Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser is from Beyond the Pales by Toby Coles 

Beyond

“I slipped the sandal off my prosthetic foot and handed it to Bridger.  I took one step into the room on my false foot and was within reach of George’s hand.  I eased the item out from between his fingers.  It was a small silver key.  I took a huge step backwards and wobbled as Bridger grabbed and steadied me.  I held the key up so he could see it and then stuffed it into my pocket.  “Lips are sealed.”

The Rock by Robert Daws

Rock

I was drawn to this fast moving detective story, by actor and writer Robert Daws, because it reminded me of the old house in Gibraltar where my parents lived many years ago, but it will appeal to anyone who enjoys trying to solve a murder mystery alongside a bold heroine.

Detective Sergeant Tamara Sullivan has been seconded from the Metropolitan Police force in London to what she imagines will be a quiet, rather boring time working in Gibraltar, but she soon finds that despite the relaxed attitude of some of her colleagues, serious crimes are being committed within Gibraltar’s narrow streets.

Gib

Tamara is a well-drawn character whom we soon get to know but her boss Chief Inspector Broderick is more of an enigma.  Robert Daws obviously knows the rock intimately so we soon feel ourselves familiar with the geography of the setting.

This is not a long novel but all the ingredients are present for an enjoyable read, trying to solve the crimes a step before the detectives.  Tamara’s independent and slightly reckless behaviour may lead her into trouble again which increases the suspense effectively.

I am looking forward to the next investigation by Sullivan and Broderick which is promised this year.

Full Circle by Terry Tyler

Dream On

“Full Circle” is the sequel to Terry Tyler’s “Dream On”, following the lives of a group of friends from East Anglia who dreamed of making it big in the music world.  But “Full Circle” can be read as a stand-alone novel as the background story of the main characters is incorporated seamlessly into the text.

What makes this book stand out is the characterisation.  As a reader I felt I really knew Ariel Swan, the attractive, talented song writer/singer who was not the arrogant, proud girl you might expect but a kind, honest individual with regrets about past decisions, trying at the age of 32 to start her life again while sleeping on a friend’s bed-settee and working as a waitress in south London.

Meanwhile in a small East Anglian town, Ariel’s first love, Dave, lead singer of rock group, Thor, is living with Isabel and their daughter Mia, regretting that he ever left his partner Janice and their much loved son, Harley.  His group are finding success again, but he misses his mate and former Thor member, Shane, who now sings with a Bon Jovi tribute band and lives with Cecilia and daughter Chloe.

Three years earlier Janice had thrown Dave out of the house when he reunited with Ariel but they maintained a good relationship as parents of Harley and Janice had married her boss Max.  It is easy to warm to Janice, who shows sympathy towards Dave and understanding for Ariel and she is now experiencing marriage problems.

Into the mix it is refreshing to encounter Melodie, one time finalist of TV show, Raw Talent, whose main aim in life had been to become a “celebrity”.  She certainly reached the D list but unfortunately homemade pornographic videos of her appeared on the internet and after a brief interlude of notoriety she was dropped by the media.  Luckily she had met millionaire property developer Nathan Ford and was now living in luxury in a Berkshire mansion but she was bored rigid!

“Full Circle” is about relationships, meeting new people, remembering past loves and working on present partnerships.  There are twists and turns, misunderstanding and exciting revelations.  Ariel’s mysterious new boyfriend Silas is really intriguing and Shane’s meeting with Dave promises fireworks.  It reflects all the concerns of the present day; of hopes and aspirations and the desire for a happy life with the person you love.

For a refreshing, surprising, yet comforting read about real, empathetic people with a delightful sprinkling of humour, I would highly recommend this 5 star novel.

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Friday Five Challenge

Welcome to my Friday Five Challenge
(Original idea from Rosie Amber at https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/)

cat coff

To join in read the rules at the bottom.

My choice today was in the Women Writers and Fiction category and what first caught my eye was the title. The pool picture makes it an obvious summer read.

In love for a week

It is obviously Chick Lit but that can cover a wide range from rubbish to an excellent read!

The description has all the right ingredients:-

Jenny loves to house-sit: looking after a stranger’s perfect home and pretending to be someone else – just for a bit. Her latest booking is a beautiful rambling country house owned by the glamorous Lewis family. Freed of teaching duties for the summer, Jenny plans to do nothing more challenging than walk the family’s badly behaved dog and laze by the pool.

But it appears that the plot darkens.  She discovers a skeleton in the family closet and hidden secrets while also finding love again after her divorce.

Reviews range from 5 to 2 though most are 4 or 5.  Those who gave low stars seem to be disappointed that this book is darker than Fiona Walker’s previous novels, while others find the book funny and full of unexpected twists and turns.

For £2.99 I might just BUY if it weren’t that I have so many exciting books waiting in my To Read collection!

So now it’s your turn.

Get yourself a cuppa and give yourself 5 minutes.

In today’s online shopping age, readers often base their buying decisions from small postage stamp size book covers (Thumb-nails), a quick glance at the book description and the review. How much time do they really spend making that buying decision?

AUTHORS – You often only have seconds to get a reader to buy your book, is your book cover and book bio up to it?

My Friday Five Challenge is this….. IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES….

1) Go to any online book supplier,

2) Randomly choose a category,

3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which has instantly appealed to your eye,

4) Read the book Bio/ Description for this book, and any other details.

5) If there are reviews, check out a couple,

6) Make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS?

The Harmony Silk Factory by Tash Aw

Harmony

I came to this book with memories of travelling through Malaya during the 1960s when it was very different to the modern Kuala Lumpur of today.  The miles and miles of rubber plantations, occasionally interrupted by small kampongs, were very atmospheric and so I was ready to be disappointed by a modern writer’s attempt to recreate the country in the 1940s.  But this was not what happened.

This is the story of Johnny Lim, a successful business man with a dubious background. It is told from different viewpoints but it is the “voice” whom we learn about rather than the enigmatic subject, Johnny.  The first storyteller, Johnny’s son Jasper, purports to give us an accurate account of his father’s life.  In fact it proves to be the biased narration of a resentful son, which though giving us the bare bones of Johnny’s history tells us nothing about his character.

Next we move to the “beautiful” Snow Soong.  Names are significant in this novel.  Snow is cool, unapproachable and self-centred. This section of the book is so much her story that we learn very little about the feelings and emotions of the other characters.  She describes incidents on Seven Maiden Islands which are pivotal to all their lives (and death) but are deliberately veiled in mystery.

Finally the flamboyant, sexually ambivalent Peter Wormwood gives us a clearer picture of Johnny’s true nature and what happened on that strange ill-fated “honeymoon” trip.  He saw depths in Johnny, which others missed and perhaps suggests that Johnny was a victim of his environment and experiences.  But really the book isn’t specifically about Johnny.  It is about relationships made all the more interesting by the juxtaposition of characters from very different cultural backgrounds; Peter, the aesthete, Johnny, the poor victim of colonial rule, Snow the aristocratic cultured woman and Mamoru Kunichika, an intellectual, ruthless man.

The date chosen for the denouement, 1941, just prior to the fall of Malaya under Japanese rule is perfect, intensifying the atmosphere of impending doom and the end, for some, of their time of parties and pleasure.  Nothing will ever be the same again for any of the people there.

Tash Aw gives us deliberate red herrings such as Jasper’s remark that he looks like a Japanese prince.  He makes Jasper’s account read like careful research and we see Snow, at first, as a tragic, mistreated woman.  Snow describes Mamoru as a cultured gentleman so that it seems impossible to imagine that he was also “the Demon of Kampar”.  Johnny’s remark that, “Death erases all traces, all memories of lives that once existed, completely and for ever,” is obviously completely untrue.

I loved the little details of life in Malaya, such as the Chinese funeral where paper offerings of a Mercedes and a Boeing 747 were burnt and the way Batik material was considered inferior to silk.

Despite having very little empathy with any of the characters I found the gradual revelation of their story fascinating not least because so much was left unanswered.

Friday Five Challenge

Welcome to my Friday Five Challenge
(Original idea from Rosie Amber at https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/)

cat coff

Get yourself a cuppa and give yourself 5 minutes.

In today’s online shopping age, readers often base their buying decisions from small postage stamp size book covers (Thumb-nails), a quick glance at the book description and the review. How much time do they really spend making that buying decision?

 

AUTHORS – You often only have seconds to get a reader to buy your book, is your book cover and book bio up to it?

 

My Friday Five Challenge is this….. IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES….

1) Go to any online book supplier,

2) Randomly choose a category,

3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which has instantly appealed to your eye,

4) Read the book Bio/ Description for this book, and any other details.

5) If there are reviews, check out a couple,

6) Make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS?

Today I decided to look at the Travel category but I wasn’t looking for a guide book.  I was immediately drawn to this cover as I love the seaside and who can resist a signpost.

Walking away

 I have always enjoyed Bill Bryson’s journey books and the description of Walking Away make it sound equally stimulating.  It is a follow up to Walking Home but is set on the south-west coast of England.  Simon Armitage is a poet and his journey takes him from one gig to another. The book description says that he is a troubadour, “making his own personal Odyssey with poetic reflection and personal wit.”

Recently published, there is only one review which is 5 star.  DoveGreyReader describes the book as, “an astute and intuitive look at the landscape with the quirks of the English understood, spotted and mixed in but in the best possible way.”

BUY or PASS?  At £6.99 for the kindle, I won’t be buying this at present but I shall look out for it in a bookshop where I can turn over the pages before deciding.

Rosie’s latest Five Minute Challenge

Monday Musing

 musing

For me there is no contest, the answer has to be one of Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next books and you might as well begin with the first, “The Eyre Affair”.  For in this book Thursday enters into Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre.”

 Eyre Affair

In an alternative 1985, the Crimean war still rages, dodos are regenerated in home-cloning kits and everyone is deeply disappointed by the ending of “Jane Eyre”.  Characters from novels are being kidnapped and Jane is missing.  Thursday Next, a SpecOp for literary crimes, who lives in Swindon, finds a way into the book to solve Jane’s disappearance while at the same time working out who actually wrote Shakespeare’s plays.

This is my kind of humour, filled with literary references and quirky notions.