suffered a breakdown and is still receiving counselling. They become soul mates, Leo looking out for Aud and feeling protective. He is her ray of sunshine and she blossoms in his company. He is marvellous with Pete and his home becomes her refuge, she feels peaceful and calm.

But still she has these horrible night terrors and the tracks on her arms seem to be her only release. She is a good daughter, helping her hard-working mother and meekly accepting her medication, hoping for a brighter future. However, her life becomes more chaotic and terrifying after her mother forces her to stop seeing Leo and Sue. Her condition deteriorates rapidly until she is confined to a wheelchair, she has lost her beautiful hair, is dangerously thin and sickly pale. When Leo sees her in her mother’s car he is shocked at her decline and remoteness. She is no longer his ‘Aud’ and he is dreadfully worried about her.

Then one stormy night Audrey begins to have flash backs. They are on the move again for another ‘fresh start’, this time in Scotland. As Audrey begins to collect together their meagre possessions she stumbles upon secrets from the past. She takes a decision that will change her future and lead to a terrifying conclusion to the electrifying story.

This is one of the best novels I have read this year. I absolutely loved it. It was a tense and fast-paced psychological thriller, beautifully written and full of suspense and twists and turns. The characterisation was equally magnificent between the lead and supporting characters, making for an excellent, engrossing read. This is the second novel of Louis Reid and I predict it will be a massive success.

The Dream (Crosslyn Rise Trilogy)
The Dream (Crosslyn Rise Trilogy)
Price: £2.48

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Dream Realised., 3 July 2014
‘The Dream’ is the first novel in the Crosslyn Rise trilogy, first published in 1990. It tells the story of Jessica Crosslyn’s dilemma when she faces the reality that she can no longer afford to live as the sole occupant in her ancestral home, Crosslyn Rise, inherited after the death of her father. But Crosslyn Rise is in her heart, the beautifully appointed old Colonial house standing in its regal elegance on a hilltop, with acres of land stretching ahead to the ocean and its lapping waves. The setting is idyllic but the seventeen-room house is in need of costly renovation. It costs a fortune to run and Jessica can no longer meet the rising bills, let alone the astronomic cost of restoration to its former glory. But she has an idea - a way of raising capital by designing properties that are high class and sympathetic to Crosslyn Rise, that blends in with it and complement the beautiful old house – nothing cheap and tacky but somewhere a family would be proud to live; a community in partnership with her elegant home. She envisages that the sale of these properties will then enable her to create a pot of money that she can use to fund the repairs and enable her to keep the family home where five generations of the Crosslyn family have lived.

However when she asks the bank for a loan to fund the proposed project they will not release the funds to her alone. The suggestion that she hire a well-respected project manager, architect Carter Malloy to add credibility to her loan application is abhorrent to Jessica. She had known him as a child and he was trouble with a big ‘T’, even a lawbreaker. She hated Carter, the son of her parent’s former employees, with a vengeance. He had plagued her as a child and shown her nothing but distain and jealousy.

Reluctantly she agrees to meet him for preliminary discussions. He had always loved Crosslyn Rise, of that she had no doubt, but could he have turned his life around? Could he have changed from that obnoxious boy into a reliable and talented architect? Would he (or even she) be able to put aside their differences and work together to save her home? This is the story that follows.

This novel is very different from the more recent novels by Barbara Delinsky. It is a magical romance story that could easily be read as a stand-alone novel. It is beautifully written and her talent for characterisation shines through, bringing to life the two main characters in the story. I enjoyed reading this novel.

The Beach Hut Next Door
The Beach Hut Next Door
Price: £2.99

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect escapism for long summer days, 3 July 2014
The Beach Hut Next Door returns the reader to Everdene, the magical seaside setting of Veronica Henry’s novels ‘The Beach Hut’ and ‘The Sea Change’. This particular summer the owners of their beach huts return once again for a summer of hot sun, soft sand and gently lapping waves to recharge their batteries, to fondly remember summers past and in some cases to put their past to bed and move on to a brighter future.

Jenna, the Ice Cream Girl and her boyfriend, policeman Craig from ‘The Sea Change’ feature, as their relationship strengthens and Jenna invests in her future by buying a traditional Ice Cream Cart. Her past of low-grade criminality is well and truly behind her; she has finally found her dream of a job, which she loves. Other summer visitors, both new and old, are introduced and interact in each other’s stories. The bereaved brothers who lost their father at sea are trying to rebuild their lives and business so that they can begin afresh with new hope. Elodie, who so loved Everdene and the Grey House in her childhood, but who had never returned after a shocking secret estranged her from her family. Now is the time for her return to put the ghosts of the past away and build bridges with her family. Rachel and Tim, who have recently separated and who share their beach hut because they could not bear to part with it. They were forced apart by their inability to bear children, they are meeting again to arrange their swap over and make a list of jobs that need to be done on their beach hut. There are even more heart warming stories within this gem of a novel, with secrets revealed, new romances, deceptions, betrayals and some lives are set to change forever.

This novel is a perfect summer read for lazy, sunny days on the beach or relaxing days in the comfort of home. It’s a novel for anybody who enjoys ‘people watching’, real life issues, romance stories and stories with a twist at the most unexpected times. It’s an easy, light read which I read within a day and the variety of the different stories made it a fascinating, compelling read.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 3, 2014 12:54 PM BST

The Third Wife
The Third Wife
Price: £5.03

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The mystery of Maya, 3 July 2014
This review is from: The Third Wife (Kindle Edition)
Maya is the third wife of Adrian. She has become a much-loved member of his extended family. They even holiday with Adrian’s first two wives and their children. They love each other and life seems to be ticking along, much more than ‘just well’ for them both. They have good friends, they have much to look forward to: yes, life is really good. But then one night Maya hits the town, gets blindingly drunk, unbridles herself to a perfect stranger and never returns home. In the gloom of the town in the early morning April fug she has stepped off the kerb out into the road, giving the driver of the passing bus absolutely no chance of avoiding hitting her. She is killed instantly. Everyone is absolutely devastated, reeling in the aftershock and unable to come to any resolution answering the questions ‘Was it a tragic accident?’ or ‘Was it suicide?’

Adrian is bereft. He cannot let it go and is determined to find out why his wife did what she did. He sets about talking to his family and friends, even reaching out to strangers, trying to solve the mystery that swamps him. And very gradually he uncovers deceptions, secrets that must have driven Maya wild with anxiety, lies and betrayals. He learns that life for Maya was not at all how it seemed to be. It was chaotic; she had kept a frightening and threatening secret from him. He is spurred on to widen his investigation until in the end, when he works out the truth with a little help from an unexpected source he finally reaches acceptance. His life will be changed forever.

This is a real page-turner of a novel; full of exciting and unexpected twists and turns, dramatic revelations, heartbreaking confessions and finally the truth. My heart broke for Maya, for her innocence and for the situation that lead to her feeling so powerless that she could see no solutions for her problems. She was such a likeable character, warm, caring, pliable and selfless. This is another triumph from the pen of the highly talented Lisa Jewel.

Where We Belong
Where We Belong
Price: £3.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart-warming story of family, friendship and love, 3 July 2014
This review is from: Where We Belong (Kindle Edition)
When Angie and her family are taken in to the family home of Auntie Violet, they are on their last chance before they join the homeless millions. Once again they have been turned out of their home because of Sophie, who is on the autistic spectrum and can shriek at a remarkable level of decibels until she has no voice left. She is only six years old and virtually non-verbal. Fourteen-year-old Angie and her mother care for Sophie and are determined that she should stay in their family, but in the past the excessive noise level had bothered their neighbours to a point of complaint and eventual eviction.

Next door to Auntie Vi lived Paul with his dog, a huge Great Dane called Rigby. Sophie was absolutely fascinated by him and seemed to find great peace in his calmness. She spent hours imitating his pose looking through the chain link fence dividing the gardens. He was gentle and seemed to understand Sophie. She took to calling him ‘Hem’. She looked out for him every day, quietly waiting for him to come to the fence and spend time relaxing with her. The shrieking stopped and everyone was filled with relief.

Paul was nearing retirement. Gradually he and Angie built up an endearing relationship that would change his life. He paid Angie to walk Rigby and opened up to her, she realising that he was a lonely man, but a good man. When he casually told her that he would be moving house upon his retirement, swapping his property next door to Vi’s for his brother’s mountain hideaway, Angie felt devastated. How would Sophie react when Rigby was no longer there? Whatever would become of their family without the stabilising presence of Rigby?

Angie’s mother comes up with the ideal solution. They will follow Paul, move nearby to his new property, she’ll get a job and they can rent a cheap property or camp out. Angie hates this idea. Paul has worked very hard and should be given the peace he has so been looking forward to in his retirement. But if it is the choice between keeping Sophie with them, then that is what they must do.

Paul agrees to them living in an apartment above his garage. He makes conditions that they are happy to agree with. As time passes by Angie and Paul grow very close despite the massive age difference. He feels like the father she has always wanted to guide and care for her. He confides in her as she does him, revealing her innermost secrets and thoughts. She has never had such a wonderful, selfless friend. She is in tune with him and gradually he reveals a secret that he has kept for many years. Determined to be the very best friend she can be, Angie decides she must try her best for Paul and make his dreams come true, but in undertaking a journey of revelations she knows she will be risking his friendship and the stability of their tenancy, the only place she has ever felt she could belong.

I adored this heart-warming story of family, friendship and love. The characterisation was just perfect, full of empathy, compassion and joy. The mountain setting and the enabling of the relationships between both Sophie and Rigby and Angie and Paul were divine. I felt my heart swell with the beauty of Catherine Ryan Hyde’s story telling and felt truly sad when I came to the final page and I could look forward to no more joyous and seamless prose. But I really loved the ending of the novel, really, really loved it.

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-15