June 09, 2014

Book Review :: The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain

Ordinarily, I do not read anything that can be called “chick lit”. It just isn’t to my interest. It was, then, a surprise to read The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain and discover that not only was it a mystery but “chick lit”.

Chamberlain’s prose is smooth and gripping and by the time I realised what was happening, I was too engaged with the story to stop reading. The story flowed seamlessly from start to finish without any glaring problems that kick you abruptly out of the story. I found myself imagining the characters and the houses and the multitude of scenes as clearly as though I were watching a movie. This is always part of my reading experience but how clear my image is, is directly influenced by the writing.

The characters are strong and believable. I feel Riley is the most developed character but as the narrator, she would need to be. Danny was an enigma that I always wanted to know more about and it is interesting to see in Chamberlain’s note at the end, she thanks a friend(?) for her help in bringing Danny forward. I found Jeannie and Christine to be exactly what you would expect from the circumstances and I was left feeling I didn’t know enough about Lisa. I can’t discuss Lisa here because of the dreaded spoiler but it will be interesting to see what other readers make of her.

I’ve given this 3.5 stars because it doesn’t really sit well for me in the 3 or 4 star ratings I’ve given this year.

This is a great story if you’re on the beach or going on a flight of a few hours. It does have a couple of moment where I felt it was a little over wrought, with too much angst but for the most part, these passages can be overlooked.

I did think at the end that I wouldn’t go back and read any more by Chamberlain because I didn’t want to tarnish this story, so it was another surprise to see I’ve got three other titles marked as to read. This is the power of books. You never know where they’ll take you, where you’ll be delivered, or what they will open up for you.

Thank you Diane and NetGalley for the ARC copy.

June 03, 2014

Book Review :: Death Can't Take A Joke by Anya Lipska

4.5 out of 5 stars

Death can’t take a joke
, published by The Friday Project/Harper Collins, the second novel by Anya Lipska, continues following two lead characters, Natalie Kershaw – a tough “girl-policeman” and Janusz Kiszka – a Polish private eye; plus an assortment of characters supporting the duo throughout. Detective Sergeant "Streaky" Bacon, Oskar, Ben and of course, the bad guys, are fantastic creations and drive a highly realistic and accurate plot.

When Jim Fulford misses a pint in the pub with Kiszka, a chain of events is begun that leads the reader around Walthamstow, Canary Wharf and into the world of organised crime, illegal imports and prostitution.

Lipska writes believable characters, characters who leap off the page and would not be out of place in London and the world. Kershaw is a strong female character. She is more than happy to look after herself, she stands up for her principles and has unwavering convictions and morals. Kershaw is a refreshing character in literature and she is also unique. I can think of few other examples, from my personal reading list, of who she could compare with.

Janusz Kiszka is similar. He is depicted as a gentleman. A man who seeks to protect women from abusers, a man who cooks, a man who has the best interests of his family and friends at heart but isn’t so passive he has lost his ability to drink, carouse and get himself into the odd scrape.

I wish I could phrase my praise in a better way. All I can say is thank you Anya and that I’m waiting with great anticipation for the next adventure with two of my favourite literature mates.

May 18, 2014

Orleans January 2014

Among all the cathedrals of France, Saint Croix d’Orleans is one of the oldest still standing. Foundations, dating back to the fourth century are visible in the crypt and evidence of the Catholic tradition are obvious throughout the building.
The foundation stone was laid in 330 and owes its name to Saint Euverte, Bishop of Oleans.

Entry Doors

Historic Graffiti 

Joan of Arc Chapel

Looking towards the alter

Architecture of the old town

The boy that never was by Karen Perry

2 out of 5 stars
Read April 2014

Reviewed as an ARC from Goodreads - with thanks.

I really wanted this to be good and it sounded fantastic reading the blurb but sadly, I have been left disappointed.

The writing was easy. When I say easy, I mean a single syllable word was always used where something a little more challenging would have been appropriate.

The story is told in two character narrative. It doesn't work. Neither of the characters are sympathetic, both are needy, self obsessed pains in the backside. The back and forth between the characters was far to much like that other, overrated work, Gone Girl. There was always the hint of depth but it never quite eventuated.

The nefarious, or meant to be nefarious, Cozimo, seems to be a clone of Count Fosco from the Woman in White</>. I am not so naive I cannot recognise where inspiration has struck but this is so blatant it is almost insulting and in many ways, a thumbing of the nose to say, look how clever we are. 

This is definitely not the criminal thriller I was expecting. It is cheap, holiday, chick lit and I feel like I was conned in a way because the marketing and the cover do not suggest this.

I can see why a lot of people have enjoyed this and rated it highly but it just didn't charm me.

January 02, 2014