Friday, January 30, 2015

Death From The Woods by Brigitte Aubert

Synopsis :

Elise Andrioli had it all: beautiful, managing a bustling movie theatre, engaged to be married, and surrounded by friends.  But when a terrorist bomb shatters her world, leaving her suffering from 'lock-in' syndrome, she must be taken back to her family home near Paris.

But back in the quiet suburb, Elise' new life doesn't begin in tranquility.  Young boys keep disappearing in the local forest, only to be discovered days later, dead and horribly mutilated.  The murderer is swiftly given the grisly name of 'Death from the Woods'.

One morning, while waiting in her wheelchair outside a supermarket, Elise is approached by a strange little girl named Virginie, who confides to her that she was present when Death from the Woods murdered Michael, a little boy reported missing several days earlier.  Later that afternoon, Michael's death is confirmed on the local news.  All too soon, Virginie will inform Elise that she herself is a target.

I must confess that I only read Death From The Woods after I checked that reviews on this title are mostly positive.  I bought this book quite a few months ago and since it didn't get sold in the flea market, I decided to give it a try.

Death From the Woods is different that the perspective of the story comes from a young woman who is unable to see, talk, walk and move.   She is totally dependent on others and relies very much on conversations and sounds from the surrounding in order to know what is happening around her.  The only thing she can move was initially an index finger but as the book progressed, she can move one whole arm but as the book ends, she is still unable to function on any other parts of her limbs and  certainly not her visual and her vocals.

The book has its comic moment as Elise was quite comical in her own way.  It was funny when she had beer for the first time in years and her horror to having to have another cup of herbal tea yet again.  And the time when she was in a car trip and she fell off her seat and stayed that way without having the ability to communicate her predicament to her fellow travelers, that was quite classic.

All in all, Death From the Wood is different and Death itself was quite predictable if you pay attention to the little details although the author tried to confused you in one way or another.  I am quite glad I give it a try.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Montana by Ann Bell

Synopsis :

Montanans are legendary for their courage and willingness to take on challenges as big as the Montana sky.  But the heroines in these four inspirational novels are ordinary people facing mountains of trouble.  As the comforts of daily routine are threatened, they'll need to dig deep for a sustaining faith.

Edith Harkness is a widowed teacher who quits her job after a shooting at school. Though her children urge her to retire and take life easy, Edith takes on a new job - and meets a new love interest. Can life begin afresh with an Autumn Love? Libby Reynold's marriage has fallen apart and her husband is a threat to both her and her children. Forced to seek refuge, Libby prays for a miracle in the life of the man she still loves. But does she have the emotional strength to wait for a Contagious Love? Beth Slater is no stranger to life's challenges. Raising a four-year-old son alone has tested her strength and molded her into a beautiful young woman. But when her son is kidnapped, her strength suddenly vanishes. Can she grasp onto Inspired Love - the love of God and the love of a godly man? When Rebecca Sutherland retires as the librarian at Rocky Bluff High School she accepts a position in Guam. Before she leaves, the house next door burns down and her home becomes the investigation command center. Partnered with the handsome fire chief, she attempts to unravel the mystery surrounding the fire - while ignoring the sparks of romance. Can Distant Love survive her two-year contract? Set in the fictional town of Rocky Bluff, Montana, these four complete contemporary novels by author Ann Bell demonstrate the power of prayer, friendship, and love.

Montana was one of the books I bought at the book sales two years which I thought would be quite charming as a slow read.   A slow read it certainly was as it took me a few months to complete and I read most of it only during my lunch hour as my lunch companion.

There's actually one main story in this book but it does focus on different ladies in the four different chapter.  The first story is on Edith Harkness and she is the one that gels everyone else together.  Second stor is on Libby Reynold who first met Edith through a helpline and from there there's Beth Slater who also met Edith the same way.  The final gal and final story focused on Rebecca Sutherland who is a library and a friend of Edith and the other ladies. In the midst of all these, there is mysteries of a fire and suspected arson and a kidnapping.

So, is it a charming book?  In a way it was but it was also borderline boring as I was never a fan of romance books so I was quite disinterested in the book by the time I read the third story that when it came to the final story, I kinda skim through.

Anyway, it was a great lunch companion as I can just stop anytime when lunch break's up so for that I have no issues with this book.  If you are a fan of romance (clean romance as it happens to be!), you would enjoy Montana.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge

Have you come across the 2015 Reading Challenge?

I came across it in Facebook early this month and thought it was really neat.  Having not been in any reading challenge previously, I thought it would be quite fun to see how many of these challenge I can accomplish.

There are 50 challenges altogether and I think I cross two challenges off the list already as it is... A book by a female author...easy peasy...I nominate Handbags and Halos by Bernadette Strachan and a mystery or thriller would be An Ice Cold Grave by Charlaine Harris.

I think I can also nominate Playing for Pizza for one of the challenges but let's see how I can stretch out the challenge as I have the rest of the year to do so.

With that, I have 48 more challenges to go.

Would you be interested to join me in a reading challenge?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Handbags and halos by Bernadette Strachan

Synopsis :

Nell Fitzgerald worries that her life is shallow and meaningless. She's right - it is. Stricken by an acute pre-mid-life crisis, she's walked out on her obstreperous boyfriend, moved in with her icy Knightsbridge grandmother and been forced to assume the role of faux girlfriend to closet gay TV presenter, Blair Taylor, by her merciless boss at the Morgan theatrical agency.

In a desperate bid to inject a little depth into her existence, Nell enrols at 'Helping Hands' volunteer centre. There the frighteningly grown up coordinator, Phred, looks on in bemusement as a series of mishaps lead her to discover that 'doing good' doesn't offer the immediate rewards she'd bargained for.

Can Nell juggle the demands of her two very different worlds as well as her eccentric family, perplexed girlfriends and unexpected feelings for Phred?

Handbags and Halos is a chic lite through and through.  It's light and it's fun and it's enjoyable and you can't ask for anything more if chic lite is your cuppa tea.

Meet Nell.  She was dumping her boyfriend in the opening chapter.  He was sleeping at that time and she creeped out of apartment that they shared for three years, taking with her just some of her clothes and personal stuff.  Her quiet and quick escape was foiled and he ended up witnessing her escape, hitch hiking a milk delivery bike and he practically walked alongside the bike in stoney silence for a while.  That was just hilarious and I knew I was in for a real fun read.

So, if you need a book to keep you off your problems are just to pass time, you will not be sorry to read this one.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

An Ice Cold Grave by Charlaine Harris

Synopsis : 

Hired to find a boy gene missing in Doraville, North Carolina, Harper Connelly and her brother Tolliver head there, only to discover that the boy was the only one left of several who had disappeared over the previous five years. All of them teenagers. All unlikely runaways.

All calling for Harper.

Harper soon finds them—eight victims, buried in the half-frozen ground, all come to an unspeakable end. Afterward, what she most wants to do is collect her fee and get out of town ahead of the media storm that's soon to descend. But when she's attacked and prevented from leaving, she reluctantly becomes a part of the investigation as she learns more than she cares to about the dark mysteries and long-hidden secrets of Doraville—knowledge that makes her the next person likely to rest in an ice-cold grave.

An Ice Cold Grave by Charlaine Harris was an exception read.  I nearly passed up on this title and am I glad I didn't.  The story is about a girl called Harper who was able to find dead bodies after being struck by lightning.  She then contracted out her special abilities to those looking for dead bodies.  It could be house owners who wanted to know if there's a body buried in their backyard or it could be a family who wants to find out how their loved ones died.

She is good at what she does and in An Ice Cold Grave, she was asked by a family of a missing teenager to find if his body is buried somewhere in town.  Found the body she did but not just one but a few and that's when the person who buried these bodies decided that she is interfering into matter and decided to scare her off.  They nearly did except for weather change which made it difficult for her to leave town.

I have chills reading this book.  It was full of suspense and it was creepy the way Harper interacted with the dead bodies.  I also enjoyed the closeness Harper has with her 'brother' who isn't really her brother.

The author is also famous for her Sookie Stakehouse series which focuses on vampire and if you watched True Blood the series, then you would know who Sookie is and while this is different, it is just as enjoyable.

Go, and be chilled by An Ice Cold Grave today! :)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Playing for Pizza by John Grisham

Synopsis :

Rick Dockery was the third-string quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. In the AFC Championship game, to the surprise and dismay of virtually everyone, Rick actually got into the game. With a 17-point lead and just minutes to go, Rick provided what was arguably the worst single performance in the history of the NFL. Overnight, he became a national laughingstock—and was immediately cut by the Browns and shunned by all other teams. 

But all Rick knows is football, and he insists that his agent find a team that needs him. Against enormous odds, Rick finally gets a job—as the starting quarterback for the Mighty Panthers . . . of Parma, Italy. The Parma Panthers desperately want a former NFL player—any former NFL player—at their helm. And now they’ve got Rick, who knows nothing about Parma (not even where it is) and doesn’t speak a word of Italian. To say that Italy—the land of fine wines, extremely small cars, and football americano—holds a few surprises for Rick Dockery would be something of an understatement. . . .

John Grisham diverts away from his standard courtroom fare and gave us something totally different, refreshing and entertaining in the form of the classic American footballSet in a country where football as the world knows it is a national sports, American football in Italy is just too strange to comprehend.

Yet, Playing for Pizza is a delightful read although there isn't much of a storyline but then in the hands of a master writer like John Grisham, there are times when a storyline is really not necessary as characters just come alive as he writes life into them.

Playing for Pizza is a very easy read even if American football is not your thing.  The main character in Playing for Pizza is Rick Dockery, a professional football player that isn't a very good player. Due to a snafu, he was terminated from his contract but his agent found him a spot in a football team all the way in Europe.  That's when things get interesting and readers are treated to something different than what John Grisham normally offers.

For me it was a good treat for a rather quiet weekend and certainly no regrets there.