Friday, 10 June 2016

Review of Until the Robin Walks on Snow by Bernice L. Rocque

I e-met author Bernice L. Rocque 

on Twitter in a discussion about some beautiful pieces of heirloom crochet-work. 

The author's family history account of the lives of her ancestors is equally beautiful.

Bernice Rocque has meticulously researched her family history over many years and some of the fascinating details are outlined at the end of the book.
The main part of the book is a fictionalised account of the birth of a premature baby and the struggles the family have to sustain the baby in a hostile environment.
There are references to folk-lore and the family's East European background which add interest and support the narrative. The characters develop strong personalities which shine through the pages.

Anyone who has spent enough time researching their ancestors to feel that they really know them will love the way the author has made her ancestors come alive.

This family story is set in early twentieth century east coast America but it transcends geographical area and will be just as meaningful to readers anywhere in the world who have a feel for the past.

Until the Robin Walks on Snow is a charming and insightful book and I loved reading every page of it. 

It's available in the Amazon Kindle Store and I read it with my Kindle Unlimited subscription. More details here if you follow this link.

Review of Full Circle by Terry Tyler

I finished reading Dream On by Terry Tyler a few days ago and started the sequel Full Circle straightaway.

What a great story this is.

The book more than lives up to its eye-catching description:

FULL CIRCLE is the sequel to Terry Tyler’s fourth novel, DREAM ON, but many have enjoyed it as a stand alone work. It’s a tale of love triangles, infidelity, an English rock band, the lure of celebrity, and the destructive nature of alcohol addiction. FULL CIRCLE - love and parenthood dramas, rock music and secret affairs, with a few laughs along the way!

Over both volumes the characters grow and grow. Right from the start the reader knows what the main character, Ariel, really wants out of life but did ever a character go such a long distance out of the way to cover a short distance correctly?
Anyway, in the end, at the very end, author Terry Tyler gets Ariel to the right place and brings the pair of books to a very satisfying conclusion.
If you haven't read Dream On and Full Circle yet then I would recommend you do. I read the books with my Kindle Unlimited subscription and really enjoyed reading them both.

Really good holiday reading 

and details on the author's page at Amazon.

Apart from a collection of short stories I've downloaded all the books published by the very talented Terry Tyler and enjoyed reading every one.

Her characters are always real and their stories embedded into true to life situations that everyone can recognise and identify with.
The obstacles the characters encounter are always plausible and their resolutions ultimately satisfying yet the twists and turns of the plotting are often unexpected, full of surprises with plenty of proverbial spanners in the works.
Although always entertaining and easy to read the novels deal with serious and complex issues. The author doesn't back away from addictions, betrayal or exploitation, for example, which adds depth to plots and characterisation. Terry Tyler's more recent novels set in an historical framework are particularly original and innovative. You can find further details of all the books on Terry Tyler's author page at Amazon if you follow this link and I recommend that you do.

Review of Looking for Lucy by Julie Houston

I really enjoyed reading The One Saving Grace, Julie Houston's second novel (review here) and went straight on to read her recently released title, Looking for Lucy.

This is another novel set in the fictional village of Midhope in West / North Yorkshire and it's another great read from the talented Julie Houston.

From the book description:

Clementine needs to find Lucy before it's all too late. She also knows bringing up a child on your own down on Emerald Street where the street walkers ply their trade isn't easy, even when your daughter's as adorable as four-year-old Allegra. So when Peter Broadbent, wealthy, kind and possessed of the most beautiful house Clementine has ever seen, proposes, it seems almost too good to be true. It is...

Early on in the novel 

the reader has a pretty good idea of where the plot is going and what the likely outcome will be. But, the route to the highly satisfying ending is filled with surprises, unusual twists and unexpected obstacles.

The book is very readable: 

it's partly narrated by the main character, Clementine, and with good contrast in the other sections where the author takes over.

I really liked Clementine. 

She is a strong character who demonstrates positive qualities of resilience and determination that are used most effectively by the author to drive the novel forwards.

There is a well-developed sub-plot 

which is closely enmeshed with Clementine's story.
The characterisation throughout both plot and sub-plot is real and vivid.

I loved the way that Harriet and  Grace, 

the main characters from Julie Houston's earlier novels, feature in Looking for Lucy as supporting players. Along with the setting in Midhope, the inclusion of Harriet and Grace provides continuity between the three novels although Looking for Lucy can easily be read as a stand-alone work.

The missing Lucy of the title 

is another well rounded character whose story brings a whole new dimension and added depth to the narrative.

All in all, another unputdownable read!

I read Looking for Lucy with my Kindle Unlimited subscription and look forward to reading whatever Julie Houston writes next.

Follow this link for more details of Looking for Lucy in the Amazon Kindle Store.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Is Kindle Unlimited changing your reading habits?

I've had a Kindle Unlimited subscription for several months now and I think it's changing my reading habits.

All my reading life I've been a one book at a time reader. 

Right from the early days of Pookie the Flying Rabbit; through the Famous Five and the Bobbsey Twins; into Jean Plaidy and Georgette Heyer; on to Harold Robbins and Jacqueline Suzanne via James Baldwin, John Steinbeck and Scott Fitzgerald; and through most of the English classics I've only ever had one book on the go at any one time.

But since I started paying out my £7.99 each month to Amazon I seem to be reading several books simultaneously.

Currently I'm reading:

Looking for Lucy by Julie Houston
How Wars Begin by AJP Taylor
Shadows from the Past: A Collection of Short Stories for Short Journeys by Malcolm Hollingdrake
Until the Robin Walks on Snow by Bernice L. Rocque
and Full Circle by Terry Tyler.

The other lifelong habit I have is to read everything written by an author I like. 

Whether it's all the short stories of Somerset Maugham or every novel by William Boyd, once I'm hooked on a writer -

I'm hooked!

Before I got my Kindle I bought countless two-for-ones at Waterstones and borrowed armfuls of books from the public library. Now nearly everything I read is on the Kindle. It's light-weight, has the on-board dictionary and I don't need to use reading glasses. I'm getting vari-focals this week so it will be interesting to see if that tempts me back to paperbacks.

Thanks for reading my book blog today. 

I hope some of the books I've enjoyed reading appeal to you too and you find something new to read whether it's with Kindle Unlimited or as a pay-as-you-go download.
I've got a new blog over on my website which you might enjoy.
All the best, Cathy

Review of The One Saving Grace by Julie Houston

I downloaded Goodness, Grace and Me by Julie Houston in November 2013 and really enjoyed reading it. 

My review is here if you missed it.

I'm usually good at keeping tabs on new releases 

from authors I've enjoyed reading and can't understand how I missed the sequel, The One Saving Grace. In fact, the author's third book has been published recently but more of that later.

When I realised that Julie Houston had more on offer I downloaded The One Saving Grace straightaway with my Kindle Unlimited subscription. 

And it was just like meeting up with old friends. 

Once again, the relationships between Harriet, Grace and all their assorted families and friends are explored in great detail and once again it's a 100% enjoyable book to read.

The book description sets the scene:

When Harriet Westmoreland goes into labour with twins in Harvey Nichol’s men’s knicker department at exactly the moment she sets eyes on Alex Hamilton, it marks the start of a year of madness - for her, her family and, at times, it seems most of the West Yorkshire village of Midhope.
Giving birth only two months after Harriet, her childhood soulmate Grace has her own craziness to contend with. As both women hurtle down unexpected and very different paths, they flounder in a maelstrom of passion and confusion, perilously clinging on as the chain of events that threatens not only their comfortable, ordinary lives but also their very existence…

And The One Saving Grace well and truly lives up to its promise. 

I'm not saying anything more about the plot other than I thought it was brilliant. Towards the end of the novel you're on the edge of your seat wondering what's going to happen next and how all will be resolved.
Harriet and Grace are joined by the same supporting cast of family and friends but they're joined by some newcomers notably Anisim, the Russian oligarch Harriet's husband is doing business with and Lilian, the Mrs Doubtfire nanny who saves the day more than once.
The children have grown up a bit since the first book and there's the addition of the new baby twins into Harriet's family. And Grace finally achieves her desire to become a mum and is joined in her part of the story by baby, Jonty.

I really like the way Julie Houston describes the setting of Harriet's home in Yorkshire. 

Her descriptions of nature, sunsets and the weather are almost poetic and create lovely images of a rural idyll.

Narrated by Harriet herself, the novel draws the reader so closely into Harriet's dilemmas and emotions that you feel you know her in real life.

I thought Goodness, Grace and Me was really good but, amazingly, The One Saving Grace is even better. A fantastically enjoyable novel from Julie Houston and I'm going straight on to read her latest novel, Looking for Lucy, which is also available in Kindle Unlimited.
More details of The One Saving Grace by Julie Houston here.

Review of Dream On by Terry Tyler

Dream On is one of Terry Tyler's earlier novels 

and another enjoyable story with some unexpected twists as the plot unfolds.

I really like Terry Tyler's writing. 

She has a remarkable ability to take the lives of fairly ordinary people and turn them into such interesting and engaging characters. And Dream On is no exception.

Book Description

Dave Bentley was born to be a rock star. 
He believes he's a reincarnated Viking warrior, too... 
When Dave forms his new band, Thor, there are plenty of sleepless nights for Janice, his on-off girlfriend and mother of his son. Not only must she deal with the thrills and spills of life as a hardworking single mum, but also the imminent return of singer-songwriter Ariel Swan, Dave's one true love. 
Poor Janice. Dave is still the love of her life. 
Ariel Swan returns to small town life - and Dave's heart. 
She and her friend Melodie (whose ambition is to be "a celebrity") enter a TV talent competition, so Dave and the rest of Thor decide to make the most of the opportunity for possible fame and fortune, too. This adventure brings about big changes in the lives of all of them – none of which Dave could have anticipated. 
One member of Thor even ends up on The Jeremy Kyle Show...

Whenever I read Terry Tyler novels 

I always become really involved with the story. Her writing style draws the reader in so well that every page turns itself and it's difficult to leave the narrative and go and do something else.
Dream On, just like the other Terry Tyler novels, is easy to read and yet it gives the reader something to think about. This time it's an exploration of the values that lead to fulfilment in life. Each of the main characters strives to achieve their ambition but the route to success is filled with obstacles quite often of their own making. For some the end result is not always what at first seemed to be their goal.

I read Dream On with my Kindle Unlimited subscription 

and enjoyed every chapter. Terry Tyler is the author of twelve published ebooks and I thought that, apart from a collection of short stories, I'd read them all. But on double-checking I've realised there's a sequel to Dream On.
You can be sure that I've already got Full Circle on my Kindle, waiting to be read.

You can find details of all Terry Tyler's novels, novellas and short stories on her Amazon Author Page.