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Showing posts from April, 2017

The Shepherds Life by James Rebanks #inbetweeny

I took this one on holiday with me as it was Easter, we were staying near a farm that would be lambing and it just felt like the right book for the right setting.

I have no particular love of the Lake District where this book is set, it's a very beautiful place but my heart lies in the highlands where I was staying over Easter. Nevertheless I was really looking forward to reading this true account of life on a sheep farm in Cumbria.

Briefly, the book is set over the period of a year describing the ups and downs of lambing, shearing, selling and wintering sheep with anecdotes and memories thrown in for good measure. I found the book really informative for me a total lay person, Rebanks style was very accessible with the right amount of detail v story telling.

I felt the book at times could perhaps have done with further editing, I'm not totally sure but it seemed as if one or two little stories should have been moved around a page or two to help with the flow and one or two o…

Left to Die By Lisa Jackson #inbetweeny SPOILERS

I've had this on the bookshelf for absolutely ages and in a concerted effort to get rid (or keep if good) some of the oldies, Left to Die was next on my hit list.

It seemed at first glance to be a typical American cop solves murder case but as time (and pages) went on there were a few subtle changes such as female cops and (spoiler alert) two killers.

I enjoyed Jillian Rivers story and at some points I was genuinely unsure who the killer was. I liked Zane and the way him and Jillians story panned out (although Jillians dream was very random and felt very 50 Shades of Grey as opposed to crime thriller). I was however disappointed by Jillians 'killer' I thought it the weakest part of the book. It was clever and could have been a good twist to have two killers but the reasons behind Aaron's wife suddenly deciding to kill Jillian, who was none the wiser to Aaron's deception and to try to pass it off as a serial killer seemed far fetched.

I liked Regan and her single…

Message from an unknown chinese mother Xinran

This was next to read on my bookshelf having been passed to me a while ago from my auntie. It was a thin book which greatly appealed to me following on from SPQR.

As a mother to three girls I found the stories of Chinese women killing their new born baby girls because they were not male absolutely heart breaking. This was a non fiction book and it honestly had me in tears at the thought of all those tiny babies being dumped in slop buckets or smothered by their own mother's.

I did find the structure of the book and the narration slightly weak. The arc of the book just didn't seem to fit right and the random letters at the end made me think it would have benefited from further editing.

There were some horrifically sad sad stories in this book, certainly do not read if you are feeling slightly emotional. I can't say I enjoyed the book (I challenge anyone who does) but don't think it was in depth enough to really provide the platform against the importance of a male hei…

SPQR Mary Beard

A doorstop of an inbetweeny about the beginnings of Rome written by the very knowledgeable Mary Beard. I knew it wasn't going to be light reading but boy this was a slog.

I've read a fair few historical slogs in my time but at the end of most of them I felt a sense of achievement and that I had learnt something. At the end of this one I didn't feel either, just relieved it was all over. I didn't get the structure of the book and why Beard chose to highlight the points she did. The main stories I knew about Rome, Julius Ceasar, the Colosseum, Nero, seemed to be glossed over with Rome's conversion to Christianity confined to a few pages in one of the last chapters.

I appreciate that Beard came from a purely evidential point of view but the whole 'we can't prove this, we can only guess' became slightly annoying and Beard referred so much to Livy in the first part of the book that I felt like I was reading his book rather than hers. Beard clearly loved he…

Big Little Lies by Lianne Moriaty

So this was our second helping of Moriaty having read the most excellent The Husbands Secret last year. We were dead on for the Witherspoon/Kidman tv series as well which was receiving rave reviews so I was really looking forward to reading this months book of the month.

In some ways it was similar to The Husbands Secret - set in Australia, with all women lead characters whose stories interlace along that of their children. Yet it was very different to THS. There was a murder mystery element for a start that kept you guessing throughout the whole book.

Moriaty really has her finger on the pulse when it comes to school parenting politics. I loved reading about the blonde bobs, the class stuffed toy and the etiquette when handing out party invites. Her observations about Facebook, teenage angst and step families were spot on and I loved the 'forgot the family tree assignment moment' (although similar to The Easter bonnet moment in THS?).

I really like how Celestes story unfol…