Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Summer Feature 2014 Emma Crowley - Guest Post

Welcome to today's summer reads! On The Book Corner Emma has stopped by to share with us her summer reads. Thanks for joining The Book Corner today Emma!

My Recommended Reads for Summer 2014

Hi my name is Emma and I live in Waterford in the South East of Ireland. I’m a primary school teacher teaching 4/5 year olds. I’m a total bookworm always to be found with my head in a book. I’m delighted to be sharing my top reads for summer 2014 on Sam’s Book Corner. I hope you find something that you will like in my list. Many thanks to Sam for having me.

The Midnight Rose : Lucinda Riley –

A huge book at over 600 pages but don’t let that put you off, I flew through it. Lucinda is one of my favourite authors and she has excelled herself with this book. I love books set between the past and the present and this one is a multi-generational saga following the life of Anahita Chaval in India in 1911 right though to the present day. Anahita becomes a companion to Princess Indira and they form a lifelong friendship, they travel to England just before the outbreak of the Great War.There Anahita meets Donald Astbury heir to the Astbury estate and they fall in love but a scheming mother means the pah of true love does not always run smooth. In the present day film star Rebecca Bradley is shooting her latest blockbuster at the Astbuy estate when Anahita’s great grandson shows up looking for answers.Together they set out to uncover the truth of what happened so many years ago. Full of twists and turns that will keep you hooked and rooting for the characters.This book is just brilliant from start to finish.

The Separation: Dinah Jefferies-

My book of the year so far without doubt , the cover alone would make you want to buy it even without reading the blurb. An outstanding novel which had me hooked from page one right through until the last word.This only the debut novel from Dinah Jefferies, yet it reads like a well established author who has been writing for years. The Separation is set between 1950’s Malaya and Great Britain and is essentially the story of the unbreakable bond between a mother and her children. Lydia returns home from caring for a sick friend to find her house abandoned –her husband and children have vanished. Lydia embarks upon a quest through the steaming jungles and villages of Malaya to uncover the truth of their disappearance. From quite early on we know what happened to the children and then the story is told from Lydia and Emma ( Lydia’s daughter) point of view which was really well done. I loved everything about this book the characters, the setting and the descriptions. It raised so many emotions in me and I’d love others to read this wonderful debut.

The Summer Without You: Karen Swan-

Nice to see a summer themed book from Karen after several of her last books have been set around Christmas time. I have to admit I picked this up around the beginning of June, read a chapter and couldn’t read anymore which is not like me. So I left it for a few weeks and last week something drew me to it and I spent a happy two afternoons sitting in the sun engrossed in this book this wishing I lived in the Hamptons. The Summer Without You tells the story of Ro whose cosy life has been turned upside down when her boyfriend Matt announces he wants six months out of the relationship so he can go and find himself and reconnect more with Ro as he feels their relationship has become stale and far too routine. Naturally Ro is upset but a chance turn of events sees her leaving her life in England for the summer and taking part in a house share in the Hamptons in New York. She spends the summer trying to get her photography business off the ground while making her friends with her housemates, attending lavish parties whilst alos catching the eye of mysterious Ted. I won’t go into anymore detail but there was plent of unexpected twists and surprises in this riveting novel from Karen Swan.

The Far Side of the Sun:Kate Furnivall- 

This is not out until the 14th August, so not long to wait. I have read all of Kate’s books and she is one of my favourite authors.Each of her books is so different and gripping and she always chooses an excellent location in which to set her novels. To be honest when I know one of her books is coming out it just goes straight on my wishlist without even reading the blurb.This book is set in the Bahama’s in 1943 in the middle of the war.The story focuses on Dodie Wyatt and what happens to her when she stumbles across a man who has been stabbed in a backstreet alley.Ella Stanford lives on the wealthier side of Nassau but she has secrets she struggles to keep.The two women are brought together by the death and with the unstable island spiraling into violence, deceit, greed and death, Dodie and Ella have only each other to rely on, as their lives are torn apart . I can’t wait to read this and will be straight out to buy this as soon as it is released.

Return to Mandalay: Rosanna Ley -

Return to Mandalay is the third novel from Rosanna Ley and once again she doesn’t disappoint. This is another novel set between the past and the present between England and what is now known as Mynamar . Eva Gatsby an antique dealer is set a task by her grandfather Lawrence to return an artifact -a chinthe he acquired many years ago in Mandalay to its rightful owner. Eva accepts the quest and combined with work her boss requires her to do she embarks upon her travels to Mandalay.Her she meets the owner of the chinthe and her grandson Ramon and uncover the history behind the artifact and why it is still so valuable today.There are hidden strangers who would gladly kill to get their hands on the chinthe to reunited it with it’s counterpart without causing a countrywide scandal.The story is interspersed with flashbacks from Lawrence’s time working for a logging company before the war and how he came to meet Maya Ramon’s grandmother. This provides a great link between the past and Eva’s experiences and adventures in the present. Rosanna does throw in quite a few surprises that will leave you gasping as you didn’t see them coming. I though this novel was wonderful and breathtaking and clearly a lot of research had been done into all the sights, sounds and wonders of the Far East. If you enjoy this book don’t hesitate to pick up Rosanna’s previous novels- The Villa and Bay of Secrets.They are well worth a read.

Ghostwritten: Isabel Wolff- 

I seem to be on a bit of a theme with novels that go between the past and the present but here is another one : Ghost-written: Isabel Wolff. From what I have read this seems to be a bit of a departure to historical fiction compared to what Isabel has written in the past and from reading this I hope she sticks to this genre. This was the first book I had read by Isabel and it was simply stunning, so very well written with sensitivity to the topic and obviously plenty of in-depth research. At times this was heart-breaking and hard to read of such suffering but this is the mark of a good author who brought to my attention the plight of European nationals living in Java during World War Two. The story focuses on two main characters Jenni and Klara . An incident in Jenni’s childhood has had a lasting effect on the rest of her life, working as a ghost-writer she is employed by Klara’s son to come to Cornwall to write the story of Klara’s life on Java and all that she experienced. Jenni is forced to confront her demons in Cornwall and realise that she may not have been the cause of the incident. Klara recounts her childhood on Java , the descriptions of the island are breath-taking but Klara’s idyllic island life is shattered with the arrival of the Japanese and the creation on internment camps. I won’t go into too much detail but as I said parts here were hard to read, such suffering they experienced and the lengths they had to go to survive and as for the punishments inflicted by the Japanese they are just unspeakable. What Klara had to suffer and witness brought tears to my eyes. Well done to Isabel for writing such an outstanding emotional read.

As I’m from Ireland I had pick some reads from Irish authors so first up is..

Lierty Silk : Kate Beaufoy - 

I have to admit to not having read this yet,it is on my kindle but sure isn’t that what summer holidays are for sitting in the garden in the sun and reading. This novel is a departure for as she previously wrote numerous novels under the name Kate Thompson and was also an an actress here in Ireland featuring in our soap Fair City and Glenroe (many moons ago). This is a historical fiction novel but Kate was inspired by real letters written by her grandmother Jessie Beaufoy in the aftermath of the great war. I love the fact the story slips between three eras and three women and how one dress can dress can have lasting effect across the generations.This has seven five star reviews on Amazon so Kate has obviously succeeded in writing a novel to savoir.

One beautiful dress is the key to three brave women's destinies.

France 1919: Jessie is celebrating the last heady days of her honeymoon. But when her husband suddenly disappears she finds herself bereft. Until a chance encounter thrusts her into the centre of the intoxicating world of Parisian high life.

Hollywood 1945: Lisa has come a long way from her quiet, unassuming life in London and is taking Hollywood by storm. But all that glitters is not gold, and as the smoke and mirrors of the lifestyle she so longed for shatter around her there are some secrets she can never escape.

London 1965: Cat, headstrong and independent, drawn to danger and passionately opposed to injustice, has no idea of the legacy that precedes her. Once past secrets are unveiled, she has the chance to find out what liberty really means...

Forty-two-year-old Vinnie knows lots of things. He knows new books and school shoes are expensive. He knows his teenage daughter keeps getting into trouble and he knows his seven-year-old has wet the bed every night for over a year. What Vinnie doesn't know is whether his wife is coming back, or if he will ever get better at single fatherhood. Ellen knows that what happened in the accident was all her fault. She knows she's too scared to get behind the wheel of a car ever again and she knows that some scars are harder to hide than others. What Ellen doesn't know is how to move on. And she doesn't know anything about Vinnie, the taxi driver who drives her to physiotherapy every week. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other's life forever.

Now That I Found You: Ciara Geraghty - 

Another book I haven’t read but I have a book token waiting to be used and as soon as I get to my local bookshop this is the book I will be getting. Ciara Geraghty is a serious rival to Marian Keyes. Her books are laugh out funny .She seems to be always on the ball with the issues she writes about and her previous books have all been outstanding and hilarious. I’ve read some great reviews for this book so can’t wait to get it as I know I am guaranteed another absorbing , intelligent, funny and moving book from Ciara. She never disappoints , she just gets better and better with each novel.

The Devlin sisters rely on each other - but some things are just too painful to share, even when your sisters are your best friends ...

Mum-of-four Julie thought that if her family had more money, life would be easier. But now that they've inherited a fortune, her problems are only starting.

Lawyer Louise is used to having life go exactly as she wants it to. So accepting that she cannot control everything in her world is beyond her.

And former model Sophie can just about cope with getting older - that's until her ex-husband finds a younger model.

All three women think that some battles are best fought alone. Maybe they need to think again.

The Secrets Sisters Keep: Sinead Moriarty - 

This is the tenth novel from Sinead Moriarty and is full of the sparkle and wit I have come to love. It is a follow up to Me and My Sisters but is easily read as a stand alone novel. From the opening line ‘Once upon time there were three sisters, and a brother who went to work naked’ Sinead introduces us to a cast of unforgettable, heartwarming and funny characters. The book is full of hunour and is heartwarming but at the same deals with serious issues. Sinead strikes just the right balance between laugh out loud moments and sobering life changing issues and problems. The Secrets Sisters Keep follows the three Devlin sisters in their early forties as they cope with all that life has to throw at them with a great supporting cast who provide plenty of laugh out loud moments. This a novel about families and more specifically sisters and how the bond they share can never be broken no matter what changes life throws at us or what paths we may take be they right or wrong. I just have to say that Sinead had clearly done a lot of research into the problem Louise had to face with her daughter Clara .Being a primary school teacher I had experience of this and I really felt Sinead had hit it spot on with her writing. Don’t hesitate to pick up this author her books are wonderful and if you enjoy this one isn’t it great to know you have nine more wonderful books written by Sinead to discover.

I would like to thank Emma for her fab recommendations here on The Book Corner, you can follow her on Twitter

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