Saturday, 27 November 2010

Chris Kuzneski: Sign of the Cross

No secret will keep for ever ... A Vatican priest is found murdered on the shores of Denmark nailed to a cross. He is the first victim in a vicious killing spree that spans the world. Each horrific murder exactly mirrors the crucifixion of Christ. Meanwhile, deep in the Roman Catacombs of Orvieto, an archaeologist uncovers an ancient scroll dating back two thousand years. The scroll, he knows, holds the key to a dark and treacherous secret that will rock the very foundations of the Church. But only if he can decipher its lost meanings, and only if he can live long enough to reveal them ...

Another pacy read by Chris Kuzneski. This was less violent than the Plantation, but more confusing than the Secret Crown. This seems to tie in well with Dan Brown's style of writing. The humour, however, is particularly enjoyable...

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Ann Pearlman: The Christmas Cookie Club

Every year on the first Monday of December, Marnie and her twelve closest girlfriends gather with batches of beautifully wrapped homemade cookies. Everyone has to bring a dish and a bottle of wine and, as they eat, they take turns telling the story of the cookies they have baked. Stories that, somehow, are always emblematic of the year that has just passed: Marnie's oldest daughter has a risky pregnancy, Jeannie's father is having an affair with her best friend, Sissy's rapping jailbird son will be a father soon and Charlene is trying to overcome the death of her beloved son Luke. The Cookie Club is about the passion and hopefulness of a new romance, the betrayal and disillusionment some relationships bring, the joys and fears of motherhood, and above all, it's a celebration of the friendships between women.

This Christmas story was very emotional, funny and sad at the same time.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Jane Green: The other woman

Ellie and Dan are living proof that opposites attract. He always follows instructions and she throws the manual away. He loves sports whereas Ellie's allergic to any form of exercise. Ellie doesn't have a mother. And Dan does - a mother who wants to take over. At first Ellie is thrilled to have Linda as her 'adopted' mother but when she and Dan decide to get married and wedding plans progress, she starts to wonder: is she marrying Dan or his mother?

This women's fiction book has been a great read to chill. At times funny and sad, the story of Ellie's and Dan's relationship with one another but also the relationship to their parents and in-laws was enjoyable and yet thought-provoking. Some parts of the story were predictable and the happy ending seemed a bit too far-fetched, but still it was a good and fast read.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Chris Kuzneski: The Plantation

Across the country, people are being kidnapped. Jonathon Payne is following the clues from his girlfriend's disappearance to a New Orleans plantation-and the South's most violent and shocking secret.

This story was incredibly pacy and humorous, but also very violent and bloody. It was also interesting to find out about Kuzneski's research prior to this story. I found the story very disturbing at times, but still enjoyed reading this book.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Chris Kuzneski: The Secret Crown

Bavaria, 1886 King Ludwig II, infamous for his eccentric behavior, is declared insane by his government and removed from his throne. A day later, Ludwig’s corpse washes up in the shallows of Lake Starnberg. Rumours about the cause of the tragedy abound, but few people know why Ludwig was really killed. Or what secret was silenced by his death. Germany, present day . . . Hidden among the crates in a newly discovered Nazi bunker are documents stamped with a black swan, the insignia of the murdered king. As a favour to a friend, Jonathon Payne and David Jones fly to Bavaria to protect the documents, but soon face a life-or-death battle against an unknown enemy. From the depths of the Black Forest to the water canals underneath Ludwig’s castles, the duo must solve the mystery behind the king’s death or share his tragic fate.

This has been a hugely successful birthday present for me! The read reminds me of Dan Brown, but the characters are more illustrious and the storyline is less confusing. A fantastic and pacy read!

Friday, 12 November 2010

Jodi Picoult: Handle with care

Charlotte O'Keefe's beautiful, much-longed-for, adored daughter Willow is born with osteogenesis imperfecta - a very severe form of brittle bone disease. If she slips on a crisp packet she could break both her legs, and spend six months in a half body cast. After years of caring for Willow, her family faces financial disaster. Then Charlotte is offered a lifeline. She could sue her obstetrician for wrongful birth - for not having diagnosed Willow's condition early enough in the pregnancy to be able to abort the child. The payout could secure Willow's future. But to get it would mean Charlotte suing her best friend. And standing up in court to declare that she would have prefered that Willow had never been born...

As usual in Jodi Picoult fashion the book is a great read presenting an unbelievable moral dilemma for the O'Keefe family. Although the story line was gripping and the effects of the lawsuit on Piper, Charlotte, Sean, Amelia and Marin were displayed brilliantly, it was too telling that Willow was always referred to and never "spoke" for herself. If would have been great to get Willow's point of view, which would also have made the ending more surprising...