26 Following


Currently reading

The Good Daughter
Karin Slaughter
A Boy in Winter
Rachel Seiffert
The Idiot (Everyman's Library, #254)
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Larissa Volokhonsky, Richard Pevear
The Velvet Hours
Alyson Richman
Behind Her Eyes: A Novel
Sarah Pinborough

The Book of Polly

The Book of Polly - Kathy Hepinstall I just love Southern novels with a sense of cham and humour and in my my mind I was sitting out on the back porch, sipping Ice tea while the fireflys kept me company on a balmy evening in June Reality was a wet Bank holiday Monday in June and the chance to sit outside would be luxury in Ireland, but through reading one can be any where any time and for this book my head was in the deep American South.

I have previously read [b:Blue Asylum|12331596|Blue Asylum|Kathy Hepinstall|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1324673247s/12331596.jpg|17310610][bc:Blue Asylum|12331596|Blue Asylum|Kathy Hepinstall|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1324673247s/12331596.jpg|17310610] by Kathy Hepinstall and thoroughly enjoyed it and was so happy to read [b:The Book of Polly|30763908|The Book of Polly|Kathy Hepinstall|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1471279606s/30763908.jpg|51320025]and it really didn't disappoint as the writting and characters just ooze that southern charm that makes me want to pack a bag and hop on a plane.

I simply adored the characters in this book and the lines were just fabulous with so much wit and humour and charm that I laughed out loud many times. I fell head over heels in love with Polly and her no nonsense attitude and Willow and the other characters were equally as interesting and charming. There is a serious side to the story when the " Bear" becomes a reality in the lives of Polly and Willow but the author has a way with words that keeps this book fresh and fun.

This isn't the sort of book that keeps you on the edge of your seat but its a beautiful story, well written and full of witty lines with tons of southern charm. Its the sort of feel good book that keeps you turning the pages because you have fallen for the characters and care about what becomes of them.

Really enjoyed this book and recommend it to readers who have enjoy southern fiction or just want a feel good summer read to transport them to someplace else.

The Foundling: The True Story of a Kidnapping, a Family Secret, and My Search for the Real Me

The Foundling: The True Story of a Kidnapping, a Family Secret, and My Search for the Real Me - Paul Fronczak, Alex Tresniowski An engaging and touching true story about a man trying to find the answers to to questions about his identity and his struggle to understand the past and to accept the answers he was given.

This is the story of Paul Fronczak who after 50 years learns through a DNA test that he is not who he thought he was and the road to discovery is no longer available to him through regular means but through the amazing advances in DNA testing. In 1964 a woman pretending to be a nurse kidnapped and infant boy named Paul Fronczak from a Chicago hospital, two years later police found a boy abandoned outside a a New Jersey store, the kidnapped infant's mother identifies him as her missing son and so Paul rejoins his family and only years later does he begin to suspect that all is not what it seems and his long search for the truth begins.

This is a very interesting story about families and belonging and what it is like for someone living on the outside of a family and knowing they don't belong and the struggle to find their identity. I also have an interest in Genealogy as I have done quite a lot of research into my own family history as there was a mystery going way back that needed unravelling but this was just a hobby for me and noting on the scare of Paul's case but I was amazed at the twist and turns and drawbacks that he had to endure.

While the book is well written there were times I got a little bogged down in the names and research and some of the story became a little bit repetitive and yet I understand that Paul needed to document his journey and all the names of people and places that became part of the research.
Having said that I was rooting for Paul all the way and wanted to see where is journey took him and would the answers change his life.

An interesting story That kept me turning the pages.

The Dry

The Dry - Jane Harper Terrific suspenseful novel and a real page turner

Luke Hadler turns a gun on his wife and child, then himself. The farming community of Kiewarra is facing life and death choices daily. If one of their own broke under the strain, well ...

When Federal Police investigator Aaron Falk returns to Kiewarra for the funerals, he is loath to confront the people who rejected him twenty years earlier. But when his investigative skills are called on, the facts of the Hadler case start to make him doubt this murder-suicide charge

I have read a few very good Australian novels over the years and [b:The Dry|27824826|The Dry (Aaron Falk, #1)|Jane Harper|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1456113132s/27824826.jpg|47804789] by Jane harper is certainly up there with the best of them.
Characters were realistic, plot well thought out and lots of twists of turns to keep the reader interested. I really was surprised that this was a debut novel as it just so tightly woven and well written and quite a surprise.

Another great summer thriller for readers who enjoy this genre.

The Marsh King's Daughter

The Marsh King's Daughter - Karen Dionne I really think that 2017 is fast becoming the year of the Thrillers and the [b:The Marsh King's Daughter|32889533|The Marsh King's Daughter|Karen Dionne|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1479249640s/32889533.jpg|53504581] is without doubt a smart well thought out and entertaining read and one that I can see becoming a big hit over the summer.
When I read the premise of this Novel it really caught my attention and I couldn't wait to get my hands on it........
'I was born two years into my mother's captivity. She was three weeks shy of seventeen. If I had known then what I do now, things would have been a lot different. I wouldn't have adored my father.'
When notorious child abductor - known as the Marsh King - escapes from a maximum security prison, Helena immediately suspects that she and her two young daughters are in danger.

The book alternates skillfully between Helena's past and present and the reader learns about Helen and her life. Characters are well drawn and the plot is well thought out and chilling in places.
I was a little afraid going into this one that it might be very graphic and while I did find a few of the hunting scenes quite tough reading, I understand the authors need to write these scenes as part of the bigger picture and they can be easily skimmed over if the reader finds them too much.

A really well written novel, chilling, suspenseful, fresh and certainly one I will be recommending to my friends to pack for holidays this summer.

My thanks to Net Galley for the chance to read an advance copy in return for an honest review

Here and Gone: A Novel

Here and Gone: A Novel - Haylen Beck Here and Gone by author Hayley Beck is what I would describe as a really good back to basics thriller that manages create suspense without the any gimmicks which for me is how a good thriller should read.

Audra has taken the plunge and finally made a decision that she thinks is best for her and her children after years of turmoil in her life she makes a long car journey to find a safe haven and to create a fresh start for her and her children, but stopped by a police car on an empty road in Arizona her worst nightmare is about to begin.

I loved the shocking opening scene in this novel, well written and plotted and while we learn quite bit in the first few chapters the author very cleverly still creates quite a bit of suspense in the story and I found myself totally caught up in the dark secrets and nightmare scenario. A well written and enjoyable thriller which I think many will enjoy as it doesn't rely on gimmicks or graphic detail or sto grab the readers attention.

This is my second novel by this author and I look forward to reading more of his books.

My thanks to Penguin books for an advanced copy in return for an honest review.

The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon

The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon - David Grann A terrific adventure story, full of suspense and intrigue and lots of historical detail to keep the reader interested. I am not really a reader of adventure strories but every now and again one comes along that catches my interest and when a trusted Goodread's friend recommend this I just had to give it a try and see exactly what the Lost City of Z was all about.

In 1925, British explorer Percy Fawcett and his son journey into the Amazon jungle, in search of what for centuries Europeans believed the jungle was holding secret...... " The ancient city of Z" an advanced civilization that many believed to have once inhabited the jungle. Unfortunately the party never returned and over the years countless perished trying to find evidence of the party and the place they called “The Lost City of Z.” In this book David Grann traces their steps.

I really enjoyed this non fiction read about Percy Fawcett and his obsession and adventures in the Amazon. I particulary enjoyed how the author weaved suspense, history and geography together in this book and I was entertained as well as educated which really added to my enjoyment of the read.
Its an extremely well written and entertaining book and I couldn't help but admire these exporers (and their families) who risked everything for adventure. I think readers who like non fiction and adventure and history will really enjoy this book.

I listened to this one on audio and the nattation was excellent but as always with audio I cant help wondering if the hard copy had photos and maps which I would have missed out on in the audio.

Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire

Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire - David Remnick Having to put this one on hold for awhile, as while I was loving the book wasn't I wasn't happy with the audio version as this is one that needs to be read in order to underline and get the best from the book and my Library trying to source a copy for me as they don't have one in stock. Terrific read so far and really hoping I get my hands on a hard copy soon.


Malice - Keigo Higashino, Alexander O. Smith An intelligent and page turning mystery that doesn't need to rely on gimmicks to get the readers attention. Just a good old fashioned suspenseful mystery that is perfectly paced and with lots of twists and turns to keep the reader interested.

Acclaimed bestselling novelist Kunihiko Hidaka is found brutally murdered in his home on the night before he's planning to leave Japan and relocate to Vancouver. His body is found in his office, a locked room, within his locked house, by his wife and his best friend, both of whom have rock solid alibis. Or so it seems.

I really enjoyed Malice by Japanese writer Keigo Higashino, I had read a few Japanese mysteries and really enjoyed all of them and when I read a few reviews by some of Good Read friends on here I knew that one would suit me as well.
No gimmicks, blood or gore just a mystery with plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader interested, good character and plot development and an all round very enjoyable read.

The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia

The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia - Orlando Figes I loved this book as it is a sharp and shocking insight into Russia history that is extremely well written and informative
Every now and again I need to be shocked by history and while I have read a lot of books on this period in history and the terror of Stalin, The Whisperers has something entirely different to offer as it tells the accounts of the the loved ones left behind after their husbands wife's mothers or fathers have been informed on and either shot or sent to the Gulag.

The Whisperers draws on hundreds of family archives (letters, diaries, personal papers and memoirs and photographs) concealed by the survivors of the Stalin Terror in secret drawers and under mattresses across Russia. In each family extensive interviews were carried out with the oldest members to bring about the many many important and heart breaking accounts of ordinary family's who survived through Stalin's reign of terror.

I had a hard copy edition from my local library and at just under 750 pages is quite a slow but compelling read and while most memoirs or biographies of the survivors of Stalin's Great Terror concentrate on those who were imprisoned or killed, the Whisperers gives us an intimate look at the devastation experienced by the family members left behind. While numerous family accounts are catalogued in the book, each account is only a few pages long and therefore the reader only learns what is necessary for that particular account and family and yet some of the family stories are so memorable and heartbreaking that I will have a difficulty time leaving them behind. The book has a vast amount of photographs and it was nice to be able to put faces to some of the people concerned. There is also a terrific introduction at the beginning of the book which I found so informative and helpful.

I am aware that there was controversary surrounding this book when it was published but it did not affect my reading of this book.

I would recommend this book for readers who enjoy Russian history but be warned this is a long and detailed book and quite a slow read.

This was my first Library book as I only joined my local Library last month for research I was doing and while there I saw this book in the history section and knew it was right up my street. Having said that half ways through the book I ordered a copy as really want this one for my book shelf.


The Bedford Boys: One American Town's Ultimate D-day Sacrifice

The Bedford Boys: One American Town's Ultimate D-day Sacrifice - Alex Kershaw 3.5 Stars

Some months ago my 16 year old son asked me Mum if there was another War and Ireland had to contribute troops would I be drafted ? The hairs stood on the back of my neck as this was something I had never ever thought about as Ireland had been neutral in the past wars and while thousands of young Irish men volunteered to fight the Germans alongside the British in World War II conscription was not a factor. I dread the empty nest syndrome when College comes into play But what must a parent feel when a Child is drafted in Wartime to fight...........for me it just doesn't bear thinking about and when I saw this book I felt I needed to read it as this small town had lost so many to War

June 6, 1944: Nineteen boys from Bedford, Virginia--population just 3,000 in 1944--died in the first bloody minutes of D-Day. They were part of Company A of the 116th Regiment of the 29th Division, and the first wave of American soldiers to hit the beaches in Normandy. Later in the campaign, three more boys from this small Virginia town died of gunshot wounds. Twenty-two sons of Bedford lost--it is a story one cannot easily forget and one that the families of Bedford will never forget.

The book is well written and the war scenes well depicted and gut wrenching but the author focuses more on the human element of the story with so many interviews from family members and surviving soldiers and letters home from men that would never return. So many young men died instantly on D. Day and as one of the Interviewees stated the heroes were not only the ones who died but also the ones who came home and lived with these images for the rest of their lives.

A worthwhile and engaging read that focuses on the sacrifices made by these men and their families and a book that will stay with me.

The Russian Court at Sea: The Voyage of HMS Marlborough

The Russian Court at Sea: The Voyage of HMS Marlborough - Frances Welch 2 5 stars
The Russian Court at Sea is an account of the Romanovs voyage into excile. The book is a short read at under 250 pages but the writing is clumsy and historical content was incomplete.

April 1919 just under a year after the assassination of the Romanovs the British Battleship HMS Marlborough sails from Yalta and on board are 17 members of the Russian Royal Family who are escaping Russia and hoping to start life afresh.

I found this little book while browsing the Russian section of a large bookshop and was immediately drawn firstly by the cover and secondly and more importantly by the blurb of this book. I always want to know . What happened afterwards......

The book opens with a map of the voyage from Yalta to Malta and a list of the passengers on board the ship which was helpful. However the author missed out on an opportunity to inform the reader how some of the Royal family ended up in the Crimea and a few pages of introduction on what took place previously would have been helpful especially for readers who may have little knowledge on this period of history or even for readers who may need refreshing.
I actually felt like I was reading part 2 Of a story and had missed out on Part 1 and the lead up to the voyage. Having read quite a bit on this period in Russian Histroy I was familiar with the Family histroy in the Crimea but if you were coming into this book without having any knowledge you would be totally lost reading this account.

The book was wasn't a total waste of time and while I would have difficulty recommending I did manage to find some interesting facts in it.

The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan

The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan - Jenny Nordberg An amazing book club discussion book that had our group deep in discussion for 2 hours in which all the members contributed to one of the most passionate discussions our group has ever held.
I kept thinking as we all sat around the table discussing Afghan culture and Western culture. What if 12 Afghanistan ladies sat around a table discussing western culture what their thoughts would be on our lives and traditions.

I had actually rated this book 3 stars until we had our discussion and upped the rating to 4 because I didn't realize until the group discussion just how much this book affected me. This was a book that make me angry, sad and taught me a great deal about a coulture I knew very little about and to be grateful for the menfolk around me who respect me as a wife, a mother, a sister, a boss and a friend I now realize ...... What I take for granted everyday may just well be someone else's everyday struggle.

An investigative journalist uncovers a hidden custom that will transform your understanding of what it means to grow up as a girl. Nordberg interviews several women and it is through their stories we learn what it means to live as a Bacha Posh (girls who are are born female but are brought up as boys in family's where there are no male children) in a country where men rule and women do as they are told.

The book is quite detailed and quite a lot of research has taken place by this Journalist, while it is quite a factual read it is extremely interesting. There were times when I did feel the stories overlapped a bit and became repetitive and some of the scientific research I would question and hence my original 3.5 stars but this is a book that does make you think, gets a discussion going and temperatures rising and for that alone this book is is well worth 4 Stars.

I listened to this one on audible and the narrator Kristen Potter was excellent .

The ownership of an Afghan girl is literally passed on from one male - her father to the one who becomes her husband. He will take over the ruling of her life down to the smallest details if he is so inclined. (Quote from book)

Annie Dunne

Annie Dunne - Sebastian Barry 2.5 Stars

Sebastian Barry is my favourite Irish author and this is my seventh novel by him. Annie Dunne is his second novel and for me his weakest link in the chain of novels. The prose which he is renowned for is not present in this book nor is his characters well developed compared to books like [b:The Secret Scripture|3419808|The Secret Scripture|Sebastian Barry|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1325714117s/3419808.jpg|3460278] or [b:A Long Long Way|379087|A Long Long Way|Sebastian Barry|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1388286097s/379087.jpg|368906] and this is just one of those reads where little happens and the plot is wanting in many ways.

The book is a short read at under 230 pages and is set in a small farmhouse in Co Wicklow in the late 1950s. Annie Dunne an unmarried woman in her sixties who lives with her similarly solitary cousin Sarah on the farm. In the summer of 1959, they are asked to care for their grand-niece and grand-nephew whose parents are going to England to seek work.

I normally love books set in this time frame in Ireland but this one just didn't work for me as I didn't get a sense of time and place or the characters just seemed felt and the prose not up to Barry's standard. Perhaps he has me spoilt with all his other great novels.
I still highly recommned [b:A Long Long Way|379087|A Long Long Way|Sebastian Barry|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1388286097s/379087.jpg|368906] or [b:The Secret Scripture|3419808|The Secret Scripture|Sebastian Barry|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1325714117s/3419808.jpg|3460278] [b:The Temporary Gentleman|18667940|The Temporary Gentleman|Sebastian Barry|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1385967981s/18667940.jpg|26417684] or [b:On Canaan's Side|10266875|On Canaan's Side|Sebastian Barry|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1298269786s/10266875.jpg|15167306]


Allegedly - Tiffany D. Jackson What a terrific suspenseful and disturbing debut novel by Tiffany D Jackson.

Mary B. Addison killed a baby. Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: a white baby had died while under the care of a churchgoing black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official

First of all I loved the cover and Title of this novel.

I really enjoyed this well written thriller with it's complex and disturbing characters and realistic plot. Classified as YA novel which I was a bit wary about at first but this was entertaining and suspenseful and a real page turner. This is the sort of thriller that pulls you in from page one and you just want to rally to the end to find out what happened. I would never have picked up this book if I had not read really encouraging reviews from my trusted Goodread friends.

I listened to this one on audio and the narrator did a great job, but I still cant help wishing I had a hard copy of this book instead.

The Royal Physician's Visit

The Royal Physician's Visit - Per Olov Enquist, Tiina Nunnally 4.5 Stars.

I love books that bring history to life and what an utterly fascinating and compelling read based on historical fact The Royal Phsician's Visit was. It tells the story of King Christian VII of Denmark, his young Queen Caroline Mathilda of England and his Physician Johann Friedrich Struensee and the Royal Affair that that rocked the Danish Court and brought the kingdom to the brink of revolution

In 1768, a magnetic and handsome German Physician by the name of Struensee became the physician to King Christian VII of Denmark who has been suffering from some kind of "madness" and Struensee's responsibility is to look after the king and ensure he does not appear too "mad" in public, after a short period ot time Struensee becomes the Kings confidant and manages to gain responsibility for reformation of the state much to the court and the Dowager Queen's dismay, however when he embarks on affair with the young Queen the whispering and rumours begin and the Royal Affair becomes the talk of Copenhagen and action needs to be taken.

I have read very little about Danish history but one book leads to another and while discussing [b:Number the Stars|47281|Number the Stars|Lois Lowry|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1370917812s/47281.jpg|2677305] with a friend one day she recommended I watch a movie called "The Royal Affair" I am not a one for movies so I googled and found this book called the The Royal Physician's Visit and after reading the blurb I knew I had to find out more.

The story is compelling and so well researched. The account is strongly based on fact but the author does fill in the blanks quite convincingly with believable fictional dialogue and descriptions that leaves the reader in no double that he has done his research on this period in history and created a wonderful sense of time and place and a gripping tale of court intrigue, power struggles and royal affairs.

The book is translated from Swedish to English and there were a few times when I had to re-read scentances just to make sense of them and I think perhaps this may be down to the translation from Swedish to English. Having said that it didn't affect the overall enjoyment of the story.

A terrific read and a nice insight into Danish history that left me wanting more.

I did watch the film The Royal Affair after completing the book and it was superb.

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America - Erik Larson Extremely well written and researched, unsettling, entertaining, educational and fascinating are all words that come to mind on finishing Eric Larson's book [b:The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America|21996|The Devil in the White City Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America|Erik Larson|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1312066724s/21996.jpg|3486041]

The Chicago World's Fair of 1893 was a remarkable achievement for the city of Chicago and it's architect Daniel H. Burnham and while the city was celebrating and enjoying this new wonder of the world, another man by the name of H.H. Holmes, a handsome and charming doctor was luring victims to their deaths and becoming America's first Serial Killer. This is the incredible true account of two very different men and the different paths their lives would lead them.

This is my second Book by Eric Larson having read and loved [b:Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania|22551730|Dead Wake The Last Crossing of the Lusitania|Erik Larson|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1408923747s/22551730.jpg|42009388] previously I was looking forward to another book by this author. His books are extremely well researched and very detailed and he leaves no stone unturned when telling a story.

I loved learning about the Fair and the magnificent buildings, The World's first Ferris Wheel, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show, electric boats, all the different elements that went into planning and organising such an amazing event. I loved how this book crossed over with numerous other books I had read about this time, (especially the quote from the notorious Chicago May who was born in Ireland only a few miles from my home and ended up becoming one of Chicago's most notorious Crooks of that time) I enjoyed the descriptions of families travelling long distances to the fair from small farms and towns and their amazement at witnessing these spectacular attractions and miracle of electricity for the first time. Eric Larson's descriptions are vivid and captivating and you actually imagine you are there at the centre of the city's excitement. Of course then you are brought back to reality with the murder and mayhem created by H.H Holmes and wonder how a man like this could have murdered so many innocent people and nobody noticed or suspected him.

A word of warning The Devil is in the detail and Eric Larson book's are high on detail and facts which I loved but some may find a tad tedious as the story does drag slightly in places but the historical information and descriptions are excellent and I loved every minute spent with this book.
I listened to this one on audio and the narration was excellent.