Book Review-Beyond-the-Orchard

 

Beyond the Orchard 

by

Anna Romer

 

 

Beyond the Orchard by Anna Romer is set along the Great Ocean Road which, as the names suggests runs along Victoria’s South Coast between Geelong and Port Campbell, although others would have it continue much further for the tourist trade.

Back to Beyond the Orchard.  The only towns mentioned are Apollo Bay, Geelong and Ballarat, an inland gold mining town, now a city.  It is there that reality ends and fictions commences.

In 1993, our heroine, Lucy, in Beyond the Orchard is engaged to an Englishman when she returns home upon her grandfather’s death.  The story line then commences to swap between 1993 and 1930 as Lucy uncovers some secrets of her ancestors and other people who frequented Bitterwood, the ancestral home of the 1930s.

 I enjoyed the story although it was difficult, at times, to follow as an audio book.  Again I re-iterate that the narrator’s voice did not do much to help this book.  She was crisp and clear, however, a mere twenty-four hours after completing Beyond the Orchard I cannot remember one ‘character’ voice.  Therefore, as alluded to above, this made transitions between 1993 and 1930 difficult to follow, especially when driving.

I did enjoy the story (a big plus for my reading) and thought it worth three and a half stars for the story and half a star for the nearby setting.  I think Beyond the Orchard would be a better ‘read’ or if you opt for the audio version avoid driving when listening.

I think Beyond the Orchard

 Image result for Beyond the Orchard

is a

with a half star bonus for the nearby setting


Goodreads readers have rated

Beyond the Orchard

an average of 3.98 stars from 195 ratings and 67 reviews

Beyond the Orchard

can be purchased on-line at

FishpondBooktopia, and Amazon

 

Book Review-Invisible-City


Invisible City

by

Julia Dahl

 

Invisible City, by Julia Dahl is the second book read from my gift compilation of four books.  I might also add that because there were four books in one I assumed, incorrectly, that these would be ‘old’ novels, published perhaps thirty to forty years ago.  However, Invisible City was published on May 6, 2014.

Set among Brooklyn’s Hasidic community this crime story was intriguing especially for this reader whose knowledge of the Hasidic community and most other religions and their practices is very limited.

Invisible City traces the efforts of an aspiring young female stringer (Rebekah Roberts) who is working for the (NY) Tribune.  As with The Dead Beat (by Doug Johnstone) this journalist finds herself in the middle of several murders which take some time to unravel, early in her career.  To my mind I find that point alone is the hardest concept to grasp.

However, I enjoyed Invisible City and for me that is the main criteria when reading.  Did I enjoy it?  True, I don’t know if some of the Jewish cultural practices alluded to were/are fact or fiction.  Does it really matter?  I enjoyed the story.

Most authors take some license when writing to keep their story interesting.  And if reality and this story do not match, is it due to pressure from an editor or publisher to keep the story flowing?  After all there is nothing worse than a story with pages and pages of detail about a character’s dress, hair, appetite and likes or dislikes.

Invisible City is Book 1 of a Rebekah Roberts series and if I can find book two I will read it and then decide on Book 3.  I daresay that it is the latter books which unravel some of Rebekah’s personal issues which were bubbling along in Invisible City.

However, as far as Invisible City is concerned I think it is definitely worth a read…as long as you do not have any religious prejudices as it does focus entirely on the Hasidic community in Brooklyn.

 

 

Definitely a

read.

Invisible City

can be purchased on-line at

FishpondBooktopia, and Amazon

 

Book Review-The-Woods


The Woods

by

Harlan Coben

A summer camp turns into a nightmare for the owner and several families after six teenage campers, for varying reasons, decide to visit the woods one night.

 Two of them hear screams and find a body.  Two are never seen again, also presumed dead, and the last is found sometime later…also dead.

 Twenty years later one of the missing (presumed dead) victims turns up in a morgue.  A recent homicide victim.

Twenty years later one of the missing (presumed dead) victims turns up in a morgue.  A recent homicide victim.

Could the other girl be alive also?  Or has the homicide victim been mistakenly identified?  These are questions Detective Paul Copeland must find answers to in order to discover if his sister is still alive or was killed in The Woods some twenty years earlier.

 The Woods, by Harlan Coben, is an enjoyable read of how this case is solved.  There are enough twists to keep readers turning pages and most of the story is plausible…almost.  During my formative years at school there were always ‘summer camps’ to which some of the school’s cohort would go each year.  If this book had been written then, maybe there would have been less participants in those camps.

 For the crime, thriller reader (that’s me) this was an enjoyable book.

Image result for the woods harlan coben

Definitely a

read.

The Woods

can be purchased on-line at

FishpondBooktopia, and Amazon

 

Book Review-Cut-To-The-Bone

 

Cut To The Bone 

by

Alex Caan

Cut to the Bone, written by Alex Caan, deals with all things ranging from an apparent abduction, kidnapping, Vlogging (video blogging), social media and how teens or young adults mange to converse happily expose their lives to a faceless online community.

While in pursuit of a hobby which provides a source of income a young girl is abducted.  It is here that we see how vulnerable the young are and how they can groom and be groomed, by a friend, or fan pretending to being someone else in an on-line persona.

The involvement of a multi-national company to financially support vloggers contributes to the plot when the vlogger discovers that sponsors often do not share the same ideals as young bloggers.

As I have often stated the narrator can make or break an audio book.

In this instance I thought Imogen Church injected life into each of the characters in Cut to the Bone, especially the male characters. Doubtless, not everyone will agree with my assessment.

 

A definite three star read.
read.  

Goodreads readers have rated

Cut to the Bone

an average of 3.76 stars from 395 ratings and 108 reviews

Image result for cut to the bone

Cut to the Bone

can be purchased on-line at 

Fishpond, Booktopia and Amazon

Read in 2017

Book Review-Song-of-the-Bellbirds

 

Song of the Bellbirds 

by

Anne McCullagh Rennie

Song of the Bellbirds by Sydney author, Anne McCullagh Rennie, follows the fortunes of a young Australian singer from Queensland, in her quest to become a professional opera singer.

All young Lizzie Foster wants to do is help out on the family farm and sing while doing so. However, life has other plans…for her.

Eventually she is asked to go to Vienna and study with the best of the best. It is in Vienna that she meets her one true love. After several years Lizzie returns to Australia and her home own and vows never to sing again. That is, until…..

Song of the Bellbirds has nearly an all female cast of characters…a change from the thrillers and crime genre novels I usually listen to, or read.

I thoroughly enjoyed Song of the Bellbirds and think it deserves its four star rating.

 

An enjoyable

read.  

Goodreads readers have rated

Song of the Bellbirds 

an average of 3.54 stars from 37 ratings and 4 reviews

Image result for song of the bellbirds

Song of the Bellbirds 

can be purchased on-line at 

Fishpond, Booktopia and Amazon

Read in 2017

Book Review-The-Raging-Quiet

 

The Raging Quiet

by

Sherryl Jordan

The Raging Quiet highlights the prejudices and ignorance of people when they are confronted with those who are different.  Although set in the past the concepts are equally applicable in the 21st century.

A young Marnie is spurned by her friends and relatives because of rumours relating to her morality.  After a short marriage and Marnie is left to fend for herself against the townsfolk’s prejudices in the village to which she moved.

The only friends she finds are the local priest and the mad boy.

Anymore will spoil the plot.

Enjoy a solid

read.  

Goodreads readers have rated

The Raging Quiet

an average of 4.22 stars from 3,474 ratings and 315 reviews

 

Image result for The Raging Quiet

The Raging Quiet

can be purchased on-line at 

Fishpond, and Amazon

NB: Fishpond search shows

‘Sweet Sacrament’ first

followed by ‘Raging Quiet’.

Read in 2010

Book Review-The-Monogram-Murders

 

The Monogram Murders

(A new Hercule Poirot novel)

by

Sophie Hannah

Recently I received a book for my birthday.  This book contained four novels by four authors.  One of these novels one had the words Agatha Christie emblazoned on it, although it was written by Sophie Hannah.

Having read Agatha Christie books some forty years ago I decided to take the plunge with the new Hercule Poirot novel, The Monogram Murders.

I do not remember whether I liked or disliked Agatha Christie books.  May be my subconscious has blacked out all memories of these books, if they were anything like The Monogram Murders.

Harriet Sippel, Ida Gransbury and Richard Negus were the first three victims.  Not a spoiler as they were never really in the story…just dead.   However, it was not until nearly half way through the books that they were referred to as victims or Harriet, Ida and Richard.  Prior to this point their full names were written Harriet Sippel, Ida Gransbury and Richard Negus, each time a reference was made to the murder victims.

My second grumble, and this is probably applicable to all Hercule Poirot books, is that a large portion of the of the book was devoted to Poirot explaining how he arrived at his conclusion, which had to be correct, by such things as where the word ’now’ was inserted in a conversational sentence.

My third grumble is that this novel is written, or told, as a first person account of the murders through the eyes of Edward Catchpool, a Scotland Yard detective, who was continually feeling embarrassed or made look incompetent by Poirot.

If this is Sophie Hannah’s writing style then I will avoid reading any of her other best sellers. If she has changed her style to suit Agatha Christie’s format then I think she should revert to her own style, whatever that may be. I should also state that, with few exceptions, I am generally not a fan of any book set or written about this time in history.

I have often stated that I read for enjoyment. This was not enjoyable.  I did not like the style in which it was written, nor the plot or long-winded explanation at the end.

While I acknowledge my writing abilities are not good enough to write this, or any other, book as a consumer I am allowed to express an opinion about books I read.

It is not the worst novel I have read or listened to.  At least I completed The Monogram Murders and for this reason I will give it a two star rating along with 16% of other Goodreads reviewers.

Just astars_2
read.  

Goodreads readers have rated

The Monogram Murders

an average of 3.21 stars from 9,152 ratings and 1,828 reviews

 

The Monogram Murders

The Monogram Murders

can be purchased on-line at 

FishpondBooktopia and Amazon