Saturday, July 11, 2015

Just one evil act

I am a passionate Elizabeth George fan and when my husband came home with a belated birthday present of her latest book, Just one evil act,  I was overjoyed. Unfortunately life got in the way and Inspector Lynley sat on my bedside table for a few weeks while I juggled  a crisis at work,flu and end of term concerts. Once I started it was a bit like watching a train wreck, you want to look away and at the same time you have to know what happens.

This riveting tale of love, betrayal and how an innocent little girl is caught up in the affairs of the adults who love her is one that is heartbreaking and so well told. Hadiyyah, the daughter of  Barbara Havers' neighbour, disappears with her mother and nothing can be done, as Taymullah Azhar's name does not appear on the child's birth certificate and they were never married. A private detective is hired but the trail goes cold. Six months later Hadiyyah is kidnapped in an Italian market place and Angelina rushes back to England with her new lover to confront Taymullah, who is as shocked as she is at the child's disappearance.

In her inimitable fashion Barbara Havers plunges in to help Taymullah find his daughter, at the risk of losing her career and her friendship with Lynley. Nothing in this tale is really as it seems and as new secrets come to light Barbara is plunged deeper and deeper into conflict with her superiors. There is also a twist in the tale that I never saw coming but Elizabeth George has this gift of keeping her readers entranced to the last page.

Just one act of evil also sees Lynley finally saying goodbye to Helen and entering into a new romance.

I enjoy Elizabeth George's novels not only because she writes so well or because her plots are so well researched and believable but mainly because her characters are so rich. You grieve with Lynley when his wife dies and feel Barbara's anguish when faced with Taymullah's betrayal. I really hate finishing one of George's books as I know there will be a long wait until the next one is published. However, I know that the wait will be worth it.

If there is only one good novel you read this year, make it this one.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Visit to the bookshops

Any date evening normally includes a visit to Exclusive Books as my husband and I are both avid bookworms. I love browsing and checking out what is new on the shelves and adding to my mental wish list. Two books I would love to own are The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton and Winter food in Provence by Marita van der Vyver. I cannot wait to get hold of a copy of  The Miniaturist. It has so many excellent reviews and being an avid miniature lover as well as enjoying a good historical novel, I cannot wait to step in the pages of this book and be swept away. Marita van der Vyver's book also looks excellent. She is a wonderful author with the ability to draw her readers into her world. Combine this with delicious recipe's and photo's not only of the food but also French culture and there is a place on my bookshelf reserved for this lovely cookbook.

Hubby decided to gift me on this particular date with a very belated birthday gift and I came  home with one of my favourite authors. Just one evil act by Elizabeth George is a book I cannot wait to dive into. I have read every one of her Inspector Lynley novels and the characters feel like family friends. I will keep you posted once I have finished the book.

Another favourite bookshop of mine is Rutlands Books. They have such a huge variety of books and their prices are excellent. Today I found Sue Grafton's V is for Vengeance. I love Kinsey Milhone, she is one of my all time favourite characters. This book is the 22nd in Sue Grafton's alphabet series. Kinsey is hired to investigate a suspicious suicide. With the mob involved and Sue Grafton's gift for drawing you into the story, I am sure it is going to be an excellent read. I also picked up an old favourite, Encore Provence by Peter Mayle. I love Provence and Peter Mayle has a unique view of the French and their way of life. My copy of this book  has vanished and I am so glad that I manged to get hold of another copy.

Two practical books I came home with are Mini-boxes by Marian Ballog and 365 Easy one dish 
recipes. I cannot wait to try out some of the boxes, particularly the get well kit and the chocolate kit. I am sure they will really make someone's day. The instructions are clear and include pictures and Chapter 1 clearly lays out what is needed to create these boxes. If you enjoy crafts or know someone who does then I recommend this book.

The title of Easy one dish recipes is what caught my eye. I work full time and have two very hungry little mouths to feed at the end of the day. Lots of dishes and complicated recipes are two things I really do not have time for at the end of a stressful work day.Main meals,sandwiches,soups and even dessert are covered in this book. There is one recipe to a page and they are easy to follow. Recipes are given with metric as well as imperial measurements. I cannot wait to try out some of the recipes. They will make a change from fish fingers and chips.

And last but not least an easy read novel to curl up with on a cold winter's night. I am not a chick lit fan but Shelter me by Juliette Fay jumped out off the shelf and yelled TAKE ME HOME. I am a real sucker for stories of grief and loss and rebuilding your life afterwards. Janie LaMarche receives a very unexpected birthday gift from her husband 4 months after his death. A builder arrives to add a porch to her house. Grief still has her tight in it's reigns and she is living in self imposed isolation. Unlikely friends help her navigate this unknown future in a way she did not expect. Doesn't that sound like a great read. I am so looking forward to settling in with this book.

I hoped that in this mishmash of reviews that there is at least one book that captures your interest. Do you have any favourite neighbourhood bookshops? Please share, as I am sure there are many avid bibliophiles out there who love the smell of books ,old and new, who would love to discover a new hangout.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A new world

Lee Child is one of my all time favourite authors. I am busy reading Gone Tomorrow and it is quite chilling. A woman Jack Reacher profiles as a suicide bomber on the New York subway commits suicide by shooting herself. Reacher refuses to let go until he understands why she felt she had to kill herself. The more he investigates the deeper the mystery.As always there are twists and turns in the plot, with post 911 security making things even more difficult for him Throw in the FBI, a potential presidential candidate, a missing football student and a particularly nasty female murderer and it makes for a great page turner as always.

Lee Child's books are never boring and it is VERY difficult to switch the light off once you start reading, so be warned. His latest book Personal is on the shelves but be warned. Make sure you have the next 24 hours cleared to finish this book.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

CJ Box and Yellowstone National Park

I have recently finished reading Free Fire by CJ Box and I can definitely recommend it. I have not read many CJ Box books so it is difficult to compare it to others he has written but as a book on its own it was a very enjoyable read.

Joe Pickett , after having been fired, is working on his father-in-laws ranch. He is rehired by Governor Rulon, of Wyoming,to help investigate four murders which took place in Yellowstone National Park. A man has committed murder, and due to a judicial loophole, cannot be prosecuted. While he is quite willing to admit to the murders, what is his motive? It is with this in mind that Joe once again returns to uniform. This detective story is compelling and the pace is good. Set against the backdrop of Yellowstone Park, which I have always found a fascinating place, with doomsayers and some ancient history that catches Joe completely off guard, this really is a must read for all of you who enjoy a good detective novel set in the great outdoors. I found it a bit gruesome in parts but that is just a personal opinion, so make up your own mind on this score.

The one thing about a great read is that it  opens your mind and inspires your imagination. It takes you on an armchair journey and wakens your curiosity. Some of the places this book led me  to were Ken Rockwell's exquisite photographs of some of the hot springs found in Yellowstone as well as photo's of the Old Faithful Inn. I also find the idea of the whole of Yellowstone as a super caldera waiting to blow at any moment very interesting.

Although CJ Box's stories are set in a  similar environment to Nevada Barr, his style is very different. If you are a Nevada Barr or a Tony Hillerman fan, then I am sure that CJ Box is going to become a firm favourite on your must read list.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Some more children's books....

photo courtesy of

The cycles we go through in what the children love to read is very interesting. They will often return to favourites and read them over and over and then forget about them for a while until they are " rediscovered". Green eggs and Ham and The cat in the hat by Dr Seuss are both firm favourites at the moment. The Peppa Pig books are also a good choice. The illustrations are bright and cheerful and the stories are simple and easy to follow.

The fish who could wish by John Bush and illustrations by Korky Paul is a great read. A fish who could wish for anything finally wishes for the silliest thing of all. The children really enjoy the story and I love the illustrations.

Another book getting a lot of lap time at the moment is It was you, Blue Kangaroo! by Emma Chichester Clark. Lilly has a blue kangaroo that is very naughty and gets up to all sorts of mischief until he gets banished to the top of the bookshelf. Lilly has to sleep without him and is very heart sore. For any of you with little one's, this is a very sweet story and my children enjoy it very much.

Happy reading!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A whole lot of reading going on

I have been on holiday for nearly three weeks and have managed to pack in a number of good and not so good reads in that time. The bodies left behind by Jeffrey Deaver is one of the books that I recommend. Jeffrey Deaver, as always, keeps you guessing until nearly the last page.  A 911 call cut short leads deputy Brynn to a house on Lake Mondac, where she discovers two bodies and nearly becomes a victim herself. On the run from the murderers with only her wits to keep her alive, Brynn's fight to survive keeps you turning the pages. Deaver writes a good story and I was not disappointed. If you need a good page turner for a chilly winter's night ( or a lazy day on the beach for those lucky souls in the North) then you this is a good choice.

 Z by Michael Thomas Ford was one of the books that I reviewed for my husband's slibrary. If you are a teen reader and enjoy a good zombie thriller, then this might be for you. The plot is good and it is well written. It does however highlight the depths to which we as so called " civilized" beings can and do descend and is a bit gruesome in places, but then what can you expect from a book about zombies.

 Yet another zombie book that I reviewed is Monster Island, the first in a trilogy written by David Wellington.  This book was a bit too weird for my taste, although it is a great page turner and will certainly keep you reading.  A small band of Somali girl soldiers accompany a former UN inspector to New York city to look for AIDS drugs. The catch is that all of the civilized world has fallen to a zombie infection and Manhattan is crawling with the undead. Join Dekalb and his girl soldiers as they invade New York in their quest for these drugs. Besides these newly undead, a greater threat awaits them, as one of the undead is not quite as mindless as one would assume. A thinking zombie is far more  of a threat than the other undead and this twist in the tale lends itself to all sorts of action.Throw in an ancient druid, a couple of mummy's and this all makes for a good but disturbing read.
Finding a book by an author you enjoy that you have not yet read is like coming home. I have not read a Tony Hillerman in a long time and I really enjoyed reading Talking god . What do a corpse and a grave robber have in common? This question brings Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee together and as Joe tries to identify the victim and Jim arrests the grave digger. This story is well written and the plot all comes together in the last pages, leaving the reader guessing. I love a good detective novel where the plot is not given away in the first half of the book. Tony Hillerman hooks you and keeps you to the last page. It is also fascinating getting a glimpse into a world so far removed from my own, which is one of the special joys of being a reader and an armchair traveller.

As my holiday draws to a close, I find myself intensely wrapped up in the world of Henry and Claire in The Time traveller's wife by Audrey Niffenegger, as they fight to live a normal life with Henry time travelling throughout their relationship.  They meet when Claire is 6 and Henry 40, get married when Claire is 22  and Henry 30. While this is a beautiful love story , there is nothing typical about it and you keep reading , wanting to know how they resolve the fact that Henry keeps disappearing. I have an allergic reaction to most love stories and while I am not immune to chic lit, I generally avoid these types of books. However, this story is lovely and I would recommend it to anyone who is a romantic at heart.

Still on to read list is a Sue Grafton omnibus, The Worst Hard time by Timothy Egan and two murder mysteries by authors that I have not read before, which is always something to look forward to. What are the books you are reading these holidays or the ones still on your bedside table, waiting like a large box of chocolate allsorts? I would love to hear from you. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A different take on the art book

Having been off for a while, I thougth I might post something a little out of the ordinary. I came across this list of books as artwork. It is truly bizarre and thought provoking. From nail encrusted books to books as three story high sculptures, this link is just plain weird on one level but some of the art work is also quite beautiful. In a world where books seem to be rapidly being replaced by the one minute thought bite, I love the idea of books as pieces of art, not only for the words between their covers but also as a solid object occupying a three dimensional space. Follow this link to see some of the other works of art.

Don't you just love this waterfall of books by Alicia Martín. It gives me the idea of a house that is so overflowing with books that the walls cannot contain them anymore.As a book lover I find this a wonderful idea ( or am I just a bit peculiar?) I spent a pleasant twenty minutes in the car yesterday wondering what I would do if I won the Lotto. Filling a house with books would probably be high on my wish list and this image gives a visual idea of what that might be like.