Thursday, 8 February 2018

From a Low and Quiet Sea by Donal Ryan

 

From a low and Quiet Sea tells us the stories of three men. Farouk is an immigrant who has risked everything and suffered a lot to escape from Syria and make a life for himself in Ireland. Lampy is a heartbroken young man still living at home with his mother and grandfather and finally we meet John. He was greatly affected by the death of his brother when he was still a child but has gone on the be very successful, we are also told about an affair he had. They are  given a section of the novel each rather than their stories being interwoven throughout. However in the fourth and final part of the novel we learn what links them together. 

 

What I love about Donal Ryan's work is his ability to tell us so much about his characters in very few pages, they are well developed and convincingly brought to life, not a word is wasted. Having said this I did struggle to connect with John a lot more than the others although this may well be down to me as I've been in a reading lull of late.

 

From a Low and Quiet Sea is definitely worth a read if you enjoy well written, intelligent fiction. If you haven't tried any of the authors previous work then perhaps read one of his first two novels before giving this a go, links to my reviews of those are below:

The Spinning Heart

The Thing About December

 

Thanks to Netgalley and Transworld for a review copy.

 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Friday, 1 December 2017

Book Beginnings on Fridays - The Christmas Train

Book Beginnings on Fridays is hosted by Rose City Reader and as she says the idea of this meme is for you to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author's name. There's a linky list on the website and you can use #BookBeginnings on Twitter.

 

My book beginning is The Christmas Train by David Baldacci, my second festive novel of the season.

 

Tom Langdon was a journalist, a globetrotting one, because it was in his blood to roam widely. Where others saw only instability and fear in life, Tom felt graced by an embracing independence. 

 

The Christmas Train  

Book Description


Disillusioned journalist Tom Langdon must get from Washington to LA in time for Christmas. Forced to take the train across the country because of a slight 'misunderstanding' at airport security, he begins a journey of self-discovery and rude awakenings, mysterious goings-on and thrilling adventures, screwball escapades and holiday magic.

He has no idea that the locomotives pulling him across America will actually take him into the rugged terrain of his own heart, where he will rediscover people's essential goodness and someone very special he believed he had lost.
 

Friday, 24 November 2017

Book Beginnings on Fridays - A Christmas Party

 

Book Beginnings on Fridays is hosted by Rose City Reader and as she says the idea of this meme is for you to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author's name. There's a linky list on the website and you can use #BookBeginnings on Twitter.

 

 

My book beginning is A Christmas Party by Georgette Heyer, I haven't read anything by her before but I'm enjoying this festive crime novel. 

 


It was a source of great satisfaction to Joseph Herriard that the holly trees were in full berry. He seemed to find in this circumstance an assurance that the projected reunion of the family would be a success.



Book Description


‘Tis the season to find whodunit …

 

It is no ordinary Christmas at Lexham Manor.

Six holiday guests find themselves the suspects in a murder inquiry when the old Scrooge who owns the substantial estate is found stabbed in the back.

Whilst the delicate matter of inheritance could be the key to this crime, the real conundrum is how any of the suspects could have entered the locked room where the victim was found, to commit this foul deed.

For Inspector Hemingway of Scotland Yard, the investigation is also complicated by the fact that every guest at Lexham Manor is hiding something – casting suspicion far and wide…


Friday, 7 July 2017

Book Beginnings on Fridays - Fever

Book Beginnings on Fridays is hosted by Rose City Reader and as she says the idea of this meme is for you to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author's name. There's a linky list on the website and you can use #BookBeginnings on Twitter.

 

This week my book beginning is Fever by Deon Meyer. I've loved post apocalyptic fiction since I was a teenager and read The Stand by Stephen King.

 

I want to tell you about my father's murder.

I want to tell you who killed him, and why. This is the story of my life. And the story of your life and your world too, as you will see.

 

 

Fever

 

Nico Storm and his father drive across a desolate South Africa, constantly alert for feral dogs, motorcycle gangs, nuclear contamination. They are among the few survivors of a virus that has killed most of the world's population. Young as he is, Nico realises that his superb markmanship and cool head mean he is destined to be his father's protector.

But Willem Storm, though not a fighter, is a man with a vision. He is searching for a place that can become a refuge, a beacon of light and hope in a dark and hopeless world, a community that survivors will rebuild from the ruins.

And so Amanzi is born. 

  

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

 

Into the Water

Into the Water is the second novel by Paula Hawkins following her hugely successful debut The Girl on the Train. This new book is different in that it doesn't focus on one main character but on several who all live in the same small town.

 

Nel Abbott is found dead in the river but she isn't the first; it wasn't long ago that her teenage daughter's best friend also lost her life in the area known locally as 'The Drowning Pool' and there have been others. Some victims go as far back as the Witchfinder Trials and Nel was obsessed by them all, so much so that she was writing a book on the subject. Nel is thought to have jumped to her death but her estranged sister Jules, who has returned to her home town to look after her niece, doesn't believe this is the case.

 

Secrets and mysteries abound among the residents of the town which made the story compelling.  I've read in some other reviews that there are too many characters that made the story confusing. This almost put me off from reading it but I'm glad I did. I didn't find this to be an issue at all, each chapter is told from the point of view of one of the characters and it soon became clear to me who was who and I was gripped from the start. Definitely worth a read, just don't go into it expecting The Girl on the Train 2 as this is a different style of novel, I'm already eagerly awaiting her third.


Rating: 4 out of 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, 17 February 2017

Book Beginnings on Fridays - The Doll Funeral

Book Beginnings on Fridays is hosted by Rose City Reader and as she says the idea of this meme is for you to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author's name. There's a linky list on the website and you can use #BookBeginnings on Twitter.

 

My book beginning this week is from The Doll Funeral by Kate Hamer:

 

My thirteenth birthday and I became a hunter for souls.

I knew the moment that Mum called me something was going to happen. I heard it in her voice. 

 

The Doll Funeral 

 

Description


My name is Ruby. I live with Barbara and Mick. They're not my real parents, but they tell me what to do, and what to say. I'm supposed to say that the bruises on my arms and the black eye came from falling down the stairs.

But there are things I won't say. I won't tell them I'm going to hunt for my real parents. I don't say a word about Shadow, who sits on the stairs, or the Wasp Lady I saw on the way to bed.

I did tell Mick that I saw the woman in the buttercup dress, hanging upside down from her seat belt deep in the forest at the back of our house. I told him I saw death crawl out of her. He said he'd give me a medal for lying.

I wasn't lying. I'm a hunter for lost souls and I'm going to be with my real family. And I'm not going to let Mick stop me.

 

 

Friday, 27 January 2017

This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

This Is How It Always Is

Book Description


Rosie and Penn always wanted a daughter. Four sons later, they decide to try one last time - and their beautiful little boy Claude is born. Life continues happily for this big, loving family until the day when Claude says that, when he grows up, he wants to be a girl.



As far as Rosie and Penn are concerned, bright, funny and wonderful Claude can be whoever he or she wants. But as problems begin at school and in the community, the family faces a seemingly impossible dilemma: should Claude change, or should they and Claude try to change the world?

 

 

My Thoughts


I've been hearing about this book for a while and there has been a lot of hype online, I was surprised at first as it took me a little while to get into. I think it was simply because I found all the characters and family members that were introduced early on confusing, once they'd all clicked with me though I was enthralled.

 

The family are all wonderful and Claude wanting to be Poppy is never an issue for them. It felt like it would be a great household to grow up in, a home full of love and compassion. I couldn't help but root for Poppy throughout the story, hoping that everything would work out alright for her in the end.


This is a novel with a powerful message, one with some heartbreaking moments but overall one that is warm and sometimes funny.


Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Thanks to Headline and Netgalley for a copy in return for an honest review.