Friday, 29 January 2016

A parcel for Anna Browne - Miranda Dickinson


Tuesday, 19 January 2016

The Bette Davis Club - Jane Lotter

The morning of her niece’s wedding, Margo Just drinks a double martini and contemplates the many mistakes she’s made in her fifty-odd years of life. Spending three decades in love with a wonderful but unattainable man is pretty high up on her list of missteps, as is a long line of unsuccessful love affairs accompanied by a seemingly endless supply of delicious cocktails.
When the young bride flees—taking with her a family heirloom and leaving behind six hundred bewildered guests—her mother offers Margo fifty grand to retrieve her spoiled brat of a daughter and the invaluable property she stole. So, together with the bride’s jilted and justifiably crabby fiancĂ©, Margo sets out in a borrowed 1955 red MG on a cross-country chase. Along the way, none of what she discovers will be quite what she expected. But it might be exactly what she’s been seeking all along.

I was drawn to this book by the title and the fact that for once the main character was in my age bracket.
I wasn't sure when I began to read it  that I was going to like this book or even want to finish reading it. I kept on with it and wondered when the title of the book "The Bette Davis Club" was going to become apparent.
Then something happened - and I started to love this book. It has so many different levels to it and so many other facets than those in the synopsis. I think my turning point was when Margo pitched up in the middle of a Women's golfing tournament combined with a lesbian convention! Margo also becomes a rather clever sleuth which I loved.
The book could be seen as a light hearted one, but I felt there were some very serious subjects being broached just beneath the surface, and you could chose whether to contemplate them or just staying floating above.
Although the book did the "flipping back to past" thing - for once I was glad it did. Margo became a different person in my eyes once you saw where she had come from, and glimpsing the past that had shaped her and her friend Dottie.
Just to say that the Bette Davis Club does get explained - but don't count the pages - it takes some time to get to. 
It is sad that the author is no longer with us, I am sure she would have written some more wonderful books.
I'm giving this book 4 out of 5 stars.
My thanks go to Netgalley for a free ecopy of this book to review.

Monday, 18 January 2016

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend Blog Tour

The International Bestseller. 
Once you let a book into your life, the most unexpected things can happen...
Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who travelled all the way from Sweden just to meet her pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds that Amy's funeral has just ended. Luckily, the townspeople are happy to look after their bewildered tourist—even if they don't understand her peculiar need for books. Marooned in a farm town that's almost beyond repair, Sara starts a bookstore in honor of her friend's memory. All she wants is to share the books she loves with the citizens of Broken Wheel and to convince them that reading is one of the great joys of life. But she makes some unconventional choices that could force a lot of secrets into the open and change things for everyone in town. Reminiscent of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, this is a warm, witty book about friendship, stories, and love.

I'm so pleased to be part of the blog tour for this book. There is also a rafflecopter to win a copy of the book - just scroll down to find and enter.

First off I just want to say that this book is utterly enchanting - I just loved it. If you love books, I feel sure you will love this book. Being within its pages is a little like being in a library and meeting old friends. The author cites so many books that I had read, and also went on to have the same opinion of them. This really was just a bonus to the actual story that unfolds.

For me I also loved when Sara created the different bookshelves in the shop and the books she chose for them, then to spy what the visitors to the store looked at or bought.

There seems to me to be something about books translated from Swedish - the tone of the writing has a lilt all of its own and one I recognised from other books by Swedish authors. The writing is so gentle and soothing that it just carries you along.

When you read the synopsis you may feel it is strange that Sara is in essence adopted by the town of Broken Wheel, Iowa - but once you start reading you find Sara is just so endearing.

At times I saw similarities with the TV series Northern Exposure - we get to meet the different characters and find they may not be what they first seem. A little quirky but very addictive.

I'm giving this book 5 out of 5 stars for the share originality of it. I am often in awe of how writers come up with a plot for a book. There are many book formulas to choose from and so of course some become a bit generic, but I promise you - you won't have read a book quite like this before.

I'm hoping there will be a sequel - there is so much more that can happen in Broken Wheel, Iowa.

My thanks go to Netgalley for allowing me a review e copy of this book.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Readers, recommend your Bookstore!

Sourcebooks Launches Reader Voting Campaign to Grant Money to Community Bookstores

NAPERVILLE IL (January 5, 2016) — Independent publisher Sourcebooks announces the “Readers, Recommend Your Bookstore” campaign, which will give grant money to three nominated bookstores. The “Readers, Recommend Your Bookstore Campaign” is inspired by the phenomenal support booksellers have given The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald, which was selected as the #1 Indie Next Great Read for January 2016

Katarina Bivald’s international bestselling debut novel, The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, is a charming, big-hearted story about the joy of books and the transformative power of community bookstores. 

“Bookstores are the heart and soul of their community and have enormous impact on readers’ lives,” said Dominique Raccah, founder and CEO of Sourcebooks. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend inspired us to create a campaign that will not only give back to a few deserving bookstores, but hopefully highlight all the many wonderful bookstores that service communities across the country.”

Anyone can nominate their favorite bookstore at Sourcebooks will award the winning bookstore with a $3,000 prize; two additional bookstores will each receive a $637 prize (the population of Bivald’s fictional Broken Wheel, Iowa). In addition to bookstores receiving prizes, weekly giveaways for those who nominate will be held throughout the campaign. Voting began January 4, and runs until February 19, when the winning bookstores will be announced.

Monday, 4 January 2016

The Five Times I Met Myself - James L Rubart

Image result for the five times i met myself

What if you met your twenty-three year old self in a dream? What would you say?
Brock Matthews' once promising life is unraveling. His coffee company. His marriage.
So when he discovers his vivid dreams—where he encounters his younger self—might let him change his past mistakes, he jumps at the chance. The results are astonishing, but also disturbing.
Because getting what Brock wants most in the world will force him to give up the one thing he doesn't know how to let go of . . . and his greatest fear is it's already too late.

I love time travel books and although strictly this isn't one - that was why I was attracted to it, it's the thought that if you had the chance to go back and maybe change past mistakes, would you?

Brock uses something called "Lucid dreaming" to meet his younger self with amazing results. I loved all the 1980s references and how well the author captured what you might well say to someone who purported to be you from the future. 

The books draws it's own similarities with the Back to the Future films - but for me this was a lot like Ken Grimwood's Replay and the lucid dreaming, well I think that was done very well by the master Jack Finney in his Time and again books. 

I think the author handled the different timelines very well and the present day Brock's reaction to them. It was at times difficult to keep apace with the different changes and what had happened. But a little like Groundhog day, I got to expect the unexpected when Brock woke up each time. It also made me think that if he was going to be stuck in one of these new realities, how was he going to cope, when he knew so little about what had happened to him in the past.

I thought the ending was clever and not one I guessed hard to do as I think I maybe am too hard a critic having read so many time travel books. To give another comparison, the film It's a Wonderful Life was also going through my mind at this point. The one difference I think the author has is the links he makes to this being God's work. The religious side isn't too heavy, but steer clear if that really isn't your sort of thing.

I've drawn lots of comparisons in this review - for me that's not a bad thing, as all those books/films are ones I enjoy.

I'm giving this book 4 out of 5 stars and my thanks go to Netgalley for a free ecopy of the book to review.