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Showing posts from May, 2013

From This Moment On by Colette Caddle

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From this Moment On is the story of Lynn a once confident young woman who must rebuild her life after a horrible work harassment case has left her without a job and feeling rather bruised by life. Once her case is settled it would seem that Lynn has it all a kind and considerate boyfriend a loving family and great friends but her fear and depression are holding her back and as the family she once worked for are the most powerful family in town its hard to rebuild her life when the past is all around her and the repercussions of her ordeal are still reverberating. Can she make a fresh start or will the secret she is keeping destroy her?
Based purely on the cover of this book I would never have picked this book up in a shop. There is nothing wrong with the cover it has a perfectly pleasant landscape scene with two chairs in the foreground but it screams one thing to me "Chick Lit" which is a concept and a way of pigeon holing women writers which I despise. Originally "ch…

The Adventures of Jenny , Sylvester and their Six Little Chicks and Meet the Fairies in my Backyard written and illustrated by Dolores Keaveney

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I have previously reviewed Dolores Keaveney's Earth Angels which is a wonderful blend of poetry, art and spirituality but what Dolores is best known for are her delightful and wonderfully colourful picture books for children. So far Dolores has produced seven books If I Were a Bee, Beelicious A first cookery book for children, Earth Angels and Jenny the Little Brown Hen which has also been produced in Irish as Jenny an Chearc Bheag Dhonn as well as the two new books The Adventures of Jenny continue now that she and Sylvester have a family of their own. One day they leave the hen run to explore but as Jenny and Sylvester and the chicks enjoy their freedom they don't realise the danger they are in. A great story for small children with an important message about road safety. Meet the Fairies in my Backyard is a fantastic introduction for young children to nature and the different types of plants and flowers they can find in their back garden as well as the magical fairies who l…

The Ark of Dun Ruah by Maria Burke

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Currach books normally publish non fiction Irish interest titles but they have branched out into the children's market with Maria Burke's The Ark of Dun Ruah. This is a tale of adventure and fantasy which will appeal to  children aged 10-13 approx. It features the story of orphaned brother and sister Simon and Kerry Macken who live in the normally quiet town of Kilbeggin, Kerry is a designer and a seamstress and Simon an amateur inventor. They are invited to travel to Fire City by Lady Lumina, President of the Land of Fire who has fallen for Kerry's designing skills. Almost as soon as they set out on their journey strange things begin to happen. In fact Simon had been seeing strange things since before they had left Kilbeggin; a mysterious hooded stranger who vanished before his eyes and a horde of giant eagles who try to attack their owl friend Pod. During their time on the ship the Ark of Dun Ruah they discover that Pod has been kidnapped by Red Beak an evil giant eagle…

The Salmon of Knowledge

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The Salmon of Knowledge is part of Poolbeg's new series for younger children; Ireland's Best Known Stories In A Nutshell illustrated by Derry Dillon and adapted by Ann Carroll. These books are ideal to read aloud at bedtime and make great first readers for the seven plus age group. My son really enjoyed this introduction to a traditional tale which is re-told here in lively detail. If you are not familiar with this tale it features a young Fionn Mac Cumhaill who studies with the wise teacher Finnegas by the banks of the Boyne. Finnegas has searched for the salmon of knowledge for many years for whoever has the first taste of this magical fish will gain all the wisdom in the world. Find out how Fionn learns all that he needs to know to become the great and wise leader of the Fianna. There are six books in the series so far the others are How Cu Cúchulainn Got His Name, The Children of Lir, The Story of Newgrange, The Story of the Giant's Causeway and The Story of St Patric…

The Chronicles of Cadaver College: The Book of Ornis by Olive Mooney

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This is the First book in a thrilling new fantasy adventure series from Irish author Olive Mooney. The story begins with Simon de Bruin our unlikely hero who finds himself at a pair of tall, ivy clad, iron gates and cannot remember how he got there. As Simon asks to be let in through the gates he is asked for his D.O.D. date of death and as the hell hounds lunge out of the darkness ready to drag him away twelve year old Simon realises that he is in fact now a ghost. Simon wakes up to find that he is now a resident of Cadaver College and as the last in a long line of de Bruin warriors it falls to him to defeat the sea witch Halbizia who has cursed the college. It’s a lot for young Simon to take in but as he learns more about the college and makes some friends including Fi the pirate Princess, Augusta the suffragette librarian and Sir Syl the crusading knight who writes awful poetry Simon begins to prepare for the coming battle.
This is an ideal read for children aged 8-11 and great to r…

After Flodden By Rosemary Goring

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After Flodden by Rosemary Goring is an outstanding fiction debut from a powerful and talented author. Rosemary Goring has previously written the bestselling Scotland the Autobiography and has worked as a non-fiction editor for many years but this book feels like the work of a fiction author at the height of her powers. The captivating story features a handful of characters in the aftermath of the Battle of Flodden in 1513. Patrick Paniter was James IV’s advisor and secretary and he is haunted by the horrors of the battlefield and the death of his king. Louise Brenier has asked for Paniter’s help in finding her brother who hasn’t returned from battle.  The indomitable Louise disgruntled with the search for her brother decides to set out to find him herself and finds herself caught up in a feud between two border clans.  The action is fast paced and perilous. The characters are believable and their stories compelling. This novel will have huge appeal for fans of Rose Tremain and Hilary…

The Lost by Claire McGowan

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If like me you are new to reading Claire McGowan then don't worry although this is her second book it is the first in the PaulaMaguireseries which sees Northern Ireland born Paula already a successful forensic psychologist in London seconded to a cross border unit tasked with tracing missing women. Paula is a difficult but fascinating character. She accepts the new job rather reluctantly returning to her home town ofBallyterrin, a thinly disguised version ofNewrythe author's home town and moves back in with her retired policeman father. There are all sorts of delicate paths to be trod with an English policeman leading the team a mix of Protestants and Catholics from North and South of the border. McGowan plays to her strengths here with the tension humming under almost every interaction. There are also complications when Paula meets up with old friend Aidan O'Hara now editor of the local paper. On top of that there are the stark facts of two missing teenage girls and cold …

The Orphan Choir by Sophie Hannah

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Bestselling crime author Sophie Hannah has written a spooky chiller for Hammer.  The same people who brought us the cult horror movies are now working with Random House to revive interest in horror writing. As well as re-issuing classic tales such as The Witches by Peter Curtis and a number of books by Graham Masterton some, some well-known authors are getting in on the act with tales of witches, ghosts and vampires. 2012 saw the release of Helen Dunmore’s The Greatcoat and Jeanette Winterson’s The Daylight Gate and this year also see the release of titles from Melvin Burgess and Julie Myerson. The Orphan Choir is the story of Louise a Cambridge Mum with a noisy neighbour who is keeping her awake. Her husband Stuart however seems able to sleep through the neighbour’s noisy parties and as Louise continues to finds sleep elusive and her health begins to suffer we get the first indication that all is not quite right. Louise is advised by her local council to keep a noise diary and her ent…

Two Hundred Years of Pride and Prejudice

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Last Friday BBC2 broadcast Pride and Prejudice: Having a Ball which was an authentic recreation of The Netherfield Ball one of the key scenes in the book. I had planned to blog about how excited I was about watching this show as indeed were many other Janeites across the Internet however my blog was sadly neglected last week as other things took precedence, including reaching the 15k point in my novel but more about that later.  However I am kind of glad I didn't blog about my excitement because I'm sorry to report that I was rather disappointed. I was delighted to learn about the food of the regency era it was an interesting aspect of the show as food historian and chef Ivan Day had the stressful job of preparing a feast of regency, soups, fish, jellies and puddings which in authentic regency style were all placed on the table at once and the guests simply helped themselves. However the food seemed to take second place to the rather patronising tones of the two presenters.  The…

A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar

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I simply had to show you both the UK and US covers of this book, both are gorgeous but I think I prefer the US cover, the font and the photograph give more of a flavour of the historical strand in this novel. This novel uses my all-time favourite fictional device it weaves together a contemporary and an historical narrative. The historical story features Evangeline English a lady cyclist who has travelled as a missionary with her sister to establish a mission in Kashgar. She is also keen to keep a record of their stay and turn that into a travel diary, she has tentatively named her project The Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar. In present day London Frieda receives news that she was listed as next of kin for Irene Guy a woman she has never heard of and she must clear out a lifetimes worth of books, papers and belongings. She also encounters Tayeb a young man in need of friendship and somewhere to stay.  In alternating chapters both stories unfold. 1920s Kashgar is vividly brought to l…

Clay by Melissa Harrison

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A lyrical and beautifully written debut detailing the lives of interconnected characters who live near to an urban park. The area and the city are never named. Melissa Harrison shows tremendous skill in weaving the narrative of her novel around the passing of a year with its unfolding seasons and the changes visible and hidden throughout the park and the urban sprawl.  The characters are eight year old T.C. who is bereft by his Father's absence but neglected by his mother; he finds solace in nature and friendship in Jozef a Polish immigrant who misses his farm and his homeland. Sophia is a sprightly 78year old, who is trying to teach her granddaughter Daisy about the natural world outside of her cosy private school. Linda, Daisy's mother begins to reconnect with nature and her mother through the course of the book. Touching on themes of aging and childhood, crime, immigration and safety the characters’ lives impact on each other and the ever changing natural world is documented…

How To Fall by Jane Casey

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How to Fall is Jane Casey's first novel for young adults, she is already an established crime writer with four novels for adults under her belt and another on the way later this year. How to Fall is the first in a new series of mystery thrillers staring JessTennant. The teen crime novel is a growing genre with Elizabeth George, JohnGrisham, KathyReichs and HarlanCoben all getting in on the act. However my first taste of the genre was The Angel Kiss series by Laura JaneCassidy and aside from both authors sharing a nationality there are a number of similarities to be drawn between the two series; both feature a new girl in town, both feature a potential love interest and both feature some suspicious behaviour from the grownups. I think Jane Casey's novel will undoubtedly appeal to teen readers, in particular fans of Laura JaneCassidy with its bang on detail about bullying and peer pressure and the air of menace which pervades an otherwisedull small town. I see no reason why the …