Tell me everything

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”Before I let you in” by Jenny Blackhurst is psychological thriller and a good one too. I paid barely 1 euro for the ebook, so I was pleasantly surprised. Gripping and fast paced with twists that are not easily foreseen. Which is basically all a good thriller should be about, isn’t it?
Karen and her two best friends Eleanor and Bea, are the main characters. They have known each other since their childhood and are still in each other lives, even now with their own families, careers etc. They share everything, that’s what they believe anyway, but Karen has a secret she has not revealed to the others. Her baby sister died when she was only little. She knows she shouldn’t blame herself, she was only four and her beloved sibling shouldn’t have been left in her care in the first place. She is a successful psychiatrist and understands guilt and grief as abstracts, but they have been eating her up ever since.
Eleanor is a mum of an adopted toddler as well as a baby she gave birth to, and is at her wits ends. She is exhausted, not sleeping enough, and in a desperate need of doing something outside her domestic responsibilities. Meanwhile Bea, not having family of her own and stuck in an uninsipring office job, feels like she is running behind her friends – Eleanor with her happy family and Karen with her high flying career. All the women seem rather vulnerable and this is only just a beginning as all their lives begin to shatter when Karen takes on a new patient, Jessica Hamilton.
Jessica tells her therapist things that seem to be directed at Karen personally. Karen starts to worry that this young and unpredictable girl may be a threat not only to her, but to her friends as well. She feels trapped as she cannot break the doctor – patient confidentiality, not without any solid proof that anyone is in danger, and the girl is smart and careful. Karen is on a mission to get the proof. She is worried she may be risking her licence, but feels that the safety of the people she is closest to is more important. Jessica seems to be holding all the cards, she knows Karen’s secret, the one from long ago and another, neither of which shared with Bea or Eleanor. Things are spiraling downhill and fast.
I enjoyed the book and the price was excellent. I am granting 3 pera-300pxpera-300pxpera-300pxpears, plums or apricots.

Pears, plums or apricots rating:

pera-300pxpera-300pxpera-300pxpera-300pxpera-300px – one of the best books I read

pera-300pxpera-300pxpera-300pxpera-300px – charmed

pera-300pxpera-300pxpera-300px – good read

pera-300pxpera-300px – disappointed, I thought it was going to be better

pera-300px – don’t waste your time

The Weverly magic

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First Frost” by Sarah Addison Allen. If you liked “The Garden Spells” and the Weverleys, then you will enjoy this book, as it shows the family ten or so years later. Bay is in her teens, her mother Sydney is happily married to Henry and lives on his farm. Claire occupies the Weverleys old house with her husband Tyler and their daughter Maria, who is about the same age Bay was in the last book.

The mysterious apple three in the garden is dormant. Everyone is awaiting the first frost this late autumn as it is supposed to bring relief to the Weverly family, to finally stop the tensions that have been building up. Claire has a new flourishing business of making candy with flower extracts in them. She has so many orders that she no longer has the time to bake or cook. She refuses to acknowledge that something has been bothering her but she is definitely not herself. She is doubting her Weverley gift and she doesn’t seem happy.  A mysterious Russell Zahler aka the Great Banditi visits the town of Bascom in North Carolina and he is full of stories, one in particular adds to Clare’s insecurities. Claire’s sister Sydney hopes that she will confide in her, that she will share whatever it is that has been bugging her. Sydney herself is desperate to have another child. Bay, to her mother’s disbelief is trying to befriend young Josh Mattesson, the son of her first love who broke her heart.

Will their troubles be resolved with the first frost finally arriving and the tree in the garden in full blossom? See for yourself if you wish. There are reminders from the previous book intended for the readers who didn’t start with ”The Garden Spells” but they are kept to minimum, so if you read the previous book, you are not dragged through it again. Characters are very well drawn and likeable, each with their own eccenttricies, which keeps you turning the pages as you want to find out what happens to all of them.

Light and enjoyable read. I spend more than usual on this book, but my birthday was coming at the time and I like the author; it was still an inexpensive book, around 5 euro. I will give the sequel 4 apple-tree-300px apple-tree-300pxapple-tree-300pxapple-tree-300pxapple trees, tulips or rain drops. Yes, partially out of the sentiment towards ”The Garden Spells”, the characters and that unique light magic touch, but also because it was a nice story overall.

Apple trees, tulips or rain drops rating:

apple-tree-300pxapple-tree-300pxapple-tree-300pxapple-tree-300pxapple-tree-300pxone of the best books I read

apple-tree-300pxapple-tree-300pxapple-tree-300pxapple-tree-300pxcharmed

apple-tree-300pxapple-tree-300pxapple-tree-300pxgood read

apple-tree-300pxapple-tree-300pxdisappointed, I thought it was going to be better

apple-tree-300pxdon’t waste your time

Life choices, ambitions and secrets

 

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I read “Big Little Lies” by Liane Moriarty a while back. It has been made into a TV series recently, I started watching the show and remembered the book.

It starts with a loud thump, so to speak. Someone has been killed at a school trivia night. The interesting and unusual thing is, that we as readers, are kept in the dark as to who has been murdered. When it comes to the suspects, it looks like it may almost be anyone and everyone from the community. There is a lot of tension and we are shown, retrospectively how it has escalated to such an extend that one person ended up dead.

Madeline Martha Mackenzie, a stay at home mum, is a constant presence in the small community, while Renata has a high flying carrier. They children go to the same class. (As soon as I became a mum I realised what a strong divide has arose between the stay at home and the working mums. I belong to the latter group but I believe we are all doing our best and hope to raise happy and healthy kids. Nevertheless I was surprised to have some strong opinions thrown in my face by some of the mums even though I didn’t ask for them and didn’t judge anyone else’s choices. Therefore I would like to take this opportunity and ask all the mums to be understanding and support one another, regardless of their personal views in this matter. Sorry for the digression.)

What makes things worse between the mums in the book is an incident that happens on the first day of school after the summer holidays. A new student, Ziggy is accused of attempting to choke Amabella, who happens to be Renata’s daughter. There are no doubts that the sweet little girl has been hurt by somebody as there are visible marks on her throat but the new kid Ziggy strongly denies the accusations and his mother Jane Chapman, who has recently befriended Madeline, has no reason not to believe him, as Ziggy has been nothing but kind and gentle so far.

Parents are now taking sides, supporting either of the two strong women, Madeline or Renata. Small doubts are entering Jane’s thoughts as she fears that maybe her beloved son has inherited violent behaviour from his father. She is new in town having escaped the last place, where she feared that the child’s father might return and hurt her.

Apart from the drama that’s out in the open all mothers have their own personal issues. Jane is trying to forget the traumatic experience she went through. Renata is feeling guilty that her job takes so much of her time. Madeline struggles to come to terms with the fact that her ex husband can be such a caring father to his new daughter Sky, whom he has with his new young and attractive wife Bonnie, while he failed to do the same for their adolescent daughter Abigail in the past. To make things more difficult for Madeline, Abigail constantly praises Bonnie. Madeline’s second husband Ed is very understanding and sensible about the situation, but even his patience starts to wear off as he is beginning to feel neglected. Celeste, the mom of two twin boys is being abused by he husband and keeps it a secret from everyone.

Another fuse bursts between Renata and Madeline when Renata gets other parents to sign a petition that closes down a school play which Madeline was in charge of. When Madeline’s friends wonder why she is so worked up about a school play, she confesses that as much as she loves being a stay at home mum it is not enough for her, that she misses work. Cleste then admits the same, says that she misses practicing law.

The book is fast paced and keeps the reader interested. I am granting it 4 simple-apple-300px simple-apple-300px simple-apple-300px simple-apple-300pxapples, plums or clouds.


Apple, plums or clouds rating:

simple-apple-300pxsimple-apple-300pxsimple-apple-300pxsimple-apple-300pxsimple-apple-300px – one of the best books I read

simple-apple-300pxsimple-apple-300pxsimple-apple-300pxsimple-apple-300px – charmed

simple-apple-300pxsimple-apple-300pxsimple-apple-300px – good read

simple-apple-300pxsimple-apple-300px – disappointed, I thought it was going to be better

simple-apple-300px – don’t waste your time

Don’t give up hope

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In ”Find Me” by J.S. Monroe we see Rosa’s story through her diary which her boyfriend Jar gets to read in a haphazard order. After just a few months of knowing Jar, Rosa commits suicide. He however doesn’t believe that she is dead, says that it was out of character for her, yet everything we have learnt about her so far points to the contrary. He keeps seeing her in the city but his therapist insists that he is experiencing post bereavement hallucinations. Is there another explanation? Perhaps somebody wants to make it look like she was dead. Why? Her recently deceased father worked for the Foreign Office in UK. Could she possibly be a spy?

I felt detached from the main characters. It wasn’t a question of me liking or disliking them, I simply didn’t feel like I got to know them well enough, I wish more foucs was put into drawing them. Since I did’t find the main characters gripping, the book didn’t compel me to keep reading. The first part seemed too long. Yes, there were places were it was more interesting, but I felt like it needed some more editing, maybe even rewriting. The structure was ambitious but a bit confusing. I think it might heve been more believeable if it was written from a perspective of Max, the journalist whom Jar meets and questions about the article he was working on. He was investigating the high rates of suicides in prestigious Universities in UK and the large number of missing bodies of those students. If Max was the leading character, he could have then concentrated on Rosa as the lates subject of his reaserch, maybe meet with Jar to talk about her… Just an idea.

The book is divided into two parts, a new narrator is added in the second part, a malicious character. It gets more interesting when the plot starts to slowly reveal itself. Warning: it also gets darker, there are rather graphic descriptions of cruelty, torture, inhumane and unethical experiments.

Overall, I am afraid the book gets from me two Umbrella-Closed-300px Umbrella-Closed-300px umbrellas, earmuffs or cuff links, as I really thought it was going to be better. The story was there, but in need of rewriting and editing, in my opinion, with more focus on the main characters and shortened for a more gripping and quicker pace. I bought the e-book for under 2 euro.

Umbrellas, earmuffs or cufflinks rating

Umbrella-Closed-300pxUmbrella-Closed-300px Umbrella-Closed-300px Umbrella-Closed-300px Umbrella-Closed-300px – one of the best books I read

Umbrella-Closed-300px Umbrella-Closed-300px Umbrella-Closed-300px Umbrella-Closed-300px – charmed

Umbrella-Closed-300px Umbrella-Closed-300px Umbrella-Closed-300px – good read

Umbrella-Closed-300px Umbrella-Closed-300px – disappointed, I thought it was going to be better

Umbrella-Closed-300px – don’t waste your time

Belonging

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”The Mill River Rescue’‘ by Darcie Chan is a story set in Mill River town and reaches from the 1940 till the XXI century. It is about the lives of the community, of one member in particular – Mary. When the older times are described the book has a vibe of a periodical novel with horses and a marble mansion. It is a gripping tale where two story plots intertwine, the young years of Marry Hayes with the modern days when she becomes Mary McAllister.

Mary has been raised by her father and was taught to appreciate what she had. They lived modestly and she was used to helping him on the farm. In fact she loved working with horses, far more than interacting with other people. She was a shy and vulnerable girl. Her trustworthiness led her to believe that her future husband was a kind and caring man and not a spoiled rich man he turned out to be. He came from a family of marble owners and there was nothing he couldn’t afford to buy. Marrying into the fortune didn’t change Mary’s good heart and she keeps looking for ways to reach to others in need, but there are obstacles in her way. Something makes her stay inside of the walls of their impressive house and it is not her abusive husband. Her only contact with the outside community is through her friend, Father O’Brien, whom she shares her secrets with.

As in every community there are people who are in its heart and there are outsiders. There are people who contribute, who gladly give a helping hand to their neighbours and others, misguided, angry or vicious, who choose to cause havoc. The first two groups do not necessarily reflect the latter divide. We can see all that in the little town of Mill River. Somebody provides the mysterious gifts and somebody else sets houses on fire.

Mary is an outsider but she is deeply concerned about the wellbeing of the town people. She has always wanted to be a part of the community and she was, in her own peculiar way. Nobody apart from a handful of people really knew her though. She wouldn’t, couldn’t let them. If you are intrigued to find out why, go ahead, it is a good read worth 3 Chrisdesign-Beetle-car-300px Chrisdesign-Beetle-car-300px Chrisdesign-Beetle-car-300px cars, stars or pencils.

Cars, stars or pencils rating

Chrisdesign-Beetle-car-300pxChrisdesign-Beetle-car-300pxChrisdesign-Beetle-car-300pxChrisdesign-Beetle-car-300pxChrisdesign-Beetle-car-300px – one of the best books I read

Chrisdesign-Beetle-car-300pxChrisdesign-Beetle-car-300pxChrisdesign-Beetle-car-300pxChrisdesign-Beetle-car-300px – charmed

Chrisdesign-Beetle-car-300pxChrisdesign-Beetle-car-300pxChrisdesign-Beetle-car-300px – good read

Chrisdesign-Beetle-car-300pxChrisdesign-Beetle-car-300px – disappointed, I thought it was going to be better

Chrisdesign-Beetle-car-300px – don’t waste your time

Wear something green today

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What other book comes to mind on St. Patrick’s Day if not the impressively illustrated Book of Kells? St.Patrick insisted on preserving the scriptures. The Book of Kells contains four Gospels of the Life of Jesus Christ by evangelists: Mathew, Mark, Luke and John. Regardless of weather or not you are a religious person, the book is a national treasure dating back to the medieval times and worth seeing. It is on exhibition in the Trinity College in Dublin. The Old Library itself is a must see. Have you already been there and were impressed by the book? Go again, they change the pages at display.

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Happy Paddy’s Day!

 

The Language of Music

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Jessica is the main character in the ”The Language of Others’‘ by Clare Morrall. She has been unusual since she was a child. Her parents wondered if she was autistic but one doctor dismissed the idea and they never pursued the subject again, despite their daughter’s struggle to interact with other people. Even as a grown up she sometimes struggles to understand the people around her. Why would people lie, she often wonders until she discovers herself that it can be quite useful at times. She loves music and has been working impressively hard since she was about eight years old, she learns how to play the piano and then the violin. She graduates from a music college with a degree. Her inability to read other people and their intentions leads her to marry a man who might be a musical genius but is inconsiderate, selfish and prone to anger.

The combination of music, the love she feels for her husband Andrew and for their son, gradually drags her out of her own little world, invites her to finally be more adventorous, to get to know the world. However Andrew builds a new wall around her, doesn’t allow her to spread her wings secluding her into a new, confined world of insecurity and fear. Despite his difficult character, she sees him as one of a few people she was able to connect with and cannot believe at first that he wants a divorce. She is left with their son Joel, who as it seems, has inherited some of her awkwardness in the social area.

The reader accompanies Jessica’s venture through her childchood, college times, her marriage and its breakdown. She eventually sees that the separation from her husband gave her freedom and she is finally able to breath and anjoy her space, nearly, her grown up son doesn’t seem to be in much of hurry to fly from the nest. Moreover her husband suddenly decides to contact her directly after all these years.

The author is a qualified musician herself and the descriptions of the music are impressive. They add to the book’s value, I believe. I also enjoyed visiting, through Jessica’s eyes, her large family house where she grew up. Characters in the book were well drawn, including her ex-hippy mother Connie, a bit absentminded and carefree in contrast to her caring and gentle father Roland. Her pretty and outgoing sister Harriet. Their mean and cruel cousins Philip and Colin, and others that she meets later in her life.

I have decided to award this book 4 lemmling-Cartoon-owl-sitting-on-a-book-300px lemmling-Cartoon-owl-sitting-on-a-book-300px lemmling-Cartoon-owl-sitting-on-a-book-300px lemmling-Cartoon-owl-sitting-on-a-book-300px owls, towels or monkeys.

Owls, towels or monkeys rating

lemmling-Cartoon-owl-sitting-on-a-book-300pxlemmling-Cartoon-owl-sitting-on-a-book-300pxlemmling-Cartoon-owl-sitting-on-a-book-300pxlemmling-Cartoon-owl-sitting-on-a-book-300pxlemmling-Cartoon-owl-sitting-on-a-book-300px – one of the best books I read

lemmling-Cartoon-owl-sitting-on-a-book-300pxlemmling-Cartoon-owl-sitting-on-a-book-300pxlemmling-Cartoon-owl-sitting-on-a-book-300pxlemmling-Cartoon-owl-sitting-on-a-book-300px – charmed

lemmling-Cartoon-owl-sitting-on-a-book-300pxlemmling-Cartoon-owl-sitting-on-a-book-300pxlemmling-Cartoon-owl-sitting-on-a-book-300px – good read

lemmling-Cartoon-owl-sitting-on-a-book-300pxlemmling-Cartoon-owl-sitting-on-a-book-300px – disappointed, I thought it was going to be better

lemmling-Cartoon-owl-sitting-on-a-book-300px – don’t waste your time

World Book Day Ireland

 

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In 1995 UNESCO has established a World Book and Copyright Day to pay a tribute to books and their authors and to encourage people, especially children, to read. The official date is the 23rd April but individual countries tend to choose their own day and so Ireland is celebrating the World Book Day Ireland on the 2nd of March this year.

My hometown city Wroclaw was named by UNESCO the World Book Capital of year 2016.

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I remember the long hours spent there in libraries with academic reference books… I am glad I can now read purely for pleasure.

Today I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for reading my blog. Here is a little screen shot showing all the countries and continents where somehow there were people interested enough in reading my blog 😉

 

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Thank you all very much again and I hope you enjoy reading my blog as much as I enjoy writing it.