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Greaders please review March/April books

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AnninGlos Report 27 Apr 2017 09:41

Please review any of the books you read for March April


AnninGlos Report 27 Apr 2017 09:50

Greaders review The Storm Sister (Ally’s story) by Lucinda Riley
The second book in the series of seven books by LR. The first being The Seven sisters.
Ally (Alcyone) is the second eldest of the sisters adopted by Pa Salt. After their father’s death each sister is given the means of searching for their origins.
I am really enjoying this series by LR, the two books written so far have been really intriguing and must be so complicated to write when you realise that each book has to connect with others in the time scale. And, reading the piece at the end the final book will reveal a secret ‘thread’ that runs through all the books.
I enjoyed the description of the sailing and then the geographical trip through Norway and Germany. And I was fascinated by the story written around Ibsen and the life of Grieg and the performing of Peer gint.
I did sort of guess what Ally was going to find out about her parents before it was revealed but that didn’t spoil the story for me.
Well written, great characterisation and research I really enjoyed it and I am looking forward to reading all of the books when they are written. I see there are two more available on Amazon but the Kindle price is over £8 so I shall wait before ordering them.

review Home Truths by Freya North
Raised by their loving and eccentric Uncle Django, the McCabe sisters assume their early thirties will be a time of happiness and stability.
However, Cat, the youngest is home from abroad to begin a new phase of her life – but it’s proving more difficult than she thought. Fen is determined to be a better mother to her baby than her own was to her – though her love life is suffering as a result. Pip, the eldest, loves looking after her stepson, her husband, her uncle and her sisters – even if her own needs are sidelined.
At Django’s 75th birthday party, secrets are revealed that throw the family into chaos. Can hear and home ever be reconciled for the McCabes? After all, what does it mean if suddenly your sisters aren’t quite your sisters?
Cat, Fen and Pip return to the family home

I have read some of the other books in this series and had forgotten that they are very slow to get going. In fact at one stage I considered giving up completely as I was a bit bored with it. Still I stuck with it and eventually quite enjoyed the unfolding of the family saga. Her characters are believable and there is some humour as well as pathos and sadness.

The Devil you know by Josephine Cox. I found this to be quite a predictable story, It was an easy read, there were some menacing bits ,it was ok for a holiday read

The Casual Vacancy by J K Rowling

I can’t put it any better than The Times critic. ‘A big ambitious, brilliant, profane, funny, deeply upsetting and magnificently eloquent novel of contemporary England’.

In my own words, a very readable, thought provoking sociological story of life in small town Pagford, up market housing and residents butted onto a sink estate that they feel should belong to the adjoining large town of Yarval. Drug taking, under age sex, marriages floundering, Parish Council trying to force decisions they want. Computer hacking by teenagers, self harming. It is all here.

I enjoyed it, a very good read.


AnninGlos Report 27 Apr 2017 09:51

Incidentally I have now read the third in the 7 sisters books (Shadow sister). Excellent


AnninGlos Report 27 Apr 2017 11:49

From Perse
Review of The Storm Sister.

I was waiting and waiting for the phone call that is at the end of the first book, and when it does get mentioned Marina says it was the answerphone as his voice is still on the answerphone but not before looking at Claudia the cook first.. Now that I have got that bit out of my head I happily went on to read the story and once again there is a story within a story, it did upset me that Ally's lover Theo had drowned but this void in her life enabled her to take the plunge and research into her history. In her envelope from Pa Salt was the name of a book and a little ceramic brown frog. She found the book in Pa's office and had it translated and this is when we read the story of Jens and Anna - Anna lived in rural Norway and had the gift of a beautiful voice. A visitor to the home persuades her parents and her for her to live with him and improve on her voice. Jens (a rather a rascal of a lad) hears her and pursues her. She succumbs to his charms and all does not go well for them, he goes back to his misbehaving and she is left destitute until found again. The tapestry of this story is so intricately woven and brings Ally into the present where she eventually meets her brother and together they delve further into the history of the family. Not everything is cut and dried, but goes on to reveal a few facts that were not known before and even the significance of the little brown frog of which there are more than one. It is an intriguing story, with the past and present interwoven skillfully by the author. I will be reading the rest of the sister's stories as they come to hand and am looking so forward to who this missing sister is. Do you think Pa Salt is still alive and he has provided each sister with a ways to finding out their heritage without FMP, GR or Ancestry etc?

The Devil You Know By Josephine Cox
Was all set to travel up north to collect this book from a library where I had ordered another two books (I just can't resist some series) and the darn book was out so we had to travel a bit further to get it. I think I read this book in two days without a problem. In someways it reminded me of an elongated Mills & Boon. (horrors I have read some M & B, they were easy to read in the bookshop and I didnot mind the interruptions-took about six years before I did read a few of the NZ authors ones and have not read one since I sold the shop) It was a good page turner and a lively story. Okay you knew how it would end in that David and Sonny would end up together but the others well they certainly got their comeuppance. It was a bit like the goodies versus the baddies and a few people getting hurt along the way. Predictable a bit heavy handed on the nasty people but this Cathy Sefton who was a bad un from when she was little - well there are a few like that in the world. Did I like it? I see it had mixed reviews. I neither liked or disliked it sort of in the mediocre area, I would recommend it to people that are not heavily into reading but not too discerning readers. Tony Bridgeman - do you think he knew the Kray twins, his arrogance knew no bounds.


AnninGlos Report 27 Apr 2017 11:53

Thank you Perse.
You can see I did not much like the Devil you know.

Love your review of the Storm sister. I was away from home reviewing my books and doing it on the Ipad which I find a bit inhibiting but I think my review put with yours gives a good background to the book.

Yes I have wondered, given the body was never seen, if Pa Salt is actually alive somewhere on a yacht. Would be an interesting twist if in the last book he turned up with the seventh sister!


Pammy51 Report 27 Apr 2017 16:35

Mariana by Susanna Kearsley

I was fascinated by this book from the start. You do have to suspend disbelief about time travel to really enjoy this book but it all seems to happen so naturally I soon found myself drawn in. The descriptions of 17th century life are cleverly drawn so that they become a natural part of the story. It covers an area of history I had not thought much about, life after the Restoration, with its lingering resentments and hardships as well as introducing some interesting characters from the present.

Since reading this book I have read a couple more by Susanna Kearsley and I have to say she has become one of my favourite authors. Most I am happy to have on my Kindle and will probably not read them again unless I come across them accidentally but these I have bought 'real' copies so I can reread them when I want. If you enjoyed Marianna, Sophia's Secret is really good.


Pammy51 Report 27 Apr 2017 16:36

The Devil You Know
Sonny was so happy when she found she was pregnant by her boss, Tony. Although he was married he had promised to leave his wife. However when she arrived at his house to deliver some papers earlier than expected she overheard something that made her run away to another part of the country in terror.
When I started this book I thought I was going to enjoy it more than I did. I found some of the dialogue very repetitive, especially between Sonny and her aunt Martha. It felt as though the author was trying to make sure you did not miss an important aspect of the story by repeating it. Some of the characters seemed one-dimensional and not very believable. I probably would have enjoyed it more if I had been reading it on a sunny beach, but in chilly Essex, no.


Pammy51 Report 27 Apr 2017 16:47

Storm sister

There is not much I can add to the other revues of this book. I do admire authors who can keep a time line through a series of books. I assume she had a good idea where all the stories were going before she finalised the first book. As I read her books I find I have to turn to Google to find out more about the historical figures, I didn't know much about Greig before.
There is obviously some mystery about the 'death' of Pa Salt, especially as his enemy (I can't remember the name, the father of Maia's ex boyfriend) disappeared at the same time.
I will definitely have to read the rest of the books.


AnninGlos Report 27 Apr 2017 17:01

Thanks Pammy I do agree about The Devil you know and one dimensional characters. I have read Marianna but not this time, I don't think I still have it but I do know I enjoyed it. I have read other books by SK as well, I like her.

And I also agree about Lucinda Riley and her historic characters. I didn't know much about Grieg either.

Shadow sister is good as well, that is available on Amazon.


TessAkaBridgetTheFidget Report 28 Apr 2017 18:40

Sorry, thought that I had already posted a reply on this thread. Have read The Devil You Know, and. The Storm Sister.

Have already made notes about the former, am just about to do the same for yhge latter.

Will be back later today and/or tomorrow with my reviews.


TessAkaBridgetTheFidget Report 1 May 2017 11:55

Sorry to take so long in getting back to the thread.
First Review.

The Devil You Know by Josephine Cox.

Have read books ( can't remember their titles) by Josephine Cox before, and enjoyed them. So was quite looking forward to reading The Devil You Know.

I felt totally let down! Even the title was misleading.

I was born in ¹948, so remember growing up in the 1950's. Granted my memories of 1956-57 are those of a child, was even looking forward to reading about that time from an adults point of view. Hoping that if any research of the time had been done, and was mentioned in the story, that it would revive some of my memories and educate me about things i never knew, or had gone over my head at the time.
What a let down.
Either my memory is playing me false, or the people I knew ,the lifestyle I experienced were totally different to those of the author. Or Ms Cox had just not bothered to do any research and/ or had been advised to add dates after the story had been written.
In my experience very few people had cars at this time. I knew a going woman who had a scooter (Lamberetta). This has stuck in my mind because it was so rare at the time. Joy was a trail blaiser, someone to look up to.
In this book however, a few young single ladies had their own cars. These cars had heaters! Patricia even lived in her o wn flat, complete withh telephone. She didn't have a good job, or the backing of her fsmily.I didn't know anyone who had a phone in their home at that time. ( unless they kept it a secret, in case they were inundated by neighbours wanting to use it!).

All these things exasperated me ++++. It was so .unrealistic. In this sort of story, I want to be swept away by the drama ( even if it is a bit far fetched). Instead, I snorted in disbelief through a lot of the story.

Another character, Ellie, was a single parent, she didn' t appear to have a job, at that time there was little or no support for single parents. In fact there was very little support for married couples with children. Ellie was another of the people in the story who had a phone.

I realised, after reading through all the story, that telephones played a vital part in the story. Perhaps it should have been set ten or more years later, to make some of these things feasible.

Anyway, to get back to the story, while trying to disregard the glaring inaccuracies ......
The title was misleading, the interaction between some of the charectors was questionable. I'm thinking of the main charector meeting her new landlady for the first time. The attitudes and demeanour of both of them was peculiar.

I would also have preferred the "baddies" in the story to have at least one or two (semi) redeeming features, but was unable to find any. It was hard to see them as full rounded personalities when we only saw their bad side. They were more like cardboard cut outs of pantomime villeins
Instead of being swept away by the story, on the edge of my seat with worry, I tutted, huffed and puffed and muttered" nonsense " through much of the story.
It was in my opinion, a not very good story, riddled with inaccuracies and improbabilities.

So this is a "No". from me. I did not like it, and weoukd not recommend it.


TessAkaBridgetTheFidget Report 1 May 2017 11:58

My brother is still unwell, so I need to pull my finger out and do a few things to help him.

Will be back when I can with review for. Storm Sister.
For the moment, just wanted to say.

I liked it!!!!


AnninGlos Report 1 May 2017 12:38

Tess glad you liked Storm sister, you should now try and get Shadow sister, I loved that too.

Re the 1950s. I was born in 1940 so was in my teens in the 50s. My father had a car from 1947, we were not well off once he was invalided out of the RN, he was what was then a commercial traveller ( a Rep.). We also had a phone but for the first few years it was on a 'party line'. i.e. it was shared with somebody else in the area, if they were on the phone we couldn't make or receive a call. Some old cars did have heaters. Young men in the services (in my experience the RN did have cars, albeit old ones, I went on the back of a Lambretta (the first and last time ever on a motorbike and didn't dare tell my Mum) this was ridden by a girl I worked with, I was 17 she was 19. Single parents were few and far between, unless they were widowed.

However, you will see that I didn't like the story either. :-D

Thanks for your review.


AnninGlos Report 2 May 2017 08:49

From Perse
I agree with Tess, it was not a very accurate story in more ways than one, seemed to go for sensationalism more than an endearing story. I had not read a Josephine Cox as far as I know and that book would not tempt me to read another one.

I was born 1947 and we had a vehicle but that was because my grandfather lived with us and he had been a commercial traveller. Neither of my parents drove, however a lot of my friends parents had cars when I was going to school and our neighbours had them.
Phones ... yes it was years before we got a phone none in the first house.We moved when I turned 5 and then waited till we got a party line. Then my mother hardly ever got off the phone (slight exaggeration) ...
True story: My father fell off the railway platform at his work and broke his leg and had to go and get it seen to. He spent nearly two hours trying to get my mother on the phone and in the end he rang the woman across the road and told her to go and tell my mother to get off the phone.
However, a lot of people did have phones and there were single mothers in our family but did not find out about them until I did Genealogy. They kept their children and they were either raised by the grandparent or in one case a cousin who could not have children. I often wonder if there were others and they were adopted out, because it was not till the 1970s that it became okay to be a solo parent and even then a bit of frowning.

Looking forward to your review of The Storm Sister. You certainly do meaty reviews Tess.

Cheers Perse.


AnninGlos Report 2 May 2017 08:53

Thanks Perse, not sure if you were born and brought up in NZ but yes I am sure there were more single Mums than we realised. Just remembered actually that a friend of mine had a little girl in about 1959, which brought dire warning to me from my Mother. And a girl I worked with had a baby about five months before I had my daughter, she was not married, this was 1961 so not fifties.
Yes my Mum chatted to her sisters on the phone a lot, think they may have gone to a phone box to phone though as I am not sure they had phones.


TessAkaBridgetTheFidget Report 3 May 2017 18:13

Hi ladies! Before I review Storm Sister, just a quick note about single parents in the 1950's. I didn' t mean that it didn't happen in those days. I know from my own family that it did. Just that the single parent in the story seemed to have a decent standard of living, without the support of the father of her children, a job, extended family, or benefits from the government.
Re: telephones, the was one in the house we moved in to in 1961. My Dad decided that we would keep it, as he was serving his last few months in the army, while we( his wife and four young children) were living to all intents and purpose in "civvy street".
We were living among strangers in an unfamiliar place, dad was working away from home. Only came back once in a while.

Getting back to Storm Sister -

I try to remember when doing a review to mention what I thought of the story, and also what I thought of the style ( or quality) of writing.
Sometimes I haven't enjoyed a book because I have my judgemental hat too firmly on my head, and dislike the character s so much that I am dismissive of the whole book. (" The Talented Mr Ripley" springs to mind.).

So belated appologies if I have ever let my prejudice get in the way of my rewiews.

However in Storm Sister. there were no concerns on that score.
After reading. The Seven Sisters Maia's Story, I was really looking forward to finding out more about the second sister - Ally (Alycyone), her story and her take on the relationship between herself, her sisters and Pa Salt.
Initially I was a little disappointed. The story did not seem to flow as well as Maia's - Then I had second thoughts, the story was told by Ally ( at least in the beggining it was), it was her voice/ style we were reading/ hearing - not that of the author. Unlike Ally, Maia was a linguist, so she had a way with words. Ally was a woman of action, not words.
It took a little while for Ally to find her voice, but eventually she (and I) got into the swing of the story. Especially when we get to read the translations of the book that Pa Salt left for her.

I was intregiued by the story, found it interesting, but was longing to hear more about Ally's relationship with her sisters. I had thought too, that we might be told more about what Ally actually saw on the night Pa Salt "died". In inverted commas because I am not convinced that Ma's account of what happened, is the whole truth, only that it is what Pa Salt wanted the sisters to hear.
I was hoping that we would get more clause to Pa Salt and his connection to Ally and her mother at the time of her birth and adoption ( possibly just a little hint). After all we got a couple of hints in Maia's story.
This might be the reason that I slightly preferred the first book. That and the fact that I have been interested in the statue of the Christos since I first saw it on t.v. Have never been to see it though.

I have been on a holiday to Norway, and stayed in Began for a couple of nights, a wonderful place, breathtaking in its beauty. Had a stroll around Began ( not a guided walk) and think that I may have walked by a house associated with Grieg. Would have paid more attention if I'd read this book first.

Reintroducing Star near the end of the story, is a a way of wheting the appetite for the next story. I wonder how she managed to separate herself from CeCe. Just to keep us keen we find that Thom is showing an interest in her.
Will the sisters be linked in more ways that adoption?
Paris comes into the story of Maia and Ally, will it make an appearance in Star's story too ?
I guess I will be reading the other books in the series.

Have already recommended the first book to a friend, who has purchased it. Will be recommending Storm Sister too.
Five stars to Lucinda Riley.


TessAkaBridgetTheFidget Report 3 May 2017 18:16

The books I was going to suggest are:

What Lies Beneath. by Sarah Rayne. which I have already read


Now the War is Over byb Annie Murray, which I am reading.