Friday 31 July 2020
Monday 27 July 2020
It’s been 25 years since Gus and Monica left England to start a new life in Spain, building a vineyard and wine business from the ground up. However, when Gus suffers a stroke and their idyllic Mediterranean life is thrown into upheaval, it’s left to their three grown-up children in London to step in . . . Sebastian is busy running his company with his wife, Anna, who’s never quite seen eye-to-eye with her mother-in-law. Katie, a successful solicitor in the City, is distracted by the problems with her long-term partner, Nic, and the secretive lives of their three daughters. And Jake, ever the easy-going optimist, is determined to convince his new wife, Bella, that moving to Spain with their 18-month-old would be a good idea. As the children descend on the vineyard, it becomes clear that each has their own idea of how best to handle their mum and dad, as well as the family business. But as long-simmering resentments rise to the surface and tensions reach breaking point, can the family ties prove strong enough to keep them together?
Joanna Trollope has written an inter-generational family drama that is steeped in regrets, resentment, sibling rivalry and petty jealousies.At the heart of the story are ageing parents Monica and Gus who 25 years earlier had left England for Spain, where they have created a successful wine business. Over the years Gus has become a grumpy old man, his wines are his life, and he pretty much leaves Monica to do her own thing. She loves Spain but has regrets about leaving her children, in boarding school, all those years ago.
When Gus suffers a debilitating stroke and the family is called in to help out it has them all re-evaluating their relationship with each other.
This dilemma with their parents comes at a time when each of the children have busy jobs and are trying to deal with problems with their own children, their marriages and life in general. The three siblings are not close but the common problem prompts them to come together and be open with each other.
The setting of Spain is beautifully described and I loved how the Spanish people, who worked for Monica and Gus, were so loving and accommodating. More like family than their own children.
Mum & Dad is filled with relatable
family dramas and about a topic that is
relevant to many families today. Joanna Trollope has once again given her readers an engrossing story with an eye for family dynamics and absorbing character studies.
My rating 4/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
|Photo credit Goodreads|
Life This Week is a meme created by Denyse Whelan Blogs where bloggers share snaps of what is currently happening in their lives.
What has been happening over the last two weeks!
From the publisher:
Gordon Grimes has become the accidental keeper of this last relic of an endangered world. He lives in The Lodge with his wife Kelly who is trying to leave him, their son Ben who will do anything to save him, his goddaughter Lou who is hiding from her own troubles, and Leonie, the family matriarch who has trapped them here for their own good.
But Gordon has no money and is running out of time to conserve his homeland. His love for this way of life will drive him, and everyone around him, to increasingly desperate risks. In the end, what will it cost them to hang onto their past?
Disturbingly, she also discovers that European wasps have invaded her garden. Beth’s obsession with them and their queen holds up a distorted mirror to the human drama. As the chaos in Beth’s life gathers momentum, connections between the two worlds come sharply into focus. The lives of Beth and the others are neither separate to, nor safe from, the natural world.
Gianna Borello is a model student. Living in New York, she thrives on her academic studies, making her blind to almost everything and everyone else. But an opportunity to get an internship at her dream job is almost derailed when she agrees to meet her roommate's new boss who promises her a short-term nanny position.
Temptation comes in many forms.
I would love to hear what books you received in the mail lately!
Friday 24 July 2020
Tuesday 21 July 2020
Called to Thailand to help sail the family yacht to the Seychelles, Iris nurtures her own secret hopes for what might happen on the journey. But when she unexpectedly finds herself alone in the middle of the Indian Ocean, everything changes.
Now is her chance to take what she's always wanted - the idyllic life she's always coveted. But just how far will she go to get the life she's dreamed about? And how will she make sure no one discovers the truth?
I loved this tale of deception and greed. Iris has always felt as if she can never be as beautiful or as kind as her twin, Summer. Everyone loved Summer and she had everything Iris didn’t. Summer had the perfect life Iris always dreamed of. A chance comes where Iris can make Summer’s life her own. Will she take it?
“Summer is an it girl, a blonde bombshell. And I am her mirror.”
The story is told in
the first person by Iris and the first part of her narration does
elicit sympathy but when her chance comes to take Summer’s life a
different Iris emerges, callous and calculating, and I started to
wonder which was the true Iris.
I loved this gripping tale of identical twins. I like to try and guess what the outcome will be but this story had me fooled. It was full of twists I didn’t see coming. The ending killed me and I’m still pondering it days later.
I read this in two days. Fast-paced, atmospheric and haunting The Girl in the Mirror is totally addictive! I’m looking forward to more from Rose Carlyle.
My rating 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Rose Carlyle is a lawyer and keen adventurer. She has crewed on scientific yachting expeditions to subantarctic islands and lived aboard her own yacht in the Indian Ocean for a year, sailing it from Thailand to South Africa via the Seychelles. Rose was a Michael King Writer in Residence in 2020. She lives in Auckland with her three children. The Girl in the Mirror is her first novel.
Friday 17 July 2020
But joy turns to despair when they discover that Paige has a rare, life-threatening heart condition and they lose their longed-for child. Heartbroken, the couple must accept the reality that they may not become parents after all.
Just as they begin to come to terms with their loss, Paige unexpectedly falls pregnant again. Paige’s heart is still weak, and to carry the baby to term puts them both at risk. The couple now face an impossible decision: Paige’s life or the life of their unborn child?
If Paige keeps the baby, she could lose her life and destroy the man she loves. If Nick tries to stop her, he may lose them both forever. It’s the most important decision they have ever had to make – and time is running out.
Vanessa Carnevale has written an emotionally charged story that will have readers asking themselves what they would do in this life altering situation.
Paige has been advised not to fall pregnant until her health improves but when she accidentally falls pregnant it causes major family upheaval and a conflict that may cost her her marriage.
Told in the alternating points of view of both Paige and her husband Nick, we get a rounded view of the emotional upheaval the pregnancy has caused for both of them.
I don’t want to give too much away with the plot but the story is strongly focused on a mother’s love and how far you will go for your child.
Vanessa Carnevale made it very easy to put myself not only in Paige and Nick’s shoes but also Paige’s mother Evelyn’s. Each character had their differing ideas on what Paige should and shouldn’t do and I felt for each of them.
My Life For Yours is a compelling and heart-wrenching read. A story of lost dreams and hopes. Of a love that defies all reasoning. I had no clue as to how this story was going to pan out. And I loved that! It kept me eagerly reading.
My Life For Yours is a heartrending story told with compassion and candour. It had me reaching for the tissues a few times whilst reading.
My rating 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
|Photo credit Goodreads|
Vanessa loves to travel, and spent several years living in Florence, Italy, a place she considers her second home. She lives in Australia with her husband and two children.
Her previous novels, THE MEMORIES OF US and THE FLORENTINE BRIDGE are published by HarperCollins and have been translated into German and Slovenian. Vanessa's third novel, MY LIFE FOR YOURS will be published by Bookouture in August 2020.
Thursday 16 July 2020
London's Slough House is where washed-up MI5 spies go to while away what's left of their failed careers. But now the 'slow horses' have a chance at redemption.
An old Cold War-era spy is found dead on a bus outside Oxford, far from his usual haunts. As the agents dig into their fallen comrade's circumstances, they uncover a shadowy tangle of ancient secrets that seems to lead back to a man named Alexander Popov, and a decades-old conspiracy with a brand-new target: London's newest, tallest skyscraper . . .
Dead Lions is the second book in the Slough House series. Slough (pronounced slow) House is the MI5 dumping ground for screw-ups. Jackson lamb and his band of misfits are joined by two new members to the team.
The teams main job is to complete paper work and endless amounts of data entry but they live in hope of one day returning to head office.
Mick Herron gives the reader a look at some of the characters personal lives and it seems their work misfortune flows over to their everyday life. They all really do come across as a bunch of losers but you can’t help but have some affection for them.
When Min and Louisa are seconded to H.O. to babysit a Russian security team they think this may be their big break.
A long dead myth emerges once again after many years and an old street hand is found dead. Lamb believing he could have been murdered starts an investigation of his own.
The story is told in dual plot lines that cleverly connect for an adrenaline filled, explosive ending.
Herron includes his own brand of humour with sarcasm, hypotheticals and a wry wit that had me laughing out loud throughout the story. The atmosphere is perfectly set for a spy novel on the dimly lit, fog filled streets of London.
Lamb is rude and abrupt to his fellow workers but when it comes to the crunch he is on their side. He is arrogant and oafish but he has an inexplicable appeal.
Herron doesn’t baulk at killing off his characters – Slough House is staffed by crew-ups and there is no shortage of replacements.
This is a must read series! Slough House has been made into a TV series, titled Slow Horses after the first book, on Apple TV starring Gary Oldman as Jackson Lamb.
My rating 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Winner of the CWA Gold Dagger Award
A BBC Front Row best crime novel of the year
A Times crime and thriller book of the year
Tuesday 14 July 2020
Max Crack and his best friend Frankie are back with even more quest-ordinary adventures!
Armed with a shiny new quest list, they are on a mission to find a meteorite, make a movie, solve a sisterly feud, eat truckloads of chocolate, set a World Record ...
Funny fonts, gross stuff, embarrassing moments, speech bubbles and strange creatures. Read all about it!
Max Crack and best friend Frankie Doink are back again with more quests, bigger and better than before.
Max starts a new journal/diary which runs from November to end of February. A four month period that includes the end of year school holidays which gives the boys plenty of time to complete new quests.
After seeing a shooting star and feeling a shudder like an earthquake the boys think it could have been a meteorite. Their first quest: find a meteorite.
At school their class will be involved in trying to break a world record. They will also be having a movie making competition.
I loved that the stories weren’t all about winning but working together and having fun.
The boys are eager to attend their first pop concert and find work mowing lawns for an elderly local resident who tells them of her falling out with her sister. Thus prompting their next quest: to reunite the sisters.
The boys take the ups and downs of life in their stride. Max eager for his own smart phone is happy to take his father’s hand-me-down and the rules that go with owning a phone.
We see the comparison of Frankie’s large rambunctious family to Max’s only child family. Both families are caring and interested in the boys activities.
As an adult I am keen for young children to read books with good role models and I think Max and Frankie have achieved this status. They have fun, are a little dorky, are respectful, don’t expect to be given the world, argue and make up, give everything their best effort and never complain.
I loved the second book in this series even more than the first.
There are blank pages at the end to write your own quest list, favourite movies, world records you want to set, places you wish to explore and also a few pages to try your own sketches.
My rating 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
He's also illustrated David Warner's 'Kaboom Kid' series Michael Pryor's 'Leo Da Vinci' series, Alex Ratt's 'Stinky Street Stories' and some of Dr Karl Kruszelnicki's science books.
When he's not illustrating books, Jules loves reading books and graphic novels, and collecting comics. he has served four, two-year terms as the president of the Australian cartoonists Association and is a member of the CBCA NSW Committee.
This review is part of the Book Lover Book Review Aussie author challenge
Click the cover to read my review.