Saturday, 27 September 2014

I couldn't put down The One Plus One by Jojo Moyes!

The One Plus One by Jojo Moyes wasn't in my To Be Read Pile (see last week's blog post), because I was actually reading it! So, now I've finished, here's my review.
For a start it was hard to put down once I got into it, because it started at a rented house at a seaside resort, rather like the books I've been reading all summer, and at first I thought, oh no, not another!
But that was only setting the scene for Jess Thomas, optimistic, despite all life's hard knocks, and Ed Nichols, who is destined to lose everything because of one silly mistake, to eventually meet.
Two people couldn't be more different, she is his cleaner, and he, a high flying computer expert who's sold his business and made a lot of money. He is reeling from a failed affair, following an equally disastrous  marriage, and she is a divorcée, bringing up her own daughter, Tanzie, as well as her ex-husband's son from another relationship, Nick.
It is when maths genius, Tanzie, is offered a lifeline to enable her to get a scholarship to a private school where she will not be bullied, like Nick has been, that things really kick off and this story becomes a road trip like no other with happiness as well as heartbreak, and some really funny moments.
I like the way that each character takes it in turns to be the subject of a chapter. However, Jojo Moyes hasn't written it in the first person, but in the third, using the character's language to good effect.
If you are looking for a great story to enjoy, this is for you!

Saturday, 20 September 2014

My 'To Be Read' Pile of Books - Autumn 2014

'I look at books as a child looks at cakes - with glittering eyes and a watering mouth, imagining the pleasure that awaits him.'
Elizabeth Gaskell

After spending the summer reading about sunny holidays in Devon and Cornwall, it's definitely time for a change, so here's my 'To Be Read' pile for the next couple of months before I turn to a more Christmassy theme!
The books are in no particular order, and I'm not really sure which one I'm going to choose first either!

Kate Atkinson Life After Life
I have only read Behind the Scenes at the Museum and Case Histories by Kate Atkinson, but his one intrigues me because of the premise of the possibility of having an infinite number of chances to live your life until you finally get it right.

Lisa Jewell The Truth About Melody Browne
The Truth About Melody Brown is the first of two Lisa Jewell books in my pile because I enjoyed Before I Met You, set in Guernsey and London in the 1920s and the 1990s. This one attracted me because it's about a nine-year-old girl who loses her memory after a fire destroys her home, and doesn't begin to recover it until she attends a hypnotist's show in her early thirties. However nothing is as straightforward as it seems and she has to uncover many mysteries before she can find out the real truth about her life.

Leah Fleming The Postcard
This book is also about uncovering family secrets. Finding a postcard to someone called Desmond amongst her deceased father's belongings, Melissa sets out on a journey across oceans and into the past. This sounds like my sort of story!

Ali Harris Written in the Stars
A more light-hearted sort of novel about Bea who slips whilst walking down the aisle on her wedding day which triggers two parallel lives: one where she gets married and one where she doesn't.
Each life has its ups and downs, but which one will make her happy ever after?

Alice Peterson By My Side
'By My Side' refers to Ticket, a golden Labrador, who becomes a companion to Cass who is paralysed from the waist down after being involved in an accident with a truck. This is an unusual story, but love grows when she meets Charlie on a flight to Colorado. Will he be able to help her to live her life to the full again?

Hazel Gaynor The Girl Who Came Home
I heard Hazel speaking at this year's RNA Conference about how she self-published this book, and it was so successful that an American publisher offered her a contract. How fabulous is that?
It is based on a true story about Maggie who survives the Titanic disaster in 1912 and, in 1982, shares the painful secret that she's kept for a lifetime with her great granddaughter, Grace, resulting in events that change both their lives.

Lisa Jewell The House We Grew Up In
This is my second Lisa Jewell book. It explores the devastating event, one Easter, many years ago, that shattered the perfect Bird family's life, but which they are forced to confront when they return to their childhood home.

Well, these are my choices. Which one would you read first?

Monday, 8 September 2014

Catch the Last Rays of Sunshine with The Beach Hut and The Beach Hut Next Door by Veronica Henry

With summer virtually over, it's great to recapture some of that endless sunshine we've had this year with two books by Veronica Henry.
The Beach Hut and The Beach Hut Next Door are two sets of stories all linked together by the row of beach huts at Everdene Sands in Devon.
In the first book, the stories are linked by the Milton family who are having their last season here before their hut is sold after fifty years of idyllic summers, and in the second it is the story of Elodie who grew up at The Grey House on the cliffs that runs through the book.
Both books marry the past with the present, telling the story of Jane Milton's first summer at their beach hut and the way it changed her life forever, and Elodie's last summer there before she left to make a new life for herself.
Veronica Henry writes like Maeve Binchy in, for example, The Italian Class: seeing the same thing from a different point of view and really getting under the skin of the characters. She also good at making you feel the sands of Everdene between your toes!
So drag your deck chair out of the shed, find a patch of sunshine in your garden and settle down with these two great reads.
I've enjoyed them so much that I'm going to get A Night on the Orient Express next!
Have you read any Veronica Henry books?