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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

The Rosie Project

This charmingly quirky read kept me on the go from the first page onwards. Don Tillman Professor of Genetics if blindingly clever and can solve a mathematics problem in seconds, sort the probability of everything and anything also in seconds but the normal communication of day to day life has him blundering about like the proverbial bull in a china shop.

He and his wife Rosie are expecting their first child and the project is to see whether he could love the child as his own without preconceived scientific notions of what is right, wrong etc etc. To this end he scopes and searches for data on what should be done, what shouldn't be done and ends up in escapades which are not funny, rather serious and luckily for him those who have to judge him, realise that he is totally innocent of all wrong doing.

Rosie is the antithesis of what Don wanted in a wife. He had definite ideas of what shouldn't be and he got exactly all the nays! Don displays some of the symptoms  of Asperger's but it is never specifically mentioned in the book, though he does agree to a lecture on Asperger.

I loved the quirky character of Don, beautifully balanced by Rosie and was rooting for them to live happily ever after.

So glad I got this, sent to me by my friend K.

Hot Flashes by Barbara Raskin

I was reminiscing myself whilst reading the book as I felt I could empathize with the whole group of middle aged ladies! Hip and happening in the 1950s, they are now in the 1980s, and still quite happening!!! Not willing to give up and behave gracefully, they still would like to scandalize, to stir up the pot. Quite an interesting bunch. Varied interests, varying careers and still good to go.

Sukie's death has brought them together and since it was sudden (and unexpected) the four are trying to organize things including bringing in an ex-husband whom they all detest at the beginning (some of them still do at the end but some change), a very young boyfriend of Sukie's whom they did not know about and who comes out of the woodwork with a new novel of hers which he will not relinquish to the family and there is the father from far away who also turns up for the funeral. The funeral is the focus of the novel and everything builds up to it.

A story of friendship amongst women going on for decades and how important it is for everyone to have extended support from friends even if they are distant physically, just to know you have someone who would understand you.

I enjoyed the characters in this book and this is my second book in a week dealing with adult women who go back together as friends for decades. Am I seeing a trend here?

This was sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Open Road Integrated Media.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Mystery Mile by Margery Allingham

My second read by this author. We have four attempts on the life of Judge Lobbett - all unsuccessful and in the process someone else dies. This creates a pall amongst his family as well as they feel that a sense of doom is following them doggedly. The quirky investigator Campion adds to the interest of the story and after a convoluted story, the villain is apprehended and dies in rather horrific circumstances.

This is a classic crime series and the language and descriptiveness is part of its attraction. A rather old fashionedly told tale, I liked it very much. Not quite Agatha Christie but very much like.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Bloomsbury Reader.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Wages of Sin by Nancy Allen

The Wages of Sin: An Ozarks Mystery (Ozarks Mysteries)

In rural Missouri a particularly gruesome murder of a young woman eight months pregnant by her partner. The only witness is her six year old daughter who is able to very clearly point out who the culprit is.

The public defender in this case seems inane, not particularly apt specially since it seems like an open and shut case. Not getting support from her co counsel as she will not support the death penalty, however deserved it is, Madeline turns reluctantly to Elsie who is equally reluctant to work with the arrogant, stuck up Madeline. Not a very good start for the case anyway.

Many unsavoury facts regarding the victim arise in the meantime and it becomes crucial to have our six year old Ivy and her statements intact. This is going to be easier said than done with several attempts made to intimidate her and even kill her. Whilst Ivy is having her own trauma in her head over the loss of her mother and now being in foster care, her temperament is such that she is not going to confide in anyone her thoughts on what she feels will happen.

The case is very straightforward but the murderer and his cohorts are not going to back down. They have hidden strengths not revealed till the very end and it was a surprising twist in the tale.

I enjoyed the story - though it was sad. I felt for Ivy who was just ignored and put aside other than by Elsie who saw her as the real victim in this case. There must be many thousands of Ivy's in the world who suffer a similar fate.

This book was sent to me by Edelweiss.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Step Mother by Claire Seeber

This was a story that was so unbelievable that it was perfectly possible, plausible and you are then sure that it is happening all around you.

Jeanie and Mathew both have history. Both have teenage children from previous relationships which have gone sour and how! the children seem wary of the new stepmother but Jeanie bends over backwards to try to find a meeting point so that the family can move on. Jeanie however has a past and one she is terrified is going to catch up with her sooner rather than later. It does and then the unraveling of her life begins.

Terrified that all her chances of happiness are drifting away from her, at the same time trying to protect her son who she adores and trying to balance it with two precocious teenagers who seem out to destroy her is the story of the book. Add to this an ex wife - scheming is putting it mildly with many other characters, all equally important and all well played in the story.

The book was a page turner and kept me on my toes till the end.

Sent to me by Netgalley courtesy of Bookouture for an unbiased review.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Broken Pieces by Kathleen Long

Destiny is alone and proud of the way she came through a lot of trauma. She lost her mother at a very young age, her father disappeared from her life to pop up at long intervals and then disappeared again. Brought up by a loving community, she is today having a thriving carpentry business and is very well settled in her little town, surrounded by people she loves.

The arrival of Albert her father, out of the blue who has decided to stay permanently puts a spanner in the works of Destiny's very orderly life. She is angry and puzzled in turn as to why he should pull a trick like this and expect to be warmly welcomed. A double whammy comes up when a long ago adopted sister turns up with her daughter in tow. How Destiny has to handle a situation with a very ready made family is the story here.

Emotionally the story was trying. We were dealing with relationships which were bitter and acrimonious and an unknown sibling who was very nice but her own tragedy to tell. The story telling was bitter sweet but a very welcome read.

The book was sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review courtesy of Lake Union Publishing.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante

The Story of the Lost Child (The Neapolitan Novels, #4)

I only got to the final book in the quartet and wasn't this a good one! It took me a while to finish as its quite a chunkster and I wanted to take it slowly to assimilate the various characters. Everyone was related to everyone else in this story and it took me a while to sort out the who is who.

Elena is bookish, can be easily led and then there is Lila who is exuberant, unstoppable. Naples plays a huge role in the book as this is a city that both women cannot leave. Elena leaves it for a little while, gets married, has her daughters and then moves back. Lila never leaves. Both are successful in their careers - one writing, one business. The backdrop of organised crime, drugs, nepotism, thuggery is all very well depicted as being part of the Neapolitan culture and one has to learn to live and let live with this.

This is a story of a strange friendship between two women - ups and downs and with the vagaries of character thrown in as well. However it survives despite all odds. In many of the circumstances of the story it would seem strange that Elena will return to Lila and go back to the old existing situation despite harsh words, some true, some enigmatic, some forcing Elena to look back critically on her life and loves and to find them wanting. Then there are the personal tragedies in each woman's life - broken hearts from lovers who spurn them, from children who ignore them and finally from the loss of a toddler inexplicably. Throughout it all, the friendship survives.

This was a brilliant piece of writing and though I started with the last book, I will try to track down the other three.