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Pierre Lemaitre
The Glass Room
Simon Mawer
Peter the Great: His Life and World
Robert K. Massie
If I Can't Have You: Susan Powell, Her Mysterious Disappearance, and the Murder of Her Children
Rebecca Morris, Gregg Olsen
Skin Deep
Neill Nugent
The Good Daughter
Karin Slaughter
A Boy in Winter
Rachel Seiffert
The Tie That Binds
Kent Haruf
The Idiot (Everyman's Library, #254)
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Larissa Volokhonsky, Richard Pevear
The Velvet Hours
Alyson Richman

This Is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor

This Is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor - Adam Mickiewicz Not for me

The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit

The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit - Michael Finkel What an amazing true story! For a random audible pick this was quite a remarkable tale of one man’s decision to quit life, disappear and live as a hermit for 27 years.
Christopher Knight was only 20 years old when he decided to vanish from society without leaving any notes or indication that he was doing so with friends or family. He had been working for less than a year installing home and vehicle alarm systems near Boston, Massachusetts, until one day with any prior planning he abandoned his car on the edge of a forest and walked about and wasn't seen for 27 years until his arrest for burglary.

For me the essence of this story wasn't why but how does someone survive for 27 years in the Maine Forest through harsh weather condition and never communicating for 27 years, I can barely remain quiet for 27 minutes let alone 27 years.

The book is well written, fast paced and entertaining and yet I kind of felt by the end that I was intruding on his privacy in reading it as this man had chosen to live his life as a hermit and here was a book detailing his life and exposing him to the world and yet another side of me felt he had invaded people’s homes and privacy for years in stealing from their cabins and lives in the forest so what is good for the goose is good for the gander I suppose as I can only imagine how terrifying it must have been to own a cabin in the forest and endure the constant break ins over the years without the perpetrator being caught.

An entertaining and well researched story. I listened to this on audible and the narrator was excellent.

Yellow Crocus

Yellow Crocus - Laila Ibrahim Yellow Crocus a novel by Laila Ibrahim. Bookclub read and the one will certainly make for a good discussion. I read this some years ago so knew I was in for a great good book second time around.

I am so glad I read this Novel as the saying goes “ Good goods come in small parcels”.

Yellow Crocus -is a flower that blooms in the most adverse conditions. What a great name for this Novel, makes you appreciate the thought the author put into this book.

This is a short novel and as I have been having a bad streak with books lately this was exactly the sort of book I had been searching for. I found the novel Yellow Crocus a very enjoyable book, no tricks or fireworks just a good story with a few historical facts to keep me interested.
I liked the simplicity of this novel, I believe it is the author's first book and I really look forward to future books. I sensed the author is passionate about her subject and she gets to the point and no waffling.

This book follows the relationship between an enslaved black women and a little white girl she is forced to care for. Mattie is taken from her baby son and must leave him in the care of others, and forced to become a wet nurse to Elizabeth who is the Master's first born daughter at the big house.

Yellow Crocus is story about love, relationships and slavery and how in history mankind are guilty of so much pain and suffering of, and it’s through books like this one we are reminded of these times and we do need reminding how cruel life has been in the past and sadly in present times also.

I really grew very quickly to love the characters in this novel they are well developed and the story is well constructed.

The ending of the Novel I did feel was a little contrived but did not take away from my overall enjoyment of the book.

If you liked the The Kitchen HouseThe Kitchen House you may well will enjoy this Book.

A Parchment of Leaves

A Parchment of Leaves - Silas House Any two people can set and jaw all day long but it takes two people right for each other to set together and just be quiet Quote - A Parchment Of Leaves

I love Appalachian Fiction and Silas House draws the reader in with a wonderful sense of time and place. I had this one on my to read list for awhile and January seemed like a good time to de clutter the TBR list as I knew I had some pretty good books there but always swayed by new books.

Set in early 1900s rural Kentucky and young Saul Sullivan is heading up to Redbud camp to look for work. He is wary but unafraid of the Cherokee girl there whose beauty is said to cause the death of all men who see her, but the minute Saul lays eyes on Vine he knows she is meant to be his wife.

Beautiful writing, with vivid descriptions that take you right to the heart of Appalachia. If I had read this one as opposed to listening to it probably would have taken me way longer to finish as its the sort of novel where you want to go back and re-read passages just for the beauty of the writing. I loved the characters although predictable they are well written and have a genuineness about them that makes you care about their outcome in the story.

This is a quiet book, its not full of action or twists and turns, just a good story well told with the added bonus of amazing sense of time and place, and I think readers who have enjoyed books like The Giver of Stars or The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek may well enjoy this one too.

I listened to this on on Audible and the narrator was really good.

And the Sea Will Tell

And the Sea Will Tell - Vincent Bugliosi, Bruce Henderson A shocking true story of of murder on an a tiny tropical Island by the name of Palmyra. The story and the details of the trial are extremely well documented and I enjoyed being the extra person on the Jury and forming my own opinion of after reading and listening to all the evidence.

I enjoyed this read although it was extremely long winded and a little indulgent from the writers point of view, but seeing as Vincent Bugliosi had a front row seat at the trial I am sure writing this book was a passion and he felt he needed to get as much information as possible into the story.

An extremely complex story involving two couples who happen by chance to arrive together on the small uninhabited Island of Palmyra, each expecting to have the Island to themselves and to live for a while on this remote and exotic Island where time rolls slowly by but all is not what it seems and when years later a body is found on the island an Investigation leads to a trial of one of the couples.

This is one of those books where I enjoyed it but would be reluctant to recommend it to others as its not going to be everyone’s cup of tea but for readers who enjoy true crime stories where court trials are detailed and factual and the author goes to great pains to paint the picture of before and after then you may love this gripping story.

I had a hard copy and an audible version of this one and am thanking my lucky stars for both as the book is over 700 pages long and the audible helps get through this a little quicker although the narration was quite poorly done but I became used to the narrator as time went on.

I very nearly didn't read this one and as when the book arrived I was a bit irked to see that the Author’s name was in very large font while the title took second place in smaller font below the authors name and I felt this was a little indulgent of him as seemed to scream “ you should know who I am as I am”. (Which I didn't) Anyhow I did read the book and enjoyed it, extremely well written and researched and I did come to my own conclusion after ploughing though the evidence and Mr Bugliosi may well be glad I wasn’t a jury member at this trial.

An interesting and well written account but tbh could have done with being about 200 pages shorter and still lost nome of its appeal.

The Yellow Wallpaper

The Yellow Wallpaper - Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Dale M. Bauer The Yellow Wallpaper is a short story by American writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman, first published in January 1892 in The New England Magazine. It is regarded as an important early work of American feminist literature.

The yellow Wallpaper is written as a series of diary entries from the perspective of a woman who is suffering(by what information we are given) from postpartum depression.

I found this one extremely well written and creepy for a story written in 1892 and it was heartbreaking how badly women’s mental health issues were dealt with back in 1800s and how terrifying and cruel treatments supposed to help patients turned into torture for them. This is a extremely atmospheric and creepy Novella and its only after you finish and ponder on what you just read do you realized how terrifying this was and how creative the author was to engage and draw the reader in, in so few pages.

A great read, very thought provoking and creepy.

A Christmas Memory

A Christmas Memory - Truman Capote My thanks to my goodfriend's who read and reviewed this book so beautifully and in doing so brought me back 40 years to Christmas of years ago when neighbours and older people impacted so much on my childhood.

I too as a child growing up in a house of boys had a lovely old lady who lived next door and to whose house I escaped when I wanted to be pampered and spoiled, a lady who impacted so much on my childhood and from who I learnt so many skills from baking to knitting and cooking and this book just brought me right back to Christmas time when gifts composed of homemade produce that was shared and gifted among neighbours and when giving and receiving meant so much more than in today's society.

A short story with so much memories and good in it. Might not be everyone's 5 star read but it sure gave me a lovely warm feeling and put the true spirt of Christmas right back where it belongs.

Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage

Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage - Alfred Lansing A captivating and inspiring tale of exploration, human endurance and survival.

In 1914 Sir Ernest Shackleton and a crew of 27 men set sail for the South Atlantic on board a ship called the Endurance. The expedition was to cross the Antarctic overland. In October of 1915 the ship became trapped and crushed in Ice and the crew now half a continent away from their intended base became castaways in one of the most hostile regions in the world.

I have had this book on my TBR list for quite awhile and am so glad I finally got around to reading it. I knew a little about the expedition due to the fact that one of the Crew members was an Irish Man called Tom Creen and I would have heard stories of his expeditions down the years but never actually read a book.

This is a slow burner of a read but at the same time compelling and intense. What amazing courage and stamina these men had, they must have had nerves and bodies of steel and withstand so much.
Extremely well written and while not an easy read it certainly had me on the edge of my seat.

I listened to his one on audible and the narrator Simon Prebble was excellent, although I cant help wondering if I missed photos, maps etc in the printed copy which I always find adds so much to a book.

However there is an amazing documentary filmed and photographed by one of the crew on You Tube which I have linked below.

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Highly recommend this one to readers who enjoy adventure stories.

The Doctor's Wife

The Doctor's Wife - Brian Moore Having loved The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne I really wanted to try another Brian Moore novel and the Doctor’s wife really caught my attention, written in 1976 and a Booker prize short list nominee, its extremely well written and while its not my typical read I really found it quite intriguing. There are no major reveals or twists and turns and yet the story of a married woman who has an affair with a younger man is beautifully written and I just couldn't put this one down.

Sheila Redden, a quiet, middle aged doctor’s wife from Northern Ireland awaits the arrival of her husband to join her for their two week holiday in France. He has been delayed by a couple of days and she finds herself unexpectedly caught up in passionate affair with an American 10 years her junior.

There are flashes of Northern Ireland and the troubles throughout the story and we are transported to a time when women were pretty much seen and not heard, when a woman’s place was in the home and when the little lady did as she was told and yet we see many signs of the changes and while I felt pangs of sympathy for Mrs Reddan, there was times I felt annoyance and anger at her too and for me this had all to do with her son.

There are what were deemed “explicit sex scenes” in the 1970s which I would think by today’s standards are quite mild and are relevant to the story. This is quite a thought provoking novel and I would love to have read it for a book club as I think there is quite a lot to discuss here. The characters are so well portrayed and for a short novel it really packs a punch.

Twenty Years A-Growing

Twenty Years A-Growing - Maurice O'Sullivan This wasn’t my favorite book of the year by any means but it was an interesting read as I have an interest in Island life and the history of the life on the islands of the Coast of Ireland . While it was entertaining at times it did become repetitive and dragged and perhaps the translation from Irish to English takes away from the flow of the story. It has to be noted “ It is the first translation into English of a genuine account of the life of the Irish peasants written by one of themselves, as distinct from what has been written about them by the poets and dramatists of the Anglo Irish School” (taken directly from Preface)

Maurice O Sullivan was born in 1904 on a remote Island of the Atlantic coast of Ireland called the Great Blasket. He wrote this story for his own pleasure and for the entertainment of his friends without any thought for readers outside of his own group of friends and this is reflected in the honest and plain language of the time. It is a wonderful insight into the customs and traditions and everyday life on the Island and the reader is transported back to past through the eyes of the author who recounts the story of his childhood.

A book that has wonderful historical value and while its not one for my favorites list I certainly don't regret reading it.

Five Chimneys: The Story of Auschwitz

Five Chimneys: The Story of Auschwitz - Olga Lengyel A moving and emotional true account of Olga Lengyel, a survivor of Auschwitz and a woman who has Given the world a heartbreaking but frank account of her seven months as a prisoner of the concentration camp. Not a word is wasted in the vivid and shocking account.

I have read numerous books on the concentration camps and am still shocked by what I read and Five Chimneys is a difficult and emotional read but an important story that was originally published in 1946 under the name of Souvenir de l’au-dela as this brave woman was determined to have the shocking details of the camps documented as quickly as possible so as the world would know the extent of the atrocities that was was committed by the Nazis. She was the sole surviving member of her immediate family and her account and story deserves to be read and listened to. I can only imagine that when the camps were librated many of the suvivours were left without voices, unable to relive the horrors and the pain they endured and afraid to speak out which makes these written accounts all the more important and they should be read by YA in schools all over the world.

This is a relatively short account page wise and yet it took me days to listen to as it is intense and emotional and I found myself exclaiming out loud so many times. Olga Lengyel writes at the beginning of this book that she feels responsible for the deaths of her parents and sons as she chose to accompany her husband who had been detained and was to be deported from Romania to Germany and how she had to live her whole life with this torture along with everything else she had endured, how would anyone ever have known the evils that were taking place and she was in no way responsible for what happened to her family and was just doing her best to stay together as a family.

Albert Einstein was so moved by her story that he wrote a personal letter to Lengyel, thanking her for her ""very frank, very well written book”

It’s books like this that make historical fiction stories on the Concentration camps pale in comparison for me and why I think works like this should be read and discussed in schools least we should ever forget.

I listened to this non fiction book on audible and the narration was pretty good.

Northanger Abbey

Northanger Abbey - Jane Austen What would be considered a romantic Rom Com in today’s Reading world, Northanger Abbey is more a fanciful, whimsical read that really didn't do anything for me. I am more a fan of the Bronte sisters as feel their novels are more intense and atmospheric whereas Austen tends to be more lighthearted and romantic in my opinion.

I came across this on Audible Original narrated by Emma Thompson and stuck for something to listen to on a car journey I figured I would give it a try. Unfortunately this was in performance style and was like listening to a play which doesn’t work for me, however I stuck with it to the end as it wasn't the worst book I ever listened to but this may have been down to Emma Thomson’s performance as on of the narrator.

A coming of age story about 17 year old Catherine Moreland who on a trip to Bath meets and falls in love with Henry Tilley a handson young clergyman. . I understand that this was one of her first novels and she may not have intended on having it published. It’s a satire of the popular gothic fiction of Austen’s day.

Another Classic crossed off my TBR list but not a book for my favourites shelf.

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl - Linda Brent A remarkable and vivid autobiography that details the life of Harriet Jacobs as a slave in North Carolina in the mid 1800s.

My Master had power and law on his side. I had a determined will. There is might in each. Quote from Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

This should be required reading in YA and history students in schools as it is documents the author’s life as a slave and her fight for freedom for herself and her children. An account in which female slaves are subjected to sexual abuse, the sale of their siblings and children, a life of torture, mental and physical cruelty with little hope of freedom, or even inner peace.
These types of books make me angry and frustrated and certainly don't make for pleasant reading and yet we NEED to read these books to inform, and educate us and most of all so we never forget the pain and injustice that was inflicted upon our fellow humans in the not so distant past.

I happened to listen to this one on Audible and the narration was quite poor and I really would not recommend it as a book of this importance deserves a narrator that can tell the story with clarity and without a forced southern drawl.

I am so glad I came across this book as I have read quite a few historical fiction novels on slavery but this was an eye opener and certainly a book I will remember a long time from now.


Frankenstein - Mary Shelley, Maurice Hindle What a great reading experience this was, I loved the story, the writing and vivid descriptions. Completely different from the film that I remember and the audible version with the narration by Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) was an added bonus.

It’s difficult to believe that this gothic fiction story was written in 1818 by Mary Shelley when she was only eighteen Years old and while the writing style is formal and literary the story is so engaging and thought provoking and after a few pages I was totally absorbed with the atmosphere and the Tale of the monster.

At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science.

I had a copy of this book sitting on my real life shelf for years and never felt drawn to it as I had seen Frankenstein Movies on Tv and felt it was pointless at this stage reading the book as I knew the story and only when I came across an audible version narrated by Dan Stevens did I feel a pull towards this classic. I read and listened to this one and was totally suprised by how much I Enjoyed this Novel.

What an imagination this eighteen year old girl had in the beginning of the 1800s, the setting and the characters are so brilliantly depicted and you feel like you are part of the story as you follow follow Frankenstein on his travels. It’s dark and atmospheric and perfect November reading.

I love when a book like this surprises me and while I had to suspend disbelief a little with some elements of the story and the happenings, it was worth it for the entertainment and reward I got from this novel.

A memorable and thought provoking read and a book that keeps it’s pride of place on my real life bookshelf

I think readers who have enjoyed books like The Woman in White might well enjoy this one too.

Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea

Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea - Gary Kinder This was an absolutely fascinating and extremely well researched story of The sinking of the S.S. Central America, which had been carrying five hundred passengers, many of them returning from the Gold Rush in California in 1857. The ship ran into trouble when a hurricane hit and the S.S Central America sank 200 miles of the Carolina coast.

The Ship was sailing from Panama to New York, It had been carrying 500 passengers and 20 tons of gold from the goldfields of California worth (at the time) 2 million dollars. (Over 50 million Dollars currents valuation). After 150 years of lying at the bottom of the sea, an engineer from Ohio by the name of tommy Thompson set out Along with the Columbus-America Discovery Group to find the Central America in eight thousand feet of water and try and make claim on the millions of Gold sitting at the bottom of the sea.

This book was written in 1998 and I obtained a used hard copy on Amazon as I had been fascinated when first leaning of this story. This is an extremely well written and researched Account firstly of the tragic sinking of the S.S Central America and her passengers and the first 150 pages of the book sets the scene and you become acquainted with Captain, crew and passengers of this ship. The story of the sinking is very well documented and you feel as if you are right there on the ship and feel the fear and the cold of the passengers. This was a heartbreaking story of the sinking and the Captain of the ship was hailed a hero by the surviving passengers which is well documented in this story.

When the story moves to the 1980s and Tommy Thompson’s quest to find the site of the S.S Central America the book becomes a lot more technical but is still fascinating to learn how deep-sea-robots were developed to perform heavy and complex work.

The third part of the story once again picks up pace and I read with baited breath to the end of this engrossing and captivating story. The author Gary Kindler has written a remarkable historical account of the sinking of S.S. Central as well as an entertaining adventure story.

When I finished this account I realized there had to be more to this story from when the book ended and after a little research online I was shocked and amazed at the happenings since. I wonder was Gary Kindler as amazed as me at what has taken place since he wrote this book and perhaps there is another book yet to be written

A fascinating tale of history, science and adventure, heavy on detail and quite complex but engrossing and unputdownable and a book I will certainly remember many years from now.

King Ludwig II: His Life - His End

King Ludwig II: His Life - His End - Julius Desing image: image
Having just recently had the opportunity to visit the fairy tale castle of Neuschwanstein castle in Bavaria, German which was home to King Ludwig II. I picked up this short book on his life and was really pleased with this compact but informative read. Certainly a case of good things come in small packages.
The castle was Walt Disney's inspiration for his Disney's Fairy Tale Castle.

Kind Ludwig has a fascinating but tragic story and while reading many books on German history I remember him being referred to as "Mad Kind Ludwig" but having read this book and listened to tour guides I think its a more a case he who dares be different will suffer the consequences of the times and be deemed mad if he is eccentric or different.

A superb little book that is well written and informative with plenty of images. I would consider this well worth the read for anyone intending on visiting this castle or indeed who wish to know a little more about this fascinating historical figure and his legacy of stunning Bavarian Castles.
image: <img src="https://i.pinimg.com/originals/be/ab/50/beab50ec568b5c9de38f9ca9b9a9c336.jpg"