Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday Intros -

Every Tuesday Bibliophile by the Sea hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where we share the first paragraph or (a few) of a book we are reading or thinking about reading soon.

I'm reading Disgrace by Jussi Adler-Olsen.

These are the opening lines...

'Another shot echoed over the treetops.
The beaters' calls had grown clearer. A throbbing pulse was thundering against my eardrums, the damp air forcing its way into my lungs so fast and hard that it hurt.
Run, run, don't fall. I'll never get up again if I do.'


What do you think, would you keep reading?


Kimmie's home is on the streets of Copenhagen. To live she must steal. She has learned to avoid the police and never to stay in one place for long. But now others are trying to find her. And they won't rest until she has stopped moving - for good. Detective Carl Mørck of Department Q, the cold cases division, has received a file concerning the brutal murder of a brother and sister twenty years earlier. A group of boarding school students were the suspects at the time - until one of their number confessed and was convicted. So why is the file of a closed case on Carl's desk? Who put it there? Who believes the case is not solved? A police detective wants to talk to Kimmie and someone else is asking questions about her. They know she carries secrets certain powerful people want to stay buried deep. But Kimmie has one of her own. It's the biggest secret of them all. And she can't wait to share it with them... 

Monday, 2 March 2015

It's Monday! What are you reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. 

Last week I read a comic book - Saga, Volume 1, by Brian K. Vaughen and Fiona Staples, and a graphic novel - Eustace by S.J. Harris, both borrowed from the library. 

I'm currently reading How Green Was My Valley by Robert Llewellyn, and I'm also reading Disgrace by Jussi Adler-Olsen.

On the blog, I posted a review of Inflicted by Ria Frances.

I've just posted my February 2015 reading round-up.

Also I've posted my starting post for the Take Control of your TBR Pile challenge March 2015.


What are you reading? 

I hope you have a great week of wonderful reading, and thank you for visiting.


Take Control of your TBR pile!

It's time for the Take Control of your TBR Pile challenge, hosted by Kimberley at Caffeinated Book Reviewer - visit there to find out all about it and to sign up

I haven't set myself a certain number of books to read, nor have I specified which books I will read, because I am almost certain to change my mind anyway even if I did that. But I would like to get through a few, certainly into double figures would be great. And it will be interesting to discover, I hope, some treasures that have been hiding on the shelves unread for far too long.

I'll list here the books from my to be read pile that I manage to read in March...

TBR Pile - books read March 2015...

1 - Disgrace - Jussi Adler-Olsen
2 - 

Good luck to everyone doing the challenge, and thanks to all for visiting. 

My February 2015 Reading Round-up

What I read in February...

Inflicted – Ria Frances (reviewed here) (from the TBR pile)

Murder on the Links – Agatha Christie (new purchase - naughty!)

Hallowe’en Party – Agatha Christie, Chandre (graphic novel) (from the library)

Disclaimer – Renee Knight (review to come) (from the TBR pile)

Mind the Gap – Intimate Strangers (comic book) (from the library)

Gronk – Katie Cook – (a comic book) (reviewed here) (netgalley)

Whatever You Love – Louise Doughty (from the TBR pile)

The Leipzig Affair –Fiona Rintoul (review to come) (from the TBR pile)

Eustace – Steven Harris (a graphic novel) (from the library)

Saga, Volume 1 – (comic book) (from the library)

Four of these, all novels, were from my to be read pile and I was pleased to read those at last, then several were borrowed from the library and were graphic novels/comic books which I am recently enjoying reading more and more. I'll try and do a post collecting together some of the graphic novels I've read sometime soon. I'm still trying to catch up on writing reviews for some of these reads, and for some of my January reads.

Looking ahead to March I am going to be trying to tackle the TBR pile even more as part of the Take Control of Your TBR Challenge hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. 

Book of the month...

My favourite read overall was The Leipzig Affair by Fiona Rintoul, with Inflicted by Ria Frances close behind.

My favourite of the graphic novels/comic books was Mind the Gap, and I liked Saga, and Gronk, a lot too.


What was your favourite read in February 2015?

Thank you for visiting!

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Inflicted - Ria Frances


In 1942, as Europe suffocates under the grip of Nazi terror, Anna Levinsky a young Jew, is incarcerated in the ghetto of Theresienstadt. Striving for survival in abominable conditions, during the unveiling of adulthood, Anna's improbable fate hinges on the mercy of others. In the early, wintry days of 2010, sixteen-year-old Theo Drew emerges from a family tragedy trailing a corrosive secret. When guilt threatens to overwhelm him, Theo flees to a deserted woods beside the sea, seeking oblivion. As Anna and Theo’s worlds inadvertently collide and a delicate friendship severs the barriers between age and experience, the truth and the past unravel, revealing the essence of human salvation.



Inflicted is a memorable and impressive debut novel. I found the story incredibly moving at times, and the narrative is heartfelt and touching. It depicts friendship between an older lady, Anna Levinsky, and sixteen-year-old Theo Drew, a friendship across generations that is borne out of kindness, a need for understanding and compassion. Anna is kind towards Theo, offering him advice about bullies and about the tragic situation within his family. Theo, for his part, provides a listening ear for Anna to share her past, one she has scarcely ever spoken of to others, and listening to Anna's story, Theo is taken out of himself and temporarily able to distract himself from his own burdens.

`...listening to her story jolted him out of the cycle of self-pity that had controlled his feelings for so long.'

Through Anna's story, recounting her harrowing experiences during the Second World War, concentrating particularly on the years from 1942, when, as a young Jew, she was held in the concentration camp in the ghetto in Theresienstadt, we see evidence of the great spirit and strength she demonstrated when younger in order to survive, and through Theo's story we see the guilt he carries with him and the sadness that has torn through his family. As a girl and then a young woman, Anna endures terrible hardship, witnesses horrendous acts and is forced to grow up fast.

`I am now a different Anna to the one who left Prague and entered Theresienstadt; half adult, half child with the adult half forced to emerge and stand to attention.'

As Anna enters Theresienstadt in 1942, we see directly through her eyes the terrible reality of the place;

`...a grid of murky, run-down streets with blocks of non-descript buildings rising from its grimy depths. These edifices, naked in their neglect seemed to hang their shabby heads in shame, capitulating to their decay.'

Ria Frances does not pull any punches or hold back, the honesty in the storytelling was a real strength of the book for me, whether it is the actions and behaviour of Theo's mother, or the lengths that Theo himself goes to in order to harm himself and take his pain away, or the details of what Anna endured in the ghetto, these are people going through pain and anguish of loss, or self-loathing, or horrendous treatment, and their experiences are frankly depicted.

For me the author shows a real insight into what makes people tick, what hurts them and what makes them stronger, the connections people forge, and this comes through in the thoughts and words of her characters.

I don't want to give away anything about the storyline but I would say that although I felt Anna's story was the stronger of the two, and very vivid in terms of detail, evidently well researched, powerful and believable, I nevertheless also found Theo's gradual journey of self-discovery well portrayed.

This story is powerfully told, emotional and very moving, tragic yet brimming with kindness and certainly not without hope, and written with compassion and honesty. I'm very glad to have read it. 

Review copy via amazon vine

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - How Green Was My Valley

Every Tuesday Bibliophile by the Sea hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where we share the first paragraph or (a few) of a book we are reading or thinking about reading soon.

I'm reading How Green was my Valley by Richard Llewellyn.

These are the opening lines...

'I am going to pack my two shirts with my other socks and my best suit in the little blue cloth my mother used to tie round her hair when she did the house, and I am going from the Valley.'

What do you think, would you keep reading?


Growing up in a mining community in rural South Wales, Huw Morgan is taught many harsh lessons. Looking back, where difficult days are faced with courage and the valleys swell with the sound of Welsh voices, it becomes clear that there is nowhere so green as the landscape of his own memory.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Gronk: A Monster's Story Volume 1 - a comic by Katie Cook


Gronk is a monster... and not a very good one. 

Gronk tells the tale of a young monster who has turned her back on monsterdom (mostly because no one found her scary) and has become fascinated with humans. 

She moves in with her human friend Dale and her pets Kitty and Harli, a 160 lb. Newfoundland Dale wants to declare as a dependent to the IRS. 

Enjoy the first installment from this popular kids webcomic in a wonderful, full-color collection!


Lovely, sweet and amusing, Gronk is an inventive comic and the art and words depict a great sense of humour and fun. Gronk is a lovely monster who isn't interested in scaring anyone; instead she enjoys company, friendship and adventure, and she finds all this when she meets Dale and accepts her kind invitation to move in with her and her pets Kitty the cat and Harli the dog. 

One of my favourite pages was the one where Gronk gets in the cardboard box with Kitty the cat, and her imagination conjures up some great scenes that are sketched out. I love Harli the dog. It's sixty pages, I enjoyed reading the whole book in one sitting - it collates the episodes shared via the original webcomic. The original wonderful black and white illustrations have been coloured for this book by Kevin Minor. 

Gronk features likeable characters, and includes references to Harry Potter and other popular culture. I'm sure children will love it, and adults too - I did.

The website for the original webcomic is here: Gronk Comic

Digital review copy via netgalley.