Recent Posts

November 13, 2014

Book - Review - King and Maxwell by David Baldacci

David Baldacci has written many best sellers and he knows exactly how to devise a plot and ratchet up the tension. Our two ex-Secret Service agents who are now PIs, just happen to see a frightened teenager out in a storm with a gun. They stop to help and are then intrigued enough by his story to get further involved. His Dad has been killed in Afghanistan but something doesn't add up. Uncovering the truth about a corrupt terrorist plot that goes right up to the White House will take all their skills and fighting abilities. Excellent.
Wendy

November 11, 2014

Book Review - All in Scarlet Uniform by Adrian Goldsworthy

This is historical military fiction covering the Peninsula War in Portugal and Spain when England stood virtually alone against Napoleon in Europe. It is familiar territory to readers of Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe series and even to those who have read Georgette Heyer's The Spanish Bride, a retelling of the real life story of Harry Smith of the 95th rifles. This is the story of an imaginary regiment but is based on fact. I found it competent rather than inspired but it certainly conveyed the brutal reality of close up encounters with rifle and bayonet as well as adding to our understanding of the strategic, budgetary and political considerations of the generals.  Getting new recruits to take the King's shilling was always a tough ask, although poverty led to many joining up on promises, which were sometimes kept, of regular pay and good food. One aid to the task was a marching song to the traditional Scottish tune of "Oh Bonnie Wood O'Craigielee" which is now better known, in Australia at least, as Waltzing Matilda. The full lyrics are at the front of the book.

 
A bold fusilier came marching back through Rochester

Off for the wars in a far country,

And he sang as he marched

Through the crowded streets of Rochester,

Who'll be a soldier with Wellington and me?

 

Who'll be a soldier? Who'll be a soldier?

Who'll be a soldier with Wellington and me?

And he sang as he marched

Through the crowded streets of Rochester,

Who'll be a soldier with Wellington and me?

November 09, 2014

Book Review - W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton

It seems a long time since the first alphabet mystery featuring female PI Kinsey Millhone rolled off the mean streets of California. A is for Alibi started a series that has held up well in quality and content. Along the way, we've learned some more about Kinsey and her landlord, Henry and his family. Henry is still baking pretty good food and occasionally helping Kinsey's nutritional requirements. After all, peanut butter can only go so far.  Two seemingly unrelated deaths are on the agenda this time. Kinsey digs in and finds more and more layers of meaning and connection. You don't need to have read the earlier ones but if you read this one first, you'll go back to the others because they're all this good.
Wendy

November 07, 2014

Book Review - How Light Gets In by Louise Penny

The next in the story of Inspector Armand Gamache of the Canadian Surete. His experienced team of homicide detectives has been scattered by a corrupt Chief Superintentant, except for his second in charge, Inspector Isabelle Lacoste. Gamache is without his lovely wife Reine-Marie, a feature of earlier novels, as she is visiting their family in Paris but Lacoste and his surrogate family in the village of Three Pines ably support him as he deals with more trouble in his beloved Canada. Gamache, the wise and honest man with the kind brown eyes deals with a disturbing death, a terrorist plot and the drug addiction of his former son-in-law. This is well up to standard and a page-turning read. I am so glad I found Louise Penny, her books are consummate crime novels revealing truths about human behaviour and showing great compassion for human frailty.
Wendy

November 05, 2014

Book Review - The Watcher by Charlotte Link

A very international lot of reviews this week with a another new author for me. Written by a German, this is set in London. Two seemingly unrelated deaths of elderly isolated women are baffling police and then a man is murdered whilst his wife is out deciding not to have an affair. Add in a disgraced cop who is now a private security consultant who is tangled up with a potential victim and a lonely and socially awkward observer, The Watcher of the title. An intriguingly complex and well written tale.
Wendy

November 03, 2014

Book Review - The Stone Boy by Sophie Loubiere

Again, I can't think how to describe this book without revealing information that needs to be garnered carefully and slowly through the exposition of plot and character in this beautifully eccentric study of an elderly widow. Martin loves his mother but increasingly cannot cope with her endless letter writing, dust collecting, mouse-trap setting and spying on the neighbours. But it is the neighbours who hold her interest, particularly a little boy who comes out only rarely to play with stones. Following its own internal logic, eventually all becomes clear and you are left with a heart-breaking act of love that defines her life.  An established French author here in brilliant translation.
Wendy

November 02, 2014

Book Review - Everything to Live for: The Inspirational Story of Turia Pitt by Turia Pitt with Libby Harkness



This is a story of extraordinary young women with a lot to live for. Turia Pitt, a 25yr old mining engineer working in far north Western Australia. She took part in an ultra marathon race where she got caught in a horrific grass fire and was left with burns to over half of her body. Through a long and harrowing rehabilitation, with the support of many people and her strong will and determination to live she has triumphed. She has made it one of her missions to encourage skin to be a more prominent organ for people to donate.
Everything to live for is a story of determination and resilience of the human spirit. I really enjoyed this story of resilience and strength, Turia is truly beautiful. The book inspired me with my own struggles, an example when you see how well Turia preserved with her physiotherapy to be extremely fit again. Anne.

November 01, 2014

Book Review - The Confusion of Karen Carpenter by Johnathan Harvey

A bittersweet and very funny explosion of modern relationships with an almighty twist that just about prevents me from revealing any of the plot. Harvey is a successful playwright and TV scriptwriter and co-wrote a favourite British series Beautiful People.  Karen's life has been scarred by people making jokes about her name (the same as a 70s pop star), her mother was a ventriloquist who couldn't talk without moving her lips and her best friend may be making lesbian moves on her. Apart from that her life is great, oh yes, except that her fiancée left her just before Christmas. Warning for language, sex, nudity and adult themes.
Wendy