Monday, 25 January 2010
Genre: Crime and Mystery
Published by: Severn House Publishers (Sept 2008)
Pages: 180 (Hardback)
My Rating: 8/10
THREE SILENT THINGS BY MARGARET MAYHEW
When the retired Colonel moves to the picturesque Dorset village of Frog's End after his wife's death he expects to live out his days quietly, but when, on collecting for 'Save the Donkeys' Charity he discovers the body of Lois Delaney (an aged actress) his life becomes anything but quiet and boring.
At the Inquest into her death it is presumed that she committed suicide but the Colonel (who was a huge fan of hers) has his suspicions that all was not as it seemed and he does his own investigating. He discovers that Lois Delaney had just been offered a wonderful acting job on the London stage and was very excited about it - so why would she commit suicide when she was so happy? It just didn't make sense to the Colonel.
Set in a contemporary era, the small village is fully of quirky characters and we are introduced gradually to all of them.
There is the nosey neighbour, Freda Butler, who uses her late Admiral father's binoculars to spy on all the comings and goings ......... the two gay men living in the converted Hall which has been made into flats, one of which is where Lois Delaney lived ......... the sour old biddy, Miss Quinn, who also lived in the flat above. Plus an assortment of oddballs and even some normal inhabitants!
We also learn that many people in the village even knew Miss Delaney years ago when she was an actress, so do any of them have a motive to murder her? And why have they kept it quiet that they knew her?
The author, Margaret Mayhew, throws in a few red herrings here and there just to keep us guessing which all added to the enjoyment.
As we get to know the likeable Colonel and the villagers the plot moves very slowly and gently with not a lot happening but I was swept along and had finished it all too soon! At only 180 pages long it is a nice easy read.
If you enjoy Miss Marple or the Midsommer Murder type of story then you'll like this. But if you're the Harlen Coban or Lee Child fast and furious type of storyline fan then I think this will move too slowly for you.
Thursday, 14 January 2010
Publisher: William Heinemann (2008)
Pages: 364 (Hardback)
My Rating: 8/10
THE MONSTERS OF TEMPLETON BY LAUREN GROFF
The day I returned to Templeton steeped in disgrace, the fifty-foot corpse of a monster surfaced in Lake Glimmerglass.
These curious words are spoken by the narrator, Willie Upton, upon returning to her home town, having had a disastrous affair with her married professor and now finding herself pregnant.
She slowly starts to get her life together by discovering the lives of her ancestors who founded the town of Templeton in the 1700's and through their words we learn of past secrets, lies and rumours.
Many of the chapters alternated between Willie's voice and some of her ancestors which helped to build up a fascinating picture of her weird family, some of whom I did find a little unbelievable, together with the growth of Templeton.
I thought the slow build up of the family tree diagrams throughout the story was a nice touch and the family pictures also added to the overall feel, making it all seem real.
The story of the prehistoric monster found in the Lake was a little unusual and the author kept referring to this throughout the book as some of the characters may have seen it over the years. I'm not sure if I liked this idea or not, I just found the whole concept a little strange.
Overall though I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it if you like something a little different from the normal historical/contemporary fiction.
Wednesday, 6 January 2010
Readers are to be given the chance to see how successful Oprah Winfrey's tips are for day-to-day living.
A Chicago-based author has expressed her relief at finishing her latest project, a book chronicling a year of living solely by the advice dished out by Oprah Winfrey.
Due to be launched next week, with the start of a new year always prompting a surge in demand for self-help and improvement guides, Living Oprah tells how Robyn Okrant spend 12 months following every single snippet of advice handed out by the talk show host.
Such lifestyle hints include taking up yoga, listening to Celine Dion and becoming more environmentally-aware.
However, despite much of the advice having turned out to be sound, Okrant has revealed that the book is far from a "sycophantic" work, and is unlikely to be included in Oprah's own Book Club at any point soon, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Explaining how the constant barrage of advice led her to the point of exasperation, she told the newspaper: "It might not be the case of the blind leading the blind, but it's certainly the stressed leading the stressed."
Article taken from lovereading.co.uk
Tuesday, 5 January 2010
Publisher: Eloquent Books (Feb 2009)
Pages: 138 (Paperback)
My Rating: 5/10
ARANT SARATIR: WARRIOR'S LIGHT BY TAYLOR J BEISLER
About the Book: (taken from taylorbeisler.com)
Imagine a world beyond any other, where time continues to sift through the hands of a young man named Airsing. This boy is destined for greatness, but all he wants to do is fit in; he does indeed fit, but to something veiled from the present. His fate collides with a young man called Xavier. When a boy, Xavier was taken to the forbidden Nyros and manipulated into an int; his father was brainwashed into a Syfrin, not even remembering his son to the point of beating Xavier to death. Xavier has to make a grave choice, either way, to survive, but which path does he take? Airsing has the same decision when faced with the opportunities to survive or surrender, but which road does he travel? Join these characters on a life-threatening journey, but be warned: this series doesn't end as their path would lead you to believe. A dragon rider, a betrayer, and a small company of friendship combine to threaten this evil time where the dark lord, Arkt, is fighting to take over their world. What happens next? The end is never so clear ...
Taylor Beisler has tried to create a new and different fantasy world where flying dragons have human riders and where war is always imminent.
But, I am afraid that I found her writing style quite difficult to follow. It did not flow very easily as I had to read some sentences more than once to understand exactly what was meant. It seemed to me as if some simple words were replaced by more difficult ones and I found this quite frustrating and did spoil my overall enjoyment of the story.
As for the story, there were some paragraphs which just did not make sense due to the phrasing and I couldn't picture the scene in my head, and it wasn't until I read on that it became clear what was happening.
As this is the authors debut novel, I don't want to be too negative as she does have some good creative ideas and in Xavier and Airsing she has two likeable and interesting characters who will have more adventures in the future ......... I believe there is a sequel coming out soon and I wish her good luck on her next venture!
Saturday, 2 January 2010
I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO READING AND REVIEWING MORE GREAT BOOKS THIS YEAR - I'VE STILL GOT A HUGE 'TO BE READ' PILE
I HOPE YOU ENJOY READING MY REVIEWS AND MAYBE EVEN READ ONE OR TWO OF THE BOOKS YOURSELF AND LETTING ME KNOW YOUR OPINION
THANK YOU TO EVERYONE FOR ALL YOUR COMMENTS, VIEWS AND WORDS OF SUPPORT OVER THE PAST YEAR - HOPING TO SEE YOU ALL AGAIN IN 2010 - ALONG WITH ANY NEW FOLLOWERS (YOU'RE MORE THAN WELCOME)
(pic is of me and my family on Christmas Day)