Sunday, 29 April 2018

Review: The Garden, by Gillian Linscott

The GardenThe Garden by Gillian Linscott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book. Despite the title it isn't just about gardening! The garden sets the scene and is the thread that runs through the story, which progresses from 1907 to 2001, via pre-war Herefordshire, WW1, the anger of the post-war pit lockouts in the Rhondda and the struggle of the miners for decent wages. In between there is love, sorrow, passion and hatred. The early parts where the garden is being created I found fascinating, seeing how the planting was laid out to create illusions and effects - I might try some ideas on a much smaller scale in my own jungle, sorry, garden! The politics of the pit lockouts, as the mines were returned to private ownership after wartime government control, show the depths of hardship faced by the colliers, seeing armed soldiers at the pit gates, hearing the Riot Act read as they try to prevent the use of blackleg labour, fighting for their jobs and their families' futures. (Who would have thought that similar scenes would recur in the 1980s?!)

My only criticism of the book, and it's why it's only getting a 4 star not a 5 star rating, is the number of silly mistakes throughout the book, e.g. countless instances of "bur" instead of "but": the letter "r" seems especially problematical as it appears in many places where there should be the letter "t", the same applies where "m" appears instead of "in". Other silly spelling errors also appear, and these should have been picked up by the proofreader.

However, it's a great story and well-worth reading, if you can manage to ignore the errors!

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Sunday, 7 January 2018

Review: Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor

Just One Damned Thing After Another (The Chronicles of St Mary's)Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars (I wish I could give it more!)

It's not often I find a book that makes me giggle through most of it. This one does! I love the writing style, the quirky humour, and the whole oddball off-the-wall concept of St Mary's. It has history, it has science, it has romance, it has danger, it has more eccentrics than you can shake a stick at and... it has dinosaurs... oh yes! Now I find it's the first in a series and I can't wait to start on Book 2, 3, 4, 5... you get the idea! I predict lots of giggling over the next few months! 5 stars isn't enough for this.

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Saturday, 6 January 2018

Review: The Taste of Summer by Kate Lord Brown

The Taste of SummerThe Taste of Summer by Kate Lord Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I listened to the audio version of this book whilst cooking and baking in the run up to Christmas, it was the perfect accompaniment to my culinary efforts! It's a lovely story, well told with interesting characters. Who could fail to fall in love with the lovely chef Connor with his Irish brogue? And as for that baggage Bea, I wanted to beat her round the ears with a rolling pin for all the horrible things she did! The recipes that are peppered (see what I did there?!) throughout the book are great too. I'll have to buy a Kindle or printed version now to be able to try them out!

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Friday, 5 January 2018

Review: The House on Bellevue Gardens by Rachel Hore

The House on Bellevue GardensThe House on Bellevue Gardens by Rachel Hore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book. It tells the story of several people via or because of their connection with the house. The characters have almost all experienced some trauma in their lives, whether domestic abuse, loss of loved ones, mental health difficulties etc... which makes it sound dreadfully serious and dull, and it isn't. Far from it, it's a fascinating series of stories about the characters, with whom I laughed, sympathised, empathised, and at times cried. It's a people book, looking at humanity: the best and the worst that happens to them. Well worth reading!

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Thursday, 4 January 2018

Review: Tim Vicary's Trials of Sarah Newby, book 4

Broken Alibi: Lies, Memory and Justice (The Trials of Sarah Newby, 4)Broken Alibi: Lies, Memory and Justice by Tim Vicary
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've now read all four of the Sarah Newby Trials books and I love them. Sarah is a complex character, not always likeable but eminently tough and capable as a barrister, yet just as vulnerable and afraid as most of us would be when faced with something that threatens her family or her safety. The stories are complex too, this fourth book is probably the most complicated plot so far, but if you spot them the clues are there as you read through it. I became increasingly nervous as the story moved towards the final outcome - will it all end OK? No spoilers from me though, if you want to know what happens you'll have to read it yourself!

Just a wee note to the author: in each of the four I have spotted small grammatical errors and in a couple of instances some minor continuity errors and a couple of errors of fact, hence the 4* not 5* rating.

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