Saturday, 29 June 2013

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

This book was really amazing, and had me absolutely gripped. There were twists and turns throughout and just as I thought I was finally figuring out the answers, more new information would appear and have me wanting to read more! The final twist in the story had me so surprised yet it all made sense at the same time. The characters were all intriguing, the setting of wartime London during the Blitz added real immediacy to many of the events. The switches in time and character perspective were well done and always ended on cliff-hangers to get me to read more. It was one of those books which had me desperate to find out what would be revealed at the end, but also sad to have finished the story! I give this book 10/10.

Friday, 21 June 2013

The One-Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Jumped Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

This has got to be one of the best books I have ever read! It is witty, interesting and gripping. Allan is the most amazing, yet modest and indifferent, character ever to be written! His calmness and ease in every situation is something to be admired and gets him into some hilarious and precarious situations. I love how at the start of the book, Allan is alone, but as the story progresses, we get introduced to a motley gang of characters, who should not go together, but do. Sonya the elephant was a particularly great addition to the cast. I was always on the edge of my seat, wondering how Allan would get himself out of all the situations he found himself in, especially as the police were always a step behind. I was fascinated reading the story of his life and the famous historical characters he met and the events he effected. Each chapter ended with a cliff-hanger, leaving me wanting more. And it was written so well, with such humour yet empathy and without all of the literary trappings that often make books pretentious. So I definitely give this book 10/10!

Monday, 17 June 2013

Heft by Liz Moore

This was a sad but enjoyable story. Reading from the point of view of Arthur showed insights into a life I couldn't imagine and I felt so empathetic towards him, I wanted to dive into the story and be his friend. When the story switched to Kel's point of view, I didn't enjoy it at first, but as I got to know him and his predicament, I started to warm towards him. These two lives, which are connected in a loose way through Charlene, run parallel to each other, and it was frustrating that they never got round to speaking to each other for so long! Yolanda was a character I adored - she was non-judgemental and kind, and I loved seeing the effect she had on Arthur. The ending was just perfect, not finishing with a neat conclusion, but with the promise of a conclusion to come soon. I give this book 9/10.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The Holiday Home by Fern Britton

This was an enjoyable read, although it seemed to get off to a slow start. There were a few twists and turns throughout the book, particularly towards the end, which surprised me and added a bit of excitement to the story. The one problem I had was that I didn't feel particularly drawn towards either of the two sisters which the story revolved around. Pru was just generally irritating all round and mean to her - lovely but spineless - husband, and after reading 'Fifty Shades of Grey' all her marriage problems seemed suddenly resolved. Connie was easier to like but a little bit dim and didn't seem all that bothered when she discovered Greg's infidelity. Merlin, the main man who caused friction between the two sisters, was an irritating addition to the story. I see the need for such a character, but felt he wasn't up for the job! I did enjoy the book overall, but it just didn't have me gripped. I give this book 7/10.

Friday, 7 June 2013

The Kingmaker's Daughter by Philippa Gregory

I absolutely loved this book, it had me hooked! It was a little slow to start, but after a couple of chapters I was addicted. It was very fast-paced with lots of twists and turns. I enjoyed reading about historical events from a first-person viewpoint, and I really began to sympathise with Anne and her complicated life which she had little control over. And it seemed to really reflect how changeable life was for her from one moment to the next. What Gregory did really well was involve lots of different characters (and many with the same first name) without confusing me too much. In addition, it was good how she didn't portray Richard III as the villain he is often seen as in the history books, giving him a fairer representation. I give this book 9/10!