Tag Archives: contemporary

The Crimson Petal and the White – Michel Faber

15 Jun

Started – 16/5/13

Finished – 15/6/13

Format – Paperback Book

 

Challenges – Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge

Synopsis – Keep your wits about you; you will need them …’ So begins this irresistible voyage into the dark side of Victorian London. Amongst an unforgettable cast of low-lifes, physicians, businessmen and prostitutes, meet our heroine Sugar, a young woman trying to drag herself up from the gutter any way she can. Be prepared for a mesmerising tale of passion, intrigue, ambition and revenge.

 

My Thoughts – I picked this book up as it was the reading circle book from last month. I had already got it on my TBR pile so it was the perfect opertunity for me to read the book earlier than I thought.

 

This book is about Sugar, a prostitute in Victorian London and her meetings with William Rackham of Rackham Perfumes and how there lives become entwined. It is definitaly a book of how the other half live with Sugar to start with living in complete poverty and William living in a wealthy house paid for by his father who set up the perfume company.

 

Not only Sugar and William feature prominatly in the book. There is also Williams wife Agnes who is not a very well lady and has a lot of issues but also William and Agnes’ daughter Sophie Rackham.

 

This book i felt was brilliant. I really enjoyed the story behind it and how many different twists and turns there were to the plot line. It is also a very unique writing style and i really got into this one straight away. The only thing i didnt like was the abrupt ending. I would have liked it to go on a bit more.

 

I loved how the character of Sugar developed too. She started off so headstrong and knew what she wanted and ended up almost loosing the plot. There is a fair bit of adult parts of the book however with the subject matter in question I do feel that it needed to be in there.

 

a much recommended book. It is a big book and it did take me a month to read but this in no reflection of the story, i loved it.

 

Rating – 5/5

On the TBR – The Lollipop Shoes – Joanne Harris

30 Jan

On The TBR is a new thing I’m trying out on my blog to try and keep a record of the books i buy and download this year.

I’ve brought The Lollipop Shoes by Joanne Harris. I read Chocolat by her a few weeks ago and really loved it. I loved the story and the writing style and as this is the second book in the series i thought id better buy it as i enjoyed it so much!

Synopsis‘Who died?’ I said. ‘Or is it a secret?’
‘My mother, Vianne Rocher.’

Seeking refuge and anonymity in the cobbled streets of Montmarre, Yanne and her daughters, Rosette and Annie, live peacefully, if not happily, above their little chocolate shop. Nothing unusual marks them out; no red sachets hang by the door. The wind has stopped – at least for a while. Then into their lives blows Zozie de l’Alba, the lady with the lollipop shoes, and everything begins to change . . .

But this new friendship is not what it seems. Ruthless, devious and seductive, Zozie de l’Alba has plans of her own – plans that will shake their world to pieces. And with everything she loves at stake, Yanne must face a difficult choice: to flee, as she has done so many time before, or to confront her most dangerous enemy . . .

Herself.

I really cant wait to read this and hope its as good as the first in the series.

The Devil Wears Prada – Lauren Weisberger

11 Dec

Started – 27/11/12

Finished – 5/12/12

Format – Paperback Book

Synopsis – Andrea Sachs, a small-town girl fresh out of college, lands the job “a million girls would die for.” Hired as the assistant to Miranda Priestly, the high-profile, fabulously successful editor of Runway magazine, Andrea finds herself in an office that shouts Prada! Armani! Versace! at every turn, a world populated by impossibly thin, heart-wrenchingly stylish women and beautiful men clad in fine-ribbed turtlenecks and tight leather pants that show off their lifelong dedication to the gym. With breathtaking ease, Miranda can turn each and every one of these hip sophisticates into a scared, whimpering child.

THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA gives a rich and hilarious new meaning to complaints about “The Boss from Hell.” Narrated in Andrea’s smart, refreshingly disarming voice, it traces a deep, dark, devilish view of life at the top only hinted at in gossip columns and over Cosmopolitans at the trendiest cocktail parties. From sending the latest, not-yet-in-stores Harry Potter to Miranda’s children in Paris by private jet, to locating an unnamed antique store where Miranda had at some point admired a vintage dresser, to serving lattes to Miranda at precisely the piping hot temperature she prefers, Andrea is sorely tested each and every day—and often late into the night with orders barked over the phone. She puts up with it all by keeping her eyes on the prize: a recommendation from Miranda that will get Andrea a top job at any magazine of her choosing. As things escalate from the merely unacceptable to the downright outrageous, however, Andrea begins to realize that the job a million girls would die for may just kill her. And even if she survives, she has to decide whether or not the job is worth the price of her soul

 

My Thoughts – This book has been on my shelf for far too long and its one of those books that ive wanted to read for a long time but never got around to reading.

This book is about Andrea, fresh out of school and looking for a job. She isnt too sure where she wants to go with her life. She lands an interview at Runway magazine, which I’m sure somewhere i read that is loosely based on Vogue! Its here that she encounters Miranda, someone that she doesnt know who she is, which really shocks everyone present and manages to get the job as PA. Its now that her life changes. Miranda wants Andrea to be at her beck and call 24/7 with any number of requests, whether it be getting the new unreleased Harry Potter book for her twin daughters the day before its released or doing the dry cleaning or going to fashion shows in Paris.

I got hooked into this book almost as soon as i read the first few pages. It is very well written and has a very engaging storyline. I think why i enjoyed this book so much is that my boss is literally like the male version of Miranda with unreasonable demands and expecting me to be able to do them at once. I did have to giggle at the part with the dry cleaning as thats the sort of thing that happens to me on a regular basis.

I did feel very sorry for Andrea. She had just got her first proper job and trying to make her way in the world and managed to get the job from hell and in the process almost loose everyone close to her.

This book is very good and very funny. Although it could be classed as chick lit i do think it will appeal to a much wider audience and i would recommend it to anyone!

Rating – 4/5

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

4 Nov

 

 

 

Started – 27/10/12

Finished – 4/11/12

Format – Kindle e-book

 

Synopsis – A heart-warming and inspirational tale in which Enzo, a loyal family dog, tells the story of his human family, how they nearly fell apart, and what he did to bring them back together.

Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: he thinks and feels in nearly human ways. He has educated himself by watching extensive television, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo realizes that racing is a metaphor: that by applying the techniques a driver would apply on the race track, one can successfully navigate the ordeals and travails one encounters in life.

Enzo relates the story of his human family, sharing their tragedies and triumphs. In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations as a dog, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family.

The Art of Racing in the Rain is a testament to a man’s life, given by his dog. But it is also a testament to the dog, himself. Though Enzo cannot speak, he understands everything that happens around him as he bears witness to his master’s problems. His enforced muteness only refines his listening ability, and allows him to understand many of life’s nuances that are lost on most humans. With humour, sharp observation, and a courageous heart, Enzo guides the reader to the bittersweet yet ultimately satisfying conclusion: there are no limitations to what we can achieve, if we truly know where we want to be.

My Thoughts – I read this book as it was the choice for the November reading circle over on the BCF. I always enjoy animal books and i thought that this sort of book would be one that i would enjoy.

This book is about the loyal family dog, Enzo, who to start with lives with his master Denny. Then Denny falls in love and meets Eve. Although to start with Enzo feels a bit jelous of Eve and the relationship that she has with Denny, he soon comes to love her as part of the family. Denny and Eve have a child called Zoe and with this there family is complete. However, a horrible twist happens and Eve becomes very ill. All of this is told through the perspective of Enzo the dog.

I do always wonder if animals know what is going on around them and have human like thoughts. I’d love it if my dogs could talk as i think that they could come out with some very interesting stuff.

I really liked how the racing theme was weaved in and out of the book and how this took on a greater meaning throughout. Like when denny was struggling with life it was brought up that although a race cannot be won at the first corner it is able to be lost, so its up to a persons strength to get through it all.

I also liked how real life events were put into this book and were accuarate, like the cememtary scene where Bruce Lee and Brandon Lee was discussed. I did actually look this up on the internet to see if it was true and guess what it was! Also along with the racing theme Senna was mentioned about his horriffic crash and death that he suffered.

Now i loved Enzo. He really reminded me of my very old Labrodor Sammy that we have now and the parts about his legs and hips did upset me a little bit. my dog has got to the stage where he cannot stand for long now or go for walks. The ending of this book really did make me cry, I’m such a softie with the animal books and to be honest i dont like it when upsetting things happen to animals.

This book was very good i think a must read for animal lovers even if it is a bit sad in places.

Rating – 4/5

Change of Heart – Jodi Picoult

6 Oct

Started – 29/9/12

Finished – 6/10/12

Format – Paperback Book

 

Synopsis – June’s first husband was killed in a car crash. Against all the odds, her daughter was uninjured and, in another miracle, June found love again with the policeman who rescued them. Six years on they are a happy family, June pregnant with their own child.

But now June’s second daughter is dying without the new heart she so urgently needs. And her first daughter, along with her husband, is dead, killed by Shay Bourne, an itinerant workman they welcomed into their home. The crime was so heinous that Shay has been given the death penalty for the first time in 69 years in New Hampshire. Shay is going to die, and he is looking for redemption. He wants to give June’s daughter his heart . . .

 

My Thoughts – I am a massive fan of this authors work i have read a lot of her books and intend to read them all some day. Her books always seem to hook me in and i cant put it down until i finish it and get to the bottom of the story.

This book is about a wide range of characters such as June who has lost a lot of important people in her life. Her first and second husband and her young daughter Elizabeth. All she has left is her daughter Clare, who is very sick and needs a heart transplant to survive. Then there is Shay, the man that took her daughter and husband away from her. Theres Maggie a lawyer and Micheal a priest.

This book has all the usual marks of a Picoult novel. The change in character for every chapter, which i love! I always like to get the different perspectives on all the events by the different people involved in the situation. It doesnt follow a chronological pattern and events are revealed throughout the book which kind of adds more to the story and makes you think about which character is the more truthful about the events. Also it has a massive twist in this book again like other books by the author and i did not see this one coming. It really knocked me for six and i think i need to revisit some parts of the book with this new information revealed.

It also has the courtroom scenes which are quite familar in this authors books but this time round i didnt find them to heavy going and i got really fascinated by them. There is a massive theme of religion in this book and to be honest this didnt put me off either. It was done very well and tastefully and not at all shouting about it as sometimes i think religion in books can be quite overwhelming.

I really enjoyed this book and its one of this authors books that i like the most. its one of her more recent books and i seem to like these better than her early books. I cant wait to read more by her.

Rating – 4/5

The Difference A Day Makes – Carole Matthews

5 Jun

Started – 22/5/12

Finished – 5/6/12

Format – Paperback book

Synopsis – William and Amy Ashurst are typical townies, dedicated professionals at the top of their tree, with two adorable children and an au pair who cooks, cleans and cares for them all. Then one day Will collapses on his way into work and he decides he’s never going back.

So it is that, three months later, Amy is standing outside Helmshill Grange, a sullen monstrosity of a house, deep in the Yorkshire moors, with their own land as far as the eye can see. It’s what William says he’s always wanted, which is slightly worrying as he couldn’t be bothered to do his own gardening in Notting Hill, and would rather pick up a book than a spade. Within days, Will’s traded in their brand new Audi for a clapped out Land Rover, and brought home chickens, goats, sheep, a serial-killer cat and a mad dog. Then tragedy strikes and Amy learns that it’s one thing living the dream, but when the dream’s not your own, how long can it last?

My thoughts – I brought this book back in 2010 as i am a huge fan of Carole Matthews books as they are always fun but with a serious message behind them. Its nice to read a chick lit book with a bit more substance to it and not just all fluff to it.

The Difference A Day Makes is about Amy and Will, a happily married couple who both work at a british television company in London. They have two children who are looked after by a nanny as both parents are workaholics. During a normal tube ride to work Will has a health scare and is rushed into hospital. Due to the fact that all his family have died young from heart attacks and the simular, he wants to have a complete change of lifestyle and wants to move with his family out to the countryside and give up his stressful job.

Amy doesnt share his vision in this, but gives in and soon they move to the countryside and move into a desolate country home that needs lots of work doing on it to make it habitable. Not only does Will buy a new home, he buys chickens that cant lay eggs and are blind, three sheep that are a bit old, a goat, a cat and a very unmanagable dog.

Then the unthinkable happens Will dies suddenly from a heart attack. Amy is left alone to bring up two children with no husband, no job and living in a place that she doesnt want to be. When the handsome vet is introduced into things, a handyman that becomes more than that to the children, and the adjustment to villiage life it is definitaly a recipe for a good book.

To start with i didnt really get into this book. I struggled a little to connect with the story, it wasnt until Will died that i started to really get into the story of this book. Once WIll had passed away their was lots of different story lines going on like the vet, the children, the animals to get my attention.

I didnt always like Amy. I felt at times she was very selfish and only wanted to do what she wanted and not what was best for the family. However, towards the end i warmed to her. I really enjoyed this book and i read 3/4 of it in one night, i just had to know how it ended.

I was quite glad that this was a happily ever after book, most of the time i dont like that particular ending, but this time it really worked for the book.

I would recommend this book to fans of chick lit and to those readers that like books with a bit of a serious message to them.

Rating – 4/5

The Tenth Circle – Jodi Picoult

27 Apr

Started – 17/4/12

Finished – 26/4/12

Format – Paperback Book

 

Synopsis – When Daniel Stone was a child, he was the only white boy in a native Eskimo village where his mother taught, and he was teased mercilessly because he was different. He fought back, the baddest of the bad kids: stealing, drinking, robbing and cheating his way out of the Alaskan bush – where he honed his artistic talent, fell in love with a girl and got her pregnant. To become part of a family, he reinvented himself – jettisoning all that anger to become a docile, devoted husband and father. Fifteen years later, when we meet Daniel again, he is a comic book artist. His wife teaches Dante’s Inferno at a local college; his daughter, Trixie, is the light of his life – and a girl who only knows her father as the even-tempered, mild-mannered man he has been her whole life. Until, that is, she is date raped… and Daniel finds himself struggling, again, with a powerlessness and a rage that may not just swallow him whole, but destroy his family and his future.

 

My Thoughts – I absolutly adore Jodi Picoults books, for me they never fail to disappoint and always hook me in. The Tenth Circle was no different.

 

This book tells the story of Trixie a typical teenage girl in America and her parents Daniel and Laura. Throw in the fact that Trixie and her boyfriend have just split up and its almost a perfect opening to a story.

 

Trixie sneaks out to a party at her best friends house and its here that one single event changes the life of all the characters in the story. I dont really want to say what that event is as i dont want to spoil the plot of the book.

 

I love how the story is told from different perspectives and at times i had trouble trying to figure out who was telling the truth and who was lying. Alot off things in the book were truthfully acurate like the legal parts and the hospital parts. Although these parts made quite difficult reading, it really made me want to read more.

 

I liked the comic book aspect to the book, this made a change to the normal books of just prose and it broke the story up but in a good way. I liked how it weaved really companies into the story like Marvel and DC Comics.

 

I also liked all of the twists and turns i ended up re-reading certain parts of it in shock, i couldnt believe that parts of it had happened.

 

I loved this book a lot. I’m finding it really difficult to write my thoughts on this as its such a brilliant book, i just think if you havent read it then do.

Rating – 5/5