Thursday 30 April 2015

My Review: Night Music by Jojo Moyes

2 out of 5 stars

The honeymoon that was me enjoying everything Jojo Moyes has ever written is coming to an end. To give you some context, I started late – so haven’t read much of her earlier stuff. It isn’t as good.

The characters in this book were annoying – very. The only one I remotely liked was the teenage daughter. And given that I have two (teenage daughters) I think the parts of her I liked (her being organized, and running the house, for instance) were completely unbelievable. The other characters were completely self-absorbed, had no spine, or were very clich├ęd. This made much of the action and dialogue awkward.

The story was ok, but not great.

So, I think I will stick to her more recent novels when I do read more Jojo, but it may be a good idea to give Jojo a break.


You may also enjoy The Last Letter from your lover  or After You by the same author

Here are all my reviews and recommendations.

My Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

4 out of 5 stars.

My favourite crime writer, Karin Slaughter wrote about this book:

"Good thriller, but no Gone Girl. Everyone wants to be the next Gillian Flynn, but Gillian Flynn isn't finished being Gillian Flynn."

I completely agree. It irritates me that every book that has an unreliable narrator,

My Review: Killing Floor by Lee Child

2.5 out of 5 stars

I listened to this book, and enjoyed the narrator, the characters, and the story.

But...ho hum. Maybe it's because this was written a while ago, but there have been some really good thrillers written since then. Jack Reacher is a strong, tough, unbeatable, all-American hero. But other than that, he is quite dull. The story is average too, a smuggling ring, that isn't too hard to work out.

I may pick up another Lee Child Jack Reacher novel if I am going away and don't have enough to read, but probably not, because that hardly ever happens.

The narration on this book was not annoying, and appropriate for the story.

ISBN: 9780515141429

Here are all my reviews and recommendations.

My Review: Die Again by Tess Gerritsen

3 out of 5 stars

Set in Botswana, Boston, and then South Africa, this book is quite different to the other Rizzoli and Isles books I have read. It is gripping, tightly woven, fast paced and has all the elements you would expect from the genre.

However, it left me feeling a little disappointed. There were too many moments when, instead of being totally engrossed in the story, I could instead picture the author on the back of a Landrover on holiday in the bush, doing research for her latest book. I also found the story didn't fit the setting that well, and wasn't convinced by the love interest part - fell a little flat for me.

All said and done, it was a welcome change from the usual setting of these novels, and an enjoyable read.


Read another review of this book (Ulrike liked this more than I did) on The Bluestocking Review

You may also enjoy The facts of life and death by Belinda Bauer or Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

Here are all my reviews and recommendations.

My Review: Three to Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich

4 out of 5 stars

Stephanie Plum is fast becoming my favourite heroine of all time. Janet Evanovich has created a winning formula. The recipe for these books is as sweet as Grandma’s warmly baked apple pie, and as satisfying as the ice cream melting atop it.

The ingredients are a (don’t) wanna be bounty hunter, who has a sense of humour and an appetite that she attaches more value to than her body image (refreshing, these days), lots of action, car chases with run-down and later blown up cars, Grandma Mazur and the rest of the delinquent, yet delightful Plums and the ever dashing Joe Morelli.

And then there are moments when I laugh out loud, and my husband groans, because he knows I am about to start reading aloud. Really, that’s what makes these books – they’re so funny.

I think every so often I should crack open another Stephanie Plum – and there do seem to be plenty of them - to restore my faith in the power of humor and a well told story.

For another fun read, try Ms Conception by Pamela Power

ISBN: 9780312966096

Here are all my reviews and recommendations.

My Review: The Last Road Trip by Gareth Crocker

4 out of 5 stars

Touching and funny, The Last Road Trip is a story of five friends, inspired by the death of someone they barely knew, to take a trip together to the Kruger and then through the Karoo in an old Chrysler Voyager.

The main characters Jack, Sam, Rosie and Elizabeth discover so much more than the sights that they set out to see. Their journey through this beautiful country draws us in to their unique and heart-warming life stories. Through support of each other’s quest to revisit the past and face the future, they learn more about life, and how to live it well. Gareth Crocker cleverly weaves their life stories together through witty dialogue and interactions with the colourful characters that they meet.

This is an uplifting read, and the stories told and imagery evoked will capture the imagination of most readers.

You may also enjoy Finding Jack by the same author

This book features in my recent best reads

ISBN: 9780143539094

Here are all my reviews

My Review: Gray Mountain by John Grisham

3 out of 5 stars

My issue with this book wasn't that it was an issue novel. I liked the fact that the heroine was taking on such an important task, and fighting against  a part of the destruction that is waged daily against nature in all parts of our world.

In usual Grisham style, this was a page turner, and the constant action kept me on the edge of the bed, and up late at night. That's what the three stars are for.

But the characters were not as great as they could have been, and the ending was enormously disappointing. I suppose that is what you must expect when your "villain" isn't a person, but is an issue. Nobody wins. Not even the reader.

ISBN: 9781473610415

Here are all my reviews and recommendations.

My Review: Past Caring by Robert Goddard

4 out of 5 stars

Two stories – one of a British cabinet minister, Edwin Strafford, and the second of a historian, Martin Radford, divorced and unemployed and visiting a friend in Madeira.

There are easily drawn parallels of Radford with Strafford, who suddenly and mysteriously loses his job and his fiance without a clue as to why this is happening to him. Strafford’s career is ruined and he ends up a minor consular official in Madeira. England’s political situation in the early 1900s is examined, as is the suffragette movement and the Boer War. All explored deftly, and in grand literary style.

The telling is lengthy, but engrossing. I loved the detailed plot, the mysteries – one was closed, only for another to emerge.

A beautifully written, elegant book. You will have no qualms recommending it to your mother.

ISBN: 9780552131445

Here are all my reviews and recommendations.

My Review: Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

 4 out of 5 stars

Ani FaNelli has achieved the life she always wanted - a career in a woman’s magazine, a stylish apartment in NYC, and she is going to be on TV, whilst planning the perfect wedding to a dashing and successful investment banker. Yet she has a secret, hidden in the shadows of the world she came from that threatens to topple her carefully constructed and hard-fought for life.

Jessica Knoll draws us in to both these worlds, switching between the gossipy cut throat den of iniquity in Ani’s adult life and the exclusive high school where she as TifAni first experienced not fitting in to the society she has found herself in.

This is no Gone Girl, yet it has other strengths so that it doesn’t have to be. It is gripping – after the first fifty pages, which were condescending in style. The female lead, though not always likeable, is gutsy and you find yourself cheering her on. A very good thriller.

You may also enjoy The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins or Second Life by SJ Watson.

ISBN: 9781447286202

My Review: Rubbernecker by Belinda Bauer

4 out of 5 stars

I love reading a book by an author that I haven’t read before. I didn’t know that much about Rubbernecker. I had seen some very good ratings on Goodreads, however.

What an entrancing read. Part thriller, part drama, part mystery, this book had it all. The pace moved like a thriller, but without too much violence. The characters were wonderfully flawed, and the different voices held my attention. The prose was exceptional.

A really good read, with a highly satisfying conclusion.

The Shut Eye and The Facts of Life and Death - also by Belinda Bauer. Or the first in her Exmoor Trilogy - Blacklands

This book features in my recent best reads

Thursday 23 April 2015

My Review: KARMA, DECEPTION and a Pair of Red FERRARIS: A Memoir by Elaine Taylor

4 out of 5 stars

This is a lovely read. Warm, witty, and full of self-deprecating humor, this is a memoir well done.

Even though I found myself shaking my head, disagreeing with Elaine Taylor’s take on life and its meaning, nevertheless I was more than interested in her telling of it.

Most people think they have a remarkable life, some actually do, few can really write well about it. This is a rare exception. The story and the telling (which had a lot of showing, rather than telling) were delightful, insightful and entertaining.

You won’t regret the time you spend reading this one.

Another memoir: Miss Fortune by Albinia Hume