Thursday, 26 March 2015

An Impossible Marriage by Meriel Brooke

Author Meriel Brooke cleverly uses her own family history as the basis of this beautifully written family saga spanning two world wars.

Sam, the main character, comes from a country life in England through World War I to Malaya and Singapore during World War II then home to England again. Through the book weaves a story of romance; family life and its inevitable ups and downs; and a successful career as a rubber plantation manager alongside the different horrors of each of the wars.

It is beautifully written and even has a touching underlying story of a man’s relationship with his horse.

The characters are very real even if not always likeable. I must admit I do get very annoyed by reviewers who criticise characters because they don’t behave the way we expect them to today. Brooke’s characters are real because of the accuracy of their behaviour and attitudes of the time.

Sam and other characters in the story suffer two world wars as many men did. In World War I he is a pilot of the Royal Flying Corps (later RAF) shot down and badly wounded. In World War II he is imprisoned in the dreaded Changi prison. This aspect of WWII is often not well known in many parts of the world.

The book is historically accurate and conveys a sense of time and place well. It is wonderfully descriptive and consistently good from beginning to end; moving along nicely with never a boring patch and ending on a twist I didn’t imagine. Brooke also uses some great analogies “Like a gaggle of geese without a gander”

Romance, intrigue, war and a history lesson too; can’t complain about that mix.

This book was provided to me for free for an honest and unbiased review.

My rating 4*

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Italian editions now available in paperback and Kindle through Amazon.

I’m thrilled to announce that my husband has toiled away and translated Angel with Drumsticks into Italian.

It is available in both paperback and Kindle through Amazon.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Doing Germany by Agnieszka Paletta

I found this book to be a disappointment. I was expecting a fun travel memoir but really all I got was a frustrated and, at times, bitter resident of a country that was not her first choice. She ends up living in Germany only because the man she marries lives and works there. It falls short in comparison to her home countries of Canada and Poland  as well as Italy where she would prefer to be living.
I would not class this book as a travel memoir. It includes some stories about her time in Italy but she doesn’t do a great deal of traveling in Germany. It continually compares Germany to the few countries she has experienced with Germany invariably coming off second best.
I expected this to be an amusing, light hearted read and to learn more about Germany, a country I would love to visit, and felt I was let down. The writing is more like diarised recollections with girlish ramblings about trivial things and the attempts at humour left me flat.

I don’t usually finish books that disappoint me as much as this one did. I kept hoping for so much more.

This book was provided to me for free for an honest and unbiased review.

My rating 1.5* rounded up to 2*

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Beyond the Ocean Blue by AG Smith

 The book description doesn’t give much away:
“An archaeologist has found a book which tells of a fallen civilization called America, so he sets out to discover it remnants, though fears he may only find the air of myth. He reaches a foggy shore patrolled by ghost crabs. It feels cold like a dead continent ………….”

I was intrigued but to say too give details here about the storyline of this book with its many absorbing developments would spoil the reading.  

The beginning had me confused - India, Spitfires, Nazis, 2022 – but still captivated me and grabbed my attention. Combined with highly descriptive, exciting writing I was engrossed and had to keep reading.

This is science fiction at its purest with plenty of action that holds the reader’s attention and keeps them guessing the twists adding to the excitement.

I had two problems with this book; science fiction is not a genre I generally read and as an Australian I was not sufficiently knowledgeable about American cultural and political to understand much of the story line.  However, I knew enough to enjoy the little bit of humour courtesy of George Bush speeches.

If you love science fiction I am sure you will enjoy Beyond the Ocean Blue

I have given Beyond the Ocean Blue 3 ½ stars rounded up to 4 because of my lack of knowledge and basic disinterest in sci-fi.

This book was provided to me for free for an honest and unbiased review.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Death of Anyone by DJ Swykert

Death of Anyone is a hard hitting police drama set in Detroit featuring Detective Bonnie Benham. Bonnie is a tough yet tender character especially given the crime she needs to solve; that of a child rapist/murderer. The other three detectives in the story support and admire Bonnie and she falls in love with one of them. The characters are true to life  and not at all glamorised.

DJ Swykert is a former 911 operator and clearly understands police procedure. The inclusion in the on-going real debate about using Familial DNA has the reader considering his own attitudes.

I enjoyed the story line and for the most part the writing but felt the quality of the goes from fairly ordinary writing to brilliant. These changes in style do not have a negative impact on story flow and being a well thought out story kept me intrigued. While I worked out “who-dun-it” the ending still surprised me.

I believe it could use some professional editing. It’s a good story and but needs some tweaking. I would certainly encourage the author to keep writing

It should be mentioned that there are some graphic descriptions, sexual relationships and language that may offend.

My rating 3 ½ * rounded up to 4 *