Teaser Tuesdays (Sept 30)

teasertuesdays2014e

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Tease:

How typical of his father, to have wrapped a grenade in a coating of sympathy. Fifteen years, and it still rankled.

~p.p. 10 It Had to be You by David Nobbs

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Review – The Girl Under the Olive Tree by Leah Fleming

TGirl under the olive tree by leah  flemingitle: The Girl Under the Olive Tree

Author: Leah Fleming

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Published: Dec 2012

Genre: Women’s Fiction; Historical Fiction

Source: Library

My Rating: 3.5/5

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

Penny has many memories kept locked up in her mind and heart, but when she is invited to go to Crete with her family, she is forced to once again remember a life of war, lived long ago.

I have to admit I mainly chose this book due to the author’s name beginning with an ‘f’ which I needed for my A-Z author challenge I am doing this year with a penpal group on Goodreads. I was also drawn to it as I find books, both fictional and non-fiction about either of the world wars, very interesting.

The book is written in two points of view; that of Penny’s who was a Red Cross nurse during the war, and later, the view of a German soldier who was sent to Greece. There is also a flicking between two time periods – the time of the war, and the time when Penny is remembering.  To begin with this was very annoying as many of the ‘chapters’ of the present literally stated that Penny was remembering and therefore simply slowed the story down. However, in the second half of the book, the actions in the present are important to the discovery of the story, and give a greater understanding of the characters.

Personally I enjoyed having the two conflicting points of view, and seeing how the two main characters are linked with one another, even though they are on opposing sides. It is not a love story, though feels as though it could have been and the attraction between the two characters are played on a lot throughout the story.

Of course, when writing about any time in history, it can be difficult with hindsight, especially regarding the opinions of the main characters. There was a strong Jewish community in Crete which also played a main part in the story; however I feel the author has succeeded in not showing bias beyond the character’s own actions, which I was grateful for. Obviously the holocaust was horrific, but it can be easy to forget that the individuals all had their own reasons and motivations for their actions, regardless which side they fought on.

The Girl Under the Olive Tree is fictional, but it is clear the author has done her research and has created a cast of supporting characters that each have their own story; to the point of the reader wanting to know more about each of them.  I felt the book ended in a slightly strange way, almost as if there were to be a sequel. Part of me enjoys this open ending as it leaves it up to the reader to decide what they think happens next, though this kind of ending didn’t quite fit with the style of the rest of the story in my opinion.

Overall I enjoyed the story, though felt the second half of the book was written much better than the first half which is a shame as I feel a lot of people will likely give up before the story truly comes into its own because of the trudging speed of the narrative.  I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the Second World War, especially how it affected individuals in a German-occupied country, or those specifically interested in the history of Crete.

Teaser Tuesdays (23rd Sept)

teasertuesdays2014e

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser:

There was no point in pleasantries. None of them could afford the luxury of small talk when everything had come down to a matter of victory or defeat, life or death.

~ Renegade (Insurrection Trilogy #2) by Robyn Young

Wondrous Words Wednesday (10th Sept)

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Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Bermuda Onion where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love.  Feel free to get creative!   If you want to play along, grab the button, write a post and come back and add your link to Mr. Linky!

This week my words come from The Girl Under the Olive Tree by Leah Fleming:

scree – An accumulation of weathered rock fragments at the foot of a cliff orhillside, often forming a sloping heap.

abbatoir – A slaughterhouse. 

 

Monday Musings: 8th Sept

musingmondays51Musing Mondays is hosted by MizB of Should be Reading and asks you to muse about one of the following each week…
• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

My Musings:

The other day I was discussing with a friend the way in which we read books.  When I was younger my goal in life was to read every book ever written, since then I’ve realised that’s not a possibility unless I were to live forever (and even then, I doubt I would manage to read everything ever published). However, I think I still have some of that mentality left over as often I read books, not to enjoy them, but so I can get on to the next one. I mean, I do enjoy them, but my primary goal for many books is not to know what’s happening, but to have another book checked off the never-ending list of books.

Of course there are exceptions, but they do not start out as such. Rather, once I start reading them, I become so immersed in the words I no longer think about reading the next book, but am fully invested in the current one. To me, these are the best books as I am able to remember why it is I want to read in the first place (and not just to pile up numbers).

Do you find yourself ever thinking of getting to the next book while you’re partway through your current read? It would be good to know my friend and I aren’t the only ones to have this mentality when reading.

Review – Laura’s Handmade Life (A Novel) by Amanda Addison

lauras handmade life

Title: Laura’s Handmade Life (A Novel)

Author: Amanda Addison

Publisher: Little Brown Book Group

Published: 2011

Genre: Chick Lit

Source: Library

My Rating: 3/5

Goodreads

Amazon UK 

Amazon.com

 

When Laura Lovegrove has to move from London to rural Norfolk (due to her husband being transferred), she finds herself at a bit of a loss what to do without her busy social life.  On top of feeling like she doesn’t belong, her college boyfriend’s presence adds to her confusion.  Laura decides to join a sewing class to learn some skills and meet new people.  When others start complimenting her on her handmade items, Laura has to make the decision whether or not to try creating her own business, selling her items. 

I picked this book up as I have an interest in both Norfolk (where I was born), and sewing.

While this book was predictable in the way ‘chick lit’ usually is, I found that in other ways it deviated from the genre enough to keep me interested and wondering what would happen.  I didn’t particularly connect with any of the characters, as they just didn’t seem believable to me, and I think that hindered the book massively – obviously we’d rather read about someone we can relate to in some way or other.

As you would expect in a ‘chick lit’ book, there is the other man. In this case it’s Chris, Laura’s boyfriend at Art College, and as handsome and charming as he’s always been. So Laura is juggling her family, her sewing, and her desire for Chris. Needless to say, this becomes so overwhelming that she starts to question whether they should have moved at all.

The blurb on the back of the book implies that Laura learns to sew and immediately starts making things for others. However, if I hadn’t known that before starting to read the book, I wouldn’t  have realised there was anything about sewing until at least halfway through. It seemed to go from not mentioning it, to it being the only thing she focuses on. This made it difficult to know what exactly is happening when, and keeps the sewing very separate from the rest of her life, making the character seem so two dimensional that she is only capable of  thinking about one thing at a time, rather than being a cohesive being.

One thing I especially liked about the book was that each chapter opened with an explanation of a type of stitch – admittedly I didn’t always follow what it was trying to say, but it was a nice touch to add in a novel about sewing.

Overall, this book wasn’t as good as I was hoping for. While there were some interesting moments, and once or twice I became invested in finding out Laura’s next choice, it was lacking in believability. The characters, as well as the setting of a rural village, didn’t really relate to the real world. It was a pleasant enough read, but there are many better books out there.

Monday Musings (1st Sept)

musingmondays51Musing Mondays is hosted by MizB of Should be Reading and asks you to muse about one of the following each week…
• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

My Musings: 

Over the past few months I have started collecting quotes in a notebook. I know that somewhere I have a notebook with a few quotes in from when I was a teenager, but they also included my thoughts on them. Now I simply write the quote when I find one I am drawn to.

I am currently reading ‘Playing the Game’ by Robert Baden-Powell. For me Scouting is a huge part of my life so it made sense to pick this up.  While I’m not that excited about his extensive writing on his experience of the Boer war (and later the First World War), I have already found a few quotes I will definitely be remembering.  This is probably a main reason why I enjoy reading non-fiction, especially essays and autobiographies, as usually they are full of new information not only about the subject, but about living life. I can definitely see this book becoming one I flick through regularly in regards to both Scouting and general life.

Does anyone else collect quotes?