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The Lie
The Lie
by Helen Dunmore
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3 and a half stars for the lie, 23 April 2014
This review is from: The Lie (Hardcover)
The Lie is a novel that I had read an awful lot about, and I was looking forward to ticking it off my list of books that I 'must' read this year. I must confess to not having read anything by the author before, which seems terrible, as she has an extensive back catalogue of books that really should appeal to me!

I digress.. The Lie is set in the aftermath of World War I, with flashbacks to before and during the Great War. We meet our protagonist Daniel as he recieves his nightly visit from his former Best friend Frederick, whom appears as a ghost. Frederick and Daniel had very different upbringings, but remained firm friends into the war. Their backgrounds apparent as Daniel joins the ranks, and Frederick enters the forces as an officer. Tragically Frederick loses his life in battle much to Daniels despair. Dunmore's account of the trenches and warfare are gripping, realistic, and do not shy away from the graphic detail of the horror of War.

Daniel mental struggle does not dissipate during daylight hours, for the dilapidated buildings that he inhabits belong to an elderly member of the community, Mary Pascoe who no one can remember seeing for an awfully long time. Daniel has merely carried out Mary's dying wishes, but in doing so he finds he has to lie to those around him. This does not concern him overly, until he is reacquainted with Fredericks sister, the war widowed Felicia.

Both damaged by War, slowly Felicia and Daniel become close again, and as he begins to confide in her, Daniel realises that he must tell the truth before he loses everything.
Personally I found this novel fairly slow paced aside from the last few chapters. I found myself wanting something more to happen between Daniel and Felicia, and if I'm honest I wasn't sure about the ending of the novel, and found it a little predictable. For me it was the difference between a three and a half and a four star rating. Overall it was an enjoyable read, and if you do give it a go, let me know what you think.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 25, 2014 4:55 PM BST

The Crimson Ribbon
The Crimson Ribbon
by Katherine Clements
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.54

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A stunning debut, 31 Mar. 2014
This review is from: The Crimson Ribbon (Hardcover)
The Crimson Ribbon has a powerful opening, with our main protagonist Ruth Flowers witnessing the brutal execution of her own Mother, who is deemed to be a witch. Ruth fears that she will be next as she is hunted out by the mob and has little choice but to leave the house of Oliver Cromwell which she has served all her life....

For the full review see my blog: [...]

A Heart Bent Out of Shape
A Heart Bent Out of Shape
Price: £3.95

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review: A heart bent out of shape by Emylia Hall, 17 Mar. 2014
Emylia Hall is a wonderful new discovery for me. Her second novel, 'A Heart Bent Out of Shape', like so many things these days was first bought to my attention on Twitter. I heard so many great things about it, that I knew I just had to read it.

Of course there's always the danger that it wouldn't be to my personal taste, or that I'd feel it didn't live up to the hype. I needn't have worried, and I'm so pleased that I went for it, because I absolutely loved it!

A Heart Bent Out of Shape from its very first pages, transports us to the picturesque beautiful Swiss City of Lausanne. Like our protagonist Hadley, I had never heard of Lausanne before picking up this novel, but Hall's wonderful descriptions have made me want to visit and experience some of the magic for myself.

I loved Hadley from the moment that I was introduced to her, and that feeling didn't fade throughout the novel as it sometimes can. She is young yes, perhaps a little naive, but she is determined to make the most of the opportunity that she has been given. I think this is most evident in her friendship with Kristina, as I get the impression that Kristina is not the kind of girl that Hadley would ever have been friends with in the UK. But Hadley desperately needed someone like Kristina to help bring her out of her shell.

Without Kristina's influence Hadley would not have met the wonderful Hugo, a retired Crime author who spends his days in one of Lausanne's most luxurious hotels. I doubt Hadley would ever have set foot in the place without Kristina!!

But Hadley does have one thing that Kristina didn't influence, and that is her friendship with her American Literature lecturer, Joel Wilson, for Hadley met Joel the night before Kristina arrived. And although then she didn't know who he was, I think I sensed that he was someone who would feature heavily in the story that followed.

Sadly that story becomes tainted with a tragic event that will impact Hadley's life forever, as well as those around her. I don't want to give any more away, instead I urge you to pick up a copy and allow yourself to be transported into a beautiful Swiss landscape that you won't want to return from.

The Lemon Grove
The Lemon Grove
Price: £2.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review: The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh, 14 Mar. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Lemon Grove (Kindle Edition)
The Lemon Grove is a book that has been the top of my 'wish list' for quite some now. Having been lucky enough to read the book before its release date, it is now going straight to the top of my 'books to recommend' list.

From the cover, you could be fooled into thinking that the book is nothing but a fun 'holiday' read. You'd be wrong. The Lemon Grove is an intense novel exploring the complexities of relationships between step families and the consequences of forbidden desire.

Jenn and her husband Gregg have been holidaying in Deia, Mallorca for years. It is their escape from the real world, and Helen Walsh does her best to make you believe that you are there with them, sitting by the pool with a glass of wine and enjoying the sunshine, and the view.

Ah yes, the view.

Jenn is floored by the view of her Step Daughter Emma's Boyfriend Nathan (Nate) when they arrive with each other. She simply cannot believe that he could be so beautiful, yet so young. She feels maternally protective over Emma because she can see that Nathan is more worldly wise than her, and she is not ready to face the fact that she is growing up.

But Jenn is also jealous, because inexplicably Nate stirs something deep inside of her that she hasn't felt before, and she can't help but be drawn to him, although she knows it is wrong. What follows is a beautifully told tale of unexpected and forbidden passion that will leave you wanting to get on the next plane to Mallorca.

Zenith Hotel
Zenith Hotel
by Oscar Coop-Phane
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Review: Zenith hotel, 14 Mar. 2014
This review is from: Zenith Hotel (Hardcover)
Zenith hotel is quite literally, the smallest novel I have ever read. Around the size of a small pocket guide book, Zenith hotel could be read comfortably in one sitting by the slowest of readers. That's not to say it's a short story - it isn't. Neither is it a Novella. Zenith hotel is a novel, of tiny proportions which tells a unique story.

Zenith hotel is a gritty account of real life on the streets of Paris. There is no romantic talk of the river seine or the Eiffel tower, here we see the real Paris, from the eyes of prostitute Nanou and her many clients. Nanou does not want us to feel sorry for her, she is not ashamed of who she is, or what she does, she just wants to tell her story.

A story that evolves over the course of one day, Nanou's day. A normal day in the life of a street prostitute. Nanou's clients are sprinkled in to the story here and there, we don't get to hear what Nanou thinks of them, we see only their background, so that we can try and figure out how and why they end up with Nanou.

Nanou's clients all seem to have one thing in common with her - other than sex, and that is loneliness. Although they all have companionship in different ways, from wife's to dying pets, they are all lonely, including Nanou herself.

Is this why she does what she does? We don't know as this is never addressed.

It's clear that she needs the money, and that prostitution is all she has ever known. But how exactly did she end up there? It's a question you will find yourself wondering the answer to, long after you have finished the novel.

Thirteen Steps Down
Thirteen Steps Down
Price: £3.66

5.0 out of 5 stars Creepy, gripping, full of superstition., 19 Feb. 2014
Firstly, I must confess to not being a huge Ruth Rendell fan.

I have read a couple of her other books and not been overly impressed, but I was drawn to this one after watching the ITV 2 part mini-series based on the book.

As is normally the case with these things, the book is infinitely better, although I thought the TV adaptation chose brilliant actors to portray the main characters of Mix Cellini and Gwendolen Chaucer.
13 Steps down, is a creepy book, full of superstition. The title referring to Mix's superstition/obsession with the number 13.

The two main characters are very self absorbed, delusional and both have major obsessions. Mix's being serial killer John Reginald Halliday Christie and supermodel Nerissa Nash. Gwendolen's being a long lost 'love', a Doctor who was treating her late mother's illness. Both characters believe that the love interests feel the same way, evidently this is not the case with either.

Mix's obsession with Christie inevitably leads to his downfall, this is not so much a 'whodunit', but a 'will he get caught'? Mix's demise is surprisingly engaging, and although he is a thoroughly unlikeable character you can't help but feel a little sorry for him and his delusional world.

My Sister's Keeper
My Sister's Keeper
Price: £5.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A personal choice., 19 Feb. 2014
Anyone who has previously seen the film or read the book and enjoyed it, may hate me for this review. But I have always set out to give my honest opinion...

I must be one of the only people I know who hasn't seem the film version of this, and to be honest I had no real desire to read it. I tend not to read books that are 'in fashion' just because everyone else thinks that I should. I picked up this copy at my local library and thought well, the hype is over, why not.

After reading it, I'm not sure I have any desire to see the film. I was really disappointed with the ending (although I understand the ending is different in the film).

The book centres around the Fitzgerald family, their daughter Kate who is slowly being killed by a rare form of Leukaemia, her sister Anna who was specifically born to save her life and their elder brother Jesse who's attention seeking behaviour would be heartbreaking if it had been written properly.

At the age of Thirteen Anna is beginning to understand that her sister really wouldn't be alive were it not for her, and she is not sure she wants to deal with that kind of responsibility any more. She is fed up of her body being used and not once being consulted about the procedures she is undergoing, so what does she do? Sue her parents for the rights to her own body of course...

(Only in America right?!)

In the initial stages of the book I had Anna written off as a selfish teenager, but her argument is compelling, and as the story continues we see the moral and ethical dilemmas that all the family face over Kate's future.

The truth is, this is exactly the kind of book (and story) that you should get emotionally attached to, but I didn't shed a single tear, I couldn't, not when everything that Anna has fought for is wiped out with the ridiculous ending. All through the book we are given Anna's side of the story, only for her voice to be silenced at the end with no difficult decision having to be made. What on earth is the point of the rest of the book I ask myself? I really don't know. I felt it was a real cop out on the author's behalf, like she didn't even know the answers herself.

I don't want to give it away, so I will begrudgingly recommend the book, but only to see if you share my opinions!

Price: £3.66

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dissapointing, 19 Feb. 2014
This review is from: Fever (Kindle Edition)
I had quite high expectations for this book and I was left really disappointed. I love historical fiction and have read some real gems in the past. I expected this to be one to add to the list, sadly it wasn't to be.

Fever is the fictional 'biography' of Mary Mallon (or Typhoid Mary as she became known), the first person in America identified as a healthy carrier of Typhoid Fever. Mary seemingly has no idea that she is a carrier of the disease until her world is turned upside down by George Soper, a sanitation engineer investigating outbreaks of Typhoid in New York and the surrounding areas.

I felt that the events surrounding Mary's arrest, hospitalisation and eventual quarantine on North Brother Island were quite long and drawn out. It must have been terrifying to go through such an ordeal, but all Mary seems to do is moan, rather than appear afraid or upset. Perhaps that is the kind of woman she was, and maybe that's what the author was trying to portray, but it just didn't seen very 'real' to me. None of it did really.

I understand that the point of the book was to tell the historic tale from Mary's point of view, but I can't help thinking it would have been beneficial if we had access to the opinions of some of the people that Mary came in to contact with, George Soper in particular. I think it might have made the book a little more interesting. For although it should have been a fascinating subject, I'm afraid to say I found the book quite slow and rather boring.

I also felt that the book was overshadowed by the dysfunctional love story of Mary and Alfred which added absolutely nothing to the story, and would have been much better left out. Although again, perhaps this would have been more interesting if Keane had added Alfred's point of view? I'll guess we'll never know.
I didn't hate the novel, but I certainly didn't love it either, hence the two stars. I do wonder whether this book may have been better as a non fictional account of Mary's life, or whether I'm being too harsh?

Maybe try it out for yourself and see what you think...
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 25, 2015 2:39 PM BST

One False Move (Myron Bolitar Book 5)
One False Move (Myron Bolitar Book 5)
Price: £5.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Would definitely read again., 19 Feb. 2014
I was introduced to this author whilst on a recent holiday to celebrate my 30th Birthday, I had foolishly not envisaged a trip to the beach and hadn't thought we'd actually get time to read and hadn't bought any books. So I purchased this book from the shop at the Holiday Camp we stayed at, under the guidance of my friend Tara who had read some work by this author before.

I understand the book was first published in 1998, by Hodder & Staughton but the copy I got my hands on was from 2004. I love a good crime novel, and that will be evident when I get around to posting more reviews on here, but I don't like my crime novels to be wishy washy, I like them to have substance, I like not knowing 'who dunnit' right up until the end of the book, and I even sometimes I (as frustrating as it can be) like a twist at the end. This book delivered on all of these levels for me.

The story centres around Myron Bolitar a sports agent, who used to be a famous basketball player before major injury, and Brenda Slaughter an up and coming female basketball player. Brenda, we learn from the off, is in danger, her Father has disappeared and a family secret is at risk of being exposed.

The story is fast paced as Myron becomes Brenda's 'bodyguard' in the hope that he can one day get her onboard as a client. Quickly we learn that Brenda is in real danger. I don't want to give too much of the plot away, suffice to say that Brenda's Fathers disappearance may not be all that it seems.

I was very impressed as a first time reader how Coben manages to keep the plot twisting and turning, so that when you think you've worked something, or somebody out, everything changes again. In my mind that is the mark of a brilliant author, especially in this genre.

I've given the novel a 5 as I thoroughly enjoyed it and would not hesitate to recommend it, and I would definitely read this author again.

The First Wife
The First Wife
Price: £4.81

4.0 out of 5 stars Slow start, but worth the wait., 19 Feb. 2014
This review is from: The First Wife (Kindle Edition)
First things first, I think this is a great novel, however the reason I've given it four out of five stars is due to general pace of the novel. I really struggled through the beginning of it, and almost gave up on it. I'm glad I didn't however because it does progress into a really interesting story.

The First Wife centres on Lily, a very naive young girl who finds herself down and out after the death of her grandparents whom she was caring for and had led a very sheltered life with. She is forced to move in with a family she doesn't know and to find herself a job, in a world which she knows nothing about.

To cut a long story short (literally) she ends up cleaning for local celebrity Harry Summers and his wife Sarah. She admires Harry from afar, which borders on infatuation but despite her naivety is astute enough to know that nothing will happen between them.

Lily of all people knows that life doesn't turn out how we plan, and when Sarah takes her own life on a trip to Barcelona, Lily finds herself growing ever closer to the grieving widow and ever resentful of his 'dead' wife, particularly when their relationship moves up a gear.

I love the emphasis throughout the novel that Harry's first wife Sarah is the 'problem' shall we say, even the back cover blurb would lead you into believing this, however there is a twist in the final parts of the story that I didn't see coming, and I think it is worth reading for this alone.

I don't really want to give any more of the story away, so if you think you can manage the slow start then I would definitely recommend it.

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