Sunday, 28 February 2010

Honeycote by Veronica Henry

Synopsis: HoneycoteThe Liddiards have lived at Honeycote House for generations. But all that might be about to change…

Mickey Liddiard adores his wife, Lucy. So why is he cheating on her with Kay? He knows it’s wrong, but he can’t help himself.
James, Mickey’s brother, has been in love with Lucy since the day he met her. He can’t betray his brother - but he’s not going to stop the truth coming out.
Kay only married Lawrence Oakley for his money, and he knows it. But is it Mickey who holds the key to her happiness?

For each of Mickey’s misdemeanours, somewhere in the seemingly peaceful village of Honeycote there is a knife being sharpened. Ambition, greed and good old-fashioned revenge all conspire to bring about his downfall - but will true love save the day?
My thoughts: Mickey is hiding a lot of things from his wife: his affair, his drinking and his massive debts. The family-run brewery is on the verge of being repossessed by the bank and he doesn’t know what to do about it. Gradually his secrets start to be found out by various characters in the book, and eventually everyone knows what a mess he’s in.
Alongside the main story, there are other side-stories involving Mickey’s family members and acquaintances.
The book is set in a fictional Cotswold village and I felt like I really got sucked into life in Honeycote, where it seems like there’s always something interesting going on.

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Some Kind of Hero by Donna Hay

Some Kind of HeroSynopsis: What do you do when your kids don’t want to share you with anyone else - except the person you least want?

As a single mother, Tess is used to juggling a full-time job as a teacher and looking out for both herself and her son. But at seventeen, Dan is far more independent than she realises. What’s more, he has taken it upon himself to bring his parents back together - whether Tess wants it or not.

Meanwhile, to their Yorkshire town moves Jack, a widower with a mountain of baggage, to say nothing of a stroppy teenage daughter…
My thoughts: Tess has brought up her disabled son Dan on her own for seventeen years, and doesn’t see why his dad should be involved now because he’d abandoned her when she was pregnant and had never even bothered to reply to her letters. But when Phil does show up, Dan worships him.

As a character, I thought Phil was horrible. He was nice and everything, but I thought it was a bit weird the way he just assumed that he was welcome and it seemed like he almost forced Tess to talk to him sometimes. Every time he turned up I just cringed and wished he would get lost!

Another character I didn’t like was Jack’s work colleague, Charlie. She is desperate to go out with Jack and is always scheming to make him like her. But Jack has two daughters, and Charlie hates kids. She seems to think that he’s going to ditch his daughters to go out with her. She was a nasty piece of work.

My favourite character was Emily, Jack’s teenage daughter. She was a typical stroppy teenager, but she was really good at seeing through people like Charlie.

Overall I really enjoyed this book, even though it was slightly predictable. I thought the story did a very good job of showing the relationships between single parents and their children.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Going With Gabriel by Bryan Islip

Going with GabrielSynopsis: Are there simply too many of us? Are we trying to grab much, much more from our planet than our planet has to give? Many of us would agree with Gabriel, would know by now that these most acute of problems reach out to threaten every form of life on earth, even our own. But then in all probability we would quickly forget about them. Solutions seem either unavailable or unacceptable.

On the other hand … Dr Gabriel Nicolson has long escaped from the frightening reality of his team’s bio-scientific discovery into the anonymity of the streets; into the world of his first love, that of music.

Going with Gabriel is a powerfully intertwined story about an exceptional talent and a man’s conscience and about freedom and the lack of it, love and no love, celebrity and anonymity. This is a truly thought-provoking literary adventure.
My Thoughts: I really struggled to get into this book. The story idea is really intriguing, and the arguments made by the characters really make you think. But I didn’t like any of the characters; I found them all a bit unrealistic. I also found a lot of the book too political and scientific, so I didn’t always understand what was going on.

I really enjoyed the last part of the book, after Gabriel has moved into Farland 101. I think I would have preferred the book if more of the story had been set in the Farland. I also enjoyed it when Gabriel went ‘outside’ again. It was an eye-opener as it showed how the world could be like in a few years time.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

DEAD(ish) by Naomi Kramer

DEAD[ish]Synopsis: Linda’s had a bad day. First her boyfriend killed her. Then she woke up, still on this boring plane of existence, and with an odd obsession about her missing body. Mike won’t tell her what he did with her body, and she can’t find the stupid thing herself. There’s only one thing she can do - torment the b*****d until he coughs up the information.
My thoughts: This was a quick story to read. The point-of-view jumps between the different characters, which can be confusing in places.
The story is quite shallow, we don't really learn much about the characters, only about their relationships with each other.
This book made me laugh, but to be honest, it's a bit silly (in a good way).

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Diary of a Hapless Househusband by Sam Holden

Diary of a Hapless HousehusbandSynopsis from back cover: When father-of-two Sam loses his job, he reluctantly agrees to stay at home while his wife returns to work. Secretly thinking this whole parenthood thing a breeze of leisurely jaunts to the park and occasionally attending a civilised play date or two, Sam quickly realises just what exactly it means to be a stay-at-home parent.

Inevitably, domestic mayhem ensues. Just trying to get out of the house without going to A&E is a feat, as is managing the children’s complicated play date schedule while fending off the unwelcome advances of Jodhpur Mum at the playground. And Sam’s foolproof 72-step Childcare Programme doesn’t seem remotely up to the task.
Desperate to get his life back on track, Sam seizes upon a variety of mad schemes, but just as things look like they’re beginning to fall into place, he makes a surprising discovery…
My thoughts: This book is hilarious! It is written in the form of Sam’s personal diary, and the crazy things that his kids get up to had me in stitches. I was laughing at things that really should not be funny, like the baby getting her hand stuck in the video player.

Towards the end I found that things started to take a weird turn. The ending was not unexpected, but I’m not sure I liked it.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

The Moonlight by Joyce Cary

The MoonlightSynopsis from back cover: Rose is a frail but wilful spinster who, in a self sacrificial act following her mother’s death, became head of the family estate and self-appointed guardian of morality. Her death triggers painful memories for her younger sister Ella, memories which force her to confront the tragic consequences of a family’s guilt, relentless martyrdom and denial of romantic love.
Ella’s niece Amanda is struggling with her feminine identity, pressurised by the demands of two seemingly eligible suitors. Protective instincts prompt Ella to guide her. But Ella’s sanity is waning and, as she attempts to make good, she invites history to repeat itself.
 My thoughts: Rose only ever wanted the best for her family, but this didn’t always go down well, especially not with Ella. After Rose dies, Ella is convinced that she has killed her and her imagined guilt eats away at her. She begins to realise that Rose might have been right after all, and so Ella tries to help Amanda just like Rose would have done. The only problem is that Amanda does not want her Aunt interfering in her love life.

Ella is constantly reminiscing about her past. This means that the story jumps from past to present and back again with little warning. This is a bit confusing, but helps to show that Ella is living in the past and is deeply affected by past events.

I found the story a bit slow to get into because not a lot happens near the beginning. I found Ella really annoying, and I wished that the story would concentrate more on Amanda because I quite liked her.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

In My Mailbox

I haven't done much reading this week, but I have got lots of books. I bought Bimbo and Topsy by Enid Blyton because it's a childhood favourite that I wanted to re-read. The rest of the books this week are from swaps.

Bimbo and Topsy
Gillian and Imogen's lives are very ordinary until Bimbo the Siamese kitten and Topsy the fox terrier come to live at their house. Suddenly, nothing is boring or quiet again as the animals rush around causing chaos wherever they go.

A Necessary Evil (MIRA) Someone is killing Catholic priests. FBI profiler Maggie O'Dell is brought in to investigate the killing spree and it soon becomes clear to her that more than one perpetrator is responsible. The gruesome murders leave the public reeling. Then O'Dell gets a lead that leaves her stunned.
For years she has been hunting Father Keller, the monster whose acts of brutality continue to haunt her. When he offers to help Maggie solve the crimes, she has no choice but to ally herself with the elusive child killer, crossing a dangerous line into a world from which she may not return unscathed.
Maggie knows the bargain is a necessary evil... one that may be made in blood...
White EmpressCat Cleary has escaped the Irish slums and is looking for work in Liverpool. She's full of hope, determined to make her fortune and be someone. Joe Calligan, a deckhand who saves Cat's life, can't bring himself to tell her, the most beautiful girl he's ever set eyes upon, that Liverpool is full of people walking the streets, looking for work.
As soon as Cat sees the luxury liner the White Empress her heart is set on becoming Chief Stewardess. Despite her lack of money or education, Cat sets about achieving her incredible dream. Whilst doing so, she discovers that having a good man by her side will bring her more happiness than she could ever have hoped for.

Diary of a Hapless HousehusbandWhen father-of-two Sam loses his job, he reluctantly agrees to stay at home while his wife returns to work. Secretly thinking this whole parenthood thing a breeze of leisurely jaunts to the park and occasionally attending a civilised play date or two, Sam quickly realises just what exactly it means to be a stay-at-home parent.
Inevitably, domestic mayhem ensues. Just trying to get out of the house without going to A&E is a feat, as is managing the children's complicated play date schedule while fending off the unwelcome advances of Jodhpur Mum at the playground. And Sam's foolproof 72-step Childcare Programme doesn't seem remotely up to the task.
Desperate to get his life back on track, Sam seizes upon a variety of mad schemes, but just as things look like they're beginning to fall into place, he makes a very surprising discovery...
Decision Most DeadlySir Charles Berkeley comes from humble roots, but through a humiliating war with Scotland, he is able to make a name for himself and attract the patronage of the influential Earl of Holland.
Moving to London, his new marriage is soon interrupted by the spiralling events of the 1640's where the struggle between King and Parliament begins to escalate beyond any control.
He struggles to live in the hub of all this discord and during the overlooked, but pivotal year of 1641, he finds himself determined to remain above the fray.
Life will never be the same as the country lurches ever closer to civil war. Sir Charles agonizes over the decision that many of our ancestors would have grappled with - King or Parliament?
Very soon, Sir Charles is thrust into the dispute and is at the forefront of the crisis, experiencing the battle for power from both sides.
Enter the world of the 17th century!
The OutcastOne summer's day in 1957, nineteen-year-old Lewis Aldridge stands alone at Waterford railway station. The only person awaiting his return is a fifteen-year-old girl called Kit Carmichael. Like him, she endured a childhood spent in the stifling atmosphere of an English village recovering from the ravages of the Second World War.
A decade earlier it was Lewis who waited for his father's homecoming from the war. His mother, a free-spirited and glamorous woman, holds husband and son in her thrall. But when tragedy strikes, Lewis and his father, unable to console one another, are torn apart by their grief.
Now, from the fractured remains of their old lives, Kit and Lewis must forge their own futures. As menacing as it is beautiful, The Outcast is a devastating portrait of transgression and redemption from an astonishing new voice.
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Monthly Round-Up - January 2010

I really can't believe that January is over already. It's flown by! This was my first full month as a book blogger, and it's been going great so far. So what has been happening around here in January?

Books I reviewed in January:
1. The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
2. Cold Cases by Charlotte Greig
3. Morgan's Woman by Iris Gower
4. Uncanny Stories by May Sinclair
5. The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
6. Lily by Adele Geras
7. The World's Greatest Unsolved Crimes by Roger Boar and Nigel Blundell
8. Birthday Girl by Diane J. Wright
9. Gorilla Adventure by Willard Price
10. Illusion by Edmond Cheng

My favourite book I read this month was Gorilla Adventure by Willard Price.

January blog news:
What's coming in February?
  • I'm starting my university course, so I might not be blogging as often as I'd like, but I'll do my best.
  • I plan to start writing some book-related articles & non-review posts.
  • I want to get my blog 'out there' more, and gain some new followers.