Two book reviews

Since I finished reading two books within a week or so of each other, I thought I’d review them both in one post.  So here goes….

First up –

becareful

I saw this paperback at Costco, and knew it was going to jump into my cart, so I did nothing to try and stop it!  This is the fourth installment of “The Clifton Chronicles” and yes, I’ve read them all.  This one was, to me, more of a mystery novel than the previous three.  As you may (or may not) know, I’m not usually into mysteries at all… I normally leave those to the hubby, who eats them up like good Cadbury chocolate 🙂  However the story started out three books ago, as more of a family saga type book.  From Archer’s website: This series is a thrilling episodic saga of love, loss, betrayal, and ambition from the #1 worldwide bestselling author and master storyteller, Jeffrey Archer.  I enjoyed catching up with the Clifton and Barrington families, but I still do not feel a strong propensity for mysteries.  I’m pretty sure the fifth in the series Mightier Than The Sword (which came out in hardback at the end of Feb) will again lean towards the mystery side, and I probably won’t be purchasing it.  I might try and nab it from the library, though. I’ve read other books by Jeffrey Archer and have honestly enjoyed them all – the man can certainly weave a tale!

Next up –

shipbrides

I saw this book on the news stand at the Palm Springs airport recently. I picked it up and looked it over thoroughly before reluctantly putting it back on the shelf. I think it was $14 and I knew I wasn’t going to spend that much on a book I didn’t “need”.  Lucky for me, I was able to check this out from our local library, right on to my kindle!  Yay!  I have read several of JoJo Moyes’ novels and so far have loved them all.  This one was so good and so entertaining and beautifully written.  Set in the summer of 1946, we follow four of the 650 Australian brides that were placed on a British aircraft carrier and taken to their English husbands.  Oh how I love a good piece of historical fiction that is based on fact!!!  You might think that the real story would commence after the ship of brides arrived and began their lives anew in a foreign land…. but no.  This book encompasses only the journey, which took 6 weeks from Sydney Australia to Plymouth England.  The four brides we follow most closely come from completely different walks of life. They were thrown together as bunk mates, and it was quite an adjustment. While I know this book is fiction, I believe it probably holds very true to the conditions on board, as well as the strained (in some cases) interpersonal relationships, and the fears of the unknown that lay ahead of them.  Highly recommend this one if you like historical fiction, particularly set in the 1940’s like I do.  I also highly recommend JoJo Moyes as an author! She wrote another book I absolutely loved, Me Before You.  Without a doubt I’ll be reading more by this talented English author!

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The Invention of Wings

inventionofwings

I recently finished the book, “The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd.  Quite some time ago, I read her well known book “The Secret Life of Bees” and really enjoyed it.  Then she came out with another interesting sounding novel, “The Mermaid Chair”.  Holy smoke.  The difference between those two books was amazing.  One was interesting and readable, the other was NOT.  Needless to say, after reading “The Mermaid Chair”, I had reluctance regarding EVER reading another book by this author.  Then “The Invention of Wings” came out, and was getting rave reviews, so I decided to take it on.  It was SO good!  Really, really liked this book, set in the early part of the 19th century, both in the deep south as well as a bit in Philadelphia.  By now, everyone knows I love history… and a good historical novel based on fact makes me very, very happy!  This book ticked all the boxes.  I particularly loved that it was not set DURING the Civil War (as SO many books in this setting are), but instead, well before the war started, so we could get a more real feel of how life really was.  It’s a book about the interaction between slaves and slave owners, and the beginnings of the abolitionist movement.  I really enjoyed it and definitely recommend it!  My faith is restored in Ms Monk-Kidd!  🙂

Watermark

watermark

I got this book from my favorite book-swap site, Paperbackswap.com.  Novels set in the Middle Ages normally do not appeal to me, but this one did.  Here’s the first two sentences from the synopsis on the back cover: “Watermark: A Novel of the Middle Ages — The daughter of a paper maker in a small French village in the year 1320–mute from birth and forced to shun normal society–young Auda finds solace and escape in the wonder of the written word.”  This sort of intrigued me, so I dove in.  I would say I enjoyed about 3/4 of this book, maybe a bit more.  It was interesting to read about life in the 1320’s and also I feel like I learned a lot about the history of paper making.  There was a lot of brutality going on at that time, particularly related to supposed heretics of the church.  The burning at the stake and other unpleasant goings on were disturbing, but since they really did happen back then, I plugged along.  Unfortunately, the ending was quite predictable and weak.  That said, it was still interesting and brought to light a period of time that I personally was very uninformed about.

“Thursdays at Eight”

Here it is, my first book of the year….

Thursdays at Eight” by Debbie Macomber.  This was an audio book that was a mere 8 CD’s long, so it only took me a couple of trips in the car to finish it.  The audio book I “read” prior to this one was a complicated, long novel by Philippa Gregory and I was ready for something light and easy.  Well, light and easy was what I got.  Ms Macomber’s books usually fall into that category… in fact this was really a little too light and easy – particularly too easy to guess the path the novel was going to take.   It was about four women who met every Thursday morning at a coffee shop to discuss their lives.  Of course we get to know each woman and the particular trials each one faces.  This book was simply okay.  It managed to keep my interest, but only because I had nothing else to listen to.  I have read other books by this author and enjoyed them much more.  This one was certainly forgettable.