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Thursday, February 27, 2014

SET IN STONE by LINDA NEWBERY

Set in Stone


Set in the beautiful countryside of Sussex we have Four Winds the home of Ernest Farrow - rich, respectable, cultured, recently widowed with two young daughters. Samuel Godwin is young, naive and an art teacher who is offered a very generous position as art tutor to the two young Miss Farrows.
Mrs Farrow has recently died and the girls are in the care of a very conscientious and caring governess in the form of Miss. Agnew.

That is the very bones of the story. But what bones they are and from this very basic beginning we have a great story. The secrets hidden within the family are unimaginable. Considering that the story is set in a puritan, conservative background makes it even more so. How everyone other than the immediate family is aware of the actual secret and how gradually does it come out to the horrifying knowledge of both Samuel and Miss. Agnew and the results of that form the crux of the story.

Imaginatively told, extremely descriptive,  the book written in a diary format moving from one character speaking to the next gives us a concise view of what is happening and of what has happened. We have elements of insanity, sexual licence and misconduct all set in a gorgeous Gothic background.

The book captured my interest and I finished it as quickly as I could. I liked the writing style of this author and will be looking for other books by her.  

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

FALL ON YOUR KNEES by ANN-MARIE MACDONALD


My review is very short because this is not an easy book to review. 

A family saga - drama really with a bit of everything thrown in. Covering five generations and four remarkable, eccentric sisters this is a dysfunctional family.

Reading it was something similar to the curate's egg. Good in parts! very difficult to read in parts the story covers Kathleen the brilliant singer whom the father had pinned his hopes on, then we have Mercedes who took on the role of Mother with the tragic death of actual Mother, then we have Frances the middle one and Lily the crippled daughter and the one who wants to please everyone. The mother is almost incidental to the story though she was a big influence in the life of all especially Mercedes. The author makes her almost recede into the background.

Dark, twisted with a huge dose of incest and physical abuse the book was one which I alternately disliked and liked. Cannot say I loved it but I did want to read the whole thing through. I dislike myself more when I do not finish a book. 


Just to create a bit of something light, flowers from the garden at Rozella!

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

THE MIND READERS by LORI BRIGHTON

The Mind Readers (Mind Readers, #1)

This is an unusual choice for me. As I said before a mix of paranormal, fantasy and YA I did not find this odd at all. 

Cameron is unusual. She can read minds but this is only known to her immediate family comprising just her grand mother alone who tries to curtail these activities because she has learnt the very hard way how detrimental it can be. Cameron's secret comes out in school when she tries to protect a friend from a disastrous relationship which will just lead to her death. It backfires on Cameron when the friend spreads the word around.

Unknown to Cameron however, is the fact that she is not alone. That there are people like her and when Lewis turns up at just the right moment offering her a safe haven and protection she grabs it eagerly thinking that this a group who will understand her. However she also finds out slowly that everything is not exactly as it seems. How she can extricate herself from this and return to her grandmother's protection is the story. Whether she will ever be able to escape the clutches of The Mind Readers is the question readers are left with?


Interesting premise and story.

Monday, February 24, 2014

IT'S MONDAY! WHAT ARE YOU READING?

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Hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Am in the midst of an unusual genre for me. A mix of paranormal, fantasy and a bit of YA thrown in for good measure The Mind Readers is a book which is a different kind of read.

As the title suggest Cameron can read one's mind. She is also not comfortable with this and becomes the one in high school whom everyone turns against. What Cameron does not know is that she is just one of a line of people in her family who are Mind Readers and there is a whole society out there of Mind Readers who are willing to help her out.

Am quarter of the way through and enjoying the book very much.

The Mind Readers (Mind Readers, #1)



Not doing a Mailbox Monday this week as no new books came to the house!


Sunday, February 23, 2014

A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM by SCOTT D. SOUTHARD

A Jane Austen Daydream


The first thing that struck me was that book was written by a man! that in itself is unusual. Jane Austen is usually considered a feminine author so that I am so very glad that a man actually wrote this book. It means that there are many men out there reading Austen which is no bad thing.


The story starts with Jane as a young woman of 20 with the usual aspirations of men and marriage of the time. Having an elder sister waiting to find a partner and with a mother (like Mrs Bennett) whose only aspiration is to find partners for all her children (rich and successful is a bonus of course) and thus Jane is thrown in the path of possible suitors. The story carries on till around the age of 35. We have disillusionment in love and sorrow.

I was not very sure how much of the story is fictionalized and how much of it is faithful to Jane Austen's own life. In this story Jane comes along as a sparkly, determined young woman who faces life courageously. It is the Austen we know from Elizabeth and from her other characters in her books.

Still left with one question though at the end of the book. Did Jane find love and happiness at all? Would like to know that  as one is kind of left wondering at the end. You do want a happy ending for Jane after all. 

Was at Rozella yesterday - here is one photograph of me and  our dogs. The area is so dry and we are anxiously awaiting the rains - supposedly scheduled to start soon. Cannot be too soon for me. 

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Friday, February 21, 2014

DAUGHTER OF TIME BY SARAH WOODBURY




This took me back to Diana Gabaldon. From present day times to the harsh reality of the 13th century we find Meg and Prince Llewellyn of Wales trying to make a relationship work.  Meg is transported back to the 13th century with a car accident. The difference is that she also has a small daughter Anna who also gets transported back to the 13th century.

Meg seems to adapt very well to the 13th century and for Anna it is a breeze.  An independent, single mother in present times who had an abusive husband Meg relishes the support and care that Llewellyn offers. Her life in Wales seems one of just drifting from one day to another but of course this is a time of warfare and strife and Llewellyn has plenty on his hands with brothers and clansmen all trying to oust him from his position. Meg is an additional problem for him because he is constantly questioning whether she is actually from the future like she says she is, or is she a spirit of some kind.

Since Meg has had a very patriotic Welsh mother Meg is very updated on Welsh history. She is able to tell Llewellyn even the time of his death fourteen years further down the line! she is also able to tell him who and in what circumstances he will meet with his death. Llewellyn is a Prince without an heir and this has turned out to be a problem for him. Meg is able to assure him that with a second marriage he will get his longed for son.

Though in the style of Gabaldon there were twists in the tale which were different. Bringing Anna along with her to the 13th century was a definite twist and one that could perhaps have been enlarged on.

Enjoyable light read.

Monday, February 17, 2014

FOLLIES PAST by MELANIE KERR

Now Available in Paperback

This was a variation which was very intriguing. Set one year before Pride and Prejudice came into existence, we follow Georgiana as she "comes out". There is a dear friend Clare who is also part of the story and we follow her to Ramsgate and London.

We have the infamous Wickham as well in the story, in cahoots with Mrs. Younge to persuade the young and impressionable Georgiana to run away to Gretna Green. How the episode is handled artfully by Wickham and his partner Mrs Younge and how Georgiana escapes this is the main crux of the story.

I was hoping that Elizabeth would be popping out even for a glimpse but it was not to be. Netherfield is still however on the horizon with Bingley hoping to buy a property in the area but that is as far as we go where Pride and Prejudice is concerned.

I am amazed at the creativity of authors who have taken the premise of Pride and Prejudice and done so many spin offs from the main story, each one as interesting as the last.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

MAILBOX MONDAY/ IT'S MONDAY! WHAT ARE YOU READING?



My last Mailbox Monday was 16th December so it is that long that books have not come into the house. This week I do have books and here goes!


A book win which I am looking forward very much to reading.


Set in Stone


Written in a diary style (one I like to read).


Another family story.


One Day

Long overdue read.

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Hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.



A Jane Austen Daydream


An unusual spin off on the usual JA books. This is Jane herself and the question always asked. Did Jane find love? About twenty pages in and liking it very much.

THE MAKING OF A MARCHIONESS by FRANCES HODGSON BURNETT

The Making of a Marchioness

Somewhat like a Georgette Heyer The Making of a Marchioness is a rags to riches story. It is also a story of relationships and how feelings such as anger, hate, jealousy are prevalent in all sections of society. It has also been prevalent throughout the ages.

Emily is alone, genteel, impoverished but a happy soul. She is terrified over the future and what would happen when she cannot earn the pittance she does now. An invitation to a country house is seen as a god send - she is to assist a Lady at a house party with the myriad tasks which fall to the lot of a companion. This Emily is more than happy to do. And this is where she meets our Lord and the fairy tale begins.

I liked the Victorian style of writing. The descriptive nature of the book is also good but Emily seemed too good to be true and the slightly unrealistic tenor of the second part of the story disappointed. Secondary characters were all very well portrayed including the land lady and the land lady's daughter with aspirations to be a lady's maid. The second part of the story however dragged on too much though it did end happily.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A FIELD OF POPPIES by SHARON SALA

A Field of Poppies


Poppy Sadler is in a dark place. Her mother is dying of cancer and her father is now not able to cope with this. Her only brother is also not able to cope with the grief of watching his mother die and has escaped from home. Poppy has to cope alone. There is no choice.

Poppy's mother's death does not surprise anyone. It was expected. What was unexpected was that within a few hours Poppy is informed of her father's death which is ruled as murder. Who would have wanted to murder a quiet, unassuming man who worked for thirty years at the local mine, minded his own business and was a devoted husband and father.

The story like all good ones goes back to hidden family secrets. Uncovered by death and by a diary hidden amongst her father's clothes.  A diary detailing a high school love affair of Poppy's mother and the fact that Poppy's father is someone else. Little by little this seems to be the only feature which will provide some sort of clue that someone wanted Jessop out of the way. 

Poppy and her family lived on the wrong side of the tracks as it were in Coal Town. There is a distinct difference between the two sides and the rich, upper class folk do not want to have anything to do with folk from this side of town.  Justin Caulfield is one of the rich ones and from the workings of the diary he is also Poppy's father. The fact that he is has been kept a secret from him by the machinations of a very arrogant mother who still insists that she did it for the best. Justin is forced to face several facts hitherto unknown to him and all severely shocking as well. He is also made to face the fact that his mother will not let anyone or anything stop her in protecting the so called good name and standing of her family in the community. 

Mystery, murder, a family saga and a lovely romance all very well told.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

TREASURE UNCOVERED by DIANE GREENWOOD MUIR

Treasure Uncovered (Bellingwood, #3)

Set in rural Iowa this book also gave me an inkling of how small communities operate in America. Outsiders see America as this huge, bustling metropolis full of fashionable, ultra smart people! we then read about communities like this where everyone knows everyone else and all look out for each other. It is a nice feeling that neighbourhoods like this exist.

Polly is looking for a custodian for Sycamore House. She seems to have bad luck with custodians - her last one was found murdered. It also seems to be joke in her little town that if there is a dead body around Polly is the one who would find it. With the death of her custodian, Polly is on the lookout for someone who can fill his shoes. Eliseo seems to be hard working, fond of animals and a jack of all trades. An ideal fit - but with Eliseo comes a host of unrelated incidents and a sense of unease on Polly's part that things are not what they seem to be.

With time and the visit of Polly's best friend from Boston, Polly realizes the importance of relationships and the hold this little community has on her.

One of those nice, warm, fuzzy books!

Monday, February 10, 2014

IT'S MONDAY! - WHAT ARE YOU READING?

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Hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

No physical books AT ALL in the house. Kindle books thanks to Amazon. The free books are heavily weighted in favour of mystery/murder/paranormal/romance but I did find some gems amongst the lot.

Set in rural America I am just getting into this story. The propensity for Polly to discover dead bodies is now no longer a joke. I would have been horrified if I was in that situation!  

Treasure Uncovered (Bellingwood, #3)

The other book I have is



Haven't even read a review on this one. I hope its like the book I read last week.




Sunday, February 9, 2014

THE RAMBLINGS AND RANTS OF A MIDDLE-AGED MUM by MOLLY MAY (Kindle)

 

This is the Kindle edition of the book. The paperback cover is plain with only lettering on it so I felt despite the Amazon detail, this was a better bet.

This was a funny book in a diary form. Mother of two teenagers and menopausal to boot with a pilot husband who is away for days at a time, we have our Mother diarying her day in a humorous way. One comm enter mentioned that she found the humor difficult to understand as she was American and she felt the humor was too British for her to follow. Another comment was that she felt furious because the mother in the story was indulging and spending her husband's money (she was a stay at home mum) and she felt that was frivolous.

I didn't look at it quite like that. I feel that if your husband does not object to your spending and if you do spend and it was in this case invariably on the family itself it does not matter to anyone else how one spends one money!!!!  In our world we always have someone who is richer than you, prettier than you, cleverer than you and good for them if they have it!!! Also in our world there are always ladies who lunch. Good for them too. 

The day to day workings of  a family - from a daughter who is just beginning to go out for parties "where there are boys and where alcohol may be served" brought lots of memories for me. So nervous for mothers when its the first time around. I know the feeling very well.  A son who is extremely messy, smells bad (the whole family thought it was food rotting in his room - it was just lack of deodorant!) made me smile. A mother who praises his son's girlfriend's cooking over her daughter's efforts did not go down well with our heroine. She was very slightly miffed. 

Funny and light to read. An ideal read for a lazy Sunday. 



Thursday, February 6, 2014

HUSHABYE - A KATE REDMAN MYSTERY by CELINA GRACE

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A very straight forward mystery. As one reviewer said its not six bodies piled up with crucifixions and mutilation. Just one missing baby and a murdered nanny. 

Methodically told, we have a young rather strange parents - a father who seems disassociated from his baby son, and a mother who is passionately fond of her baby but who seems to be under orders to keep him in charge of his nanny.  A secretary who seems to run the show and various side characters particularly since the young husband is a leading businessman as well. Wife is a former showgirl but she does not seem to have many friends or colleagues either.

We have a police officer who just starts work and this is her first case. It is also something that she can emotionally relate to - she gave up a baby at birth and gets more and more emotionally involved in the case as time goes by. She feels personally invested in the case and that she has to solve it, not just solve it but return baby Charlie back to his mother and father safely.

There is no inkling at all who is the actual culprit - that is the part that was good. You only get an idea almost at the end where Kate's (our detective) own past helps her to pinpoint who the actual kidnapper and murderer are. 

Interesting read.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

GEORGIANA DARCY'S DIARY by ANNA ELLIOTT

Georgiana Darcy's Diary: Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice Continued, by Anna Elliott


I've not read a P & P spin off for ages and am so glad I got to this one. It was such an interesting read. Simply told but with lots of twists and in the form of a diary very well written.

Georgiana is a very shy, reserved young lady. That is the picture painted in Pride and Prejudice. She herself is aware of this and feels that it is in lots of instances a drawback to her persona - she feels that she should try to be more like Elizabeth - forthright and able to say what she wants to say but she is intimated by her aunt the famous Catherine de Bourgh and even to a lesser extent by her brother.

Here is a story where Georgiana is the key character because she is telling the story but actually there are several characters who are part of the story - if I do say very much it will be a spoiler but believe me the surprises thrown up by of all people Aunt de Bourgh and Bingley's difficult sister! there is also the timid, ineffectual, sickly Anne who turns up one for the books and then we have the romance of Georgiana herself.

The time frame for the story was just after Napoleon was defeated and soldiers are now returning to England including Colonel Fitzwilliam who was injured during the encounter. 

I enjoyed this book very much. I finished it in one go on a day trip out of Colombo - there is a sequel to this one Pemberley to Waterloo which I have to try to track. 



Monday, February 3, 2014

THE LOYAL SERVANT - EVA HUDSON

17881781


Set in the staid corridors of the education ministry in Britain, we have Caroline a faithful government servant trying to do her job to the best of her ability whilst managing her three children and an indifferent husband and an overbearing mother at the same time.

The beginning of the saga is with the schools minister who has "apparently" committed suicide vis a vis the bottle of whiskey and the pills found beside him. Fast forward to Caroline questioning the motives of the death and that despite no note being left behind there was apparently a note found by someone else despite Caroline being the person who found the body and being absolutely sure that no note was around at the time.

How power can corrupt in any corridors of power wherever the country may be is the story here. To cover up one incident which took place long ago and which may now be the impediment for someone to reach the very highest position in the land, takes a lot of cover up and hard work. That the hard work includes ruthlessly stripping departments and employees of all their work, restructuring an entire organization and murder of several people who may stand in the way is small time work for someone who is so focused on getting to the top.

Caroline is a simple whistle-blower but she is assisted by a journalist who is more hard boiled and who is only focused on getting her story (at whatever cost). Angela does not come across as a particularly likable character but she is very much symbolic of a ferret digging everywhere to get to her source and facts. Caroline once she starts uncovering facts is helpless to withdraw (despite the fact that she wants to) after several incidents and accidents to her family - she is caught in a spin from which she cannot get out of and is just swept along till the final denunciation comes. I would have been very disappointed if it did not come!

Political fiction is a genre I have read very little of. Enjoyed this one. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

IT'S MONDAY! WHAT ARE YOU READING?





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Hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

No physical books but thanks to Amazon plenty of e books! this one I am presently reading is so different from the range of rather romancy reads available. Enjoying this one.


17881781


A whistle blower thriller which I thought very apt in the current context of whistle blowing! Also an award winner in the political fiction category in Amazon. 

On another note absolutely blue skies, no sign of rain, drought imminent, water all drying up! can someone send rain this way please...... the view from my Rozella home. The train goes on the next hill and its tiny!!!! but lovely to watch.





I have had to give Mailbox Monday a miss due to the lack of books but am following the meme. I do so enjoy other people's Mailboxes!