The Book Club Blog

Books for any occasion and other life stuff

Reviews of what I have been reading lately…

The Glass Castle -Jeanette Walls

This was recommended for me to read via The Book Club Blog’s Facebook wall, so on my previous library visit, I remembered to look for it. I found this book a strangely satisfying read. It was horrifying in some parts, and amazing in others. It really made me realise the depth of spirit and tenacity that children have in order to deal with their circumstances growing up. Though it saddened me terribly, even though I do understand the parents views- I may not agree, that parents could not give up the ‘ideal’ in order to feed and clothe their children. I would recommend any one to read this book as it either resonates with you, or will make you realise what a wonderful upbringing you actually had.

One Day – David Nicolls

I kept seeing this book at Exclusive Books on the To Read shelf but didn’t want to buy it. Luckily I found it at the library when I found The Glass Castle. I did enjoy this book in some respects but in a way I found that it actually just emphasised  the futility of growing up. I know, that is a rather pessimistic thing to say about life, never mind a book, but after reading through almost twenty years of two peoples lives, their ups and downs, their silly mistakes, the stuck in the rut feeling that they experienced and when I got to the end, I was rather disappointed.  I know it has been made into a movie, but I haven’t watched it so I don’t know how it compares to the book. They probably put a romantic spin on the whole thing! I thought it was a good look at life and how one can live with fear of change, of not knowing where you are going in life and the absolute beauty of friendship, but the sadness of an unfulfilled love. What did you think?

The Hypnotist – Lars Keplar

I needed something to read at the airport a couple of weekends ago, arrived a good couple of hours early for my flight And then it was delayed! Found this in CNA and had recalled it being likened to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I thoroughly enjoyed that so thought I would try it, even though I am not usually a crime reader. It took me a while to read as I only read crime novels in the day time, I tend to have nightmares! Yes, if I read disturbing things before bed time… but I enjoyed it. It had a good story line, full of twists and turns and thinking it was one person while really being someone else for some completely obscure reason which you only realise at the end, now isn’t that what crime novels are meant to be about? I enjoyed the suspense of the novel, the characters were interesting and my favorite was, of course, the hypnotist and his story, which only gets told about half way through the book. Fascinating and enjoyable. If you are a crime novel reader, give this one a go and even if you are not, it is interesting enough to keep you intrigued right to the very end!

Fifty Shades of Grey – EL James

The Fifty Shades series have been likened to ‘Mommy Porn’, wish I had known that before I picked up the first one! Not that I have  anything against erotica but I really was Not expecting what was in this book! What did I think? Well, I thought the writing was terrible and the constant mooniness of Ana just irritated me, but I did enjoy the story. I also found it fascinating how many women thoroughly enjoyed these books!

Fifty Shades Darker – EL James

I enjoyed this one a whole lot more than the first book. The story line had more substance and actually kept me intrigued throughout the book. Again, I can’t say it is the most wonderful writing and again, Ana is annoying in her constant verbalising on how Greys’ eyes simmer and heat and shine and oh oh oh… you get my drift. I did find it interesting how Ana does explore her darker sexual side as she gets further into the relationship and dare I say it but I think a fair amount of woman would be keen to have a Grey to explore such things with. Will I read the third one, of course, otherwise I will just be left hanging…scuze the pun!

So, what have you been reading lately?

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It’s the month of love

so, tell me, what is your favourite love story?

photo credit

Are you a ‘Wuthering Heights’ type of romantic? Or more along the lines of Jane Austen? A fairytale? Romeo and Juliet? Twilight?  Something more recent perhaps?

Well, I would love to know. February is the month of love and what better way to celebrate than remembering your favourite love story?  And one lucky reader will win their very own copy to keep for themselves or to give to their favourite special someone.

All you need to do, is tell me in the comment section

a) what your fave love story book is

b) Why, out of all the others this one stands out for you.

You have the entire month to do this in and at the end of month, one lucky reader will be a ‘love story winner’.


Book Review – The Swan Thieves


As you all know from my previous post, I only had a week in which to read this book. Well, it only took me two and a half days to finish it. (I did however read at all available times, as well as having an evening off in which to get a head start!)

The Blurb:

Psychiatrist Andrew Marlowe has a perfectly ordered life – solitary, perhaps, but full of devotion to his profession and the painting hobby he loves. This order is destroyed when renowned painter Robert Oliver attacks a canvas in the National Gallery of Art and becomes his patient. Desperate to understand the secret that torments this genius, Marlowe embarks on a journey that leads him into the lives of the women closest to Oliver and a tragedy at the heart of French Impressionism. Kostova’s masterful new novel travels from American cities to the coast of Normandy; from the late nineteenth century to the late twentieth, from young love to last love. The Swan Thieves is a story of obsession, history’s losses, and the power of art to preserve hope.

This was a beautiful book. I enjoyed it thoroughly. I liked the way the author managed to combine art with pyschology and the past with the present. It brought back to mind ‘The Time Traveller’s Wife’ by Audrey Niffeneger.

Not that it was in any way the same,but the two different stories within The Swan Thieves,  which were connected by a love story was reminiscent of The Time Traveller’s Wife. (If you didn’t enjoy it, don’t be swayed by my thoughts).

The second novel by Elizabeth Kostova, her first being ‘The Historian’ are similar in that they combine the past with the present, but whereas I felt ‘The Historian’ was quite eerie (for my review head here) her second one was beautiful and filled with a type of longing. Sadness too but definitely less intense.

I can certainly recommend this book, I think it is the perfect read to take you away to the distant past. It is a quiet book with none of the immediacy of The Historian and perfect to curl up with and savour.

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‘Where rainbows end’ review – Cecilia Ahern

000037fc10dryTruth time here on The Book Club Blog.

I found this book at the library and picked it up because I needed some light- hearted entertainment, and where better, than chick lit?

I haven’t read any of her books before, but decided to give her a go. For some reason, I just haven’t ever ‘felt’  it when picking up her books. And I’m sure you know what I mean by it. That feeling of knowing you’re going to enjoy a particular book, or not even enjoy it, but its going to nab your attention. That magical feeling when you know you have found something that appeals to that secret reading part of you. But, I ignored the fact I hadn’t felt anything and checked it out of the library anyway, I was desperate for a ‘non thinking’ book!

Well, a non thinking book it is indeed. I read it in one sitting. Or should I be more clear in that when I say read, I mean skim read. This book is written in the format of emails and text messages, which I don’t mind at all, in fact a story can be told extremely well in this way, remember this review? But I found this one to be very long winded. I don’t suppose it helps that the story line was fairly long winded too.

********************** Spoiler alert************************

In a nutshell:

Rosie and Alex are childhood friends, thick as two thieves and do everything together.  They grow up from naughty children to rebellious teenagers until Alex’s family moves from Dublin to America. Rosie stays behind and on the eve of her departure from Dublin to meet up with Alex and go to college, she falls pregnant.

Here starts the story of how Rosie and Alex keep missing each other due to marriages and missed flights and divorces and more marriages. It is a typical case of  ‘fate meddling’, ‘not taking the bull by the horns’ and ‘keeping ones feelings to oneself’.

Then at the end, they manage to get together. And the story starts again with Rosie’s daughter having a similar but not so drawn out experience with her childhood friend.

I cant say this book blew the wind up my skirt, but for an evening of not thinking, it worked very well.

If you like this type of story, you will most likely enjoy this book, if you are a fan of Cecilia Ahern, you will probably love it. But, considering I have never read any of her books before, I couldn’t honestly say.

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The Gargoyle – Andrew Davidson

51fwzv1xmzl_ss500_The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson is a beautiful book!

I discovered this book about a year ago, when I was wondering through Waterstone’s in the UK, but at the time, it just wasn’t what I was looking for. Even having read the first few pages ( I always read them to see if I am going to ‘get into’ the book) and knowing that it was something that I would like to read at some point, I didn’t buy it. In a way I am glad I didn’t, else I wouldn’t have recently rediscovered it! But on the other hand, I can’t believe I waited this long to read it!

The writing is beautiful, the story is interesting, the characters are larger than life. There are stories within stories and the opening chapter begins with how one of the main characters got burned, in a car accident. At times during the reading of this chapter, it was a bit hectic, because the way he describes the burning, is enough to make anyone cringe.

Ultimately, this story is a love story, a 700 year old love story between a man and a woman. But the telling of it, includes the present day through the past. It is fantastically done and extremely well written. I don’t want to tell you all the other details as it will detract from the telling of the story line, just be sure that if you are a romantic at heart (even if you don’t admit it to anyone!) and enjoy a well written novel, then this I cannot recommend enough.