Book season and as winter has been in full force over here, I have been reading up a storm… My book of the year is in this book stack, just saying!!!
So Many Books That I Am Looking Forward To
Last week I attended the Penguin Random House South Africa trade event of the year and so many books to look forward to… My to be read pile has exploded!!!
- Pip Williams new book, The Bookbinder of Jericho is top of my list. Her previous book, The Dictionary of Lost Words, is on my list of Best Reads Ever.
- Clytemnestra was in my goodie bag, I have been want to read this one for ages.
- I immediately grabbed The Collected Regrets of Clover on audible and I will let you know how it goes…
- I am so looking forward to The Woman at the Wheel, biographical, historical fiction by Penny Haw, which is the story of Ms Benz the wife of the famous inventor of the horseless carriage. So much so in fact, thatI stepped back in time and downloaded Penny Haw’s first historical fiction, The Invincible Miss Cust, seriously put everything aside and listen to the life story of the first ever women veterinarian in the Britain and Ireland, and what a drama she went through to get there. This is fabulous reading, thoroughly enjoyed it and cannot wait for the story of Ms. Benz.
- Also madly looking forward to the release of the fourth in the Thursday Murder Club series, this little gang of crime solvers are my actual favourites… I have loved this series from start to finish and can’t get enough of it.
- In a similar vain, The Spy Coast, by Tess Gerritson, with a group of retired spies in Maine, looks like it is going to be a winner too…
Se7en Books I Have Read Lately
Go As a River
Stop Looking, I have found my book of the year… And it is a stunner. Love, love, loved this book. Go as a River is the story of Victoria Nash, a lone girl in a family of very dysfunctional men. The book is set on a successful Peach Farm in Iola, Colorado. At age twelve her mother, that held the family together died in a car crash, the family are left reeling in grief with and without a mother to smooth communication between the family members, Torie’s life is a misery of cooking, cleaning, scrubbing, with no hope and no future. Until Wilson Moon drifts through town, and despite everyone saying stay away from him, they are drawn to each with fatal consequences.
This book is written so beautifully, you will grow and find strength alongside with our feisty heroine. Torie grows up, she loves and loses everything for it… she finds herself escaping to the wilds to escape a vicious judgemental town, not to mention her violent and narrow minded family. She has a child, which she leaves behind and while, she returns home and ultimately flourishes, her heart is forever shattered. You are reading simply to see if you can mend that broken heart… Honestly this is a book worth reading through the night for. It is beautiful and shattering, heart warming and wild… this book is everything and definitely my book of the year.
One Enchanted Evening
I love a Katie Fforde, her books are literally my happy place. One Enchanted Evening is about a girl, Meg, who has always wanted to be a professional cook and her journey to become one. The book begins when she arrives to help her mother, who in a struggling hotel is battling to keep things going on her own. The idea is that Meg will help in the kitchen and her mother will manage everything else. The point is, that is is an old and hotel, steeped in tradition, stuck in the past and needs a breath of fresh air to jump into the present. Meg is that breath of fresh air. Only she is being held back by the owners son, who is reluctant to make any changes or spend any money on an upgrade. Turns out that there is more to him than meets the eye, and he is also the manager of the successful, modern and extremely dull neighbouring hotel… not to mention he really doesn’t think a finishing school graduate, let a woman, should be running a hotel kitchen. So there is lots to argue about, but in a Katie Fforde way, it is all gentle and sweet, and loads of lovely pastries will and sunny garden teas are described in minute detail… it is predictable… the hotel wins the heart of Meg, she in turn wins another heart… and true to Katie Fforde everyone will live happily ever after.
The Amazing Grace Adams
This is a novel with a twist… middle aged moms everywhere will relate to Grace Adams. Once she was amazing, there was a time when confidence flooded through her, she achieved on every level… a speaker and interpreter of multiple language, and adventurer of note a go anywhere, do anything kind of a gal. And Ben falls madly in love with her. Together they raise amazing daughter and then… one hot summer day on her daughter’s sixteenth birthday everything, literally everything, falls apart. She steps out of her car to walk across that is stuck in a traffic jam, and never looks back… it’s funny and heartbreaking all at the same time. There is a touch of exaggeration as she rages her way across town, leaving a trail of havoc… as she dashes towards her daughter, who doesn’t want to know her anymore and her husband who has left her and wants a divorce. A classic case of one small thing leads to another and the next thing hearts are broken and everything that was gently crumbling down is now cascading towards disaster. It is a simple thing, she just wants to give her daughter a birthday cake, how can this be so hard? A classic case of life looks lovely on the surface, only to discover as you look a little deeper things have been hurting and falling apart for a long time. It is never a case of just the heat, just the traffic, and just a birthday cake. There is history, there is tragedy and a teenage daughter… everything is very funny until things take a turn for, well reality… life is hard, things happen that are beyond our control and through it all Grace has literally floundered… this book is hysterically funny in places, at the same time as being terribly sad. Honestly, if there was anyway that I could have stepped into this book and given Grace Adams some help, even a cup of tea, I would have. A good weekend read, not a classical classic, but certainly very true to life.
This read comes with great anticipation… it is the story of a group of college students, friends for life, or so they think. After college they all scatter in the different directions that their careers inevitably take them… but they return each and every summer to the same place and this college reunion somehow keeps them all grounded and growing. Harriet and Wyn, the perfect couple have broken off their engagement and gone their separate ways. Her calling and his family have them pulled in different directions and their long distance relationship has crumbled, but non of their friends know – so they are forced together for the last annual holiday… plans abound, they don’t want to disappoint anyone and the story is inevitable… this book didn’t spark all the magic for me, but I am glad I read it through to the end – I very much liked the ending… people before things, and all well that ends well. If you are looking for a good holiday read with no strings attached – then this is a good choice.
Things I Wish I Could Have Told My Mother
Mothers and daughters have a precarious relationship at the best of times. Laurie is walking a tightrope as she and her mother go on an overseas trip together. Laurie is a somewhat chaotic, spontaneous and not a little disorganised ad executive, her mother is the exact opposite a top surgeon at a prestigious hospital, she is the epitome of “having everything under control.” Laurie’s mother has a health scare and they decide to go on “the trip to end all trips,” back to their roots in Norway, and a stopover in Paris. They are both hoping to get to know each other a little better, and hopefully like each other a little more. It is hard work from the start… typical mother/daughter interactions – the more they try to be different the more they are the same… they wrangle with words, they clash over closets, they have a wonderful trip and every mouth watering meal is described in detail. It’s a quick, weekend read, a nice story and to it’s credit a sudden and unpredictable ending.
Where have I been and why have I not read a Harry Hole novel before. Harry is a rogue police officer, somewhat mercenary and very good at his job. It made no difference that I hadn’t read the previous novels in the series, in fact it was that good that I may go back (!) and read the first twelve. The book begins with Harry drinking himself into oblivion in LA, and he is stirring back to life, to help an elderly lady at the bar, when he is called back to Oslo. He worked as a police officer in Oslo, and was fired from his job – insider politics and undisciplined practices most likely the reason… needless to say there is a serial killer in town with an extremely unusual procedure. Harry gathers a group of misfitting scientists and detectives together, all the while he trips on bits and pieces of his past life. This is not for the fainthearted, the killer is extremely clever, and uses a fairly grotesque “hungry” bacterial weapon to lure his victims into his company… Harry and his trusty team spend a lot of time figuring out who is behind it all, sifting through the criminal intentions that lurk between Harry and the murderer… This is fast paced and gripping action, 500 pages from start to finish, that flew past in a flash and somewhat of a cliff hanger… there is definitely a “next instalment” in the pipeline.
I listened to the first book in this series, The Boy from the Woods, during lockdown. A crime series about a child who came in from the woods, not having any idea who his parents were and he was raised by a local family. As an adult he has developed a number of crime fighting skills and returns to the woods to live out his life quietly. But the outside world cannot seem to leave him alone. In this new book, Wilde has done a DNA test and discovered a 100% match to his father. The question is, to meet him or not to meet him. He decides to take the step, only to discover that his father has no idea that he had a son, no idea who his mother could have been and before they can meet up again, his father and extended family have disappeared without a trace. As he searches for them he stumbles onto a group of self appointed vigilantes, that search the web for deep dark cases and that there is somehow a connection to his father. The more Wilde looks for connections, the more he finds himself discovering murder victims… is he being set up, or is he next on the list. It is fast paced, action packed read… and good for crime reading weekend.
I Will Find You
We have established that Harlan Coben is a great crime story teller and you will be hanging on by the edge of your seat. In I Will Find You there is absolutely no chance to take a breathe, from start to finish you are literally running to keep up. David is accused of murdering his three year old son, and is serving a life sentence in prison. The book begins five years into his sentence, when he receives evidence that his son is still alive. He immediately figures out his escape, he is out to find his son, he also has the FBI out to catch him… all is not as it seems… you will be running, you will be holding your breath and you will actually fly through this book at an alarming speed. Great read, of course – it’s Harlan Coben.
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These books were all given to us for review purposes by Penguin Random House South Africa. This is not a sponsored post and opinions expressed are entirely my own.