This is a reissue of a book originally published in 1995. Nan is a sax player, with a Master’s in French, hairFrom Netgalley in exchange for a review
This is a reissue of a book originally published in 1995. Nan is a sax player, with a Master’s in French, hair shaved close to her head, missing living in Paris as she lives in a dubious area of New York. She’s got an on-off lover in Walter, who starts the book having walked out on her, but who comes to show just how bad he is for her.
I'll be upfront from the beginning: I dont know why I requested this book, and unfortunately at time of writing (late June 2015) I haven't finished itI'll be upfront from the beginning: I dont know why I requested this book, and unfortunately at time of writing (late June 2015) I haven't finished it - I've managed about 35% of the way through. I have read other reviews that say "it's a slow start but glad I stuck with it" so I might give it a second chance....but not right now.
Barlow is a small town in Arizona, with lots of different personalities, from uptight upstanding police men, through widowed authors returning home, to dropped out hippies on the edge of society. Dead bodies are stacking up around the place, and not all of the deaths are explainable - apart from the ones done by Chris the librarian who has an overwhelming need for things to be neat and tidy and will do anything to make sure that happens.
That's as far as I get unfortunately....I see potential, lots of different voices are coming through, I just have other books that are calling me louder, and it hasn't gripped me enough to make me drop them in favour of this book....more
This book is set in Louisiana, nearly 40 years before the Civil War. The title of the book has many layers of meaning: Manon Gaudet is the bitter andThis book is set in Louisiana, nearly 40 years before the Civil War. The title of the book has many layers of meaning: Manon Gaudet is the bitter and unhappy wife of a sugar plantation owner who is rapidly descending into bankruptcy; her house slave Sarah who was given to her as a wedding gift in part to get her out of Manon’s parent’s house; the house that is left to her on her mother’s death is scheduled to become her husband’s property, since everything belonging to a woman automatically becomes the property of her husband – she only gets to retain the house due to the death of her husband in a slave uprising.
Received as a Christmas present in 2014. Published by the British Library (@BL_Publishing) this is one of a set of Golden age Crime novels that have dReceived as a Christmas present in 2014. Published by the British Library (@BL_Publishing) this is one of a set of Golden age Crime novels that have disappeared off people's radars but republished by the British Library
A few years before WWII, a train full of people are making their way to various places one Christmas Eve, to celebrate Christmas day with various friends and relations. Their plans are delayed somewhat when an extraordinarily heavy snow brings the train to a halt near the village of Hemmersby.
From Netgalley in exchange for a review. I have read several stories in the Dukes of War series before, so when this book came up, it seemed rude to tFrom Netgalley in exchange for a review. I have read several stories in the Dukes of War series before, so when this book came up, it seemed rude to turn it down!
I have to admit I was less convinced with this one in terms of the plot device to get them together. Bartholemew (Tolly) and Daphne have known each other from childhood but haven't seen each other since Tolly returned from war missing both a leg and his identical twin brother. Daphne is being threatened with the mad house if she doesn't get married by her next birthday and so ropes Tolly into the scheme. She doesn't want to get married because she feels it'll prevent her from investing in all her schemes to improve the lots of the lower classes.
rest of the review can be found over at my blog here:
Paperbook from my bookgroup. This edition published by Corgi Books approx 1981. I’ve quite a few of the Follett books sitting, waiting to be read, butPaperbook from my bookgroup. This edition published by Corgi Books approx 1981. I’ve quite a few of the Follett books sitting, waiting to be read, but when this came up, I had (!) to accept it. It’s one of the latest additions to the pile, but one of the first to be read, in order to bring some semblance of control to my TBR pile (hahahaha).
This is set in the USSR, predominately in 1945 in the months after the end of WWII. The USSR is jubilant, havinFrom Netgalley in exchange for a review
This is set in the USSR, predominately in 1945 in the months after the end of WWII. The USSR is jubilant, having been on the winning side against Germany and the Nazis. However, on an individual level, people have already learnt the double-think of the state under Lenin and now Stalin and know that they can be betrayed by even their closest family members.
Picked up as a free ebook from Amazon during an offer period. This is one of the first traditional crime procedurals I've read in ages (perhaps years)Picked up as a free ebook from Amazon during an offer period. This is one of the first traditional crime procedurals I've read in ages (perhaps years) and it's also set in the less-than-traditional Welsh countryside, so I believe that's why I picked it up. This is the first in the Inspector Drake series.
Drake is a married man with several children and he has plenty of his own issues. He finds solace and peace in having order around him - even if it means staying at work late to have his desk tidy and the soduku puzzle finished.
20 years after the death of Reed and Sue's children in a FF Fight, we find that the Fantastic Four have split up. Johnny and Ben have moved on, buildi20 years after the death of Reed and Sue's children in a FF Fight, we find that the Fantastic Four have split up. Johnny and Ben have moved on, building new lives - Ben has three children with Alicia Masters and lives on Mars, while Johnny has become the leader of the Avengers. Reed and Sue are not longer talking to each other and both are losing themselves in work.
The plot is fairly forgettable - aliens attacking from outside and within. All the classic villains are there, such as Annihilus, and the long defeated Doctor Doom: Galactus shows up for the finale and it all seems to be driven by the Kree and the Skree, with the Watchers managing to meddle somehow.
Whilst doing some deep water archaeology, Sue meets Namor, and finds a long abandoned Kree site, including a Kree Orb. In the end, during a massive battle, a (still grief stricken) Sue persuades the FF to go back in time to rescue her children at the point of their deaths, using the Kree orb.
Whilst the overall Marvel series is classed as "The End" the FF part is as much about beginnings as endings. It is a "cast of thousands" story, that means it ends up as a bit of a mess and it's not really clear to know where the threat is really coming from....more
From Kensington Publishing via Netgalley in exchange for a review. Number 1 in the Wicked Deceptions series.
Julia is married at 16 and deserted by her From Kensington Publishing via Netgalley in exchange for a review. Number 1 in the Wicked Deceptions series.
Julia is married at 16 and deserted by her husband on their wedding night, leaving the marriage unconsummated. 8 years later, we find her on a gondola, having tracked her absent husband down to Venice. She aims to seduce her husband into getting her with child, in the hope that he will provide for the child and therefore rescue her from poverty. She pretends to be a courtesan, having learnt from one of the most famous consorts in London, and manages to get her way with a little help from her friend Simon, the Earl Of Winchester.
It's 1809, Maggie's debut season, and her reputation has been trashed by a rebuffed admirer. She attends a party with her mother and sister, only to rIt's 1809, Maggie's debut season, and her reputation has been trashed by a rebuffed admirer. She attends a party with her mother and sister, only to realise how badly she has been ruined. She looks to be rescued by her friend Simon, the Earl of Winchester, only for him to turn his back on her.
Ten years later and Maggie is a different woman: She's now a widow (married to an older man, who in the end preferred his mistress rather than his wife); her reputation has been developed into the Harlot Duchess, and she throws parties that often play up to this reputation - all bar the sex; She spent time in Paris, where she has developed some good friendships, and managed to fit in an affair with a French artist whilst she was there; She also has a job producing political cartoons that lampoons many of the current politicians, with Simon being a particular favourite target.
Back in England she and Simon accidentally meet and both realise that they are still attracted to each other. However Simon still believes the rumours, and Maggie refuses to let him close enough to break her heart again. Realising her artistic talent, Simon hires Maggie to find the identity of Lemac, without realising that they are both and the same person!
It takes a long time for both characters to come to terms with 10 years of assumptions, heartbreak and secrets. There's also gambling, threats and blackmail coming from other sources which could affect both Simon's career in Parliament and Maggie's career in political cartooning.
This is the second in the Wicked Deceptions series, and some of the secondary characters appear in the first book (The Courtesan Duchess), so are kept fairly light in this one. There's the occasional reference to something that you know happened in a different story, but this story suffers little for that.
It's quite a complex story, and is not one of those "traditional" romances that can be easily consumed within the day. There are no "fade to black" on the sex scenes and these are fairly modern and explicit - therefore these books are not for those who like their romances a little more tame.
The ending keeps enough threads open to be continued in further stories, but the immediate issues are resolved to the reader's satisfaction....more
A secret research facility in the Colorado mountains is the US Army's last outpost after defeat by the PanAsians. The conquerors had absorbed the USSRA secret research facility in the Colorado mountains is the US Army's last outpost after defeat by the PanAsians. The conquerors had absorbed the USSR after being attacked by them & had then absorbed India. They're ruthless, having crushed a rebellion by killing 150,000 civilians as punishment.
The lab is in turmoil. All but six of the personnel have died due to unknown forces released by an experiment operating within the newly-discovered magneto-gravitic or electro-gravitic spectra. Survivors learn they can selectively kill by releasing the internal pressure of cell membranes. This weapon can kill one race while leaving others unharmed.
They devise more uses for the forces discovered, but how do a handful overthrow an occupation that controls all communications & makes it criminal to print English? Noting the invaders have allowed religious practice to pacify their slaves, they start a church & act as Priests of Mota (atom backwards) to build a resistance movement which Major Ardmore, the protagonist, refers to as the 6th Column--as opposed to a traitorous 5th.
Originally published in 1941 as "Sixth Column" this came to me from my bookgroup under it's alternate title of "The Day After Tomorrow". I hadn't read Heinlein, or any other books from this era, in years, so picked it up.
The story starts with Major Ardmore arriving at The Citadel, to find that all but 6 members of the section are dead, via unknown methods. To all intents and purposes it's an Military (Army) base, but the remaining staff are science types or low grade army recruits. Ardmore finds himself having to take over command and not only deal with the temperamental staff but how to react to the enslavement of the American people by a combined Far East contingent.
"But the PanAsians arent Japanese" "No and they're not Chinese. They are a mixed race, strong, proud and prolific".
50 years of non interaction with the far east had resulted in America being invaded by an group of people they had no understanding of.
The Nonintercourse Act had kept the American people from knowing anything important about their enemy. [...] The proponents of the measure had maintained that China was a big bite even for Soviet Russia to digest and that the United States had no fear of war [...] we had our backs turned when China digested Russia
They then go on to absorb India as well and it is many of the veterans of the India campaign who are brought over to control the Americans.
The invaders are depicted as ruthless and cruel—for example, they crush an abortive rebellion by killing 150,000 American civilians as punishment.
Under Ardmore's instruction the scientists soon find what killed their colleagues, and the rest of the book is a way of overcoming the obstacles of being a small group overcoming a whole continent of enemies. They make the best use of their new weapon despite the limits on communications and travel. Noting that the invaders have allowed the free practice of religion (the better to pacify their slaves), the Americans set up a church of their own in order to build a resistance movement—the Sixth Column (as opposed to a traitorous fifth column).
This is a short book (145 pages) and so the writing is sparse and there is little exposition of the things that are different. The Scout cars - high speed flying cars, manoeuvrable like helicopters, but faster and virtually undetectable - are used where travel over long distances is required. There is some description of the new weapon, but that is kept to a minimum but having Ardmore as a non-scientist quickly bored with things he doesn't understand.
It's difficult to decide whether it's the author or the characters themselves who are inherently racist against the invaders. Several characters refer to them as "monkeys" or "Flat faced Bastards" but outside of speech they are most commonly referred to as "PanAsians" or "Asiatics". A few of the characters are slightly more charitable, saying things like the following:
"Don't make the mistake of thinking of the PanAsians as bad - they're not - but they are different. Behind their arrogance is a racial inferiority complex, a mass paranoia that makes it necessary for them to prove to themselves by proving to us that a yellow man is as good as a white man, an a damned sight better. Remember that, son, they want the outside signs of respect more than anything else in the world."
Ardmore is the most complete character, but even he isn't an in depth person. The secondary characters are a little on dimensional, but that's a side effect of such a short book. The characters who appear early in the book are dropped early, only for some of them to appear later in the book - Dr Calhoun disappears as soon as the weapons are developed, and only appears again having a breakdown and running amok in the Citadel. The intelligence gathering trip by Thomas was interesting, and provided the most rounded description of the changed world state.
The Sheriffs wander the clouds to keep the peace across Nephos. Sheriff Denebola is recruited by young Toby to help rid his village of a winged demo
The Sheriffs wander the clouds to keep the peace across Nephos.
Sheriff Denebola is recruited by young Toby to help rid his village of a winged demon. The demon has tormented the people of Angel's Keep every night for the past week so Denebola vows to capture the creature.However, the demon is not the only shadow cast over Angel’s Keep. There is the strict priest, Father Osmond, who detests all magic. There is Gideon, a man with wings, claiming to be an angel sent by the Lord. And there is also the matter of the Red Witch, who threatened the village five years before the demon’s arrival.
Denebola soon finds himself caught up in a mystery where angels, demons, heroes and villains are not all that they seem.
From the Author in exchange for a review. Denebola is a Sheriff (but most definitely NOT a lion) is returning home to see The Maverick, after intervening between the humans and their noisy Witch neighbours. The latter have been keeping everyone up at night whilst they keep setting of lightening bolts and it needed a Sheriff to intervene, but it resulted in Denebola with one all mighty hangover.
He gets waylaid by Toby, one of the inhabitants of a neighbouring cloud - called Angel's Keep - with a request that he helps protect the cloud from a demon who has been causing mayhem for the last week. As a Sheriff he cant really say no, so finds the cloud has not only humans but Angels, Demons and Witches, which all make for an interesting few days.
The presence of the Angel (who Deneobla recognises as one of the more lazy and unfit members of the Featherfolk and not an Angel really), has stirred up belief in the Old Religion and caused fear in the rather small community. It also means that people are unwilling to reveal their "gifts" - that little bit of magic that meant the original people were chosen by The Clown to inhabit Nepos. I wont say more due to potential spoilers.
As you can tell from the synopsis above - this is a story about another world, which has been set up decently, with no resorting to the overwrought world building some writers adopt. The writing style has a light, humorous tone and isn't overcomplicated, which means that this book is also appropriate to younger readers, with Toby being a suitable young hero who shows bravery and nerve to become the Sheriff's Deputy. Nephos has been set up to be big and complicated enough to have more stories to be told without the fear of future stories being shoe-horned in.
About this author Simon Fairbanks studied MA English Literature at the University of Birmingham. He has been a member of the Birmingham Writers' Group since 2011 and acts as the committee member responsible for new membership enquiries. Simon's first novel, The Sheriff, was released in March 2014. The following month, The Sheriff was chosen to participate in the One Big Book Launch organised by CompletelyNovel and Literally PR. Simon's debut short story collection, Breadcrumbs, was released in October 2014. It contains twenty-one short stories, including a new adventure starring the characters of The Sheriff. Simon was one of ten writers who participated in the Ten To One project. Their collaborative efforts resulted in the novel Circ which was launched in November 2014. Simon's character, Mungo the Clown, was voted the winner of Ten To One. Not only have I reviewed Circ previously but there is also a further author spotlight on Simon here....more
From Netgalley in exchange for a review. Published in early 2015 by Palladino Books
It is 1918, and Tomaso Labella, an Italian newspaper editor, has juFrom Netgalley in exchange for a review. Published in early 2015 by Palladino Books
It is 1918, and Tomaso Labella, an Italian newspaper editor, has just returned from burying Alessandra. Both of them have had a long history together, after Tomaso (aged 16) was sent to photograph Alessandra in 1898 for the local paper. Married to a violent drunk, she has already established a name for performing at séances and talking to the dead.
The rest of the story is Tomaso telling about Alessandra and the next year or so, being investigated for her possibly fraudulent psychic talents. She travels much of Europe with Tomaso and Lombardi, and is tested by many magicians, doctors and scientists. Much of the story concentrates on the seances that Alessandra performs for her guests, including the physical manifestation of a powerful mad priest from several centuries before. However it is the Englishman Huxley who gets under her skin and threatens everything, occasionally playing to her Neapolitan ego to provoke her into certain actions, with a final, fatal scene destroying everything.
This is a difficult book to try and describe any deeper without recreating the book itself. Much of the story is rather matter of fact, a fast paced physically demanding tour around Europe where Alessandra has to "perform" nearly every night she's staying still in one city or another. Lombardi (and to an extent Tomaso) holds a torch for her, but her pride, her goals, and her violent husband back in Naples, makes it difficult to love back, even after Lombardi divorces his wife and risks his reputation for her several times. There is a sub plot about the Vatican investigation Alessandra's history, that could have been expanded out a little more - it seems to have little purpose beyond the appearance of someone from Alessandra's past just ahead of the final seance, but no more.
Despite the story starting with Alessandra's death in 1918, the final chapters are unexpected enough to make it interesting, if not necessarily unexpected. Not having read anything else by this author, but knowing he's an ex-newspaper-man, I dont know whether the writing style of this novel is his own, or deemed suitable for a fictionalised story of an Italian medium who was investigated during the late 19th, early 20th century.
Published by Le French Book. I received an ebook off Netgalley in exchange for a review.
This is number 6 in The Winemaker Detective series, and it'sPublished by Le French Book. I received an ebook off Netgalley in exchange for a review.
This is number 6 in The Winemaker Detective series, and it's working out to be a long hot summer. Benjamin is on edge, his daughter is over from the US, and has started hanging around with Antoine Rinetti, the new estate manager for Château Gayroud-Valrose. After Margaux and Rinetti are injured in a car crash - the latter fatally - further digging by Benjamin and Inspector Barbaroux shows that Rinetti was a money man who had made himself indispensable to the Mob, and has to lie low. He has made no friends, having made many people on the Château out of work, resulting in at least one person committing suicide. It puts a different light on the crash, which was caused by tampered brake lines, and puts the focus on Rinetti rather than Benjamin as a target.
Meanwhile Benjamin and Virgile are making site visits to vineyards as consultants due to the weather, and (based on a badly spelt tip off) visit the Château and find a badly ill illegal worker on site. This allows for the authorities to go on site and it is a mix of investigations by the police, and luck on Benjamin's side, that they work out who the killer is.
As a side story, Benjamin has taken the usual annual holiday home with his wife Elizabeth and several friends. Whilst the previous book focussed more on Virgile, this allows us to see a different side of the detective - his family and friends are more visible, we get to see Elizabeth more, and this is the first time we've met Margaux. Crocker is still (over) protective of his "little" girl and is torn when she makes friends with Virgile after her accident - he's a bit of a womaniser, but he makes her laugh and pulls her out of her depression. Of course there are now the mandatory epic meals, with matching wines, to be savoured over.
A good addition to the series, and satisfying to see the characters are becoming more rounded as the series moves on....more
This book is written from the points of view of both Angus and Sarah - mainly Sarah - and when thReceived from HarperCollins in exchange for a review.
This book is written from the points of view of both Angus and Sarah - mainly Sarah - and when the book starts we find the two of them in London a year after one of their daughters has died in a freakish accident. Neither of them have really come to terms with it or have dealt with the fallout particularly well. Angus has lost his job due to his drinking (and punching his boss), and Sarah's part time work does little to contribute to the bills. When Angus inherits a cottege on a distant Scottish island (Thunder Island/Torran), where he spent many a summer when he was younger. The cottage is in a state of disrepair, having not being lived in or maintained for a few years, and despite it coming into winter, Angus, Sarah and Kirstie decide to move. It is during the planning of this that Kirstie drops a bombshell - she's not Kirstie, she's Lydia. They got it wrong.
Because the twins were identical (and not mirror images of each other) there is no real way of telling which girl actually died. It is down to the personality of the remaining child to show who died and who didnt - and "Kirsty" is becoming more and more like Lydia.
They move to Torran, and find the island is isolated from the mainland via a causeway, that means that depending on the tide there is several hours a day where they are completely cut off. The house is in disrepair - damaged through squatters as well as general lack of maintenance on an island subject to adverse weather. The house is of course used as an analogy for the wedding, initially getting better and almost liveable (despite the lack of heating and an abundance of rats) but there comes a point that no matter how much they cover up the cracks, the cracks are still there.
Angus continues to drink, Sarah tries to get her daughter (almost exclusively called "Lydia" now) to settle into a new school, but it soon becomes apparent that she is being ostracised by the other children, who fear her as much as anything. Lydia's behaviour is also erratic, maintaining that Kirstie still comes to visit and the two of them are still playing and talking.
Due to the isolation of the island, there is virtually no mobile signal and the land line is dubious at best, so there's another way that Sarah is feeling isolated, especially when Angus gets freelance work on the mainland and he spends several days a week away. Sarah hasnt made friends with the other school mothers and the lack of phone signal makes it difficult for her to maintain friendship with her London friend - especially when she finds out that Isobel and Angus have had a one night stand a few months after the accident. There are
With everything that is going on, Sarah's animosity towards Angus develops quickly to the point where she demands a divorce and she levels some accusations towards Angus. This makes Angus retaliate and forces him to reveal something he'd hoped he'd never have to - the accident and the following months are not like Sarah remembers, and Sarah is not as lilly white in the whole situation as she seems to believe. The first big storm of the winter brings everything to a head as the storm rages outside.....
The premise was good, execution was decent, but I was not entirely convinced about Sarah's condition (though a very brief lookup indicates that it's a known issue so that'll teach me). The external force of nature was a decent reflection to the inner turmoil of the marriage and the deteriation of Sarah's health.
Book can be brought direct from HarperCollins here
From my TBR pile and given to me as a birthday present. The edition I read was published by Random House.
I watched this film not long after it came ouFrom my TBR pile and given to me as a birthday present. The edition I read was published by Random House.
I watched this film not long after it came out in 1998 and is one of the few films that I've ever considered reading the original book it was based on, and 15 or so years later, I did! The book and the film are definitely different, but the overall story of the film remains true to the book and actually plays to the strengths of the 4 main adult actresses: Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Stockard Channing, Diane Wiest.
Gillian being the beautiful but wild one, who can never be tied down and is breaking hearts long before she runs away from her aunts and her sister.
Sally is the older, more sensible one, practical, vegetarian, science based one who soon rejects anything that cant be proved with evidence. Her aunts, being the local witches, are shunned by most during the day, but have their advice sought as soon as dusk makes their visitors' identity hidden.
The book is split up into four chapters, each covering a specific part of the girls' life.
Superstition is about the girls growing up with the aunts, and learning the price of your heart's desire. It finishes with Gillian already having escaped, and Sally moving away with her daughters Antonia and Kylie (the first set of differences with the film, where Sally never moves away and Antonia and Kylie have a much smaller part).
Premonitions is where Gillian finds Sally and the girls (who are now teenagers) in their house, and brings trouble in the form of the dead body of Gillian's boyfriend Jimmy. Sally is the one person Gillian can talk to – she is scared of the Aunts and doesnt feel she has the right or the want to ask for their help.
Clairvoyance is where Gillian settles in, finds new beau, but things turn for the worse including Jimmy haunting the garden. The lilac tree – under which Jimmy is buried – seems to grow amazingly, attracting weeping love lorn women, until the tree is cut down and burnt. Kylie and Antonia have a much bigger part than what is presented in the film – Antonia is similar to Gillian in the heart breaking skills, and Kylie – tall, ungainly, and sharing a room with her aunt – is soon influenced by Gillian's behaviour, until she feels betrayed by not being the centre of Gillian's world.
Levitation finds Gary seeking Jimmy whose malevolent energy continues to haunt the garden. The girls realise they have to call the aunts in to help and turn up the older women do, in their own style of course. The tables have definitely turned on Sally and Gillian. Gillian has finally found someone she wants to fight for and who is probably worth stability and staying put.She also realises that perhaps she is worth what the Aunts are prepared to bring. Sally has had the stability, and found that denying her past and her skills has brought her very little joy. The presence of Gary in her life – even briefly – makes her wonder whether the perceived stability is worth not having him in her life.
Gary makes a very short appearance in the book - but Aidan Quinn is a large part of the movie. In the book Jimmy turns up already dead, but Goran Visnjic has a much bigger part as the threatening ghost of Jimmy - in no small nod to his status as "taking over from George Clooney as the ER hunk" status - no complaints from me on either point!.
The story is told very much in the “epic third person” where it's a rather lyrical, sweeping, portions of time being swept away – there is very little dialogue between characters and whole decades disappear in a blink of an eye.
So: I love both the film AND the book, which is quite rare for me. Whilst the film is different from the book, there's at least enough of the spirit of the book kept within it (helped by Hoffman being one of the scriptwriters) to make me satisfied....more