Fade' is an outstanding novel. It is a modern day, tragic love story. The story skips forward and back in time as we learn about the life of Patrick BFade' is an outstanding novel. It is a modern day, tragic love story. The story skips forward and back in time as we learn about the life of Patrick Bryce, an ordinary man who has just found the love of his life and has never been happier, but then the worst happens when he finds out that he is losing his sight. We follow Patrick through the ups and downs of his emotions during this painful time as he is told that he will eventually go blind and he then begins a journey; a race, to re-live the most important moments of his life by visiting people and places that meant something to him, before he loses his chance to ever experience them again. By his side throughout all of this is the woman he loves. The plot builds and the novel gains pace in the final chapters of the story to the surprising and tragic end. Despite the heart-rending content of the book, the overall message is an uplifting one affirming the idea that love, in all its forms, truly can conquer all. It is very well written with insightful observations into human behaviour. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes contemporary fiction....more
After reading Sandcastle and Other Stories by this author, I was looking forward to reading more of his work. The Conversationalist is a wonderful litAfter reading Sandcastle and Other Stories by this author, I was looking forward to reading more of his work. The Conversationalist is a wonderful literary fiction novella. It is clear that the author is serious about his craft. He engages the reader with descriptive narrative and realistic dialogue. The two main characters in this book seem all too real. They have a past, and that has shaped their present. Everything they do is tainted by dark secrets in their past. I love this style of writing and this kind of psychological theme. I was hooked from the start and gripped by the twists and turns in the story. It's a very emotional read, and a story that will have you thinking about the characters long after you finish reading the last page. This story reminds us that we are all human, and that everything we do, and every experience we go through, has a ripple effect. If you're looking for a well written, engrossing, and slightly darker read, this book is for you. ...more
This is a book about four friends, Gabe, Jake, Louie and Sammy, following their last years in school/college; however, it is not only a book for teenaThis is a book about four friends, Gabe, Jake, Louie and Sammy, following their last years in school/college; however, it is not only a book for teenagers. I think everyone, young and old, will enjoy reading this book. It is a book about growing up, relationships, family problems and teenage social behaviour. The writing style is unconventional - there are no quotation marks used to signify speech, which first seems very unusual, but once you get used to it, doesn't seem that bad. Each chapter is written from the perspective of one of the four main characters, however, the author doesn't make it clear which character is narrating and so you have to work it out as you read. I found this a bit confusing, especially at the beginning of the book when the characters were unfamiliar, but as you get to know each character this becomes less distracting. However, given the way the book ends, it may well be that the author intended some confusion in the way the book was written; after all, the story does centre around the four boys' misuse of various drugs and the mind altering potential of these. I did find the book an entertaining read and would recommend it to anyone looking for a good book to read. There were a few typos contained in the book which kept recurring which is why I am only giving it four stars, otherwise I think it was almost perfect. It reminded me in parts of 'A Catcher in the Rye' with the same loose style of writing. JD Salinger's infamous book is mentioned a couple of times in the novel and so maybe it was one of the author's influences in writing this novel. ...more
Set on a plantation, Belle Ombre, in America's deep south just after the civil war, 'What Remains' is a murder mystery and historical fiction novel, wSet on a plantation, Belle Ombre, in America's deep south just after the civil war, 'What Remains' is a murder mystery and historical fiction novel, with a healthy dose of romance mixed in. I thoroughly enjoyed this book; the characters were well developed and realistic and the book was very obviously well researched, giving the reader the feeling of being transported back in time to the middle of the nineteenth century. I was reminded of'Gone With The Wind' on a few occasions. Shortly after the civil war, Paul Delahoussaye, a journalist, is assigned to do interviews with both Union and Confederate officers, it is during one of these interviews that he is given a bundle of letters which had been found lying on the ground after battle. Paul's natural curiosity leads him to read the letters; letters written by Isabelle to her fiance who was at war. Paul feels drawn to the writer of the letters and compelled to meet her. He travels to Belle Ombre plantation to deliver the letters to Isabelle, but there is a feeling that he is hopeful for a relationship to develop between them. Isabelle, is mourning the death of her fiance when Paul arrives at Belle Ombre. He also discovers that there has been a mysterious death at the house. He is invited to stay at the house and the next day there is a murder at the plantation and Paul is asked to help investigate who is responsible for the two deaths, which now appear to be linked. The novel is beautifully written and has many unexpected twists and turns which keeps the reader interested, and always wondering what will happen next. I would highly recommend this novel. ...more
This is a very interesting little book, and very well written. The author relates stories from his life documenting his very intimate relationship witThis is a very interesting little book, and very well written. The author relates stories from his life documenting his very intimate relationship with God. There are also stories from the lives of others which affirm his message; the message being that we are all able to communicate with God if we try. Adrian Hawkes gives examples of when God has spoken to him directly and through others, in some very fascinating and inspirational stories. The first few chapters, where the author is describing events from his life where God has intervened, reads very much like the 'Chicken Soup for the Soul' series of books. I found that I didn't want to put it down. Adrian Hawkes uses this book to set out his theory on how God gets involved in our lives by speaking to us, either directly, through others, through circumstances, nature, etc. There were a few editorial issues, but on the whole the book was well constructed and sends out a very important message. ...more
This is a very interesting book and quick to read. I thought the message in the book was so important that I bought a few copies for friends and familThis is a very interesting book and quick to read. I thought the message in the book was so important that I bought a few copies for friends and family. It doesn't really tell you anything you haven't been told before, but the way it is written is so inspiring, and Florence recounts some very surprising stories about her experiences in life which are fascinating to read. Everyone should read this book, then perhaps the world would be a better place!...more
'Chasing Memories' is the first in the series of three books by the Inspirational author, Cindy Bauer. The trilogy follows the life of Laura, a young'Chasing Memories' is the first in the series of three books by the Inspirational author, Cindy Bauer. The trilogy follows the life of Laura, a young widow with a small daughter. Thare are a few main characters to meet in 'Chasing Memories', apart from Laura and her daughter Annie, including their neighbours, Mr & Mrs Parker; and Susan, Annie's Nanny. All these characters play an important role in the story. The book focuses on the everyday lives of the characters and we follow them through their daily tasks. The book literally does make you feel like you are a fly on the wall in Laura's life, as almost every activity from the moment she gets out of bed in the morning to when she goes back to bed in the evening, from brushing her teeth to eating her dinner, is described in some detail especially at the beginning of the book. At first, I thought that we were being given a little too much of this mundane information, but as you read through the book and the story progresses, you do realise that these mundane tasks that Laura once perfomed very easily are all things that she could never really take for granted ever again... After the death of her husband, Laura is trying hard to put her life back together when she suffers an accident and loses her memory. When she wakes up in the hospital she doesn't remember who she is and doesn't recognise her own daughter. In fact, her whole life up the point of the accident is a mystery to her. She is helped by her friends and family to piece together parts of her life and is given a gift at Christmas, a 'memory-box', in which she can place important photos and personal items from her past and perhaps use them to jog her memory. We follow Laura through the story as she almost loses hope that she will ever regain her memory and almost loses her faith in God. However, the book contains some truly inspirational fiction as it describes the ways that Laura is blessed despite the tragedies which seem to meet her at every turn. There are seemingly no end of tragic events for Laura and her child to deal with. At one point Laura realises that 'life actually really is a continuous process, with an abundance of opportunities to start over' and in the context of the book and Laura's life, the author has done well to illustrate this point. I am sure this book will provide inspiration and also guidance to people who may be facing the reality of loss in their lives. As the author states so succinctly in the book: If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it. In the second half of the book the pace picks up and the ending is surprising, so that the book quickly turns into a compulsive read. The novel ends with an epilogue to entice the reader to read the next in the series, and hints at things to come... I am looking forward to finding out what happens next. ...more
This book, a thriller, is based on a simple idea: two families fighting over the ownership of one house. I found myself intrigued and couldn't wait toThis book, a thriller, is based on a simple idea: two families fighting over the ownership of one house. I found myself intrigued and couldn't wait to find out what happened - who would eventually get the house?! Kathy did not come across as a very likeable character (I'm not sure if that was the intention?) so I found myself hoping that Behrani and his family would keep it. I thought the ending was a bit rushed and perhaps too unrealistic, but I'm still giving it 5 stars because I think it is a book that deserves to be read and it will keep you hooked....more
I liked this book, but it was a chore to get through. Perhaps I'm not a very patient reader, but for me this book had far too many words. It could havI liked this book, but it was a chore to get through. Perhaps I'm not a very patient reader, but for me this book had far too many words. It could have been cut down to at least half its length and still have been a good book. I would hesitate to recommend it to anyone mainly due to the superfluous prose. Azaro is a spirit-child, a child who is destined to live for ever in the spirit world and is usually born and then dies as a baby to return to the spirit world. Azaro has chosen to live in the real world. This has dangers, because spirit children who choose to stay in this world will always be haunted by their spirit companions from the other world and the spirit companions will always be trying to lure them back. We follow Azaro, an African child, as he navigates a world full of unusual signs and dangers. He is born into a poor family and they suffer great hardship as they fight to live their dreams. The story is told well, but would have been better if half of the words were edited out! Students of literature who like reading lengthy books may find it to be the perfect read, but as someone who prefers to be entertained when I'm reading, I found the excessive descriptions tiresome. I did almost give up reading it a couple of times. I am left wondering whether it was worth reading it to the end. There are some great sentiments in the book, and the story is sometimes fun to read, although I did feel as though nothing was ever really happening. This may have been intentional because we are, after all, reading about the lives of poor people who are struggling and do have monotonous lives. On the whole, Ben Okri has painted the picture of this small community well and I really felt as though I could almost see the place where they lived and the characters were very likeable and realistic which helped to persuade me to continue reading the book. 3.5 stars...more
I must admit I nearly gave up reading this novel after about the first 100 pages. It just seemed to long-winded. I think it definitely could have beenI must admit I nearly gave up reading this novel after about the first 100 pages. It just seemed to long-winded. I think it definitely could have been shorter, too many words and too many characters, some were just not needed!! Having said that though, if you persevere it does get better. It took me a long time to read, I found I could only read it one chunk at a time, but I thought the ending was perfect, maybe the best ending to a book I have read in a long time. Kate Morton is undoubtedly a very talented writer and a lot of effort has gone into writing this book. It's worth reading just to get to the 'secret' at the end. If you like romantic fiction, with a bit of history thrown in then this one is for you....more
I decided to read this book as I heard it was similar to 'The Ladies of Missalonghi' by Colleen McCullough, which I really enjoyed. I found 'The BlueI decided to read this book as I heard it was similar to 'The Ladies of Missalonghi' by Colleen McCullough, which I really enjoyed. I found 'The Blue Castle' to be a captivating read. I couldn't wait to find out what happened. I was amazed that 'The Blue Castle' was written over 80 years ago, as I could relate to the character Valancy as if she were a modern woman. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is a romantic at heart. I'm sure everyone has their own 'Blue Castle' (i.e. a dream). What L. M. Montgomery seems to be saying to us through this great novel, is that personal dreams and aspirations are very important and can get you through the hardest of times....more
A collection of articles (some already previously published in newspapers and magazines); poems; short stories and jokes from Sean Hughes, best knownA collection of articles (some already previously published in newspapers and magazines); poems; short stories and jokes from Sean Hughes, best known for his stand-up comedy. I am a fan of Sean's stand-up comedy and also liked his TV show back in the 90s. This book has some great laughs in it (my favourite being 'Notes on dropping out of society') and some poignant poetry, but all in all it's probably a book that only a real Sean Hughes fan would enjoy as it allows you a glimpse into his world. I'm not sure that it would have wider appeal. Personally, I think Sean's particular type of humour comes across better in his stand-up shows than in the written word. Worth reading if you're a fan though....more
In Grandma’s Attic is an entertaining children’s book about a young girl, Arleta, who enjoys listening to her grandmother’s stories about when she wasIn Grandma’s Attic is an entertaining children’s book about a young girl, Arleta, who enjoys listening to her grandmother’s stories about when she was a girl, growing up in a small town. There are twenty-one stories in total, all beginning with the young girl talking with her grandmother, and then her grandmother proceeding to tell her a story. It is a nice book that I am sure will delight older children who can read, and it is also the type of book that you could read to younger children.
The stories are based on real stories that the author’s grandmother told her. All are interesting and fun to read. Most of the stories contain morals.
There are a few illustrations included in the book that help to bring alive some parts of the stories.
The book relates tales from a time long before modern technology, before cars, telephones, computers; before many of the things we take for granted today were even in existence, at least in the small town where Arleta’s grandmother grew up. It’s a bit of a social history book too in that sense, and takes the reader back to another era.
The writing style is captivating and engaging, and the stories are full of vivid description, taking the reader back in time to an enchanting place. The young girl in the book, learns many things from her grandmother’s tales, including one of the most important and surprising things to her: that her grandmother was a child once; a young girl like her who was also capable of doing the wrong things and getting into trouble for not listening to her parents. By telling the stories, the grandmother also imparts wisdom about things she learned as a young girl.
Young Arleta finds many things in her grandmother’s attic and it seems that all of these items hold a story waiting to be told; for example the piece of red fabric that used to be part of her grandmother’s bonnet as a girl; the flowery fabric that used to belong to one of her dresses; or the buttons that were once fastened to her grandmother’s shoe. The young girl also takes a trip to the house where her grandmother grew up and learns even more about the way of life in another era.
Even though about a hundred years or more have passed since Arleta’s grandmother was a girl, I’m sure children will be able to relate to the stories told by the author’s grandmother and her sense of adventure and curiosity.
Reviewed by Maria Savva as a reviewer for Bookpleasures.com...more
I really enjoyed reading this book. This is the true story of the discovery of a long-forgotten diary. The diary of Florence Wolfson lay undiscoveredI really enjoyed reading this book. This is the true story of the discovery of a long-forgotten diary. The diary of Florence Wolfson lay undiscovered for over half a century until the author, Lily Koppel, finds it in a dumpster. Koppel is a writer for the New York Times and was naturally curious about the content of the diary. She searched for the diary's author, and 90 year-old Florence told her all about her life in 1920s and 1930s New York. Florence as a teenager had been full of energy and had a zest for life and the arts. Her story is an amazing one. Lily Koppel brings the pages of the diary to life brilliantly....more