Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Monday, February 1, 2010
I raced through this book. The author delivers her story in a no frills manner keeping the prose light and to the point...yet somehow this does not compromise the compelling and gutsy plot at all.
I enjoyed the curious subjects of taxidermy, tattoo and collection immensely, this combined with the melancholic atmosphere as we switch from both past and present influenced by characters who each harbour unfulfilled desires and obsessions and keep unconventional secrets, held me captivated to the enthralling conclusion.
In this novel Sam Hayes tackles the gritty subject of whether to tell or not and what will the consequences be if you do.
The reader is lead through the story via three different female points of view, several times I found myself sitting back and searching for the connections or the direction in which the characters were taking us, asking more questions than were being answered and then forging ahead in search of them.
I struggled a little in the beginning with (what seemed to me) a complete lack of scene setting with very little descriptive prose, but of course ones imagination soon kicks in of its own accord and fills the gap.
Sam Hayes is described as writing 'emotional thrillers' and I would have to agree, I found some of the content quite disturbing and sometimes wished it was a movie so I could close my eyes through the horrible bits!
So there I was gearing up to an on the edge of my seat, nailbiting conclusion when all of a sudden the author seemed to lose courage with her edgy story and opts for the ridiculous Hollywood soap opera ending (yes another one!! I couldn't believe it!!) Aaagggghhhh......how frustrating!!! Only it being 2am I had to whisper aaaaaaggghhhh very quietly in case I woke my sleeping husband lol!! If the author thought she was writing a clever twist, well I am sorry it just didn't work for me...total suspension of belief here people...sorry.
Saying that...I would give Sam Hayes another chance and try one of her other previous titles as I really got into the story before it ended so disappointingly.
Posted by Monique at 8:58 AM
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Posted by Monique at 7:51 AM
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
I chose Life of Pi because it is on my Plan to Read list, The Sound of Butterflies and The Night Watch because I have previously enjoyed books by these authors and Marley and Me because having a puppy in the house at the moment I will enjoy relating to Marley's adventures and thought my hubby might like it too.
Posted by Monique at 3:08 PM
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
I have just this minute read the final word of Magpie Hall by Rachael King....still enjoying the moment for myself...but will leave you with this teaser from...lets see now...flicking the pages...and stop....page 165...
Posted by Monique at 10:10 AM
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Its the weekend and I was able to relax and read the Saturday paper after lunch, catching up on the weeks news and checking out the weekend book reviews...these two caught my eye and I thought I'd share them here. Both were reviewed favourably and I shall be asking for them at my library...
Lovesong by Alex Miller
"Alex Miller writes with intelligence, finesse and is strong on character. His latest novel Lovesong, is essentially a love story. One that is filtered through the imagination of the ageing writer we meet in the opening pages. Ken claims he has retired from writing and is going to do what retired people do...travel and enjoy themselves and sleep-in in the mornings. Then he meets someone who has a story too good to ignore. That love story is the main course of Miller's novel, but we get to meet Ken and his adult daughter at various points and, in these brief encounters, find little gems on the business of writing stories. 'Writing' he tells us, 'is a conversation'."
Paula Green, NZ Herald Canvas magazine.
Good to a Fault by Marina Endicott
Absorbed in her own failings, Clara Purdy crashes her life into a sharp left turn, taking the young family in the other car along with her. When bruises on the mother, Lorraine, prove to be late-stage cancer, Clara - against all habit and comfort - moves the three children and their terrible grandmother into her own house. Clara then has to cope with the consequences: exhaustion, fury, hilarity, and unexpected love. But she must question her own motives. Is she acting out of true goodness, or out of guilt? Most shamefully, has she taken over simply because she wants the baby for her own? This compassionate, funny, and fiercely intelligent novel looks at life and death through decidedly suburban reading glasses: being good, being at fault, and finding some balance on the precipice. fishpond.co.nz
"The novel is so satisfyingly contoured on a number of levels, through dark and light, joy and pain, wit and seriousness."
Paula Green, NZ Herald Canvas Magazine
Also, a nice suprise in the mailbox this morning. I had completely forgotten when I signed up to the Thriller and Suspense challenge hosted by Book Chick City that all the participants would receive a free ARC of either Random by Craig Robertson or Venom by Joan Brady courtesy of publisher SIMON & SCHUSTER UK. Thank you very much to the publishers for sending all the way down here to NZ and of course to our lovely hostess over at Book Chick City for organising a lovely giveaway.
Posted by Monique at 7:33 PM
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Title: The Little Stranger
Author: Sarah Water
Opening sentence: "I first saw Hundreds' Hall when I was ten years old.
Oh I do like a good ghost story! Have you ever watched one of those horror movies and found yourself yelling ‘Run, get out of the house’ at the actors onscreen….chapter by chapter I was practically willing the characters to simply pack up and get the heck out of there!
Many a time I could have throttled the narrator Dr Faradays' neck as again and again he pooh-poohs the Ayres family increasingly horror filled suspicions that something bad is ‘infecting’ their house and perhaps even themselves. With irritatingly rational explanations that they are tired and stressed by worry or simply implying that they might be going a bit potty in the head the good doctor seems to be helping his new found gentry friends or is he? Has his fascination with the great Hall that awed him as a child blinkered his judgement of the creepy events that occur one after the other in order to be a part of the house and the lives of those living there. Right to the very end there is an implication that all is not as it seems...
A newcomer to Sarah Waters writing I was delighted to find that this novel was not simply a period piece on post war English life (as one could be fooled into thinking by skimming the blurb on the back of the book) but also held decent helpings of murder, mystery and madness.
From start to finish the words just seemed to roll from the page and I loved the authors way of setting the scene, giving us the smallest of details or moments in descriptive, short sentences that in another writers hand could have been long, drawn out paragraphs. These marvelous tidbits lend the reader a real insight so that you actually feel you must give a small cough as dust is disturbed in the musty, crumbling rooms of Hundreds Hall or take a deep breath to inhale the sweet grassy smell of the overgrown tangled garden wafting through the french doors as Dr Faraday sits having tea with the Ayres family one summer afternoon.
Rather than ramble on in my clueless way (heh, heh) I will direct you to a review and discussion of the novel I liked at this book blog Shelf Life . Enjoy!
....and to the book I finished today....
Title: Isabella Moon
Author: Laura Benedict
Opening Sentence: "Kate was suprised when the stern-looking young woman at the duty desk told her to take a seat instead of just asking her name and sending her on her way when she announced, in a voice she could barely keep from shaking, that she knew where they could find the body of Isabella Moon."
The book begins in small town Kentucky, the towns people still scarred by the mysterious disappearence two years ago of a little girl called Isabella Moon. Faced with an almost complete lack of evidence - lack, even of a body - the case of the missing girl is still open and the frustrated Sheriff Bill Delaney is no nearer a resolution.
Until Kate Russell shows up that is. Kate holds long buried dark secrets of her own and has found refuge in sleepy Carystown until her quiet idyllic life is turned upside down and a reluctant Kate finds herself at the centre of the case of the missing Isabella. As unsettling truths emerge, the charming facade of the town begin to crumble and a community is undone by murder, secrets and lies.....
The story starts off promisingly enough once you get to grips with the many characters and you are just settling in for a good thriller. You begin to discover the dark secrets of Kate's past through a series of flashbacks and also the secrets that several of the other characters are keeping.....and then just after the halfway mark you realise its all becoming a bit like a bad soap opera (silly me...are there any good soap opera's! and yes Joan Collins would make a fabulous Janet ha ha!) but of course by then its too late and you are hooked, hanging in there until the ridiculous conclusion.
I was often irritated by having to re-read sentences because I felt they were worded oddly and I had to work to make sense of them. I feel the author started off with a good idea but then it snowballed into way too many subplots and the characters became superficial. Their reactions to situations became more and more unbelievable and far-fetched as the book progressed until you found yourself berating their stupidity under your breath. Also I was disappointed that the ghost was used more as a convenient tool to tell the characters who-dunnit rather than anything more meaningful or mysterious.
Entertaining to a point.
Posted by Monique at 5:55 PM