Monday, 28 October 2013

September through the eyes of a bookwork

The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller
A Man. A Woman. The heat of an Iowa summer. And the brief encounter whose passion will last a lifetime.

My Verdict - It is incredibly rare, in fact I can only think of one other book - To Kill a Mockingbird, that I feel as passionate about a story in both film and book form as I do this beautiful piece of work by Robert James Waller. It is also incredibly rare for me to re-read a book but I have done so with 'The Bridges of Madison County'. OK so I re-read it two decades apart but still! If you have not read this book or seen the film adaptation then what is wrong with you?! Stop what you are doing RIGHT NOW and take a peek at either of them, I guarantee you will not be disappointed. What I love so much about this story, is not just that the writing of it is so beautiful but how Waller gets right into the mind of a middle aged woman. I didn't realise until the end that it is based on a true story which makes this novel even more special. If you only read one novel this year, then please let it be this one you will not be disappointed. 10/10  

The Secret Diary of Adrian Cat by Linda Macfarlane, Stuart Macfarlane
About Adrian: Adrian is no ordinary cat - he has ambitions. Not only does he want to become the most famous cat in the world but he's also determined to create world peace between cats, dogs and mice. Adrian's life is full of complications! In an attempt to win the affections of the power crazed, but beautiful Snowball, he is forced to join a gang run by the most evil cat in town - Killer. But Killer also loves Snowball and he's not going to let Adrian steal her away - not without a fight. On top of all of this Adrian has many adventures; he goes treasure hunting with a pirate parrot, saves the life of a fox and helps his best friend out of all sorts of trouble.

My Verdict - This book is said to appeal if you are nine or ninety-nine and is written (to me) somewhere between The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole and Bridget Jones. Again another Kindle freebie so an easy read and no money lashed out if you don't really enjoy it. This book will appeal to cat lovers everywhere, especially when Adrian talks about being In and Out (of the house) as being the same thing, and don't humans understand that when you are out you want to be in and when you are in you want to be out. Cat owners who's with me on this one! 7/10

Can you recommend anything which can beat my love for The Bridges of Madison County?

August through the eyes of a bookworm

I know, I know, my book reads are lagging behind but this is a little insight into what I have been reading (not so) recently. Enjoy!

Five Sisters: A Novel by Leen Elle
The five Sisters Mary, Sara, Nora, Emy and Gail are heading across the ocean on a ship full of sailors. Along the way each one falls in love with a man she never expected, whether a sailor, an artist, a doctor, or an invalid. The sisters embark on a journey to a new home, to Brighton, where Mary's (the eldest) fiancee lives. Having lost both their parents and being left practically destitute, the girls have no money to secure passage on a cruise ship. Fortunately an old school friend of their fathers, Charlie, owns a small ship and offers the sisters free passage on his ship, in exchange for light cooking and housekeeping duties. The girls gloomily embark on the small ship for a 3-month voyage along with Charlie, 16 sailors, and an invalid, changing their lives forever.

My Verdict - This was an easy free Kindle read, something which you could just pick up and put down without losing the plot but it wasn't one which grabbed me. Although it is based on five sisters experience, I felt the book heavily lent towards Gail and her relationship with Nathaniel and the other girls; in particular Nora and Emy appeared to be afterthoughts; this spoiled it a little for me but as I say, an easy read nonetheless. 5/10 

 Anil's Ghost by Michael Ondaatje
Anil's Ghost transports us to Sri Lanka, a country steeped in centuries of tradition, now forced into the late twentieth century by the ravages of the civil war. Into this maelstrom steps Anil Tissera, a young woman born in Sri Lanka, educated in England and America, who returns to Sri Lanka as a forensic anthropologist sent by an international human rights group to investigate the organized murder campaigns engulfing the island. What follows is a story about love, about family, about identity, about the unknown enemy, about the quest to unlock the hidden past - a story propelled by a riveting mystery.

My Verdict - Michael Ondaatje is the author behind 'The English Patient' and although I have seen the film adaptation, I had not read the novel, so this was my first foray into his work. Firstly I have to say this is a beautifully crafted piece of work but and it's a big but, I just did not connect with any of his characters and in fact I found them quite unlikeable. If you like Michael Ondaatje's work and you are interested in Sri Lanka then I would say give this a read. 7/10

The Butterfly Cabinet by Bernie McGill
On a remote estate in the north of Ireland, a little girl dies and the community is quick to condemn her mother, Harriet Ormond. Now, after seventy years, Maddie McGlade, a former nanny at the house, knows that the time has come to reveal her own role in the events of that day. From Maddie's reminiscences and Harriet's long-concealed diaries emerges an unforgettable story of motherhood and betrayal, and of two women, mistress and servant, inextricably connected by an extraordinary secret.

My Verdict - The is the debut novel  from Bernie McGill and it reminded me very much of 'The House at Riverton' by Kate Morton but without the pace. Each chapter is written in the first person and they alternate between Maddie in the 1960s and Harriet in the 1890s. I was hoping the story which connected the two women would be a little meatier but it was a nice story which gave the perspective of two women from 'upstairs and downstairs' at the end of the 19th century. If you like Kate Morton and want an easy read along similar lines then you might enjoy this.7/10

 Have you been loving any reads this month?

Friday, 25 October 2013

Blushing Peonies is one!!!

So Blushing Peonies has just turned one! Can't believe I've been blogging for a year already. 

October 2012 I took my tentative steps into writing my own blog after many months of reading all the wonderful blogs out there, and I would just like to say thank you to everyone who has stuck by me and continued to support me and Blushing Peonies.

I know posts have been a bit sporadic recently, but I promise normal service will resume shortly! I have lots of things in the pipeline to post about so I really hope you will continue to read my little space on the 'tinterweb'.

So thank you, each and everyone!