REVIEW: Ghostwritten by Isabel Wolff

ghostwritten-cover

The Back of the Book

She listens to everyone else’s story, but can she find her own? Jenni is ‘ghost’ writing the lives of other people. It’s a job that suits her well – still haunted by a childhood tragedy, she finds it easier to take refuge in the memories of others than to dwell on her own. Klara was a child in the Second World War, interned in a camp on Java during the Japanese occupation. She has never spoken of her experiences there, but as she turns eighty, she knows that the time has come to share her extraordinary story of survival. As Jenni helps Klara to shed light on her childhood, and a neglected part of world history, she is forced to explore her own past, too. Can Jenni and Klara help each other to lay the ghosts of their pasts to rest?

My Thoughts

Originally this book landed on my doorstep from the lovely Hollie at Books on the Underground. After spreading her love on the underground for many lucky readers a copy winged its way to me and after the previous smasher of a book I couldn’t wait to get stuck in. At first look the book and title did not look like my kind of thing, however not being one to completely judge a book by its beautifully wistful cover I read the back. May I just say Isabel Wolff has a very interesting way with words that had me hooked from just the back. A secret fan of history and having travelled around the outskirts of where parts of this book was actually taken back to in the main story lines I wanted more already. Java here I come – fictionally of course!

Day 2 of reading and the pace was slow as work was heavy and time was thin on the ground. On my next day off I decided to push everything else to one side and just read and boy am I glad I did. Through tears of anguish, hurt and just pure joy this book was a roller coaster of emotions that if the reader can embrace will love the book just like I did.

Jenni being the main character has quite a story that I will not give away as you clearly want to read the book yourself (!). Whilst writing under a bushel and in the shadows of those around her (so to speak!) the other main character Klara as she gives up more of herself can see it happening it front of her eyes. When both parties realise that their encounter by a previous chance meeting is one that neither of them have ever forgotten and will never forget in the future a dear, close friendship is formed and the bond is one that seems everlasting.

The research that must have gone into this book seems immense as the facts just keep pouring in and the mind boggles as to how some of the people in those days got through such awful times. This book makes you grateful for the world that we have today and take a step back and take stock instead of taking advantage of all of the luxuries and wonderful opportunities we have in front of us that those fought for and never had.

A beautiful tale of how two very different people can feel very similar things from extremely different experiences but share something wonderful together. There is a lot of good feeling in this book but also a lot of gut wrenching story telling which Wolff really builds and leaves you in suspense just gagging for me.

Top read and highly recommended for the summer ahead even those snuggly evenings with a G&T when you just don’t want to leave the house.

I can see myself digging out A Vintage Affair and cracking on soon!

Rating

rating4* worthy fix

REVIEW: The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh

lemon-grove

Before I get started with this review let me tell you a bit about how I came across this book. After sifting through various sites online I came across the fabulous Books on the Underground. Now this is not a boring website – no, no! Books on the Underground is run by Hollie, she is friendly, helpful and ready to take this project to a new level. Spreading the bookish love by leaving little treats for the general public on the London Underground is only part of her arsenal of tricks – there is a book club now and being of part of it is just fabulous. Sadly I was unable to make it to the meet for the discussion of the book I am about to review. From what I gather however the word on the end of most tongues was ‘unconvincing’. We shall see . . .

Check out Books on the Underground

The Back of the Book says

Each summer, Jenn and her husband Greg return to Deia, on Mallorca’s dramatic west coast. This year the arrival of Emma, Jenn’s stepdaughter, and her new boyfriend Nathan threatens to upset their equilibrium. Beautiful and reckless, Nathan stirs something unexpected in Jenn. As she is increasingly seduced by Nathan’s youth and the promise of passion, the line between desire and obsession begins to blur. What follows is a highly charged liaison that puts lives and relationships in jeopardy. For Jenn, after this summer, nothing can ever be the same.

My Thoughts

From E.L. James to Sylvia Day the mummy porn section of the book aisle has expanded ten fold over the past year and a bit. This book would fit nicely in that area. With a softer side sexual exploration this slightly unbelievable tale of a step mother who seems to have tried her very best to fit into the family but goes off the rails. Now when I say off the rails do not get the wrong impression of a party animal young mum, think more along the lines of cradle snatching older lady. Be clear in your thoughts that I am not saying that it has not happened in reality and if it did then it is by no means my business (unless it is my son!) but the way the storyline pans out just makes you think out loud ‘REALLY?!’. This however did not make the book a disaster.

The first couple of pages with their descriptive text pulls you into a dream like state of fantasy with the sun beating down on you whilst you shelter in the titled Lemon Grove and flick through your latest read. The only thing on your mind being where you are going to get the next glass of Chianti and a recent dinner reservation. Then suddenly she remembers the imminent arrival of step-daughter Emma and her new beau Nathan. Big question being – when did she get old enough to have boyfriends joining her on holiday. Asthma pump at the ready and Jenn is suddenly wondering if the invite was such a good idea.

Enter sultry, sulky young Emma and her ‘Adonis’ beau Nathan and all of a sudden tranquility turns into turbulence. Not only is Jenn gobsmacked at the womanly sight of her step-daughter but her knickers need ringing out after the young pound of flesh known as Nathan parades around like the poolside is his catwalk. After much deliberation the debauchery ensues and Jenn has plunged into a seedy world that she must keep quiet and lives in fear of her nearest and maybe not so dear finding out. Can it continue? Well that is why you have to read the book.

Helen Walsh did well here, however it was just slightly too unconvincing with the description Nathan’s ultra manly physique when he was otherwise described as a young boy. Apart from this be prepared for a sizzler of a summer read that you may need a spare pair of pants and if you in the singles club your little black book may get a dusting off!

Rating

rating3* Mediocre Beans

REVIEW: One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern

One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern

This book was originally sent to me some time last year – when I received it I felt quite daunted as it is quite sizeable. It was put on the pile of TBR and left there for a considerable amount of time. Eventually I was able to listen to the audiobook which was great for me as I listened to it in manageable chunks whilst actually being able to continue with other activities. Now onto what it is all about and some thoughts.

Cecelia Ahern - One Hundred Names

The Back of the Book

Everyone has a story to tell…Journalist Kitty Logan’s career has been destroyed by scandal, and she now faces losing the woman who guided her and taught her everything she knew. At her mentor’s bedside, Kitty asks her – what is the one story she always wanted to write? The answer lies in a file buried in Constance’s office: a list of one hundred names. There is no synopsis, no explanation, nothing else to explain what the story is or who these people are. The list is simply a mystery.

But before Kitty can talk to her friend, it is too late. With everything to prove, Kitty is assigned the most important task of her life – to write the story her mentor never had the opportunity to. Kitty has to not only track down and meet the people on the list, but find out what connects them. And, in the process of hearing ordinary people’s stories, she uncovers Constance’s – and starts to understand her own…

My Thoughts

Kitty Logan is a name that I will not be forgetting in a hurry. Things go from bad to unbelievably worse for Kitty throughout the course of this book. She cleans more crap than the average health care worker and is mentally abused on a daily basis. Just at the point where you think it would all be too much and she may just give in, she comes back fighting even harder and lends to the story that feel good factor. When you are having an incredibly awful day in the spirit of all of these hashtags flying around the world-wide web add one more and think WWKD! Yes I said it!

As I listened to this book via Audible I was lucky enough to have the lilting irish accent and could imagine just how it was going down in Kitty’s world. From her beloved friend and previous editor Constance who is on her death-bed and giving Kitty instructions for the article that will change her entire life Kitty is a frenzy of questions and activities.

There are points in the book that I just wanted to scream SHUT UP KITTY but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Her life is complicated with many more curve balls thrown in along the way so she deserves a good whine! One of the upsides of Kitty’s haphazard tale is that you get a tour of Ireland from Dublin to Cork from the view of a native. I was more than happy to join in this journey as Ireland is somewhere that I have never been before and would very much like to visit. Not having the slightest idea about the places she was talking about made them sound even more out there than they probably are and worth the exploration in the future.

Having read previous Ahern books and quite enjoying the uplifting feeling this one was a definite on my list to read. However when it arrived in the post in its hardback majestic glory I was slightly put off by the size of the book as my time limit was quite tight. Thankfully Audible got me out of that predicament and I was well on my way and Kitty was by my side!

If anything this story taught me that you can believe in the good in people all you want but sometimes there are nasty people out there that will get the better of you. Do not let this bring you down to their level as eventually Karma will bite back and hurt them even more. Good mantra right?!

Enjoy the book peeps!

Ciao ciao!

Rating

rating3*
Mediocre Beans

Power Cases

On a visit to the Ideal Home Show in April with Catherine we stumbled upon tech genius Nick who is the founder of the wonderful Power Cases. Not exactly a technophobe but always chasing the dream of ease of use and great packaging Nick provided me with the perfect solution for iPad storage and universal charging for my many other devices.

Power Cases

Let us start with the storage part of this delightful package shall we . . .

The case in question has three pockets available for you to use at your leisure. The main pocket is for your tablet and the other two for storage of other items. Personally I use the pocket on the left for the universal charger and the other for my numerous cables. Funnily enough I am able to fit two phones with my tablet in the main part so that is pretty much technological life on the go. I was quite surprised by the amount of stuff I could actually fit in the case without having it bursting at the seams!

powercases storage options

Take a close look at the picture on the bottom left of the image above and you will notice the bobbled inside – this serves the purpose of protection of your electrical equipment when that sturdy zip shuts and you go about your business. As I already have a cover for my iPad to test this case out I have sidelined my previous case and given in fully to Power Cases.

Did it pass the test? 

Yes it did Indeed!

Next up take a look at the universal charger – not only does it charge your devices up to four times but it has two outlets to charge at the same time and you can always plug it in at the same time. This nifty little device has served me well since getting it and also helped out a couple of colleagues at the end of a very long shift and night out afterwards. After working a 13 hour shift and going for a drink to wind down the last thing you need on your way home is a dead phone down a dark road! Thanks to Power Cases this will happen no more (as long as your universal charger is charged!).

universal charger

Both products are absolutely wonderful they are simple, effective and stylish. The universal charger in a shocking red is particularly stylish however only coming in one colour may not attract the attention of the fashion conscious individual when there are other items on the market that bend to the fashion rules! They are both particular good-looking products that would fit in with the typical modern-day bachelor and are both affordable.

Universal Charger - £44.99

Tablet Case - £59.99

Now those prices may seem quite high but the quality of the products is outstanding and they will last you for an incredibly long time. The other thing about this brand in particular is that it is not incredibly well-known and the products are really just quite nice.

If you haven’t already got a charger or case I would seriously consider these products as they are something quite special.