Cloudland by Joseph Olshan

Cloudland

“Catherine Winslow, taking a walk during an early spring thaw, discovers the body of a woman leaning against an apple tree near her house in the Upper Valley of Vermont. From the corpse’s pink parka, Winslow recognizes it as the latest victim of a serial killer, a woman reported missing weeks before during a January blizzard. Once a major reporter for a national newspaper, now a household hints columnist, Catherine is disturbed and galvanized by her discovery and with the help of her neighbor, a forensic psychiatrist, as well as a local detective, starts to research the River Valley murders.
At the same time, her younger lover from an excruciating, failed love affair resurfaces after two years, trying to manuever his way back into her affections. As she delves into the murders, she realizes that certain friends and acquaintances may actually be suspects or even worse.”

MY REVIEW

Only * * stars from me unfortunately.

I just couldn’t connect with this read. I didn’t find it really fit in it’s genre as a crime/thriller. It wasn’t gritty enough, disturbing enough, or shocking enough! I found it to be a who-dunnit which is in fact the only reason I finished the book – I did want to know who done it.

I didn’t connect with the characters and found the story flat and un-inspiring. I rarely give up on finishing a book but I contemplated it a few times with this one.

Sadly just didn’t grab my interest enough.

Decide for yourself and buy Cloudland here

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Joseph Olshan is an award-winning American novelist. His first novel, Clara’s Heart, won the Times/Jonathan Cape Young Writers’ Competition and went on to be made into a feature film starring Whoopi Goldberg. He is the author of eight novels, the most recent of which, The Conversion, will be published in 2008.

In addition to his novels, he has written extensively for newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, The Times (London), The Guardian (London),The Independent (London), The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, the New York Observer, Harpers Bazaar, People magazine and Entertainment Weekly. During the 1990’s he was a regular contributor of book reviews to the Wall Street Journal. For six years was a professor of Creative Writing at New York University where he taught both graduate and undergraduate courses.

Joseph Olshan’s other novels include Nightswimmer and Vanitas, as well as The Waterline, A Warmer Season, The Sound of Heaven and In Clara’s Hands, a sequel to his acclaimed first novel, Clara’s Heart.

Joseph Olshan is published in the U.S. by Saint Martin’s Press and Berkley Books; and in the United Kingdom by Bloomsbury publishing and Arcadia Books. His work has been translated into sixteen languages.

A Hundred Pieces of Me by Lucy Dillon

A Hundred Pieces of Me

“Letters from the only man she’s ever loved.

A keepsake of the father she never knew.

Or just a beautiful glass vase that catches the light, even on a grey day.

If you had the chance to make a fresh start, what would you keep from your old life? What would you give away?

Gina Bellamy is starting again, after a difficult few years she’d rather forget. But the belongings she’s treasured for so long just don’t seem to fit who she is now.

So Gina makes a resolution. She’ll keep just a hundred special items – the rest can go.

But that means coming to terms with her past and learning to embrace the future, whatever it might bring . ..”

MY REVIEW:

This is my first experience of Lucy Dillon and I was therefore delighted to have been accepted for a copy via Netgalley!  Thank you!

A Hundred Pieces of Me gets * * * stars from me.

 

The premise of the book intrigued me and immediately had me thinking about my own possessions and what’s important.

The story tells of Gina, finding herself starting over as a single woman in a new, small & empty white flat – a stark comparison to the beautiful home she shared with her cheating husband. Sadly, her belongings from the house are just too great to squeeze into her flat, so Gina decides to only take 100 items into her new life.

The tale unfolds and captures it’s reader with flashbacks from Gina’s past and how it is shaping her future. Lucy Dillon’s descriptive prose is such that I felt the hurt within the walls of the empty flat that was just waiting to be made a home. We find out that Gina has had a lot to cope with of late and it was wonderful to read on and find her strength and ability to move forward with such focus and positivity.

I loved the addition of Buzz the dog – a fuzzy friend will always warm the soul and fill a room with love!  A well written, lovely read where we learn that if we let go of the past, we can live without regret in the present.

Overall, the concept was fantastic and did make me think about my own luxuries in life and their actual importance. It just sadly wasn’t quite the page turner I’d been anticipating.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lucy Dillon was born in Cumbria, worked for a while in publishing in London, and now lives in Herefordshire with her two basset hounds, near the Welsh border. She has written five novels for Hodder & Stoughton, all set in the fictional Midlands town of Longhampton, which looks a bit like Hereford, although the inhabitants tend to sound rather more Northern than that.

Lucy Dillon grew up in Cumbria, and while at school, wrote a play about Mary, Queen of Scots, which apparently only had two major historical inaccuracies, and edited the school magazine, all of which set her up for her first job after university, in publishing. Working for a fiction editor taught her some invaluable lessons about how books are written, then re-written, and then re-re-written, as well as how satisfying is it to watch a pile of pages magically turn into a novel you can hold in a bookshop and read in the bath.

A HUNDRED PIECES OF ME is Lucy’s fifth novel. None of the characters are based on her family, although the dogs might recognise themselves a bit.

Lucy won the Romantic Novelists’ Association Novel of the Year Award in 2010 for Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts.

You can follow her on Twitter @lucy_dillon or find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/LucyDillonBooks.

You can buy A Hundred Pieces of Me  here

The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh

The Lemon Grove

“Set on the rugged, mountainous west coast of Mallorca, this taut, sultry, brilliantly paced novel is an urgent meditation on female desire, the vicissitudes of marriage and the allure of youth. 
 
Taking place over the course of one week, The Lemon Grove lands in the heat of Deia, a village on an island off the southeast coast of Spain. Jenn and Greg are on their annual holiday to enjoy languorous, close afternoons by the pool, and relaxed dinners overlooking the rocks. But the equilibrium is upset by the arrival of their teenage daughter, Emma, and her boyfriend, Nathan. Jenn, in her early forties, loves her (older) husband and her (step)daughter and is content with her life, she thinks. But when this beautiful, reckless young man comes into her world, she is caught by a sexual compulsion that she’s seldom felt before. As the lines hotly blur between attraction, desire and obsession, Jenn’s world is thrown into tumult–by Nathan’s side, she could be young and carefree once again, and at this stage in her life, the promise of youth is every bit as seductive as the promise of passion. Jenn struggles between the conflicting pulls of resistance and release, and the events of the next few days have the potential to put lives in jeopardy as the players carry out their roles in this unstoppably sexy and unputdownable novel from a brilliant observer of the human condition.”

My Review:

Thank you very much to Georgina at Headline Publishing Group for sending me a paperback of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Only * * stars from me for The Lemon Grove, unfortunately. All opinions differ and I’m sure for many this was a “sultry, sexy & intense” read but it wasn’t my cup of tea.

I was so disappointed that I couldn’t connect with this book, I’d got wrapped up in the hype and had read so many great reviews, it was a shocking realisation that I was left feeling mainly uncomfortable reading this.

The Lemon Grove is well written and I have not been put off from trying another Helen Walsh novel. But personally, as a mother to an 18 year old girl, I felt utterly disgusted with Jenn and her actions were completely revolting to me. I think if Jenn’s object of obsession was maybe a few years older, I could have coped better. As it was, that she would even contemplate any wrong doings with a mere 17 year old? Ewwww. Not pleasant reading for me, certainly not sexy. It leaves one wondering, if it were a man in his forties lusting after a 17 year old girl, would we find that sexy, sultry reading? Mmmm.

But hey, that’s my opinion! Many have loved this read! So try it for yourself, right HERE

 

Visit Helen’s website and other books here:   www.helen-walsh.co.uk

2013: The Year I Started Blogging and Book Reviewing

So the end of 2013 is just a few short hours away and I’ve been reflecting on my last few months as a newbie book reviewer. I stumbled upon this whole world of like minded book loving twitter enthusiasts quite by accident, one lonely day when I felt I was missing something in my life. A few follows and private messages later, and I was hooked. Late Summer 2013 and Chapter One, Page One was born.

My life has always been surrounded with books and I’ve always been a bit of a book geek yet unfortunately, no one around me had the same adoration for the written word. So to find myself suddenly immersed in a completely book focused life was wonderful to me!

I do find it hard to believe that I have only been blogging and reviewing 4 months! But it’s all thanks to you, my amazing friends on twitter – from like-minded book lovers and reviewers to authors to publishers – every single person has made me feel completely at ease, helped me and accepted me into this amazing community.

I am, of course, still learning and intend to blog A LOT more in 2014 as well as read a lot more too! I am so fortunate to have already received so many beautiful books to read & review, I have a tbr that I’m spoilt for choice as to my next read! I feel so, so lucky to actually be sent books for FREE, and all that’s asked of me in return is to write an honest opinion of said book! Hello? That’s just crazy..! I only wish I’d known about this fantastic book loving world years ago!

So, to all my new book lovers, reviewers, publishers, authors… basically my fantabulous twitter friends… I thank you from the bottom of my heart for opening up a whole new wonderful, book obsessed life that I can escape to anytime, any day.

I wish you all a healthy, wealthy and happy 2014 and I can’t wait for all the books we have to read!

Much love,
Sharon xxx
Chapter one, Page One