Sunday, October 19, 2014

Very short review! The Diary of a Pissed Off Flight Attendant


I went into this book hoping that it would be a light hearted read of the life of a flight attendant. It was not!

The tone was snarky, and I always felt that the author was condescending and patronizing towards her passengers. That was my personal feel on this book.

This was sent to me by Net Galley via Smith Publicity. Thank you for sending both this and The Fragrance Shed by a Violet very quickly after my request. The other book sent by them was very good.

Saturday, October 18, 2014


This was a book I read about on Serena's blog. Stories set in Asia draw me in - maybe because I live here and this kind of one set in a family of mixed race is one of the best. Stories such as this gives you an insight into how different people live, their way of life despite living cheek and jowl by each other for centuries may be so different as to be almost different countries. 

We have Agnes just seventeen, still schooling but mature and able to understand the problems facing her family. Aristocratic they may be but they are so poor that economies are constantly having to be made just to survive. Living in a crumbling palace, leaky and falling down upon their ears they still maintain in a diminished way their position in local society. Their only income in the small pension her British grandfather gets and an income from three boarders.

Only from the discussions of music and style does one get the feeling that the story is set in the 1920s. You get the colonials who are still ruling the roost in Asia and everyone being quite subservient to them but these are all about to change and you feel it in the air. Agnes is quite naive however - she is the only youngster in a household of older people and quite protected as a young Muslim woman. Her knowledge of the world of men is limited and so she is prey to her feelings and emotions very much like any teenager is at any time anywhere. Agnes or Aggie as she was known matured and grew from an unaware teenager to someone whose wits were very much in focus by the end of the story.

This is a coming of age story. In exotic surroundings which added to the allure and set against the political turmoil that is Asia.  I was extremely glad that Netgalley sent it to me courtesy of their publishers Lake Union Publishing. 

The Englishman. Can love go the distance? by Helena Halme

The Englishman: Can Love Go the Distance?


I found this book recommendation on a blog and was intrigued by the title. Inter cultural marriages are very interesting and the blurb piqued my interest more.

A Finnish girl, very young, very insular meets up with an English navy officer working on a submarine at a cocktail party in Helsinki. It is a chance meeting and one of those times which is a real karmic one! if she hadn't gone this story would not be here. A developing attraction between the two continues over the years with him always on his submarine and she at University trying to finish her degree. They meet intermittently either in Helsinki or she flies to London. They meet each others families - she is nervous of meeting his clan, he isn't and is not put off by her overbearing father.

The story of the contrast and conflicts in culture is described very well in between the meetings and the love story which develops and this is what adds a lot of interest to the book. It is quite true that there has to be a lot of give and take in such marriages from simple things like food and drink to social habits. If one is adamant about not giving up on anything or not accepting anything "different" I would say the relationship is doomed.  That the young couple here was flexible was the first plus point and you knew that there seemed to be a future for them both.

Long distance relationships are put under more pressure than any other and this one gets more than its fair share. The ups and downs of this relationship alongside the misunderstandings that arise when one is far apart are handled nicely in this book.

Enjoyed this light read which was a free download from Amazon.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Siege by Arturo Perez Reverte



Cadiz 1811. The setting is a new one for me and even the period of history and the details of history involving this part of the world was very new.

A story of history, murder and a thriller plus a very tender love story. It made for a very compelling read. 

I could say that this was a very masculine book with its stories of war and gore, murder and betrayal but at the same time the romance that blossomed between the lady and her corsair was a very moving one.  That it could have no proper happy ending was par for the course but it did not take away from its appeal.

The Spanish city has been surrounded by Napoleon for over a year. The French hope to subdue the Spaniards by sheer force of numbers into submission. That it does not succeed is due to the stubbornness of the Spaniards who are determined not to give in. At the same time a serial killer seems to be let loose and the Police Commissioner has to sort this out sooner rather than later because the city will become a frenzy of hysteria if the manner of the killing of these very young women ever get out.

This story is very quick, very well written and holds your interest throughout. Despite its overall focus on the military the book will appeal to all.

The book was sent to me by Netgalley courtesy of Random House Publishing Group - Random House. Thanks for introducing a new author to me who held my interest throughout the book.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Fiercombe Manor by Kate Riordan

Fiercombe Manor

The story is told in two narratives. There is Elizabeth and her haunting tale of yesteryear and there is present day Alice. The main character of the story is however the house. Fiercombe Manor is definitely center stage.

The present day is 1933. Alice's mother is only concerned of "what will people say". Her daughter's feelings are very secondary. As it is she is anxious that her daughter is unmarried, despite the fact that she is educated, earning a good wage and also supports the family. The fact that level headed Alice is now pregnant, the man is married and a solution has to be found and quickly. Despatched to the care of Mrs Jhelps, a housekeeper at Fiercombe Manor who was a girlhood friend of her mother's with a fabricated story of a dead husband, Alice finds herself a mother in waiting for the pregnancy to finish.

We then go back to the other part of the story. Elizabeth Stanton is the lady of the Manor. She is beautiful, loved but everything is not as it seems. The lady is pregnant (after several miscarriages) and the birth of a healthy daughter Isabel who seems to count for almost nothing as she is not the son that her father Edward is yearning for. Added to that tragedy is the fact that after Isabel's birth, Elizabeth developed a melancholia which would today be diagnosed correctly but which at that time (not so long ago) was considered madness and ladies like this were confined to private asylums with the most ridiculous regimes.

The fact that Elizabeth came out of the regime relatively unscathed is due to her strong will to survive and be a mother to Isabel. However her pregnancy has brought about her feelings of inadequacy to the fore, so much so that she is dreading the birth. She feels very much that it is another girl and that Edward is going to be furious. She also knows that the "blackness" will descend on her when it is a girl. Her miscarriages of boys has not brought on the same depression.

Alice whilst staying at the Manor comes across Elizabeth's diary and also ventures into areas of the Manor which Mrs. Jelps has strictly forbidden as being too dangerous for her. Alice has curiosity about the past of the Manor which goes way beyond what would be considered normal for an absolute outsider. Coming into contact with Tom, the sole survivor of the Stanton clan does not help either because she is also attracted to him.

How the story unravels a bit by bit, and how it ends with both Alice and Elizabeth being at peace with the past is very nicely told.

This book was sent to me by Edelweiss.

Monday, October 13, 2014

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


Mailbox Monday comes around so very fast!

            


Both courtesy Netgalley.


2a


Hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. Reading this one right now.

About Face

The weekend was very good. Not so much of reading done but the weather in Ginigathhena was cool, misty and not hot at all. I hated to leave last night but work is in Colombo and I have to return. 



Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Bishop's Wife by Mette Ivie Harrison

The Bishop’s Wife


This was a "culturally challenging" read (for me that is). I knew and still know very little about the Mormon faith. Lot of it as depicted in this book and given in much detail is difficult to accept or handle but that is neither here or there.

The story is narrated by the Bishop's wife - she stands slightly apart in this story - as if relating the story from a distance. She is not part of the common ground of the Mormon church, I felt, despite her husband being a bishop who is trying to protect and guide his flock in very difficult circumstances.

A member of the parish goes missing. The husband is suspect. There is also a little girl left behind. Husband's father is belligerent at best and rude most of the time. The wife's parents first come across as being very protective of their daughter. Further revelations reveal abuse of the most horrible kind. When her body is discovered and when the media descends on this town the community has to dig deep to find the courage to support one of their own.

There is a lot of Mormon ritual and daily life described in the book. Apart from being wedded together for eternity and so much more I felt the book went on and on too much of every aspect of Mormon life, apart from the  story that it was meant to depict.

The book is aimed I think at non Mormons to gain a wider audience. In that way it was a success as it certainly educates one on the workings of a normal Mormon home. 

This was a book which was sent to me by Edelweiss