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Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Festive Fiction

Welcome to my little Niche within the library. So grab a coffee and let's review some books. The Christmas Bake-OffThe Christmas Bake-Off by Abby Clements
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Christmas Bake-Off is a short holiday story about a baking competition in a little English village. Bake shop owner, Katie, is hoping she'll win this year's competition,thus making her name in the baking world known; while Rachel wants to prove she is more than a home cook. She tries to impress the judges with her gingerbread house. There's even a little romance brewing between John the Baker and Katie. Who will the winner be in this sweet but short holiday Bake-off? I guess you'll just have to read it to find out.

I found the book short but sweet. Being a baker myself, the title enticed me, so I picked it up from Amazon for my Kindle. I gave it four stars because I thought the author could have added more depth to the characters, but in all fairness it is a lite-hearted festive read. There's an added bonus......two recipes at the end of the book for the readers to try. I can't wait to read Under the Mistletoe by Abby Clements.



Those Christmas Angels (Angels Everywhere, #5)Those Christmas Angels by Debbie Macomber
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Divorced artist, Anne Fletcher, has barely enough faith left in her. After her husband left her for their son's fiancée and cheated her out of her inheritance, Anne Fletcher and her son, Roy were, left devastated. Their son, Roy, was left hurt, bitter and not wanting anything to do with love, women or Christmas. One Christmas, Anne, in desperation and concern about her son, prayed that her son find someone who could restore his faith and teach him how to love again.

Entrepreneur, Roy Fletcher, has built himself an empire...and walls around himself to protect him against women. To him women are all the same....interested in one thing and one thing only.....money. All hope is lost for this scrooge-like person, or is it? Enter three matchmaking angels called Shirley, Mercy and Goodness who are on a heavenly mission to put the Christmas spirit, joy and love back into Roy's life.

I enjoyed this holiday book. It brought a tear to my eye and delighted me all at the same time.
I don't know how she does it, but Debbie knows how to weave an amazing story. This comes from a woman with dyslexia. The lady has written over a hundred books! I have read several Debbie Macomber books including, the Christmas Basket , Falling for Christmas and Christmas in Seattle. Her books are about relationships and the dynamics of family relationships; but she writes them in a way that puts something magical into every page. I can't wait to read her other books.

Christmas at the Cupcake CaféChristmas at the Cupcake Café by Jenny Colgan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Issy,Poud owner of the Cupcake Cafe, a quaint little cupcake shop in Stoke Newton (a district of London), couldn't be happier. Her relationship with banker entrepreneur, Austin, is blossoming; business at the cafe was booming and Christmas was around the corner.

When Austin is offered a job at a bank in New York and invites Issy and his eleven-year-old brother, Drany, to fly to New York in the hopes that Issy will fall in love with the city and consider moving to New York, the bubbles on Issy's cappuccino begins to burst. Will Issy face the possibility of a long distance relationship? Will she lose Austin to the glory of the Big Apple and a little waitress at a New York Cafe who sells awful cupcakes laden with oil and chemicals? Can Issy leave her home, her dream job that she started at the Cupcake cafe, and friends behind to start life with Austin in the Big Apple? I'll leave it to the reader to find out.

I really enjoyed this festive book. To me, Christmas at the Cupcake Cafe, is a Christmas pudding of a book......rich, dense and full of fruity flavour which burst in your mouth, flooding your taste buds with the flavours of Christmas. The characters are well-rounded and come to life. I enjoyed the scene where Pearl, one of Issy's employees is left to mind the fort at the Cupcake Cafe and train a new employee, Maya, who cant get the hang of the coffee machine, leaving unsatisfied customers waiting for their Java fix. Worse, Pearl explodes the mixer, which drips strawberry cake mix all over the walls and ceiling. I particularly liked the twist at the end where both Issy and Austin fly in opposite directions across the pond to be with each other. The book also includes tips and recipes and an excerpt from Jenny's new book, The Loveliest Chocolate shop in Paris.


Christmas in VeniceChristmas in Venice by Meadow Taylor
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When Olivia takes a Christmas trip to Venice, Italy, little does she expect to be stopped by security as a terror suspect. With the Italian President due to arrive shortly and a bomb scare, Inspector Alessandro Rossi orders the Marco Polo airport shut. When the bomb squad hears ticking noises coming from Olivia's suitcase, Rossi orders Olivia to open her suitcase, revealing a rather unusual item.

This is a very short story set in the background of Venice, Italy during the festive season. The author wrote the story as a free gift to the reader in preparation for her full length book, Midnight in Venice. I enjoyed the story but it was rather short, it left me wanting for more.







Thursday, 1 November 2012

Autumn Reads

Welcome to my little Niche within the library. So grab a coffee and let's review some books. Where The Heart IsWhere The Heart Is by Jeanette Hornby
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Eighteen year old Daniela Santé returns to her home in Waroona, Australia, from Perth, where she had been staying at a friend's house while attending secretarial college. Breaking up from her boyfriend, Darren, Daniela thought that by coming home she would find peace and comfort; but little did she know that her life back home would be anything but comforting.

Once home, Dani discovers that there was a stranger living at home...a good-looking Italian Chef named Antonio. Antonio was a house guest of her parents who had lost his parents recently in Italy. Dani finds Antonio pleasantly annoying. Being Italian herself and loathing her heritage, she finds Antonio representing all she loathes about being Italian. Not only did this stranger take her old room, but it seems that, like her father, he tells her what to do. Besides this nuisance, Dani faces the unprecedented realization that her life in Perth was anything but safe. The underlying theme of the book is "Home is where the heart is" Antonio repeats this saying several times. Being accepted is very important to people and Antonio Bartolini came to call Waroona , Australia, home. Dani, always felt out of place with her Italian heritage, but Antonio and Navid helped her settle down and accept her true heritage.

I found the book to be well-written and interesting. I couldn't put the book down. I kind of knew whom Dani would end up with in the end, but Navid's character threw me off that scent in places; I thought Dani would end up with Navid as she found him to be easy to talk to and she grew very fond of him. This book has drama, romance, gossip, and even crime. I did wonder in places why Dani's parents were so strict. I mean, come on, an eighteen year old girl whose parents questioned whom she went out with and held a tight grip on the girl seemed quite unreal; but, after thinking about it, Italians, like the Cubans, are quite over-protective of their daughters. My parents were quite over-protective of me. My parents were Cuban and they over-protected me, even to the point as not letting me go out with anyone or even go out on my own without questioning and interrogating me....even when I was in my thirties! Yikes! Never-the-Less, They did it out of love, concern and because of their heritage.

Bah, Humbug! A Romantic Comedy NovellaBah, Humbug! A Romantic Comedy Novella by Heather Horrocks
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Festive Read!

Lexi Anderson, aka known as Alexis Anderson, a thirty-something divorced mother of two children and the next Martha Stewart has just moved in to a new house in the middle of what's known as Christmas Lane. She soon meets her next door neighbour, Kyle, a well-known author whom her children love. To her horror, however, Lexi discovers that this is not the man she envisioned her children's favourite author to be, as she caught him red-handed destroying her snowman.

Best-selling author, Kyle Miller, is known in the neighbourhood as Scrooge. When Kyle sits down to finish his next book he is stuck, for he is suffering from Writer's block. To add to the pressure, his editor has asked him to hand in the finished manuscript before the holidays are over. Taking a walk through the neighbourhood in what he hoped might inspire his muse, he discovers his neighbour's snowman. He thinks of a plot in his head that would help write the ending to the book. Inspired, he heads out to see if he can hide a weapon inside the snowman to see if the character of his series of books would be able to in an attempt to hide the evidence. Just as he was about to hide a small flashlight in the snowman's head, Kyle is caught red handed by Lexi.

Kyle tries to apologize to Lexi for meeting each other on the wrong foot, but she won't accept his apology. Still, she is mesmerized by his charms. Having lost her parents when she was young, Lexi married for the wrong reasons. When her husband left her, she vowed never to get involved with a man again. Having lost his mother, Gabriella at Christmas Eve many years ago, Kyle and his brothers and father are still grieving for their loss. They do not celebrate Christmas. But when Lexi offers to cater a Christmas Dinner at Kyle's place for his family, she puts back the meaning and joy of Christmas into the family's heart and in the process discovers she is part of this new family.

I enjoyed everything about this book. It was well-written, entertaining and has well- rounded characters that come alive as the story unfolds. The book is short enough to read in a few hours if you are an avid voracious reader or in two days; yet the book is not that short to disappoint. The story is rich and interesting enough to keep the reader turning the pages. I can't wait to read the author's other stories. This book really put me in the festive mood.



Tuesday, 12 June 2012

My Kindles Contents

Welcome to my little Niche within the library. So grab a coffee and let's review some books. 
                        This is my Kindle collection of books I'm currently reading:

                                                         My Kindle Collection



Collection Title Author total titles
ANGELS
1 Angel over the Right Shoulder Pellman
2 Angelic Wisdom Swendonborg
3 Ordinary Angels Drummon
4 Heaven's Sorrow Plath, Hannah 4 4
CATS-FICTION
1 Guardian cats and the lost book of Alex Krambo
2 Saladin the Cat Kavokin
3 Story of a Cat 3 3
CHRISTMAS
1 A Christmas Carol Dickens, Charles
2 All I want for Christmas is You Mondello, Lisa
3 Bah, Humbug Dickens, Charles
4 Charles Dickens' Children's Stories Brown Abbie Farwell
5 Christmas Angel Macomber, Debbie
6 Christmas in Seattle Pardo, Emilia
7 Cuentos de Navidad Macomber, Debbie
8 Falling for Christmas Christmas O'Henry
9 Gift of the Magi Kendrick, John
10 Little Book of Christmas, A Laird, Phillip
11 Story of Solomon Bear Clements, Carl Clarke 12
12 Twas the Night Before Christmas Horrorocks, Heather 12
CLASSICS
1 A Tale of Two Cities Dickens, Charles
2 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Doyle, Connan
3 Aessop's Fables Aessop
4 Bleak House Dickens, Charles
5 Crime and Punishment Dostoy
6 Eight Cousins Alcot, Louisa May
7 Great Expectations Charles Dickens
8 Jane Eyre Bronte, Charlotte
9 Jo's Boys Alcot, Louisa May
10 Little Men Alcot, Louisa May
11 Little Women Alcot, Louisa May
12 Moby Dick Melville, Herman
13 Nicholas Nickleby Dickens, Charles
14 Pride and Prejudice Austen, Jane
15 Shakespeare's Sonnets Shakespeare, William
16 The Water Babies Kingsley, Charles
17 Treasure Island Stevenson, Louis
17 17
FAIRY-TALES
1 Beauty and the Beast LePrince, Maria
2 Children's Book, The Dickens, Charles
3 Fair Tales every child should Know Wright, Hamilton
4 Grimm's Fairy Tales Brothers Grimms
5 Household Tales Grimm, Jacob
6 The Cuckoo Clock Molesworth, Mrs
7 The Fairy Godmothers and other Tales Gatty, G, Mrs
8 The Wind in the Rose Bush Wilkins, Mary Elenor
9 Witch Stories Lynn, Elizabeth
10 The Happy Prince and Other Tales Wild, Oscar
10 10
FICTION-CONTEMPORARY
1 Ask the Dice Linskey, Ed
2 Cat Calls Smith, Cynthia
3 Darkwaters Fitzpatrick
4 Delivery Rusk, Diana
5 How to Date a Vampire Pressey, Rose
6 Lost Ark Rain, J.R.
7 Moonstone, The Collins, Willkie
8 Occupy Heaven Tallman
9 Pet Noi Nagel, Patti
10 Rascals Sing at the Opera Puddle, Patricia
11 Room Donohue, Emma
12 Six Geese A Laying Kinsella, Sophie
13 Soul Identity Batchelder, Dennise
14 True Essence Shawneda, marks
15 Twenty-Two Short Stories Robinson 16
16 Unitl You Marton, Sandra 17
17 White Tiger of the Titanic Garrett 17 17
HALLOWEEN
1 A Story of Mystery Little Rossiter, J
2 Castle of Otronto Walpol, Horrace
3 Curse of Anna Greene, the Aris, Mary
4 Demon of Waker Wood Dillard, Dan
5 Dracula Stoker, Bram
6 Dracula's Guest Stoker, Bram
7 Frankenstein Shelly, Mary
8 Halloween collection Macnally, Edward
9 Hidden Witch, A Geary, Debora
10 Horror at Halloween Part one Gordon, John
11 Legend of Sleepy Hollow Washington, Irving
12 Modern Witch, A Geary, Debora
13 One Deadly Sister Housington, Rod
14 Payback's a Witch Astor, Rachel
15 Scary Mary Hunter, S.A.
16 Superstitions of Witches Williams, Howard
17 The Witch and other stories Checklov
18 Witch Stories Lynn, E
19 The cupboard Under the Stairs Knowles, Roger
19 19
NON-FICTION
1 Easiest Way in Housekeeping Campbell, Helen
2 100 beauty Tips Adam, Nichol
3 A Classification and Subject Melville, Dewey
4 Book of Dreams and Ghosts Lang, Andrew
5 Book of Tea Okakura
6 Child's Story of the Bible A, Mary
7 Crafting Novels and Short Stories Writer's Digest
8 Fast and Easy Birthday cake Recipies Roberts, Amy
9 Feasting on the Father Smith
10 Free Weights and Measures Mobile Reference
11 History of England Part 1 Hume
12 Holy Bible
13 How to Lead a Holy Life Orr, Charles
14 How to Sew Basics Various
15 How to Speak and Write correctly Devlin
16 How to write 10 pages a Night Mason
17 Library Primer Cotton, Dana,
18 Life of Her most Gracious Majesty the Que Tyler
19 Story of Saint Valentine's Day Krako
20 Valentine's Day Recipes E-Kitchen books
21 Wicca: Magical Beginnings D'Este
22 Word Study and English Grammar Fredrick, William
23 Write or Die Nicholson, Scot
ROMANCE 23 23
After Life Club Ryan, Jude
1 Book of Romance Lang, Andrew
2 Boss's Valentine Graham, Lynn
3 Crying Rose Beers, B.A.
4 Cupcakes and Cupids Conner, Jennifer
5 Dancing in the Moonlight Thayne, Rosanne
6 Devil's Food Leeburg, Jessica
7 Falling Star Dempsey, Diana
8 Going to the Chapel Webb, Debra
9 Golden Acorn Cooper, Cathrine
10 Holiday Romance Dickens, Charles
11 Hot Girl's Friend Scott, Lisa
12 How to Date a Vampire Pressey, Rose
13 Lady Sophie's Midnight Seduction McFalls, Dorathy
14 Lesson in Passion Conner, Jennifer
15 Magic Touch England, Darla
16 Matchmaker 2.0 Geary, Debora
17 Matchmaker Cat Kyrne, Elizabeth
18 Meant to Be King, Tiffany
19 Moonstone, The Walkie, Collins
20 My Darling Husband, Charlie Close, Charlie
21 Nasti's Beauty Salon Estella, Vanessa
23 One I Love, The Pikinton, Paul
24 Royally Yours Ryan, Jude
25 Sacred and Profane Love Bernette, A.
26 Sentence of Marriage Parkinson, Shavine
27 Shaken: A Romantic Beason, Pamela
28 Shakespeare's Sonnets Shakespeare, William
29 Six Geese A Laying Kinsella, Sophie
30 Slow Hands Kelly, Leslie
31 Something Stetson, Ted
32 Strides of Destiny Garriga, L.
33 Traditional Love Hensley, Atta
34 Wedding at a King's Convenience Child, Maureen
35 Week at the Beach Jewel, Virginia
36 The Lady and the Locksmith Young, Cody 36 36
37 She's Got to Me Mine Skully, Jennifer 37 37
SPANISH COLLECTION
1 Don Quixote de La Mancha Cervantes
2 Spannish Tales for Beginners Hill
2 2
213 213
Total Sum 426 books

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Summer Reads

Welcome to my little Niche within the library. So grab a coffee and let's review some books. Bloody MaryBloody Mary by Ricki Thomas
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Mary Miller was a woman scorned. Fifteen-year-old Mary was in love with her University professor, Harry --a married man. Mary and Harry had a clandestine affair which ended with the pregnancy of Mary Miller. All Mary wanted was to wreck Harry's marriage to Beryl and become Harry's wife. But Mary bore Harry's illegitimate twins, Ana and Andrew only to see both her children taken into adoption. Mary swore that if it took all her life, she would spend it finding her children and destroying the lives of those who tore her dreams to shred. Many years later, Mary swore to destroy the man who ripped her life and the woman who was her rival. Buying a psychic book from a charity shop, Mary posed as a physic, opening her home to desperate women who wanted to know about their loved ones who had passed on. To Mary's delight, Beryl walked into Mary's basement wanting to consult the spiritualist about the fate of her daughter, Sophie. This is where the story really begins and Mary finds out about Sophie. Mary now begins her plans for revenge.

Little did she know it, but her daughter Ana was adopted by Harry and Beryl who renamed the baby Sophie. Sophie married a man who abused her physically as well as mentally. When Mary learned she was her daughter, she put a plan in motion to bring her back into her life. As the story unfolds, Mary uncovers that her son is a police officer who happens to be the officer in charge of Sophie's husband's insurance fraud. It was Alan who first discovered that Sophie was a battered woman. Alan fell in love with Sophie unbeknownst that she was his twin sister. There are a lot of twists and turns in the story, making the story interesting in places. The book touches the theme of vengeance and violence and what it can do to people.

I thought that this was the worst book I had ever read. I did enjoy the story line and the twists up to the first half of the book; but the book was written so badly with lots of grammatical errors. Almost every page was full of grammatical errors. It seemed as if the author took the first draft of the book and published it. The Spanish in the book was taken literally from Google Translations; it did not sound right nor translated right. I am fluent in Spanish and know how to read and write it. Even in the passages where broken Spanish was spoken between English and Spanish characters, the Spanish used didn't translate right. I also didn't like the ending. I felt it was rushed. Also, I didn't think it was believable that Juan Murrilla, the Spanish doctor who attended the battered Sophie in Spain would fall so in love with Sophie so quickly that he decided to marry her in the space of a few days, move to England in the space of a month and leave his doctorate and family behind so swiftly.




A Collection of Cats Tales: A Cat-Lover's AnthologyA Collection of Cats Tales: A Cat-Lover's Anthology by Ditz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Collection of Cats Tales is an anthology of cat stories, extracts from varied authors such as William Blake, Emily Dickenson and Lewis Carol; and poems and quotations about cats. This is a beautiful book for any library and a must-have for cat lovers everywhere. The book is beautifully illustrated and hard-bound. I received this book a gift and I truly love it. This is a wonderful addition to my home library!


Recipes For A Perfect MarriageRecipes For A Perfect Marriage by Morag Prunty
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I truly enjoyed this book! I couldn't put it down as I wanted to find out what happened to the main character's grandmother's romance and the secret behind her arranged marriage.


Young food writer Tressa Nolan wakes up one morning after her honeymoon and realizes that she may have married the gorgeous Dan, a maintenance man in her building out of panic than love. Then Tressa unwraps one of her wedding gifts, her grandmother Bernadine's cook book and diaries. In her grandmother's diaries and cook book, Tressa finds not only her grandmother's recipes but advice on marriage and a secret that her grandmother has been carrying around for years.

Tressa has always idolized her grandmother's cooking and marriage to her grandfather; but Tressa soon discovers that her grandmother wasn't at all happy in her marriage as she led on... until she discovered the truth about why James, the man that she had everyone believe was the ONE she loved except herself, truly married her. The story traverses from 2004 in Manhattan to 1932 in Ireland where young Bernadine first met the man she really loved.
I truly enjoyed this book. I first read it when I first got married and was delighted by this unique and well-written book. Throughout the book there are recipes you can make from Irish Stew to Bernadine's honey cake. In the end there's space to write your own recipes.



Welcome To Rosie Hopkins' Sweetshop Of DreamsWelcome To Rosie Hopkins' Sweetshop Of Dreams by Jenny Colgan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Auxiliary Nurse Rosemary Hopkins is asked to give up her London apartment which she shares with her partner, Gerard, to care for her aging great-aunt, Lillian. Lillian Hopkins lives in a quaint little town called Lipton where everyone knows each other's business. At first Rosie was adamant about moving into a strange town to take care of an old lady with a bad hip and try to sell the Sweetshop that her great aunt --a family run old-fashioned sweetshop that Lillian and her father owned in the Town of Lipton. Then Rosie began to meet Lillian's neighbours and little by little she fell in love with the town and it's locals with all their childhood secrets, scandals and family feuds. Soon Rosemary discovered that her London life wasn't all that glamorous; her partner Gerard a Mamma's boy, and there was more to life outside of London than she thought. In Lipton Rosie discovered the true lesson of love; she discovers the real reason her great- aunt never married and in the end finds true love herself and her life's true calling. The book gives you a glimpse into Lillian Hopkins's past when she was a girl in the 1940's, the love she found and lost; and her life as the daughter of the Town's sweetshop owner.

The book is very well-written, descriptive, and each chapter begins with a recipe or rhetoric about classic sweets. I enjoyed the book but I have to admit that I enjoyed the author's previous book better, Meet me at the Cupcake Cafe. I found parts of the book a bit like Meet me at the Cupcake Cafe--a bit familiar and predictable, but over-all a nice story. I expected more recipes for confectionary sweets as the author included in her previous book; but instead there were only two to three recipes in this book; the other chapters began with rhetoric on conventional confections. The characters come to life and it is hard not to identify with them. I cannot wait to read Colgan's new book, Christmas at the Cupcake Cafe.







Monday, 9 April 2012

Into the Darkest Corner

Welcome to my little Niche within the library. So grab a coffee and let's review some books.

Into the Darkest CornerInto the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes is a dark, psychological suspense Novel that takes the reader into the life of Catherine Bailey, an employee at a PR Firm in Lancaster living with OCD and post traumatic stress caused by an abusive relationship with a psychotic, controlling police officer. After being held prisoner by Lee, which Catherine met at a Pub, Cathy begins to develop severe OCD. At first Lee seems like a real charmer; too good to be true. Charming Catherine's friends, Lee seems to be the perfect catch for Catherine; but soon Catherine begins to see Lee's controlling nature, as he takes over her life, rearranging her drawers, taking over her wardrobe, and searching through Catherine's diary. When Catherine complains about perfect Lee, her friend Sylvia thinks she's crazy and being a bitch. But then Catherine is found badly beaten and unconscious and rescued by a friend. At the start of the Novel, we find Catherine living a new life and meeting Stuart, a psychologist who befriends Catherine and helps her get over her anxiety. The author uses the device of Flashbacks to tell the story of abuse and torture which led Catherine into developing OCD and Post traumatic stress. The Novel does have a happy ending...though I didn't like it that Lee, the villain in the Novel, has the last words at the very end. I suppose the author left his letter to Catherine as an opening to a sequel.

This is a gripping and disturbing novel if you are interested in psychological suspense thrillers. The author wrote the Novel as part of the National Writer's Month (Nanowrimo) in November. I was shocked and traumatized by several scenes where Catherine was savagely raped by Lee and equally shocked to read about how Lee tricked Catherine into escaping to New York by setting up a false E-mail account and tricking Catherine into believing that a guy from work was offering Catherine a job in New York and a chance of escaping from Lee. When Catherine arrives in Heathrow Airport to fly to New York, she is arrested by Lee and held prisoner in her spare room, where Lee punches her senseless, rapes her, cuts her with a knife (and makes it look like Catherine is self-harming) and leaves her unconscious until she is found by a friend. I did find a few spelling mistakes in the novel, but it didn't take away from the story. I would have liked to read Sylvia's side of the story; why she was tricked into taking Lee's side and betraying Catherine. I also would have liked a different ending; one that has the villain locked away for life or dead and Catherine and Stuart living a new life under the Witness Protection Agency; but this is what I would have preferred, not as the author intended. This is, after all, the author's story and her style of writing. The plot has many twist and turns, many of which I didn't see coming.

The Author is a police Intelligence Analyst living in Kent. She started writing fiction in 2006. She has taken several courses in Creative Writing. Into the Darkest Corner is her debut Novel. She has recently published Revenge of the Tides.

Monday, 20 February 2012

You Deserve Nothing

Welcome to my little Niche within the library. So grab a coffee and let's review some books

You Deserve NothingYou Deserve Nothing by Alexander Maksik

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


You Deserve Nothing

By Alexander Maksik

Copyright 2012 John Murray Publishers

ISBN: 978-1848545724

308 pages



You Deserve Nothing by Alexander Maksik is a controversial Novel written by a former teacher. The Novel is told by three narrators........William Silver, the Charismatic English teacher at an American High School in Paris catering to children of diplomats and rich people, Marie De Clery, a fifteen-year-old student, and Gilad, an impressionable student who moves to Paris from Dubai. All three characters share a classroom together. The students are enthralled and influenced by their English Teacher whose influential teaching methods really make an impact on these young minds.



The Story is set in 2002 in Paris several months before the War in Iraq. Will Silver is a man who lost parents and wife, who moves to Paris to teach English and literature at an American High School in Paris, France.



Quoting from Camus and Sartre, Will teaches the class about Sartre's existentialism...or the idea that man is responsible for his own actions through his choices and free Will. Will's teaching method impresses Gilad who becomes enthralled by his English teacher, but this obsession crumbles when he discovers that Mr Silver is having an illicit affair with Marie, a fifteen-year-old student in his class.



Will Silver's persona crumbles further when Marie starts bragging about her affair in school and has an abortion. The Head Master or Principal gets word of it and brings Mr Silver up on charges. Mr Silver defends his actions in front of the school board. He's fired from the school . "Do you understand that what you've done is wrong?" asked the Principal, but Mr Silver remains silent and walks out of the room, past the hallway and out onto the Parisian streets without remorse.



The issues in the Novel are not a new ones. There have been many known cases of teacher/student affairs in the News and on television. This poses the question: "Should teachers violate their teachers' code of ethics and morality to satisfy their own carnal whims at the expense of a minor?" The Novel is based on a true story which is a bit shocking to say the least.



An educator has the moral responsibility to conduct himself/herself on a professional manner with regards to his/her students and the role of an educator should not be taken lightly. When educating young minds a teacher should show professionalism at all times and respect, preserve and uphold the innocence of youth. An educator must remember that they hold impressionable young minds in the palm of his/her hands...........and it is his/her duty to mould these young minds with dignity, respect and professionalism into respectable members of society.



I picked this book up because I love English literature and because it was set in Paris........one of the cities I love. Like some of the students in the book, English was my best subject in High School. I had a lovely English teacher, Mrs Ross, whom I truly admired. In my forties, I still look up to Mrs Ross as a great model educator and even as a mentor. Mrs Ross taught the class in a fun way........but she would NEVER cross the line between violating her teacher’s code of ethics and morality like Mr Silver in You Deserve Nothing did.



The narration reads like a JD Salinger book or D.H. Lawrence. Several reviewers have been bold to say that this book should be classed as a memoir instead of fiction because it is based on a true story. In my opinion the book can fit into both categories. I felt empathy for the character of Marie as she was the one who got taken advantage of by her unethical teacher. I also felt for Gilad.........a young teenage boy whose ideals and perception of someone whom he looked up to were chattered when he discovered that the man he called his Mentor was involved with an under aged student.







I found the book a bit shocking and disjointed in places. However, it does serve the purpose of alerting the audience to the problem facing teachers who violates their code of ethics falling in love with their students.







Before I go to Sleep

Welcome to my little Niche within the library. So grab a coffee and let's review some books.

Before I Go to SleepBefore I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


In this compelling psychological thriller, S.J. Watson brings us a story about a woman who suffers a tragic accident and is left with brain damage so bad that it leaves her in a comma and with permanent amnesia. Christine Lucas is left with a rare form of amnesia which erases her memories--long and short term memory every time she falls asleep. With the help of her doctor, Dr Nash, a Journal , her best friend, Claire and her husband, Ben, she begins to piece back fragments of her life. Slowly, Christine regains her memory...but hold on to your hat........for it seems that what her husband, Doctor Nash and even her best friend, Claire tells her their stories form a different version of the truth. This Novel, a Debut, Novel by a man who once worked with Amnesia patients in the NHS is a brilliant, page-turner that will leave the reader intrigued and turning the pages. I was hooked since I read the first sentence! The plot has many twists and turns and I was shocked to learn the truth at the end.



Anteograde amnesia isn't new , but is a rare form of amnesia. I've read on the news about a woman who woke up one day and had the shock of her life when she looked in the mirror and discovered that she wasn't fifteen anymore and had a child.



The Novel is told in the first person. I like Watson's style of writing. The narration is mostly in the form of a journal. The reader can't help but feel empathy for Christine as she goes on her journey of re-discovery as she tries unsuccessfully to make sense of her past. The plot is fast-paced and it left me on the edge of my seat. I turned the pages thinking I solved the mystery behind Christine's tragic life, when BAM.............a plot twist..........and the author throws me off track again until the very end! Watson really knows how to keep the reader intrigued.



I was left with a sudden sadness for Christine. Her character sprung to life. Watson has created a well-rounded character whom everyone can empathize with. Memories are what defines us........points of references to base our future on. When our memories go, our lives are chattered. We are like zombies with no sense of direction. I don't know what is worse............having a photographic memory.......remembering every minute details of your life.........reliving every painful memory you've had, projecting those memories on the screen of your mind every single day.............or losing your memory altogether. I guess it's the latter..............loss of memory leaves us with a fragmented mind trying to make sense of ourselves and our world.



In closing, I praise the author for giving us a compelling book. Before I go to Sleep is a hell-of-a psychological thriller. I compared it to the likes of John Grisham and James Patterson. I look forward to reading more of this new Author.


BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP by SJ Watson - UK Trailer from S J Watson on Vimeo.

Friday, 17 February 2012

The Somnamulist

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The SomnambulistThe Somnambulist by Essie Fox

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


In her debut novel, The Somnambulist, author Essie Fox writes a gothic tale about seventeen year-old Phoebe Turner living with a puritanical mother, Maude, whose prude ideas and values motivates her to go about East London engaging in activism, vowing to shut down theatres. Phoebe’s Aunt Cissy, on the other hand, is the complete opposite of Phoebe’s mother - an actress and singer performing at Wilton’s Musical Hall. Aunt Cissy takes Phoebe to Wilton’s Musical Hall often and introduces her to many of her theatrical friends. There, Phoebe meets a mysterious man named Nathanael who will change these three women’s lives forever. Phoebe leaves East End and settles into a house, a mysterious house that just may be haunted. Set in Victorian London, Essie Fox weaves a tale of mystery and suspense in the tradition of The Lady in White and Rebecca. As I began the story, I found it slow but my interest perked up as I turned the pages.

I really enjoyed this story and was quite sorry for the Protogonist's plight. She was lied to since the day she was born. Amongst the issues covered in the book are Anti-Semetism, morality versus immorality, abuse, death, spiritualism and incest. I am fascinated by the Victorian era and chose this book because of this. There has been mixed reviews about this book and some have commented on the Gothic-ness of the book saying the darkness and gore in the Novel is very subtle. However, I found it very dark in places, such as a Gothic Novel should be. The author used several icons and symbolisms in the Novel to set the mood and tone of the Novel such as Ether's gravesite, the docks, the painting by Mallais, Hamman's Bouquet, the frragrance lingering on Cissy's gown of Turkish Bathhouses and sensual musk and the Cave where Pheobie and Joseph had sex without knowledge of the truth behind their 'true' relationship    Althogether, this novel was a good read. Very Well-written.



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Thursday, 26 January 2012

Royally Yours

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Royally Yours: A Modern-Day Valentine's FairytaleRoyally Yours: A Modern-Day Valentine's Fairytale by Jude Ryan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Royally Yours is a funny yet Romantic Chick Lit about an American girl named Sara who has moved to London and met Mr Right........who happens to be non other than Prince Henry. Prince Henry is in love with Sara and on one romantic evening, he bends down on one knee and proposes to Sara. Sara is beside herself...not only is she now engaged to be married but she's engaged to a Royal Prince. Their Fairy-Tale Wedding is set to be held on......get this.....Valentine's Day; but the question remains......can Sara be able to handle life in the Palace? I enjoyed this short but lite entertaining book. I read this on my Kindle and was hooked. I finished it in two nights. This is a wonderful lite read that will put anyone in the mood for Valentine's Day and think about England.


Sunday, 22 January 2012

Matchmaker Cat

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Matchmaker Cat (A Romantic Comedy Short Story)Matchmaker Cat by Elizabeth Kyne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Chester, the cat, knows how to rule Rosemary! Who else can point her in the right direction as to where to find love? I enjoyed this funny romantic tale about a woman who finds love via an unconventional manner........Chester, her cat who leads her to find Mr Right when he puts his paws on the computer and it lands on a certain Dating Website on a particular candidate's page. This is a short story that one might enjoy reading for Valentine's Day. It is very well-written and at only £.77 ($1.00) it is a bargain. I read this on my Kindle Device....a very good read.



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Sunday, 15 January 2012

February 2012 Book Reviews

Welcome to my little Niche within the library. So grab a coffee and let's review some books.


Cupcakes and CupidsCupcakes and Cupids by Jennifer Conner

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


On Valentine's Day, Analeigh Russel, owner and founder of Let Them Eat Cakes, is enroute to deliver 300 Wedding Cupcakes when she is involved in a fender bender that totals her car and wrecks all but 100 of her cupcakes. The day and business is almost ruined by this automobile accident, Analeigh swears....until a handsome stranger appears and tows her car. This is a very short book that you can read in a day. I enjoyed this sweet story. This is a lovely short story anyone will enjoy reading time and time again on or near Saint Valentine's Day. Three cheers for the author! I will be reading more of her stories, namely, A Lesson in Passion.

Jennifer Conners is a part-time author with two children.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_GT06ICV...













Falling for Christmas (MIRA)Falling for Christmas by Debbie Macomber

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Mary Jo Wyse has gotten into one hell of a predicament. Falling pregnant by a man that lied to her, Mary Jo Wyse feels ashamed. It doesn't help having three very over-protective brothers who have vowed to make their sister's boyfriend pay for dishonouring their sister. Heavy with child, Mary Jo heads off on Christmas Eve to Cedar Cove to warn David's family about her three over-protective brothers who are out- to- get the father of their sister's unborn child and bring him to justice.



When Mary Jo Wyse arrives in Cedar Cove on Christmas Eve, all the Inns are full; but then she discovers the true meaning of Christmas when she and her unborn baby are showered with overwhelming hospitality. With the help of a friendly librarian and David's half sister, Mary Jo feels welcomed and at home at Cedar Cove. Grace Harding, the Librarian at Cedar Cove offers Mary Jo an apartment at the top of the barn where the animals for the Live Nativity are being kept. Mary Jo hates being a nuissance and when Grace asks her to come with her and her family to the Church Service, Mary Jo declines. Then on Christmas Eve, all alone in the apartment over the Barn, Mary Jo goes into labor. With the help of firefighter and EMT specialist, Mack, Mary Jo gives birth on Christmas Eve.



I fell in love with this book from the first page. Debbie takes you home to a cosy place that warms your heart and soul. The story has a happy ending. I found I couldn't put this book down. I found myself crying in places, laughing in other parts and felt the warmth of the Christmas Spirit.



As with some of Debbie's books, there are two stories in this book. The second story is Call Me Mrs Miracle. This is a heart-warming tale about a match-making person called Mrs Merkle whom others affectionately call Mrs Miracle.....because whenever she's around, miracles do happen. Emily Merkle works for a department store on the brink of going into administration. With Mrs Merkle on board, the company is spared and a few hearts are mended. I also have seen the Hallmark movie of Call Me Mrs Miracle....it's heart-warming.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

The Angel over the Right Shoulder

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The Angel over the Right Shoulder The Beginning of a New YearThe Angel over the Right Shoulder The Beginning of a New Year by Elizabeth Stuart Phelps

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


A stressed and unfulfilled housewife and mother is asked by her husband to try an experiment; she's to have an hour or so each day just to do things for herself. The woman agrees and tries the experiment but everytime she goes into her room for a little 'me' time she is interrupted.
Unfulfilled and highly stressed out, the woman moans about how meaningless and mundane her life is until she gets a wake-up call and new lease on life by two Guardian Angels. This is a short story that can be read in one sitting. I truly enjoyed this inspirational book and identified with the main character. I thought the title ought to be 'A Woman's work is never done' until I read the ending.




Monday, 9 January 2012

The Christmas Angel

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The Christmas Angel (Focus on the Family Great Stories)The Christmas Angel by Abbie Farwell Brown





 On  Christmas Eve,  a miserable old Spinster sets out to destroy a box of old childhood toys; but before throwing each toy into the Library fireplace she conducts an experiment to prove that there is no Christmas Spirit left.  She  throws four old toys into the streets to see what becomes of them only to find that these old forgotten toys, which she calls rubbish,  bring out the worst in those who finds them........until she stumbles upon an old family ornament......a Christmas Angel from Miss Terry's childhood whom she and her brother often put on top of their Christmas Tree.   The Angel  helps Miss Terry see the error of her ways and reveals the truth behind each of her  'experiments', revealing the true outcome of each toy that Miss Terry threw out onto the pavement with a very different outcome from what Miss Terry assumed happened to each toy. 

          Each toy that Angelina Terry throws out touches the life of a person in a very special way.

  • A little sick boy is given the gift of a Jack-In-the Box that was found by two Jewish Boys.
  • An arrogant Millionaire turns over a new leaf  when he rescues a little boy who was about to be run over  by a truck when the toy Flannel Dog that Miss Terry threw out was crushed under a car.....when the arrogant Millionaire threw the dog unto the street in a haughty manner.
  • An embittered mother who lost her child finds the true meaning of Christmas and has a change of heart when she finds Miss Terry's brother's  Noah's Ark.
  • An abused child finds the true meaning of Christmas and a warm home when she finds Miranda, Miss Terry's old doll.
  • A drunken old sinner finds a Guardian Angel who helps him mend his ways on Christmas Eve.

        
       This is a charming story full of the Christmas Spirit.  Abbey Farbel Brown has written a modern twist to Dickens's  A Christmas Carol in an original way.  I absolutely loved this story!  The story is short enough to read in one sitting and full of the true meaning of Christmas.

Abbey Farbell Brown, a descendant of the earliest New England settlers, was born on Beacon Hill,  in 1871 in Boston.  Brown attended the Boston Girl's Latin School and became intimate friends with  Prescott Peabody.  Abbey graduated from Radcliffe  College  in 1894. 
Also by this Author:

A Pocketful of Poesies (1902). The Curious Book of Birds (1903). The Star Jewels (1905). Brothers and Sisters (1906). Friends and Cousins (1907). Fresh Posies; Rhymes to Read and Pieces to Speak (1908). The Christmas Angel (1910). Their City Christmas; a Story for Boys and Girls (1912). Songs of Sixpence (1914). Kensington Town (1915). Surprise House (1917). The Gift; a Christmas Story (1920). Heart of New England (1920). The Rock of Liberty; a Pilgrim Ode (1920). What Luck! A Study in Opposites (1920). The Green Trunk; a Masque (1921). Round Robin (1921). The Lights of Beacon Hill; a Christmas Message (1922). The New England Poetry Club; an Outline of Its History, 1915-1923 (1923). Our Christmas Tree (1925). The Silver Stairs; Poems (1926). Under the Rowan Tree (1926). The Lantern and Other Plays for Children (1928). The Little Friend (1960).





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