Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons

A historical romance, The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons, lives up to its genre by delivering the love story of the century against the backdrop of WW2 Leningrad.

The golden skies, the translucent twilight, the white nights, all hold the promise of youth, of love, of eternal renewal. The war has not yet touched this city of fallen grandeur, or the lives of two sisters, Tatiana and Dasha Metanova, who share a single room in a cramped apartment with their brother and parents. Their world is turned upside down when Hitler's armies attack Russia and begin their unstoppable blitz to Leningrad. Yet there is light in the darkness. Tatiana meets Alexander, a brave young officer in the Red Army. Strong and self-confident, yet guarding a mysterious and troubled past, he is drawn to Tatiana--and she to him. Starvation, desperation, and fear soon grip their city during the terrible winter of the merciless German siege. Tatiana and Alexander's impossible love threatens to tear the Metanova family apart and expose the dangerous secret Alexander so carefully protects--a secret as devastating as the war itself--as the lovers are swept up in the brutal tides that will change the world and their lives forever.

Monday, October 23, 2017

I Found You by Lisa Jewell

Partly mystery/thriller, partly romance, this is totally a good read.


A young bride, a lonely single mother, and an amnesiac man of dubious origin lie at the heart of New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jewell’s next suspenseful drama that will appeal to fans of Liane Moriarty and Paula Hawkins.

In a windswept British seaside town, single mom Alice Lake finds a man sitting on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, and no idea how he got there. Against her better judgment, she invites him inside.

Meanwhile, in a suburb of London, twenty-one-year-old Lily Monrose has only been married for three weeks. When her new husband fails to come home from work one night she is left stranded in a new country where she knows no one. Then the police tell her that her husband never existed.

Twenty-three years earlier, Gray and Kirsty are teenagers on a summer holiday with their parents. Their annual trip to the quaint seaside town is passing by uneventfully, until an enigmatic young man starts paying extra attention to Kirsty. Something about him makes Gray uncomfortable—and it’s not just that he’s playing the role of protective older brother.

Two decades of secrets, a missing husband, and a man with no memory are at the heart of this brilliant new novel, filled with the “beautiful writing, believable characters, pacey narrative, and dark secrets” (London Daily Mail) that make Lisa Jewell so beloved by audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

The Impossible Fortress

"The Impossible Fortress" by Jason Rekulak is a young adult romance that can be enjoyed by boys as well as girls, adults as well as teens, but computer geeks most of all. Loved it.

Until May 1987, fourteen-year-old Billy Marvin of Wetbridge, New Jersey, is a nerd, but a decidedly happy nerd.

Afternoons are spent with his buddies, watching copious amounts of television, gorging on Pop-Tarts, debating who would win in a brawl (Rocky Balboa or Freddy Krueger? Bruce Springsteen or Billy Joel? Magnum P.I. Or T.J. Hooker?), and programming video games on his Commodore 64 late into the night. Then Playboy magazine publishes photos of Wheel of Fortune hostess Vanna White, Billy meets expert programmer Mary Zelinsky, and everything changes.

A love letter to the 1980s, to the dawn of the computer age, and to adolescence—a time when anything feels possible—The Impossible Fortress will make you laugh, make you cry, and make you remember in exquisite detail what it feels like to love something—or someone—for the very first time.

Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses

"Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses" by Carole Matthews is a make-you-feel-good read. It's a romance for women who can relate to single-motherhood issues, commuting, and the yearning to be creative.

Christie Chapman is a single mum who spends her days commuting to her secretarial job in London and looking after her teenage son, Finn. It's not an easy life but Christie finds comfort in her love of crafting, and spends her spare time working on her beautiful creations. From intricately designed cards to personalised gifts, Christie's flair for the handmade knows no bounds and it's not long before opportunity comes knocking.
Christie can see a future full of hope and possibility for her and Finn - and if the handsome Max is to be believed, one full of love too. It's all there for the taking. And then, all of sudden, her world is turned upside down.
Christie knows that something has to give, but can she really give up her dreams and the chance of real love? Will Christie find her happy ending?

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Wonder Woman

I didn't want to see the latest "Wonder Woman" movie. Superheroes are not my thing, and I don't like war themes.

OK, I'll be honest: I went for Chris Pine.

I'm glad I did. The movie was superb.


What can I say about "Eligible: A modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice" by Curtis Sittenfeld? It's a valiant effort, and an enjoyable lightweight read.

Don't reach for it if:
  • You don't like romances;
  • You don't like Jane Austen books;
  • You're hoping for a book with a message.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Young Adult titles

Do teenagers still read books? Or are they all on Snapchat and Instagram, while it's their mothers who read The Hunger Games?

Here are a few titles teens today may like to try:
  • The Gallagher Girls series ("I'd tell you I love you but then I'd have to kill you")
  • Elle Enchanted
  • Anna and the French Kiss
  • The Program (and The Treatment and The Adjustment and The Remedy) by Suzanne Young
  • The girl who drank the moon
  • Stargirl
  • Hush, hush
  • My life, undecided
  • Vampire Academy

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Year We Turned Forty

"The Year We Turned Forty" by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke is a what-if novel about three friends who get the chance to go back to their fortieth birthday and re-live the next decade the way they think they were meant to live it (in hindsight).

It's a good premise, well executed. An interesting variation on the usual "make things un-happen" theme, this book does not allow to go back far enough to erase mistakes - it only allows to handle the blowout from the mistakes differently.

The novel asks important questions about fate, karma, the definition of happiness, and - ultimately - about the meaning of life.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

“The Fifth Letter” by Nicola Moriarty is a chick lit page-turner. You really have to keep reading till 3am to find out what happened. The style is different to that of Liane Moriarty, though fans will recognise some of the themes.


Four friends . . .

Joni, Deb, Eden, and Trina have been best friends since high school, sharing a bond that has seen them through their teenage years and into adulthood. But now, time and circumstance is starting to pull them apart as careers, husbands, and babies get in the way. As their yearly vacation becomes less of a priority—at least for three of the women—how can Joni find a way to draw the four of them back together?

Four secrets . . .

During a laughter and wine-filled night, the women dare one another to write anonymous letters, spilling their deepest, darkest secrets. But the fun game turns devastating, exposing cracks in their lives and the friendships they share. Each letter is a dark confession revealing shocking information. A troubled marriage? A substance abuse problem? A secret pregnancy? A heartbreaking diagnosis?

Five letters . . .

Late on one of their last nights together, after the other three have gone to bed, Joni notices something in the fireplace—a burnt, crumpled, nearly destroyed, sheet of paper that holds the most shattering revelation of all. It is a fifth letter—a hate-filled rant that exposes a vicious, deeply hidden grudge that has festered for decades. But who wrote it? Which one of them has seethed with resentment all these years? What should Joni do?

Best friends are supposed to keep your darkest secrets. But the revelations Joni, Deb, Eden and Trina have shared will ripple through their lives with unforeseen consequences . . . and things will never be the same.

Monday, February 20, 2017

My not so perfect life - Sophie Kinsella

"My not so perfect life" by Sophie Kinsella is a fun, fun, fun read. The heroine's voice pulls you right in, from the first sentence. Katie/Cat Brenner has a dream: to live and work in London. Katie's widowed father also has a dream: for Katie to stay on their farm in Somerset.

This is not an "issues" book, but if you go looking, there is substance. You get the father-daughter motif, but also the female boss mentor or tormentor question. You get the "what's real" of social media, and the eternal romance question: do you go for the dependable and boring, or for the exhilarating and heart-breaking?

Because, most of all, this is a love story.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Last Will

"When you get to the point where you know the worst thing about someone you love,
you know the truth about yourself."

Last Will by Bryn Greenwood is a beautiful love story with a lot of substance. Following the death of his grandfather, Bernie Raleigh is now rich. Super-mega rich. The problem is, he doesn't know how to handle the public life and the obligations that come with his vast fortune. Enter his quirky housekeeper, Meda Amos, a single mother and a beauty queen. She's tough and wise, and exactly what Bernie needs.

Two broken people helping each other get fixed.

Friday, February 3, 2017

New TV series?

So with LOST long finished, Bones having lost all appeal once Zack was gone, and being up to date with the Black List, I'm at a loss what to watch:

  • Elementary is a no started after Sherlock
  • Oz seems too dark - I lasted 15 minutes 
  • Motive has a good premise, but I'm not addicted after Episode 1