2 Followers
1 Following
Dem

Dem

Currently reading

The Idiot (Everyman's Library, #254)
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Larissa Volokhonsky, Richard Pevear
The Velvet Hours
Alyson Richman
Behind Her Eyes: A Novel
Sarah Pinborough

It Ends with Us

It Ends with Us - Colleen Hoover No idea how this ended up on my kindle.

30% in and can't take anymore.

The least said the better I think...............

This Must Be the Place

This Must Be the Place - Maggie O'Farrell I am a fan of Maggie O' Farrell's novels but this book was all over the place for me and I just didn't come to grips with any of the characters or the constant shifts in time and place.

I find O' Farrells writing normally quirky and engaging but this book left me feeling frustrated the further along I read. I found the story so disjointed that picking up the book felt like a chore and the only reason I did finish the book was because of the prose. I didn't engage with the plot or the characters and couldn't find a sense of time or place in the novel. It wasn't as intriguing or satisfying as her previous works and I felt the storyline was weak and had no direction.
One of my all time favourite books was [b:The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox|250729|The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox|Maggie O'Farrell|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348843114s/250729.jpg|3050927][bc:The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox|250729|The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox|Maggie O'Farrell|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348843114s/250729.jpg|3050927][a:Maggie O'Farrell|91236|Maggie O'Farrell|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1208204636p2/91236.jpg] which I found captivating and as intricately written.

I had saved [b:This Must Be the Place|26128897|This Must Be the Place|Maggie O'Farrell|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1460054606s/26128897.jpg|46078766] for my holidays hoping for another experience of [b:The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox|250729|The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox|Maggie O'Farrell|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348843114s/250729.jpg|3050927] but sadly I was left feeling disappointed.

My thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to read this advance copy in return for an honest review.

What Lies Between Us: A Novel

What Lies Between Us: A Novel - Nayomi Munaweera 3.5 Stars

I enjoyed this atmospheric and emotional novel by Nayomi Munaweera. This is a new author for me and I am glad I picked this one up to read.

The novel opens with a prologue in the form of a parable. It is the story of a Himalayan moon bear that is driven to kill her cub in a most gruesome way. It is a short and absolutely shocking tale but what an opening for this novel. At first I questioned the reason for this shocking opening but the author does explain , “it tells us everything we need to know about the nature of love between a mother and a child.” and I knew I just had to continue reading this book.

The novel's rich and vivid prose tells the life story of its narrator from her Sri Lankan girlhood to her adult life in America. I really enjoyed the descriptions of the culture and traditions of Sri lanka and how upon moving to America their lives are affected and influenced by the people around them.
The story is at times brutal and yet I never found it graphic.

An emotional read about how our pasts can influence out futures



Elizabeth, Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary

Elizabeth, Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary - George P. Upton 3.5 stars

Having visited Hungry lately I was intrigued by Elisabeth(also known as Sisi) Empress consort of Austria-Queen of Hungary 1837 - 1898 (assassinated).

The wife of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria, Elizabeth was born into Bavarian royalty and enjoyed an informal upbringing before marrying at the early age of 16. She led an interesting and somewhat sad life and I wanted to learn more about Sisi as she was so loved by the Hungarian people.

I had some difficulty getting a book on kindle that was factual as opposed to fiction but I happened to come accross this short book by George P Upton and felt at 70 pages it might give me an insight into Sisi's life. It did present the facts and was just what I was looking for.

I did enjoy reading and learning about this beautiful and intriguing lady and am glad to say finished it wanting more. I have a few other books lined up which may give me a more comprehensive insight into her life and I am really looking forward to those.
=

The Days of Abandonment

The Days of Abandonment - Elena Ferrante, Ann Goldstein The Days of abandonment opens with Mario walking out on Olga his wife Olga, and their 15 year marriage and their two children.
The narrator of the story is Olga and the story is her account of the abandonment.

I listened to this on audio and the narrator was Hillary Huber and she was excellent.
This is a short read set in the family apartment and we experience the meltdown of the narrator after her husband's abandonment.

The writing is shockingly honest and unnervingly blunt and I can see why readers of Ferrante love her books.

I didn't identify with the characters of Mario and Olga or their lives and while I enjoyed the first half of the novel I became tired of the ranting and raving by the second half.
Having said that being married for over 20 years I haven't thankfully experienced what Olga experienced and I will be the first to admit here that I have no idea how rational I would be if I was dealt these cards so therefore I don't want to be judgemental on a topic that I know women out there are experiencing as I write this. I actually don't even want to think too deeply about how I would react as I consider myself a calm and rational person but faced with an experience like The Days of Abandonment after many years of marriage how would I react?

I like a sense of time and place in a novel and I enjoy character development and background and I just didn't get it from The Days of Abandonment and this is why this ended up being a two star read for me.

This is my second book by Elena Ferrante and this is where we will part company and while I appreciate writing, her books just don't float my boat.

I actually think this would make a very interesting book club discussion read and I would love to have read this as part of a group as I feel I would have got so much more from it.

What She Knew: A Novel

What She Knew: A Novel - Gilly MacMillan I struggled with this book and perhaps I have read too many novels lately about missing children. I made the mistake of listening to this one on audio and its not that the narrator was bad but the book seemed to drag on forever and as an audio book it just didn't work for me.

I didn't find this novel suspenseful and it lacked any real mystery for me. There was nothing unique about this story and I kept thing something is going to bring this book back from the brink but unfortunately I was left disappointed. I think the novel could have been 100 pages shorter as it just seemed to be never ending. By the books conclusion I was just happy to have finished and wasn't really surprised by the story's conclusion.

An ok read but not one I will be recommending.

Dancer

Dancer - Colum McCann " This is not a biography, it's a story, a novel, a tale. For a long time I toyed with the idea of calling it a false portrait" Taken from Colum McCann's interview online.

This is the story of the life of Russian Dancer Rudolf Nureyev and the people that surrounded him and for me it was the surrounding characters that took centre stage in this superbly written novel.

I have read a few of McCann's novels some I have liked better than others but this story from the first chapter where Russian Soldiers returning from the Eastern front after World War II are entertained by the young Nureyev had me hooked.

I am not a fan of Ballet and knew very little about the life of Nureyev and really had little interest in this book until I saw it was available in Whisper sync and I really love reading and listening to a book especially I want the correct pronunciation of foreign names people and places. The audio book for Dancer is excellent with different narrators for different characters and I didn't find it at all confusing switching between characters. McCann weaves his magic and tells an astonishing and quite believable story. The characters themselves are so wide and varied and the story is told from their viewpoints which makes this book so compelling.

While I was quite interested in the story of Rudof, I was fascinated by the story of those he left behind in Russia and in life in general as it was through their voices we hear the real story. I am not sure I would have liked or cared for the dancer himself but I certainly appreciate his art and how hard he worked for the love of dance.

There were times in the story when I didn't care for the scenes of sex or drugs and readers may not like this aspect of the story but I do understand that it belonged in the book.
There is so much about this book that I loved, Colum McCann is a passionate writer and few authors match his insight, attention to detail and searing prose.

This powerful story will loiter in my mind and already I have played wonderful You Tube videos of Interviews and ballet performances by by Rudolf and his partner Margot Fonten.





The Aran Islands

The Aran Islands - J.M. Synge, Tim Robinson The Aran Islands by J.M Synge is a remarkable and insightful read of life on the Aran Islands From 1898 to 1903.

Having just returned from an amazing 2 day trip to the Islands I was eager to read this remarkable little book that had been recommended to me by one of the Islanders. .

Synge, in his relatively short life helped revolutionize Irish Threater, was a poet, prose writer, musician,playwright and collector of folklore. He spent part of his summers for 5 years on the Aran Islands collecting and documenting stories and customs and traditions of the Islanders and the end product ( this little book) is a remarkable and important collection of information and folklore.


This is not a story but rather a series of journal accounts as the author says in his introduction

" In the pages that follow I have given a direct account of my life on the Islands and of what I met with amoung them, Inventing nothing , and changing nothing this is essential"

There is so much that I found intriguing and insightful in this account, the way of life and the hardship of the Islanders, the bleak and harsh and yet stunning landscape, the tradition, stories, food, clothing and the religion and beliefs are so interesting and I came away with a better understanding of their life and struggles at this time.


While everything has changed on the Islands with modernization , nothing has changed like, landscape, remoteness, beauty, quiet and those rugged and stunning stone walls and ruins. I loved the fact that after stepping foot on the island you can hire a bike and within 5 minutes be utterly by yourself and step back in time.

I loved this book and can't stop thinking about it, I would recommend it to those who have an interest in folklore and history of Ireland. It's not for everyone but I can see many enjoying this and at 208 pages is not very taxing.

While My Eyes Were Closed

While My Eyes Were Closed - Linda Green There seems to have been a lot Novels published in the last six months with child abduction or child disappearances as the main theme and while I have read a few of these novels I am now tiring of the theme. I sometimes wonder if publishers encourage or set themes for novels which they think match the current market trends, last year it seemed to be titles containing the word girl and this year it seems to be books about missing children.

While my eyes were closed was fast paced and engaging. I especially liked the fact that it was told from the viewpoint of the several of the characters in alternating chapters and this really added to the overall understanding and feel for the story. The character of Muriel was interesting but I found most of the other characters flat and disappointing The ending felt a little rushed and I am not sure it was entirely believable. A three star read for me I liked it but didn't love it.

Lying in Wait

Lying in Wait - Liz Nugent Liz Nugent's opening line in this twisted and devious page turning mystery certainly creates an impact.

My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.

Having loved Liz Nugent's previous novel [b:Unravelling Oliver|19099368|Unravelling Oliver|Liz Nugent|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1390908506s/19099368.jpg|27128785][bc:Unravelling Oliver|19099368|Unravelling Oliver|Liz Nugent|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1390908506s/19099368.jpg|27128785] I was thrilled to get an opportunity to read her latest novel Lying in Wait and I certainly was not disappointed as her plot lines, character development and writing is sharp and vivid and this author certainly knows how to tell a story. I have read a lot of mediocre mysteries and Psychological thrillers over the past few months and had become a bit disillusioned with the same old same old. But Lying In Wait really restored my faith and had me hooked from the first sentence.

"The last people who expect to be meeting with a drug-addicted prostitute are a respected judge and his reclusive wife. And they certainly don't plan to kill her and bury her in their exquisite suburban garden. Yet Andrew and Lydia Fitzsimons find themselves in this unfortunate situation"

This is wonderfully assured and beautifully written second novel from Liz Nugent where the characters are well drawn and the plot simmers with tension. I loved the setting and the sense of time and place in 80s Dublin.

A brilliant tale of obsessive love, a multi layer thriller that I would recommend for everyone's summer reading list.

My Thanks to Penguin and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this novel

The Glorious Heresies

The Glorious Heresies - Lisa McInerney 3.5 Stars
The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney has left lost for words and my thoughts were all over the place on finishing this novel. This is a story set among the criminal and drug worlds of Cork in Ireland and is certainly not for the feint hearted as it is at times brutal, coarse and hard hitting and yet the writing is brilliant and the humour is Irish to the core.

I would never have picked up this novel if it hadn't won the Baileys price for fiction as neither the blurb or the cover appealed to me and I had passed it by on numerous occasions.

The story is shocking, funny, dark, gritty, sordid and very brutal in places and yet the writing is brilliant and I found myself laughing out loud, cringing and totally torn on my feelings for this cast of dislikable characters during this novel.

I listened to this one on audible and what a fantastic narration it was, as the Cork accent was just perfection and the narrator was amazing and added so much to this book that I am not sure I would have finished a printed copy as the book is quite depressing in places.
I don't think I will ever be able to visit Cork again in fear of running into these despicable characters.

I cant recommend this book for everyone as some readers may be offended by its content and language and yet Lisa McInerney sure has a way with words and a talent for writing and I can see why she was awarded the 2016 Baileys women's prize for fiction and I will certainly look forward her next offering.



Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets

Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets - Svetlana Alexievich, Bela Shayevich 3.5 Stars,

Svetlána Alexándrovna Alexiévich is a Belarusian investigative journalist and non-fiction prose writer who writes in Russian. She was awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature

Seconhand time: The Last of the Soviets traces the emotional history of the Soviet and post-Soviet individual through carefully constructed collages of interviews. Svetlana Alexievich weaves a rich catholog of Russian voices telling their stories of Worshipped Russian leaders, of love and death, hard and sad times, and how people try to embrace the challenges given to them in life.

The stories are woven from hundreds of interviews, an oral history that has the voices and passion of real people who have suffered at the hands of their leaders. There is raw emotion and sadness in the stories and yet because you lean very little about these people you form no connection which them which was fine for about the first 100 pages and then I became numb to the stories and I began to find the writing repetitive. While the stories appear to be real and simplistic I did find it quite depressing and its the sort of book better read as a side read.

The book is is a very interesting account of Russians coming to terms with the fall of the Soviet Union and how their lives are affected. This is not a light read and I did find it difficult to finish as it lost its initial appeal after the first 100 pages and I while I finished it I did struggle through the last few chapters.




The Story of an Hour

The Story of an Hour - Kate Chopin A short stroy that really packs a punch.

I had never heard of this short story by Kate chopin until a review by a goodreads friend and I knew I had to read it. I love when an author in so few pages can capture a reads imagination and create a story that is interesting, well written and with a good old fashioned twist thrown in for good measure.

Loved it, " Good Goods come in small parcels

The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax

The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax -  Arthur Conan Doyle 3.5 Stars

What an interesting and entertaining Short Story

I listened to this very short story on audible for free and at 56 minutes it made an interesting tale.

The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax is one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It is one of the eight stories in the cycle collected as His Last Bow, and one of the few stories in which for much of the plot Watson must act alone and try his best with Holmes left in the background.

I came across this while browsing Audible's Mystery collection on their Free Channels section and the narrator was excellent and anyone who enjoys Arthur Conan Doyle and short mystery stories should have a look through this free collection. I am always looking for 1 hour audio podcasts to pass my running time and this worked perfectly

Dark Matter: A Novel

Dark Matter: A Novel - Blake Crouch Science Fiction thrillers are not really my thing but every now and again I need to check in with this genre just to f..k with my head if nothing else and thats exactly what Dark Matter by Blake Crouch does. Its original and quirky and I am really glad I read it.

My husband is a Science fiction and technology junkie and just this week has introduced me to his latest toy "Oculus Rift Virtual Reality" and while he is blown away by this technolody and living in another world half the time I am more shocked and scared at how fast technology is progressing and wondering in 10 years time will anyone ever need to live in the real world again when they have viritual reality.

Anyhow back to Dark Matter, this book really freaks you out and left me with numerous questions for which I am not getting answers from the book ( or the hubby either) and I did ask a lot of questions while reading this one as I am one of those women who need to know how and why.
A real page turner from the very begining and a book that makes you think outside the box(pardon the pun) as I said I am not a fan of science fiction but I did find this book very engaging and I loved the tension throughout the story.

I don't want to say too much about the plot as its one of those books that just needs to be read. There is lots of science in the book that went completely over my head (hence all the unanswered questions) but did not over power the story and the book is fast paced and very readable.

For now I am staying firmly footed in my real world and wait to see what the future holds.

My thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to read Dark Matter in retun for an honest review.

The Forgetting Time

The Forgetting Time - Sharon Guskin 3.5 stars

Reincarnation is a Latin word, meaning "entering the flesh again."

The forgetting Time is an interesting and throught provoking novel exploring the idea of reincarnation and is also a mystery surrounding the disappearance of a child.
I picked up this novel on audio as was looking for something interesting to listen to and while I prefer Non-Fiction on Audio I was intrigued by the idea of reincarnation as brought up a Catholic reincarnation was a idea which I remember discussing in religion class but was quickly dismissed as not of the Catholic faith and therefore not up for discussion. How things have changed in today's religion classes as religion classes in school explore and discuss all different religions and young people have a better understanding of each other faith and beliefs.

While this is a fiction story it is well presented and the ideas explored certainly gave food for thought.
I kept thinking how would I deal with the situation presented to Janie and her young son Noah, would I have accepted the doctors diagnosis or took the road that Janie travelled. I found myself wondering who would I have been in a past life?

The Characters were well drawn and interesting and I especially liked the character of Anderson.

The performance of the narrators were very good and I enjoyed listening to this one. However one thing annoyed me in the story was the term " Mommy Mon" (thats just my silly niggle).

An interesting and thought provoking book.