The week ahead in books …

This week I’ve three books planned, obviously if I get to more I’ll let you know, but now, on Monday morning, this is my plan!

tapestry

What they say: In hope, in pain,
we lose, we gain,
but always and forever
the human heart braves life
in light and in shade

A collection of twelve short stories exploring the complexities of life and love.

I am only 5% into this and already I’m hooked. Actually I was hooked on the very first page. I originally chose this book because I had seen it on a number of blogs and was taken with not only the cover, but the name too. ‘Tapestry’ for a book of short stories. Brilliant!

therunawaybridesmaid

What they say: A deliciously enchanting read, The Runaway Bridesmaid is set to steal readers’ hearts and keep them guessing until the very last page!

What a girl wants…

Squeezing herself into a frothy, flouncy, bubble-gum pink dress, Rosie Hamilton thinks that being a bridesmaid for her spoilt little sister Freya can’t get any worse.

But discovering her boyfriend in a cupboard with the bride, ten minutes before Freya is due to say ‘I do’, is the icing on the sequinned wedding cake – and Rosie’s cue to pack her bags.

Swapping her Louboutins for Wellingtons, Rosie throws her bridesmaid bouquet in the air and flies from bustling New York to sleepy Devon. Her late Aunt Bernice’s cosy countryside cottage is the only place that’s ever felt like home.

Now, for the first time in her life, and with the help of her beloved Aunt’s diaries, Rosie must put herself first for a change – and decide what she really wants…

A delightful romance, perfect for fans of Sophie Hart and Lindsey Kelk!

I’m a sucker for a pretty chick lit cover and you don’t get much prettier than this in the world of chick lit! Throw in all the five star reviews and raves I’d seen and I went straight to Amazon. Looking forward to reading.

thelostandfoundlife

What they say: Rosy loved her London life – her job in a designer shop, her gorgeous West London family house and of course her gorgeous family (although young sons are enough to test anyone at times). All that disappears when, one unremarkable morning, after one unremarkable school run, her husband collapses on a crowded tube carriage and dies.
As she struggles her way through the grief, she discovers her husband’s secret life: secrets accounts, secret deals that their solicitor knew nothing of, secret debts and what looks like a secret “very close friend” at least.
Totally unprepared and suddenly in debt, Rosy is forced to leave London to start a new life with her incredibly reluctant boys in the countryside. Can angsty urban teenagers cope with farm life, let alone enjoy it? More to the point, can their mother? It’s certainly not going to be easy but when you are at rock bottom the only way is up.

When I saw this going around for review, I jumped at it! The cover, the blurb, the whole premise-heartbreak coupled with a story of starting afresh? Very much looking forward to it!

As well as this I’ll be delving into my writer’s arsenal to help myself with book 2 (see them here!) So tell me, what are your reading plans this week? Any books you can’t wait to get at? Any books that you’re picking up again, hoping they’ll pull you out of a slump? Looking forward to hearing all, happy reading everyone:)

Bernadette

The Theseus Paradox by David Videcette

THE THESEUS PARADOX KINDLE COVER

Amazon UK

Amazon US

 

What they say:

“I can’t tell you the truth, but I can tell you a story…”

How much is real and how much is fiction, only YOU can decide!

July 2005: in the midst of Operation Theseus, the largest police investigation that the UK has ever known, Detective Inspector Jake Flannagan begins to ask difficult questions that lead to the mysterious disappearance of his girlfriend and his sudden suspension from the Metropolitan Police.

    • Who masterminded London’s summer of terror?
    • Why can’t Flannagan make headway in the sprawling investigation?
    • Is Jake’s absent girlfriend really who she claims to be?

While hunting for the answers to the most complex case in British history, one man will uncover the greatest criminal deception of our time.

The Review. First off thanks so much to the author for the copy of this book in return for an honest review. When I first heard of this book I was very interested to find where the line would be drawn between fiction and fact, as the author is a former detective with the Anti-Terrorist Branch who worked on the 7/7 London bombings.  I have to say that there were times I read as fiction, which made it a more enjoyable read, and then, in the more nostalgic parts of the book, the parts that really reminded you that this was something that happened, a day I remember watching on Sky News, repulsed by it all. It is, to a certain extent, difficult to review something based on such an event, as I have to curb any wish I may have to be glib, but saying that, the author was good as to allow some lighter moments, nicely put in to ease some of the tension. Oh and there is tension, delicious, eyes stuck to the screen nervousness that causes your eyes to swallow every single word.

The story is one with twists and turns, clues and dead-ends, car chases and chases on foot, interrogations and deals and I was right there from the start as DI Jake Flannagan followed a hunch on a group of suspects and gave chase. I suppose here is where I should bring up the matter of DI Flannagan himself, an interesting character who is on a bit of a downhill spiral in terms of his personal life. I won’t lie, all of the reviews I read really liked him, while initially I found him a little too weak at times but then liked that there was development in terms of his character. There was also what I call ‘The Horatio aspect,’ as in he seemed to solve a lot himself, while he had a colleague, Lenny, with him at times, more often Jake was stumbling onto the answers (maybe this happens in real life, I’m not sure!). Saying that I loved some of the other characters, and they were all very real. I especially liked Helen, his boss who packed a punch and the fact that his girlfriend, Claire, was in the Security Service, who called all the shots and was so intrinsically important in divulging information (I know, totally sexist, but anyhoo …)

The book contains many revelations for people who have no criminal background; on methodologies used, chain of commands to be followed, technical tidbits, the use of microbiological and food agents to cause damage (of particular interest to me as I used to work in the biopharma area), interviewing, and autopsies, as well as how people can be inducted into extremist ways of living. It was easier to read knowing the author himself had experience of it all, too often you feel that an author may have fallen short in terms of research, and you’d have a lot of moments you weren’t sure were believable, but here you just went about your business, looking over Jake’s shoulder as you both rode the rollarcoaster.

I read this book over two evenings and one morning and if I had been left to it, could easily have read it in one day. I also stopped highlighting mid-book, always a sign for me that I’m engrossed. It’s a long book at well over 400 pages, but the chapters are so short that you have to have ‘just one more,’ which I am such a fan of! I’ve read people say they’d like a sequel/ series with DI Flannagan, which I’m torn about, while I’d be interested to see Jake continue to solve crimes and also see him and his girlfriend, Claire (I’d love to see them happy). I think it might be hard to follow up based on the fact that this is based on real events. By the way, there is a chapter at the end telling you what happened in real life, it’s heart rending to re-live it, and is also interesting to see how close or not the truth is to The Theseus Paradox. All in all, so highly recommended, and will definitely check out more from this author, plus at the moment it is only 99p and sales support The Police Dependants’ Trust charity 

Rating: 4.5/5

About David Videcette

Hi Res - David_Videcette_Head WITH smile
David Videcette, former detective with the Anti-Terrorist Branch who worked on the 7/7 London bombings. He has written a novel – a thriller, set in 2005 against the backdrop of the attacks. He is launching his self-published book in October so as not to be seen to be cashing in on the 10th Anniversary of the attack on London.

CRIME FIGHTER TURNED CRIME WRITER

As a Met detective, David worked on a wealth of infamous cases.  He has placed bugs on scores of vehicles, searched hundreds of properties, chased numerous dangerous criminals and interviewed thousands of witnesses.

David is a former Scotland Yard Investigator with twenty years’ policing experience, including counter-terror operations and organised crime.  David was a key investigator on the July 2005 London bombings and has been awarded several police commendations, including one for outstanding detective work and perseverance which led to his discovery of a bomb factory during Operation Theseus.

Connect with David:

 

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Top read of 2015: A Memory of Violets by Hazel Gaynor

 

A Memory Of Violets

What they say: The author of the USA Today and New York Times bestselling novel The Girl Who Came Home has once again created an unforgettable historical novel. Step into the world of Victorian London, where the wealth and poverty exist side by side. This is the story of two long-lost sisters, whose lives take different paths, and the young woman who will be transformed by their experiences.

In 1912, twenty-year-old Tilly Harper leaves the peace and beauty of her native Lake District for London, to become assistant housemother at Mr. Shaw’s Home for Watercress and Flower Girls. For years, the home has cared for London’s flower girls—orphaned and crippled children living on the grimy streets and selling posies of violets and watercress to survive.

Soon after she arrives, Tilly discovers a diary written by an orphan named Florrie—a young Irish flower girl who died of a broken heart after she and her sister, Rosie, were separated. Moved by Florrie’s pain and all she endured in her brief life, Tilly sets out to discover what happened to Rosie. But the search will not be easy. Full of twists and surprises, it leads the caring and determined young woman into unexpected places, including the depths of her own heart.

 

The review: It is very unusual to adore a book where the hype surrounding it is so momentous. From the second I began to read this book I was hooked. Unfortunately to now I hadn’t read much historical fiction but this is very likely to change that. The book opened with a prologue; ‘Florrie’ speaking to us of her sister as a baby, how she decided how and why she loved her so much and the bond that connected them. Life was hard for Florrie

“my leg won’t grow proper, see, cause of the polio I had as a baby. I’ve an old stick for a crutch”

and her sister, Rosie, who

“lives her life in the dark, so she does. Poor little Rosie with her useless eyes.”

Together they go about selling their flowers in Covent Garden, barely surviving and yet happy to exist solely because of their love for each other.

“And then we wait for the morning to come and the flowers to arrive. Just me an’ Little Sister. Waiting in the dark. ‘Don’t let go, Rosie,’ I whisper. ‘Don’t let go.’”

The descriptions of their living conditions reeled me in and contrasted spectacularly with those of the flowers they sold, spectacular beauties of varying hues that illuminated the dark, gloomy streets of London.

We were soon introduced to Mr Shaw’s Training Home for Watercress and Flower Girls as Matilda Harper(Tilly) began her train journey to become assistant housemother. Throughout the book we were given snapshots of what Tilly was running from, and I felt for her. The characters she met here were wonderful, so alive that, again, I was right there with them, watching the bustling housekeeper and the girls, of varying disabilities, who had such a talent and dedication towards their work with flowers. I loved especially how Tilly had remembered them all in terms of what they were lacking, but she soon came to see and understand their personalities, teaching her a thing or two!

The drama in this book was flawless. My heart broke as I read the diary entries detailing ‘Flora’s journey’ and was nervous about what had happened to her beloved sister. The secrets that surrounded Florrie and Rosie Flynn, as well as that which Tilly was running from, were revealed perfectly, with surprises and shocks that hit you hard.

I read the paperback of this book and to be honest I couldn’t imagine an e-book version; the paperback was exquisite. It was everything the content was, beautiful, breathtaking, charming. On the bookshelf that displays our scant collection of adults books (we bring adults books to the charity to allow our childrens’ books collection to flourish) it was the one that screamed to be read, matching only Kate Morton’s gorgeous ‘The Secret Keeper.’ That being said, I think this could be perfect in audioformat, it reads the way I remember books such as ‘Under The Hawthorn Tree’ and ‘The Wildflower Girl’. At the end of the book, there are notes from the memoirs of Albert Shaw, and these were such a bonus, I absolutely devoured them and Ms. Gaynor shot up even more in my estimation that she could take notes such as these and yet do them justice in such a magnificent way. I’ve seen this as quite a few people’s top read for 2015 and I’ll join them. Cannot wait to read more of Ms. Gaynor. Top read of 2015.

Rating: 5/5