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Celia and Rachel scrape by. Celia is a single mother, holding down two jobs to look after herself and her daughter. She's lucky that their landlord looks after Rachel when she works at her evening job.
Then one night, there is a blackout, and Rachel goes missing.
The story follows the trials that Celia goes through, whilst Rachel is hunted for, and what Rachel goes through. The book is disturbing in parts as it never completely reveals what has happened to Ron and Nancy as children, but they have both had traumatic events in their past is obvious.
I was gripped from the start, and the ending caught me totally off guard, there were some loose ends, but leaving them loose didn't affect the story.

This book is written by the same author as "We need to talk about Kevin". I'll admit it took me two tries to read that. This one was easier to read, but again is about relationships, and how they fail.
I'm not a tennis fan, but I think this novel would have worked just as well set against any competitive background.
Willy is a tennis player, just beginning to climb the rankings, when she meets Eric. Eric is the type of person who decides they will do well at a certain thing, and does. It is quite clear from the start of the novel that willy doesn't like to be beaten, even by a man, who good sense should tell her is stronger than her, and has more stamina. However, they marry and all is well as they climb up the rankings, as Willy is ahead of Eric, until Willy falls badly during a match and injures her knee. During her recuperation, she drops in the rankings, whilst Eric continues to climb. This irks Willy, and she throws herself into recovery. Unfortunately her knee is now a weak point, and when she starts to play again, she loses matches, to counterpoint this, Eric continues to win, and is now in the top 200 and playing international tennis. Things carry on from there, Eric realises that the situation is affecting their marriage, whilst Willy is blind to what is happening.
I found the ending of this book rather sad, and a little bleak for Willy, although she was the type of character you could begin to dislike, but the writing is so good you want to carry on reading. The end was bleak on the surface for Eric, but Shriver had built his character up so well, you couldn't help feeling he'd be hurt, but not permanently damaged by the events.

I really like books about vampires, so I picked this one, and thought, "great, there's quite a few, if I like it, they'll keep me occupied for a while."

The book is very well crafted and to someone who likes romantic fiction, it may appeal. However, if I buy a vampire book, any romance should take second place. I have read around 90 pages of the 300+, and the actual vampire story could have been told in around a quarter of the pages. The story is good, but the romantic interludes are too lengthy for me, also a little graphic, if I wanted erotic fiction, I would have chosen an erotic fiction book.

That aside the book is VERY WELL written, and easy to read, and if you care more about Prince Mikhail Dubrinsky's love/sex life than a vampire story, it is the book for you. (I'm sorry, the years have made me cynical.) I'd sooner have surprises sprung on me, as a vampire goes to do whatever is in his/her nature. I'm sure I'm in a minority as Christine Feenan is a best selling author.

I will finish the book, but only because I hate to leave books unfinished. (The last book I didn't finish was during my degree, I absolutely hated it, the character's left me cold, and I really didn't care what happened next....Middlemarch if you are interested.) I'll finish this and move on to something else.

for those who haven't been put off the author has her own website, it's quite comprehensive.

I'm sorry, but after another 20 pages, this is going to be an unfinished me the story is about the vampires, not the sex/love life of one vampire. Clearly this book was in the wrong section at the book shop, but then again, they don't have one headed rampant sexual gratification. the book is very well written, but not for me.

This book, for me, is one of those difficult to classify books. It is set out as normal, and as I'd picked it up from the children's section of the bookshop, I presumed it was a teen book. It is, and could be read as just a novel, without any deep thought, but I for one had to "digest" each section as I read it. It is a very thought provoking book. There are few books written about second world war events from the German viewpoint, that is probably what sets this book apart for me. It is a very easy book to read, and there are lovely sections where one of the characters writes for the "Book Thief", and the text shows exactly what he produced.
I loved this book , and will look for Zusak's other book.

1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding it's breath.
Death has never been busier.
Leisel, a nine year old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street.
Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Leisel steals books. This is her story and the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.
It's a story, about:
a girl
an accordionist
some fanatical Germans
a Jewish fist fighter
and quite a lot of thievery.

It seems like ages ago when I began reading this book. It's not for lack of want, but other things - namely the new year closely followed by my holiday in England - just got in the way.

Having said that, I finished the book this morning and have to say... Wow.

The Winter King, by Bernard Cornwell, is the telling - or perhaps retelling - of the time honoured tale of King Arthur. But in this tale, he is not the king of the book's title. He is merely a warlord in Britain during the period just after the Romans left. He's not the romanticised king of legend. He is a more realistic and flawed man.

The story is also told through the eyes of Derfel, a friend and warrior of Arthur. As a Saxon child, Derfel survives a death-pit created by a Druid and is therefore seen to be touched by the Gods and is allowed to live with Merlin and others who are, like Derfel, touched by the Gods. As a young man, Derfel meets Arthur and his friend Owain. Between the two of them, Derfel learns how to be a warrior. Derfel falls into the service of Owain for a time, though his loyalty is more toward Arthur, and when Owain is killed, Derfel pledges his allegiance to Arthur.

The rest of the tale centres around Arthur's oath to keep Mordred on the throne to become High King like his father before him. As Arthur's warrior, Derfel is also oathbound to fight for Mordred.

After finishing the book this morning, I have to wonder if Cornwell knew as he was writing this book as a part of a trilogy. He ties all the ends of this book together, but still leaves you wanting more. Derfel is, as I mentioned, the narrator and is an old man writing the tales of his youth for his current queen. By the end of the book, though, Derfel hasn't reached the end of his life and Arthur hasn't become the king of the tales we are all so familiar with. I look forward to reading the next two books.

Today is the 70th birthday of an author who is well known to many tween girls. I read all of her books when I was a tween and younger teen. In my opinion, her books should be seen as classics, because they've stood the test of time and many generations of women have read her.

Happy Birthday Judy Blume. :)

II found an excerpt of this novel a website. I enjoyed what I read, so decided to buy the novel. I had to order it, as it wasn't in stock.
I'm going to say before I go any further that this novel has been translated from French, but I didn't realise this until I was over a 100 pages into it. (I find some translated novels difficult to read, but not this one.)
It's classed as a thriller, and has short chapters, each letting the reader learn an important piece of information. I think if I re-read the novel I might pick up on the clues I am sure are there.
But they are well hidden in this book, and when the murderer was eventually caught I was more than a little surprised.
Commisairre Adamsberg appears to be haphazard in his detecting methods, and it is more than halfway through the book before he takes the case on. However, he has been following it with interest from the start of the novel, and avoiding getting himself shot by another criminal.
I found the novel very addictive, and again, it was another novel I couldn't put down, which is a tribute to both Fred Vargas' writing and the translation by David Bellos.
Vargas' characters are quirky, and endearing, one of the gendarmes has a very strange way of talking, adding "how should I say" to the end of each statement he makes.

Blurb time!

In this frightening and surprising novel, the eccentric wayward genius of Commissaire Adamsberg is pitted against the deep-rooted mysteries of one Alpine village's history, and a very ppresent problem: wolves.
Disturbing things have been happening up in the French mountains; more and more sheep are being found with their throats torn out. the evidence points to a wolf of unnatural size and strength. However, Suzanne Rosselin thinks it is the work of a werewolf. then Suzanne is found slaughtered in the same manner. Her friend Camille attempts, with Suzanne's son Soliman and her shepherd, watchee, to find out who, or what, is responsible and they call on Commissaire Adamsberg for help.
In all I found this novel even more interesting than I expected, and will try to track down other works of Fred Vargas

I was having a look ariound the web looking up author, etc.
Mainly finding a little more out about the one I am reading right now. I found this blog. If you have read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, or Spot of Bother, you'll know this author, Mark Haddon.
I don't know if this is a permenant blog, but random posts I have read are very entertaining.

This was a re-read for me, as I have read it at least twice before.
Saying that, it's a good 3, maybe 4, years since I read it last.
I still enjoyed it. I'd forgotten how difficult it is to put down.

Yes, this is the book that The Golden Compass film is based on. I haven't seen the film, but Blue has and she said that they'd left bits out.

Lyra when we first meet her has very little care in the world, she's a typical tomboy and the leader of her little circle of friends. She overhears something which changes her life, and she exchanges her adventures around Jordan college for much more interesting and dangerous ones. As she sails North to help rescue the children that have been going missing, she also aims to free Lord Asriel, who she thought was her uncle, but now finds is her father.
Lyra's adventures bring her into contact with gyptians, witches, tartars, armoured bears and an aeronaut.
Although published originally for teens, like many of Philip Pullman's books, Northern Lights has appeal for adults as well as teens.

A bit of a departure from the norm here for me. This book is lossely described as a TRAVEL BOOK! But I'll be honest, it doesn't feel like a travel book to me, it more of one man's quest for the true North, and what a Northerner is, where the North starts, etc.
It might sound boring, but the author is a comedian, and that lightens the tone of the book. I have been told by at least one person that I am NOT a northerner, but going by this book I definitely am. Anyway...."I'm going for my dinner. Which is at midday, by the way." (quote from book)

Blue arrived here inthe UK last Friday, 25th January.
On Monday we ventured into the local city, and HAD to go to the book shop.
Blue felt guilty about buying the books she wanted, (they aren't available in the US, unless you pay ridiculous prices.) Then she was cheered by the books I for "research", but the others..just because I wanted to read them. ( I don't mind spending money on books.)
It was odd in the bookshop, Blue hadn't got a note of the books, but she'd told me which books she was looking for online. (I'm amazed I remembered which they were!)
The one's I bought were varied.....two Costa award winners, and "The Rose Of Sebastapol"
If she had room in her cases, Blue would be taking the last back to the US with her.

I have finished a book in the meantime, will write up about that tomorrow.

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