28 Jan 2015

NO TIME FOR GOODBYE.


NO TIME FOR GOODBYE by LINWOOD BARCLAY.

SOURCE: Ex-library stock.

BACK COVER BLURB:The house was silent. No sound of her parents getting ready for work, or her brother late for school. Were they punishing her for last night? She'd been out on a date when she should have been studying, and had a huge fight with her father. So where was everyone now? Why had her family disappeared?

Twenty-five years later the mystery is no nearer to being solved and Cynthia is still haunted by unanswered questions. Were her family murdered? Abducted? If so, why was she spared? And if they're alive, why did they abandon her?

Then a letter arrives, a letter which makes no sense. Soon Cynthia begins to realise that stirring up the past could be the worst mistake she has ever made ...

FIRST SENTENCE {May 1983}: When Cynthia woke up, it was so quiet in the house she thought it must be Saturday.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 140}: I never saw the slap coming. I don't think Cynthia did either, and she was the one swinging. It just happened. An explosion of anger, like a thunderclap, standing out their on the step.

MY THOUGHTS: Now here's a thriller worthy of the label of thriller.

OK so towards the end things might get a bit, well, improbable. I wasn't so keen on the numerous mysterious phone calls, the callers themselves not fully revealed until much later in the story, and the fact that there was more swearing than I personally thought necessary BUT, and I know this might sound like I'm quoting just about every bookish cliche there is, my imagination captured from the start, this was a real page turner, roller coaster of a read. Suspenseful with red herrings in all the right places, once picked up I found it nigh on impossible to put down. 

Full of interesting characters who almost without exception are beautifully flawed. And talk about the breaking of stereotypes. I don't want to give too much away so lets just leave it at that you don't often find a gun-toting, wheelchair-using character in many novels.


26 Jan 2015

A MEDIA MONDAY 2015 FIRST.

Warning: Whilst I endeavour to keep Media monday family friendly I feel it only right to point out that some of the articles featured do contain links to articles that may contain more adult content. TT


A five year old boy from Cornwall was given an 'no-show' invoice for £15.95, his parents threatened with court action, after missing his friends birthday party.

A 79 year old woman flying to Fuerteventura was knocked unconscious when a shoe fell from an overhead locker.

A traffic warden has been accused of 'bizarre behaviour' after slapping a £30 parking ticket  ..... on a wheelie bin left parked on double yellow lines in Carmarthen town centre.

Whoops!  Essex pizza lovers were surprised to be offered indigenous Australians as a vegetarian option after a typing error on a takeaway menu saw the word aubergines replaced by the word aborigines.

Having heard a theory which claims that on average it takes thirteen dates to find love a Norwich bachelor is trying to raise £1,300 to help him find his true love.

An unofficial, unlicensed app based on the Disney film, Frozen, is proving controversial. Claiming to pick up where the film left off, nine months after Anna is thought to have married her love interest Kristoff, the iTunes app allows users to perform a C-Section on the now pregnant princess.

And finally in the news from abroad ....

Forget paratrooper Barbie, lifeguard Barbie and paleontologist Barbie as they make way for .... serial killer Barbie as portrayed by a Canadian photographer.


24 Jan 2015

THE RIDDLE AND THE KNIGHT.


The Riddle and the Knight by Giles MiltonTHE RIDDLE AND THE KNIGHT by GILES MILTON.

SOURCE: A birthday present.

BACK COVER BLURB: In 1322, Sir John Mandeville left England on a thirty-four year pilgrimage. He returned and wrote a book claiming it was possible to circumnavigate the globe.

For centuries none doubted Sir John, many regarding him, not Chaucer, as the father of English literature. In the nineteenth century, sceptics questioned his voyage, and suspected that he never left England at all, and that The Travels was a work of imaginative fiction.

In The Riddle and the Knight, best selling historian Giles Milton unearths clues about Mandeville's journey and reveals that The Travels is built upon a series of riddles which have, until now, remained unsolved.

FIRST SENTENCE {Chapter One: The Inscription}: In the days when gods dwelt in temples, a soldier named Alban was converted to Christianity.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 87}: It looks as if a giant hand has given the church's innards a sudden twist whilst leaving the outside walls in the same position.

MY THOUGHTS: I have a bit of a like/dislike thing for this author in that some of his works I've really enjoyed (Samurai William), others (White Gold, Nathaniel's Nutmeg) not.

Falling into the latter category, for me the main problem with this book is it concentrates less on Sir Mandeville and more on Giles Milton as he follows in Mandeville's footsteps though stopping short of China and Indonesia. Then there is the matter of is it a travelogue OR is it a history book? A combination that can (and does) of course work well, just not in this instance. 

Whilst the author's enthusiasm for his subject shines through I'm afraid in many ways I felt The Riddle And The Knight took a superficial glimpse into the life and travels of Mandeville, his seemingly finding a British monk to talk with on the matter wherever he found himself somewhat dubious. Still, on a positive note it did whet my appetite, leaving me wanting to find out more about the intrepid knight who may or may not have circumnavigated the globe.


23 Jan 2015

MORE ABOUT PADDINGTON.


MORE ABOUT PADDINGTON by MICHAEL BOND.

SOURCE: Free with a magazine.

BACK COVER BLURB: As Paddington says himself. "Things happen to me - I'm that sort of bear," And, with his attempts at home decorating, detective work, and photography, the Brown family soon find that Paddington causes his own particular brand of chaos.

FIRST SENTENCE {Chapter One: A Family Group}: The Browns' house at number thirty-two Windsor Gardens was unusually quiet.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 67: Chapter Five: Paddington And The Bonfire}: Paddington wiped the cocoa from his whiskers with the back of his paw in case it left a stain and shook his head.

MY THOUGHTS:What turned out to be seven stories that I already had in the omnibus edition of Paddington stories, A Bear Called Paddington. Not that I minded as you can't get enough of the lovable bear from darkest Peru, right?

A big fan of the stories from childhood. To this day I still adore reading of this marmalade loving bear's adventures and can't wait for my great-nephews to be old enough to enjoy them with me just as did their mother (now 25) (and her brother, 21) before them.