Posted in Weekly Posts

WWW Wednesday (November 5)

WWW Wednesday green

Hosted by Miz B at Should be Reading

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading The Heart of Winter by Emma Hannigan chosen because I enjoyed her previous book The Summer Guest

The Heart of Winter

Blurb

Holly Craig’s family have lived happily in Huntersbrook for generations but when times grow hard, even she must admit defeat and sell off their once-successful stables.
The three Craig children, Lainey, Joey and Pippa find themselves locked in a fight to keep their beloved Huntersbrook; dare they transform it into one of Ireland’s most sought after countryside venues?
Renovation work is well underway when life rears its ugly head and everything stops in its tracks. The Craig family is forced to reassess what matters and although they no longer live at Huntersbrook, can the house work its magic even so … and lead them into the light once more? Bookbridgr

I have just finished Hello From The Gillespies by Monica McInerney the tale of Angela Gillespie who after sending thirty-three years worth of cheery Christmas missive is feeling downcast and writes an honest letter detailing all that is wrong with her life. When husband Nick sends it to the 100 recipients the fall-out is massive…

Click on the book cover to read my review

Hello from the Gillispies

Next I am going to read Interlude by Rupert Smith

Interlude

Blurb

A compelling examination of how secrets can tear one family apart and reverberate down the generations. Helen has always known her grandfather was a famous author, but her parents had severed connections with him whilst she was still young. After embarking on a whirlwind affair she decides to visit her reclusive grandfather and sets in motion a change that will have devastating consequences and reveal long hidden mysteries. A look at not just the treachery of family secrets but of how truth can be buried within a text and how society imposes limits on love. Amazon

What are you reading this week?

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Hello From The Gillespies – Monica McInerney

Contemporary Fiction 4*'s
Contemporary Fiction
4*’s

I think we’ve all had the misfortune at some time to receive one of those cheery Christmas missives which inform us what a successful, enviable life their writer has enjoyed over the last year, often appended by photographs of the family looking suitably satisfied with themselves. Angela had written such a missive for each of the thirty-three years of her marriage, proclaiming her love of the Australian outback to those she left behind in England, her blissfully happy marriage and of course information regarding her four children’s equally happy and successful lives, to her neighbours, friends, doctor and a myriad of other recipients from near and far.

All those bright, happy letters, putting the best possible spin on their lives, making it sound as though the Gillespies were the luckiest, loveliest, most successful, well-balanced, supportive family in all Australia, and possibly even the world. She had always skipped over any troubles. Avoided mention of any tensions. Edited out any sticky subjects. It had felt like the right thing to do, even if she knew they sometimes sounded too good to be true.

This year Angela sits down at the family computer and can’t think of a word to say beyond the subject line ‘Hello From The Gillespies’ and instead writes a stream of consciousness about her children’s faults which include the delights of an affair, living a fake life, weight problems, over-dramatic and plain weird. She then moves onto her husband Nick who no longer talks to her, has become obsessed with family research and is planning a trip to meet Gillespies from all over the world in Ireland without her. With these details plus a toe-curling fantasy of another life in London, the path she might have taken if she hadn’t met Nick Gillespie, Angela has to abandon the letter to deal with a medical crisis. Little did she know that Nick having seen the Christmas letter had decided to be helpful and forward it to the 100 people on the distribution list.

At over 600 pages long I did wonder how the author was going to spin the fall-out of the letter laced with truth-serum, but she has cleverly added a twist that keeps the momentum moving and adding more warm-hearted details of a family under all kinds pressure. Monica McInereny manages to avoid the saccharine sweetness by keeping her characters real, especially those of her elder daughters who although pretty immature for their ages (early thirties) all come across as individuals with their own personalities, problems and sometimes novel solutions. The story spans the best part of a year in the life of the Gillespie family and although the ending was somewhat predictable it kept my spirits up as I battled the first virus of the winter season.

I received my copy of Hello From The Gillespies from the publishers Penguin Books (UK) ahead of the publication date of 6 November 2014 in return for this honest review.

Posted in Weekly Posts

WWW Wednesday (October 29)

WWW Wednesday green

Hosted by Miz B at Should be Reading

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading Keep Quiet by Lisa Scottoline which is proving to be a thought-provoking read.

Keep Quiet

Blurb

One decision. One family’s future in ruins.
When Jake Buckman decides to let Ryan, his sixteen-year-old son practice driving home along a deserted street, he has no idea of the deadly consequences.
But in the darkness of night, a runner comes from nowhere and the hit is fatal.
Now Jake and Ryan have two options: admit Ryan’s responsibility … or drive home as though nothing happened. What follows is not a clear-cut hit and run, but a split-second decision by a father who will do anything to protect his son.
How much should a parent sacrifice for their child?
And could any family survive the burden of such a terrible secret? Amazon

I have just finished The Night Hunter by Caro Ramsay which is part of the Anderson and Costello series set in Glasgow, however this one has a main protagonist of Elvira, a girl whose sister Sophie has been missing for 57 days. Elvira is desperate to find out what happened to her and to other girls who disappeared in similar circumstances.

Click on the (scary) book cover to read my review

The Night Hunter

Next I am going to have a total change of pace and read Hello From the Gillespies by Monica McInerney

Hello from the Gillispies

Blurb

Angela finally started the letter, summoning her usual cheery tone. Then she stopped.
Her friend Joan’s voice suddenly came to her mind, as if she was standing there beside her.
‘Go for it, love! Let it rip! Tell the truth! It’s good for you.’
She actually laughed out loud. Tell the truth? How could she?
Angela stared at the screen for a long moment. Then she started a new letter, typing faster than she’d ever typed before…

Angela Gillespie has been pretending that her family is perfect for the last 30 years. And she is tired of it. This year she needs to tell it how it is.
Angela’s husband is in the throes of a mid-life crisis. Her grown-up daughters are more out of control than ever. And her youngest child spends all of his time talking to an imaginary friend. With fantasy thoughts of a life before marriage and motherhood becoming more than just an innocent daydream, Angela’s real life is slowly slipping out of focus. But, as the repercussions of her too truthful Christmas letter keep coming, perhaps she should have been careful what she wished for. . . NetGalley

What are you reading this week? Please share in the comments box below.

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (August 15)

Friday Finds Hosted by Should be Reading

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

So, come on — share with us your FRIDAY FINDS

It seems that this week everyone has been tempting me with brilliant sounding books, I have resisted plenty but the following where the temptation was just too strong.

Liz Loves Books had a fascinating interview with the author of The Dark Meadow, Andrea Maria Schenkel that convinced me that I needed a copy of this book.

The Dark Meadow

Blurb

Bavaria, Germany, 1947
At the end of the war, Afra Zauner returns to her parents’ cottage on the edge of Mauther Forest. Unmarried, and pregnant. As she struggles to raise her child, her father’s shame, her mother’s fury and the loud whispers of the neighbours begin to weigh upon her. She doesn’t believe in her sin. But everyone else does.
And someone brings judgement down upon her.
Many years later, Hermann Müller is throwing a drunk out of his tavern. A traveller, who won’t stop ranting about a murder left unsolved, about police who never investigated. Out of curiousity, the file is reopened. And in the cold light of hindsight, a chilling realisation creeps upon the community.
No-one ever atoned for Afra’s death. But her story is waiting to be told.
Andrea Maria Schenkel returns to the form of her groundbreaking The Murder Farm, narrating through suspects, victims and investigators to lead the reader to their own awful understanding NetGalley

Read Liz’s interview and review here

The Night Hunter by Caro Ramsay due to be published in November caught my eye as I enjoyed Singing to the Dead

The Night Hunter

Blurb

Elvie McCulloch’s sister Sophie has been missing for 57 days. She went out for a run – and never came home. Several young woman in the area have disappeared in similar circumstances, and Elvie’s family fears the worst.
As Elvie is driving to her new job late at night, the naked, emaciated body of a young woman crashes from high above onto an oncoming car. Elvie recognises her as Lorna Lennox, who has been missing for weeks. But why was she up there? Where had she been all this time? And why was she running for her life?
Teaming up with retired detective Billy Hopkirk, who has been retained by the mother of one of the missing girls to find her daughter, Elvie determines to find out the truth. But as the pair alternately collaborate with and infuriate investigating police detectives Anderson and Costello, they find themselves up against a terrifying enemy. Someone who has killed before. Someone who will kill again, for pure enjoyment. Someone they call The Night Hunter. NetGalley

I have a copy of The Stolen Girl by Renita D’Silva and I know I will love this after reading the enchanting Monsoon Memories and The Forgotten Daughter

The Stolen Girl

Blurb

For as long as thirteen-year-old Diya can remember, it’s always been just her and her mum, Vani. Despite never staying in one place long enough to call it home, with her mother by her side, Diya has never needed anything else.
Then, in an instant, Diya’s fragile world is shattered. Her mother is arrested, accused of abducting Diya when she was a baby…
Vani has spent a lifetime looking over her shoulder, determined to make the best possible life for her daughter. Now she must fight for her child, re-opening the door to her childhood in India and the woman who was once as close to her as a sister. NetGalley

And lastly I chose something for some lighter reading; Hello From The Gillespies by Monica McInerney which is due to be published in November by Penguin Books (UK)

Hello from the Gillispies

Blurb

Angela Gillespie has been pretending that her family is perfect for the last 30 years. And she is tired of it. This year she needs to tell it how it is.
Angela’s husband is in the throes of a mid-life crisis. Her grown-up daughters are more out of control than ever. And her youngest child spends all of his time talking to an imaginary friend. With fantasy thoughts of a life before marriage and motherhood becoming more than just an innocent daydream, Angela’s real life is slowly slipping out of focus. But, as the repercussions of her too truthful Christmas letter keep coming, perhaps she should have been careful what she wished for… NetGalley

Please share your finds with me because I am always on the look out for another good read and without your help I may miss something amazing.