Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell

rooftoppers-by-katherine-rundellIn the early 20th century the Victorian liner, Queen Mary, sinks leaving a 1 year old girl with “hair the colour of lightning” floating in a cello case in the middle of the Channel. Her rescuer, the eccentric scholar Charles Maxim, names her Sophie, takes her home to London and brings her up to be as eccentric as he is. “Never ignore a possible” is Sophie’s motto.  Not only does Sophie insist that her mother is still alive, she claims to know that she was a cello player in the ship’s orchestra. When Sophie is to be taken from Charles’s care and moved to an orphanage, the pair escape to Paris, to trace the cello maker whose address they have discovered inside Sophie’s cello case. So begins Sophie’s quest in search of her mother and the unexpected help she receives from the rooftoppers. Continue reading

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The malice of waves by Mark Douglas-Home

cynthia-maliceA story where a family, an isolated community and and an island do not give up their secrets easily. The mystery only reveals itself at the end of the book and was not easily guessed – in fact I was clueless all the time. This was a different mystery story to read in which Cal, the investigator, doesn’t exactly solve the mystery, more that it is revealed to him. This left me feeling a bit flat at the end of the book, as he did not use his skills and knowledge of the sea so much as his prodding and listening skills.

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Charlotte Bronte : a fiery heart by Claire Harman

amy-charlotte-bronteI weep for Charlotte, how relentlessly sad her life was! This is an engaging and thorough biography, opening up the lives of Charlotte, Emily and Anne; giving great insights into their novels. Harman has given a rounded picture of an extraordinary, intelligent, spirited and flawed woman whose faith sustained her through terrible trials, and who, together with her sisters, wrote some of the world’s most beloved, revolutionary novels.

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Shadow of death by Jennifer Lewis

nyree-shadow-of-deathI found this book a delightfully light and entertaining read. Whilst there is a sinister element to the plot by way of a murder, it was not cluttered with characters or suspects. The small Australian town and community feel was terrific and I found myself going back to my own childhood and identifying that this town could have been the one I grew up or in the surrounding area. The most interesting aspect of the book to me was the murder victim and his personality. You could identify this personality with almost any town you live in. I am sure we have all met one or two similar characters. Continue reading

Extending your use-by date by Darryl Dymock

wendyAre you facing the decision as to whether and when to retire from paid employment?  If so, this book is a must for all people contemplating retirement.

We read and hear so much about the financial aspects of retirement, but very little on the social and personal well being aspects.  This book, “Extending Your Use-By Date” by Dr Darryl Dymock, took me on the journey as to why retirement age is only a number! Continue reading

Between you & me by Mary Norris

between-you-and-meConfessions of a comma queen, sounds right up my alley, and I did enjoy a lot of this book. Mary Norris is a copy editor for the New Yorker, a pencil enthusiast and an amusing storyteller. The parts about her early life, and career at the New Yorker were fascinating, and there was some of the smug superiority I was expecting from a grammar queen, but I had to skim the actual grammar lessons, as terribly dull.

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Murder most unladylike by Robin Stevens

murder-most-unladylike-by-robin-stevensWinner of the Waterstone’s Best Fiction Award 2015, kids over 9 years old, who aren’t daunted by a book of 322 pages, will get a thrill from this book and might even look for the rest in the series. Set in the Deepdean Boarding School for Girls in England in the 1930s the girls get up to some pretty serious sleuthing, narrowly escaping becoming victims themselves. This is the first real investigation for the Wells and Wong Detective Society (excluding the missing tie case of course!). Daisy and Hazel find it is hard to investigate a murder when they can’t even prove that a murder has taken place because the body has disappeared. This is a new series and can be found in the kid’s section of the library.

Heart of the country by Tricia Stringer

cynthia-heart-of-the-countryThis was a great story to read, the early colonisation of Australia is a favourite historical setting for me. I enjoyed the descriptions of the Australian landscape. The hardships and success/failure of these early pioneers as they head inland to farm is portrayed well. I found myself quietly cheering for Thomas. I kept reading hoping that the law would catch up with Septimus. To me this was a great sign that the book was well written, with great characters that involved the reader. This is the first book in a series and I look forward to what happens with the next generation of the families introduced to us in Heart of the country.

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