Friday, 19 June 2009

Cassandra Clare - City of Bones

This is not quite Stephanie Meyer standard but a close second. Although vampires and werewolves do feature in this novel, the main focus is on a group of Shadowhunter warriors that are trained to kill demons that inhabit our world and that normal "mundanes" cannot see. The protagonists are 15 - 17 so there is some teen angst, but on the whole the plot carries on at a pace through these parts and we are carried along with it. The book is edgy, and interesting in that it is based in a very urban setting, that of New York. It also is very funny in places, I love the Holy Water in the petrol tank of the vampire motorbikes, very clever! I think this shows great promise as a series, and I look forward to reading the rest.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Marion McGilvary - A Lost Wife's Tale

This is a book about a woman who has run away, as the book unfolds we discover more possible reasoning as to why she might have. Edith looks like she has at last found happiness, what is it that could happen to spoil this, she has constructed her life so well...........
This is a disturbing book, and one that will be with you for some time, it will make a superb reading group selection as I think the moral dilemmas will have the group discussing for hours. Should we tell the truth? If we tell a white lie should we pay for it? Can you be too nice? Can we escape out past?
There is little more that I can say without spoilers, it is well written, just when you think you have a handle on the plot then along comes a surprise that forces a re-think all over again. this is an excellent first novel and I am sure we will hear more from this author, I do hope so.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Jasper Fforde - The Well of Lost PLots

What can I say read these and laugh. Classic offerings in this book, are the Wuthering Heights rage counseling session, Falstaff, Miss Havisham competing with Toad for the land speed record, oh and the Queen of Hearts as a judge!! I am onto the next!!

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Jasper FForde - Lost in a good book

Another great book in the series, this is the second, this time Thursday Next enters Great Expectations, saves the world, and fights to prevent the eradication from time of her husband Landen........ and there are some total belly laugh moments throughout! Nothing like taking on the classics!!

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Stuart Neville - The Twelve

I really rated this book which is due to be published this July. It is not the sort of book I would normally pick up. I had thought it was more a supernatural sort of book, (rather than a thriller). It was however, simply unputdownable ! I read it over twelve hours, finally finishing it at 2 in the morning. There are very few books that I have read that have this effect on me! What I found fascinating is that although the lead character, Gerry, is not at all conventionally likeable, -how can one love an IRA killer-, we still became invested in him and wanted to find out how this book would resolve itself, and at the end, despite what he had done, uncomfortably, you felt justice had been done. This will make it a very good reading group book, (some reading notes would be useful), the themes of revenge, justice, Ireland, redemption are just a few of the things we could talk about!

Monday, 1 June 2009

Roma Tearne - Mosquito

My goodness what a novel. Why has this been missed for a prize? It is stunning, made all the more poignant in the wake of what is still happening in Sri Lanka now. Theo, a successful writer, returns to his native Sri Lanka, after the death of his Italian wife. This is a civilised man, a man who believes in hope, the future and a rational solution to all things, but as the Civil war re-emerges he is swept up into the centre of the conflict, where there is no rationale, just mindless retaliatory violence, hate, torture and death.

This is a disturbing novel, brilliantly written that stays with you long after you have read it. Her descriptions of the beauty of the landscape of Sri Lanka and the contrasting ugliness of inter racial hatred are superb.

I cannot wait to read her next books, watch this BLOG.

This will make an excellent reading group book. I am ordering copies now so they will be available soon in Bournemouth Libraries.

Santa Montefiore - Sea of Lost Love

At first I thought this was just going to be so-so. There was a sense of deja view about it. 1958, a large house in Cornwall by the sea. An extended family congegrate there every Summer, a mystery occurs........ ( see Judith Lennox book below). However what a suprise I really wanted to finish this, it is a wonderful snapshot of the time, and beautifully written. This book reduced me to tears. I liked the idea of redemption, the way the characters grew in reaction to the tragedy.

This is an excellent book to read by the pool or on the beach this summer, or even in your back garden!

It will also make an very good reading group read, with the themes of religion, suicide, responsibility, the rites of passage, the passing of a post war world etc.

Guillermo Martinez - The Oxford Murders

This is a great little book especially if you like puzzles and maths! I spent several hours before I solved the puzzle on page 28! I also learnt alot about mathematical theory! This is a Murder Mystery about a serial killer or is it? Do the crimes matter? It is the delicious attempt by a South American to unpick the social morees of middle England and at the same time attempt to solve a crime using theoretical mathematics as his guide!

I am looking forward to borrowing the film from the library and see what they made of it!

Jeanne Kalogridis - The Borgia bride

'Corset busting escapism' says the Sunday Times, but in many ways I think this does this novel a disservice. It is very well written and compelling. I read it long into the night as I really wanted to find out what happened to our heroine Sancha. Once again I would say that this is an excellent book to take on holiday or to occupy a long train jouney as it will have you captivated. The historical detail is wonderful, and I felt I learnt alot about the history of Rome in this time. Sometimes I was so immersed in the 1400s that when I looked up I was disorientated for a few moments as I came to reality. This to me is the sign of a true reading for pleasure experience.

Marina Fiorato - The Madonna of the Almonds

This is the second novel for Marina, after her very successful Glassblower of Murano ( see review below). This time the book is a straight historical novel. I really enjoyed it and would really recommend this as a holiday read this summer. It is a fictionalised account of how Amaretto may have been invented!

In the story a young widow in 1525, coming to terms with her loss and the realisation that she has an estate but no funds. Into her life comes a talented painter Bernadino, and a love story begins.

This would also make an interesting book group book, not least as it would be an excuse to sample Amaretto? Also it touches on themes of war, love, anti-semetism, and art.

Alex Bell - The Ninth Circle

I am not sure quite what went wrong for me with this book. It looks just my type of thing. A man comes round covered in blood in Budapest with no memory of himself. It looks like it might be about supernatural things or angels and demons......... Frankly I got bored. I did not finish it, it was very slow, I think, no literary tension to keep me reading. I was not invested in the character and frankly I did not care what happened to him. A great shame. Does anyone else have any views?