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Friday, January 31, 2014

LONG TIME COMING by EDIE CLAIRE

Long Time Coming


Joy comes back to her home town almost under duress. Her father is very ill and her mother needs her support. The unspoken thing is that this is a stop gap - when her father is no more, Joy and her mother will move elsewhere.

Joy does not want to stay in Wharton because of the nightmarish episode she endured whilst a high school girl. She lost her best friend in an accident and since then she has suffered nightmares over this as well as amnesia as to the actual events of the sequence of what happened.

Having come home, this is a small town and Joy is forced almost immediately to face head on the entire of her past and try to come to terms with what may not be palatable to her. Jeff may not have been responsible for the accident despite her belief to the contrary and nothing may seem what it is like.

I liked the start of the story but midway I got a bit bored. The not knowing and wanting to know what actually happened dragged on for quite a while and the paranormal happenings made me dismiss the whole story. Pity  because it could have turned out well.

We are in the midst of a heat spell in Colombo - there is talk of rain and the Met Department says it has to rain but we are having bright blue skies and absolutely no sign of a downpour. And to think most of  North America is having an unusual cold spell. 








Wednesday, January 29, 2014

THE BLOOD DOCTOR by BARBARA VINE

The Blood Doctor


Henry is a hereditary Peer in the House of Lords and he is embarking on his second biography - the subject being his predecessor an eminent doctor Henry Nanther. Henry Nanther was such an important doctor that he became appointed as a Doctor to Queen Victoria who subsequently made him a peer as well.  His specialised knowledge was haemophilia a subject very close to Her Majesty's heart.

As our current Henry delves deeper into letters and books and documents which his earlier Henry had meticulously maintained, there are many facets to Henry's character which are revealed. All of them extremely difficult to fathom and understand. We have a Machiavellian man here who manipulates circumstances, people and events to suit him. The story is very dark and at the same time almost pedantic in its slowness but it did not detract from the books appeal for me.

I liked the authors attention to detail - not just haemophilia as a subject but also the intricacies of how the House of Lords operates and details of how our current Henry's life fits into this greater plan. How Henry gathers the information together and how bits and pieces from afar and through coincidence fits into a puzzle which at the beginning seems without any reason.

Three quarter way through I did realize where the story was going and after that it was a bit of an anti climax for me. A story very well written and one which kept my interest almost through the whole book.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

THE INCONVENIENT DUCHESS by CHRISTINE MERRILL

The Inconvenient Duchess (The Radwells #1)


This was another delightful free read from Amazon. Shades of Georgette Heyer (just shades) because the physical part of life never appears in her books and it does in this one!

We have the arrogant Duke whose mother (even more complicated than the Duke) on her deathbed actually is able to extract a promise from her son that he will "consider" Miranda Grey as a prospective wife. He has never heard of her, she is not part of the ton and is a rustic to boot.

Miranda appears bedraggled, wet and every inch a GH heroine. His gentlemanly feelings overcome his feelings of indifference because Miranda has been put in the delicate position of spending the night at the Hall with only the Duke and his irresponsible brother for company. To save her reputation he has to marry her and marry her he does.

What follows is a older version of Downton Abbey - domestics, upstairs, downstairs and all and of course the romance that has to flower between our Duke and Duchess with a spanner in the works from his brother. 

A surprisingly pleasant, light hearted read. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

IT'S MONDAY! WHAT ARE YOU READING?

2a


Just one book in the house - Barbara Vine's The Blood Doctor


The Blood Doctor

rather a dull cover but an anything but dull story. Henry - doctor to Queen Victoria (one of her doctors) and a really double/triple personality to boot. 

Its rather staid reading so far, but you know that you are in the depths of a mystery somewhere which is going to turn up now! Halfway through and enjoying the slow pace.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

MURDER IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE by SUSAN KIERNAN LEWIS

Murder in the South of France (Maggie Newberry Mysteries, #1)



Another free book which I downloaded and read on a three hour journey today. At least half of it got done yesterday and reading on the tablet whilst travelling is far easier for me on the eye.

Maggie our heroine is savvy, in the advertising field but at 34 she still hankers for the more homely husband and family. She hasn't found Mr. Right yet and this troubles her, despite her career success. We also have Elise her sister, the black sheep of the family who turns up dead at Maggie's condo but this is after she was reported dead in Cannes. A body has been identified as Elise by Maggie herself in Cannes to add to the confusion and mayhem that will naturally follow when two bodies are identified as one person. Add to the mix a four year old little girl abducted and brought over without legal papers to America!

The story is a mystery murder - lots of clues including scams, drugs, the Russian mafia in Cannes, a despicable, abusive husband and a boyfriend who is not quite what he seems. Love and heartbreak, murder and mystery and the ending is not quite right. Sort of unsettled me the ending I mean.

The book was an ideal travelling companion. I enjoyed the contrast between Atlanta and Cannes and especially the descriptiveness in Cannes and Montmarte. 

On another note, Google + is not willing to accept my surname as being my surname!!!! What does one do when you do not have the Anglicized names around????? 

Friday, January 24, 2014

DECEMBER by ELIZABETH WINTHROP

Medium

A small family in crisis. Each trying to handle the situation in their own way, groping in the dark, not knowing what is the best way forward.

Isabelle is just eleven years of age. From being a quiet girl, she became someone who just lapsed into silence. This has gone on for nearly 250 days. Ruth and Wilson do not know how they are handling the present situation and how they should handle the future. An ultimatum has come up - it is now December and the school has said that unless she talks by January she cannot return to school. For the last few months Isabelle has done her school work at home and has submitted her papers every week, maintaining some semblance of normality.

There is no known trauma for the silence, no sign of abuse, no withdrawal into herself and after being to four psychiatrists Ruth feels she is a failure as a mother. She has given up her law practice to devote her time to Isabelle to try to get her to being "normal" and Wilson the father is bewildered. He loves his daughter, his daughter loves him but it seems to stop at that. 

The appearance of Jimmy - an uncle with unspecified mental illness, who seems eccentric to the parents seems to have found some kind of kinship with Isabelle who warms to him. With an injury that could be threatening the longed for event happens and Isabelle begins to speak.  I felt that Isabelle's silence seem self imposed and though she was unhappy (at times) how her silence was affecting all those around her, she found it impossible to break her almost promise to herself not to speak. Whether it was a punishment for Isabelle for some unknown fault or whether it was a punishment for her parents I couldn't quite fathom.

Why and how this happened is difficult to understand. This was the average house and the family seemed to have drifted on in difficult circumstances, just hoping for the best (eventually). That it happened is just happy coincidence.

Not a very happy story.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Two short reviews - Getting used to a Tablet.




With the  dearth of books, I have been going to Amazon and downloading recommendations! With mixed feelings. Still getting used to reading books on the tablet. Will get there eventually.


A Charming Crime (Magical Cure Mystery, #1)

This was for me slightly wacko! I was bored, it was 10 pm and I had nothing to read. That about sums it.


Never Miss a Chance (Kellington, #2)

This was a good choice. Regency styled characters, an independent female with a leaning towards writing treatise(s) with an emphasis on rights of women (everyone snubbing her and the ladies fainting at the sight of our Lady) love the feeling. We have a torrid love story as well. Did women get an opportunity in those times, with all that chaperoning. Tchk tchk very bad duennas here!!!!

Again for a 10 pm bedtime read. Lovely. Not wacko. Lovely.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Meanderings - This and That.



I've been absent from the blog and blogging sporadically. One reason is the lack of time or rather I would say bad management of time. I somehow seem to put off stuff that needs to be done and blogging was one of those things.

The second reason is that I do not have books to read - I have towering piles of wishlists of course but actual books none. I got two yesterday and thats' a huge relief. 

The picture above does not mean that I have been lying on a beach - nothing like that and in fact I dislike the sea and the sand. Its just an indication of what Sri Lankan beaches look like. I have always preferred green and mountains - each to their own!

I am following all the blogs which interest me and commenting as usual. Its just my reading that has gone AWOL. On another book note believe it or not I have won this on three different blogs! I do wish my luck would persist with other book giveaways as well.  I've graciously declined two of them so good luck to another winner on those blogs.


 


Thursday, January 16, 2014

ANIL'S GHOST BY MICHAEL ONDAATJE



This is not an easy book to review. We come to a Michael Ondaatje book with a lot of expectation and for me the book met up with all my expectations - but I am a Sri Lankan and I knew the background in which the book was set. I feel that the background to the story may be a bit fragmented and may not be specific enough for someone without a knowledge of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka has been in the limelight mainly because of the Tamil separatist war which lasted for 30 years and was a most bloody conflict. Anil's Ghost deals mainly with an insurgency against the Government by forces which meant to overthrow what they thought was a corrupt goverment. How they went about it and the thousands they murdered in order to try to lay down their rule of law (they did not succeed) by a means of fear and oppression is the greater part of the story.

The book confused me from the first page! Anil is a boy's name and when you start the story Anil is a female forensic pathologist. She has been away from the country of her birth for fifteen years and is now highly qualified in her field and coming as a representative for a Human Rights organization based in Geneva to check and do a "report" on the situation in Sri Lanka. She is teamed with Sarath an archaelogist  who represents the government (I thought it a strange combination) but as the story goes on it is revealed firstly how Anil got her name and secondly why Sarath was the chosen representative from the Government.

I loved the writing. The descriptive nature of the story set mainly in remote areas of Sri Lanka was breath taking. I haven't been to many of the places mentioned though I've learnt about them in my history lessons but they were brought to life by Ondaatje's writing. You also learn a lot from his writing and it shows the extent of his research to make sure that the book is as meticulously authentic as possible. 

Each character in the story is different. They are also in so many layers which peel off one at a time to reveal so many different persona. 

The story is haunting and lingers with you long after the book is over. A story of death, evil, superstition and traditional practices. Despite the lack of light in the story, it is a very compelling one. Couldn't put this down and finished it in one go.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

THE MASQUERADERS by GEORGETTE HEYER


I picked up this one as I wanted a quieter book after The Casual Vacancy. This was not a slow paced read but the setting is so serene that you tend to totally relax with a Georgette Heyer novel.

We have Robin and Prudence as our "masqueraders". The boy living out the part of a girl and the girl as a boy. They act out their parts beautifully in society and no one is the wiser other than for one discerning gentleman who feels that everything is not what it seems - as he feels a distinct attraction for the young "man"!

It is a complicated story of a family with a past, as Prudence puts it - they are adventurers and not suitable to get married into "good respectable families" but like everything else things are sorted out beautifully, after several adventures, a duel or two, highwaymen and a murder and romance of the best kind.

I liked each character for what they were and they were all different. Prudence was very different to the average young lady of the time - she was daring and willing to take a risk at every turn, Robin was willing to follow whatever rules his father said at the risk of everything he held dear, the father was a dashing buccaneer almost and then we have Anthony who appears to be staid and very quiet and is anything but. 

Lovely book for the weekend.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

THE CASUAL VACANCY by J K ROWLING


I never know what book comes my way and there are always very pleasant surprises coming (all the time!). This was one of them.

With a book like this, we always seem to think to what the author has put up before and doesnt everyone have huge expectations when it is on the scale of Harry Potter.

A modern day setting with very eclectic characters we run the whole gamut of people. The no nonsense types, the interfering ones, the do gooders, the gruff bluff types and the hypocrites.  We have modern day trappings of Facebook and online web sites being very much part of the book.  We can identify with the entire story as it runs parallel to anyone's life in modern day times and this is what draws one in.
As usual Rowling knows how to enthrall and entice,  and also keep you at it till the story is done and dusted. It also is interesting that despite not happy endings you do end the book with a sense of well being that you've read a winner!

We have a small town of Pagford on the brink of having an election to fill in the vacancy (this is the casual part) as a result of the death of a councillor Barry Fairweather. The ones who are jostling for this position are varied and different - all with agendas of their own - some wanting to follow in the footsteps of Barry and others totally opposite to what he aimed for and thus hoping to turn the Council in another direction. The ramifications of the election are huge and will affect life in Pagford and Yarvill and it is this that drives the election forward.

We have malicious, smug, righteous, boring, abusive, mixed up and nice characters in the story. We also have the modern day elements of huge drug abuse, teenagers with angst, generation gaps at its height and so many other features that in another story would be most confusing but which in this one seems so natural to the story.

Needless to say I loved the book and am just glad that I got it to it sooner rather than later. I hope Ms. Rowling continues with the modern theme.

Christmas at the Alexanders by M. Malone




This was another download to my Ipad. A very warm hearted Christamassy story which was also very short. This is not exactly a review just an appreciation to Amazon for their free stuff for people like me who really appreciate having something to read!

The story of a young man and a young woman both with slightly complicated pasts being attracted to each other and how they work things out is the basic story. Add to it stern parents on the one side and a very warm, loving family on the other. I have apparently gone into the series right in the middle at No. 3.5 so hopefully will get to the others shortly.

As to weather, it has improved very slightly with a few showers but hardly enough to effect the heat and humidity of the day. When I look at North America, I keep thinking why some of that could not come this way. The grass is always much more attractive on the other side. 



Tuesday, January 7, 2014

THOU ART THE MAN. by M.E. BRADDON

  


This is the second book that I downloaded to my Ipad and I couldn't be happier. With no access to books freely this has opened a vista for me which was unimaginable. 

A very old fashioned read. Set at the end of the 19th century, we see very clearly that time is of no account where people are concerned. We get the good and the villains in every era and though gentility and being a gentleman were of paramount importance at the time, it is not something that was apparent in every man of the time and the story is partly representative of this.

We have the lady of the house, married to the Lord Penrith. She spurned the advances of his brother and married him and this is something that the brother kept in mind till the end of his days. Ending up as a murderer not once but twice - the first time letting another take the blame, the second time around being so successful that it was ruled as an accidental death, he comes into the baronetcy and the wealth of his brother. It does not lead to a happy end though and the moral of repentance before death to get absolution for your sins (does it work out like this so easily!) is part of the story.

Very descriptive of the surroundings of the area in which the book is situated, also finely tuned as to the characters of the story, it was a very pleasant read.

Monday, January 6, 2014

First Chapter - First Paragraph Tuesday





I am over the moon because I got an Ipad for Christmas from my brother!!! everyone says I will become a freak now using this and am thinking I am going to agree with them!!!!

Technology of this kind is new to me so its a learning curve still - but learn I will!!!! Downloaded a very small book yesterday from Amazon which was free and read it too.

Today I went to another site (recommended by The Novel Life) called Forgotton Books and my excerpt comes from one of those books.  After a period of around five years, I find that I have no new books in the house to read - either my own or borrowed and that has left me feeling slightly disconcerted.  Now I have access to books again!





Lady Penrith was again missing at afternoon tea and again John Coverdale looked around the drawing room with a countenance expressive of blank disappointment. He had not been with the shooters who had just returned and who were having a substantial egg and toast tea in the breakfast room.  He came to the drawing room after a long afternoon reading  in the almost unused library  - a spacious apartment which had once been an armoury  and in which three great carved book cases filled with eighteen century literature  books which nobody ever looked at  represented culture at Killander Castle.


Taken from the book Thou Art the Man - a novel by M E Braddon first published in 1894. 

Joining Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea