Saturday, 30 January 2016

The Year in Books Project - January 2016

Like a lot of multiple bloggers with less and less free time I have decided to close my Tea & Biscuits and a Good Book blog and concentrate on Lazy Days & Sundays and therefore I will be transferring my book posts over here. For the past two years I have taken part in Laura at Circle of Pine Trees The Year In Books Project and I'm pleased to say she is continuing again this year and I'm happy to be taking part again in 2016. 

My January reads have all been very different. Kate Morton's The Lake House arrived at the end of October but it was such a big book to carry in my bag to work everyday  I decided to hang onto until I was off over the Christmas holidays. The Lake House - June 1933, and the Edvane family's country house, Loeanneth, is polished and gleaming, ready for the much-anticipated Midsummer Eve party. Alice Edvane, sixteen years old and a budding writer,is especially excited. Not only has she worked out the perfect twist for her novel, she's also fallen hopelessly in love with someone she shouldn't. But by the time midnight strikes and fireworks light up the night skies, the Edvane family will have suffered a loss so great that they leave Loanneath forever.  As with all Kate Morton novels she moves  between the present and the past weaving a story as she goes.  It was a great read but for me it wasn't one of Ms Morton's best and the ending was a little bit of a let down and somewhat predictable and left me a little disappointed.  

Dinah Jefferies The Separation was a book swap with my book swapping buddy at work. Lydia arrives home to an empty house there's no sign of her husband Alec or her daughters panic stricken she embarks on a journey to find them through the hot and civil war ton Malayan jungle one that only a mother's love can help her survive.  I wasn't sure at first if this was going to be a book for me but as it turned out I was very wrong.  Set in the 1930's Malaysia a young mother comes home to find her husband and daughters gone and is later told they have all perished in a fire but there were never any bodies or any proof that they had been in the property when the fire started. She then embarks on a journey to get to the truth.  I found myself unable to put this one down and would recommend it. So much so I have now bought her next novel The Tea Planters Wife. 

Kate Riordan's The Girl in the Photograph - When Alice Everleigh arrives at Fiercombe Manor during the long, languid summer of 1933, she finds a house steeped in mystery and brimming with secrets. Sadness permeates its empty rooms and the isolated valley seems crowded with ghosts - none more alluring than Elizabeth Stanton, whose only trace remains in a few tantalizingly blurred photographs. Why will no one speak of her? What happened a generation ago to make her vanish.  A young girl has her head turned by a married man and finds herself in trouble.  To save her family from shame her mother concocts a story of how Alice  has been widowed and left pregnant.  She convinces a friend in the country to take Alice in telling her that a change of scenery will help her through her grief. Once she arrives at the Manor she finds a photograph of a young women and she decides she has to find out the story behind the photograph.  Great read and I have since downloaded her novel Birdcage Walk. 

Lisa Genova always touches on sensitive subjects Love Anthony was about a little boy with autism and  I recently read Lisa Genova's Still Alice which is now a major film starring Julianne Moore abut a college professor (Ms Moore) who is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimers. Left Neglected - One typical morning, Sarah Nickerson, a women in her mid thirties, is late for work, racing in her car after dropping her kids at school and daycare. She tries to phone into a meeting she should already be at when she takes her eye off the road for a second too long. In a blink of an eye, all the rapidly moving parts of her over scheduled life comes screeching to a halt. Sarah Nickerson high flying young mother  has a car accident and is left with a significant brain injury which means she cannot recognize her left side hence left neglected. This is her story of regaining control of her life even though she may never regain the ability to use her left side fully.  As with all Genova novels you will be in need of the tissues.  

Last year I read Graeme Simisons The Rosie Project, where you meet Prof Don Tilman, it is never confirmed that he is Asperger's but you get the impression that he probably is.  In the Rosie Project he sets out to find himself a wife hence the Rosie Project.  He succeeds when he meets and marries Rosie. In this the sequel - The Rosie EffectForty-one year old geneticist Don Tilman had never had a second date before he met Rosie. Now, living in New York City, they have survived ten months and ten days of marriage, even if Don has had to sacrifice standardized meals and embrace unscheduled sex. But then Rosie drops the mother of all bombshells. And Don must prepare for the biggest challenge of his previously ordered life at the same time as dodging deportation, prosecution and professional disgrace.   Rosie discovers she is pregnant and this is their journey to prepare Don for being a father. If you read The Rosie Project then you will know that anything Don Tilman does, does not necessary go according to plan. It had me laughing from the very beginning and if you have read either of these two I would certainly recommend you do.  

In previous years I have set myself challenges of one sort or another.  This year I decided I would have a year off challenges but I did decide that I would read something that I would not normally have gone for.  I do like anything to do with Myth and Magic and at one point did consider reading The Game of Thrones but I have never seen the series and my son's girlfriend is reading the first of these novels and isn't sure it's for her or me.  In the end I decided that as we recently lost Terry Pratchett, who I admired for continuing to write even after is diagnosis of Alzheimers, that I would start and read his Discworld series in order of course therefore starting with The Colour Magic -. In the beginning there was a turtle. Somewhere on the frontier between thought and reality exists the Discworld, a parallel time and place which might sound and smell very much like our own, but which looks completely different particularly as it is carried through time and space on the back of a giant turtle (sex unknown). It plays by different rules.  In The Colour Magic where you are introduced to Rincewind the Wizard and Twoflower known as the tourist. I loved it and I have already downloaded number 2 The Light Fantastic ready as part of my February reads.

My last read for January is Six Little Miracles which is written by Janet Walton. On 18th November 1983, Janet Walton gave birth to the world's first all-female sextuplets: Hannah, L:ucy, Ruth, Sarah, Kate and Jenny. Janet Walton had been told she couldn't have children, so she and her husband Graham were overjoyed to find she was pregnant. Then they told her it was not just one baby, but six. She made up her mind there and then she would do what ever she had to, to ensure all six of her babies would survive. Her story takes us through her own childhood and the things that influenced her growing up, to meeting her husband Graham, discovering she was pregnant with six babies and what it was like raising six little girls who are now in their 30's and starting families of their own.  I have loved reading this book and it has definitely turned out to be my favourite read of January and already has a waiting list of colleagues who want to read it after me. 

As for my February reads - I am starting with Diane Chamberlain's The Silent Sister - Riley has spent her whole life believing that her older sister Lisa died tragically as a teenager. But now she's starting to uncover the truth. Her life has been built on a foundation of lies, told by everyone she loved.

Have you read any of these or have you read something I need to read?



  1. You've mentioned some books I'll have to go looking for. I'm so glad you felt that way about the Lake House, I was disappointed with the ending too, you could see it coming a mile away. Definitely not up to her standard.
    I liked Still Alice, a very moving book.
    The Rosie Project was very funny, haven't read the sequel yet.

  2. Great reviews as always Mitzi. I too love the Don Tilman books, he is an unlikely hero, and an irresistible one. Still Alice is my bookgroup's all time favourite read, and I though Julianne Moore played the part so well. X

  3. I have been lent The Rosie Project, not sure when I'll get round to reading it as I have so many of my own I would like to read, but thank you for the info.
    We read The Lake House in book club last year and I pretty much agree with your review of it here. I do like the sound f the Girl in the Photograph, that sounds interesting.
    Lisa x