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Crossed Wires by Rosy Thornton

crossedwiresbig

This book is hard to classify into a genre, and in fact it’s very different to the sort of book I generally go for. Here is the synopsis:

This is the story of Peter, a Cambridge geography don who crashes his car into a tree stump when swerving to avoid a cat, and Mina, the girl at the Sheffield call centre who deals with his insurance claim. It tracks their parallel lives, as well those of their families – because both Peter and Mina are single parents.

An old-fashioned fairy tale of love across the class divide, it is also a book about the small joys and tribulations of parenthood; about one-ness and two-ness; about symmetry and coincidence; about the things which separate us and the things which bring us together.

It is a story, in fact, of the accidents of geography.

Of course, regular blog readers will know that I generally go for the very romantic books out there.  Rosy Thornton’s book is perhaps not obviously romantic, but it is a gentle love story of two people who are meant to be together right from the start. The idea is a really good one. How do two people who are meant to be together, yet live so far apart and have only ever spoken on the phone get it together?

Well, as always, I never give away story or plot details but it was interesting to see how it all happened. In the meantime, the sub-characters (as well as the main ones) were brilliantly drawn. We get a full picture of their life and the ups and downs of a “not obvious” romantic “coming together”. Many books nowdays can be overly melodramatic, but this is a lovely book that leads two people with very modern problems to find love.

The authors writing flows effortly in describing the characters and their everyday circumstances and as I was reading it, I got the feeling that in years to come, her book could become a good reference of how we lived now. A bit like how Elizabeth Gaskell’s work gives modern readers an insight into the everyday living of Victorians.

So, overall, a great refreshing read and I look forward to more from Rosy Thornton.

Rating: 9/10

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Add a comment May 17, 2009

It Should Have Been Me By Phillipa Ashley

itshouldhavebeen

I bought this book the same time as Nell Dixon’s new Little Black Dress book and thought it sounded good. I sat down to flick through it, intending to read Nell’s book first.  However, I couldn’t put it down and ended up reading it in two days. Here is the synopsis:

When Carrie’s fiancé Huw suddenly calls off their wedding, and she finds out he’s marrying another woman, she’s devastated. Desperate to get away, Carrie jumps at her best friend Rowena’s suggestion of a road trip in her VW camper van. But when Rowena has to pull out and Matt Landor, an old friend of Huw’s, ends up filling the breach, she’s not so sure. Will fate take the pair on an altogether different journey?

I have to say, I couldn’t find anything wrong with this book. The characters were great, the plot hung together perfectly and it had a great ending.  The hero and heroine had great chemistry and the sub-characters were funny and real and interesting. It was perfect.

I’m not really one of those people who is good at writing reams of stuff in a review (unless it was a poor book). So all I’d say is go out and get a copy of this book NOW! You won’t regret it. It was a pleasure to read. Thank you Phillipa Ashley.

Rating: 10/10

3 comments April 12, 2009

The Twilight Saga/Series by Stephanie Meyers

twilightpic     newmooneclipsebreakingdawn

 

Wow what a week and a half! I’ve devoured the entire Twilight saga (4 books in all) in that time.

My husband was starting to get a bit annoyed with me reading all my spare time….bless him.

Ok, where to start: The Twilight saga or series is taking over bookshops everywhere (and cinema’s). It’s a vampire love story between Edward, a 17 year old vampire and Bella a human. Now, I know what you are thinking “But I don’t like vampires.” all blood and biting etc. However, this is different. Edward is different, in fact he’s every girl dream man (even though he’s not a man!)….

When I was reading the first book (Twilight) I had to keep checking I wasn’t reading a Mills and Boon. What I’m trying to get across is don’t be prejudiced against reading it. If you love a love story – you’ll love this.

They are books that you will want to re-read (esp the first one) and while there are a few things that didn’t make sense or didn’t feel right, they are exceptionally good. I do have one major gripe – the second book : New Moon was pretty awful. There is a long period of the book where Bella and Edward are apart, and whilst I can see in the grand scheme of things it was part of the overall story – it was a bit of a betrayal on the reader who wants to get as much of Edward on the page as possible….

However, the third book (Eclipse) was brilliant and the last book (Breaking Dawn) was very good too (though the last quarter dragged a bit).

One of my friends said to me “Stephanie Meyer can’t spin a story like JK Rowling”. I agree. Whilst these are definitly worth reading and had me enthralled and unable to put them down – they are not quite on par with dear old JKR.

So go find yourself a copy of Twilight and then say like me “Move aside Mr Darcy, Edward Cullen is taking your place!”

Ratings:

Twilight: 10/10

New Moon 4/10

Eclipse 10/10

Breaking Dawn 8/10

2 comments February 19, 2009

The Importance of Being Emma by Juliet Archer

emma

 As some of you regular readers know, I am a big Jane Austen fan, and I’ve read quite a few modern versions of her work (Melissa Nathan, Kate Fenton spring to mind, as well as Bridget Jones).

What I have found in reading these books is that they are usually only very loosely based around the original story. This has been a little frustrating for me as I often wondered why they had been changed so much when the original was so good.

But lo and behold, at last, a modern version of a Jane Austen book that sticks to the original story, and  is a fantastic read.

Here is the synopsis:

Mark Knightley – handsome, clever, rich – is used to women falling at his feet. Except Emma Woodhouse, who’s like part of the family – and the furniture. When their relationship changes dramatically, is it an ending or a new beginning?

Emma’s grown into a stunningly attractive young woman, full of ideas for modernising her family business. Then Mark gets involved and the sparks begin to fly. It’s just like the old days, except that now he’s seeing her through totally new eyes.

While Mark struggles to keep his feelings in check, Emma remains immune to the Knightley charm. She’s never forgotten that embarrassing moment when he discovered her teenage crush on him. He’s still pouring scorn on all her projects, especially her beautifully orchestrated campaign to find Mr Right for her ditzy PA. And finally, when the mysterious Flynn Churchill – the man of her dreams – turns up, how could she have eyes for anyone else?

With its clueless heroine and entertaining plot, this modern re-telling of Jane Austen’s Emma stays true to the original, while giving fresh insights into the mind of its thoroughly updated and irresistible hero.

I loved the way this novel took all the characters you love in the original Emma and planted them into the modern world – it worked really well.

Emma herself is still both lovely and extremely irritating at times (just like the original). Mark Knightley is every woman’s dream, and Juliet did a great job of giving both of them a history (and no, Emma isn’t a virgin).

This book also has a lot of humour in it, which will always get bonus points from me.

So overall, if you love Jane Austen and want to read something fresh and new, then this is the book for you. If you don’t like Jane Austen because it’s a historical novel or some other strange reason like you have no taste, then this is the book for you too. You’ll be very pleasantly surprised.

Juliet has her version of Persuasion coming out next, which I’m very excited about.

Rating 10/10

2 comments January 18, 2009

The Tales of Beedle The Bard by JK Rowling

beedle

 

Those who know me, know that I am a big Harry Potter fan. Despite this, there have been two occasions when I have been really annoyed with JK Rowling.

1) When she wrote The Tales of Beedle the Bard and wasn’t going to release it to the Potter fans like me

2) When she donated £1 million to the Labour party.

Regarding number 1) all is forgiven ;0).

As for number 2……well if she wants to help keep a bunch of muppets running the country who are are slowly taking away people’s civil liberties and reducing everyone to the lowest common denominator, well she’ll have to live with that! Personally, I think she’s crazy!

 Anyway, politics aside, The Tales of Beedle the Bard was warmly welcomed by me. The book contains 5 different fairy tales, one of which is already in the final and 7th Harry Potter Book. The fairy tales are written for the magical world, rather than muggles (non-magical people) and are great stories in themselves.

However, the really great thing about the book is that JKR has written after each Fairy Tale a commentry by Dumbledore. This is what makes the book really special and are very funny and endearing.

So, overall, this will please Potter fans just like me. Those who haven’t read the Potter books will like the Fairy Tales but the commentry bit may be confusing.

Also, if you haven’t read the 7th and final Potter book, I’d leave reading this until after. It may give some of the story away….kinda.

Rating 10/10

Add a comment December 7, 2008

Simple Jess by Pamela Morsi

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I have a stack of Pamela Morsi books and I thought it was time I read another one.

Here is the synopsis:

The last thing widow Althea Winsloe wanted to do was remarry.  Unfortunately, her meddlesome mountain neighbors had other plans.   So, one autumn night they banded together and gave Althea a shocking ultimatum:   She was to find herself a husband by Christmas…or the town would do it for her!   Althea knew she had her choice of any single man in Marrying Stone, Arkansas.   Yet the only one she felt truly comfortable with was Simple Jess.  Sweet and gentle, Jess wasn’t as smart as your average man.  But his tender manner stirred Althea’s heart in ways she had never dreamed possible.

It would take a miracle to find a husband in Marrying Stone.  But sometimes miracles are right under your nose…
This book was certainly different. Different in the fact that the hero has what we would term today as having
Learning difficulties. Jess, though he is called “Simple” by the other folk around him, is still a man and one who does work things out in his head often enough to make sure he does the right thing.

This book does have quite a lot of time filling. But just like the last Pamela Morsi book I read, the sub-characters are excellent and almost take over the book again.

I was particularly interested in one male character who was gay. Obviously this being 1906, it’t not something he admits to, but he does tell his sister, who doesn’t fully understand it. Watching his struggle as his family urge him to marry was a refreshing story. He knows he is different to others, they know he’s different, but they never say it in the open.

There is a little boy in the story who is 3 years old, I felt he spoke a bit too adult-like – maybe like a 7 or 8 year old.

The heroine is very likeable, she owns a farm and wants to stay single now she’s widowed.

Overall, I felt that while this was quite a good book, it didn’t quite hit the mark for me. I think the chemistry between the two leads wasn’t great. There is a good insight into community life in the mountains in the USA – everyone interfering in everyone elses life, family feuds etc…

So overall, not bad, but not great either.

Rating: 7/10

Add a comment November 23, 2008

Slight interruption…

I know I normally post about the books I read (next review coming soon…) but I felt I must post about the Borders “Spookily Accurate” book suggester…

Here is the link.

You type in the author of a book you recently read and enjoyed and the book suggestor will list similar authors to try.

Ok, lets see, thought I.

I tried: Elizabeth Hanbury.

Book Suggestor: No results

I tried: Pamela Morsi

Book Suggestor: No results

I tried: Nell Dixon

Book Suggestor: No results.(Even though Nell is now a Little Black Dress author with a new book out)

In fact, unless it was a well known author in the UK, the book suggestor didn’t come back with anything. It did work for Meg Cabot, JKR, BUT not for Eleanor Updale and Montmorency!!! This piece of software needs serious work and is typical of large companies. They only go for the mainstream.

Whilst I do try and support my local indie bookshop wherever possible, I do like Borders for certain books because they often have US imported titles not available even from orders by indies. They also have a lovely big romance section! So, sort it Borders please!

1 comment July 25, 2008

Ebooks

I’m always on the lookout for ebooks, and am continually dismayed how few publishers actually use this format. I’ve been told that in the USA, ebooks are very popular. I suppose eventually in this country we’ll catch up.

Anyway, here are a few links to ebook websites and publishers…if anyone knows of other publishers/ebook sites please feel free to add a comment and I’ll add a link. I’ll turn this post into a proper page shortly..

Project Gutenberg – Fabulous ebook site with over 20,000 free ebooks and 100,000 ebooks to buy. Most free books are available in HTML or plain text and you can convert to your own favoured format (I use Mobi pocket reader). 

Girl E Books – free ebooks written by women. Have some little known books as well as timeless classics.

Ebooks.com – site based in USA has many best sellers. Be warned though, some of the books they sell can only be sold within the USA (for copyright reasons). This is very annoying because, inevitabley the book I want I can’t get!

Fictionwise – similar to Ebooks.com

Regency Reads – Ebooks of previously paper published regency books.

Belgrave House – parent company of Regency Reads with a wider range of genre’s

Samhain Publishing – wide range of genre’s and sub-genre’s. Try not to be put off by the slightly scarey website

Moonlit Romance – small e-publisher of romance books

2 comments March 26, 2008

Welcome

Welcome to this book review blog, and more….

I will be posting reviews of books when I’ve read them. I’m not a journalist, just an ordinary member of the public. I tend to read books with a strong romatic theme – though I do read other stuff. I also particularly love to read fiction set in the Victorian era.

Each book will be given a mark out of 10.

I’m a very picky reader by the way! If you want to suggest a book for me to read, please leave a comment.

Please note: I *do* read self-published books, and e-books and welcome suggested reads in that arena.

Clorinda

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Add a comment March 1, 2008

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