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Greaders reviews for Oct Nov 13 books

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TessAkaBridgetTheFidget

TessAkaBridgetTheFidget Report 6 Dec 2013 11:15

The Cornish House Liz Fenwick

I waited a long time for the library to get this book for me. Then after reading the first few pages I thought I had read it before. Only to find a few pages later that I was mistaken. It was a new book for me, as well as a debut novel for Liz Fenwick

I quite enjoyed the story but was sometimes a little put out when the story jumped forward to another time/day/week etc. without warning and still in the same chapter - it was rather disconcerting and i sometimes re-read a few sentences to make sure that I had't skipped a bit of text or missed something.

Although the story seemed to revolve mainly around Maddie, grieving widow and artist, with her step-daughter, Hannah, grieving teenage daughter of the deceased, taking a lesser role, I found Hannah to be the more interesting person, especially with her interest in the house and its past, when she had no family links to it.

Perhaps I am showing my straight laced side, when disapproving of the amount and frequency of the alcoholic intake by Maddie, Tamsin and their friends. "Having a drink" seemed to often be the solution to problems as well as a way to celebrate. :-(

My sympathies were with Hannah, when she was left alone in a large, cold, house, (with not much food) not knowing when her "adult in charge" would get home, or even where she was - no signs of setting a good example there then ;-) .

I suppose that I might be looking into the story too deeply, instead of reading it as a pure work of fiction, for some light relief and entertainment.

However, I think that if the story was told mainly from Hannah's point of view, (with little or no bad language) with Maddie taking the supporting role, Hannah would have become a more engaging person and Maddie slightly sel-centered and less deserving of our sympathy.

As far as Hannah was concerned - thank goodness for O.T. is all I can say!
:-) :-) :-) :-)


Will now go and look at the other reviews of this book.

AnninGlos

AnninGlos Report 2 Dec 2013 12:53

Thank you Perse, yes the book made me happy too. :-)

Persephone

Persephone Report 2 Dec 2013 01:54

Take a Look at me Now...

Finished it several days ago now.. I thought it was very good, though like Glossie Ann, not too sure about being made redundant and finishing up on same day.

I did love San Francisco, the cable cars, Golden Gate, ha ha we got a tram to Fisherman's Wharf and somehow ended up in in their Hyde Park. So next day we went to Sausalito and smelt the fish there and then on to Monterey where we ended up at an opening of a new savings bank.. they had coffee and cookies and they gave me a balloon and a three foot long ruler.. was not sure that I needed that to cart around with me for the rest of my trip across the States. And Market Street, standing in the street with the map trying to work out where I was (day I wanted to go to Fisherman's Wharf) and a bloke came along and told me I had the map around the wrong way. It figures.

So the book made me happy.. loved going there again and brought back a lot of happy memories. Enjoyed the story albeit predictable.

Persie

Persephone

Persephone Report 23 Nov 2013 10:07

The Accidental Husband by Jane Green

Wasn't till I got the book home I realised she was the author of Patchwork Marriage and once again she has written fiction that has a lot of behaviour patterns that do happen in real life. The bitchiness between those that live in the Mrs Prim and proper and socialy high flyer society was very well covered and the gossip that ensues when one of them has a mishap or marital disaster fall upon them.

Sylvia's character was played in such a way that one would side with her. It was almost like Sylvia was good cop in her marriage and Maggie was bad cop in hers. Though to give the book its due Maggie's character did do a turn around with the support of her youngest son and the more recent neighbours. She had come to a small town to hide from notoriety but the whole town knew what had happened to her and never let on nor made judgements against her.

I felt like I was hovering above these two with their problems with their family relationships and awareness of reading situations. The husband was Mr Nice Guy getting along well with both wives friends and families but was really probably suffering from more anxiety than anyone and he had dug himself into a hole and even when he tried to get out of it he stuffed up.

Persie

I have read these two so long ago.. and have been trying to catch up on my own books.

Persephone

Persephone Report 23 Nov 2013 10:06

The Snowman by Jo Nesbo

Okay a Harry Hole who dunnit, problem was this was Harry Hole's 7th book and I think I should have read earlier novels. However, I did work out straight away who would be the killer. I am still at odds as to how someone can build huge snowmen and no one have seen them doing it. The dialogue was smart and the story flowed well and had lots of twists but I had problems with actually visualising some of the situations. Mind boggling at the very least.

I think I preferred his shorter book The Head Hunters which was clever and not about Harry.. that had me fooled a couple of times and I like a challenge.

I cannot for the life of me understand why a detective of his calibre would allow a mold inspector deconstruct the interior walls of his place without the blink of an eyelid. I won't leave some tradesmen alone in my house despite me thinking they are ok chaps.

I do think that hiding one's ice skates in with the frozen peas make for clever thinking on the part of the young lad (have forgotten his name .. was it Oska?).
I am not sure whether I will read any more though who knows..

Persephone

Persephone Report 23 Nov 2013 10:04

Okay.. I ordered "Take a Look at Me Now." because the library had ordered them a day before our suggestions were put up. I was second on the list and they were getting a heap of books in.. the books arrived yesterday and I picked up mine today .. so I will review it but will be next time.

I can understand Berona becoming tired of The Snowman I think I was fair sick of it by the time I had read it.. review on next post.


Persie

Berona

Berona Report 22 Nov 2013 22:21

The Snowman
It started off interesting, but first of all, I found it difficult to remember who was who because I was unable to retain their Norwegian names. Also, the overall plot was good, but went on and on for so long, I became tired of it.

Take a Look at me Now
This was different. I have been to San Francisco and recognised a lot of the places, so no problem understanding where it was all happening. I enjoyed it. A good read.

Greenfingers

Greenfingers Report 22 Nov 2013 10:16

Once I got into it I really enjoyed the snowman and shall read Jo Nesbo again, yes it is difficult with the names, so in my head I gave them English ones, it helped no end !!!

Haven't had time to read more

Jan

Pammy51

Pammy51 Report 21 Nov 2013 17:39

The Woman He Loved Before

Another great story by Dorothy Koomson, I don't know how she manages to come up with so many novel ideas – her head must be full of stories!
The prologue from Eve puts just enough doubt in your mind to make you take notice of little events which might otherwise have passed you by. The book goes on to the story of Libby and Jack, how they met interspersed with her subconscious thoughts a she recovers from a car crash. Both have secrets, Jack about his first wife Eve and about something that happened just after the accident and Libby that she has found Eve's diary. The diary becomes a strand interwoven with Libby's convalescence as we discover the way Eve's life descended into degradation before she married Jack. You knew Eve was heading for trouble as each action sent her spiralling lower and felt helpless that you could not warn her. I loved the ending where Caesar had all his power taken away. The book left you with a feeling of hope that everything was going to turn out well.

Pammy51

Pammy51 Report 21 Nov 2013 17:09

The Snowman

Considering this was a translation it read very well, it must be difficult to get the correct atmosphere when translating from one language to another so that it can be understood by people from another culture whilst still keeping it true to the author's intention. The detective, Harry Hole is yet another angst ridden detective, even his name seems symbolic of the empty spaces in his life. Although this is a stand alone novel it probably would have been better to read the previous stories so that you could understand references to past events in his life. The story had an intriguing beginning, set twenty-four years before the main events unfold and held my attention to the end. I did guess who the killer was but not why. I enjoyed the book but wouldn't go out of my way to read more, rather too dark for me.

2 more reviews to follow

AnninGlos

AnninGlos Report 21 Nov 2013 14:33

The main thing I said about it without giving the plot away Tess was: I enjoyed the tale, it made good holiday reading, not too taxing but not too light either.
It is a first novel and, if you can get it, a good read. I would check why, if you were first on the list you have had to wait so long.

TessAkaBridgetTheFidget

TessAkaBridgetTheFidget Report 21 Nov 2013 13:59

I haven't read any of the other books this time - looked on my local library shelves a couple of times, but books on list not there.

I am STILL waiting for The Cornish House by Liz Fenwick. A book I should have reviewed on 6th October. Requested it nine weeks ago - and I was first on the waiting list then.

I'm thinking of cancelling the request after all this time.
I don't want to read other reviews till I have read and reviewd it myself.

Can anyone tell me - Is it worth waiting for???

TessAkaBridgetTheFidget

TessAkaBridgetTheFidget Report 21 Nov 2013 13:53

The Snowman Jo Nesbo

I had already read The Snowman some time ago but needed to read it again to review it.
While waiting for it from the library I read The Devil's Star (by Nesbo) another Harry Hole book - which is equally violent with many twists and turns to the plot.

My paperback cover of The Snowman claims that Nesbo is the next Steig Larsson. I have to say that I disagree - Larsson books, while violent, have been more throughly researched, and I found The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo far more a heart touching figure, than anyone in Nesbo's books.

Reading Snowman for the second time I found it to be an "okay" book ( of its type). I could only remember a small part of the story i.e. Jonas' mother's scarf on the snowman and a body on the ice (but I couldn't remember whose)!!! Could also remember (unfortunatally) the identity of the culprit - but not his name.

Perhaps because I was already familiarwith the plot - it didn't hold my attention completley the second time around.

On first reading, I ahd no idea what would happen next, so I found it more gripping. However, even first time I guessed who the culprit was.
It is difficult to remember exactly what I thought at that time but just possibly I would have been more enthusiastic.
I would be interested to find out what other people thought.

Mersey

Mersey Report 20 Nov 2013 21:19

Take a Look at Me Now - Miranda Dickens


Nell finds herself jobless and single all in the same day. She decides on impulse to blow her redundancy money on a trip to San Francisco.
She meets all kinds of characters including the lovely Max, but she she has to return from where she came from.
I adored Nell, I loved the story, it had everything, perfect settings, funny characters, twist and turns and romance. I was gripped from the beginning right to the end - Loved it !! :)

Mersey

Mersey Report 20 Nov 2013 21:13

Letters from Home - Kristina McMorris

This book starts with a new recruit Mogan meeting Liz in a USO dance det in the middle of WWII. They connect straight away but with Morgan being shipped off to war and found dancing with Betty (Liz's Friend).

Liz is actually dating her childhood sweetheart, they (Liz&Morgan) part believing they would never see each other again. As fate would have it they were in contact again with Liz writing letter's under Betty's name while out fighting in Europe.

I loved the spark between the two main characters, also the stories of romance between Liz's friends Betty and Julia.

I enjoyed the book so much, I even read parts of it twice, but will say I was a little disappointed with the ending :(

TessAkaBridgetTheFidget

TessAkaBridgetTheFidget Report 20 Nov 2013 18:05

Have only read The Snowman this time.
Will be back with review later.

AnninGlos

AnninGlos Report 20 Nov 2013 15:53

review The Woman He loved before by Dorothy Koomson
In Dorothy Koomson’s book, the main character is usually black. It always takes me a while to remember this. In the general run of things it is not important, and yet it is when the character starts to talk about beauty and how they look. Libby is very concerned about her looks, and how her looks appear to Jack, and then his parents, to others and herself. I am not sure if, on the introduction we are expected to believe that there is some disapproval, valiantly covered up, about the forthcoming marriage of Libby and Jack because of her colour but I felt there was with the welcome being over emphasised.
I found this book ‘haunting’, the more I read the more it haunted me, I couldn’t get the story out of my head, it took me over.
We are very quickly thrust into the main contention in the story. Is Libby good enough to replace Eve? And that is followed by the insinuations by the police that Eve’s death was murder not accidental. So, is Libby in danger? Was Eve murdered? And by whom?
The story is told on two levels. We have Libby and Jack’s story and also Eve and Jack’s story. Covering how easy it was for Eve to slide down the slope into prostitution and how hard it was for Libby to overcome the trauma of her accident. And in some ways, on some level we have the story of Eve and Libby. Is it Jack’s obsession with Eve or Libby’s obsession with Jack’s obsession with Eve that causes problems?
Of course I know evil men exist but this was graphic, it portrayed such depravity that at times I had to stop reading and just think about it. My thought was that it was a wonder that Eve was not more damaged than she was, mentally. Caesar was unbelievably depraved.
The characters are very well written, very rounded, as usual. Jack’s in particular rings true, still suffering grief from his wife’s death, refusing to talk about it (but, we think, is that guilt?) and using women. Harriet’s character too was well thought out and I did like the way she handled things. Libby and Eve, were similar but different, circumstance affecting both their characters I feel. And Caesar, not ever, thankfully, having known anyone like him I can’t judge if his character is true but like all bullies he was not really strong.
I never really like the ‘book club questions’ at the end of novels. But what surprised me was that the author felt that the main theme of the book was about beauty and what we think it is and how we see ourselves. However, I can see where she is coming from. From her last paragraph about the book. “ Why don’t you try looking in the mirror or at a picture of yourself and, instead of focusing on all the things ‘wrong’ with you, see every unique and beautiful thing that makes you who you are.?”
I saw it more as the story of the love of one man for two women and why he couldn’t let go of the first to love the second properly.
I liked this book a lot because it is the first for a while that made me think and analyse it.

AnninGlos

AnninGlos Report 20 Nov 2013 15:50

review the snowman by Jo Nesbo 1

I happened to see this in a charity shop for 95p so, as it was on the list I bought it.

I don't often read thrillers so find it hard to judge how good they are. I wouldn't say this was as good as the Stieg Larsson trio though. As a detective novel it was quite good but there was not a lot of menace in it for me. I have to admit that up until almost the end I had not guessed the identity of the Snowman so that was a surprise.

I did find the whole story confusing to follow because of the number of characters in it and the Norwegian names. This rather spoiled any enjoyment I might have had. It was alright but I don't think I shall be reading any more of his books.

AnninGlos

AnninGlos Report 20 Nov 2013 15:48

The Rossetti Letter by Christi Phillips.

I have not read anything by this author before but will certainly be looking out for other books by her. This is her first book but there is one other..
She writes beautifully and develops her characters so well.
The story moves from 1618 to the present day in Venice. Claire in the present day is writing her dissertation on the Spanish Conspiracy in Venice. Allessandra Rossetti wrote a letter to the Venetian Council in 1618 warning of a Spanish plot to overthrow Venice. Nothing is known of how she learnt of it and what happened to her, Claire goes to Venice to find out.
The Rossetti letter is fictitious but the Spanish Conspiracy is a real event Christi Phillips weaves a story around the event that is truly believable. Claire gets to Venice by chaperoning a young girl, Gwendoline, on her way to meet her father and stepmother. The conversations between the two are very believable and I laughed aloud at some remarks and ‘happenings’.
I thought it was 383 pages of pure escapism, beautifully written with some lovely descriptions of Venice both modern and 17th century. I really enjoyed it and recommend it as a good read.

AnninGlos

AnninGlos Report 20 Nov 2013 15:47

review Take a look at me now by Miranda Dickenson
I do enjoy Miranda Dickenson’s books. OK I don’t think any of them will win a Nobel prize but they are feel good stories.
If you want a book to brighten up the cold winter days, this is one to curl up with in a warm room while dreaming about warmer climes.
I have visited San Fransisco, but as it was part of a fly drive we were only there two days and therefore didn’t really get much of a feel for it. Strangely it was not our favourite place on the 3000 mile fly drive. But I can remember the vibrancy and the colour. We took a tour bus and saw many places. And many of the touristy places mentioned in the book I could picture as we had been there or seen them. I especially loved Golden Gate Park But found Fisherman’s wharf a bit too touristy. It was very obvious the MD had actually visited and loved S Fransisco her descriptions were vivid and real. Her characters, as usual, were very believable and the scene of the redundancy rang very true.
The plot was predictable but the way the story was written intertwining San Fransisco and London and her relationships with Aiden and Max took away some of the predictability.
I am not sure I agreed with the way the redundancy was written about. I would have thought it unlikely that somebody would be made redundant and told to leave that day taking with them the redundancy cheque. I am sure that all public services such as local planning offices would have a consultancy period and thus a warning. And the cheque would be later in the post. But that is nit picking, it works for the story.
I loved Nell and her enthusiasm. Would anyone really do that with a redundancy cheque? Has anyone I wonder. She was very brave and probably how I would have liked to have been at her age. (But wasn’t).
I thought Aiden was a prat at first but after ‘meeting’ his father I sort of felt sorry for him and realised how much he did love Nell, even though he had a strange way of showing it.
I did feel that Lizzie and Vicky were interchangeable. As if she had written one character and split her in two so she could be in both places at once. But it worked as somebody to bounce her ideas and feelings off in both places.
I loved Annie and her Diner (and want to go there). I must say, in all my trips to America, and there have been quite a few, I have never been in a diner that was as friendly as that one.
And I loved the after school club and Eva, Mara and JJ, all the little characters so well written. No mention of Nell having to undergo any security checks before working with children though?
And Max, who wouldn’t fall in love with him? He sounded ideal, and an accomplished artist as well.