Archive > August 2010

One Hit Wonder

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One-hit Wonder By Lisa Jewell, book reviewI have read a couple of other novels by Lisa Jewell which I very much enjoyed but none have come near the absolute pleasure I have recently derived from reading One Hit Wonder which I think is a wonderful novel! Before I started reading it I did wonder whether it would live up to the praise heaped on it on the back cover – ‘will keep you up all night in a sweaty addicted reading frenzy (The Times) and ‘stands out from the mass of chick-lit like a poppy in a cornfield’ (Nova) – but having read it I have decided that it is certainly worthy of this praise and more!


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The Olive Season

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The Olive Season: Amour, a New Life and Olives Too By Carol Drinkwater, book reviewThe Olive Season is the second in Carol Drinkwater’s series of autobiographical books about life in the South of France, and the trials and tribulations that come with running an olive farm and doing up and old villa.

I first read the series years ago when I bought the first three books during one of my crazes for travel writing (escapism in an Aberdonian winter). I enjoyed them but wasn’t as in love with them as I was with others. On revisiting them recently however, I felt I appreciated them more.


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Stormy Weather

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Stormy Weather By Debi Gliori, Illustrated by Debi GlioriStormy Weather by Debi Gliori really is the perfect bedtime book for small children – even though you might not think it from the title. This is an absolutely gorgeous book telling of little ones across the world curling up safely and going to bed even when the weather is not too good. It depicts all sorts of small creatures cuddling up with their mummies and it cannot fail to make you go ‘aaahh!’ as you are reading with a small child.

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From the Dawn of Time

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Legends of The Lepchas: Folk Tales from Sikkim by Yishey DomaThe Lepchas are a tribe who we hear about or encounter intermittently – the smiling faced people who inhabit parts of the Dooars, Darjeeling, Nepal, south western Bhutan and Sikkim – glimpsed perhaps on a holiday or seen in their tribal finery in photographs. As with all tribal folk, the Lepchas have their own rich lore of folk tales, stories of how the world they call their own began. ‘In the beginning there was nothing …Then Itbu-moo, the Mother Creator, shaped the mountains, the rivers, and the lakes. But something was missing. Why did her creation feel empty? So, taking a fresh ball of snow, she created the first man’ whose name was Fudonthing.

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The Brightest Star in the Sky

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The Brightest Star in the Sky By Marian Keyes, book reviewMarian Keyes’ latest book, The Brightest Star in the Sky, is set in and around a multi-occupancy residential building, 66 Star Street, which as you’d expect is in Dublin. It follows the lives, loves, triumphs and disappointments of the residents, a mismatched bunch that I found hard to imagine sharing a roof. On the ground floor we find Maeve and Matt the young married couple who seem to be rather more clingy than might be expected and are harbouring a horrible secret that explains their rapidly revealed reliance on anti-depressants. Heading to the upper floors we meet Jemima, the elderly protestant who lives with her dog and is temporarily putting up her pretty-boy catholic foster-son Fionn whilst he makes a gardening programme for a television channel. Jemima is a part time telephone psychic, a complete fraud of course, but one with a good heart.


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The Poisonwood Bible

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The Poisonwood Bible By Barbara Kingsolver, book reviewThe Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver is one of these books, a “modern classic” if you will, which everyone seemed to have read and raved about…except me. I finally caught up and read it recently; having noted a reference to it in a non-fiction book, I was keen to read a novel set in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The novel tells the story of the Price family; father Nathan, an American preacher, takes his wife and four daughters to the Belgian Congo in 1959 on a mission to spread Christianity. The Poisonwood Bible is the story of what happens in the village of Kilanga, and the aftermath over the next three decades.

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To the Nines

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To the Nines (Paperback) By Janet Evanovich, book reviewI had never read any books by Janet Evanovich and so I didn’t really know what to expect when I picked up ‘To the Nines’ to read. Nor had I realised that this book is just one of a whole host featuring the central character, Stephanie Plum. This did not matter in the least though, as To the Nines really works as a standalone story and I was not aware of any references to events in previous novels, although they were probably inadvertently there.


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Michele Gorman talks to Curious Book Fans

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Michele GormanRecently reviewed book Single in the City prompted us to ask few questions about the book and meaning of life in general the author Michele Gorman. She is originally from Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Michele now lives in London and her experiences provoked her to write about what happens when you take one 26 year old American, add to one 2,000 year old city with a big dose of culture clash and stir…

CBF: Is Single in the City in any sense autobiographical since you are also an American living in London?

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Paris 2010 (Everyman Mapguides)

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Paris 2010 (Everyman MapGuides) by Clemence Jacquinet, Shelley Wanger, book reviewI already owned the Rough Guide to Paris but felt that it was too heavy to take with me on a short trip where I would be walking around the city a great deal. I went in search of a guide book that was lighter in weight and was delighted when I found the Everyman Mapguide for Paris 2010. Paris 2010 is a guidebook with fold-out maps – ten of districts of Paris, as well as one for the city of Paris as a whole and one for the Paris Metro. Fold-out pages at the start of the book give very brief information on history, architecture, ethnic Paris and excursions that can be made. These pages also provide details of emergency phone numbers, internet cafes, opening times and a diary of events among other topics.

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Elliot Allagash

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Elliot Allagash By Simon Rich, book reviewSeymour is the least popular kid at Glendale school, a Manhattan fee-paying school that’s “small and getting smaller every year”. It’s a shame he’s not doing better because his parents can’t really afford the fees to send him there and he suspects they might have worked out that their investment in his education doesn’t look like paying off. Of the 41 children in his year at his Manhattan school, he ranks himself as the 41st in terms of popularity but on the whole he’s pretty cool about that. Yes, he wishes he had a bit more status and particularly wishes that Jessica, the ‘hot’ girl with the breasts who borrows his pencils during detention, would notice him but he’s pretty resigned to being the butt of class jokes and getting called names by Lance, the top dog in the school’s basketball team. When a 42nd pupil joins the school everything is set to change for Seymour. The ‘new boy’ is like nobody he’s ever met before. Elliot Allagash is wealthy beyond the imagination of most of us mere mortals and Elliot has his eye on Seymour.


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The Winter Ghosts

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The Winter Ghosts By Kate Mosse, book reviewAs a huge fan of Kate Mosse’s previous novels, Labyrinth and Sepulchre, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on The Winter Ghosts. I met her in 2008, and she said she was working on the follow up to Labyrinth and Sepulchre, to feature the recurring character Audric Baillard. I assumed The Winter Ghosts was this follow up.

The Winter Ghosts takes place mainly in 1928, although the story is being told in 1933. A young Englishman, Freddie Watson, who lost his brother in the Great War, is travelling through the south of France, in the Corbieres/Languedoc region. He has a car accident, and seeks refuge in the village of Nulle, where he hears an extraordinary story, and meets the mysterious Fabrissa.


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Single in the City

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Single in the City By Michele Gorman, book reviewSingle in the City is Michele Gorman’s first novel and it really is a good one! From the moment I picked it up, I did not want to put it down and just wanted to read more about the exploits of Hannah Cumming, the twenty six year old American heroine in the story.

At the start, Hannah is newly arrived in London having decided to leave her less than glamorous life in Connecticut behind and to start out afresh. She is searching for a dream job, dream friends and most of all a dream man. Unfortunately none of these come that easily and Hannah discovers that she does not like being alone in the big city especially with the somewhat surprising language and cultural differences that she starts to experience.

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