Friday, April 27, 2018

Review: The Chilbury Ladies' Choir

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A very charming story. It takes place in England in the village of Chilbury in 1940, when the war was just beginning. There were very few men left in the village as the majority have gone in the army and are off fighting.

The story is written in the form of epistolary through written letters and diary entries. I love this form of novel as it always feels like you get much closer to each character due to reading their private correspondence and journals.

One bright spot in their lives is their choir but the vicar decides to close it until the men return. But with the help of a newcomer to the village the choir is reborn and the it is a bit of happiness for the women of the village to come together in song.

The choir is only a backdrop to the trials and tribulations of the villagers including being bombed, midwives switching babies and lovers going missing.

It was lovely to visit a time when things were more gentle and polite, when people aren't looking at their cell phones and rushing around.

An excellent read.

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Review: Safe With Me

Safe With Me Safe With Me by K.L. Slater
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story was quite a ride with a few very creepy characters. Anna, our main character is a loner who had a terrible thing happen in her family thirteen years ago. This had landed her in the the clinic for a long time afterward, but she is settled more or less now and has a permanent job at the post office and her routine that keeps her busy.

Anna is a witness to an accident. A car hit a motor cycle, and she recognizes the woman, Carla, who drove the car, as someone she thought had been responsible for the terrible crime to her family years before. Anna starts to formulate a plan to get revenge on Carla but first will have to become close to the victim, Liam, the motor cyclist.

An excellent psychological thriller. Looking forward to more.

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Sunday, April 22, 2018

Review: Mother

Mother Mother by S.E. Lynes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the type of story that you just have to give yourself over to and trust that the characters will reveal themselves at the right time. In the beginning you are not sure who the protagonist is, but I like that aspect as it makes for a great read.

Christopher is getting ready to go off to university in Leeds when he finds a letter in an old suitcase and he discovers the reason that he has always felt that something was missing from his life. He has always seemed a "bit off" and he has felt that he didn't fit in. The information he discovered is confirmed by his parents, whom he now knows are his adoptive family.

Christopher wants to belong to a real family, his own family and so he goes about trying to make it happen.

This was a terrific psychological thriller and with an unpredictable ending.

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Friday, April 20, 2018

Review: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Eleanor is a bit different thirty year old. She has a job that she is good at, has her own flat and a routine that she hardly ever varies. The problem is that she doesn't have any family or friends and nothing to occupy her free time, and therefore vodka is her friend.

Raymond is a new hire IT tech in her company and one day Eleanor needed his help with her computer. We didn't see at the time that this would be a turning point in Eleanor's life. Raymond seemed to see beyond, or possibly just didn't notice the peculiarity of her.

It starts as a slow moving friendship but we start to get a glimpse of her past life and the horrific things that she endured.

I loved the characters in this book. An excellent read.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Review: Flat Broke with Two Goats: A Memoir of Appalachia

Flat Broke with Two Goats: A Memoir of Appalachia Flat Broke with Two Goats: A Memoir of Appalachia by Jennifer McGaha
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved this book. This is a memoir, not literature. I found it very honest, sincere and very entertaining. This is a time when I am so glad that I didn't read the reviews before reading the book and no preconceived notions already ingrained.

Jennifer and her husband find themselves in very bad financial difficulties. They are broke and owe the IRS for four years of back taxes. They have to find their way out of this hole they are in. They do manage to save their sanity and at the same time actually realize a better way of life.

I saw a review where the reader didn't like the ending, saying that it was too abrupt. I felt it was the perfect ending to the story because the story goes on, the people are still living in the cabin and there is no ending to the memoir at this point in time.

There are lessons to be learned in this honest work.

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Friday, April 13, 2018

Review: Blink

Blink Blink by K.L. Slater
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Toni is a widow whose husband was in the forces and who died while in Afghanistan. They have a little daughter, Evie. As well, Toni has her mother close by for support. Toni and her husband were not good with money and therefore Toni finds herself in bad straits financially. She makes a move into a house that will be cheaper to keep in Nottingham and also be closer to her mother. Toni also is not adjusting well and grief still overwhelms her most of the time.

Little Evie has just started school and has not adjusted as yet and Toni has just started a new part-time job.

One day before the little family has time to adjust Toni is stuck in traffic late getting to the school to pick Evie up. Just at that time the little girl disappears and it is feared that she has been abducted.

A terrific story with an ending that you would not have predicted.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Review: The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit

The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Chris Knight, at the age of twenty drove his car as far as he could and disappeared into the woods where he managed to stay out of sight for twenty-seven years. The only evidence of his existence was his break ins of the cabins to find food and other supplies. He was always very neat and never took anything other than what he absolutely required. He left no footprint in the woods. He was a completely solitary man and was happy with and craved his solitude. During this twenty-seven year period he never spoke to anybody except one hiker that crossed his path and he said "hi". That was the total conversation in all that time. He was a voracious reader and took as much reading material as he could get his hands on.

This was extremely informative and entertaining. The author describes Chris' campsite and how everything worked beautifully and how recycling works, etc. I found this part of the story especially interesting.

The book did make me feel very sad for Chris and his way of life. One of the last times that he spoke to the author he indicated that he wanted to be back in the forest and go with "the lady of the woods" whom he claimed was "death".

An excellent and important read.

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Monday, April 9, 2018

Review: The Mistake

The Mistake The Mistake by K.L. Slater
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another great psychological thriller by K.L. Slater. This time Rose is a teenager who is attending college who happens to run into a handsome stranger, Gareth, one day who befriends her. He is an older fellow but she is flattered by his attention and soon starts sneaking around with him behind her parents' backs. Rose believes that she has found her soul mate and the relationship continues even though her best friend, Cassie, sees something in Gareth that she doesn't like and doesn't want for her friend.

I am on a roll now and plan to read all the books by this author. I like the way the language is plain and you can get right into the story. The plot is very believable and I like the setting, in the small English town where people know and help each other.

A great read.

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Friday, April 6, 2018

Review: H is for Homicide

H is for Homicide H is for Homicide by Sue Grafton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another great romp with Kinsey Milhone. This time she stumbles across a very strange type of crime where the criminals deliberately cause accidents in order to claim the insurance money. Kinsey is hired free lance to try to discover the culprits.

These novels by Sue Grafton are always enjoyable and its my eventual goal to read them all.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Review: The Linen Queen

The Linen Queen The Linen Queen by Patricia Falvey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sheila is a beautiful girl living in poverty in her village in Northern Ireland. She dreams of escaping to a better life away from her Ma and her slavish job in the linen mill. Even though Sheila has a good heart and is innocent in many ways, she has earned a bad reputation, mainly because she is a beauty.

All her life she has been friends with Gavin, their fathers both had been sailors and friends and so it seemed natural that they would be companions. Things were just going along until the war and Belfast was bombed. Children were evacuated to Sheila's village and her Ma took in Graine, a teenaged girl.

Many of the village girls were happy to become friends with the US soldiers that were stationed in their village.

This story gave us some insight into what was happening in Ireland during the war. I didn't know that southern Ireland were neutral and didn't fight along with England although Northern Ireland did stand up for England.

A very good read.

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Review: The Other Side of the Bridge

The Other Side of the Bridge by Mary Lawson My rating: 5 of 5 stars A beautifully written novel. A book ...