Sunday, 15 May 2011

Weekly Reviews...

Well, well......I only started this blog last week and I have really enjoyed putting words to my thoughts - Jaffa and I have read 5 really good books this week...

Here's what we thought of them.....

The Hand That First Held MineThe Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O'Farrell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
jaffa's rating:5paws

Lexie and Innes - Ted and Elina - are very different people, living in different eras, yet each are bound together in a story that slowly unfolds with ultimate precision. Lexie and Innes try to make their way in 60's Bohemian London, whilst modern day Ted and Elina need to discover how to survive the exhaustion of new parenthood.

At first you don't quite know how the story will come together, but with Maggie O'Farrell's usual assurance, the gulf between these two worlds is bridged, with an ending that leaves you wanting more.

I devoured the book in a day or so - simply because I could't put it down - this is Maggie O'Farrell at her best.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
jaffa's rating: 4paws

When the tragedy of the Morecambe Bay cockle pickers hit the headlines in 2004, it caused a media furore. This account imagines what might have happened to a survivor of that horrific incident. Cockle picker Wen, is found washed up on Morecambe beach. His unlikely rescuer is alcoholic Angie, who is besieged by her own demons. Together, this unlikely couple begin to put each other back together again.
Wen's sister Lili believes him to be dead, and arrives in London in order to come to terms with his death, thus begins a catalogue of events that will have catastrophic consequences.
Told in a sympathetic manner, this story explores what it feels like to be a misplaced person, and how the overwhelming need for survival prevails, and that the power of love, however unlikely, will overcome all things.
I enjoyed this story and thought that Betsy Tobin captured the spirit perfectly, and brought some fascinating characters to life.

Blue MondayBlue Monday by Nicci French

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
jaffa's rating: 5paws

This tense, psychological thriller hits the ground running with a bleak tale of missing children. When similarities turn up in cases that are separated by twenty two years, the police are just as mystified as their predecessors at the lack of clues. It’s only when psychoanalyst Frieda Klein becomes suspicious, that alarm bells start to ring. What then follows is a tight psychological game between the perpetrator and the police.
There is an abundance of characters from the eccentric, to the downright creepy, all are seamlessly woven into the plot, and soon become an integral part of the story. Klein’s character is quirkily different, and at times she seems to be more of a hindrance to the police than a help, but her eccentricity is part of her charm , and this is certainly worth exploring in future novels, which I’m sure will follow this excellent start. The conclusion is well thought out, and definitely had the “oh, my goodness” factor. This is definitely one of those books that I shall recommend to my friends.

The Weight of SilenceThe Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
jaffa's rating: 4paws

Calli and Petra are best friends. When they go missing within hours of each other, their families assume foul play is the cause of their disappearance. However, the search for the girls uncovers much more than two missing children.
The characters are allowed their own voice in separate chapters, and each is a clever mixture of adult, and child. These accounts work well in order to draw all the strands of the story together.
Ultimately, the story is about the nuances of family life, and the secrets that can so easily just hover below the surface of normality.
I enjoyed it, and look forward to more by this author.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
jaffa's rating: 4paws

Vida is 19, and needs a new heart, otherwise she will die. When a donor heart becomes available - Vida takes her chance at a new life, only to find that she experiences thoughts and feelings that may be coming from memories of the heart. Richard has lost his beloved wife, and yet made the painful decision to donate his dead wife's organs. He is confused and lonely in his loss, and yet finds himself irresistibly drawn to Vida, who is the new owner of his wife's heart.
Quite a heart warming story, no pun intended, this story explores the possibly of genetic memory in a very sensitive and utterly believable way - after a slow start, I rather enjoyed it.

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