This falls probably somewhere between 3 and 3.5 stars for me. I only carried on reading it because it's by Paulo Coelho and I usually enjoy his books.This falls probably somewhere between 3 and 3.5 stars for me. I only carried on reading it because it's by Paulo Coelho and I usually enjoy his books. I enjoyed some of it but found it read more like a diary than a novel. The main character is not likeable at all. She is going through some sort of mid-life crisis, which probably explains her irrational thoughts, but still... It felt at times that the author was trying to speak through the characters, so parts of it read like a self-help book.
There was one chapter towards the end of the book that was brilliantly written and much more like the usual Paulo Coelho spiritual novels, but the rest of the book was quite uninspiring. The erotic content was a bit off-putting as well.
I'm not sure whether much of the meaning was lost in translation, that may be part of the problem. ...more
I have to start this review by saying, I am usually a fan of Maeve Binchy’s writing. I loved ‘The Glass Lake’ and ‘Evening Class’. I was disappointedI have to start this review by saying, I am usually a fan of Maeve Binchy’s writing. I loved ‘The Glass Lake’ and ‘Evening Class’. I was disappointed by this novel. ‘Nights of Rain and Stars’ is set on a small Greek Village, Aghia Anna. Four tourists meet for the first time at a small cafe high on the mountains overlooking the sea. They all witness a tragedy - a boat catches fire and the people on board are killed in front of their eyes. The novel starts with promise, but I’m afraid I lost interest very quickly. I’ll start with the good points about the novel. There is no doubt that Maeve Binchy is a good storyteller, and even though it is not a great book, I was still able to read it all the way through without giving up on it. The summer holiday atmosphere is very well presented, and no doubt this would make a good beach read where the reader is not really bothered about the writing style or the outcome, but just wants to pass a bit of time. Now to the bad points. In my opinion, the main characters (the four tourists) were all stereotypes, as were the Greek villagers. Many of the characters appeared to have no backbone, or were totally unable to make up their minds about anything, going back and forth over the same problems and not making any progress. Then suddenly a mad old Irish woman who sleeps in a hen house,and had once been an alcoholic, solves all their problems. They all end up deciding what to do about their lives based on her advice, and in my view, they all make very strange (and unbelieveable) decisions. I don’t think Binchy did a very good job in developing the characters. They have very little personality. My final comment: Orion is a big publishing company, right? Surely they must employ editors?? There is little evidence that any editor was involved in the publication of this book. ...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