Emotional Geology by Linda Gillard

emotional-geology

Synopsis:

Rose Leonard is on the run from her life. Taking refuge in a remote island community, she cocoons herself in work, silence and solitude in a house by the sea. But she is haunted by her past, by memories and desires she’d hoped were long dead. Rose must decide whether she has in fact chosen a new life or just a different kind of death. Life and love are offered by new friends, her lonely daughter, and most of all Calum, a fragile younger man who has his own demons to exorcise. But does Rose, with her tenuous hold on life and sanity, have the courage to say yes to life and put her past behind her?

A unique book in many ways. Gillard deals with death, bi-polar mental illness and love in middle-age people. Well, I loved it. I could not put it down. Gillard is fast becoming one of my favourite authors. I really enjoy her writing style; she is so imaginative and the way she describes landscapes and feelings is magical. I could picture what was being described, and she wrote so well I now long to go there and discover the island for myself. I also appreciated the map in the front of the book and the little bit of information about the island. They helped with the reading immensely.

Once again, the characters were just fantastic. Rose, who suffers with manic depression is dealt with sensitively and informatively. Calum, well he was a character I fell for. Even with his own troubles he was there for Rose. What a man. And my favourite, his sister Shona. She seemed delightful.

I have finished this book feeling satisfied. This is more than chick-lit, where the protagonist falls in love, this is a story of depth, of healing, death and illness, and it was beautiful. A part of me wishes it hadn’t finished and I know I will invest in my own copy of this book, and indeed Gillard’s other novels, as all have had an effect on me, and all I will want to read, and read again.

I can only praise this book and encourage others to read it too.

10/10

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Lady Susan by Jane Austen

lady-susanSynopsis:

One of Jane Austen’s shortest works, “Lady Susan” is an epistolary novel, a novel told entirely in the letters of its title character, her friends and family. “Lady Susan” is the story of a recently widowed woman who is actively searching for a new marriage while trying to play matchmaker for her daughter as well.

This is not a well known Austen book, and is rather short. Austen adopts a different writing style, and narrates the whole book in a series of letters. This did not ruin the story however, as each letter was extremely descriptive, so one also knew what was going on. In fact, this way of narrating gave each character a little more depth as it allowed the reader to see what the character was really thinking.

The story follows Lady Susan, who had not been widowed long, search for a new husband. She is manipulative and cunning. She goes and stays with her brother-in-law and attempts to make a union with her sister-in-law’s brother. We follow her through her bid to do this, and see the reaction of her sister-in-law and the other side of the family. Susan also attempts to sort out a suitable marriage for her daughter, who seems timid and shy. She is not a nice character, however I was intrigued by her and wanted to know the outcome of her fate.

This is not my favourite Austen, even though it did contain the usual Austen traits, of love, class, manipulation and family. I did find I had to force myself to finish the book, and the ending was fairly predictible.

The book did make me ask a few questions though – such as who was Austen? Does she relate to any of the characters in her books? Was she manipulating, or just surrounded by it?

Overall, I found this book to be just OK. I can see why it isn’t one of the more popular Austen novels.

6/10

Alphabet Weekends by Elizabeth Noble

alphabet-weekends1

Synopsis:

The fabulous new novel from the No 1. bestselling author of “The Reading Group” and “The Tenko Club”. Love lessons from A – Z. A is for Affection – between childhood best friends; between their parents; between brothers and sisters. B is for Brokenhearted – Natalie when the boyfriend who was meant to propose dumps her just before Christmas. Her mother when she realises what her life has come to. Lucy, as she thinks of ending one relationship, and maybe beginning another. C is for Chemistry – Could Natalie and Tom have it (and what does it actually mean, anyway)? Number One bestselling author Elizabeth Noble’s new novel is a tender, funny novel about love in all its guises.

This is a typical chick-lit book, predictable and fun! I loved the idea of a list of dates starting with the letters of the alphabet. That is just a genius idea! And some of the ideas were great 🙂 I might have to try the Alphabet Game myself.

The characters were the normal chick-lit characters – the family, friends and lovers. However, I liked them all. They made for enjoyable reading. I liked Tom most. He was a solid, faithful friend, who would drop anything for Natalie. Strong and reliable – the type of guy you can’t help but like.

The story does explore family, illness, depression (very well actually) and affairs. All were done well, all looked at the consequences of our actions. She writes sensitively and well.

I do have a couple of complaints. Firstly, the swearing. There was quite a bit, which I didn’t like. Sex was very descriptive, which made me a bit uncomfortable. The other problem was there were a lot of characters, and sometimes I felt lost and confused, trying to work out who was who, and who was related to who. Other than that, I enjoyed this book.

7/10

Sourcery by Terry Pratchett

sourcery

Synopsis:

There was an eighth son of an eighth son. He was, quite naturally, a wizard. And there it should have ended. However (for reasons we’d better not go into), he had seven sons. And then he had an eighth son…a wizard squared…a source of magic…a Sourcerer. Sourcery sees the return of Rincewind and the luggage as the Discworld faces its greatest – and funniest – challenge yet.

Another great book in the Discworld series. Again, not let down. Although I didn’t think this book was as good as Mort, Sourcery is still a good book. It is full of adventure and magic, and humour as we follow Coin, the new sourcer try to take over the world, battled by none other than Rincewind! There are eccentric characters throughout the book, and old favourites, such as Death and The Luggage. I laughed a lot through this book. Pratchett again caught my imagination and I was transported off to the Discworld, and he held me gripped as the Discworld nearly experienced The Apocalypse…

As mentioned, the characters were fantastic. I love Rincewind, and how he survives purely on being scared and running away. Death was full of his usual humour, although this time he was added by War, Famine and Pestilence. I love how Pratchett personifies things such as death and war – unique, and pure brilliance. The Luggage had it’s own storyline too, which I loved. Such a funny object – I want one! And of the new characters, I loved Nigel. Training to be a barbarian through a book was just genius!

As usual, I was left feeling satisfied and I am now longing for my next installment of the Discworld magic. I am hooked to these books.

8/10

Heaven is Real by Don Piper

heaven-is-real

Synopsis
The author draws on his own near-death experience to describe the reality of heaven and to explain how it is possible, by relying on God’s love, to transform life challenges into blessings.

This is the follow up to the book: 90 Minutes in Heaven. Don Piper was killed in a car accident; an 18-wheel truck crushed the car he was in. He was pronounced dead at the scene – and the meds said he was dead for 90 minutes. He tells of how he went to heaven – well the gates, where he met his dead loved ones. He is adamant it was not a near-death experience – there was no white light; he says he instantly went to the gates of heaven.

This book talks of how to appreciate life on earth, but looking forward to heaven. There is the Gospel message in the book, and he teaches how to live in God’s grace, through suffering. The stories he use are extreme – of people who have attempted suicide, or people who have lost loved ones through illness, accidents or drugs. They are powerful stories, and it is moving to see how they have overcome their situation, worked through the pain and adjusted to the “new normal”.

Although the book is full of these stories, I did find myself getting annoyed with Piper. Firstly, he did not seem to grasp the idea of depression that occurs when nothing has happened – the chemical imbalance that causes the depression. He seemed to imply that it was our own fault, how we aren’t walking with God correctly, and that bugged me. Secondly, a lot of the book was about how his previous book and experience has helped other. He makes sure he states he is not boasting, but it does come across like that. And thirdly, he claims to be like Saint Paul. Now this really bugs me, because if he was, he would not state it.

Overall, this is a book with helpful stories for people who have suffered and are Christians who know they are going to heaven, however I missed a lot of the teaching because the way he wrote annoyed me.

5/10

Mort by Terry Pratchett

mort

Synopsis from back cover:

‘Although the scythe isn’t pre-eminent among the weapons of war, anyone who has been on the wrong end of , say, a peasants’ revolt will know that in skilled hands it is fearsome’ For Mort however, it is about to become one of the tools of his trade. From henceforth, Death is no longer going to be the end, merely the means to an end. He has received an offer he can’t refuse. As Death’s apprentice he’ll have free board, use of the company horse and being dead isn’t compulsory. It’s the dream job until he discovers that it can be a killer on his love life…

Well I think this is my favourite Discworld novel so far! It definitely contains the funniest/most memorable line for me:

Death: “I could murder a curry” – hilarious!

Well this story follows Mort as he becomes Death’s apprentice. Death is still my favourite character, I loved him! He had some great lines, and I laughed so hard at his storyline, and how his character developed.

What I truely loved, was the return of Rinsewind! He too had my laughing! Pratchett definitely did not let me down with this book. Again, his writing kept me gripped, and kept me there in the Discworld.

Of course, this is a love story though, which meant a bit of soppiness – and this I felt ruined the ending a little, but not even for it to completely let me down or ruin the story. Actually in some cases this storyline was quite amusing.

But as I said, this is my favourite so far!

9/10

Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

This is also called:
“The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic”

confessions-of-a-shopaholic

Synopsis from Amazon:

Meet Rebecca Bloomwood. She’s a journalist. She spends her working life telling others how to manage their money. She spends her leisure time …shopping. Retail therapy is the answer to all her problems. She knows she should stop, but she can’t. She tries Cutting Back, she tries Making More Money. But neither seems to work. The stories she concocts become more and more fantastic as she tries to untangle her increasingly dire financial difficulties. Her only comfort is to buy herself something – just a little something…Can Becky ever escape from this dream world, find true love, and regain the use of her Switch card? “The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic”…the perfect pick me up for when it’s all hanging in the (bank) balance.

Well I loved this book! I was gripped from the word go. This is pure chick-lit – with a cheesy storyline, which was quite unbelievable and predictable, but did that effect the book? Nope. I was excited about reading it – I didn’t want to stop, I didn’t want the book to finish. We follow Becky through many spending sprees, many disasters and thoughtlessness and pain, and well, I loved it.

Yes, Becky was shallow, and manipulative, but I felt sorry for her and really wanted to know what was going to happen to her. I guess I secretly liked her character.The characters are all well written, and although I didn’t like some of them (the mean ones!) I liked how they were written; I could believe in them.

I laughed a lot through this book and was just thoroughly entertained. I think some people will dismiss this book as utter rubbish as it is a bit unbelievable and predictible, but I can’t help but give it the top rating because I felt so excited by the book, I didn’t want to stop reading, I was hooked, and actually I wasn’t disappointed at all.

10/10