Thursday, 31 May 2012

Orange Prize for Fiction 2012...


The Orange Prize Winner 2012 is Announced

Madeline Miller


with


The Song of Achilles


The Song of Achilles


The Orange prize for Fiction is a prestigious award granted to a female author writing in English.

The Song of Achilles is Madeline Miller's debut novel, she was was delighted to be given this award and £300,000 prize money at a glittering reception on 30 May 2012, in London's Royal Festival Hall. 


Synopsis from Goodreads

Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia. Here he is just another unwanted boy living in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles. Yet one day, Achilles takes the shamed prince under his wing. As they grow into young men their bond blossoms into something far deeper — despite the displeasure of Achilles's mother. When word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, the men of Greece are called upon to lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows Achilles into war, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they have learned. 







Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Wishlist Wednesday..


I am delighted to be part of wishlist Wednesday which is hosted by Dani at pen to paper

 




The idea is to post about one book each week that has been on your wishlist for some time, or maybe just added.

So what do you need to do to join in?

Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.

Pick a book from your wishlist that you are dying to get to put on your shelves.

Do a post telling your readers about the book and why it's on your wishlist.

Add your blog to the linky at the bottom of her post.

Put a link back to pen to paper (http://vogue-pentopaper.blogspot.com) somewhere in your post.



My Wishlist Wednesday book this week is the eagerly anticipated second book in the Frieda Klein series by Nicci French



Tuesday's Gone

by 

Nicci French


Tuesday's Gone
Michael Joseph (19 July 2012)





Synopsis

Sometimes the mind is a dangerous place to hide.

The rotting, naked corpse of a man is found amidst swarms of flies in the living room of a confused woman. Who is he? Why is Michelle Doyce trying to serve him afternoon tea? And how did the dead body find its way into her flat?

DCI Karlsson needs an expert to delve inside Michelle's mind for answers and turns to former colleague, psychiatrist Frieda Klein. Eventually Michelle's ramblings lead to a vital clue that in turn leads to a possible identity. Robert Poole. Jack of all trades and master conman.

The deeper Frieda and Karlsson dig, the more of Poole's victims they encounter ... and the more motives they uncover for his murder. But is anyone telling them the truth except for poor, confused Michelle?

And when the past returns to haunt Frieda's present, she finds herself in danger. Whoever set out to destroy Poole also seems determined to destroy Frieda Klein.

A gritty heroine, a gruesome crime and a terrifying hunt for a psychotic killer, Tuesday's Gone is not to be missed by fans of psychological thrillers.



Nicci French is the husband and wife partnership of Nicci Gerard and Sean French, they are collectively the authors of several crime thrillers.


Frieda Klein series  #1 Blue Monday (2011) Blue Monday (Frieda Klein, #1)












Monday, 28 May 2012

Review - The Love Book by Fiona O'Brien

Three Women
Three wishes
One Life Changing Book

The Love Book

by

Fiona O'Brien


The Love Book by Fiona O'brien
Hodder (16 Feb 2012)


My Review 5*****

Vronnie, Diana and Abby meet as twelve year olds at a boarding school in County Wicklow. Their friendship blossoms, they share their hopes and fears for the future, even to recording their love petitions in St Valentine's love book. They agree to always keep in touch with each other, and arrange to meet up whenever they can on, or around St Valentine's Day.
But change comes with adulthood, and Vronnie leaves her friends and family in order to find her own way, whilst Diana and Abby stay behind in Ireland, and become consumed in motherhood,  family and business.
Years later, the three women meet again, their lives have altered course several times, but underneath it all the spirit of their friendship shines through.
Diana, the most brittle of the three is facing some hard decisions about her life. 
Abby , the home-maker realises that she is in danger of losing all she holds dear.
And Vronnie, the most vulnerable of the three women needs to confront her hidden demons before she can make peace with her soul.
All three women need to have some semblance of balance in their lives, and as they meet again, what shines through is their love and support for each other.

This is a lovely heart warming story about the power of female friendship and the overwhelming need we all have for love, acceptance and peace of mind.

Written in the style of Cathy Kelly, Patricia Scanlon and Sheila O'Flanagan, this is a story to warm your heart. 

This is the first book I have read by Fiona O' Brien - I am already looking to read her previous books.

  • Charity
  • Sold
  • None of My Affair
  • No Reservations
  • Without Him

CharitySoldNone of My AffairNo ReservationsWithout Him


Sunday, 27 May 2012

Review -Stay Close by Harlan Coben


My Thanks to Real Readers for a copy of this book to read and review


Stay Close 

by

Harlan Coben

Stay Close
March 29th 2012 by Orion




My Review 5*****


Promise me you'll stay close © Harlan Coben


Megan is a suburban mother with a secret, Ray is a talented photographer down on his luck, and Jack is a detective who can’t shake off the events of the past. These three characters and their intertwined story form the basis of this cleverly constructed psychological thriller. A local man disappeared seventeen years ago, and when something very similar happens again, it unleashes a whole series of events which would have been better left undisturbed.

This is the first Harlan Coben book I have read, so I can’t compare it to any of his other work, but for me this book worked on several levels. The story gets off to a cracking good start; I wanted to keep turning the pages to find out just a little bit more. There is great attention to detail,  all the characters are finely drawn and believable, and the added inclusion of some psychologically damaged and terrifying individuals adds an interesting touch of menace to a compelling storyline. There is inferred violence which is integral to the success of the plot, but the brutality is never overly graphic, or gratuitous.

Harlan Coben is a master story teller, his writing skill is apparent in the way he carefully choreographs the action, the tension builds slowly, and the ending when it comes is entirely unexpected.

Stay Close is a great stand alone read, and a perfect introduction to the work of this talented author.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Through my Letterbox today..

I am delighted that a copy of this book popped through my letterbox today.


The Forrests

 by

 Emily Perkins




 My thanks to sneekpeek at Bloomsbury for sending me a copy of the book.



Synopsis from Bloomsbury

Dorothy Forrest is immersed in the sensory world around her; she lives in the flickering moment. From the age of seven, when her odd, disenfranchised family moves from New York City to the wide skies of Auckland, to the very end of her life, this is her great gift and possible misfortune.

Through the wilderness of a commune, to falling in love, to early marriage and motherhood, from the glorious anguish of parenting to the loss of everything worked for and the unexpected return of love, Dorothy is swept along by time. Her family looms and recedes; revelations come to light; death changes everything, but somehow life remains as potent as it ever was, and the joy in just being won't let her go.

In a narrative that shifts and moves, growing as wild as the characters, The Forrests is an extraordinary literary achievement. A novel that sings with colour and memory, it speaks of family and time, dysfunction, ageing and loneliness, about heat, youth, and how life can change if 'you're lucky enough to be around for it'.

Will add my own  review soon.

Beautiful Blogger Award...



Jaffareadstoo is delighted to receive a Beautiful Blogger Award 



Every so often when you are trawling through your email inbox collection of offers, sales and spam, you come across something wonderful.


This week I found out that I have been nominated for a Beautiful Blogger Award by

Lindsay at The Little Reader Library.


Thank you so much Lindsay. Jaffa and I are delighted to be nominated, we are so pleased that people enjoy reading our blog !


When you're nominated:

· You write seven facts about yourself

· You link to the blog of the person who nominated you

· You link to seven bloggers whom you think deserve the award

· You let those bloggers know they have been nominated


Here are my seven facts:


1. I love Cats

2. I love donkeys

3. I love my garden

4. I enjoy knitting quirky bags and blankies

5. I love walks in the countryside

6. I would love to own a book store

7. I would like to read faster, then I could get through my tbr shelves !



Here are seven more bloggers I am passing the award on to:


1. Booketta’s Book Blog - always so supportive and has great Guest Blogger of the Month interview..

2. Random things through my Letter box - One of my risi buddies, she has some great book reviews..

3. Pen to Paper - The host of the Wishlist Wednesday and Friday Recommended memes..

4. Sarah’s book reviews - A great place to find interesting books to read..

5. Chocolate Chunky Monkey - A great place for book reviews and giveaways..

6. Dizzy C's Little Book Blog - A place for great book reviews and competitions..

7. Beadyjan’s Bookshelf - A place for great book reviews..







Friday, 25 May 2012

Friday Recommends...


Friday again, and it's time for my choice of book for Friday recommends...







This is an exciting book blog hop that book bloggers can take part in once a week to share with their followers, the books that they most recommend reading!

The rules for Friday Recommends are:

Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.
Pick a book that you've read, and have enjoyed enough to recommend to other readers. It can be a book you've read recently, or a book you read years ago - it's up to you - but make sure you tell us why you love the book (like a mini review). You make the post as long or as short as you like.
Visit the other blogs and enjoy!





My thanks to NetGalley and St Martin’s Press/ Minotaur Books for a pre-publication galley edition.


I am delighted to highlight the latest book of one of my favourite authors



Dead Scared

by 

S J Bolton

Dead Scared
Published St Martin's Press - 5 June 2012

My Review 5 *****

The suicide rate amongst young women students at Cambridge University is alarmingly high, and when DC Lacey Flint is sent undercover to break through the silence, she unleashes more terror than she could have imagined, and puts herself in grave danger.

This is the second psychological thriller in the DC Lacey Flint/DI Mark Joesbury series and is every bit as good, if not better, than the first book. There is the same fine attention to detail that S J Bolton does so well. The narrative is finely drawn, which combined with the author’s ability to build the tension, leads the reader to experience a myriad of emotions. There is high drama, there is terror on a grand scale, and there are enough twists and turns in the plot, to keep the reader guessing until the very last page. The ending when it comes, leaves the reader wanting more.....and more ...and more...

There’s always a risk with developing a new series of crime novels that the characters won’t endear themselves to the reading audience, but what has happened with the Flint/Joesbury combination is that the readers do care about them, and the underlying intrigue which surrounds their relationship is enough to sustain this interest through several more books.

S J Bolton is an undeniable talent; she has captured this niche in the crime market to perfection, I hope she will continue to enthral her readers for a very long time.




 This is the UK edition - Transworld 12 May 2012

Dead Scared

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Author Interview - Laura Harrington

Jaffa and I are delighted to introduce Laura Harrington, 

author of 

Alice Bliss

Photo by kind permission of Laura Harrington

Laura - welcome to Jaffareadstoo and thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer some of our questions.



Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I'm a playwright turned novelist. I've written plays, operas, musicals, radio plays and the occasional screenplay. My theater work has been produced across the US, in Canada, and in Europe. I turned to writing novels 3 years ago after winning a wonderful award (The Kleban Award for «most promising librettist in American musical theatre») that bought me 2 years of writing time. Oddly enough I found I didn't want to write another musical. Instead, I wanted to do something I 'd never done before. Perhaps just as importantly, I wanted to reconnect to the creative process and be a beginner again.


What inspired you to become an author?

I’d say that there were three primary things that inspired me to become an author.

1) My family. Many things have inspired me, no doubt, but you would have to include my mother’s influence. She was an avid reader who revered books and authors. Plus, I loved reading more than anything (except horses) growing up.

2) Desire. To be honest, I’ve always wanted to be a writer, since I was a little kid. But I avoided writing all through college and beyond because I was afraid to fail at my lifelong dream. Finally, after working and travelling for a few years, I decided that I needed to find out one way or the other. I borrowed some money (not much) and went to grad school. I thought – this will buy me two years to write and by the end of that time I’ll know two things – do I have any potential? 
And is this what I actually love to do.

3) The need to tell stories.


Are you a disciplined author?

I am a disciplined author, but I’m saying that on a morning where I’ve answered emails, made a new board on Pinterest so that I can talk about images for a book trailer with a young woman who is creating one for me, ordered books, and posted some news on Facebook. I will be printing out my current work in progress today and reading it as I prepare to look at plot and begin to outline and structure the book more tightly.

I've been writing for 25 years and I have created at least one full-length play or musical or opera every year. My output is slowing down a bit now that I’m writing novels as well, but that’s to be expected. I think that one of the things most writers struggle with is the amount of dream time that’s necessary to writing. And dream time does not usually appear “productive.” Of course, there would be no writing without it.


Where do you write?

In the winter I follow the sun around my house with my laptop. Lately I’ve begun to feel that I spend too much time at the computer, so I am returning to writing longhand. (I used to write all first drafts longhand.) What I love about longhand is that I can take my notebook anywhere. In the thick of a project, you will find me pulling over when I’m driving to get something down, or stopping during a walk to find something to write on.


 What gave you the inspiration for your debut novel -Alice Bliss?

My anger and grief over years of war inspired me to write this book. I was compelled to ask this question: How can I write about the hidden costs of war? How can I write about this issue that I care so intensely about, and make it palatable to readers? Whose experience is most hidden from us? Whose story have we not heard, who is most invisible? And the answer was the families and the children who are left behind.

If we open our minds and our hearts to the human costs of war (independent of the political and financial costs) and allow ourselves to experience that emotional trauma, maybe we will begin to connect the dots and see the relationship between our actions and suffering, both at home and abroad.

I have the optimism that our tolerance for war can be changed one person at a time, one reader at a time, one 15-year-old girl like Alice Bliss at a time.

If I can put the war in your lap, in the pages of a book, in the voice of a girl who is desperately misses her father who is serving in Iraq; perhaps a seed can be planted. A seed of hope, a seed of change. 



What comes first, the people or the plot, and do you like the people you have created?

Characters almost always come first for me. I discover a story through their voices. Once I find their voices, their stories begin to reveal themselves. I also have a story in mind as I begin to write. I have a general “feel” for the story and I know where I’m headed, even if I don’t know exactly how I’m going to get there. A bit later on in the process, when I’m nearing the end of the first draft, I stop and take a really tough look at story/ plot/ events and really begin to structure everything.
I love my characters. I especially love their flaws.


The subject of military loss is very sensitive – how did you research such a sensitive subject? 


I read soldiers’ blogs from Iraq. And I read every book about the Iraq war that I could get my hands on.

In addition, my own family was blown apart by war and it’s something we rarely, if ever, talk about. My father returned from WWII and suffered from what was then called battle fatigue. My mother said, “The fellow I married didn’t come home.” In 1966, both of my brothers enlisted in the Air Force, one out of high school, one out of college. One went to Viet Nam, the other worked with NORAD. My parents were both grieving during those 4 years, as was much of the nation. Those were dark times. And nothing was ever the same again. Our family, as I knew it, was gone; my brothers were both changed by their experiences, and in a chain reaction, all of our relationships were interrupted, and some damaged beyond repair.


The UK cover is very poignant - how much influence do you have on cover design?
I love the luminosity of the UK cover. Picador was kind enough to ask for my approval of the cover, but we did not have lengthy design discussions.


Do you write books for yourself, or other people? 


What an interesting question! In the theatre your audience is always present in your mind; but at the same time, I find that I can only write about what I am truly obsessed with. One of the things that I loved about writing my first book is that I was not worried about my audience. I felt deliciously free of all practical constraints. At the same time, I knew that I wanted to write something that was very universal, and that would appeal to a wide readership. So, I guess my answer is both.


Can you tell us about any future writing projects?

My next novel starts with water, as Alice Bliss does. There's a large Irish Catholic family with 6 kids. It's 1966 and the Viet Nam war changes everything.



Jaffa and I are delighted to hear that Alice Bliss has been chosen as one of the Richard and Judy Summer 2012 reads. 

Published by Picador 


We wish you continued success in your writing career.




**My review of Alice Bliss**

Matt Bliss is a reservist in the American army, and when he is called to fight in Iraq, he tries to prepare his family for the possibility of life without him. Alice Bliss is fifteen; she idolises her father, loves dancing with him, and plans their garden with him, and with great awareness she tries to keep from imagining a life without him. With wisdom beyond her years, Alice tries to keep her family together without the presence of the father she adores.

The story begins rather slowly, we get to know Alice and her family, we laugh with them, and ultimately we cry with them. There are some lovely characters interspersed within the story, Gram, Henry and Uncle Eddie, all add richness to the text, and help lighten the gloom. When the family get the news that Matt is missing in action, the story really begins to evolve into a perceptive analysis of love and loss.

Overall, I thought that the story was quite nicely written, as with quiet dignity Laura Harrington has managed to explore the sensitive topic of military loss in a tender and realistic way. There are some beautiful one-liners within the narrative which will stay with me for a long time.

I enjoyed reading it and will recommend it to my friends.


 

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Wishlist Wednesday...


I am delighted to be part of wishlist Wednesday which is hosted by Dani at pen to paper

 




The idea is to post about one book each week that has been on your wishlist for some time, or maybe just added.

So what do you need to do to join in?

Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.

Pick a book from your wishlist that you are dying to get to put on your shelves.

Do a post telling your readers about the book and why it's on your wishlist.

Add your blog to the linky at the bottom of her post.

Put a link back to pen to paper (http://vogue-pentopaper.blogspot.com) somewhere in your post.

My Wishlist Wednesday book

is

Crooked letter, Crooked Letter

by

Tom Franklin


Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter
William Morrow & Company (5 Oct 2010)





Synopsis from Goodreads




Now the Edgar Award-winning author returns with his most accomplished and resonant novel so far—an atmospheric drama set in rural Mississippi. In the late 1970s, Larry Ott and Silas "32" Jones were boyhood pals. Their worlds were as different as night and day: Larry, the child of lower-middle-class white parents, and Silas, the son of a poor, single black mother. Yet for a few months the boys stepped outside of their circumstances and shared a special bond. But then tragedy struck: Larry took a girl on a date to a drive-in movie, and she was never heard from again. She was never found and Larry never confessed, but all eyes rested on him as the culprit. The incident shook the county—and perhaps Silas most of all. His friendship with Larry was broken, and then Silas left town.


More than twenty years have passed. Larry, a mechanic, lives a solitary existence, never able to rise above the whispers of suspicion. Silas has returned as a constable. He and Larry have no reason to cross paths until another girl disappears and Larry is blamed again. And now the two men who once called each other friend are forced to confront the past they've buried and ignored for decades.


I'm not really sure where I first read the review for this book, but the title intrigued me and its been lingering on one of my wish lists for quite some time.


Maybe I'll read it one day soon !

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Review - Abdication by Juliet Nicolson

My thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster (Atria Books) for an advance e-copy to review.


Abdication by Juliet Nicolson


Publisher: Atria Books (May 22, 2012) 





England, 1936, and George V has died, leaving the English throne to his eldest son, Edward VIII.

When nineteen year old May Thomas arrives in England from her home on a sugar plantation in Barbados, she finds a world very different from the one she has left behind. Whilst boarding with relatives in the east end of London, May is offered the opportunity of becoming secretary and chauffeur to Sir Philip Blount. This position will take her into the upper classes of English high society and offers a tantalising glimpse into the world of the new king, and his married mistress, Wallis Simpson.

Evangeline Nettlefold is a girlhood friend of Wallis Simpson, and when she is invited to London to stay with her godmother, Lady Blount, she becomes involved in the scandalous love affair between Wallis and Edward.

Julian Richardson, is an idealistic young man who, when caught between the world he knows, and his philanthropic belief in helping those less fortunate than himself, will endeavour to make sense of a King who is torn between love and duty. Unwittingly, May gets drawn into events, and her deepening friendship with Julian Richardson adds extra interest to the story.

On the whole, I enjoyed Abdication. Juliet Nicholson’s debut novel has captured the pre-war era of the troubled reign of Edward VIII very well. There is fine attention to detail, her historical accuracy is commendable, and the decadent and slightly risquΓ© world of the English upper classes is explored with great effect. The overall theme of forbidden love, and the shocking events that led to the abdication of Edward VIII makes for fascinating reading.

This would appeal to anyone who enjoys historical fiction set in the grand houses and upper echelons of pre-war English society.

4****


Saturday, 19 May 2012

How fast can you read..

One of my book friends posted a link to this astonishing reading test. 

Do have a try - it's great fun






ereader test
Source: Staples eReader Department



My results

I read 186 words in 21 seconds

That's 516 words per minute

Which is 108% faster than average

and I could read War and Peace in 18hours and 52 minutes.

Give it a try - post your results below ....

Have Fun !!

Friday, 18 May 2012

Friday Recommends


Friday again, and it's time for my choice of book for Friday recommends...







This is an exciting book blog hop that book bloggers can take part in once a week to share with their followers, the books that they most recommend reading!

The rules for Friday Recommends are:

Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.
Pick a book that you've read, and have enjoyed enough to recommend to other readers. It can be a book you've read recently, or a book you read years ago - it's up to you - but make sure you tell us why you love the book (like a mini review). You make the post as long or as short as you like.
Visit the other blogs and enjoy!


My Friday recommended read this week is a book I featured on wishlist Wednesday back in January.

My thanks to NetGalley for an advance e-copy of this book to review on behalf of Random House.



Next to Love

by

Ellen Feldman

Add caption



My 5***** Review

In a small town in Massachusetts, three women, Grace, Babe and Millie are bonded by friendship. Together they share the minutiae their lives, and find comfort in shared intimacies, and security in the warmth of familiarity.

However, war is looming and when the US involvement in WW2, takes away their young men, the women must learn to function in a very different world. Grace working in the telegraph office greets bad news every day, but can never prepare herself for the effect of loss on a large scale. Millie and Babe, both young mothers, must learn to accept what fate holds in store for them, as each of them face some hard choices in the difficult times ahead. As some of the men return from the battle fields of Europe, the women must relinquish their independence, but subservience is a price too high to pay for some of the women.

Cleverly divided into distinct sections and spanning the years 1944 - 1964, this beautifully written story captures your imagination from the very beginning, the richness of the narrative captures the warmth of friendship, but never fails to address the darker issues involved in racial conflict and civil unrest.

The overall theme of endurance in the face of adversity is expertly explored, and the story, in the hands of such a talented and committed writer, is a joy to read. 



There are several covers available for this book

Next to Love by Ellen Feldman Next to Love: A Novel Next to Love

Ellen Feldman is the author of several books and lives in New York

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Review- Her Highness, the Traitor by Susan Higginbotham

My thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmarks for an advance digital copy to read and review.

Her Highness, the Traitor by Susan Higginbotham


The complicated complexity of Tudor England is well described in this fictional account of the rise in power of two very different families. In the aftermath of King Henry VIII’s death, and with his nine year old son Edward on the throne of England, there is great opportunity for personal advancement. Two families close to the throne will take advantage of the new King’s vulnerability. Jane Dudley is a married to an ambitious man who will stop at nothing to gain power, whilst Frances Grey, cousin to the new King of England, is aware that she sits very close to the throne, and yet it is her daughter Jane, who is destined to be Queen of England.

Much has been written about the ill-fated nine day rule of Lady Jane Grey, but what was interesting was the attention to the detail behind the plot, and the involvement of two very different families and the role they each played in this tragic historical event.

This well researched historical novel is written in a light and easy style, which conveys a real sense of the past. The chapters are nicely divided into the voice of different characters; I found it interesting to observe the story from different perspectives.

This is my first Susan Higginbotham novel, and I look forward to more of her historical narratives. Overall, I thought it was a good historical read, and I am happy to give the book a 4**** star review.

Book to be published in the US 1 June 2012

Book to be published in the UK 29 June 2012

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Wishlist Wednesday


I am delighted to be part of wishlist Wednesday which is hosted by Dani at pen to paper

 




The idea is to post about one book each week that has been on your wishlist for some time, or maybe just added.

So what do you need to do to join in?

Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.

Pick a book from your wishlist that you are dying to get to put on your shelves.

Do a post telling your readers about the book and why it's on your wishlist.

Add your blog to the linky at the bottom of her post.

Put a link back to pen to paper (http://vogue-pentopaper.blogspot.com) somewhere in your post.


My Wishlist Wednesday Book 
is 
Peaches for Monsieur Le Cure
by
Joanne Harris


Peaches for Monsieur le CurΓ© (Chocolat 3)
Doubleday (24 May 2012)

I enjoyed Chocolat and Lollipop Shoes and am excited to think that the story of Vianne Rocher continues in this third book in the Chocolat series of books by English author, Joanne Harris.

In Peaches for Monsieur Le Cure, four years have elapsed and Vianne and  Roux are still living in Paris, Anouk is fifteen and on the brink of womanhood, whilst eight year old Rosette faces her own challenges.
But the Summer wind calls them back to Lansquenet....and the story continues.

Can't wait for publication day....

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Review - Shelter by Frances Greenslade



My rating: 4 of 5 stars

jaffa's rating 4 paws - he loved the cat called Cinnamon !






Maggie and Jenny share a home with their parents in Duchess Creek, British Columbia. Maggie, the tomboy rides through the rural landscape with her father, learns to make a shelter from fallen logs and runs wild in the forest with her cat, Cinnamon. When double tragedy strikes, the girls are left to fend for themselves, but Maggie, always the more resilient of the two, remembers her father’s instructions on how to look after herself, and her sister.
Maggie is an authoritative heroine, and is the real star of this beautifully written coming of age novel. With the wild and raw scenery of British Columbia as the backdrop, we witness a powerful story of love, loss and the power of redemption.
This beautifully written story invokes the splendour of wild, open skies, the insecurity of loss, and the oppressive nature of two girls caught up in emotional turmoil. I really enjoyed it.

My thanks to NetGalley for an advance e-copy to review on behalf of Simon and Schuster Inc (Free Press)

Jaffa and I are delighted to have been mentioned by Frances Greenslade on her website and wish her continued success with her writing career.



And the winner is ...

A big THANK YOU to you all for taking part in my blogoversary giveaway.


I'm delighted to say that the winner of my book goodie bag 
is

 Lindsay

at


Friday, 11 May 2012

Friday Recommends


Friday again, and it's time for my choice of book for Friday recommends...







This is an exciting book blog hop that book bloggers can take part in once a week to share with their followers, the books that they most recommend reading!

The rules for Friday Recommends are:

Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.
Pick a book that you've read, and have enjoyed enough to recommend to other readers. It can be a book you've read recently, or a book you read years ago - it's up to you - but make sure you tell us why you love the book (like a mini review). You make the post as long or as short as you like.
Visit the other blogs and enjoy!




My Friday recommended read this week

is

Ashenden

by

Elizabeth Wilhide

My thanks to Newbooks for an advance reading copy to review


Ashenden is the story of a house, and the people who made it grow and prosper, from its construction in 1775, by the architect, though to the present day occupiers in 2010. The story is told as a fascinating social commentary, and as we watch events unfold, we see the house take centre stage.
I found the book interesting and informative; the author has paid great attention to detail, and has managed to convey a real sense of time and place. The timeline sequence which forms the main body of the narrative is divided into easily manageable sections, with each chapter having its own distinct historical appeal.
Overall, I think the book will appeal to historical fiction enthusiasts, and with the current popularity for social drama set in English Country Houses, I am sure this will satisfy those readers who enjoy good historical fiction.

This debut book will be published in June 2012 by Fig Tree, an imprint of Penguin


Ashenden
Fig Tree (28 Jun 2012)


Thursday, 10 May 2012

Exciting Stuff...

I've just popped over to Newbooks - The magazine for readers -  and am delighted to see that our review of The Map of Memories is the featured review...

Take a look 

Packshot of The Map of Lost Memories

Review - Where There's A Will by Michael Kerrigan

My thanks to Real Readers for a copy of Where There's A Will by Michael Kerrigan to read and review.




Saraband (17 May 2012)


From Amazon UK

Death is inevitable: we are all destined to shuffle off this mortal coil, kick the bucket, cease to be. Yet many of us choose to deal with our inescapable mortality with heads firmly stuck in the sand. But is ignorance really bliss? Perhaps if we prepare ourselves thoughtfully for death - whether it s our own or a loved one s - and take charge of our own affairs, we will be able to rest easier as the fat lady begins her final chorus? Where There s a Will guides you through all the emotional, financial, legal and practical issues that you need to consider. With a combination of constructive tips and thoughtful reflections on dying, death and bereavement, this book throws light on subjects that all too often remain taboo.


My Review 4****

As a nation, we seldom speak about death, we don’t even like to use the word, and have developed cosy euphemisms to cover our unease, and yet, with an ever aging population, the need for an instruction manual on how to cope with the reality of death is an invaluable asset.

This practical guide to putting your affairs in order is both informative and fascinating in equal measure. It attempts to cover all aspects of the dying process in an easy to read style, and is neither mawkish, nor sensationalist in the way it sets out the practicalities of death and dying. The chapters are divided into structured settings, and cover such diverse topics as, the instructional etiquette involved in having your name removed from social media websites and the closing down of online bank accounts, through to the music you want at your funeral and the inscription on your memorial headstone. For those who may be facing their own death, and who need to know the practicalities of the dying process, this book informs in a sensible and forthright manner. Likewise, middle aged children, who may have no experience of the dying process, and who, when faced with the loss of a beloved parent, may struggle to cope with the myriad of emotions involved in preparing a funeral.

The answers to so many questions, you never knew you needed to know, are all written somewhere in this informative book. I enjoyed reading it, and would recommend it as a practical and helpful guide.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Wishlist Wednesday..


I am delighted to be part of wishlist Wednesday which is hosted by Dani at pen to paper

 




The idea is to post about one book each week that has been on your wishlist for some time, or maybe just added.

So what do you need to do to join in?

Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.

Pick a book from your wishlist that you are dying to get to put on your shelves.

Do a post telling your readers about the book and why it's on your wishlist.

Add your blog to the linky at the bottom of her post.

Put a link back to pen to paper (http://vogue-pentopaper.blogspot.com) somewhere in your post.


My wishlist Wednesday book this week

 is 

Yesterday's Sun

by 

Amanda Brooke


Yesterday's Sun
Harper (2 Jan 2012)

From Amazon UK

A heart wrenching story for fans of Jodi Picoult, Susan Lewis and Katherine Webb.

How could you ever choose between your own life and the life of your child?
Newly-weds Holly and Tom have just moved into an old manor house in the picturesque English countryside. When Holly discovers a moondial in the overgrown garden and its strange crystal mechanism, little does she suspect that it will change her life forever. For the moondial has a curse.

Each full moon, Holly can see into the future – a future which holds Tom cradling their baby daughter, Libby, and mourning Holly’s death in childbirth…

Holly realises the moondial is offering her a desperate choice: give Tom the baby he has always wanted and sacrifice her own life; or save herself and erase the life of the daughter she has fallen in love with.


This book has received mixed reviews on some book website, some suggesting that the book is a  unbelievable, but sometimes its nice just to sink into your favourite armchair, open a packet of chocolate hobnobs and  escape into another world.

Moon dials that can see into the future - who knows  - I must read it and find out for myself !!

Happy Reading.


Monday, 7 May 2012

Blogoversary today...

Today Jaffareadstoo celebrates its first year blogoversary



Happy Blogoversary to us


Thank you for staying with us over the year and for reading and contributing to our book reviews.

As a little treat for our first blogoversary I am hosting a giveaway..


Enter to win ..
one of my hand made knittybags, a book mark and small blank notebook.





To enter this giveaway all you have to do is .....
  1. Please follow our blog  
  2. Leave a comment with your email address
  3. Giveaway closes Sunday 13th May 2012
  4. Winner will be picked at random
  5. Winner will be notified by email. If prize is unclaimed after 72 hours, I will choose another random winner.
  6. Am willing to post anywhere in the world.
  7. Jaffareadstoo has the final decision in any dispute.


Have fun !
And thanks for taking part in this giveaway.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Doing a Happy Dance...

A huge thank you to Simon and Schuster for sending a beautiful signed copy of Pomegranates and Roses by Ariana Bundy.....which I won in a Facebook competition.



Pomegranates and Roses: My Persian Family Recipes

There are some fabulous recipes and I shall have great fun trying out these delicious dishes.







Friday, 4 May 2012

Friday Recommends..


Friday again, and it's time for my choice of book for Friday recommends...







This is an exciting book blog hop that book bloggers can take part in once a week to share with their followers, the books that they most recommend reading!

The rules for Friday Recommends are:

Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.
Pick a book that you've read, and have enjoyed enough to recommend to other readers. It can be a book you've read recently, or a book you read years ago - it's up to you - but make sure you tell us why you love the book (like a mini review). You make the post as long or as short as you like.
Visit the other blogs and enjoy!



My Friday Recommended Read  

The King's Concubine

by

Anne O'Brien

My Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin UK (Mira) for an advance early reading digital copy

The King's Concubine: England's Most Scandalous Mistress
MIRA (4 May 2012)


My Review 5 *****


The King’s Concubine is set during reign of Edward III, and describes his relationship with his wife, Philippa of Hainault, and his mistress, Alice Perrers. Little is truly known about the life of Alice Perrers, and yet Anne O’Brien has woven a skilful and believable story about how, in the mid 1360’s, young Alice became one of the Queen’s waiting women. The way in which Alice colluded with Queen Philippa in order to begin a sexual relationship with the King, is described in a compassionate and romantic manner. The story quickly evolves into a sympathetic and warm account of an aging king and his love affair, not just with his astute young mistress, but also with his wife, and courtiers. The medieval court is beautifully described and is perfectly placed within the context of the story. There is much debate about Alice Perrers, and the influence she had on the aging King, she is often depicted as an avaricious, scheming harpy, or as a femme fatale, but in The King’s Concubine, Anne O’Brien has given a lighter and possibly more sympathetic view of this charismatic medieval mistress.

I enjoyed this version of Alice’s early life, and would definitely recommend this book to my friends who enjoy historical fiction by Philippa Gregory, Vanora Bennett and Emma Campion

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Wishlist Wednesday..


I am delighted to be part of wishlist Wednesday which is hosted by Dani at pen to paper

 




The idea is to post about one book each week that has been on your wishlist for some time, or maybe just added.

So what do you need to do to join in?

Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.

Pick a book from your wishlist that you are dying to get to put on your shelves.

Do a post telling your readers about the book and why it's on your wishlist.

Add your blog to the linky at the bottom of her post.

Put a link back to pen to paper (http://vogue-pentopaper.blogspot.com) somewhere in your post.



My wishlist Wednesday book
 is 
Changeling
by 
Philippa Gregory


Changeling
Simon & Schuster Childrens Books (24 May 2012)


From Amazon

The first book in the thrilling YA sequence, Order of Darkness. The year is 1453, and all signs point to it being the end of the world. Accused of heresy and expelled from his monastery, handsome seventeen-year-old, Luca Vero, is recruited by a mysterious stranger to record the end of times across Europe. Commanded by sealed orders, Luca is sent to map the fears of Christendom, and travel to the very frontier of good and evil. Seventeen-year-old Isolde, a Lady Abbess, is trapped in a nunnery to prevent her claiming her rich inheritance. As the nuns in her care are driven mad by strange visions, walking in their sleep, and showing bleeding wounds, Luca is sent to investigate and all the evidence points to Isolde's criminal guilt. Outside in the yard they are building a pyre to burn her for witchcraft. Forced to face the greatest fears of the medieval world - dark magic, werewolves, madness - Luca and Isolde embark on a search for truth, their own destinies, and even love as they take the unknown ways to the real historical figure who defends the boundaries of Christendom and holds the secrets of the Order of Darkness.


I'm really looking forward to reading this boo.k as it is Philippa Gregory's first venture in the teen fiction market, and I wonder how it will differ from her more adult inspired historical novels. I love the cover  and am sure it will be a great success.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Review - Another Time ,Another Life by Leif GW Persson

My Thanks to Lynsey at Transworld for a review copy.

book cover of 

Another Time, Another Life 

by

Leif G W Persson

Doubleday; First Edition edition (15 Mar 2012)


My Review 3 stars ***

This complicated crime thriller begins in 1975, with the Baader Meinhof storming of the West German Embassy in Sweden. Fourteen years later in 1989, a seemingly unrelated murder causes logicistical problems for Swedish detectives, Bo Jarnebring and Anna Holt. The novel then fast forwards to 1999, when Lars Johansson from the Swedish Security Police, in his endeavour to tie up some departmental loose ends, finds that there are links between all these historic events, and he enlists the help of detectives, Jarnebring and Holt, in an attempt to piece together all the jigsaw fragments of evidence.


Leif GW Persson is an established Scandinavian crime fiction writer and his ability to weave together a complicated plot is well recognised in his native country. However, I struggled to read this book, due in part to the often disorganised narrative, which I felt was something lacking in translation rather than bad writing. It took me a while to fully understand all the nuances of the story, and had to flip backwards and forwards in order to make sense of the plot.

The over complexity of both the plot, and characters made this a difficult book for me to read and enjoy.