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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The County Guides - Death in Devon by Ian Samsom

I liked the names of towns and villages which rolled off this book. Dawlish, Sidmouth, Teignmouth, Beer to name just a few.

The setting is picturesque, the story quaint. We have main characters and the sub characters all of whom play a significant role in the story. Set in a public school in Devon we have on top of it all the best features, peculiar to English public boys schools.  It all adds to the atmosphere. What you get is definitely not run of the mill.

Devil worship, the occult, blackmail, pornography in this very innocuous English public school and Sefton and Morley have to set it right. One death which looks so much like an accident, veering off a cliff is so real, and then we have slaughter of a cow with the disappearance of many animals. None of which signify a murder but they do. Unravelling it is the story here.

If one likes a 1930s setting with the quiet Sefton, the eccentric Morley and his attractive daughter this is the book for you. The bonus is Devon.

Sent to me by Netgalley courtesy of Harper Collins UK.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Mailbox Monday/It's Monday! What are you reading?

I've not done these two memes for the entire month of July - didn't realise it had gone on for so long. Sometimes work - both domestic and office gets to be so much! and time just goes by so fast.


                 Curricle & Chaise


I think I've missed out on a couple here because it has been so long!


Reading this one. Delightful!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Waterloo Legacy by Francine Howarth

Wellington's victory at Waterloo brought relief to hundreds of families whose husbands, fathers and brothers would return once Napoleon was defeated. At Pennard Hall the situation was no different. Mothers, wives and sisters breathed a sigh of relief when one by one their loved ones returned home.

Things however are never what they seem and Pennard Hall had its fair share of secrets. Luke returned home before his brother Michael did and he came back to know that he had a son - Matthew who was his mirror image and how Isobel was going to confront Michael with this bit of news was another challenge. Luke and Michael's mother the Dowager had her own secret and that was going to affect not just the family but also Matthew's inheritance. It was a very tangled web and it was made worse by the discovery of Lydia in France - an illegitimate child by Michael. With Lydia's mother dying bringing the child back to England was the only choice but how they were going to explain Lydia to the world at large is a question they would all have to face.

The story of the family, the setting and background of the times made the book an interesting read. A family saga but the history of the story - with Wellington, Napoleon and the entire turbulent history of the time made it a very enjoyable read.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood

The Heart Goes Last (Positron, #4)

Stan and Charmaine are homeless, live in a car, make do with tips, wash in public toilets and washrooms and are miserable. Stan is more than Charmaine who tries to see the positive rather than the negative. When a program offers them a chance to better their lives, live comfortably and is certainly a step up from what they have now, they grab it.

What ensues is not exactly what they envisioned.  Thrown into a society where you do exactly as you are told or else, both Stan and Charmaine comply with all the demands and end up in a situation which is frightening and certainly traumatic.

The scientific experiments carried out at Consilience are just that - experiments - and if they do go wrong which they do, then Stan and Charmaine are both doomed.

Atwood makes the unimaginable perfectly comprehensible and that is the frightening bit. She takes hitherto unimagined scenarios and makes it perfectly plausible. It can happen, it hasn't upto now but that does not make it impossible! it can.

Described as wickedly funny, I wouldn't put it quite like that. It opens one's eyes to a very real, happening. Thats' clever.

Sent to me by Edelweiss.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Meeting by Chance and 6.41 (Short reviews on chance encounters!)

A short simple story, with a happy ending. Danielle looks after an aged aunt. A discovery of a letter hidden in a book leads to unexpected meetings and eventual happiness for Danielle who did not expect major changes in her life at 59.

This was a recommendation on FB and a free download from Amazon.


A translation from the French, another short story. Described as a psychological thriller.
For me a more matter of fact story of Cecile returning from a visit to her family. Always tired after one of these trips, Cecile is also introspective on the return trip of why, how and what ifs. Meeting up with an old flame in the same compartment, someone whom she had a affair with a humiliating end is not something she wants to even think about.
But there is he, large as life, silent and not even acknowledging her existence right across from her.  The entire journey is a rehash of Cecile's life and not all of it pleasant.

This was a download from Edelweiss.

Both books coincidentally dealt with chance encounters (of different kinds).

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Watercress Girl by H E Bates

The stories depict activities and the mind set of children in different environments but they are not stories for children. Make believe, fantasy and the play of children show how adults believe in circumstances which are different.

Told in a very child like tone, the stories may not appeal to all. Sometimes a bit harsh and brutal they are telling of the times the stories were set.

Sent to me by Netgalley courtesy of Bloomsbury Reader.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Pride & Persistence by Jeanna Elsworth

Pride and Persistence

The variations on Pride & Prejudice are amazing. It makes me think if the myriad creativity of the authors who come up with so many twists to a much loved story.

Here we have Darcy determined to give his letter of explanation to Elizabeth, after she turned down his proposal.  Getting caught to a storm, which spooked his horse resulting in a broken leg, Darcy now finds himself a victim of a temporary amnesia and in Mr Collins house (he cannot be moved) and Elizabeth stays by his side nursing him and being a companion till he recovers.

Over the convalescence period of six weeks, the plot thickens.  Lady Catherine machinations are not simply trying to maneuver Darcy into marrying her daughter Anne but go much deeper than that. Elizabeth and Darcy do have their happy ending but with quite a few twists in the tale.

This book was ideal for me to read in between long trips.

This book came to me via My Love for Jane Austen Facebook page. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Three Seasons by Mike Robbins

I do not get many opportunities of reading novellas and they do interest me. They are short, quick to finish and very often the characterization is excellent. Maybe the authors know that they have to get their point across quickly!

Three seasons is three different stories not connected set in the three different seasons. In the first we have a seasoned captain of a fishing boat, trying out an innovative method of increasing his catch. He
seems oblivious to anything that is going around him, including the fact that he is for the first time in his life drunk on duty. The disastrous consequences of his actions or rather his inaction is the story of this novella.

In the second we have a young businessman, determined to reach the top and fast. Climbing over or rather pushing others aside seems to be the norm. Rather descriptive and fair of lots of people today.

In the third a former Professor welcomes his two sons home. One after a gruelling stint in Africa and one a successful lawyer. How it brings back his own memories of times past is an evocative read.

Enjoyed this book very much.

Sent to me by Netgalley.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Mysterious Disappearance of the Reluctant Tooth Fairy by Elizabeth George

The book was whimsical and ideal for those who like the fantasy genre.

For someone like me expecting the likes of Inspector Lynley and Barbara Travers it was a disappointment!

Jane Shore is a sickly girl. Her early withdrawal from an overwhelming noisy home was her books but she had one ability - to actual wish herself or anyone else for that matter to the place and time in her books. Even to a particular page of a favourite book.

This got Jane lots of friends and finally into a lot of not exactly trouble but a complicated mess when the whole world around her wants to go somewhere!

A bit satirical, a lot of whimsy.

Sent to me by Netgalley courtesy of Open Road Integrated Media.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

as waters gone by by Cynthia Ruchti

Emmalyn and Max's marriage was in trouble long before the real trouble began. Her inability to conceive almost spiralled into an obsession and this put immense pressure on both of them - emotionally and financially. When Max met with a serious accident and began a mandated five year prison term the separation almost seemed permanent without any way of reconciliation.

With just months to go for Max's sentence to finish, Emmalyn has now got to decide what to do for the future. Max has been adamant about not wanting to communicate with her and asks her to divorce him. Emmalyn still loves him and she now has to make her final decision.

Moving to Madeline Island part of a group of islands in Lake Superior gives her the distance, space
and time to make the call. Having the unexpected responsibility of Max's twelve year old from a previous relationship with her seems to make it much easier on Emmalyn's side to know what she has to do. The ramifications of family, the ties that bind and the friendship of the people on Madeline Island brings Emmalyn closer to the determination that she must make her marriage succeed.

Though it was predictable, the story was nevertheless a good read. Descriptive and detailed about the environment of the islands (unknown to me) I found the book enjoyable.

Sent to me by Netgalley courtesy of Abingdon Press.