Book Review: If You Could See Me Now – Cecelia Ahern


When Cecelia Ahern arrived on to the worlds chick lit scene I went along with the hype and read P.S. I Love You which I thought was ok.  It wasn’t great but it wasn’t awful.  As is my usual habit I read her next book thinking it would be better so I read Where Rainbows End and this was truly awful in my opinion so I decided Cecelia had her chances with me and I didn’t have time for reading rubbish books.  Reading time is valuable so if an author doesn’t impress me I usually don’t keep giving them chances.

8 years later and one night I don’t have a book to read only a Cecelia Ahern book that has sat at the back of the wardrobe for a couple of years.  Rather than have nothing to read I started reading If You Could See Me Now and was sure it would be rubbish. I read the first chapter and while it wasn’t rivetting it wasn’t awful either so I carried on and slowly but surely I ended up enjoying the book.  It is the story of Elizabeth who sees her invisible friend and how he helps her with some life problems. Some of it is quite unbelieveable but isn’t that what makes some books a bit more different.

I would give it a 3 out of 5 rating and still wouldn’t be rushing out to buy another Cecelia Ahern book but haven’t totally written her off either.

 

If You Could See Me Now - Cecelia Ahern

If You Could See Me Now – Cecelia Ahern

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Book Review: The Last To Know by Melissa Hill


I was told by a friend to read a Melissa Hill book. Last February I went to London and took this book in my bag but brought it home again as I was reading another book.  It has been on my pile of books to read since then and finally made it to the top last week.  As I have only recently moved my little girl to her own room I have rediscovered the joy of reading in bed so I read a few chapters every night. By Saturday night I was nearly halfway through but the book totally grabbed my attention and I kept reading until I finished it at 2.30am. I can’t remember the last time a book caught me like that.  I was glad it wasn’t a night before going to work but didn’t regret it the following morning.

The Last To Know - Melissa Hill

The Last To Know – Melissa Hill

The Last to Know is the story of 4 women – Eve, Anna, Sam and Brooke and how their lives are intertwined.  Eve has been waiting for years for her partner, Liam, to marry her.  Anna is engaged but slow to set the date.  Sam is Eve’s sister who knows too much about Liam and doesn’t think he’s good enough for her sister.  Brooke is living in Australia not knowing that a secret is going to be revealed that will change her life forever.

 

What I liked about this book is that it was so different from regular chick-lit as there was a twist and while I knew there was a twist there was a few red herrings to make you think things and then I discovered I was wrong.  I love when I can’t predict the ending of the book.  I’m not going to reveal too much about the book as don’t want to give the plot away but I do recommend this book to read.  I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more Melissa Hill books.

 

Book Review: This Is How It Ends – Kathleen MacMahon


This is how it ends - Kathleen MacMahon

This is how it ends – Kathleen MacMahon

I read this book in 2 parts as I borrowed it from my local library and read about a quarter of it but was too busy to finish it at the time and had to return it.  Months later I got a copy so I decide to finish it.

It’s the story of Bruno who comes from America in search of his Irish ancestors and meets his family consisting of Addie, Della and their father Hugh.  It is set in Ireland in 2008 in the run up to Obamas election. It’s basically a love story with a few twists.  It could have done with a bit of liveliness to push the story along.  I found it’s pace quite slow at times.  It is well written but it needs something more to make it a book that you want to keep reading.

I had read a lot of reviews and they were all positive but this didn’t do it for me.  I found the story dragged and it wasn’t a page turner for me but I did finish it out to the end.  I don’t think I’ll be running off to get her next book.

Book Review: The Care of Wooden Floors – Will Wiles


The Care of Wooden Floors is  the story of a unnamed narrator who is asked to flat-sit for his friend, Oskar, who is a perfectionist when it comes to his living space especially his floors. He couldn’t have picked a worse person to mind his apartment who was only there a week but certainly managed to leave his mark.  He also had to mind Oskars two cats who like all clever cats misbehave when their owner is away.  They do add a bit of fun to the book and I think if managed right they could have played a better part in the book.

It is a very well written book with beautifully descriptive language. You can really picture what he is trying to show you.  However, I don’t think the story-line was strong enough and found myself wanting to get to the end for it to be over.  I wouldn’t recommend it or be looking to read another of Will Wiles books.

 

Care of Wooden Floors Will Wiles

Care of Wooden Floors Will Wiles

Book Review: Forgive Me by Lesley Pearse


When I worked in a bookshop back in the 1990’s I discovered Lesley Pearse and was instantly hooked.  After reading the first book, I immediately ordered all her other books and loved them. They were the good old days when I was paid to read. Of course I argued that I had to have read books to be able to recommend them to customers. After leaving the bookshop I used to always look out for new books written by Lesley Pearse. She only releases one book a year on average but I always know when it’s due out and what it’s about.

This years book is called Forgive Me which tells the story of Eva Patterson whose Mum commits suicide not long before Evas 21st birthday.  As Eva deals with the aftermath of the suicide and searches for reasons why her mother took her own life, she discovers many secrets from the past.  The search for answers takes Eva on a journey to her mother’s past where she discovers things she never knew about her mother.  The book has plenty of twists and turns so you want to keep reading to know where the story goes.

Lesley Pearse always writes stories that are emotional and you can feel the highs and lows with the characters.  It is a gripping story and it’s one of those books that you just want to keep on reading.  I read it over a couple of evenings and didn’t want it to finish which is a sign of a good book.  I was pleased with this book as her last book was the first one to slightly disappoint me so I was afraid she was losing her touch. This book proves she still is a super writer.

I’m looking forward to the next book already.  Reading Lesley Pearse always makes me want to be a writer myself.

 

Forgive Me - Lesley Pearse

Forgive Me – Lesley Pearse

Book Review: Capital by John Lanchester


I’m embarrassed to admit it took me two months to read the book I have just finished. I really enjoyed it though and would have finished it a lot faster if I had time.

Capital by John Lanchester

I went to London in February to celebrate my birthday with some new friends and one of the girls gave me a book called Capital by John Lanchester which is set in London. It is about the residents of Pepys Road who are all getting the same postcard which says We Want What You Have.

It has very short chapters which makes it a very easy read.  It moves through the different houses and introduces us to the characters which are a broad range of ages and backgrounds. They all have in common the postcards they are receiving and how they react to them.  We spend a lot of the book wondering who is sending the cards and it is interesting how the mystery is unravelled and holds the reader until the end. The cards are the common theme but we learn so much about the different house owners.

It is a well written book and the use of descriptive language paints an image of London that you could picture.   It is humorous in places and brings a smile to your face. What is always a test of a new author for me is whether I would read another book by them and the answer this time is yes I would.

IBSN: 978-0-571-23462-2

Book Review: The Paper Dolls by Julia Donaldson


 

The Paper Dolls

 

The Paper Dolls by Julia Donaldson Illustrated by Rebecca Cobb
ISBN: 978-0-230-74108-9

A cousin of mine bought this for my little girl, who is nearly three, for Christmas.  From the first reading both my girl and my 5 year old boy loved it. I have lost count of how many times I have read it since getting it.

It’s a simple story about a girl whose mother makes her paper dolls – “They were Ticky and Tacky and Jackie the Backie and Jim with two noses and Jo with the bow”.  The story is all about the adventures of the five paper dolls.  It’s a lovely story and the children loved the repetitive rhyme with the names of the dolls.   The dolls have quite an adventure and encounter lots of things which are great to make children think and talk about a book.

The first day we opened it I had to read it about ten times in a row. Over the days during the holidays it was presented to me numerous times for reading and after a few days my little girl came with it and said Ticky and Tacky to me. That’s what she calls the book. My 5 year old boy has learnt the story and now tries to read it to his little sister.

I would highly recommend it for the 3 to 5 year age group and I must say I enjoyed it myself too.

Book Review: The Story of Chicago May by Nuala O’Faolain



This book is a biography of May Duignan who was born in Longford, Ireland. She stole her family’s savings and ran off to America to start a new life. Her new life was a life of crime and she soon earned the name Chicago May.  Her adventures took her to Chicago, New York, Paris and London.  Her crimes and jobs varied from theft, prostitution, showgirl and outlaw.

Within the first few pages of reading this book, Nuala O’Faolains devotion to writing a correct account of Chicago Mays life was clear.  Because the time covered is from 1890-1929, some details are missing but O’Faolain is quick to fill in what she thinks happened.   May kept using different names which must have made research hard. O’Faolain has done an amount of research into re-creating Mays journey from Longford to America and her new life and events that happened including visiting the places herself which makes the book so good.  I liked that she went to the places May lived so she could paint a true picture of the time.

There is so much detail in the book it is easy to picture it all.  It is a great social history of Ireland, America and London at the time.  It covers an escape from rural Ireland to America and then various moves to cities in America.  May had bad taste in men which led to a lot of her troubles.  She did end up in prison in the UK.  This was a very interesting chapter as it was during her time in prison that she met Constance Markieviez, one of the famous women in the 1916 rising in Dublin.

While some of the things May did are not admirable she is still a likeable character.  She lived a life full of experiences, some good and a lot bad but this was all part of her character.

It is a great book. It is so detailed.  It’s not one that can be quickly scanned over as there is information in every line.  I really enjoyed it as there was a broad range of life experience, history and tales of crime.  I can highly recommend it as something different to read. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting. I picked this book up as I wanted to read something different from what I usually read and this proved to be an exceptional choice.  It also makes me want to read other books on events raised in this book.

The Story of Chicago May – Nuala O’Faolain
Penguin, 2006
ISBN: 0141006587

Book Review: Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James


After loving Fifty Shades of Grey (book 1) and not being overly impressed with Fifty Shades Darker (book 2) I started reading Fifty Shades Freed (book 3) on Saturday wondering was it going to get better or worse.

Fifty Shades Freed continues the story of Anastasia Steele and Christian Greys rather unconventional romance and where it goes next.  Obviously reading this book if you haven’t read the two previous ones is a waste of time.  I also don’t want to say too much to ruin the outcome for people who haven’t read it yet.

There is a much stronger story line in this book than in the previous one. Yes, there is still lots of sex but there didn’t seem to be as much as Fifty Shades Darker which I got bored with.  The story kept me interested and I finished the book on Sunday.  I wouldn’t say they are very well written but E.L. James has an addictive writing style that made me want to keep reading.  I did enjoy this book and how the story concluded.

It makes me wonder about E.L. James. Is she a one trick pony? Is this all she has to offer or can she come up with something to follow up the success of the Fifty Shades trilogy.

I am happy now that I finished the trilogy and can move on to something else to read, preferably sex free as I am overdosed on erotic writings for a long while now.

Book Review: Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James


I collected the book and within an hour I had abandoned the book I was reading, The Cottage At Glass Beach, as it just wasn’t getting my attention.  I read the first chapter and could keep on reading but I had some books to catalogue for listing on the internet.  What is it about these books that aren’t the best written book ever but they have the power to grab my attention (and it’s not the sexy bits!)

From here on the book actually went downhill. There seems to be a lot more sex in this book and the storyline isn’t as strong.  We discover more about Christian Greys past and why he is the way he is.  There is a lot of repetition from the first book in the writing and phrases.  This book wasn’t as funny as the first book either or maybe I’m getting immune.

When I was reading Fifty Shades Of Grey I didn’t want it to end but towards the end of Fifty Shades Darker I was willing it to finish.  I was starting to think how much more sex were they going to have. I have Fifty Shades Freed to start and am hoping it will be a bit better.

I am starting to wonder was book one the best one and the next two are just stretching it along.  I hope book three won’t be a disappointment.  I will reserve full judgement until I read Fifty Shades Freed.  I hope to read it over the weekend so watch out for my final review next week.