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Greaders please review May/June books

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AnninGlos Report 30 Jun 2015 17:25

If you are not too hot and haven't forgotten like I nearly did, please review Any of the following:

Looking for Fireworks by Holly Cavendish
Solace by Belinda McKeon
Amy Snow - Tracy Rees


AnninGlos Report 30 Jun 2015 17:29

review looking for fireworks by Holly Cavendish

I know it wasn’t a very ‘in depth’ novel but I quite enjoyed it. I thought it was well written, had romance and humour and no lurid sex.
Laney moved from London to the Cotswolds to look after her father after he had a stroke. She expected to find stereotypical country bumpkins in the village where he lived, and thought she was going to be proved right when greeted with lots of committees etc that she could serve on. She was convinced that she was never going to meet the man who would cause ‘fireworks’ in a romance.
Her journey to find that romance was not without problems of course but there was humour and pathos. The characters were well written. I loved Martin and Tana and Janet. And the horsey fraternity were beautifully described. It was a sort of gentle Jilly Cooper. Good holiday reading.


AnninGlos Report 30 Jun 2015 17:29

Greaders review Solace by Belinda McKeon

Although Belinda McKeon is an award winning playwright, this was her debut novel. And it is so good the she deservedly won Irish book of the year in 2011.
She writes with simplicity and precision about life. The lives of Mark Casey and his parents and Joanne Lynch and her parents and the feud between the two sets of parents in the past. How the fathers of the two were once friends but how Joanne’s father, who she has no time for even though he is now dead, betrayed Mark’s father, gaining property for his son that had been promised to Tom, Mark’s father.
She writes about Mark and his struggle to complete his thesis because he no longer knows why he chose the subject he is to write about.
She writes about the birth of Aoife and how the young parents feel about the responsibility of looking after this tiny little human, and how the Grandparents feel about her birth. Anyone who has had a child or a grandchild can relate to these feelings.
And she writes about tragedy and grief and how it consumes the person grieving, and how friends don’t know how to speak about the death. And, the piece I found perceptive was how she describes other people’s feelings after one of a couple has died. How other couples seem to look at each other and you can see them thinking about how it would be if their partner died, how would they cope, what would they do? So true.
After the tragedy when father and son are both grieving in their own way she writes about the distance between them and you realise how, if they leant on each other more they would comfort each other.
Everything she writes about feelings, reactions, everyday life, is compassionate and real. At times I felt I was reading a true story rather than fiction. Her writing is simple and beautiful. I am not surprised it won the prize, it is one of those books difficult to put down, hard to read at times because it is so real. At times a hard read as it was so real but I really enjoyed it and will look out for more of her books.


AnninGlos Report 30 Jun 2015 17:49

review Amy Snow by Tracy Rees
A debut novel by Tracy Rees, but you would never guess it, as this book is so good, so well written. It has wonderful characters, strong heroine, mystery, drama, and humour

It's January 1831. The book follows the story of Amy Snow, starting when young Aurelia finds Amy as a new - born baby, being left to die in the snow - hence her name, Snow. As Aurelia is the only Vennaway daughter, and she's very stubborn and single - minded, Amy is allowed to stay - in the kitchen, a general dogsbody. For Aurelia she stays her best friend, and the girls share a lot of secrets, spend a lot of time together, Aurelia's parents neither want to hear about Amy nor see her. In fact Aurelia’s mother is really unkind to her.

Aurelia dies young because of a heart defect and Amy is of course thrown out of the house right after the funeral. Officially Aurelia has left her only 10 pounds in her will, but Amy soon learns that there is much more - namely, a "treasure hunt", that the girls so liked to play with each other - Aurelia leaves Amy a trail of secret letters, that Amy must find first, and all the letters direct her to different places and different people, and eventually, to Aurelia's secret. The book is so well written that you find yourself literally trying to follow the treasure hunt and guess what the outcome will be.

Amy is a great character, nothing fazes her, like Aurelia she is single-minded.. No matter the circumstances, she has had her head held high she develops during the story, and she knows how much she's worth.
The journey that Tracy takes us on with her characters is one full of surprises, twists and turns, Travelling alone Amy has many adventures. I won’t let on the ending in case others want to read it but it really is a book worth reading, I am so glad it was suggested. I loved it.


Mersey Report 30 Jun 2015 18:39

Im afraid I have only read one of the books........

:-( Sorry

Amy Snow - Tracy Rees

Little Baby Snow found abandoned and left for dead....Auerillia finds her and takes her back to where she works, and is more determined to get her parent let her stay on and be trained as no more than a skivvy....They become the best of friends and learn from each other until the fateful day when Aureillia dies of a heart complaint....Being that her mother never liked or wanted Amy in the first place , when her friend dies, she is thrown out to be left to fend for herself...The story unfolds when there is a treasure trail of letters and much more regarding her friends will......A fighter through and through with so much determination and mystery, adventure and heart wrenching decisions......

Very much enjoyed this book....and will be looking out for this author in the future....I seemed to have lost my reading pattern of late but this has steered me back into the right direction hopefully :-D


Pammy51 Report 30 Jun 2015 21:19

Sorry, only just got cool enough to switch on :-)

Like Mersey I only manged to read one book, I don't know where the time went.

I read Looking for Fireworks. As Ann said it wasn't difficult reading but I did find it enjoyable. The characters were generally believable and I loved the funny bits (blind dates likened to 'Snickers' -looking smooth on the inside but underneath tending to be nuts!) Although Laney seems confident in her London life she finds the countryside difficult - not helped by her fear of horses- and when she has to move to a small Cotswolds village to look after her father she soon upsets many of the locals. Having just split with her boyfriend she is in the market for a new love who will bring her fireworks. New friends Martin and Toby both seem in the running but do either fit the bill? How Laney discovers the truth behind her feelings makes a very readable story.


AnninGlos Report 30 Jun 2015 22:15

Maybe we should think about just suggesting one book each if it is getting too difficult to read more than one. Or suggest two and just vote for one?


Persephone Report 30 Jun 2015 23:08

I looked in last night about 11.30pm my time as I figured that was about middle of day for you lot.. LOL

Solace - Brenda Mckeown
I couldn't somehow get started on this book, it was not something that I had to keep reading putting all else into oblivion. However, it rumbled along and was one of those books where you have to read every word and think about what is going on here. I probably spent as much time reflecting as I did reading. There is a lot going on in this story - far more complex than a few words review can give it.

Tom the father was a man of a few words and left it to his wife to sort out most things, he just got on with running the farm and all he wanted was for his son Mark to follow in his footsteps. Mark had other ideas and was pursuing a degree but having trouble with completing his thesis. His father was forever wanting him to come back to the farm and got his wife to call Mark home, more or less every second weekend, Tom could not see what was going on with all this writing business even though he tried to show an interest in the beginning but Mark could only give the same old answers each time because he was procrastinating away in Dublin.
Mark meets Joanne a trainee lawyer, she recognises him but he does not know who she is. Joanne is the daughter of a man (now dead) whom Mark and Tom abhor, because of his con artist practices which Joanne is only too aware of and is the reason she left home.

Later on a visit to the farm with Joanne and their daughter Aloife, Joanne and Mark's mother are killed in a car crash. Mark and Joanne's baby survives without a scratch. There has been a downturn in the economy and Mark gives up on his thesis he finds that while he thought he was doing well, his drafts are nothing but incoherent ramblings. He returns home to find his father has sold his cattle which were ailing and all the hay and had bought two very flash farm vehicles. Mark realises that Tom has lost the plot and a role reversal takes place with Mark taking over the parenting role of his father and his daughter.

It is well written, and gives a realistic portrayal of people living in and around Dublin at that time. On looking at the cover it is probably not a book I would have noticed if not for the book group.

I also read.

The Secrets we Keep - Colette Caddle
This story is akin to reading Marcia Willett. Like Changing Places I enjoyed the characters in this story. In both books you get to really like and understand the characters and you want to keep reading whenever you have a moment to do so. I felt like I was there with them all, watching them play out their lives.. You wish Erin would pull herself together and you feel like bashing her and Sebastian's heads together. The more you get into the book probably the less you know until you get near the end and then it all comes together. More or less happily for most of the characters.

However, whilst I see where some have mentioned other books of hers that are equally as good, I was not enamoured with "From this moment on" which I got out of the library... it was okay but not one I would recommend to others. But I will try her "Always on my mind." as that has had good reviews.

I do hope that Amy Snow does come to our libraries. I saw it in the shops but way too costly.. but it is in my notebook as one to look out for.