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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Valley by Helen Bryan

The Valley (The Valley Trilogy #1)

This was the only cover I could find and I read it in a Kindle variation.

A coming of age story apart from the vast history it covers which in itself was a story. Sophia is an heiress to a tobacco plantation in Virginia and this is the only asset she has left after she finds herself left bankrupt in England. With the help of a French man who is very reluctant to go with her, lots of slaves both free and indentured she sets out to claim her land.

The road to Virginia is hard and troublesome but Sophia is determined that she and her band will make a life for themselves. How they set up camp, marry (all of them) have families, make a settlement and town of a barren landscape is very descriptively and told in detail. The history of slavery, the treatment of slaves even free men was horrendous and was distressing to read about even years later.

The story goes on and on and could have been trimmed a bit. Maybe the telling of it was necessary for the plot but the main story of Sophia got side lined as numerous other characters also had a fairly large role to play and each of their stories added to the main.

It took me a while to get through this book and I felt bad because it had been on my Kindle for a very long time.

The book was sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Lake Union Publishing. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

ANNA by Niccolo Ammaniti

This kind of futuristic genre is generally not in my comfort zone and for the greater part of the book I was not quite there with the author on this one. This does not detract from the story line at all. A future that was very bleak where Anna as the elder sister was totally responsible for her younger sibling, foraging for medicines and food in a world that was so so hostile and predatory, took my breath away.

I was always on edge during the story, not knowing what fate would befall both children and the depth of responsibility Anna showed as a result of a death bed promise to her mother was amazing.

This book was sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Canongate Books.

No One Hears But Him by Taylor Caldwell

It has been sometime since I read a more spiritual book so this made a good change!

A Sanctuary has been built in very pleasant surroundings. It is meant to give solace and meaning to life to those who enter. One is for people and one is for the person who listens.

Those who come here are those who seek answers as to why life has burdened them with sorrows which are not bearable. People want answers but the answers they get may not be the ones they want.

The novel deals with the idea of faith surmounting all issues. Not an easy concept to understand or accept. This was why it took me a long while to finish this book. It had to be read slowly.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Open Road Integrated Media. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Accident by Dawn Goodwin

A nightmare for any couple. A tragic accident tears a young family apart. A loss of a child in such circumstances rends this family apart and does not bring them any closer. Months go by and the situation does not seem to improve at all. The mother seems to revert to a state of not acknowledging the absence of her child and the father tries to reach out to her and at the same time, has no support for his own overwhelming sorrow.

Enter a new friend who supports the mother, brings her out of her shell and forces her to live again.
It may not be the ideal way to go about things and old friends are shut out firmly, mainly because they remind her too much of the past. As the days go by Veronica seems to drift deeper and deeper into a morass of her own mind which seems to make sense only to her. You wonder where it is all going to end and you also know its not going to be good.

The ending of course is with a twist in the tale. It is that which supports the whole story.

It was a sad story, very emotional, very good characterization.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Aria.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Double Cross by David Hegarty

Selling whiskey was going to be a slightly shady but accepted practice in Dublin. Denis Murphy was doing a favour for a friend and was going to be slightly richer for it. He did not know that he was in for a major double cross and that he was going to get involved with seasoned criminals.

From whiskey to guns, to blackmail, several murders, violence and a lot of aggression the plot develops with Murphy now trying to save his skin, that of his mates and Melissa whom he has begun to have feelings for. Getting it all together in the face of powerful criminals is not going to be easy and Murphy has to use his wits against a very rich cartel of criminals who would stoop to anything to get where and what they want.

On top of it all the police are now on his tail as they feel he is a person that they are interested in. Trying to get out of the situation alive, along with his friends is his aim. Managing that feat needs ingenuity and cunning.

A bit complicated with several strands of different events coming together, the characters were well developed and the story built up very well.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Endeavour Press. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Scarweather by Anthony Rolls

I was on a roll of reading British Crime Classics and one blogger recommended this one. I really should get down to noting the name of the blogger but somehow in the excitement of quickly requesting this from Netgalley, it invariably slips my mind.

It is 1913 and John and Eric visit the famous archaeologist Teisby. His house is situated in a remote but beautiful part of the northern coast of England. The description of the location was one of the finer parts of the book, along with the varying weather, the tides and how the sea and the surroundings govern the lives of the people in this story. The story of course is a crime which went hidden for decades.

Told slowly and steadily over a long period of time, the tragic disappearance of Eric and the events both leading to it, and subsequently with the discovery of the actual truth were a climax of the story.  It was a bit unnerving to read that the discovery of the truth was going to remain hidden, only known to a very few and though the discovery was important, it went hidden into the history of those involved.

The characters were very well developed, the description of the locality was beautiful and the storyline fascinating.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Poisoned Pen Press,

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Right Side by Spencer Quinn

The Right Side

LeAnne has returned from Afghanistan mentally and physically scarred. Her rehabilitation will be long and slow but she is an impatient girl  LeAnne also knows that her memory is shaky and faulty and that chunks of what she should remember as being imperative to her well being are missing.

Losing her room mate suddenly whilst in hospital triggers LeAnne into going back to the same town from which Marci came. Arriving there the distressing news that Marci's little girl has gone missing adds to the trauma. Adopted by a dog who is determined not to leave her side and who becomes more a guardian angel than a pet LeAnne now embarks on a dangerous mission, almost as dangerous as the Afghan one which she came back from. Will this finally help her to fill in the gaps in her memory and make her more at peace with not just the military but herself.

A very descriptive thriller combing the combat scene of Afghanistan alongside the peaceful little village in Washington State the contrasts in the two scenes could not have been more apparent. From the people inhabiting the two scenarios Americans in a village and Americans in the military the contrast was huge and added to the heightened tensions in the story.

The story moves in fits and starts, very much like the character of LeAnne who has moods of her own. It did not deter from the flow of the story at all.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Atria Books.

PS On an exciting note, I leave for Paris tomorrow with family. I have dreamt of this for years and though it is sad that my husband is not joining me on this trip, I am determined to enjoy this as much as I can. From Paris we journey to Switzerland and then return back to Sri Lanka on the 25th of this month.

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