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Celeste (Bedfordshire UK)

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Rose Garden, The
Rose Garden, The
by Susanna Kearsley
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.39

1.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable dialogue, 22 Jun 2014
This review is from: Rose Garden, The (Paperback)
Not being able to connect or sympathise with the main protagonist didn't bode well. However I was enjoying the scene setting in the Cornwall was pleasant.

However the time slip part for me was just completely silly. If you are going to write a fantasy story with magic and time travel then that is great, but... the characters did not seem at all bothered that one had come from the future and the one from the future just accepted it as if it was an everyday occurrence. The story just started to fall apart for me then. I just couldn't get my head around her just accepting this and not panicking like mad each time she was pulled through the time slip.

I got very bored and didn't finish it. I did however read the last page and it finished just as I expected so saved myself a few hours and read something more interesting instead.


Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
by Jonathan Safran Foer
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

5.0 out of 5 stars Heartwarming, horrific and beautiful, 28 May 2014
A beautiful, horrifying, human story that shows how loss of a true loved one can totally tear lives apart but by searching for closure you can enlighten so many other lives. Oskar and his family have had to deal with the worst type of heartbreak after the death of Oskars Father, this is a journey for the whole of his family to come to terms with and how they all attempt to move forward in their own lives.

I must say I am confused by the 1 and 2 star reviews. We are not discussing a 'normal' 9 year old boy, I didn't think it was really necessary to write ''Oskar is autistic'' for readers to understand why this boy and his paternal family are different but I guess that Mr Safran Foer needed to make that clearer. Also a comment made about racism is crazy, 9/11 was a deed done by a group of fanatical terrorists and at no point does the author point the finger at any religious group. Equally as I flicked through the final few pages I guessed that a number of readers would think it crass to write about this disaster but then you can't ignore world events because they were horrific. How many novels and films came directly after WWII, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan war to name a tiny proportion of wars and horrific events to be portrayed on film and in books. War and terror is unfortunately part of life but this book is not actually dwelling on that side of it but the aftermath of how these tragedies effect the survivors. It is the human factor the story is discussing. Without the stories, documentaries and records of these events how will we as the human race remember and learn. Surely forgetting these events is the crime, not the recording of them.

The writing style was easy to read even though there were no paragraphs, which would normally frustrate but Safran Foer writes with a flow that pulls you through the pages with ease. The addition of photos and one sentence pages mad the book all the more interesting and unique.

Having the story connecting the family from the Dresden bombings through to the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy showed that unfortunately the world has not moved on but that life has to, even when the ones you have lost are the most important.

This story made me thankful, for everyone and everything I love. It made me glad to be alive and appreciate what I have. If a book can make me feel that way then it can, in my view be nothing short of a wonderful read.


Little Hands Clapping
Little Hands Clapping
by Dan Rhodes
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 10.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Highly original in an old fashioned style, grown ups fairy tail, 21 May 2014
This review is from: Little Hands Clapping (Hardcover)
What a fantastic concept, put together in a wonderful way. Dan Rhodes pulls you into this bizarre world of a museum in Germany and all that happens in and around it. This is a story where you feel empathy for the main bad guy the Doctor even though you feel completely appalled by his behaviour. Suddenly you see things from his perspective and the logic he applies to his situation, which at times made me feel uncomfortable but that is the trick to the intelligent writing. Even the minor bit part characters are given a full background and come to life on the page. The various characters stories do take a little while to pull together but at no point was I bored just a little perplexed at how it would all fit, but it does fit perfectly.

I finished the book feeling satisfied that the story was complete and looking forward to being able to read another of this authors other stories as this was my first of Mr Rhodes.

An amazing story that I have been recommending to everyone who is looking for an original, interesting read.


The Year of the Ladybird
The Year of the Ladybird
by Graham Joyce
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.03

5.0 out of 5 stars Fast becoming a favourite author, 23 April 2014
I read the book Some Kind of Fairytail earlier this year and loved how the book flowed, the characters felt real even though the story was based around a magical setting, so I couldn't wait to get into this one.

In The Year of the Ladybird, even though the front cover states it is a ghost story, that is not what carries this novel along. In fact it didn't really need the ghost part in it at all to make it a great read.

The 1970's seems to be a time that is forgotten in modern literature, so it was nice to read something that for me actually modelled the society we live in today. The social side of racism, sexism and the end of an era for the traditional working class way of life was entwined well within the story. The tension between the characters was so intense in some areas my heart was beating with anticipation of what would follow and it had nothing to do with the ghosts.

Mr Joyce makes his characters interesting and that is what makes his stories work, you believe you are reading an account of someones past actions rather than the way in a lot of novels, life is just too easy and everything falls into place, this book has grit. At a number of points along the way I wanted to tell the main character how much of a fool he was and it is rare that I feel enough for a protagonist to care how they get on during the story.

I am now on the look out for the back catalogue of this author with anticipation.


Melting the Snow on Hester Street
Melting the Snow on Hester Street
by Daisy Waugh
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.51

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite what I expected but interesting all the same., 11 Mar 2014
Firstly, this is nothing like the Great Gatsby, the only thing that links the two books is the time scale in the Hollywood section of the story. Secondly, the front cover is misleading to the content, this is not a full on story of glitz and glamour. I would say this is more a story of desperation and desolation.

However, after saying all that, the book is far more intelligent and engaging a read than I was expecting, the New York story felt real and you could feel the deprivation and despair in the lives of the characters, that part of the story was far more interesting than the Hollywood era. The setting of black Thursday was interesting and the addition of famous names such as Charlie Chaplain and Greta Garbo added a nice flavour of the era as a backdrop.

All in all, I enjoyed it and did learn a bit too, so well worth the read.


The Perfume Collector
The Perfume Collector
by Kathleen Tessaro
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

4.0 out of 5 stars Predictable but enjoyable, 11 Mar 2014
This review is from: The Perfume Collector (Paperback)
After a few heavier recent reads, I was looking for something a little lighter. This filled the requirement admirably.

Even though the storyline was predictable, the story flowed nicely back and forth from the Eva story to Graces story. I enjoyed the details on the perfumes, however that was the only thing I really thought that lacked, I was maybe expecting a bit more of the titles influence in the story.

Overall a nice paperback read.


Some Kind of Fairy Tale
Some Kind of Fairy Tale
by Graham Joyce
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.11

5.0 out of 5 stars A modern fairytale, 22 Feb 2014
This book had me hooked from the start. I could tell instantly that it was not an average fairytale.

Joyce has a very grounded storytelling style, the characters were believable in their 'ordinaryness', they could all have been people you know very easily and I could imagine bumping into them in the supermarket or library, they weren't perfect, they all had their good and bad points which made for very well rounded characters. That made the whole fairytale side so much more believable and yet fantastical. The daughter/sister that turns up out of the blue after many years of being presumed dead, not looking a day over 16 yet seeming very worldly is a total shock to them all. She turns everyone of their lives upside down, whilst also making them all look at themselves from a completely different angle.

The small parts of the description of the fairy land is tantalising, you want to know so much more but you also know if you were told too much it would lose some of it's mystery too.

I enjoyed the linking in of the characters and how they all evolved, especially the teenage son and his trauma over the dead cat.

You could see where the story would end however that did not ruin the story in anyway. I have already encouraged a colleague at work to read this story and she is half way through enjoying it as much as I did.

For something just a little bit different, give this a go.


Nine Coaches Waiting (Mary Stewart Modern Classic)
Nine Coaches Waiting (Mary Stewart Modern Classic)
by Mary Stewart
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

5.0 out of 5 stars Transported with grace and elegance to the French countryside, 22 Feb 2014
This book had everything a good story needed. The heroine was strong and likeable from the start, the other characters were also well rounded and believable, the villains were understandable in their wickedness, even the side characters were interesting, and it has a great plot that builds with a good pace. I could not put it down I was even taking it into the kitchen whist cooking dinner!

Stewarts storytelling is beautiful, the descriptive writing jumps from the page and you feel completely transported to the location described without any unnecessary waffling. I could feel the French countryside around me as I read, the anticipation, the terror, the sound of breathing even, all of it had you on the edge of your seat.

I have read Rose Cottage by the author and even though that was not as intense a story as this one I would still give it 5 stars, I do believe there are 50 years between the two books. I have just found Airs Above the Ground in the local library which I can't wait to start. Stewarts style is classic and I must say I feel the same as I did all those years back after reading Pride and Prejudice and waiting eagerly to start Sense and Sensibility. I hope that her novels will be read for hundreds of years to come, I am sure they will stand the test of time.


The Shadow Of The Wind
The Shadow Of The Wind
by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.91

5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging and chilling, 22 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Shadow Of The Wind (Paperback)
This is a wonderfully written and original story that conjures up beautiful images of Barcelona whilst also keeping the reader in suspense with the darker side of the city. It mirrors the characters in the story wonderfully.

A story starting with a book and a library will always interest me and I can totally understand how the characters become so engrossed in the discovery of the mystery surrounding them.

I got to the end of the book and the story completely surprised me with the ending, which is very rare in stories nowadays.


The Little Stranger
The Little Stranger
by Sarah Waters
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Depressing not scary, 22 Feb 2014
This review is from: The Little Stranger (Paperback)
Rarely do I feel the need to be completely negative about a story, there is usually something positive to talk about even if the content is uncomfortable. I got to the end of this book however, feeling not surprised at all that the Ayres were such a maudlin bunch, they made me feel miserable just reading about them. I don't think I have felt so depressed after finishing a book since Tess of the D'Urbervilles. I did feel as if an hour of my life had been wasted reading at least 200 pages of a book that did not need to be there. I persevered to the finish hoping for an end that would make the trek through the repetitive storyline worth while but what I found at the was a whole sense of disappointment.

I did understand the 'ghost' story part and who was to blame there, it didn't make the 500 pages worth the read though. In some way it felt as if the author was tying to make herself seem very clever almost like telling an overly intellectual joke to a class of primary school children and then laughing at them when they didn't get it!

Having not read any of her other books I cannot compare them but I will not be rushing out to read any others of hers though that is for sure.


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