I picked this book up as part of a 3 for 2 offer in a bookshop when I had already chosen my first two and was in a rush - I didn't even read the blurb...moreI picked this book up as part of a 3 for 2 offer in a bookshop when I had already chosen my first two and was in a rush - I didn't even read the blurb on the back, I just vaguely remembered someone telling me how good it was.
What an absolute treat then to find that this ended up being the best of the lot - infact I can honestly say that I haven't enjoyed a book so much in a long time (and I read alot). From the very first paragraph I knew I was going to enjoy Behind the Scenes at the Museum; this book made me laugh and cry. The characters were all so real that I was desperate to know more about them, and I just love the way that the book jumps from present day to another time in the past of this strange but wonderfully fascinating family.
The story starts with the conception of Ruby Lennox in a drunken fumble with her parents in their House Above the Shop in York. Ruby narrates even before her birth and sets the scene with her family - a very disfunctional one at that. The second chapter then goes back in time to Ruby's Great-Grandmother, Alice and her 5 children and from here on in we flit back and forth between Ruby's life and those of her ancestors. All the characters in this book are so 3 dimensional it made me greedy to find out more about them and I found myself thinking about them even when I wasn't reading at the time.
I'm so glad I picked this book up and I am now desperate to read Kate Atkinson's other books. I just LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this book and can't recommend it highly enough.
What an absolute treat this was to read. I took this on my holiday with me as I do like a good dose of chick-lit while relaxing in my sunlounger and S...moreWhat an absolute treat this was to read. I took this on my holiday with me as I do like a good dose of chick-lit while relaxing in my sunlounger and Sophie Kinsella never lets me down.
This book was a delight from start to finish. It is narrated by Lara, newly dumped and struggling to run a business on her own. All she needs is to be pestered by the ghost of her Great Auntie Sadie whom she never even met but is here, larger than life, as a 23 year old dancing, drinking, fun-loving girl that only Lara can see and whom she insists help her find her necklace before she is buried without it.
The character of Sadie was just fabulous! One of the most endearing I have come across in a long time; she was such good fun. This book is my new favourite out of all the independents (i.e. not the shopaholic series). I love, love, loved it! (less)
This was my first Mary Wesley. It was a battered old paperback that I picked up from a second-hand bookshop – I was drawn to the cover which made me f...moreThis was my first Mary Wesley. It was a battered old paperback that I picked up from a second-hand bookshop – I was drawn to the cover which made me feel summery. I loved it. Wesley’s style is so unlike any other author I can think to compare it to sparse and to the point. There is no room for flowery prose in this book but yet its simplicity and matter-of-factness drew me right in and I really cared about the characters.
The book starts with seventeen-year-old Juno who has just seen her two childhood friends off to war in 1942 and she is wondering through the blackened streets of London with nowhere to go, when she is pulled inside a house by a stranger during an air raid. The stranger offers her a bed for the night but when she wakes up he is dead. Some weeks later, after living almost rough in London she boards a train to Cornwall to deliver a letter from the dead man to his Father. When she arrives at Copplestone’s Farm she is welcomed into the fold without question. I don’t want to spoil the rest of the book, not because there are any spectacular twists involved but because it’s fun to follow Juno in her journey.
I just loved the characters, all of them who were easy to warm to in some way. The bluntness and ‘frightful poshness’ of their speach was interspersed with humour, some of which had me laughing out loud.
“Are you staying for supper?”
“If I am invited.”
“Could you call off your Mosley [dog:], he is rogering my bitch.”
I thoroughly enjoyed this book; more than I expected to in fact. Mary Wesley has written many more books (some of which I also have at home) which I fully intend to read sometime soon. I would recommend this book for frazzled brains – something gentle to sooth the soul. And an ending that had me hooting with laughter! (less)
Ahahahahahahaha! OK, this book isn't supposed to be funny but it's only for the fact that I laughed through most of it (albeit when I wasn't suppose...more Ahahahahahahaha! OK, this book isn't supposed to be funny but it's only for the fact that I laughed through most of it (albeit when I wasn't supposed to) that it gets 3 stars and not one.
Oh dear, oh dear. Plot idea = great. Execution = erm, not. When I first read the blurb on the back of this I really thought I was in for a treat. Six archaelogoists on a dig in Greenland and then they get news of an epidemic back home and their communication with the outside world falls away and they are left stranded with not enough food or shelter. The book is written in the form of last letters home by each member of the party in turn.
So what happened? Very little, as it goes. Each character was so underdeveloped I didn't give a monkeys about any of them, the "inbetween plot" of ghosties and ghoulies haunting their little camp was hilarious and not in any particular order that I could fathom and there were so many academic "in-jokes" that had me groaning on almost a page-by-page basis. I know this book was written by a senior literature professor, but seriously love, stick to your day job. Frankly most of the narrative left me appalled by its stiltedness and the oodles of references to 19th century classics only served to show off the authors knowledge than to enhance the plot in any way. Why did we need to know what picture was on the cover of Villette and Middlemarch? I sort of got the impression that alot of the authors own opinions were coming through her characters (imparticular Nina): there were left-wing views, snobbery about package holidays, views on femenism and all that had no relevence to the plot.
One of my favourtie parts was when the group had realised that they had had no internet connection for several days. They were wondering if maybe the epidemic had spread from the USA to Europe. So instead of testing a website in, say, Australia or Malaysia what do they do? Check a real-estates in Scotland and the Guardian Newspaper, that's what. Genius!
So, the 3 stars - I laughed. I laughed a lot. And, weirdly, I felt compelled to keep reading. Did I enjoy this book? Yes, sort of. Would I recommend it? No.(less)
I just loved this book. It is my first ever Christina Jones and I picked it up from a bargain bin thinking that it looked fun. I was not disappointed....moreI just loved this book. It is my first ever Christina Jones and I picked it up from a bargain bin thinking that it looked fun. I was not disappointed. I have spent the whole day reading it outside in the sizzling hot sun - just perfect.
I understand that a lot of the characters have been introduced in previous books and that they are all set in cute little Berkshire villages with funny names so now I know this I can't wait to dive into the others. This story centres on Phoebe, a list-making, highly-oragnised, horoscope reading hairdresser who turned up for her immaculately planned wedding to discover that the groom hasn't. As Phoebe tries to come to terms with what's happened and carry on alone, she has to put up with the return of Rocky, her noisy, bad-tempered neighbour as well. Then she meets Essie, a glamorous pensioner who dabbles in something called Happy Birthday magic and that's when things take a turn...
What a wonderful, magical read. I adored all the characters and there is such humour and comedy moments that I laughed out loud in places. Loved, loved, loved it.(less)
What a wonderful trip down memory lane this book was. I remember watching the TV series back in the 70's and 80's and picking this book up for the fir...moreWhat a wonderful trip down memory lane this book was. I remember watching the TV series back in the 70's and 80's and picking this book up for the first time was like settling down by the fire with old friends.
Set in the Yorkshire Dales, this is the first book in a series by rookie vet James Herriot and his new life in the countryside and among the animals and his struggle to win over the old Yorkshire farmers and eccentric characters he meets there. There were so many times when I literally laughed out loud (once in a quiet hospital corridor while waiting for someone to come out of the theatre - which got me a few horrified looks!). The character of Mrs Pumphrey and her dog Tricki Woo had me bent over crying with laughter!
I just loved this book. I live in Yorkshire, about an hour from the Dales, and it has made me want to jump in my car and head off to Herriot country; the whole place just came alive with his passion for the region. I am really looking forward to reading the rest in the series - this is the sort of comfort reading that I know I can look forward to if I need a break from real life. In the words of James Herriot while describing his beloved countryside - I felt like I could breathe. This book is a real tonic - highly recommended. (less)
Oh how I love this series! This is pure comfort reading at its very best. I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard reading a book. Picking up...moreOh how I love this series! This is pure comfort reading at its very best. I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard reading a book. Picking up the books in this series is like catching up with a friend for a glass of red wine by the fire.
The characters are all so brilliantly drawn that I feel I know them all. To get to know about these burly Yorkshire farmers (with all their local dialect thrown in to boot) is a joy and a priviledge.
I was planning on a break before picking up number 3 in the series but now I'm not so sure I can resist picking it straight up and diving in - that's how addictive they are.(less)
What an absolute treat this book was to read! I absolutely loved it. I was recommended this book a few months ago (thanks Kathryn) so I picked up a co...moreWhat an absolute treat this book was to read! I absolutely loved it. I was recommended this book a few months ago (thanks Kathryn) so I picked up a copy when in NYC in December as it wasn’t out in the UK then. Then in January I was lucky enought to interview Gail for my blog and was even more fascinated and intriguied when I read her answers. Who knew a book about vampires, werewolves and ghosts wandering around Victorian London and attending tea-parties would be so much fun? From the minute I cracked open the spine I knew I was in for a great ride. Our heroine is Miss Alexia Tarabotti and she has fast become one of my favourite characters in any book: she’s feitsy, speaks her own mind, sarcastic, soulless, large chested and so funny!
In the opening pages, Miss Tarabotti accidentally kills a rogue vampire who tries to attack her, and although she is put out that said vampire doesn’t appear to know that she was born without a soul and therefore immune to any supernatural attack, she is more annoyed that the vampire landed in the middle of the food table and on top of the treacle tart, which she had particularly been looking forward to. Within minutes, The Earl of Wolsey, Lord Maccon, arrives in the middle of the mess – he has been sent by Queen Victoria to investigate the mystery of disappearing registered vampires and appearing rogue vampires. Lord Maccon also happens to be a werewolf, the Alpha at that, and Miss Tarabotti appears to exasperate him at every turn. The characters are what really made this book, for me. Alexia aside, I also fell in love with Lord Akeldama, a flambouyant vampire who practically minces through the pages, and Lyall, Lord Maccon’s beta werewolf and sidekick are fantastic, as are the vile Mrs Loontwill (Alexia’s mother) and her two sisters.
Miss Tarabotti’s adventure with trying to track down what has happened to the disappearing vampires and werewolves and getting herself kidnapped by a man with a wax face are nothing compared to the other big distraction that keeps following her around in the shape of an increasingly randy Lord Maccon. There are fangs, fur, ghosties, tea, treacle tart, peacock hats, silver-tipped parasols, adventure, science, satire blended with steampunk and some fantasy – the whole shebang.
I really did enjoy this book and I can’t wait for the next in the series, Changeless, to come out in April. I can highly recommend this book and urge you to read it!(less)