Monday, March 30, 2015

Mailbox Monday/ It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

My Monday posts are going to be sans images for a good long time!

New books include

The Lost Garden by Katharine Swartz

Becoming Tess by H K Thompson

Even in Darkness by Barbara Stark Nemon

As Waters Gone by by Cynthia Ruchti

Following Book Journey's meme for Monday.

Am reading Inside the O'Briens. - just fifty odd pages in and can't put it aside.

Sunday is also World Cup Final between Australia and New Zealand. Going to be a tense match. With cricket you never can say what will happen. Australia never ever gives up till the last ball is bowled so it's a wait and see.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Orchard House by Tara Austen Weaver

My first time with this author and it was a wonderful read. I like agriculture myself and am almost a full time one so this book really appealed to me. However it was much more than building a garden. It was a story of family - and a daughter who bent over backwards to reconcile with, and understand a mother whose personality was so very different from her own.

The author wants an empathising, soft, warm hearted mother. Someone who will almost gather her into her arms with a 'it will be all okay' sort of wisdom. What she gets is a rather clinical assessment of the way things could go! Tara wants to unite her brother, his wife and specially the three children into a cohesive family unit and build up memories for the children for their lifetime. This she intends to do by taking one and a half acres of wilderness and turning it into a magical garden - orchard, vegetable garden, chooks  and all.

The travails and heartbreak of gardening - weeds which are determined to thrive, floods, drought, the way gardening ties you down to a routine that never seems to let up. All these are very detailed, very descriptive and kept me wanting to know more.

I loved the easy almost conversational style of the book with its two pronged story of the family and the garden.

Sent to me by Edelweiss.

Friday, March 27, 2015

In the Shade of the Almond Trees by Dominique Marny

When you get a book with a cover like this and something which is plain with only the title on it which one do you get drawn to. I know covers shouldn't draw the reader in, but they certainly do it for me!

Just after WWI the Barthelemy family is trying to survive. Having lost its head of the family, the wife Marthe seems to have withdrawn into her own self - not bothering about the survival of the family run property of almonds and olives, nor about the welfare of a grown up daughter and a young sun. Marthe is frivolous, thinks only of herself and spends her entire day reading romance novels, blind to the real world just outside her door.

Laurent the son is hell bent on travelling, seeing the world and broadening his horizons.  He is a naturalist and wants to join their family friend Jerome in travelling to India and Cambodia and Nepal, collecting specimens of plants and this is his dream. It is left to Jeanne the daughter of the house, to step forward and do whatever she can to save the family property.

Being independent and an entrepreneur for a woman is obviously not going to be a cake walk. Eyebrows raised at every turn at her independence Jeanne ignores it all striving to save the property for Laurent and herself. Realising she is all alone in this venture she has to do her hardest to survive. And she does.

Finding love and heartbreak on the way Jeanne eventually overcomes all obstacles including the dislike of her mother and the scheming of a stepfather who comes to the family at a very vulnerable time.

This book was excellent in its story telling. Full of emotion and feeling also very descriptive of this part of France.

Sent to me by Netgalley courtesy of Open Road Integrated Media.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Pocket Wife by Susan Crawford

The Pocket Wife

What does one do when one is seemingly rational, operating on all fronts normally but suffers from bipolar disorder. Dana is in that situation where a particular afternoon seems to have vanished from her memory leaving her with doubts as to what she did or didn't do. Particularly what she might have done and very conveniently forgotton - the murder of her neighbor Celia.

Celia and Dana are friends - you never know whether good friends or just being neighbourly but they did meet for a massive drinking session of sangria the afternoon Celia was found murdered.  Celia had invited Dana over to show her photos which she had taken on her phone of Dana's husband Peter with another woman at a restaurant. The photos are blurry and Dana's entire focus was on trying to find out who the woman was.

The story unravels slowly - there are several surprising twists in this story and several suspects. All of them having very plausible reasons for getting rid of Celia. The fact that the investigator himself has doubts as to who could be the murderer with so many suspects around raises the question what did Celia do to make herself so disliked or rather hated that someone would want to murder her.

A clever twist in the tale - but the greater emphasis was on Dana herself and the illness she had which made her doubt her own sanity and actions.

Interesting story with two distinct storylines nicely put together.

A book sent to me by Edelweiss.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Mailbox Monday/It's Monday! What are you Reading?

My posts are going to be sans images as long as I am posting whilst traveling.

Today I am at Kalpitiya -  a place renowned for whale watching, dolphin watching and kite surfing. Very popular with the tourists. Locals less so. I too have not been to the beach to watch either but I am not a beach fan!

This weeks mailbox brought in the following

Isabella - Colin Falconer. Powerful queen who has to contend with a homosexual King.

The Nightingale Girls - Donna Douglas

Wylding Hall - Elizabeth Hand

Inside the  O'Briens - Lisa Genova - read about this one in a review. Netgalley kindly sent it on very quickly.

It's Monday! What are you reading?   This meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey introduces you to books otherwise unknown.

Reading Whylding Hall. A 70s style folk/rock band with all its attendant lifestyle reminiscing about a major incident which changed their lives. I've not yet realized or come to the "incident" sO it's quite a mystery as well.

Weather is very very hot. Not a breath of wind even. There is a belief here that rain will come on Good Friday so everyone looking forward to that.

Friday, March 20, 2015

The American Lady by Petra Durst-Benning

I did not know that this was part of a tribology and that I had chosen the second book in the three. It did not however deter in any way to the story which was a separate one.

We have a setting of New York, Lauscha Germany and Italy at the end. Wanda in New York is young and beautiful but she does not want to be just another pretty face much to the dismay of her mother who wants her to conform to the normal pattern of a young debutante - attending tea parties, doing a bit of high profile charity work and being a lady of leisure. It has suited Ruth for all these years and she is perplexed as to why it will not satisfy Wanda till she marries specially since she has a perfectly suited young man in tow.  Wanda wants to do something with her life but all her attempts to take a job and be like any other young woman fails.

It is at this point that her aunt Marie arrives from Lauscha. Marie has been a glass blower all her life. She loves her craft and is world famous for it but she seems to have lost her zest and imagination and a trip to New York the whole family feels would renew her energy and inspiration.

Marie realizes very soon that there are two sides to the city. The one with the ghettos and its ethnic minorities and the freedom of the artistes to which she allies herself and then the stiff world of her sister with its rigid dinners, lunches and elite small group of people. She is happy for her sister who has adapted well after the rigors of Germany but it is not for her. She embarks on a voyage of discovery of New York, unknown to her family and this is where she meets Franco who becomes the love of her life and one who will change her life and lifestyle forever.

The story of Wanda and Marie was a good one. Starting from complete opposites they find a mutual meeting place and it shows the strength of family ties which bind. It also shows that impetuousness can occur not just in the young but even in much older people!

The mixture of adventure with romance and the history of glass blowing made for an interesting story.

The book was sent to me by Netgalley courtesy of Amazon Publishing.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Status of All Things by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

The Status of All Things: A Novel

The whole post has got deleted (at least when I am looking at it) so I am repeating my review.

I liked this book despite the un-real aspects of it and whilst reading I kept asking myself, now why are you reading this? and strangely enough despite the fact that time travel, fantasy and general magic is not my genre this was a good book!

Sent to me by Edelweiss - a surprising read which panned out to be very nice.

What would one do if one could through Facebook comments and just being online change your world. A bit far fetched but this is the story. 

Kate is 35 years old, obssessed with social media. She has also found the love of her life, meticulously planning a wedding of a lifetime where everything has to be just so. No run of the mill stuff for her. Everything is being pre planned, pre organised, down to the last second and maybe just maybe this has miffed or scared her husband to be. Max breaks off the wedding at the rehearsal dinner - it comes as a bolt from the blue to Kate who is heart broken and goes immediately to her FB account to recount her despair. At this point Kate realises her power when she goes back in time to a month before the wedding and begins to see how she could put things right having the knowledge of what will happen one month hence.

It got a bit confusing for me at this point as Kate also had wishes that could come true and she uses these not just for herself but for her friends. She also tries to use it against the love interest of Max her fiance but it backfires on her and she begins to understand that with power comes responsibility and you cannot use these powers viciously or nastily!

A bit quirky and eccentric but at the same time if you want to step out of your comfort zone, this is an ideal quick read.