Free eBook…

Yes that is correct for a limited time get your free ebook copy of Never Never by Colleen Hoover , Tarryn Fisher   on your  Kindle here:  http://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B00RZVNDSS… thanks The Reviewers for sharing this freebie with us.

Never Never_

 

Authors: Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

Synopsis: (Amazon 2015) Best friends since they could walk. In love since they were fourteen. Complete strangers since this morning. He’ll do anything to remember. She’ll do anything to forget.

 

Post Script: Surrounded By Water – Stephanie Butland

A remarkably moving read – this review written with silent tears running down my face. I am holding in the sobs.

Surrounded by Water

Stephanie Butland

Random House UK, Transworld Publishers

Bantam Press

ISBN: 9780593071557

 

Description:

Elizabeth’s world is turned upside down when her husband dies in a tragic drowning accident.

 

How typical of her kind, generous husband – a respected police officer – to sacrifice his own life saving a complete stranger’s.

 

Or so she thinks.

 

What exactly was her husband doing at the lake that night? And what if his death isn’t the most difficult thing she will have to deal with?

 

Elizabeth must face the consequences of her husband’s actions. As she does so, it seems that the end of Mike’s life is only the beginning of his wife truly getting to know him.

 

My View:

 A remarkably moving read – this review written with silent tears running down my face. I am holding in the sobs.

A book that makes you really feel is unique and wonderful, a book that makes you cry is a gift to be treasured – this is such a book! I loved the way the author has the protagonist write letters to her dead husband…the letters are so moving, poignant and achingly sad and yet at the same time  share with the reader the wonder and marvel of  a true lasting love.

 

However there is an undercurrent of suspicion delicately woven into this narrative – just what was her husband up to on that fateful night and begs the question did he actually know this stranger he died to save? The mystery gently gnaws at your subconscious as you continue reading. This is a wonderful portrait of love, loss, grief and… infertility – I don’t think I have come across grief and grieving so authentically revealed – or love for that matter. The author gives her characters such great voices – I loved listening to them.

 

 

 

Post Script: Through The Cracks – Honey Brown

Through the Cracks, Honey Brown

Honey Brown

Through The Cracks

Penguin Books Australia

Michael Joseph

ISBN: 9781921901546

 

Description:

Four-year-old Nathan Fisher disappears from the bank of a rocky creek. Did he drown or was he taken? The search for the missing boy grips the nation.

A decade later, young teen Adam Vander has grown tall enough, strong enough, to escape his abusive father. Emerging from behind the locked door of their rambling suburban home, Adam steps into a world he knows little of.

In the days that follow, with the charismatic and streetwise Billy as his guide, Adam begins to experience all that he’s missed out on. And he begins to understand that he has survived something extraordinary.

As the bond between the boys grows, questions begin to surface. Who is Adam really? Why was he kept so hidden? Was it just luck that Billy found him, or an unsettling kind of fate?

Unearthing the shocking truth of Adam’s identity will change the lives of many and put at risk a cast of flawed, desperate people. It’s a treacherous climb from the darkness. For one boy to make it, the other might have to fall through the cracks.

 

My View:

This was a very hard read- the subject matter is very very distressing yet somehow captivating at the same time, it is so well written. This narrative will eat away at your very core, demanding you pay attention to those you value and love, demanding you pay more attention to those who are vulnerable in your community. This novel shouts – pay attention, open your eyes, question and engage; life around you is your business and you do have a social responsibility that extends further than your garden fence.

Is it a coincidence that the subject of this novel, abuse of children, is currently making headlines, is newsworthy – though already   the media seems to be moving on to other things…This subject requires our undivided attention. It requires our compassion and the children involved our full support and love.

This extremely well written and engaging novel will not be for everyone. Bravo Honey Brown for being brave enough to tackle such a disquieting subject and presenting it such an engaging way that it will get the attention it deserves. This novel is a well-crafted, complex and powerful snap shot of the ugly side of modern society. This novel kept me awake long after I finished reading it- it was disturbing and sad and yet still managed to garner some hope for the future.

This is my first read of a Honey Brown novel – it will not be my last.

Post Script: The Silent Wife – A S A Harrison

The Silent Wife

The Silent Wife

A S A Harrison

Headline

ISBN: 9781472216847

 

Description:

A chilling psychological thriller portraying the disintegration of a relationship down to the deadliest point when murdering your husband suddenly makes perfect sense.

Todd Gilbert and Jodie Brett are in a bad place in their relationship. They’ve been together for twenty-eight years, and with no children to worry about there has been little to disrupt their affluent Chicago lifestyle. But there has also been little to hold it together, and beneath the surface lie ever-widening cracks. HE is a committed cheater. SHE lives and breathes denial. HE exists in dual worlds. SHE likes to settle scores. HE decides to play for keeps. SHE has nothing left to lose. When it becomes clear that their precarious world could disintegrate at any moment, Jodie knows she stands to lose everything. It’s only now she will discover just how much she’s truly capable of…

 

 

My View:

This was a very unusual and unsettling book – characters there were two dimensional and unlovable (except the dog), lives that were emotionally sparse and equally uninteresting… the term bland comes to mind yet this narrative was so revealing and insightful – I enjoyed the analysis, getting into other people’s heads, this book appeals to the voyeur in us all but I would not call this a thriller, more a long slow strip tease where eventually all emotions and motives are bared for the world to see.

 

Post Script: Others of My Kind – James Sallis

The provocative new novel by the acclaimed master of noir, “the ‘purest’ writer of crime fiction in America today.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

At age eight, Jenny Rowan was abducted and kept for two years in a box beneath her captor’s bed. Eventually she escaped and, after living for eighteen months on castoffs at the local mall, was put into the child-care system. Suing for emancipation, at age sixteen she became a legal adult. Nowadays she works as a production editor for the local public TV station, and is one of the world’s good people.

One evening she returns home to find a detective waiting for her. Though her records are sealed, he somehow knows her story. He asks if she can help with a young woman who, like her many years before, has been abducted and traumatized.

Initially hesitant, Jenny decides to get involved, reviving buried memories and setting in motion an unexpected interchange with the president herself. As brilliantly spare and compact as are all of James Sallis’s novels, Others of My Kind stands apart for its female protagonist. Set in a near future of political turmoil, it is a story of how we overcome, how we shape ourselves by what happens to us, and of how the human spirit, whatever horrors it undergoes, will not be put down.

James Sallis is the acclaimed author of more than two dozen volumes of fiction, poetry, translation, essays, and criticism, including the Lew Griffin series, The Killer Is DyingDrive (made into the movie of the same name), Cypress GroveCripple Creek, and Salt River. His biography of the great crime writer Chester Himes is an acknowledged classic. Sallis lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife, Karyn, and an enormous white cat.

My View:

A story of a strong female protagonist who survives a horrendous experience of childhood abduction, captivity and sexual servitude before she escapes, survives for a while on the streets before eventually becoming a captive of the child social service system. This woman is tough, resourceful, self reliant and able to study and eventually find a place in the bigger world.  She is remarkably adaptable, self sufficient, without anger and talented. I felt that a good story would unfold but to me the heroine lacked emotions and felt two dimensional. How can a woman who has been through so much be so giving, kind, gracious, helpful and wanting of no real human connection – her character felt to be at odds with her experiences.  It didn’t work for me.

This novel was very spare as the description stated, a little to spare for my liking. I did not connect with this character, I felt she had no real spirit, that her past defined her as only a shell of a person living a day to day existence, surviving but not really living (and that is totally understandable given her situation).  She seems to have no enjoyment in her life, nor any  pleasures, big or small.  She reaches out to others in need of compassion but I don’t feel she connects with them.

 

Post Script: Days in the History of Silence – Merethe Lindstrom

Days in the History of Silence

Description:

From the acclaimed Nordic Council Literature Prize winner, a story that reveals the devastating effects of mistaking silence for peace and feeling shame for inevitable circumstances
 
Eva and Simon have spent most of their adult lives together. He is a physician and she is a teacher, and they have three grown daughters and a comfortable home. Yet what binds them together isn’t only affection and solidarity but also the painful facts of their respective histories, which they keep hidden even from their own children. But after the abrupt dismissal of their housekeeper and Simon’s increasing withdrawal into himself, the past can no longer be repressed.

Lindstrøm has crafted a masterpiece about the grave mistakes we make when we misjudge the legacy of war, common prejudices, and our own strategies of survival.

My View:

A quiet and disturbing story of secrets, of words not spoken, and pasts not mentioned; a story about an adoption, the Holocaust, Survivors Guilt and dementia. A very unusual mix of subjects discussed in a quiet and unassuming manner. I am not quite sure how I feel about this book…it certainly was an interesting read, delving into the pasts of an aging couple, unlocking their secrets, I felt a bit like a voyeur privy to their intimate secrets.

I did not understand why they kept such secrets from their adult children… it would have made their relationships so much easier to have spoken of the past, though I do admit that some subjects are more difficult than others to discuss openly and maybe that is the point of this book; to make us aware that these things do need to be spoken about. Maybe this is a story about forgiveness…if we can’t forgive ourselves for our past actions then we cannot share our selves fully with those we love.  Shame and guilt are destructive. Maybe this is also a story about ethnicity … how some reactions/prejudices have not changed with time. That is a very sad point to acknowledge.

I felt the book finished abruptly. Maybe I just wanted more? My feelings about this book are ambiguous

Post Script: The Boy Who Could See Demons – Carolyn Jess-Cooke

The Boy Who Could See Demons

A Novel

Carolyn Jess-Cooke

Random House Publishing Group – Bantam Dell

Delacorte Press

ISBN: 9780345536532

 

Description:

Bestselling author Carolyn Jess-Cooke has written a brilliant novel of suspense that delves into the recesses of the human mind and soul—perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn and Lisa Unger. The Boy Who Could See Demons follows a child psychologist who comes up against a career-defining case—one that threatens to unravel her own painful past and jeopardizes the life of a boy who can see the impossible.

Dr. Anya Molokova, a child psychiatrist, is called in to work at MacNeice House, an adolescent mental health treatment center. There she is told to observe and assess Alex Connolly, a keenly intelligent, sensitive ten-year-old coping with his mother’s latest suicide attempt. Alex is in need of serious counseling: He has been harming himself and others, often during blackouts. At the root of his destructive behavior, Alex claims, is his imaginary “friend” Ruen, a cunning demon who urges Alex to bend to his often violent will.

But Anya has seen this kind of behavior before—with her own daughter, Poppy, who suffered from early-onset schizophrenia. Determined to help Alex out of his darkness, Anya begins to treat the child. But soon strange and alarming coincidences compel Anya to wonder: Is Alex’s condition a cruel trick of the mind? Or is Ruen not so make-believe after all? The reality, it turns out, is more terrifying than anything she has ever encountered.

A rich and deeply moving page-turner, The Boy Who Could See Demons sets out to challenge the imagination and capture the way life takes unexpected turns. In the best storytelling tradition, it leaves the reader changed.

My View:

A fascinating read! I was totally engaged in this story, a story that charts a passage through an alien landscape (Ireland, “The Troubles” and mental illness), territories that are painted in the grim shades of reality yet this is a picture that offers an optimism that speaks of healing and better times ahead.

The characters depicted in this book are both realistic and empathetic. Alex’s mother is depressed, self destructive and cries out for help and yet amongst this gloom her light shines on the son she is proud of, she passionately believes in his ability to rise above the bleakness of his surroundings; a rundown council flat, a life where money is scarce and happiness is even rarer, where onions on toast are gourmet delight. Alex is “different”; there are hints he may be autistic, he may have post traumatic shock, he may be schizophrenic. What Alex is, is talented, innocent, brilliant, comedic and knowing beyond his years.  And he can see demons! Dr Anya Molokova is a hero, has risen from her beginnings in poverty, is a talented academic and is the mother of child who had early onset schizophrenia, a child who had taken her own life. How could we not be warmed by her character and her determination to help others? And the minor characters are just as interesting and empathetic.

Jess-Cooke offers the reader a compulsive read; a real page turner. I was convinced by the quiet voice of this sensitive 10 year old, Alex, that demons were real and that he could see and talk to them! I was prepared to believe that Alex had a unique ability such is the convincing writing of Carolyn Jess-Cooke. I was not prepared for the final chapters! What a magnificent twist. I certainly did not see this coming; I could not have predicted this ending. Bravo!!!

Best Reads for 2013

This post is a little late – I intended to write a round up of best reads for the end of the financial year, but better late than never.

It has been a fantastic year of book reading and reviewing and I expect there to be many more books to add to this list as the year progresses. The books on this list vary in style, genre, attitudes and themes and what they had to offer to me a a reader but the one think they have in common is they are great reads and I highly recommend them to you.

So lets start – in no particular order or preference they are all great in their own way :

A  Bitch Called Hope, Lily Gardner

A Bitch Called Hope – Lily Gardner

Fractured, Dawn Barker

Fractured – Dawn Barker

Bone Ash Sky, Katerina Cosgrove

Bone Ash Sky – Katrina Cosgrove

Questions of Travel, Michelle De Kretser

Questions of  Travel -Michelle de Krester

I am Pilgrim, Terry Hayes

I am Pilgrim  – Terry Hayes

My Notorious Life by Madame X, Kate Manning

My Notorious Life by Madame X – Kate Manning

The Guilty, Sean Slater

The Guilty  – Sean Slater

Unseen, Karin Slaughter

Unseen – Karin Slaughter

False Witness, Dorothy Uhnak

False Witness – Dorothy Uhnak

The Last Winter of Dani Lancing, P. D. Viner

The Last Winter of Dani Lancing – PD Viner

Post Script: Questions of Travel – Michelle de Kretser

Questions of Travel

A Novel

Michelle de Kretser

Little, Brown and Company

ISBN: 9780316219228

Description:

Laura Fraser grows up in Sydney, motherless, with a cold father and an artistic bent. Ravi Mendes is on the other side of the world–his humble father dead, his mother struggling, determined to succeed in computer science. Their stories alternate throughout Michelle de Kretser’s ravishing new novel, culminating in unlikely fates for them both, destinies influenced by travel–voluntary in her case, enforced in his.

With money from an inheritance, Laura sets off to see the world, returning to Sydney to work for a travel guide. There she meets Ravi, a Sri Lankan political exile who wants only to see a bit of Australia and make a living. Where do these disparate characters truly belong? With her trademark subtlety, wit, and dazzling prose, Michelle de Kretser shows us that, in the 21st century, they belong wherever they want to and can be–home or away.

My View :

This is a stand out read. This is the best contemporary novel I have read in many a year.

Remarkable insights to life and modern living, of identity, of travel; a multifaceted book, so many issues, so much probing and the pricking of conscience.

This is a modern day story told from the perspectives of the two main characters, Laura and Ravi, both living and surviving in a modern world where technology and globalism rule. Both characters give the outwards appearance of coping, of being, of having purpose but they are both lost,  they are both just marking time trying to figure out who they are , where/what is home and where do they belong whilst asking the question “what does the future hold?”

I disagree with the above description of Ravi supplied on NetGalley – Ravi is not “a political exile just wanting to see a bit of Australia and make a living.” That description is trite and superficial and untrue. Ravi is not on holiday.  Ravi was a victim of the political persecutions in Sri Lanka, he didn’t want to be in Australia, he only wanted freedom from fear and to have the past undone. He was a victim of the atrocities in Sri Lanka, of the corruption in governments and authorities, of a country living in fear.  He is trapped in a world where ugly visions of death permeate his very existence, (p.211) “ Ravi remembered stories that had hung over their bed in light, smothering folds:  sons set on fire, daughters raped with broken bottles, brothers who had gone to a police station and never returned.” And the reality of violence is no longer something that happens to others.  Ravi is a very empathetic character; I loved his descriptions of home and of his vision of Australia.

Laura is lost, looking for meaning, looking for acceptance, but she hides it well; she travels, is she travelling to or is she escaping from? She often asks herself “What are you doing here?”  She may as well have asked who is Laura Fraser, (p. 186) “ She was sharing a flat in Kentish Town and freelancing…when people asked where she lived, she would say London. But she might have replied, just as truthfully, that she lived in hotel rooms and gate lounges, in taxis and planes…She was inert, strapped into place, yet hurtling and fast forwarded. She could lay claim to two passports and three email addresses, she was between destinations, she was virtual, she was online, she was on the phone….Laura Fraser was a late twentieth – century global person.  Geography was beside the point.”  How astute, how true of a lot of our lives. Laura also comments (p.312) “Tourism is about dollars, no argument. But ‘travel’ lets you pretend. Travel has an aura. It allows us to believe publishing guidebooks, is you know, a good thing. We tell ourselves that what we do contributes to global harmony, international understanding, you now the stuff i mean. It’s understood without being spelled out.”

This book has so much to offer and so much to debate. But do not be deceived this book also has many moments of light and of humour.

I loved the description of the dog called “Fair Play” who (p.252) “detested all other dogs, loved Lefty. Devotion required her to tug with all her strength on his cheek. There was also standing under Lefty’s belly, reaching out her muzzle and sinking her teeth into his neck. Lefty, a romantic, was tolerant of these coquettish manoeuvres and only occasionally sat on her head.”   I just love this description – it is so realistic it fills my face with a smile.

I predict this novel will be read by many. This novel will find itself on the reading lists of many academic classes – in Social Science rooms, in Women’s Studies classes, in Australian Literature courses, it has so much to offer, so many reflections on life, and so many truisms are shared.

Every traveler should read this book. Yet it is a book not just for travelers or tourists. This book made me think.  This book made me smile. This book disturbed me.  What a gift Michelle de Kretser has; the ability to share with us her words which evoke such strong emotions and stimulate thought, this book is amazing and the best contemporary fiction I have read in years.

Post Scripts: Coming Soon

Work and life have been busy and complicated lately and I have not been able to squeeze in as much reading as I would have liked to have. I have some great books on my shelf – I thought I would share with you some of the books I will be reading and reviewing in the next few weeks ( in no particular order):

 The Darkling – I am currently reading – this is a scary read in a Rebecca (Daphne du Maurier) kind of way – lots of brooding atmosphere and hints of horror to come.

A change of pace with the Nilsson – the biography of singer/songwriter/composer Harry Nilsson (deceased) – of whom I am a big fan.

More crime fiction.

A thriller.

An Australian author  – a contemporary story of travel, work and modern dreams.

And a historical mystery.

There is a little bit of everything here ( plus a few more I haven’t even read the covers of yet) . I am longing for time to sit down and get stuck into these. The  books are calling to me…..READ, READ. 🙂