Tuesday, 15 February 2011

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

To buy click here

This book was recommended to me and for a while I had been putting off buying this book as I was unsure whether I would enjoy it.

The book starts off slowly, and a few letters in I was still a little sceptical about this book and didn't think I would like it. I decided to persevere with the book and was glad that I did.

The idea of the book being written in a series of letters is a unique way of telling this story, and I'm not sure that this would have been quite as good having been written in chapters. I was able to dip in and out of the book reading a letter or two at a time, but usually ended up reading more.

The story is heartwarming and full of friendship, laughter and kindness, despite this book being set in the years following the German occupation of Guernsey. The book is a series of letters between the main character Juliet, her best friend, her publisher and the various (rather interesting) members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. 

Juliet wrote a newspaper column during the war, but now in 1946 is unable to write the novel that she would like. She receives a letter unexpectedly from Dawsy Adams (a member of the Literary society) who is now in possession of a book by Charles Lamb that was previously Juliet's book. This initial letter then leads onto letters being sent to Juliet from the other members of the Literary Society, and it is through these letters that she learns the story of how the Literary Society started, and also about the lives of the individual members.

This book may not be for everyone; I recommended this book to my mum and after reading almost half of the book my mum thinks that the book is ok, but isn't as struck by this book as I am.

I thought the book was really well written, and maybe it isn't completely accurate, and is a little stereotypical in it's characters and what has happened, however, this book has a special something for me. I think I will definitely read it again in years to come. Beautifully written.

My rating 4.5 Stars!!

Walking back to Happiness - Lucy Dillon

To buy Click Here

I adored Lucy Dillon's previous books The Ballroom Class and Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts, and could not wait to read this book, hoping that it would be every bit as good as the other two books.

I definitely was not disappointed! I fell in love with this book right from the start - Lucy Dillon has a wonderful way of drawing you into her books right from the very first page, and one you start reading you don't want to put the book down.

I finished this book in a day and a half, I just kept saying to myself one more chapter, but just didn't want to put it down!

This may be a chick lit book, but it is so much more than that; it is thought provoking too.

All three of Lucy Dillon's books are based in the same place; Longhampton. It you have read Lucy Dillon's previous books then you will recognise some of the people and places (and dogs!) mentioned in the book. However, you do not need to have read her previous books before reading this one (although they are both fab so I would definitely recommend reading them!)

The main character in this book is Juliet who isn't coping after the unexpected death of her husband. Her mum and sister are worried about her as she is living in a house without a useable kitchen, and she likes to go out at night time when she is unlikely to meet people. Her only real companion is Minton her dog.

As a way of getting Juliet out of the house, and hopefully enabling her to get on with her life, Juliet's mum Diane asks Juliet to look after her dog Coco, whilst she is looking after Juliet's sister, Louise's baby so that she is able to go back to work.

Little does Juliet know when she agrees to looking after Coco, that this is the start of her 'future'. Juliet starts to not only look after Minton and Coco, but to walk and look after other local people's dogs, and to gain an insight into their lives.

The characters in the book are well written and you can't help but feel every emotion that the characters do. From initial sadness for Juliet's loss to laughing out loud at Diane's interfering. Throughout the book there is a sense of hope, and a sense of being able to carry on with your life without forgetting the past. The only character I didn't really warm to was Louise, Juliet's sister, but that is due to her actions and attitudes throughout the book. Another well written character.

A stunning book which I would recommend to everyone! 

My rating - 5 Stars!

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Twelve Days of Christmas by Trisha Ashley

To buy this book click here

I received this book for Christmas, but with working and going away for new year I didn't get chance to sit down and start this book until January. Although being a Christmas book, I probably should have waited until Christmas 2011 to read it but I couldn't resist reading the first chapter. From then I knew I was going to have to read to the end!

The front cover of the book is just stunning, and that is what first caught my eye and drew me in. Yes I know - I'm a little bit shallow when it comes to Chick Lit. I'm a sucker for a beautiful, eye catching front cover!

This is the first book I have read by Trisha Ashley, and I have another of her books (Chocolate Wishes) sitting on my bookshelf to be read.

The book starts by introducing us to the main character Holly Brown, a young widow who hasn't celebrated Christmas since her husband died, and accepts the opportunity to house-sit in a remote village over Christmas as a way of avoiding having to celebrate Christmas! Little does she know that Little Mumming is possibly the worst place to go if she intends to avoid Christmas.

Holly was brought up as a Strange Baptist by her grandmother, who at the start of the book has passed away. We also learn that Holly has been a widow for 8 years, and although celebrated Christmas while her husband was alive, hasn't celebrated Christmas since. In fact, she will do anything to avoid celebrating Christmas.

A few days after her arrival, her quite, house-sitting assignment is turned to chaos in the form of unexpected guests, unwelcome guests, a whole lot of snow and everything that ensues!

Would I recommend it?
Yes, as long as you aren’t looking for a quick page turner, with a fast developing plot. This book is a slow burner with many interesting aspects, such as the cooking references and the excerpts from Holly’s Grandmother’s Journal, and is definitely one to curl up with in the run-up to Christmas, under a blanket, with biscuits and tea close at hand.

I like this book, but I didn't love it. It was fairly predictable in the whole, but with a few surprises along the way. I found myself laughing out loud at some of the things which happened in the book, but found some things that happened to be too predictable. But still I wanted to get to the end to find out what would happen. I found the ending a little disappointing - it ended too soon and abruptly, and I found myself wishing for there to be an extra few chapters, or possibly a sequel to the book.

Not the most memorable of books, but I am definitely going to read more books by Trisha Ashley.

3.5 stars out of 5

New Blog!

I'm new to writing a blog, but thought that it's a new year and time to try out new things!

One thing that I absolutely love is reading. I heart books - always have, always will. 

I always have a book or my Sony Reader with me, in case I can squeeze in a few pages of the book/s I am currently reading!

I have set myself a little challenge of reading 5 books per month (although I'm hoping I can read more!) as I have more than 100 unread books on my bookshelf alone, and that doesn't include the books that I can borrow from my mum and my sister!

To buy click here
To buy click here

So far this year I have already finished 2 books - Faithless by Karin Slaughter and Twelve Days of Christmas by Trisha Ashley. I have almost finished Walking Back to Happiness by Lucy Dillon, and I am three quarters of the way through Sense and Sensibility on my Sony Reader!

To buy click here
To buy click here

I am planning on writing blog posts with reviews of the books I read throughout the year, books I have read in previous years but would recommend everyone reading at some time in their lives and also confessing about the books I have purchased when I shouldn't have - due to not having any more room to store books! I will not get rid of any books either!

My final words of this evening are - Books are for life - they are there when you are feeling ill, when you need cheering up, when you are lonely or when you just need to relax. There are books for everyone and so many amazing authors out there.