Thursday, 30 January 2014

The House We Grew Up In - Lisa Jewell

Meet the Bird family.

All four children have an idyllic childhood: a picture-book cottage in a country village, a warm, cosy kitchen filled with love and laughter, sun-drenched afternoons in a rambling garden.

But one Easter weekend a tragedy strikes the Bird family that is so devastating that, almost imperceptibly, it begins to tear them apart. 

The years pass and the children become adults and begin to develop their own separate lives. Soon it's almost as though they've never been a family at all.

Almost. But not quite.

Because something has happened that will call them home, back to the house they grew up in - and to what really happened that Easter weekend all those years ago. 

Published by: Century - Fiction
Year: 2013 - Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-8460-5924-7

Lorelei Bird is what can only be described as one of life's hoarders.  It started with the children's pictures from school but soon extended to anything she thought might come in useful at some time in the future.  By the time the children return to their childhood home they can barely  make it through the front door.  This lovely novel by Lisa Jewell tells the story of the complicated lives of the Bird family from their childhood memories of living with a mother who could not bare to throw the smallest of pieces of silver paper away, to tragic loss within the family and what precipitated such an event to the children becoming adults and the trials and tribulations of their adult lives.  

A very good read. Easy to pick up from where you left off great as a travel companion.

This is my third read from 'My Yet to be Read' bookshelf challenge from my 2014 challenges. I  have to read 13 out of 26 books, that were still in residence on the shelf at Christmas 2013, by the end of June 2014. 

So my challenges continue, I am now back to reading my next book from my books I read at school challenge and you will get to see which book I have chosen to read next, next time.

Till then have a good week one and all whatever lives path you are taking.


Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Heaven by Water - Justin Cartwright

David Cross is surrounded by secrets. When his wife Nancy was alive he kept secrets from her, and now that she is dead he must hide his new happiness from his children, Lucy and Ed. But they too have their troubles: Ed's marriage is in trouble, Lucy is being stalked by her ex-boyfriend, and both worry that their father will find a new partner. 

To Heaven by Water  is a touching and hilarious portrait of a family trying to come to terms with loss in their own way.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC - Fiction
Year: 2009 - Paperback
Pages: 304
ISBN: 978-1-4088-0103-1

This is my second read from 'My Yet to be Read' bookshelf challenge from my 2014 challenges. I  have to read 13 out of 26 books, that were still in residence on the shelf at Christmas 2013, by the end of June 2014. 

Essentially this book is about  a grieving family all of whom are grieving in their own way for the loss of their wife and mother. Nancy was a big part of all their lives. Her husband David feels guilty because he doesn't feel he is grieving as much as his two children Ed and Lucy.  Ed has his own troubles his marriage is under strain due to not having conceived a very much wanted child. Lucy at 26 would like to have a normal settled down existence but her last boyfriend turned out to have issues with alcohol and on ending the relationship Lucy finds he is stalking her.  The story is around whether they can all come to terms with their loss and will they eventually achieve their goal of happiness. From my own point of view it was a little slow to get off the ground and a little lacking in content and didn't have me engrossed in every page. I am not a prude by any stretch of the imagination and can swear with the best of them but felt that the language used was a little excessive. It was almost as if a conversation could not be had if every other word was not an expletive and this for me detracted you from the point of the story. 

As always this is just my humble opinion and there may be those of you who have read and enjoyed this and other novels by Justin Cartwright. 


Saturday, 18 January 2014

The Game - Short Story from The Greatest Love Series - Amanda Prowse

It's every mother's worst nightmare.....

Product DetailsGemma Peters has everything a sixteen year old could want. Two loving parents, a good school, and close friends. Maybe sometimes her parents are a little overbearing, a little too adoring. But that's the same for all teenagers, right?

Then, on the night of the school play, happy-go-lucky Gemma disappears without a trace. Where has she gone? Why has she been lying to her family? And, most importantly, will she ever come home?

Publisher: Head of Zeus - Kindle Edition
Year: 2013
Pages: 132
ISBN: (E) 978 1-781-1859-04-9

This is another of Amanda Prowse short story written for Kindle,  I like Amanda's writing, she writes about everyday issues and how they affect every day people.  In this story she writes about every parents worst nightmare 'your teenager goes missing'.  She tackles the issue of young girls being taken in by older men, who convince these young girls that they are in love with them. And, that once they have enough money they will move to the country, almost the cottage with roses around the door, when in reality they are exploiting these young women and forcing them into a way of life that no parent would want for their daughter.  I suppose you have to ask the question can you love your children too much.  I am yet to find a bad thing to say about Amanda Prowse and would recommend this short story to you.


Thursday, 16 January 2014

The Secret Keeper - Kate Morton

1961: On a sweltering summer's day, while her family picnics by the stream on their Suffolk farm, sixteen-year-old Laurel hides out in her childhood tree house dreaming of the bright future she can't wait to seize. But before the idyllic afternoon is over, Laurel will have witnessed a shocking crime that changes everything.

2011: Now a much loved actress, Laurel finds herself overwhelmed by shades of the past. Haunted memories and the mystery of what she saw that day, she returns to her family home and begins to piece together a secret history: a tale of three strangers from vastly different worlds - Dorothy, Vivien and Jimmy who are brought together by chance in wartime London and whose lives become fiercely and fatefully entwined.

Shifting between the 1930s, the 1960s and the present, The Secret Keeper is a spellbinding story of mysteries and secrets, murder and enduring love. 

Publisher: Pan Books - Fiction
Year: 2013 - Paperback
Pages: 588
ISBN: 978-0-330-477759-8

Challenge Five of my challenges for 2014 is to work my way through my 'Yet to be read' shelf of books which had 26 books residing on it at Christmas.  I have challenged myself to read at least 13 of these by the end of June this year.  'The Secret Keeper' is the first to be read from this challenge. 

This was a fantastic read that I thoroughly enjoyed and couldn't put down. It was full of mystery and intrigue and a wonderful twist at the end which I had definitely not seen coming. The book is separated into four parts each part telling you the story of a character beginning with Laurel followed by Dolly, Vivien and Dorothy. Each character is inextricably linked to the other and to that of  Jimmy.  It was superbly written and I would not only read further novels by this author but definitely recommend this one to all of you.  My poor D became a bookworm widow as everytime he came to find me over the weekend you guessed it book was in hand, cup of tea and a biscuit at the ready. 


Thursday, 9 January 2014

To kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

'Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird'. 

A lawyer's advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee's classic novel - a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with exuberant humour the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the 1930's. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence and hypocisy is pricked by the stamina of one man's struggle for justice. But the weight of history will only tolerate so much. 

Publisher: First published in Great Britain in 1960 by William Heinemann
First published in 1989 by  Arrow Books - Paperback 
Pages: 309
ISBN: 978-0-09-954948-2

This is the first book I have read for my 2014 challenge of revisiting books we had to read at school. I hadn't read this one since I was about 14 or 15 so a fair time ago.  I have the DVD which I haven't watched for a while, I could remember the story but actually couldn't remember the outcome.  The story is narrated by Miss Jean Louise Finch also known as Scout. In the first part of the book she tells the story of her father Attitcus, who is a lawyer in Maycombe County, and her life with her brother Jeremy (Jem for short).  You are aware at this stage that there is a big court case coming up where Atticus will be defending a local coloured man accused of raping a white mans daughter.  Part two of the book concentrates on the events of the court case, it's outcome and what happens following the hearing.  I found this to be a easy read and a good book and second time around I appreciated the authors penmanship a lot better than the first.  Whether you have previously read 'To Kill A Mocking Bird' for your English exam or just browsing the book shelf for a good read set in 30's I would certainly recommend this one.  


Sunday, 5 January 2014

Weekends with Daisy - Sharron Kahn Luttrell

    Product Details
  • Daisy is a mischievous ball of yellow fluff who enjoys chasing her tail and wrestling with her favourite toy. But life is not all treats and cuddles for the adorable Labrador puppy; Daidy is training to become a service dog and will one day become an invaluable companion to an adult or child with a disability.

  • Little Daisy spends the weekdays with Keith, a prison inmate who is able to dedicate himself fully to her training. At the weekend she goes home with Sharron Luttrell, who introduces the happy-go-lucky pup to the chaos of family life. As Sharron begins to fall in love with Daisy, handing her back to Keith becomes increasingly painful. And as the end of Daisy's training programme approaches, Sharron wonders if she will ever be able to let her go...

    • Publisher: Sphere 
    • Year: 2013
    • Format: Kindle Edition
    • Pages:  321 pages
    • ISBN: 0751553700
  • Sharron Kahn Luttrell memoir of life as a weekend puppy walker tells the delightful story of her relationship with Daisy the mischievous puppy who one day would hold a very important position as a dog for the disabled.  You also get a small insight in how the prisoners in American prisons can earn the privileged position as a Dog Trainer. It was a good read and will have you laughing and crying in equal amounts. 
  • Mx  

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Book of the Year

Over the last six months since I started my blog I have been listing all the books I have read and selected one book per month to be my book of the month.

Book of the Month - June
Book of the Month - July

Book of the Month - September
Book of the Month - August
Book of the Month - October
Book of the Month - November

Book of the Month - December

These seven books were the ones that stood out most to me. With this in mind I decided I would pick one book as my book of the year.  That book for me would have to be 
Book of the Year 2013

 But may be we don't share the same opinion.

Having looked at all the page hits since I started my blog there appears to be one book that above all others that has been the bloggers choice and that would be

Blogger choice - Book of the Year 2013

I also have a Best Newcomer and that would have to be

Best Newcomer 2013

Over the next 12 months I shall continue listing all the books I read and my thoughts about each one. I'll continue to pick a book to be my book of the month. 

I hope you will continue stopping by to see what I have been reading may be with a few surprises along the way. For those of you who follow my Lazy Days and Sundays at The Willows blog will know I have set myself five challenges for 2014.  Two of these challenges link to this blog.  

In the meanwhile Happy New Year Reading