Posted in Uncategorized

New Year Book Tag!


Last year I celebrated by doing this book tag and I decided to revisit it to start my posting for 2019, especially as I have been missing in action for a while.

I think it originated from Bookables which is a You Tube channel. The questions also echo a few posts I’ve seen from other bloggers about books they’ve not managed to squeeze into 2018 so it seems like a good tag take part in to kick off the new year!

How many books are you planning to read in 2019?

My Goodreads Challenge has been set at 130 for the last few years and I plan to set the same goal in 2019 as this works out at 10 books per month and a bonus 10 for holidays.

I read a total of 146 books in 2018n which is slightly down on 2017’s total of 150 but not as much as I expected since I felt I’ve read very little in the last couple of months.

Name five books you didn’t get to read this year but want to make a priority in 2018?

Only five?? Well here goes!

In no particular order Day of the Dead by Nicci French, the eighth and final book in the Frieda Klein series

 

 

Blurb

At long last, a final reckoning is coming for Frieda Klein…

On a north London high street, a runaway vehicle crashes to a halt, but the man in the driving seat was murdered a week earlier.
On Hampstead Heath, a bonfire blazes: in the flames lies the next victim.
As autumn leaves fall, a serial killer runs amok in the capital, playing games with the police. The death toll is rising fast, and the investigation is floundering.
But this is no ordinary killer, and every new victim is intended as a message to just one woman – psychologist Freida Klein.
And the message is very simple.
You’re next. . .
Frieda Klein’s duel with her dark nemesis is finally coming to a climax – and only one can make it out alive.

Force of Nature by Jane Harper, the follow up to The Dry which was on 2018 list of books to get to in 2018 – I did but I’m still trailing!

Blurb

Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along a muddy track.
Only four come out on the other side.

The hike through the rugged Giralang Ranges is meant to take the office colleagues out of their air-conditioned comfort zone and encourage teamwork and resilience. At least, that’s what the corporate retreat website advertises.

Federal Police investigator Aaron Falk has a keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing hiker, Alice Russell. Because Alice knew secrets, about the company she worked for and the people she worked with.

The four returning women tell Falk a tale of fear, violence and fractured trust during their days in the remote Australian bushland. And as Falk delves into the disappearance of Alice, he begins to suspect some dangers ran far deeper than anyone knew.

 

I fell in love with Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life which I read last summer and so I’m determined to read another book featuring some of the same characters A God in Ruins in 2019.

Blurb

A God in Ruins relates the life of Teddy Todd – would-be poet, heroic World War II bomber pilot, husband, father, and grandfather – as he navigates the perils and progress of the 20th century. For all Teddy endures in battle, his greatest challenge will be to face living in a future he never expected to have.

This gripping, often deliriously funny yet emotionally devastating book looks at war – that great fall of Man from grace – and the effect it has, not only on those who live through it, but on the lives of the subsequent generations. It is also about the infinite magic of fiction. Few will dispute that it proves once again that Kate Atkinson is one of the most exceptional novelists of our age.

I also need to read The Trouble With Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon having been delighted by Three Things about Elsie early in 2018, sadly my copy of her earlier book went walkabout to my daughter’s house and has only recently returned.

 


Blurb

England,1976.

Mrs Creasy is missing and The Avenue is alive with whispers. As the summer shimmers endlessly on, ten-year-olds Grace and Tilly decide to take matters into their own hands.

And as the cul-de-sac starts giving up its secrets, the amateur detectives will find much more than they imagined…

My final choice is a book that was published in December 2018, The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley.




Blurb

Everyone’s invited. Everyone’s a suspect.

Nine friends ring in the New Year in the remote Scottish Highlands.
As the curtain falls on another year, the celebrations begin.

The next 48 hours see the friends catching up, reminiscing over past stories, scratching old wounds. . . And guarding friendship-destroying secrets.

The clock has barely struck 12 when a broken body is found in the snow.

Not an accident – a murder among friends.

When a thick blizzard descends, the group are trapped.
No-one can get in. And no-one can get out.
Not even the killer.

Name a genre you want to read more of?

I adore crime fiction but in 2018 I joined The Classics Club and so my aim is to read more books from the 50 books I’ve chosen for the challenge. So far I’ve had a pretty good run of books but along with all other reading this tailed off dramatically towards the end of last year.

Three non book related goals for 2019?

I haven’t really made any resolutions for 2019 but I will continue to strive to be healthier and happier.

What’s a book you’ve had forever that you still need to read?

So many but one of the non-fiction books I really want to read that I’ve had for an age is Inconvenient People: Lunacy, Liberty and the Mad-Doctors in Victorian England by Sarah Wise which I bought in September 2013 is high on the list.

3rd October

Blurb

The nineteenth century saw repeated panics about sane individuals being locked away in lunatic asylums. With the rise of the ‘mad-doctor’ profession, English liberty seemed to be threatened by a new generation of medical men willing to incarcerate difficult family members in return for the high fees paid by an unscrupulous spouse or friend.

Sarah Wise uncovers twelve shocking stories, untold for over a century and reveals the darker side of the Victorian upper and middle classes – their sexuality, fears of inherited madness, financial greed and fraudulence – and chillingly evoke the black motives at the heart of the phenomenon of the ‘inconvenient person’.

 

One word that you’re hoping 2019 will be?

Fun… I am getting married in 2019 and greatly looking forward to celebrating with our friends and family.

Tag a friend…..

There’s still time to join in if you haven’t already…

 

Happy New Year – I hope 2019 is full of bookish delights!

 

 

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (November 18)

Another busy week where winter has tried to make its mark with it feeling markedly colder, at least at times.

This Week on the Blog

My week started with a review for The Golden Child by Wendy James, a chilling psychological thriller.

My excerpt post was selected from a book from my own bookshelf, The Lie of You by Jane Lythell a psychological thriller based in an office.

This Week in Books had me featuring the authors Jane Harper, Eliza Graham and Tana French.

My review of the fabulous The Murder of Harriet Monckton by Elizabeth Haynes followed on Thursday.

My final review of the week was for The Lies We Told by Camilla Way, making this a bumper week for reading my own books.

This Time Last Year…

I was reading Anything You Do Say by Gillian McAllister a fabulous novel which gives the reader a moral dilemma with a ‘sliding doors’ scenario, great characters who behave realistically and superb plotting all coming together to give a fresh feel despite the elements appearing in other novels.

The scenario that sets the scene is a woman is going home after a night out and she feels she is being followed. Down some dark steps the man falls to his death – in one scenario the woman carries on and pretend it didn’t happen; in the other she calls for help.

You can read my original review here or click on the book cover

Blurb

It’s the end of the night. You’re walking home on your own.
Then you hear the sound every woman dreads. Footsteps. Behind you. Getting faster.
You’re sure it’s him – the man from the bar who wouldn’t leave you alone.
You make a snap decision. You turn. You push. Your pursuer tumbles down the steps. He lies motionless, face-down on the floor.
Now what?

Call 999

Wait for the police to arrive. For judgement, for justice, whatever that may be. You just hope your husband, family and friends, everyone you love, will stand by you.

OR:

Run

Stay silent. You didn’t mean to do it. You were scared, you panicked. And no one saw. No one will ever know. If you leave now. If you keep quiet. For ever.
Which will it be? Amazon

Stacking the Shelves

At the end of last month we had our annual book sale on the island that raises funds for Guide Dogs for the Blind and I’m pleased to say I managed to pick up some excellent books including two by Reginald Hill to add to my collection;

Number 7 in the Dalziel & Pascoe series by Reginald Hill is Deadheads which was published back in 1983.

Patrick Aldermann, an accountant with a company that makes toilets, is passionate about his roses, which he prunes ruthlessly, ‘deadheading’ any blossoms a minute past their prime so as to make space for the younger blooms. Not much of a gardener, Dalziel views Patrick as a strong contender for the title of Most Boring Man in Yorkshire. Pascoe, though, has noticed that senior executives at the toilet company ‘gentlemen, you might say, just a minute past their prime’ have an unlucky habit of dying. And when they do, it’s all but inevitably Patrick who, like a lucky young bloom, is poised to take their place.

My second find On Beulah Heights by Reginald Hill published in 1998 is the 17th book in the Dalziel & Pascoe series.

Blurb

Fifteen years ago they moved everyone out of Dendale. They needed a new reservoir and an old community seemed a cheap price to pay. But four inhabitants of the valley could not be moved, for nobody knew where they were: three little girls who had gone missing, and the prime suspect in their disappearance, Benny Lightfoot.

This was Andy Dalziel’s worst case and now he looks set to relive it. Another child goes missing in the next valley, and old fears arise as someone sprays the deadly message on Danby bridge: BENNY’S BACK! Amazon

Another favourite author who I have a selection of their novels on the TBR is Kate Atkinson but I didn’t have a copy of When Will There be Good News so I was delighted to find a copy for my bookshelf although I did read this at the time it was published in 2008.



Blurb

Three lives come together in unexpected and thrilling ways in Kate Atkinson’s When Will There Be Good News?

On a hot summer day, Joanna Mason’s family slowly wanders home along a country lane. A moment later, Joanna’s life is changed forever…

On a dark night thirty years later, ex-detective Jackson Brodie finds himself on a train that is both crowded and late. Lost in his thoughts, he suddenly hears a shocking sound…

At the end of a long day, 16-year-old Reggie is looking forward to watching a little TV. Then a terrifying noise shatters her peaceful evening. Luckily, Reggie makes it a point to be prepared for an emergency…

These three lives come together in unexpected and deeply thrilling ways in the latest novel from Kate Atkinson. Blurb

I also purchased a brand new book, Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone having been intrigued by the premise and the reviews I’ve read.



Blurb

A double life with a single purpose: revenge.

Jane’s days at a Midwest insurance company are perfectly ordinary. She blends in well, unremarkably pretty in her floral-print dresses and extra efficient at her low-level job. She’s just the kind of woman middle manager Steven Hepsworth likes—meek, insecure, and willing to defer to a man. No one has any idea who Jane really is. Least of all Steven.

But plain Jane is hiding something. And Steven’s bringing out the worst in her.

Nothing can distract Jane from going straight for his heart: allowing herself to be seduced into Steven’s bed, to insinuate herself into his career and his family, and to expose all his dirty secrets. It’s time for Jane to dig out everything that matters to Steven. So she can take it all away.
Just as he did to her. Amazon

What have you found to read?

tbr-watch

I’m delighted to record that the TBR is simply melting away with only 165!!!
Physical Books – 112
Kindle Books – 36
NetGalley Books –16
Audio Books –1

I have added three reviews of my own books since my last count and so even with one new book bought since my last TBR I still have 2 2/3 worth of book tokens!


Posted in 5 Of the Best

Five of the Best (July 2014 to July 2018)

 


5 Star Reads

In 2015 to celebrate reviewing for five years I started a series entitled Five of the Best where I chose my favourite five star reads which I’d read in that month. I will be celebrating Five years of blogging later this year and so I decided it was time to repeat the series.

July tends to be a bumper month for great books as I’m writing my reviews for all the fab books I read in June on holiday so some tough choices have had to be made!

 

You can read my original review of the book featured by clicking on the book cover.

My choice for July 2014 is Little Lies by Liane Moriarty – I can’t believe I read this was a whole five years ago and it should be noted that having been turned into a TV series it is now marketed as Big Little Lies in the UK.

The stage is set at Pirriwee Public School at a und-raising Trivia Night where someone is dead. Who is killed is a mystery long before the reader is compelled to find out who the killer is. The brilliance of this book is the everyday setting, how dangerous can a school quiz night be after all? This alongside the observational humour, I guarantee you will recognise far too many of the character types involved.

An absolutely compelling read that shouldn’t be missed.

Blurb

Perfect families, perfect houses, perfect lives.
Three mothers, Jane, Madeline and Celeste appear to have it all . . . but do they? They are about to find out just how easy it is for one little lie to spiral out of control.
—————————–
Single mum Jane has just moved to town. She’s got her little boy in tow – plus a secret she’s been carrying for five years.

On the first day of the school run she meets Madeline – a force to be reckoned with, who remembers everything and forgives no one – and Celeste, the kind beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare, but is inexplicably ill at ease. They both take Jane under their wing – while careful to keep their own secrets under wraps.

But a minor incident involving the children of all three women rapidly escalates: playground whispers become spiteful rumours until no one can tell the truth from the lies.

It was always going to end in tears, but how did it end in murder? Amazon

In July 2015 I was wowed by Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica , a story about a young woman with her child who is rescued from the streets by the kindly Heidi. Taking Willow and her young child into their home seems to her to be the right thing to do, but not everyone agrees. Unsurprisingly, the path ahead does not wind pleasantly.

What I enjoyed most about this book was the complex characters that drive the story on. The book being told from three separate viewpoints was a brilliant psychological examination backed up by a tension-filled plot.

Blurb

A chance encounter

She sees the teenage girl on the train platform, standing in the pouring rain, clutching an infant in her arms. She boards a train and is whisked away. But she can’t get the girl out of her head…

An act of kindness

Heidi has always been charitable but her family are horrified when she returns home with a young woman named Willow and her baby in tow. Dishevelled and homeless, this girl could be a criminal – or worse. But despite the family’s objections, Heidi offers them refuge.

A tangled web of lies

As Willow begins to get back on her feet, disturbing clues into her past starts to emerge. Now Heidi must question if her motives for helping the stranger are unselfish or rooted in her own failures. Amazon

I’ve chosen a nonfiction read for 2016’s choice, The Curious Habits of Doctor Adams by Jane Robins which takes us back to another age albeit not one as far back in history as those I usually explore in my true crime exploration.

We are in the gentile world of the rich, a time when doctors still went to call on their wealthy clients, the NHS having only recently come into being. Favoured doctors if they were lucky, and a charitable assumption could be that Dr Adams was very lucky, could be given bequests when their charges died. It was the death of one wealthy woman who started an investigation that led back to the 1930s which had the Metropolitan Police convinced that Dr Adams wasn’t quite who he seemed to be.

This was a well-researched and entertaining read that had me well and truly gripped.

 

‘Was rich Mrs Gertrude Hullett murdered at her luxurious 15-room home on Beachy Head? Detectives are tonight trying to establish the cause of the 50-year-old widow’s sudden death . . . ‘ Daily Mail, 1957

Blurb

In July 1957, the press descended in droves on the south-coast town of Eastbourne. An inquest had just been opened into the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of Mrs Bobbie Hullett. She died after months of apparent barbiturate abuse – the drugs prescribed to calm her nerves by her close friend and doctor, Dr John Bodkin Adams.

The inquest brought to the surface years of whispered suspicion that had swept through the tea rooms, shops and nursing homes of the town. The doctor’s alarming influence over the lives, deaths and finances of wealthy widows had not gone unnoticed – it was rumoured that the family doctor had been on a killing spree that spanned decades and involved 300 suspicious cases. Superintendent Hannam of Scotland Yard was called in to investigate.

The Curious Habits of Dr Adams brilliantly brings to life the atmosphere of post-war England, and uses a wealth of new documents to follow the twists and turns of an extraordinary Scotland Yard murder enquiry. As expertly crafted as the best period detective novel, this book casts an entertainingly chilling light on a man reputed to be one of England’s most prolific serial killers. Amazon

 

My pick for 2017 is one of the best psychological thrillers I have read in a long time; Little Sister by Isabel Ashdown which explores what can be the closest of bonds, that between sisters.

Set on the Isle of Wight there are two sets of sisters; Ellie and Jess who were estranged for many years but are now looking to find the close bond they previously shared. To this end Jess moves in with Ellie to care for her daughter, Daisy. Daisy has a big sister, sixteen years old, she adores her half-sister and is devastated when Daisy disappears from her cot in the early hours of New Year’s Day.

Brilliantly drawn characters along with a real feeling of depth to the story makes this a real winner for lovers of the genre.

Blurb

After sixteen years apart sisters Jessica and Emily are reunited. With the past now behind them, the warmth they once shared quickly returns and before long Jess has moved into Emily’s comfortable island home. Life couldn’t be better. But when baby Daisy disappears while in Jess’s care, the perfect life Emily has so carefully built starts to fall apart.

Was Emily right to trust her sister after everything that happened before? Amazon

I had no hesitation at all in picking my winning read, reviewed in July 2018 – the prize goes unreservedly to Life After Life by Kate Atkinson.

This innovative read which explores the life (or rather lives) of one Ursula Todd born into the sort of idyllic family that could only exist in 1910 at the whimsically named Fox Corner. As multiple options are presented for Ursula to survive, or maybe die trying, we get to witness a whole heap of events, and characters that take us from one place to another. None of this would work if it were not for the author’s brilliant writing skills or the wonderful characters she provides as a vehicle to tell the stories. Most amazingly these characters grow throughout the novel no matter which circumstance Kate Atkinson chooses to place them in.

If you haven’t read this book, I truly urge you to do so.



Blurb

What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right?

During a snowstorm in England in 1910, a baby is born and dies before she can take her first breath.
During a snowstorm in England in 1910, the same baby is born and lives to tell the tale.

What if there were second chances? And third chances? In fact an infinite number of chances to live your life? Would you eventually be able to save the world from its own inevitable destiny? And would you even want to?

Life After Life follows Ursula Todd as she lives through the turbulent events of the last century again and again. With wit and compassion, Kate Atkinson finds warmth even in life’s bleakest moments, and shows an extraordinary ability to evoke the past. Here she is at her most profound and inventive, in a novel that celebrates the best and worst of ourselves. Amazon

Five of the Best 2018

January 2018
February 2018
March 2018
April 2018
May 2018
June 2018

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (July 29)

This Week on the Blog

This was another week where all my reviews were for books being published during this week, starting with my thoughts on The Story Keeper by Anna Mazzola .

My excerpt post was from The Liar’s Room by Simon Lelic which will be published on 9 August 2018.

This Week in Books featured the authors P.D. James, Stephen Bates and Lisa Ballantyne.

My second review of the week was for the superb Fatal Inheritance by Rachel Rhys (aka Tammy Cohen), a novel set on the Riviera in 1948 which was published on 26 July 2018.

That was followed by my review for another exceptionally good psychological thriller; Open Your Eyes by Paula Daly.

My week concluded with me choosing my titles for The Classics Club Spin #18 – I have to wait for Wednesday to find out the result so fingers crossed it’s a good (and short) one!

This Time Last Year…

I was reading Shelter by Sarah Franklin. Set in the time of WWII and featuring lumberjill’s working in the Forest of Dean as part of the war effort.

Reading this book was a somewhat strange experience as I lived in the area from the age of nine until I left home and yet I had no idea about this part of its history.

The chief protagonist Connie hails from Coventry and wanted more from life than working in a factory followed by marriage meanwhile Seppe is a POW caught while fighting a war he didn’t believe in. There stories take in the local characters and captured the essence of life in a small community which was still evident when I lived there, decades later.

You can read my full review here or click on the book cover.

Blurb

Early spring 1944.

Connie Granger has escaped her bombed-out city home, finding refuge in the Women’s Timber Corps. For her, this remote community must now serve a secret purpose.

Seppe, an Italian prisoner of war, is haunted by his memories. In the forest camp, he finds a strange kind of freedom.

Their meeting signals new beginnings. But as they are drawn together, the world outside their forest haven is being torn apart. Old certainties are crumbling, and both must now make a life-defining choice.

What price will they pay for freedom? What will they fight to protect? Amazon

Stacking the Shelves

I was recently contacted to see if I would like to read James Henry’s second book in the DS Lowry series, Yellowhammer. Having greatly enjoyed visiting Essex during the 1980s in the first book Blackwater, I jumped at the chance.



Blurb

July 1983, Essex. A boy playing hide-and-seek sees a fox tugging at something up on a railway embankment. He approaches it cautiously. Seconds later, a blast is heard, and rooks ascend from the poplars surrounding the farmhouse at which the boy is spending his summer holiday with cousins.

DI Nick Lowry is called upon to investigate two deaths at Fox Farm, the home of eminent historian Christopher Cliff. The body in the farmhouse kitchen is Cliff himself, having seemingly taking his own with an antique shotgun. The fox-disturbed body on the property boundary is as yet unidentified.

Lowry is already under pressure: County Chief Merrydown was at college with Cliff and knows the family. He must enlist colleagues Daniel Kenton and Jane Gabriel to answer two key questions: just who was at the house with Cliff that morning, and just what has since happened to Cliff’s wife? Amazon

Having built up three whole book tokens I went on a spending spree and spent the lot, although one book is yet to be delivered.

Those of you who read my review of Life After Life by Kate Atkinson won’t be at all surprised to hear that I bought a copy of A God in Ruins which takes up the story of Teddy Todd who appeared in the former novel.

Blurb

A God in Ruins relates the life of Teddy Todd – would-be poet, heroic World War II bomber pilot, husband, father, and grandfather – as he navigates the perils and progress of the 20th century. For all Teddy endures in battle, his greatest challenge will be to face living in a future he never expected to have.

This gripping, often deliriously funny yet emotionally devastating book looks at war – that great fall of Man from grace – and the effect it has, not only on those who live through it, but on the lives of the subsequent generations. It is also about the infinite magic of fiction. Few will dispute that it proves once again that Kate Atkinson is one of the most exceptional novelists of our age.

I also have a copy of The One I Was by Eliza Graham, an author who has greatly impressed me with her historical novels, my most recent read being Another Day Gone

Blurb

Restless, troubled Rosamond Hunter has spent most of her life running away from the past, filled with guilt about her involuntary role in her mother’s death. When her nursing job brings her back to Fairfleet, her childhood home, to care for an elderly refugee, she is forced to confront the ghosts that have haunted her for so long.

Her patient, Benny Gault, first came to Fairfleet, England, in 1939, having fled Nazi Germany on a Kindertransport train.

As his health fails, he and Rosamond begin to confide in each other. At first their tentative friendship revolves around the love they both shared for Rosamond’s glamorous grandmother, Harriet, but as their trust in each other grows, guilty secrets are exposed and history is turned on its head.
From the acclaimed author of Playing with the Moon and Restitution comes a beautiful and haunting tale of friendship, redemption and forgiveness across generations. Amazon

 

What have you found to read this week?

tbr-watch

Sadly I’m back to only having finished 2 books this week and have gained 3 that brings the total to  171!
Physical Books – 114
Kindle Books – 41
NetGalley Books –15
Audio Books –1

 

 

I have added no reviews of my own books this week so technically I have 1 1/3 books (but one of those has been spent so it’ll disappear very soon)

 

Posted in #20 Books of Summer 2018, Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads, Mount TBR 2018

Life After Life – Kate Atkinson #20BooksofSummer

Contemporary Fiction
5*s

 

What a delightful book, well-written, engaging and most importantly one that made me think and is without doubt one of my favourite reads of this year.

Ursula Todd was born on a snowy night in 1910 in England, a country which is on the edge of the huge change we know will follow. In the first version of Ursula’s life, she doesn’t make it through and dies before she takes her very first breath. but this is not the end, we get another version where Ursula lives. This unusual structure gives us so many versions of Ursula’s life, or lives, and boy when she’s not dying in various different ways, she does know how to live!

“Yes, Mrs Todd, a bonny bouncing baby girl.” Sylvie thought Dr Fellows might be over-egging the pudding with his alliteration. He was not one for bonhomie at the best of times. The health of his patients, particularly their exits and entrances, seemed designed to annoy him.”

Ursula is just my type of character, down to earth, funny in a ‘quiet’ way.

He was born a politician.
No, Ursula thought, he was born a baby, like everyone else. And this is what he has chosen to become.”

Even at the worst of times Ursula is never a moaner despite having echoes in her life of those times she has fallen into the black hole of death. As the reader of her life we understand what those echoes are memories of even if Ursula just has a vague feeling of unease.

“Ursula craved solitude but she hated loneliness, a conundrum that she couldn’t even begin to solve.”

Despite the unusual structure and the many deaths this book is a reflection of life for a child born into what could be viewed as idyllic family. A house called Fox Corner, a mother and father who love and laugh, siblings and opportunities for a life ahead. Of course there is also war on the horizon, not once but twice, the loves and losses and relationships with parents, siblings and friends which will wax and wane. In short Ursula’s life is a full one.

The setting for Ursula’s childhood is Buckinghamshire and even here we see progression from a a house which was once Ursula’s world, in the countryside will not remain that way for the duration of the story, or of course in this case stories. This is a book about how life never stands still. There is one character in particular who I loved but became far less sympathetically drawn as life progresses, where another more flamboyant one becomes softened by the turns her life takes. This quality of growing the characters, especially when their scenes are not set in chronological order is just one element of how exceptional Kate Atkinson’s writing is.

Ursula’s life during World War II is portrayed in vivid scenes, no reader will be able to forget the technicolour images that these imprint on your mind. In one of her lives Ursula lives in Berlin, so we also get to see the challenges how her counterpart in Germany faced too. The period set during the war, both in London and Germany made the book a special read, but on reflection it is the contrast between the cosy life at Fox Corner and the horror that she witnesses at this time of her life which makes the book feel so real. These contrasting scenes, as we follow Ursula as she faces hardships as well as happiness is what makes this book such a rich read.

Kate Atkinson doesn’t make it easy for herself, we have a whole cast of characters that have to keep up with the many deaths that befall Ursula too… even down to the dog who is drawn in detailed perfection to delight the reader. I said in my opening paragraph that it made me think, it did. As we all profound reads we all take our own experiences into the book and this reflection on life gave me an opportunity to look at my own life in a slightly different way.

“Life wasn’t about becoming, was it? It was about being.”

I was alternately delighted and amazed by this book, so if like me, you somehow didn’t get around to reading this book when it was published, I recommend you do so now. I’m off to buy A God in Ruins which features Ursula’s younger brother Teddy, a would-be  poet.

Life After Life was my fifth read in my 20 Books for Summer 2018 Challenge; a sumptuous read that means that Ursula and those wonderfully drawn characters that accompany her through her lives are now part of my life too.

First Published UK: 2013
Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books
No of Pages: 544
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Amazon UK
Amazon US

 

 

Posted in #20 Books of Summer 2018

20 Books of Summer 2018! #20booksofsummer


Cathy at Cathy 746 has a yearly challenge to read twenty books over the summer months starting on 1 June 2018 and running until 3 September 2018, and once again I’ve decided to join her. My aim this year is to read and review all twenty books in the allotted time span!!

As I’m competitive I’m signing up for the full twenty. My personal challenge is to read these twenty books from my bookshelf, physical books that I already own. Funnily enough I have plenty to choose from a total of 109 although my choices for The Classics Club were discounted for this challenge.

Because I know that facts in one book tend to lead me to seek out other books in my tangential reading style, I’ve decided to start with a spread of genres and authors for the first ten books – a book set at sea and one in a drought, the life of a servant jostles with the details of a life of one of Elizabeth II’s ancestors and of course a bit of solid crime fiction has snuck its way in too.

Book lovers will completely understand the hours I have spent honing my choices which have been further complicated to include some faithful friends that are to accompany me on holiday.

Rest assured the second set of ten will be posted when these are all finished, which should be in mid-July, if I’m on schedule!

The links below will take you to the Goodreads description

American Heiress by Jeffrey Toobin

Mrs Woolf and the Servants by Alison Light

Seven Days in May by Kim Izzo

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Sanctum by Denise Mina 

Raven Black by Ann Cleeves

Child’s Play by Reginald Hill

Master Georgie by Beryl Bainbridge

The Dry by Jane Harper

Wedlock by Wendy Moore

I will be joining Cathy by tweeting my way through the challenge using the hashtag #20booksofsummer to demonstrate when one of my reads is part of this challenge! Should be easy eh?

As in the previous two years there will be a master page linking the titles to my reviews as they are posted, and of course eventually listing the entire twenty books.

Top of my holiday reads is Reginald Hill, I always read one of his books on holiday as does Beryl Bainbridge, so they were always going to join me. If it’s too hot I will open a copy of Raven Black to transport me to Shetland but I’m not sure my conscience will allow me to read about the life of servants while sipping cocktails!

I recently posted a tag My Name in TBR Books and was encouraged to read Life After Life so that one will also be joining me.

So what do you think of my choices? Where would you start?

I’ve enjoyed looking at everyone else’s choices so far and after all having read the full list of 20, I will need replacements.