Knock on my door

the-people-next-door-from-the-number-one-bestselling-author

As readers of The People Next Door by Roisin Meaney we enter three townhouses to watch their occupants lifes. Yvonne from number seven is living with her young adult daughter Clara. Yvonne is a widowed whose husband died tragically shortly after they got married. Right before the accident, Yvonne has informed him that she wanted a divorce. He didn’t take it well and asked her to reconsider. She feels horrible knowing that he has died unhappy and that she felt a slight relief. She wanders if her son has confided in his mother, as her mother in law seems to be full of resentment towards her. Clara hides a dark and painful secret she is yet unwilling to share with anyone, including her mother.

Her next door neighbour Dan has been dumped by his wife Ali two years after they got married. She left him for his uncle Brendan. Dan was now living on canned beans, sausages and frozen pizzas. He decided to take in a tenant to help him pay the bills. A middle aged man has moved into the spare bedroom who luckily turned out to love cooking delicious meals. He is an eccentric and insists on wearing an old funny hat whenever he goes out. But something seems to be bothering Kieran that prevents him from sleeping, so he keeps pacing around the house at night. Dan realises that he doesn’t really know anything about the man he let into his home.

Kathryn from number nine loves her husband Jason, but is worried that the age difference may cause him to loose interest in her. She is ten years or so older than him and desperate to have a baby, but after two miscarriages and a stillborn child she has given up hope. Her mother in law Grainne moved into their house when she fell and broke her hip, she keeps reminding Jason about Kathryn’s age and shows no signs of planning to move back to her house again, complaining of reacuring headaches.

The neighbours mingle and their lives get entwined at times, but each house bears their own weight of drama. A book full of vigour and a bit of romance. A light read, good for the long autumnal evenings. Three old hats nicubunu-Adventurer-hat-300pxnicubunu-Adventurer-hat-300pxnicubunu-Adventurer-hat-300px, scones or forks.

Old hats, scones or forks rating

nicubunu-Adventurer-hat-300pxnicubunu-Adventurer-hat-300pxnicubunu-Adventurer-hat-300pxnicubunu-Adventurer-hat-300pxnicubunu-Adventurer-hat-300px – one of the best books I read

nicubunu-Adventurer-hat-300pxnicubunu-Adventurer-hat-300pxnicubunu-Adventurer-hat-300pxnicubunu-Adventurer-hat-300px – charmed

nicubunu-Adventurer-hat-300pxnicubunu-Adventurer-hat-300pxnicubunu-Adventurer-hat-300px – good read

nicubunu-Adventurer-hat-300pxnicubunu-Adventurer-hat-300px – disappointed, I thought it was going to be better

nicubunu-Adventurer-hat-300px – don’t waste your time

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Another one I have picked

the-daisy-picker-best-selling-novel

“The Daisy Picker” by Roisin Meaney kicks off with good pace and humour. It is a lightly written book about finding yourself, if I was to summarise it in one sentence.

Characters in R. Meaney’s books often have a strong inner drive to be who they want to be, rather than what is expected of them. It is a pleasure to see how much happiness this brings them when they succeed. It never seems to be too late, neither for the forty something year old Lizzy in the “The Daisy Picker” nor for Sarah, the busy young mother with a full time job, in “Something in Common”.

One day Lizzy decided she wasn’t happy. Maybe it was the fact that she was already in her forties or the article that she read in the dentist’s office – most likely both. Whatever it was, it made her realise how quickly the time was passing. She knew that if she wanted what she was so passionate about, she needed to act quickly. She too had a talent that had been left untouched, waiting for her to gain some courage and make use of it. She was finally eager to give it a chance. In order to do that she had to abandon her old life.

Once she leaves the nest, she doesn’t look back until the old life catches up with her. Just when all the pieces seemed to be falling into place, Lizzy is once more reminded how fast indeed the time flows. Are people able to just pack up, find their dream place and settle there for their happily ever after, or do they, just like after a nice long holiday, need to eventually get back to their old routine and settings? Is the unexpected crash with hard reality a realisation that every chance she took lately was a mistake or just a little setback that life is full of? Was she right in abandoning her old life without looking back? Does she have regrets? Can her new idyllic life be saved?

Lizzy’s character is quite beliveable. She isn’t flawless but she is likeable and fun to read about. I enjoyed the inner monologue, the smirky replies she was having in her head – which she stops, and rightly so, as she grows happier in herself. I enjoyed the other characters too. Her warm, welcoming and merry, though brokenhearted friend Angela, amongst others. There was a bit more romance that I would normally welcome in a book but it was nicely written, not overly sweet and romantic, set in as a part of life events more than a point of focus in itself.

Has the book earned my usual 3  waterdrop-300px waterdrop-300px waterdrop-300px rain drops, pots of gold or rainbows? Yes, I think it has.

3 rain drops, pots of gold or rainbows rating:

waterdrop-300pxwaterdrop-300pxwaterdrop-300pxwaterdrop-300pxwaterdrop-300px – one of the best books I read

waterdrop-300pxwaterdrop-300pxwaterdrop-300pxwaterdrop-300px – charmed

waterdrop-300pxwaterdrop-300pxwaterdrop-300px – good read

waterdrop-300pxwaterdrop-300px – disappointed, I thought it was going to be better

waterdrop-300px – don’t waste your time

Happy New Year’s read

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“Hi Aneta
Many thanks for your very candid reviews of the books, glad you’re enjoying them and thank you for spreading the word. 
Best
Roisin”

As promised, here is about another book by Roisin Meaney. I just finished reading “Something in Common”.

At the start I was a bit disappointed. Not because I was expecting some magical sparkle, it wasn’t a Christmas read any more, but it seemed to have been missing something… I wanted to know more about the two main characters, Helen and Sarah, but as I was turning the pages I was getting an impression that their stories run separately to the rest of the word, hanging in some sort of a limbo. I wanted to see them interacting more with the outside world.

Yes, there was Alice, Helen’s daughter, unfortunately not bringing the book more to live until she reached her teenage years; There were the residents of the nursing home where Sarah got a job as a cook, and a handful of more people but still Helen-Sarah-Helen-Sarah… The two women were sending letters the each other and perhaps if it was just the letters for just that part of the book then the two sole dimensions wouldn’t bother me.

I could see how Sarah’s and Helen’s personalities were purposely drawn to be strikingly different for contrast (I much more prefer when such crafts are put in place by the writer in a much subtler way) but I agreed to let it go and kept on reading. I don’t like giving up and I liked the ease the text was written with. It doesn’t necessarily has to be a quick read for me, I am up for challenges, but nowadays with my little baba pulling at my hair, banging his wooden blocks, having a concentration span of five minutes on average and constantly looking for more stimuli, I do not mind an easy read.

Progressively it got better though. The individuals grew on me, I started liking them more and more, and that’s also how a story gets you, isn’t it? I remember being a young reader and getting used to the characters so much that I actually missed them each time I put the book down… It was interesting to see how the time was passing by, Ireland changing in the background, Helen, Sarah, Alice and the others all growing older and maturing.

R. Meaney shows how life’s events change people. I think that’s her strength as a writer. Helen in this book, and Laura in one that I read previously by the author “I’ll be home for Christmas”, are the prime examples. Whether they turned out for better or worse is for you to judge but certainly neither Helen nor Laura would have been who they had become if their lives took different paths or if they encountered different people.

When the ending was approaching I was afraid that, as it happens so often, it will be rushed and therefore out of proportion, not in pace with the rest of the text – it was beginning to seem that way, but the plot took a twist which has enriched it. I don’t want to give away too much, I don’t want to spoil it for you.

What did Helen and Sarah have in common then, if anything, one may ask? I believe it was their honesty that connected them. Although Helen’s words were sharp as a blade while Sarah wouldn’t dream of offending anyone, both women were pretty straight forward with the people around them and refused to live a lie. Why don’t you meet them for yourself and see if they will leave a mark on your life. Even fictional books can teach us something.

 3snoflake-300px.png snoflake-300px.pngsnoflake-300px.pngsnowflakes, stars or blobs… it deserved, I believe.

snowflakes, stars or blobs rating

 snoflake-300px.pngsnoflake-300px.pngsnoflake-300px.pngsnoflake-300px.pngsnoflake-300px.png– one of the best books I read

snoflake-300px.pngsnoflake-300px.pngsnoflake-300px.pngsnoflake-300px.png– charmed

snoflake-300px.pngsnoflake-300px.pngsnoflake-300px.png– good read

snoflake-300px.pngsnoflake-300px.png– disappointed, I thought it was going to be better

snoflake-300px.png – don’t waste your time

What was my Christmas read last year?

imag1382         illbehomeforchristmas

What are you looking for in a Christmas time read? For me it’s warmth. The kind of warmth that the twinkling lights on a tree and a child’s smile can give. I don’t expect much in the sense of a literary craftsmanship for the occasion, although a badly written book can put me off even around that time.

Reading “I’ll be home for Christmas” by Roisin Meaney was like being wrapped in a warm blanket and sat in front of a roaring fire with a cup of hot chocolate in my hands. Funny enough, it wasn’t a cosy read, no decorating the tree or baking cakes for the main character. To the contrary, what can be more unsettling than being stranded in the airport hundreds of miles from home just before Christmas? What brings the comforting feeling into the book are the amazing characters. Not sugar coated but each with a set of their own problems and yet still eager to help others and bring them joy. Yes, this is the time of the year when you do want and need to believe in the goodness in people. Might be a bit unbelievable but Christmas is a magical time and so is the little island off the Irish coast where the book is set. I did enjoy the Irish scenery – the raw countryside, untamed sea, the piercing wind. Despite its harsh weather conditions the remoteness and isolation of the welcoming island made an attractive place to escape to in your imagination.

Overall a good Christmas read for people who are willing to let a little bit of magic in, but I suppose if you are looking for a Christmas holiday read you must be open to it. Yes, you might be a cynic on a bad day, and may not believe in so much kindness in the word but I hope you do, at least when it’s Christmas time, when we all want to be kids again and believe in Santa and forget our everyday worries, for a little while at least.

I know it’s not Christmas anymore and I don’t particularly enjoy being reminded that it’s already gone and that the next one is far away but I needed the introduction. The book encouraged me to buy another of R. Meaney’s books, two even (found them at a good price as e-books, just a click away, couldn’t resist. Me, who used to overthink every purchase, now so hasty… Not enough time on my hands now – having a baby can be exhilarating in that way. Then again, how wrong can you get when purchasing two books for under a tenner, especially when you already read something by the author and enjoyed it, eh?).

I would give the book 3 baubles  RGB-Christmas-Ornaments-300px.pngor stars or hearts…

I shall return with a review of another R. Meaney’s book, as soon as I finish reading it.

baubles, stars or hearts rating

patternedbauble6b-300px patternedbauble6b-300px patternedbauble6b-300px patternedbauble6b-300px patternedbauble6b-300px – one of the best books I read

patternedbauble6b-300px patternedbauble6b-300px patternedbauble6b-300px patternedbauble6b-300px– charmed

patternedbauble6b-300px patternedbauble6b-300px patternedbauble6b-300px   – good read

patternedbauble6b-300px patternedbauble6b-300px  – disappointed, thought it was going to be better

patternedbauble6b-300px – don’t waste your time