Sunday, 26 February 2012

In My Mailbox and Mailbox Mondays #5

Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week and explore great book blogs. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling tbr piles and humongous wishlists. In February Mailbox Monday is being hosted by Metroreader.

In my mailbox is hosted by  The Story Siren.

This week I got a kindle and four new books!

The first book I got this week is The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. I have seen this on lots of blogs and was thrilled to get it from netgalley this week. I can't wait to read it next. Here's the synopsis from 

Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead--and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart. In a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone--but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees.

The second book I got this week was also from netgalley. It is The last Romanov by Dora Levy Mossanen. I hadn't heard of this one until I saw it on netgalley and thought it sounded really interesting. Here's the synopsis from  

                                                                                                                          For almost a century, Imperial Russia has captivated the imagination- the ruthless execution of the royal family, the disputed survival of the heir: it's a cinematic chaos that the masterful Dora Levy Mossanen unravels for her readers. Taking readers deep into tarnished grandeur, The Last Romanov follows Darya, a wise old beauty whose time spent with the Imperial family has haunted her entire life. When the murderous events unfold, Darya is plagued by the prophecy made by the Empress's advisor, Rasputin. She must find the missing Tsarevich Alexis Romanov and restore the monarchy or risk losing her own life.

The third book I got this week is Prophecy - The fulfilment by Deborah A. Jaeger. I got this book from Amazon for my kindle after coming across it randomly on fantastic fiction. It didn't cost much so I thought I would give it a go. Here's the synopsis from
                                                                                                                            A typical teenager, Jillian Macomb, is looking forward to senior high. Or at least she was. Having just broken up with her boyfriend, she receives the stunning and unexpected news that she's pregnant. Her father's protege, Stephen Jacobs, and she form an unlikely alliance as they realise that their nighttime apparitions are more than simple dreams, making it clear to them that the child she carries is no ordinary child. When a geneticist discovers that Jillian's pregnancy holds the key to inexplicable healings, he will stop at nothing to claim the magnificent discovery as his own. Meanwhile, government officials and representatives from the Catholic Church arrive to investigate the astonishing events, realising that whoever controls the source of the miracles will become the ultimate world power. In the ultimate test of faith, Stephen and Jillian must decide who they can trust, and whether or not to believe the compelling and terrifying message of the prophecy.

The fourth and final book I got this week was The Dress by Sophie Nicholls. I got this from Amazon for my kindle. I discovered it by looking through the kindle bestseller lists.
Here is the synopsis from Amazon. 
                                                                                                               Meet Ella and her mother Fabbia Moreno who arrive in York, one cold January day, to set up their vintage dress shop.

The flamboyant Fabbia wants to sell beautiful dresses to nice people and move on from her difficult past. Ella just wants to fit in. But not everyone is on their side. 

Will Fabbia overcome the prejudices she encounters? What's the dark secret she's hiding? And do the silk linings and concealed seams of her dresses contain real spells or is this all just 'everyday magic'?

Among the leopard-print shoes, tea-gowns and costume jewellery in Fabbia's shop are many different stories - and the story of one particular dress.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

REVIEW She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb

She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb is an amazing story. It has had me hanging on it's every word for the last week. I wanted to read it but didn't want it to end. Reading other reviews of this book there are as many people who love it, as who hate it. I love it! Which is a weird thing to say about a book who's central character has such a miserable life.

It is basically the story of Dolores Price, we meet her when she is a little girl and follow her through her life until about forty years old. She certainly has more than her fair share of bad things happen to  her and the consequences are extreme at times. The first thing that happens is the death of her baby brother at birth, this changes her family life forever and is really the catalyst that destroys her parents marriage and leads to a chain of events that she struggles to come to terms with. Moving to a new school, being bullied at school, feeling isolated from her peers is just the beginning of Dolores' problems. Then the unimaginable happens, something that changes her life forever. 

As a result we see Dolores sink deeper into her isolation and despair, eventually reaching rock bottom emotionally with a nervous breakdown and physically being severely overweight. She spends many years getting better, eventually feeling able to experience the real world once again.
She embarks on a new life, and relationship and believes she has finally found happiness. However once again it all comes crashing down around her.

But this time she is a much stronger person and yet again builds a new life for herself. This time a real life, built on trust, friendship and love. The relationships she forges with various characters in the latter stages of the book are very touching. Despite all the awful things that have happened to her she still hasn't given up on life and relationships.

I enjoyed this book very much. If I hadn't known the author was a man I never would have guessed, it feels so much like a woman's perspective on life. It all feels so real, being with Dolores every step of the way, experiencing every emotion with her. At times you feel angry with her, sad with her, and happy with her. I can't believe I've had this book on my shelf for over two years, I wish I had read it sooner. I will certainly be reading more by Wally Lamb.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

In My Mailbox and Mailbox Mondays #4

Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week and explore great book blogs. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling tbr piles and humongous wishlists. In February Mailbox Monday is being hosted by Metroreader.

In my maibox is hosted by  The Story Siren.

This week I just got three new books.

The first book I received this week was Stately Pursuits by Katie Fforde. This was given to me by my Mum who was having a bit of clear out. I have never read a book by Katie Fforde, but a lot of my reading friends like her and have read quite a few of her books.
Here is the synopsis from
Hetty Longden’s mother thinks that looking after Great Uncle Samuel’s crumbling stately country home will be just the thing for Hetty’s broken heart. But if Hetty expected to be miserable in private, she is in for a rude awakening in a village that revolves around the Big House, and Hetty finds herself with very little time to wallow.   

My second book this week was also given to me by my Mum. Life Begins by Amanda Brookfield. I have read two books by Amanda Brookfield a couple of years ago and really enjoyed them.
Here is the blurb from the back cover.

If life Begins at forty, Charlotte Turner's not off to the best of starts. On top of a recent divorce, a failed attempt to move house and trouble with her twelve-year-old son, the husband of her closest friend has just started to show rather too much interest in her as a newly single woman.

No longer able to blame everything on a floundering marriage, Charlotte is forced to open her eyes and embark on an emotional journey into her past. Only when she has faced some challenging and revealing truths can she finally shed the unhappy skin she's become so used to, and open up her life - and her heart - to all the promise and possibility that her future holds.

The third and final book this week is The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan. I got this half price at the local bookstore. I have seen it mentioned on various blogs and thought I would give it a go. Here is the synopsis from

Then she opened her mouth to scream—and recognized me. It was what I’d been waiting for. She froze. She looked into my eyes. She said, “It’s you.”
Meet Jake. A bit on the elderly side (he turns 201 in March), but you’d never suspect it. Nonstop sex and exercise will do that for you—and a diet with lots of animal protein. Jake is a werewolf, and after the unfortunate and violent death of his one contemporary, he is now the last of his species. Although he is physically healthy, Jake is deeply distraught and lonely.

Jake’s depression has carried him to the point where he is actually contemplating suicide—even if it means terminating a legend thousands of years old. It would seem to be easy enough for him to end everything. But for very different reasons there are two dangerous groups pursuing him who will stop at nothing to keep him alive.

Here is a powerful, definitive new version of the werewolf legend—mesmerising and incredibly sexy. In Jake, Glen Duncan has given us a werewolf for the twenty-first century—a man whose deeds can only be described as monstrous but who is in some magical way deeply human. 

One of the most original, audacious, and terrifying novels in years.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

REVIEW The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe is the story of Connie Goodwin, a Phd student at Harvard university. The story begins with Connie undergoing and passing an oral exam to allow her to go on to work towards her dissertation. This sets up the academic background, and introduces the theme of witchcraft.
                                                                                                                                                          Within a few pages Connie is on her way to Marblehead Massachusetts for the summer to clear out her Grandmother's house which has stood empty since her death twenty years earlier.
What she finds is a house in a bad state of disrepair and completely hidden from the road due to the garden being so overgrown. She finds a garden full of herbs and unusual and potentially harmful plants.

On her first night in the house unable to sleep,  she stumbles across an old family Bible, inside she finds an old key with the name Deliverence Dane inside it. So begins her quest to find out more about this women. At first she has just a slight interest in researching this person. A visit to her Academic Advisor Chilton Manning gives her the push to start researching harder. He encourages her saying it would be great for her career if she could find an undiscovered primary source for her dissertation.

So off she goes to track down Deliverence Dane. In the course of her researching she meets Sam a steeplejack working in a local church, he helps her to research and they quickly become friends.

As Connie searches further she realises that Deliverence Dane left a book or almanac to her daughter back in 1692. We are treated to a series of flashbacks to that time, in which we learn more about Deliverence her life,  her family , as well as the trouble she is in due to being suspected of witchcraft. As well as the journey the book in question has taken.

Connie's advisor becomes more desperate and sinister as her search returns no book or answers. At the same time, her now boyfriend Sam, is involved in an accident at work. His condition turns out to be more serious, and the cause much more sinister than first thought. Connie has to find the book and look to her ancestors and magic for the answers to her problems.

I really enjoyed this book, I enjoyed the flashbacks to Deliverence Dane's time period as well as the modern day story. I particularly liked the cliffhanger endings to some chapters, and the way  the next chapter would begin in the middle of the action. With details being withheld to maintain the sense of drama.  I liked the characters and enjoyed the plot, and the tension really builds towards the end of the novel. I would definitely want to read more by this author.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

In My Mailbox and Mailbox Monday #3

Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week and explore great book blogs. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling tbr piles and humongous wishlists. In February Mailbox Monday is being hosted by Metroreader.

In my maibox is hosted by  The Story Siren.

This week I got four new books.

The First book I got this week was The Registrar's Manual for Detecting Forced Marriages by Sophie Hardach. I heard about this one on Goodreads and purchased it from Amazon. Here is the synopsis from

Swimming for his life towards traffickers on the Italian shore, Selim enters a world where Kurdish refugees disguise themselves as tomatoes, dates of birth are a matter of opinion, and a residency permit is a ticket to paradise. When he ends up in a small town in Germany, Selim believes he is finally safe, until the law catches up with him and the clock starts ticking. Selim realises there is only one way to avoid deportation, if he dare try … 
Fifteen years later, in a town hall in Paris, a Registrar receives an unsettling book in the post. The Registrar's Manual for Detecting Forced Marriages only fuels her suspicions surrounding an impending Kurdish wedding. Unsure how to intervene, she embarks on an investigation that brings her uncomfortably close to an old acquaintance: Selim.
Written with real imaginative flair, heart and humour, The Registrar's Manual for Detecting Forced Marriages introduces an unlikely hero who'll prove impossible to forget, and a prodigious new talent in Sophie Hardach.

The second book this week is The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter. I have seen this one featured on various blogs and goodreads and thought it  sounded good. This one also came from Amazon. Here's the synoppsis from

It's always been just Kate and her mom--and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall.
Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerising. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld--and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.
Kate is sure he's crazy--until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess.

The third book this week isLetters in Cardboard Boxes by Abby Slovin. This was kindly given to me by the author in ebook form, so that I could review it. Here is the synopsis from  I should be reading it next!

Letters In Cardboard Boxes tells the story of an eccentric grandmother and her granddaughter alongside a series of fantastical letters they once exchanged. Their letters once traversed the East River to help Parker escape the loneliness of a childhood without her globe-trekking parents and communicate during her turbulent teenage years. Now, nearly a decade later, Parker begins to rediscover the evidence of this letter writing tradition, as well as the family’s untold stories and, unexpectedly, letters from her grandmother’s own youth that paint a very different portrait of the woman who raised her. 

Letters carries us through the universally-shared experience of loss and the process of coping with life’s unexpected twists and turns. Through unusual and bold characters, the story moves through some of its heavier themes with honesty and humour.

The fourth and final book this week is Evermore by Alyson Noel.  I have seen this book around quite a bit over the years, but decided to get it this week because it was £1 from a local charity shop. Here is the synopsis from

Sixteen-year-old Ever Bloom is the sole survivor of a car accident that killed her family. Exiled to sunny California. Ever is haunted by her little sister and by the ability to see people's auras, hear their thoughts and know their entire life story by touching them. She wants to hide from the world, but when a stunningly handsome guy arrives at school, she can't seem to keep away. Falling in love with Damen is dangerous - he's not what he seems. But if Damen is her destiny, how can Ever walk away?

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

REVIEW The Nanny Diaries by Nicola Kraus and Emma McLaughlin

The Nanny Diaries is about a young lady called Nan, who is in her final year of college. To earn a living whilst studying she chooses to do some part time nannying. She quickly becomes the Nanny for four year old Grayer and his parents Mr and Mrs X. 

Although things start out okay with just a few teething problems with Grayer's behaviour, she soon becomes responsible for more than light babysitting duties. Mrs X is soon taking advantage of her good nature and fondness for Grayer.  Mrs X starts treating her as a general dogsbody, running all over New York running errands that have nothing to do with childcare. She soon realises that she is spending more time with Grayer than either of his parents.

Then things take a turn for the worse and the X's start to have marital problems. Nan becomes Grayer's main caregiver spending days and nights on end at the apartment looking after him in the absence of his parents, whilst trying to continue her studies.

Grayer's parents are very selfish and caught up in their own superficial lives. All the poor boy wants is to spend time with his parents.
Things continue to unravel culminating in a trip away where things finally come to head.

I did quite enjoy this book, Grayer was portrayed as a very sweet little boy and the relationship between him and Nan seemed very genuine.  At times I felt sad for Grayer, and angry with the X's and the way they treated Nan and their other staff. 
Nan also has a love interest who lives in the X's building. This is a sideline plot which doesn't really need to be there. I was more interested in Nan and Grayer's story than her love life.
All in all it was good and not quite as lighthearted as I expected.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Teaser Tuesdays

Welcome to Teaser Tuesdays. 

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a random page
3. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too muchaway! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
4. Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers

I am currently reading The Nanny Diaries by Nicola Kraus and Emma Mclaughlin. 
Here is my teaser.

"I roll over for the eighth time in the last fifteen minutes. I'm so tired that my body feels weighted, but every time I'm about to drift off, Grayer's hacking cough echoes through the apartment."

Monday, 6 February 2012

It's Monday! What are you reading?

It's Monday! What are you reading? Is hosted by Shelia at Book Journey.

Last week I finished The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. 

At the moment I am reading The Nanny Diaries by Nicola Kraus and Emma Mclaughlin, this is taking me longer than I thought even though I'm enjoying it. There are other things at home that are taking up my time instead of reading, such as Internet problems, now thankfully resolved. Also we have been looking for a new car, as ours has had a lot of problems recently and its just not worth fixing. The hunt continues!

If all goes according to plan I would like to read The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe and try to begin She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb. I certainly need to, to get back on track with my 2012 reading challenge!  

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Mailbox Monday #2 and In My Mailbox

Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week and explore great book blogs. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling tbr piles and humongous wishlists. In February Mailbox Monday is being hosted by Metroreader.

In My mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren

This week I received four new books all purchased myself from either Amazon or a local charity shop.

Misfortune by Wesley Stace. This one I ordered from Amazon, I heard about it on Goodreads and thought I would give it a try. Here's the synopsis from

On a moonlit night on the outskirts of London, Lord Geoffroy Loveall finds the answer to his prayers: an abandoned baby, somehow still alive amid the junk of a rubbish heap. Rescuing the infant from certain death, Lord Geoffroy adopts her as his only child, heir to the fabulous Love Hall fortune. He names her Rose in memory of his long-dead sister and gives her a childhood of unparallelled gaiety and unstinting pleasure. But every house has a secret, and as Rose approaches adolescence, the secret of Love Hall becomes impossible to hide. As much as Lord Geoffroy wanted a daughter, the baby he brought home is, in fact, a boy.

The second book brought home this week  is Finding Mr Flood by Ciara Geraghty I found this in a local charity shop, it was not a title I had heard of before, but thought I would get it as it was a reasonable price. The synopsis is from

Dara Flood always says the most interesting thing about her life happened before she was born. Thirteen days before she came into the world, her father walked up the road and never came back. 

Now in her twenties, Dara's life has a careful routine. She lives in Dublin with her mother and sister Angel. She has pizza with friends every Wednesday, salsa class every Friday, and sees her boyfriend every Saturday. It's safe and that's the way she likes it. 

Then Angel gets desperately sick and Dara's ordered life falls apart. Neither she nor her mother is a compatible match for the kidney Angel needs. So Dara sets out to find the father who could be their last hope. But on the path to uncovering the truth about her father, Dara learns that to let life - and love - in, sometimes you just have to let go . . .

The third book this week was A Rogue's Proposal by Stephanie Laurens. This was the second book I got from the charity shop. I already have one book by Stephanie Laurens which I'm yet to read,  but thought I might as well  get it while it was available. Here's the synopsis from 
                                                                                                                                                             Demon Cynster has seen love bring his brethren to their knees, and he′s vowed that he will not share their fate ... until he spies Felicity Parteger sneaking about his racing stable. Demon remembers Felicity as a mere chit of a girl, but now she stands before him, all lush curves and sparkling eyes...
Felicity knows Demon was one of the town′s most eligible bachelors and a rogue of the worst sort, but he was the only one capable of getting her friend out of trouble. She knows Demon will never yield her the love she desperately seeks, but could a marriage of passion alone be enough?

The fourth and final book this week is Taking Charge of your Fertility by Toni Weschler, MPH. I got this from Amazon it has some great reviews from both people using it for birth control and for becoming pregnant. I thought it might beworth a read for future reference and to understand a bit more about fertility. Here's the synopsis from

 The Barnes & Noble Review
This is an invaluable tool, both for couples struggling with the frustrations of infertility and for those who seek a natural way to avoid becoming pregnant. Weschler debunks the ineffective Rhythm Method and explains a far more reliable alternative that allows women to exert real control over their fertility: the Fertility Awareness Method. Ample illustrations, charts on which women can track their cycles, and chapters on such topics as gender selection and male fertility make this revised edition an outstanding and classic work on fertility.

Although its primary function is to introduce readers to the FAM and address issues specific to conception and natural birth control, Taking Charge of Your Fertility is also an important resource for any woman who wishes to better understand her general gynaecological health. The result is a comprehensive guidebook covering menstrual cycles, menopause, and sexuality, as well as reproductive health.
(Karen Burns)

Monday, 30 January 2012

REVIEW The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Scarlet Letter is the story of Hester Prynne who has committed the sin of adultery, in 17th century, Puritan Boston. She becomes pregnant by her lover, and her punishment is to stand before the people of the town in public disgrace and to always wear The Scarlet Letter attached to her chest as a reminder of her shame. She lives a solitary life with her daughter Pearl who is also ostracised from the rest of the community. 

 The intense writing perfectly reflects the subject matter. Hester Prynne, despite being a social outcast is able to live with some degree of freedom, and forge her own life, whereas her lover whom she refused to name is weighed down with the burden of guilt and shame. Shame for the sin he has committed and shame for allowing Hester and his daughter to stand alone.  In the end it is Hester who has to be strong for all three of them, because her lover is so weak and afraid of the consequences of his actions, both within the community and before God.

I have to say I didn't really  enjoy reading this classic. The writing is quite hard to understand at times and you find yourself reading the same passage over and over again. The subject matter is very heavy and  intense, so despite it being a quite a short book it took me a very long time to read. I'm a big fan of classics but this one was not for me.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Teaser Tuesdays

Welcome to Teaser Tuesdays. 

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a random page
3. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too muchaway! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
4. Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers.

I am currently reading The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Here is my teaser.

"The moment that he did so, there came what seemed a tumultuous rush of new life, other life than his own, pouring like a torrent into his heart, and hurrying through all his veins, as if the mother and child were communicating their vital warmth to his half-torpid system. The three formed an electric chain."

Monday, 23 January 2012

It's Monday! What are you reading?

It's Monday! What are you reading? Is hosted by Shelia at Book Journey.

Last week I finished Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood.

I am currently reading The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.  Hopefully I will finish this in the next day or so.

I will then be moving on to The Nanny Diaries by Emma Mclaughlin and Nicola Kraus, which has been on my TBR pile forever!

If all goes to plan I will at least be able to start The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe by the end of the week.

Happy reading!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week and explore great book blogs. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling tbr piles and humongous wishlists. In January Mailbox Monday is being hosted by At Home With Books.
This week I have had four new books come into the house.
The Paris Wife by Paula Mclain.
This was a gift from my husband, he bought it at a local supermarket, because he thought I would like it. He was right! 
The following synopsis is taken from

A deeply evocative story of ambition and betrayal, The Paris Wifecaptures a remarkable period of time and a love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley.

Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a quiet twenty-eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness—until she meets Ernest Hemingway and her life changes forever. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group—the fabled “Lost Generation”—that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. 

Though deeply in love, the Hemingways are ill-prepared for the hard-drinking and fast-living life of Jazz Age Paris, which hardly values traditional notions of family and monogamy. Surrounded by beautiful women and competing egos, Ernest struggles to find the voice that will earn him a place in history, pouring all the richness and intensity of his life with Hadley and their circle of friends into the novel that will becomeThe Sun Also Rises. Hadley, meanwhile, strives to hold on to her sense of self as the demands of life with Ernest grow costly and her roles as wife, friend, and muse become more challenging. Despite their extraordinary bond, they eventually find themselves facing the ultimate crisis of their marriage—a deception that will lead to the unraveling of everything they’ve fought so hard for. 

A heartbreaking portrayal of love and torn loyalty, The Paris Wife is all the more poignant because we know that, in the end, Hemingway wrote that he would rather have died than fallen in love with anyone but Hadley.


The Midwife's Confession by Diane Chamberlain. The second book brought home was from a local charity shop. It was one I have been wanting to read for a while, so I was really pleased to find it at a bargain price! This synopsis was taken from
Dear Anna, 
What I have to tell you is difficult to write, but I know it will be far more difficult for you to hear, and I'm so sorry... 

The unfinished letter is the only clue Tara and Emerson have to the reason behind their close friend Noelle's suicide. Everything they knew about Noelle - her calling as a midwife, her passion for causes, her love for her friends and family - described a woman who embraced life. Yet there was so much they didn't know. With the discovery of the letter and its heartbreaking secret, Noelle's friends begin to uncover the truth about this complex woman who touched each of their lives - and the life of a desperate stranger - with love and betrayal, compassion and deceit.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon cake by Aimee Bender The third book brought home was also from a charity shop. This was one I have seen mentioned a lot, but probably wouldn't have bought if I hadn't of stumbled across it at a reasonable price. This synopsis is taken from 

The wondrous Aimee Bender conjures the lush and moving story of a girl whose magical gift is really a devastating curse. 

On the eve of her ninth birthday, unassuming Rose Edelstein, a girl at the periphery of schoolyard games and her distracted parents’ attention, bites into her mother’s homemade lemon-chocolate cake and discovers she has a magical gift: she can taste her mother’s emotions in the cake. She discovers this gift to her horror, for her mother—her cheerful, good-with-crafts, can-do mother—tastes of despair and desperation. Suddenly, and for the rest of her life, food becomes a peril and a threat to Rose. 

The curse her gift has bestowed is the secret knowledge all families keep hidden—her mother’s life outside the home, her father’s detachment, her brother’s clash with the world. Yet as Rose grows up she learns to harness her gift and becomes aware that there are secrets even her taste buds cannot discern. 

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake is a luminous tale about the enormous difficulty of loving someone fully when you know too much about them. It is heartbreaking and funny, wise and sad, and confirms Aimee Bender’s place as “a writer who makes you grateful for the very existence of language” (San Francisco Chronicle).

Sarah's Story by Ruth Elwin Harris.The fourth and final book brought home was also from a charity shop. This was not one I had heard of before but I liked the sound of it from the back cover. Once again the synopsis is from
Originally published in Britain as The Silent Shore
Four independent-minded sisters come of age in the early 1900s - and four interwoven novels tell their stories, each through a different sister's eyes. 
The year is 1910, and the four Purcell sisters have only each other. Their mother has died, leaving them orphans in a rambling country estate. But with the help of the Mackenzies - their guardian and his family, whom the sisters come to love in very different ways - Sarah, Frances, Julia, and Gwen find the courage to follow their own paths in a world that is rapidly changing. 
Avid readers and fans of historical-fiction classics will love these spirited heroines - named "the Little Women of our times" by the TIMES of London - and will be thoroughly absorbed by their intertwining tales, full of feistiness, creativity, and young romance

Friday, 20 January 2012

Books read so far this year.

These are the books I have read so far this year, which count towards my 2012 100 books reading challenge.In 2011 I only managed 32, so this is quite a big jump! So far I'm on track at one book ahead, hopefully I can keep it that way!
  1. Tales of Passion, Tales of Woe by Sandra Gulland.                                                                   Historical fiction in the form of Josephine Bonaparte's diaries. The entries feel really authentic, and really capture the time and place. Very interesting to read as  this is a topic which I am unfamiliar with. The book begins with the marriage of Josephine and Napoleon, and follows their trials and tribulations up to him being made Emperor of France. This is book two of a trilogy.
  2. Impatient with desire by Gabrielle Burton.                                                                                                 Another historical fiction, also presented in diary format. This is the story of Tamsen donner and her family as they travel across America to California. They choose to take a shortcut rather than the established trail. They end up trapped in the mountains through winter. Snowed in and living in a cave, enduring the harshest conditions, Tamsen Donner records her thoughts in a journal and in the form of letters to her sister , which may never reach her. Some of the entries are flashbacks explaining how they got to this point, most are of the moment. I really enjoyed this book I bought it straight away after reading about it on a blog. I'm fascinated by pioneer stories, which I'm sure stems from my childhood and reading Laura Ingalls Wilders books.
  3. The Taker by Alma Katsu                                                                                                                     This was an historical fiction story with a supernatural element. We meet Lanny in present day Maine where she is treated by Dr Luke Findlay. She has been arrested for murder. In order for Luke to help her she tells him her improbable story which begins two hundred years earlier. We follow Lanny and Luke on their journey of escape from the present situation. This is interlinked with Lanny's story of the last two hundred years, and how she came to be what she is now. This is very intriguing and well written, the story sucks you in from the start. There is some violence of a sexual nature which is not for the faint hearted or the younger reader. These bits can easily be skipped if they make you feel uncomfortable. This is the first book in a trilogy. I hope to read the next in the series.
  4. Death Comes to Pemberley. by P.D.James                                                                                                                This is an historical murder mystery set a few years after Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. It contains various characters from Pride and Prejudice including Elizabeth and Darcy, and Wickham and Lydia amongst others. The novel begins on the eve of the Darcy's anuual ball, when a murder occurs. I quite enjoyed this, although many reviews are not so favourable. It is the first time I have read a P.D.James novel and it is many years since school when I read Pride and prejudice. Perhaps I didn't come to it with the same high expectations as other readers, especially fans of Austen and James. It was a gentle mystery story, which I did kind of solve, but there was an extra twist at the end.
  5. The Seventh Sister by Z.L Arkadie                                                                                                                   I read this book on kindle via my iphone and laptop. This was a free kindle book from Amazon. This book didn't feel like it was a full length novel. It is a young adult novel, involving high school age children. The main character is Zillael who has some extra physical powers. She starts to experience some unusual things and people turn out not to be who she thought they were including herself.  I can't say too much about this book as its so short it would give to much away. Basically there is some vampire action , a guardian/ protector and the start of a potential love triangle. This sets the scene for the rest of the series.
  6. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood                                                                                                      A dystopian novel set in the future. Snowman/ Jimmy is the only human left after a biological disaster wipes out the human race. The only company he has are the Crakans a genetically engineered race who are very different humans. The novel looks at how Jimmy came to be in this situation through a series of flashbacks, set in a futuristic world, that is not too hard to imagine from our present point in time. I enjoyed this novel once it got going, the first hundred pages were a bit of a struggle but after that I flew through it. It has interesting dual aspects of Jimmy's day to day survival, as well as the flashbacks building up to the point of disaster.

2012 Reading Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge
Zoe has read 6 books toward her goal of 100 books.
Books I read in 2011.

Here is a list of the books I read in 2011, with hopefully some links to the books on Goodreads!

  1. Lady of the Butterflies by Fiona Mountain
  2. Touching Distance by Rebecca Abrams
  3. Every man for Himself by Beryl Bainbridge
  4. Size 12 is not Fat by Meg Cabot
  5. Size 14 is not Fat either by Meg Cabot
  6. The Iron Tree by Cecelia Dart Thornton
  7. The Exile of Sara Stevenson by Darci Hannah
  8. The Host by Stephenie Meyer
  9. The Circle Cast : The Lost Years of Morgan Le Fay by Alex Epstein
  10. Never Let me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
  11. Bending the Boyne : a novel of ancient Ireland by J.S. Dunn
  12. The Doctor and the Diva by Adrienne McDonnell
  13. The Heartbreaker by Elisabeth McNeill
  14. Roses by Leila Marcham
  15. The Queen's Governess by Karen Harper
  16. Undrawn by Conchie Fernandez
  17. The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard
  18. Mr Maybe by Jane Green
  19. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  20. The death and Life of Charlie St Cloud by Ben Sherwood
  21. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
  22. How to Talk to a Widower by Jonathan Tropper
  23. The Guilt of Innocents by Candace Robb
  24. Mini Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
  25. Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl
  26. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
  27. Across the Universe by Beth Revis
  28. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
  29. The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
  30. Girl in a Blue dress by Gaynor Arnold
  31. A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr
  32. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Hi my name is Zoe, i'm 33 years old and live with my husband in Berkshire, UK.
I've wanted to try blogging for a while now, but as i'm new to this please bear with any mistakes I make. 
I love reading, and would love to try my hand at some  book reviews. So I will be sharing the books I'm reading, how I'm progressing with my 100 book challenge for 2012, and what new books have come into my home.