The Oblate’s Confession by William Peak – ✭✭✭

 

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I rate this book a GOOD ✭✭✭

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Synopsis by NetGalley:

England, the 7th century. Petty Anglo-Saxon kingdoms make war upon one another and their Celtic neighbors. Christianity is a new force in the land, one whose hold remains tenuous at best. Power shifts back and forth uneasily between two forms of the new faith: a mystical Celtic Catholicism and a newer, more disciplined form of Catholicism emanating from Rome. Pagan rites as yet survive in the surrounding hills and mountains. Plague sweeps across the countryside unpredictably, its path marked by death and destruction.

In keeping with a practice common at the time, an Anglo-Saxon warrior donates his youngest child to the monastery of Redestone, in effect sentencing the boy to spend the rest of his life as a monk. This gift-child, called an oblate, will grow up in the abbey knowing little of his family or the expectations his natural father will someday place upon him, his existence haunted by vague memories of a former life and the questions those memories provoke.

Who is his father, the distant chieftain who sired him or the bishop he prays for daily? And to which father, natural or spiritual, will he owe allegiance when, at length, he is called upon to ally himself with one and destroy the other? These are the dilemmas the child faces. The answers will emerge from the years he spends in spiritual apprenticeship to a hermit who lives on the nearby mountain of Modra nect – and his choices will echo across a lifetime.

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My Review:

A written confession of a monk of his sin; a child’s view of living his life in a monastery, all those around him, and his surroundings as far as he could see. His religious instruction, his questioning, his learned understanding of human behaviour clearly shows Peak is a master of introspection, but to me the novel felt disjointed in time and flow.

What I found GREAT about the book?

I loved the idea of an adult recounting his childhood with the understand that as he grew his memories could change. There is a real tenderness in which Peak talks about the relationships within the Redestone.

I found this to be a wonderful philosophical book that is an instruction into deconstructing held beliefs, examining them and reconstructing them with a greater understanding, and this is the part of the book that was a real pleasure to read. In this William Peak excites me in his writing.

The opening chapter gives us the start in mime, simple pleasures of making a snowman with a small boy to indicate that the monks do not speak but use sign language, so using sign language Peak starts his tale. Brilliant!

There are some lovely lines from a child perspective, simple memories: A childs thinking, with an adult understanding:

‘I thought about the place at table where I sat. I thought about my bed. I thought about the spot along the church wall that on sunny mornings grew warn and rosy in the light.’

Simple pleasures in a childs world.

When Winwæd is instructing the younger oblate Oftfor about heirachy of Fathers in the Abbey, Oftfor asks

“Are there any mothers?”

What a sad line.

Peak shows a deep understanding of the scale of someones compact world – our world can be only what we see, but when we venture further past that distant view, we discover that a picture in our mind is only a picture and the reality can be terrifyingly magnificent. This is conveyed whilst Winwæd is high up on a crag looking down on Redestone. I enjoyed how this book is focussed around one small place as if there was nothing outside of it, even in their imagination.

In a complex way he shows that although the monks appear to blindly follow a man (Bishop Wilfred) who stole Winwæd’s fathers lands and makes demands of them, each monk has their own story and personal secrets. They keep something for themselves, they do things considered wrong by their rules, but is really part of natural curiosity.  I also love the way Peak also has a wonderful manner of digging down the deepest level of questioning, forcing the reader to really think about held beliefs, showing all sides of blind faith and no faith.

Instruction for young oblates includes the history of Cumbrogi monks who also felt they were doing God’s will in their heathen ways, and invites thoughts about how religion has been shaped by powerful men and followed blindly because of being taught that there is only one path to God.

I enjoyed how Peak challenges with suggestions how memories can also be shaped and false. As he is writing, Winwaed reminds himself that his memory may not be correct.

The questioning is brutal – What if religion is nonsense?

‘What if suffering is just suffering? What if the one who suffered finds neither nobility nor reason in his pain? What if there is only confusion, hurt, loss? We do not expect a horse to learn from its suffering, a cow….’

There is also offered a solution to the oblate, that God does not exist but you can create a peace within yourself which you can call God eventually, and that is God (I think!).

A written confession of a monk of his sin; a child’s view of living his life in a monastery, all those around him, and his surroundings as far as he could see. His religious instruction, his questioning, his learned understanding of human behaviour clearly shows Peak is a master of introspection, but to me the novel felt disjointed in time and flow.

What I found GREAT about the book?

I loved the idea of an adult recounting his childhood with the understand that as he grew his memories could change. There is a real tenderness in which Peak talks about the relationships within the Redestone.

I found this to be a wonderful philosophical book that is an instruction into deconstructing held beliefs, examining them and reconstructing them with a greater understanding, and this is the part of the book that was a real pleasure to read. In this William Peak excites me in his writing.

The opening chapter gives us the start in mime, simple pleasures of making a snowman with a small boy to indicate that the monks do not speak but use sign language, so using sign language Peak starts his tale. Brilliant!

There are some lovely lines from a child perspective, simple memories: A childs thinking, with an adult understanding:

‘I thought about the place at table where I sat. I thought about my bed. I thought about the spot along the church wall that on sunny mornings grew warn and rosy in the light.’

Simple pleasures in a childs world.

When Winwæd is instructing the younger oblate Oftfor about heirachy of Fathers in the Abbey, Oftfor asks

“Are there any mothers?”

What a sad line.

Peak shows a deep understanding of the scale of someones compact world – our world can be only what we see, but when we venture further past that distant view, we discover that a picture in our mind is only a picture and the reality can be terrifyingly magnificent. This is conveyed whilst Winwæd is high up on a crag looking down on Redestone. I enjoyed how this book is focussed around one small place as if there was nothing outside of it, even in their imagination.

In a complex way he shows that although the monks appear to blindly follow a man (Bishop Wilfred) who stole Winwæd’s fathers lands and makes demands of them, each monk has their own story and personal secrets. They keep something for themselves, they do things considered wrong by their rules, but is really part of natural curiosity. I also love the way Peak also has a wonderful manner of digging down the deepest level of questioning, forcing the reader to really think about held beliefs, showing all sides of blind faith and no faith.

Instruction for young oblates includes the history of Cumbrogi monks who also felt they were doing God’s will in their heathen ways, and invites thoughts about how religion has been shaped by powerful men and followed blindly because of being taught that there is only one path to God.

I enjoyed how Peak challenges with suggestions how memories can also be shaped and false. As he is writing, Winwaed reminds himself that his memory may not be correct.

The questioning is brutal – What if religion is nonsense?

‘What if suffering is just suffering? What if the one who suffered finds neither nobility nor reason in his pain? What if there is only confusion, hurt, loss? We do not expect a horse to learn from its suffering, a cow….’

There is also offered a solution to the oblate, that God does not exist but you can create a peace within yourself which you can call God eventually, and that is God (I think!).

What was not great for me?

Now I will qualify this part of my review to my Britishness!

The main problem for me was that the language style of this book did not take me back in time. I felt like I was reading about modern day when I really wanted to be transported to the 7th Century. I expect this is because I am in love with historical language!

The overuse of modern words (e.g. Truism, lunacy, explosion, recondite, antiphone), many of which originates back to the 17th Century spoilt the enjoyment for me, bordering on irritation. I admit that this is my personal bugbear!

Then there is the line “You take care of yourself” – which seems spoken in such a modern way that it shouted out – wrong to me!

Throughout the book history is told in such a way to the child oblate who appeared not to entirely understand.
“You haven’t any idea what I’m talking about, have you?” I shook my head’

I shook my head as well, I had to agree, I also found it difficult to follow the lesson. The history feels like it has been superficially added to tell a background to the novel, without weaving it into the story.

I found it a bit hard to follow the timeline of the memories and marry the events being recounted and the ages of the young oblate. At the end of the book I was no nearer understanding what prompted it or when the confession was being written. No matter though the journey was good.

Would I recommend it? – Yes definitely, especially if you are one of those people who like history told in a modern way. Is it worth reading? – Yes without hesitation – I love a good challenge

This is William Peak’s debut novel, and I really look forward to him growing as an author of novels.

Would I recommend it? – Yes definitely, especially if you are one of those people who like history told in a modern way.
Is it worth reading? - Yes without hesitation – I love a good challenge

This is William Peak’s debut novel, and I really look forward to him growing as an author of novels.

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Many thanks to the Publisher for an advanced copy of this book via NetGalley for an honest review.

Hardcover, 416 pages
Expected publication: December 1st 2014 by Secant Publishing
ISBN0990460800 (ISBN13: 9780990460800)

Before I go to Sleep | S J Watson ✭✭✭✭

before

I rate this a mind messing ✭✭✭✭

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Synopsis

Memories define us.

So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep?

Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love – all forgotten overnight.

And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story.

Welcome to Christine’s life.

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My Review

Having not read any reviews of this book I started it as a fresh blank canvas. 

I found this book is so exciting I could not put it down, no really, I couldn’t stop reading. I started reading just before 8am and finished it around 9.30pm. An edge of the seat read, each ‘day’ bringing a new roller coaster of emotions.

The plot not only explores the notion that memories define us but shows a hint of personality being more than memories. It stops and makes you think about yourself and your own memories, you try and imagine yourself in Christine’s place…not knowing…

It is a book that lingers in your mind after you have finished, you search back into your own memory to see if there was a point that you guessed the outcome. Nope, I didn’t guess right up until the end.

Psychological thrillers can often be a disappointment, but this one is so intriguing you cannot let the story go.

Watson shows how scary it must be to wake up in a strange house, next to a strange man, and seeing yourself 20 years older that you know yourself to be, every single day. A husband you don’t remember, and your own face aged.

I loved the characters in this book, as they performed different to how I wanted them to, and there was always a hint of not really knowing anyone.

I could imagine the way Christine starts each day as if its the first day of your life. The loneliness it must create. Being based on the life of amnesiacs, this also has a small resonance of living with dementia, when you can wake up in the morning having forgotten the past few days, progressing to not knowing your own family members, living each day in isolation.

I usually find that films do not match up to the excitement of the book, although if it stays true to Watson’s story it will be worth watching.

Psychological thriller at its best – no question about that. Nicely written this is a must read.

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  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Print Length: 515 pages
  • Publisher: Transworld Digital (28 April 2011)
  • Purchased from:  Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • ISBN-10: 0552164135
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552164139
  • ASIN: B004TSXUWY

Available from all major booksellers

I’ll Be Watching You | Beverly Barton ✭✭✭✭

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I rate this a steamy 4 Stars!

Synopsis by Goodreads:

Ella, sweet Ella, you were meant to be mine. You can’t begin to imagine all the things I want to do to you. When the time is right, I will come for you . . .

A series of hand-delivered letters leaves Ella scared for her life. Someone is watching her. Wanting her. Someone promising revenge.

Desperate for the nightmare to end, Ella will do anything to discover the truth. Even join forces with a man who comes with his own danger warning . .

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My Review:

I didn’t expect that! This crime thriller turned out to be a complex STEAMY crime-thriller, oh yeah!

Barton gives us characters that would not look out of place in a major American Soap it reminded me a tiny bit of ‘Dallas’ the TV series, so many wonderful characters in the main family. Reading this book is like watching an episode and being left on a cliff hanger till next week. I was so excited to find out what was happening next.

An intriguing ‘who done it, way back and whose still doing it’. I genuinely could not guess what was going to happen and who was doing what. So many red herrings given out as truths to made me think ‘ah yes now I know who is doing it’, only to be given the slow smile to say ‘nope wrong again’!

Webb Porter an important man in an important family with secrets that cannot be hidden forever, Reed Conway a man who served 15 years for a murder he claims he did not commit, a town dismayed to see him now back amongst them, and now crimes happen which point a finger at him. Will anyone finally believe he is innocent? The only way to clear his name is to find the person who killed his stepfather and now wants him back in prison.

I love how there is everything in this book, murder, romance, sex, thrills, sex, did I say sex? Very steamy, I shan’t say more because I don’t want to give a spoiler, but that was a surprise I wasn’t expecting.

The pace is fast, the complexity of the plot easy to follow, the characters wonderfully irritating, nasty and nice, there is justice, injustice and tensions that create a cracking story.

Would I recommend it? Hell yes…

      “Y’all you just gotta read this book to get your pulse a racing and your mind a spinning!” 

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Many thanks to the Publisher for a copy of this book via NetGalley in return for my honest review.

Paperback, 400 pages – Expected Publishing date 9th October 2014

Available now as Kindle edition

ISBN 1847561411 (ISBN13: 9781847561411)
Published Kindle Edition: August 2014
Published by: Harper Collins Uk, Avon

Vengeance Is Mine by Leon Opio ✭✭✭.✮

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Synopsis (Goodreads)

Four people are being held captive in separate rooms. They each are responsible for the same crime and will endure their own private hell. While in these rooms they will re-live the acts that have brought them together. They will understand how it feels to scream for help and have no one come to their rescue. Even though the bible states, “Forgive us the wrongs that we have done, as we forgive the wrongs others have done to us”, the revenge seeking protagonist in this story is missing those pages. As the day goes by and the night sets in, these unwilling guests will endure extreme pain and fear. By the end of their journey, they will all fully understand meaning of ‘Vengeance is Mine’.

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Average Rating: ⭐︎✩✩✩✩⭐︎⭐︎⭐︎

My Rating:     ✭✭✭⭐︎

My Review:

Oh yes, this is one heck of a gruesome story that gets straight into the action, no messing about, no long lead up.  The protagonist has carefully and thoughtfully worked through how this was going to be done, but gives nothing away before hand so that I was on the edge of my seat in anticipation for the next act and disclosure.

The unfolding of the all important background is very cleverly revealed in each scenario of terror, flicking back and forth slowly building a whole picture of injustice.

This book reminded me of the SAW films, that you couldn’t bear to watch nor look away from.  The scenes of violence are well described, if you like that sort of thing, and I like horror stories.

I enjoyed the way each character is gradually revealed, and do we have sympathy for them; absolutely not, we may even think they are getting their just deserts which is very important in this genre.

Oh how I wanted the ending to be after the final vengeance had been carried out to see what Opio’s imagination could conjured up next.

I really liked this book, although it did not blow me away.  Having said that, I think that this author is definitely someone to watch out for in the future, because I believe his imagination is wonderful and look forward to reading his next book.

Many thanks to the author for a copy of this book for an honest review.

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  • Format: Kindle Edition (Paperback editions available)
  • Print Length: 158 pages
  • Publisher: Indie Gypsy; Reprint edition (11 Jun 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00KY448U0

Saving Paradise by Mike Bond ☆☆☆☆

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☆☆☆☆ – Fantastic

Synopsis by Goodreads:

When a beautiful journalist drowns mysteriously off Waikiki, Hawaii, Special Forces veteran Pono Hawkins, now a well-known surfer and international correspondent for surfing magazines, soon gets embroiled in trying to find out why she died. What he quickly learns makes him a target for murder or life in prison as a cabal of powerful corporations, foreign killers and crooked politicians places the blame on him. Haunted by memories of Afghanistan, and determined to protect the Hawaii he loves from dirty politics tied to huge destructive energy developments, Pono turns to Special Forces buddies and his own covert skills to fight his deadly enemies, trying to both save himself and find her killers. Alive with the sights, sounds and history of Hawaii, SAVING PARADISE is also a deeply rich portrait of what Pono calls the seamy side of paradise, and an exciting thriller of politics, lies and remorseless murder.

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My Review

This is a book that looks at politics and global issues that affect everyone and the planet, and the greed of individuals to gain wealth at any cost. There are already questions about the cost effectiveness of wind farms, and although this is fiction it doesn’t take much imagination to see that the world runs on profits and personal gain. What Bond does is to suggest the complex web of corporations, countries and individuals that make up the players.

A sedate start leads into a fast paced and exciting journey, with several great characters helping him find the killer of Sylvia Gordon a beautiful journalist. The hunt turns into something much more complex and dangerous as he looks for the truth about the proposed Big Wind project and the connection to her death.

I love the way Bond explains the complexities of the plot within the novel itself

 You look for inconsistencies in the pattern. But was all inconsistencies. There was no pattern.

How on earth can anyone come up with something so complex and seemingly unconnected and still make the reader feel that they have a reasonable understanding of what is happening?

Pono Hawkins is the kind of guy a girl would like to know; strong, sensitive and a free spirit. He loves many women and they love him! The only character I was unsure of was Charity and whose side she was on, but this is something that Bond throws around: everybody has parts to them that are less likeable at times.  I like how he does not paint characters as evil or bad, but allows the reader their own opinion based on their own morals of behaviour, so that the ‘good’ guys are not necessarily ‘moral’.

Bond describes some great incidental characters that made me smile;

..six feet two with a Hawaiian barrel chest, a clan tattoo down his arm and a smile so big a boat could sink in it.

I also love how in amongst the fast paced action he takes time to offer the peace that Pono experiences:

The naked eye can see ten thousand stars in a true night sky. Not in a city or suburban sky, but in the sky the way God made it – vast and black afire with stars and planets, asteroids and galaxies……now hidden from Oahu’s glowing melanoma.

….Even in my present predicament I was thankful for this star-spangled night, its vision of eternal life and space in which we’ll probably be the tiniest of unremembered extinctions. And considering the likelihood of my own approaching extinction I took a last glance at the heavens and turned back to the wheel.

…The swells were long and easy the ocean green and lovely, the fragrance of the universe and the feeling of being there in the existential flow, was with me.

These are such deep personal observations and feelings. Bond describes the awe of a place not merely by words but through how it makes the main character feel.

Reading this I am struck by the wisdom of his writing, Sylvia, like so many journalists was killed because she was trying to find the truth, (which is relevant today with the recent barbaric act of the beheading of the reporter James Foley by IS).

It was fast, thrilling and exciting and I eagerly devoured every words to reach the conclusion and I was not disappointed.

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To ask what makes this book different is the wrong is the question, most important is what makes this author different.

To me Mike Bond is a man who writes with his soul.  What makes a cracking good book for me is not just the plot, it can be the most exciting story in the world but if the words are not felt, then it doesn’t do it for me.

Imagine sitting in a room on a winters night, a log fire is burning in the grate, the light of the flames flickering a warm glow, you and Mike Bond are sitting comfortably with a hot drink and he is telling you how it is. You are focussed on his voice with the crackling of the fire in the background. It is pure liquid gold and the words are deep and meaningful, what he is saying touches you deep inside and you experience the understanding in what he is telling you. That’s how I feel when I read his books.

Many thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book via NetGalley for an honest review

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  • ebook, 302 pages
  • Published November 20th 2012( first published January 1st 2012)
  • Publisher:  Mandevilla Press 
  • ISBN 1627040056 (ISBN13: 9781627040051)

Borderline by Liza Marklund – ☆☆☆

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I gave this book 3 stars

Synopsis (NetGalley)

<

p style=”text-align:left;”>A mother is found dead along a snowy pathway after dropping her son off at nursery school. She is the fourth murder victim to be found in a short time displaying the same characteristics. 

News reporter Annika Bengtzon is trying to start a story on it when she is told that her husband has been kidnapped in Kenya. 

As the murder spree continues, the police begin to think they have a serial killer on their hands. Meanwhile Annika is faced with impossible demands from her husband’s kidnappers.

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p style=”text-align:center;”>

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My Review:

Firstly, I feel I should have read all of others in the series to have appreciated this book as I was unable to build a relationship with most of the characters. In my personal opinion it is not a stand alone book.

The crime told from a reporters point of view is interesting. Annika, the protagonist starts off painting her husband, Thomas’s picture as a womanising, faithless partner who has previously set up home with another woman, has frequent affairs, but she remains with him in some kind of numb stasis. She is later shown to be not above infidelity herself but in a much more shocking way whilst her husband has been tortured and imprisoned by rebels soldiers. I felt uncomfortable reading how Annika almost seduces Jimmy Halenius, Thomas’s boss (Under Secretary) taking comfort from him as they sleep together whilst not knowing whether her husband is dead or alive. Even though I know that people behave differently when they are under extreme duress I am not sure I could understand her apparent indifference.

It does not follow the normal crime thriller and mixes local, and international crimes both brutal, both going on for a long time but largely ignored in the world.

What did I like about this book?

I love the way Marklund writes, the phrases she uses and the way she casually throws in Annika’s thoughts.
I enjoyed the hostage part of the novel and liked how Annika did not always follow protocol.

It was great the way that Thomas’s tale is in first person and that the violence of the hostage story is brutally told. Marklund has cleverly depicted the kidnappers through the eyes of the hostages. The ‘voice’ of the kidnappers is given only by text, phone, and transcripts, changing the the power of their voice but not making them any less brutal. The enormity of the fact of small plane ransome drops are common place with as much as two a week, highlights the amount of hidden violence in the novel.

What I found disappointing?

It took me a while to get into the story, but was grateful for the background on Annika because this is the first book I have read in this series and feel I have missed out on not reading the others.

I wanted to like Annika but found I just couldn’t, she was strong and sensible one minute and reckless and weak the next. She seemed to randomly act recklessly.
I feel the serial murders at home detracted from the main plot of the novel not adding anything new. I think I would have like to have read more about the newspaper and Annika’s role there because I believe it was probably more important than it seemed.

I so wanted to give this book a better rating but it has left me feeling confused because I found there to be more than one main focus in the story. Two stories in one: local serial murders, and an international kidnapping of UN Delegates – I think I would like to read about each in a seperate book.

However, Liza Markland certainly has a great imagination and I know that many will love this book.

Many thanks to the Publisher for a copy of this book via NetGalley for my honest review.

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Publisher:  Random House UK, Transworld Publishers
Expected Publish Date: Oct 9 2014

 

The Inbetween People by Emma McEvoy – ☆☆☆☆☆

inbetweenI rate this book an awesome 5 Stars !

Synopsis by GoodReads

When Avi Goldberg, the son of a Jewish pioneer, sits at a desk in a dark cell in a military prison in the Negev desert, he fills the long nights writing about his friend Saleem, an Israeli Arab he befriended on a beach one scorching July day, and the story of Saleem’s family, whose loss of their Ancestral home in 1948 cast a long shadow over their lives.
Avi and Saleem understand about the past: they believe it can be buried, reduced to nothing. But then September 2000 comes and war breaks out—endless, unforgiving and filled with loss. And in the midst of the Intifada, which rips their peoples apart, they both learn that war devours everything, that even seemingly insignificant, utterly mundane, things get lost in war and that, sometimes, if you do not speak of these things, they are lost to you forever.
Set amongst the white chalk Galilee Mountains and the hostile desert terrain of the Negev Desert, The Inbetween People is a story of longing that deals with hatred, forgiveness, and the search for redemption.
The haunting poetic tone is not unlike that of Ben Okri’s The Famished Road, whilst the themes examined are similar to those dealt with by Pat Barker in The Ghost Road. The simplicity of the tone is unflinching throughout, and depicts the eternal search for a home and a sense of place.

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My Review

I really loved this book, reading it was a breath of fresh air. 

This is a tale that the character Jewish Avi Goldberg appears to need to tell to make sense of his own life. Avi is in prison writing about his friend Saleem an Israeli Arab. He writes about, both his and Saleem’s family history and is a jigsaw of a tale, one which you cannot let go until the whole story has been read.

I loved the way the intricacies of their lives unravels slowly, how there is a sense of injustice and justice in war.

I was expecting a standard story, but enjoyably Emma McEvoy drew me into the lives of the characters.  There is a sense of peace and calm in the words, so that you can imagine sitting in the heat of the sun as you listen to story being told to you.

This book has sensitivity, love, sadness, and the story remains being unravelled in your head when you put the book down.

This is a beautifully written book and I would recommend it as a brilliantly sensitive read.

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Many thanks to Emma McEvoy for sending me a copy of this book via GoodReads for an honest review.Paperback, 242 pages

 

  • Paperback:  242 Pages (Hardback, Kindle and Audio available)
  • Published:   November 1st 2012
  • Publisher:  Ashgrove Publishing Ltd
  • ISBN:  1853981729 (ISBN13: 9781853981722)

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – ☆☆☆☆

 

8442457I give this book 4/5 Stars

Synopis from Goodreads

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media–as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents–the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter–but is he really a killer?
As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

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My Review

I found this book extremely thought provoking.

A story of a marriage, personality disorders, reaction, needs, desires, realities and everything that can challenge your ideas of what is acceptable or not.

I see this book as showing that as a reader, at first you feel for the wife, then the husband, which leads you to think of a conclusion that some marriages are merely acting which bind couples together through their own failings.

Flynn manages to make you feel that you like the characters, even when you dislike their behaviour.  This is such an intricate novel that has a real insight into how people behave.

An excellent read!

Would I recommend this book – absolutely, it is already proven to be a well received novel by its readers and received the GoodReads Choice of 2012, well deserved.grca_badge_winner-f9454940ba1e5388d3d719979c7f3f51

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  • Hardcover, 395 pages
  • Published May 24th 2012 by Weidenfeld & Nicolson (first published 2012)
  • ISBN 0297859382 (ISBN13: 9780297859383)
  • Characters:Nick Dunne, Amy Elliot Dunne, Margo “Go” Dunne, Rand Elliot, Marybeth Elliot
  • Setting: North Carthage, Missouri (United States)

Literary awards:  Barry Award Nominee for Best Novel (2013), Anthony Award Nominee for Best Novel (2013), Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award (RT Award) for Suspense/Thriller Novel (2012), Shirley Jackson Award Nominee for Best Novel (2012), Edgar Award Nominee for Best Novel (2013)
Goodreads Choice for Best Mystery & Thriller (2012), Women’s Prize for Fiction Nominee for Longlist (2013), Grand Prix des lectrices de Elle for roman policier (2013)

 

The Dying Hours by Mark Billingham [#11 Tom Thorne Series] ☆☆☆☆⭐︎

dying hours        Genre – Crime Fiction

  • Kindle Edition, 416 pages
  • Published: May 23rd 2013
  • Published by: Sphere
  • ISBN13 9780748120505
  • Series- Tom Thorne #11
  • Characters – Tom Thorne, Phil Hendricks, Dave Holland, Yvonne Kitson, Helen Weeks
  • Setting – London, England (United Kingdom)

 

Syopsis from Goodreads 

A cluster of suicides among the elderly. Such things are not unknown to the police and the deaths are quickly dismissed by the police as routine. Only one man is convinced that something more sinister is taking place.

 However, no one listens to Tom Thorne anymore. Having stepped out of line once too often, he’s back in uniform and he hates it. Patronised and abused by his new colleagues, Thorne’s suspicions about the suicides are dismissed by the Murder Squad he was once part of and he is forced to investigate alone.

Unable to trust anyone, Thorne must risk losing those closest to him.He must gamble with the lives of those targeted by a killer unlike any he has hunted before. A man with nothing to lose and a growing list of victims. A man with the power to make people take their own lives.

Tom Thorne returns in Billingham’s most compelling thriller to date. The Dying Hours is a haunting portrait of London’s dark heart, and the darker heart of a twisted killer bringing terror to its streets.

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My review:

I give this book 4.5 Stars

Billingham never disappoints me with DCI Tom Thorne being one of the most interesting Detectives ever, apart from now he has been knocked back down to a Sergeant on the beat through his unwillingness to play by the rules and risk not catching his man, endangering lives.
The Dying Hours sees Tom not being able to let go of something he feels, no, he knows, to be a murder case not suicide. He is on the beat not in the murder squad who are not exactly in love with Tom’s manner of working, and refuse to listen to him, humiliating him in the process.
So does Tom give up, what do you think? This though is where Tom’s character becomes more open to us and more interesting. This compulsion, obsession: addiction to get deeper involved and solve the crime gives us an insight into how the job has changed him.
Reading the Tom Thorne series is not just like reading brilliant crime novels where you get to know the characters and can’t wait to hear the next crime they solve. The series has grown and matured with age along with the characters. Fresh young faces have become the weary faces of Detectives under a heavy workload hopelessly struggling to solve all of the crimes.
We see Tom refusing to let go of his certainty that several ‘suicides’ are murders and watch as he presses a destruction button inside himself to solve it, drawing in help and risking the careers of his ex colleagues in the murder squad Holland, and Kitson. For the first time we question what he is doing, why is he so drawn to keeping it quiet when we know that he could pass on all that he knows higher.
Personally instead of wondering about his relationships he is honest about it to himself, we see him acknowledge that his lack of visible emotions have destroyed what he had and could of had. Now living with Helen and her young son, Tom shows us a paternal side and the effort he makes to be emotionally honest.
This book is different, the killer is old in his 70’s and is hidden amongst the general public openly – who takes notice of an elderly man coming and going?
We are invited to think about crime and how there is a public perception of younger people committing it with all their anger and violence being unchained perhaps in a single moment. Billingham asks us to look at how anger and violence changes with age, how it can remain but be without passion, how life is both precious and meaningless at the same time. We see how Tom Thorne is somehow caught up in emotional changes as we get older. We like to think we have the same values, that they are honourable and not for self gratification, but Billingham shows us that we can all get lost at times.
I really enjoyed this book and loved how Billingham has given Tom Thorne a new maturity with age.

(Book purchased from Amazon)

A Bad Character by Deepti Kapoor – ☆☆☆

a bad character

I gave this book 3 / 5 Stars

Synposis

My boyfriend died when I was twenty-one. His body was left lying broken in the highway out of Delhi while the sun rose in the desert to the east. I wasn’t there, I never saw it. But plenty of others saw, in the trucks that passed by without stopping, and from the roadside dhaba where he’d been drinking all night.

Then they wrote about him in the paper. Twelve lines buried in the middle pages, one line standing out, the last one, in which a cop he’d never met said to the reporter, He was known to us, he was a bad character.

This is the story of Idha, a young woman who finds escape from the arranged marriage and security that her middle-class world has to offer through a chance encounter with a charismatic, dangerous young man. She is quickly exposed to the thrilling, often illicit pleasures that both the city, Delhi, and her body can hold. But as the affair continues, and her double life deepens, her lover’s increasingly unstable behaviour carries them past the point of no return, where grief, love and violence threaten to transform his madness into her own.

A stunning novel about female desire, A Bad Character shows us a Delhi we have not seen in fiction before: a city awash with violence, rage and corruption

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My Review:

An interesting book, I enjoyed reading most of it, but felt if was very depressing.  

The life of Idha started with her feeling different to what she felt she should have been, and it went downhill from there.  

The name Idha appears only once in the book and I was unsure that this was her name, also her lover’s name is never used, almost as if they are the anonymous and nameless with equally unchartered lives. 

She is a person who is tortured by living in a modern Delhi, never fitting in or meeting the traditional values and expectations of her Aunty who she lives with after her mother dies and her father abandons her.

Feeling apart from the expected of her in Indian culture she could not identify with the good Indian girl who was dutiful, respectful and understood that a good marriage was the most important thing in life.  Instead she chooses to live a modern life that transcends the rational, is secret and indulgent in experiences with a man who introduces her to every part of it. There was an absolute hopelessness to the way she continues blindlessly with progressing events.

I loved how Kapoor has a deep understanding of people and words.  There is a part when she talks of her grandfather whom she met when he was already old having survived as a religious man, 

‘..but I understood nothing of him then, and by that time God had already left him in the corner of the room, like a lamp without a bulb, gathering dust’. 

It describes perfectly how she viewed the world around her.  

She is skilful in matching our understanding of repressing the things we wish never to remember, with her words 

“I buried the words inside me where they lived on, like a splinter over which the skin has regrown.”

This is a novel of self destruction in which Idha rushes through life with total lack of care and is echoed in the comparison that she is driving through the city at speed. It felt almost like a car crash waiting to happen. 

The wild passion for experiencing excitement cannot last alone, and they become involved with drink and drugs to keep it going which is the unravelling of their relationship.  Towards the end of the book and seemingly having lost any respect for herself she becomes the possession of a business man without morals. 

The apparent suicide of her first lover cuts her deeply and she revisits his house, his friends, and their places but she finds no solace.  This book has brilliant descriptions of Delhi, places, people, life and corruption, but there is so much of it I could hardly take it all in. 

One thing I dislike is that Kapoor uses acronyms throughout the book and I had no idea what they all mean.

Then ending felt as meaningless as her life.  She drives off somewhere.

However, the writing is thorough and effective with some wonderful descriptions, but for me it was a little too descriptive to follow. 

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Many thanks to RandomHouse Publishers for a copy of this book via NetGalley for an honest review.

Print Length: 241 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0670087335
Publisher: Vintage Digital

Published:  (7 Aug 2014)