Thursday, September 15, 2022

The End of the Ocean by Maja Lunde


Paperback:  391 pages

Genre: Fiction, Dystopia, Sci-Fiction, Contemporary Fiction

Publisher:  Scribner 2021

Source:  Tywyn Public Library

First Sentences: Nothing stopped the water. You could follow it from the mountain to the fjord, from the snow that fell from the clouds and settled on the peaks, to the mist that rose above the ocean and became clouds.

Setting: Sogn og Fjordane (Norway, 2017), Ringfjorden (Norway, 2017), Timbaut (France, 2041)

Review Quote: 'The story of a present-day Norwegian eco-campaigner alternates with that of a French family in the overheated future. They are in a camp for refugees from eco-disaster – but it’s not all doom and gloom. They find friendship, love and an unexpected gift from the past' Wendy Holden, Daily Mail

My Opinion:  

I read this because it was recommended by a friend. The storyline of a Worldwide Water Shortage seems so relevant in this time of Global Warming.

A dual time line with the first part set in 2017 with Signe, a seventy year old lone sailor as the protagonist who is haunted by heart break. The story jumps between 2017 and Signe's important mission and 2041. In the future David and his young daughter are fleeing a war torn drought ridden Southern Europe, in search of a better life.

A heartrending story about human strength in times of havoc. Recommended to anyone interested in Climate Change and the way we as humans abuse water. In fact we should all read this as it makes you think seriously about the consequences of drought. It could happen! 

Précis Courtesy of Goodreads: 

From the author of international bestseller and Indie Next Pick The History of Bees, a captivating new standalone novel about the threat of a worldwide water shortage as seen through the eyes of a father and daughter.

In 2019, seventy-year-old Signe sets out on a hazardous voyage to cross an entire ocean in only a sailboat. She is haunted by the loss of the love of her life, and is driven by a singular and all-consuming mission to make it back to him.

In 2041, David flees with his young daughter, Lou, from a war-torn Southern Europe plagued by drought. They have been separated from their rest of their family and are on a desperate search to reunite with them once again, when they find Signe's abandoned sailboat in a parched French garden, miles away from the nearest shore.

As David and Lou discover personal effects from Signe's travels, their journey of survival and hope weaves together with Signe's, forming a heartbreaking, inspiring story about the power of nature and the human spirit in this second novel from the author of the "spectacular and deeply moving" (New York Times bestselling author Lisa See) The History of Bees.

Author Profile:         

                                                             Courtesy of Amazon Website

Maja Lunde was born in Oslo, Norway on July 30th 1975.  She is an author and screenwriter and has written ten books for children and young adults. She has also written scripts for Norwegian television, including for the children’s series Barnas supershow (“The Children’s Super Show”), the drama series Hjem (“Home”) and the comedy series Side om Side (“Side by Side”). The History of Bees is her first novel for adults. She lives with her husband and three children in Oslo.

Photographs and Biographical Information courtesy of the following sites:

Amazon Author Page   Goodreads Author Profile  Maja Lunde - Official Website

To Italy with Love by Nicky Pellegrino


Paperback:  317 pages

Genre: Contemporary Romantic Fiction

Publisher:   Orion 2022

Source:  Tywyn Public Library

First Sentence: A girl in a white dress was standing beside the fountain in the main piazza of Montenello.

Review Quote: Nicky Pellegrino is the absolute queen of books that can make you comfortable and happy....a writer who can create books like this is a necessity in life....pure joy to read ― Claire Mabey, Radio New Zealand.

My Opinion:  As an Italophile, plus having lived in Italy I am always looking for a novel that will transport me back there. Nicky Pellegrino's writing does that and always provides me with the perfect escapism read. 'To Italy, with Love' is the sixth of her books that I have read. With the return of previous places and people she has introduced the reader to before in 'A Dream of Italy' (though please note you do not need to have read it first), this one felt very familiar.

The two main characters are Sarah Jane, a young English girl, on a road trip around Italy hoping to heal a broken heart. Circumstances lead her to find herself stranded in the village of Montenello where she makes friends with Assunta an older local lady that shares her love of food.

An uplifting tale of life in Italy, recommended to anyone that's wants to be transported to another way of life for a few hours. A really delightful read. 

My Reviews of Previous Novels:  Recipe for Life   The Italian Wedding   When in Rome

A Year At Hotel Gondola   A Dream of Italy

Author Profile:         

Nicky Pellegrino was born in Liverpool but spent childhood summers staying with her family in southern Italy. A shy, tall, gingery child she never really fitted in with her exuberant Italian cousins and had a tendency to stay quiet and observe things. When Nicky started writing fiction it was her memories of those summers in Italy that came flooding back and flavoured her stories: the passions, the feuds but most of all the food.

Nicky now lives in Auckland, New Zealand with her husband Carne plus a menagerie of dogs and horses. She works as a freelance journalist and her novels are distributed in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, and have been translated into numerous languages.

She loves cooking for friends, drinking red wine, walking on New Zealand’s amazing beaches, riding her horse through the forest and lying in bed reading other people’s novels.

                                                             Courtesy of Author Website

Photographs and Biographical Information courtesy of the following sites:

Nicky Pellegrino - Author Official Website      Twitter - Nicky Pellegrino   Facebook Author Profile

Instagram Profile   Goodreads Author Profile

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Just Got Real by Jane Fallon

Hardback:  392 pages

Genre:  Humorous Contemporary Fiction

Publisher:  2022

Source:  Tywyn Public Library

First Sentence: She has no idea what she's doing here.

Review Quote: 'Her snappy, clever fiction . . . seems to slip down like a glass of nicely chilled white wine. Just Got Real makes no exception' SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

My Opinion:  It is ten years since I read a book by this author! No idea why her writing has somehow passed me by, as I thoroughly enjoyed this, recommended by a friend when I was at the library.

A modern theme with the three female protagonists using an online dating app, where they find themselves dating a man called Ant, all at the same time. Complicated but it gets worse as they plot a brilliant revenge. To say more would spoil this delightful read.

Highly recommended if you need your spirits lifting as you will find this hopefully has you giggling out loud.


Previous Review:    Getting Rid of Matthew

Précis Courtesy of Goodreads: 

Joni never thought she would try online dating but somehow - with the encouragement of her grown up daughter, Danielle - she's signed onto an app. After a few weeks of chatting to Ant, they really hit it off and agree to meet up. However Joni has been so nervous about the whole prospect of dating again that she's been using fake photos on the site.

She turns up to their date and sees Ant, but can't bring herself to come clean.

The problem now is that she can't stop thinking about him. They'd been getting on so well. And so she works out a way to 'meet' him without revealing herself as the person he's been talking to online.

But a few months in, she discovers not only is he still on the dating site but he's really active on it, too. She's hurt, and looks at his phone while he's in the shower one morning only to find intimate texts between him and two other women, Saff and Mary. At the same time, she is beginning to realise that the only thing Ant seems to have been honest about is his profile picture.

After a couple of drinks one night, Joni decides to call the two women. Their experiences sound identical to hers. And they're angry.

But how can they get their revenge? What can hurt a person who doesn't appear to be emotionally involved with any of them? What is it he's really looking for, and how can they catch him out?

Author Profile:         

Courtesy of Author Website

Biography in her own words from her website. Jane Fallon - Author 

I was born in Harrow in North London and later moved out to Buckinghamshire where I attended St Bernard's Convent School in Slough before moving back up to London to read history at University College.

My first real job was working as a 'Girl Friday' in a small Theatrical and Literary Agency - (the same job that Rebecca has in 'Foursome'). As soon as I walked through the door I fell in love with the idea of working in drama in some capacity.

After three years I left to pursue a career in TV, starting as a freelance script reader and then working as a script editor on various shows including EastEnders where I was made a producer in 1994. The following year I started work producing a new low budget show for BBC2 - 'This Life'.

Photographs and Biographical Information courtesy of the following sites:

Amazon Author Profile   Jane Fallon - Wikipedia

Jane Fallon - Author  Twitter Profile  Facebook Profile

Instagram Profile

Monday, September 5, 2022

The Couple at the Table by Sophie Hannah


Hardback:  358 pages

Genre:  Contemporary Murder Mystery

Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton 2022

Source:  Tywyn Public Library

First Sentence: Dear Whoever Killed Jane Brinkwood, Dear Jane's Murderer, Which do you prefer?

Review Quote: 'A wise and witty portrait of modern marriage and murder' THE TIMES

My Opinion: 

Although I prefer Sophie Hannah's psychological thrillers, I have read some, but by no means all of her Spilling CID series which this latest 'The Couple at the Table' is number 11. Detectives Simon Waterhouse and Charlie Zailer are on the case again and it was interesting to catch up with them and see how their relationship has developed. As with the previous novels in the series, this can be read as a stand alone story.

A murder that seems impossible to solve and is certainly taking a long time to do so, because everyone seems to have something to hide. As the mystery unravels it seems to become even more confusing with every page, I really needed to concentrate as the author keeps us guessing.

I did enjoy this and it certainly held my attention, as I think it will all fans of the genre as it is such a complex mystery with an ingenious theme.   

Previous Reviews:   Haven't They Grown  Little Face  Hurting Distance  Point of Rescue  

The Other Half Lives

Précis Courtesy of Goodreads: 

You're on your honeymoon at an exclusive couples-only resort.

You receive a note, warning you to 'Beware of the couple at the table nearest to yours'. At dinner that night, five other couples are sitting close by, but none of their tables is any nearer or further away than any of the others. It's almost as if someone has set the scene in order to make the warning note meaningless. Why would anyone do that?

You have no idea.

You also don't know that you're about to be murdered, or that once you're dead, all the evidence will suggest that no one there that night could possibly have committed the crime.

So who might be trying to warn you? And who might be about to kill you, and seems certain to get away with it?

Author Profile:         

Sophie Hannah is a Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling writer of crime fiction, published in forty-nine languages and fifty-one territories. Her books have sold millions of copies worldwide. In 2014, with the blessing of Agatha Christie’s family and estate, Sophie published a new Poirot novel, The Monogram Murders, which was a bestseller in more than fifteen countries. She has since published two more Poirot novels, Closed Casket and The Mystery of Three Quarters, both of which were instant Sunday Times Top Ten bestsellers.

In 2013, Sophie’s novel The Carrier won the Crime Thriller of the Year Award at the Specsavers National Book Awards.  She has also published two short story collections and five collections of poetry – the fifth of which, Pessimism for Beginners, was shortlisted for the T S Eliot Award. Her poetry is studied at GCSE, A Level and degree level across the UK. Most recently, she has published a self-help book called How to Hold a Grudge: From Resentment to Contentment – The Power of Grudges to Transform Your Life.

Sophie has recently helped to create a Master’s Degree in Crime and Thriller Writing at the University of Cambridge, for which she is the main teacher and Course Director. She is also the founder of the DREAM AUTHOR coaching programme for writers. She lives with her husband, children and dog in Cambridge, where she is an Honorary Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College.

Photographs and Biographical Information courtesy of the following sites:

Sophie Hannah - Official Website  Twitter - Sophie Hannah  Facebook Profile

Goodreads - Author Profile   Amazon Author Page