Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Lilywhite

Reading with Kat 2013

Recommended Posts

Blink of an Eye
Cath Staincliffe
 

In a heartbeat, life changes.A sunny, Sunday afternoon, a family barbecue, and Naomi Baxter and her boyfriend Alex celebrate good news.  Driving home, Naomi's recklessness causes a fatal accident, leaving nine-year-old Lily Vasey dead, Naomi fighting for her life, Alex bruised and bloody and the lives of three families torn apart.Traumatised, Naomi has no clear memory of the crash and her mother Carmel is forced to break the shocking truth of the child's death to her. Naomi may well be prosecuted for causing death by dangerous driving. If convicted she will face a jail term of up to 14 years, especially if her sister's claim that Naomi was drink-driving is proven.In the months before the trial, Carmel strives to help a haunted and remorseful Naomi cope with the consequences of her actions.Blink of an Eye is a novel about the nightmare that could be just around the next bend for any one of us.


Started: 15/05/13
Finished: 21/05/13
Rated: 3/5
Comments: 
This is my second Cath Staincliffe book.  After reading “Split Second” last year, I immediately went on the hunt for more of her books.  She writes about difficult scenarios that make you question your own opinions and own reactions if you were in a similar position. 

“Blink of an Eye” is about a fatal car crash and the consequences it has on those involved and their families.  The story is told from the point of view of Naomi, who was in the crash and her mother Carmel, and it begins before the accident, at a family gathering.  Once  the scene has been set, the readers already know what events are around the corner, although it isn’t built up as a big dramatic event.  I expected more to be made of the accident itself, however, once I had read the book to the end, it made sense to me that the accident was not the focal point of the story, it was more the catalyst for the events that followed.

 

And this is where the book gets really interesting.  I devoured the rest of it in two sittings, and only because I was forced to put it down the first time.  Naomi can remember nothing of the accident and is devastated at the news that she had caused the death of a child.  Her mother is torn between her sympathy for the little girl’s family and her concern for her seriously ill daughter.  As we shift between the two points of view,
we begin to understand the devastating effect that the events of that day have had on everyone involved and as we move towards a trial, it all starts to unravel. 

 

My only criticism of this book is a couple of plot points that, to me, would not have happened in real life; however, I understand why they had to happen in this book to continue the flow.  They don’t detract from the book at all and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I just feel it was a slightly less realistic situation than her previous book.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Last Letter From Your Lover
Jojo Moyes


When journalist Ellie looks through her newspaper's archives for a story, she doesn't think she'll find anything of interest. Instead she discovers a letter from 1960, written by a man asking his lover to leave her husband - and Ellie is caught up in the intrigue of a past love affair. Despite, or perhaps because of her own romantic entanglements with a married man.
In 1960, Jennifer wakes up in hospital after a car accident. She can't remember anything - her husband, her friends, who she used to be. And then, when she returns home, she uncovers a hidden letter, and begins to remember the lover she was willing to risk everything for.
Ellie and Jennifer's stories of passion, adultery and loss are wound together in this richly emotive novel - interspersed with real 'last letters'.


Started: 29/05/13
Finished: 02/06/13
Rated: 4/5
Comments:  Last year I read what I thought was the debut novel of Jojo Moyes, Me Before You, and I was surprised to find out that not only was this not her first book, but she had written several other books too!  Don’t ask me how I had managed to come this far without noticing her books, however, I am very pleased that she is now on my radar and she is currently 2 out of 2 in the enjoyment stakes.

The Last Letter From Your Lover is set between current time and 1960 and is focussed on a love letter found in the archives of a local newspaper.  We travel back in time and see how and why the letter came about. Then we jump forward to current day and see what effects this old correspondence is having on Ellie, who stumbled upon it. Whilst this is a love story, it’s not your typical love story.  Each chapter has its own real life ‘last letter’, many of which are strange and wonderful, break up and make up letters.  It’s not all sunshine and
roses but it’s certainly a love story which kept me gripped right up to the last page.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For some reason when people started raving about Me Before You by Moyes, I thought she was a new author, but now I'm wondering if she's always been around, because I seem to keep finding new books by her... This one sounds good, too! :)

 

It's good to see you around, I hope things are going good :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This book (along with Me Before You and one other book by Jojo Moyes) are on my TBR, nice to hear you enjoyed it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did enjoy this one and it has done my reading mojo so much good.  (The lovely weather hasn't done any harm either)

 

I'll be catching up on my reviews later on so I'll be letting you all know exactly why I liked it in more detail.

 

Frankie I was the same as you and thought Jojo Moyes was a new author but there are several books out there to have a look at.  Having enjoyed both of hers that I have read now, I will definitely be looking out for more.

 

Andrea and Athena, give them a go!  You won't be disappointed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did enjoy this one and it has done my reading mojo so much good.  (The lovely weather hasn't done any harm either)

 

I'm so happy to hear your mojo's been going good and the Moyes book helped with that :) I hope the weather stays nice for a long long time!

 

Frankie I was the same as you and thought Jojo Moyes was a new author but there are several books out there to have a look at.  Having enjoyed both of hers that I have read now, I will definitely be looking out for more.

 

That's great, although I wonder why it seems that only recently people have read her books... Well better late than never :smile2:

Edited by frankie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Woman Who Went To Bed For  A Year
Sue Townsend

 

The day her twins leave home, Eva climbs into bed and stays there.  For seventeen years she's wanted to yell at the world, 'Stop! I want to
get off'. Finally, this is her chance.  Her husband Brian, an astronomer having an unsatisfactory affair, is upset. Who will cook his dinner? Eva, he complains, is attention seeking. But word of Eva's defiance spreads.  Legions of fans, believing she is protesting, gather in the street. While Alexander the white van man
brings tea, toast and sympathy. And from this odd but comforting place Eva begins to see both herself and the world very, very differently. . .


Started: 03/06/13
Finished: 17/06/13
Rated: 2/5
Comments: I don't like giving books low marks in their reviews but sometimes my connection with them is just not there and I find it difficult to rate them any higher.  Unfortunately this is one of those books that I really struggled with.  At no point did I think I would put it down and not carry on.  In fact, I read it relatively quickly.  The problem came when I got to the end and felt nothing.  I didn't get the "laugh til I cried" moment, or find the "totally hilarious" parts that were billed on the front cover.  I think the book was advertised to be something different to what it actually is and perhaps this is where my disappointment lies.  To me, this isn't a comedy, or a laugh a minute look at modern life.  It's a look at the way we are pushed and pulled in a million directions by family and society's expectations and a tale of what happens when one woman decides she no longer has to answer to anyone but herself.  In this regard, the book is great.  The story was insightful and on more than one occasion rang true with me, as it will with millions of women.  I just wish it hadn't been sold to me as the older woman's version of Adrian Mole.  Perhaps then I could have appreciated it more.

I don't want to put anyone off from picking this book up, but I do want to remove any idea of this being a funny, laugh a minute gallop through family life.  This way, I hope you can appreciate Townsend's message more than I did and the witty insights dotted throughout will be much more prominent for you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Did You Miss Me?
Karen Rose

 

The last thing Ford Elkhart remembers is walking his girlfriend back to her car. Now he's lying tied and gagged on a cold, dark floor, with only one chance to escape before he ends up like the bones surrounding him...
Assistant State's Attorney Daphne Montgomery is devastated by her son's disappearance, and is immediately convinced that his kidnapping is connected to the white supremacist she's just had jailed for murder.
FBI Special Agent Joseph Carter isn't so sure - especially when he learns that Ford's girlfriend is also missing. Is Ford's abduction payback for Daphne's courtroom victory? Or is he a pawn in an even more dangerous game?


Started: 21/06/13
Finished: 11/07/13

Rated: 3/5
Comments: Textbook Karen Rose.  Even though I can already tell which character is going to fall in love with which and who will be put in danger and rescued by the lead character by a few pages in, I am never deterred from reading her books.  The crime elements are always intriguing and never straight forward.  You are always guaranteed a romance between two of the lead roles and at some point, one of them will be put in jeopardy and will be rescued by the other.  On top of this, you are always given a multi layered bad guy, with enough twists and turns to keep you interested.  I just can't get enough of her style :D

This particular book was great for me because it included lots of characters from previous books and it was great how they were all tied in together.  I always get a thrill when writers manage to cross over this way and make it work.  It's almost like real life.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Woman Who Went To Bed For  A Year

Sue Townsend

 

Great review, I found it very interesting. I found the book by chance on my own and therefore didn't have any expectations or preconceived notions of the book, so I was able to get into it with an open mind. I can see why you'd be baffled by having seen the book marketed as an Adrian Mole book of a middle-aged woman! I didn't find it funny-ha-ha either, but then because nobody had hyped it to me as such, it didn't bother me. I fully understand you being peeved by the marketing! :empathy:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Kindest Thing
Cath Staincliffe

 

When Deborah reluctantly helps her beloved husband Neil end his life and conceals the truth, she is charged with murder. As the trial unfolds and her daughter Sophie testifies against her, Deborah, still reeling with grief, fights to defend her actions. Twelve jurors hold her fate in their hands, if found guilty she will serve a life sentence. Deborah seeks solace in her memories of Neil and their children and the love they shared. An ordinary woman caught up in an  extraordinary situation. A finely written page-turner, compelling, eloquent, heart-breaking. The Kindest Thing tackles a controversial topic with skill and sensitivity. A book that begs the question: what would you do?


Started: 14/07/13
Finished: 10/08/13

Rated: 3/5
Comments: This was quite a riveting read for me.  I thought I had quite a solid opinion on assisted suicide but over the course of the book I have questioned it several times and I'm now much less sure of where I stand.  The story is told from the viewpoint of Deborah who is on trial for the murder of her husband Neil.  Neil was a Motor Neurone Disease sufferer and Deborah assisted him when he decided it was time to end his life.  Whilst the book is solely from Deborah's view, as the story and the trial unfolds you begin to see the wider consequences of what has happened to this family. 

Although my opinions on the subject have wavered, my support for Deborah through the book remained.  You are never far from the fact that she truly loved her husband and everything she did was for him despite her better judgement.  You really feel for her when she describes the hellish time she had even contemplating what her husband wanted of her and for me, the most poignant moment was the realisation of what she had taken from her children.  Yes, she had helped her husband and done as he asked but her children were denied the opportunity to say goodbye and possibly from seeing their mother again as she is put on trial.

The ups and downs of the trial has kept me riveted throughout and I must admit that I stayed in my bath considerably longer than I really should have but I just had to know poor Deborah's fate.  I won't give the ending away but I will encourage you all to go and read this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Amongst Others
Jo Walton

 

'It doesn't matter. I have books, new books, and I can bear anything as long as there are books.'Fifteen-year-old Morwenna lives in Wales with her twin sister and a mother who spins dark magic for ill. One day, Mori and her mother fight a powerful, magical battle that kills her sister and leaves Mori crippled. Devastated, Mori flees to her long-lost father in England. Adrift, outcast at boarding school, Mori retreats into the worlds she knows best: her magic and her books. She works a spell to meet kindred souls and continues to devour every fantasy and science fiction novel she can lay her hands on. But danger lurks... She knows her mother is looking for her and that when she finds her, there will be no escape.

 

Started: 25/08/13
Finished: 16/09/13

Rated: 4/5
Comments:

The best description of this book is a quote on the back cover from Patrick Rothfuss “Funny, touching and gently magical”.  I couldn’t have summed it up any better. 

Whilst the synopsis tells us of a great tale of good versus evil, of magic and spells and of a long standing magical battle; the book is much more understated.  It is written as a diary from Mori’s point of view where  the magic almost takes a back seat to the everyday, general goings on of a teenage girl.  There is a very  fine balance between Mori’s coming of age story and the magic and mystery of the world she has grown up  with and Jo Walton has achieved it perfectly.  We are with Mori through her struggles with family and school life as well as attempting to negotiate the minefield which is the opposite sex, whilst at the same time and  almost as casually, she is attempting to understand the murky and tangled world of magic and spells that  has been with her all her life and led to the loss of her sister.

Jo Walton has managed to take a magical story and bring it right back to an everyday setting to which we  can all relate.  This book is not a rip-roaring adventure of magical hijinks and escapism.  It is more an  everyday world with a magical undercurrent.  The pace is slow but continuous and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it  from start to finish.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks VK!  I'm consistent in my inconsistency :D

 

Definitely in a fantasy/magic kind of mood lately and this latest book is perfect.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Moon Over Soho
Ben Aaronovitch


I was my dad's vinyl-wallah: I changed his recordswhile he lounged around drinking tea, and that's how I know my Argo from my Tempo. And it's why, when Dr Walid called me to the morgue to listen to a corpse, I recognised the tune it was playing. Something violently supernatural had happened to the victim, strong enough to leave its imprint like a wax cylinder recording. Cyrus Wilkinson, part-time jazz saxophonist and full-time accountant, had apparently dropped dead of a heart attack just after finishing a gig in a Soho jazz club. He wasn't the first.

 

No one was going to let me exhume corpses to see if they were playing my tune, so it was back to old-fashioned legwork, starting in Soho, the heart of the scene. I didn't trust the lovely Simone, Cyrus' ex-lover, professional jazz kitten and as inviting as a Rubens' portrait, but I needed her help: there were monsters stalking Soho, creatures feeding off that special gift that separates the great musician from someone who can raise a decent tune. What they take is beauty. What they leave behind is sickness, failure and broken lives.

 

And as I hunted them, my investigation got tangled up in another story: a brilliant trumpet player, Richard 'Lord' Grant - my father - who managed to destroy his own career, twice. That's the thing about policing: most of the time you're doing it to maintain public order. Occasionally you're doing it for justice. And maybe once in a career, you're doing it for revenge.

 

Started: 21/09/13
Finished: 15/11/13

Rated: 4/5
Comments:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whispers Underground
Ben Aaronovitch

 

Peter Grant is learning magic fast. And its just as well - he's already had run ins with the deadly supernatural children of the Thames and a terrifying killer in Soho. Progression in the Police Force is less easy. Especially when you work in a department of two. A department that doesn't even officially exist. A department that if you did describe it to most people would get you laughed at. And then there's his love life. The last person he fell for ended up seriously dead. It wasn't his fault, but still.

 

Now something horrible is happening in the labyrinth of tunnels that make up the tube system that honeycombs the ancient foundations of London. And delays on the Northern line is the very least of it. Time to call in the Met's Economic and Specialist Crime Unit 9, aka 'The Folly'. Time to call in PC Peter Grant, Britains Last Wizard.

 

Started: 15/11/13
Finished: 28/12/13

Rated: 4/5
Comments:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×