April books

Love Letters by Katie Fforde is another fairly mediocre but readable book which I did enjoy.

Bookshop worker Laura is about to lose her job when she is asked to help organise a literary festival. Her first job is to try and persuade a reclusive Irish author to attend the festival. Rather predictably he is difficult and arrogant and they fall in love with each other and live happily ever after.

This was a perfect read in the lead-up to the wedding because I didn’t have to concentrate at all!

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Rumour Has It by Jill Mansell is another slightly vacuous read.

Newly single Tilly quits her life in London after her useless boyfriend moves out of their flat, and subsequently their relationship, without pre-warning her. As a result she moves to Roxborough (wherever that is supposed to be) to be a kind of nanny to a teenager, who happens to live with her gay father. There were some genuinely quite funny bits but it was all a little bit odd at times. I did quite enjoy it though, even though I probably shouldn’t admit it!

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Cross by James Patterson is a slightly messy novel by this normally good, if rathe formulaic, writer. This novel once again features police officer and psychologist Alex Cross.

There are a load of cross-overs between the murders in this book and the murder of Dr Cross’s wife, but it was all even more unbelievable than normal. An OK read but not a keeper.

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Double Cross by James Patterson is marginally better than the previous novel. Alex Cross is once again after a killer and this time he is called the Audience Killer, namely because he stages his murders in front of a crowd.

I really like the character of Alex Cross and those of his family, but these books really are very predictable. I do like the short chapters though which make them a quick read!

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The Brutal Art by Jesse Kellerman is a cracking read!

New York art-dealer Ethan Muller is happy living his rich, superficial life until one day his father’s aide contacts him and informs him of a load of artwork left in one of their apartments. What he finds is thousands of drawings which all fit together in some ginormous grid. At the centre of the grid are drawings of four boys who were sexually-abused and murdered over forty years ago. The artist is a guy called Victor Cracke who has disappeared and Ethan starts trying to track him down.

It’s a really unusual take on a murder mystery story and interspersed with the Ethan and Victor story are snippets of a historical story which leads up to Victor’s childhood.

As really good book and well worth a read.

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The Truth About Melody Browne by Lisa Jewell is a really engaging read. Single mum and dinner lady Melody Browne lives with her 18 year old son in a council flat in Covent Garden. Life ticks along as usual until she goes on a first date with a guy to see a stage hypnotist. She is picked for a demonstration and subsequently passes out. After coming around she starts to feel peculiar, and over the coming days she keeps getting flashbacks to what seems like a previous life. As time goes on she does a bit of investigating and finds out that she originally had a very different life to the one she believed she had. A story involving mental illness, death, hippies and squats, the truth of her history is sad and yet in a strange way it also liberates her.

I loved this book. It flits back and forth between the late 70’s/early 80’s when Melody was a little girl, and to her current day. Beautifully written with well-crafted characters this book is delightful to read, as well as keeping you guessing right up to the end.

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The Mister and I listened to Corduroy Mansions by Alexander McCall-Smith whilst driving to and from honeymoon. It is a little bit similar to 44 Scotland Street although it is set in London.

The story, or rather stories, follow all the residents of a block of flats. They range from the eccentric to the down right insane, but all of them have interesting and rather charming stories. This is perfect for listening to whilst driving as it has short chapters. Not so good if you fall asleep (as I did) because the stories get a bit muddled into one! (I wasn’t driving at the time I was sleeping by the way!!

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Up With the Larks by Tessa Hainsworth is a really lovely book. Tessa is a high-flying employee at the Body Shop and her husband is a jobbing actor. Overwhelmed by the pace of London life and their lack of quality of life they decide to move to Cornwall. Struggling for money she starts being a post-woman whilst her husband works in a cafe in between few acting jobs. This book charts their struggle to be accepted into the local community, only realising they have made it when her husband is taken ill and the people rally around them. Lovely book which I really enjoyed.

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The Chocolate Run by Dorothy Koomson was a bit of a disappointing book. Focussing around four main characters, Amber, Greg and their friends who are a couple Matt and Jen. Kind of as expected Amber and Greg have this friendship which develops into a more intense relationship but both of them are spectacularly screwed up and keep messing up their relationship. I have to admit that I really wanted to slap these characters as they were so bloody annoying! The one thing I did like about this book is that it is set in Leeds so I kind of knew all the places they were talking about. That was nice, but the story itself was annoying!

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Leo’s Girl by Victor Pemberton is a rather mediocre book set in the Blitz in the Second World War. Peggy Thornton was born into a well-to-do family and when she decides to go and work as a clippie (bus conductor) her father definitely does not approve! Life gets even more difficult for her when she takes up with a bus engineer. The most annoying thing about this book wasn’t the story, it was the way the cockney accents were written out in the text. After a while it really got on my nerves! Anyway, it was an OK book and passed the time of day I suppose!

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