Monday, 1 March 2010

February book review

I'm already starting to feel the pressure of making sure I've read enough books to talk to you about each month. Why do I do it myself?!

Anyway. Introducing the books of February...

Plain Truth - Jodi Picoult
I've read a couple of Jodi Picoult's books. Only problem is that I can never remember which ones. And that's sort of the problem with these books; they seem to follow the same pattern - strong yet slightly messed up lead female, some kind of crime/mystery to solve, twist at the end.

Thing is, it's a parttern that works. Even if I can't remember which books I've read, I know that each one was absorbing, that I enjoyed reading them and that it was a good ol' story. (My Sister's Keeper! That's one of them I've read!)

Plain Truth is about an Amish girl who has a baby that dies and is accused of its murder. Enter strong yet slightly messed up lead female in the form of a lawyer who stays with the girl and her family whilst trying to solve the mystery of who killed the baby. You can see whodunit a mile off, but I can't deny I sped through the book, wanting to see just how everything got neartly tied up.

The Lady & The Unicorn - Tracy Chevalier
I haven't read the book that Chevalier is best known for, The Girl with the Pearl Earring, and I got this book from Read it Swap it. Couldn't see anything else I fancied on that person's list so thought I'd give it a go. (As an aside, that's why I like Read it Swap it, I always try to pick a book by an author I don't really know so that if I don't like it, I haven't wasted my money buying the book!)

This was one of the best beginnings to a book I've read in ages, I was taken in from page 1, thrust right in to the story. You don't often get that.

The story is about a wannabe French aristocrat, who commissions some tapestries for his house. The story is told from different perspectives - Nicola des Innocents the painter, the wife and daughter of the aristocrat and then various people in the family of weavers who turn Nicolas' paintings in to the final tapestries.

I guess if you had to really break it down it's a love story although if you read this don't expect the classic everybody-turns-out-happy-ending.

Revelation - CJ Sansom
This is book 4 in the Shardlake series and is a series of books I would most definitely recommend. Not my normal fare at all, I'm not usually one for historic fiction and crime at all, but I have loved these books.

Don't let the fact that there are 3 books preceding this one put you off, you can easily read it as a stand alone novel. To be honest, it's been that long since I read Sovereign, the 3rd book, that it might as well be a novel in its own right because I can't remember a thing that happened!

Matthew Shardlake is a hunckback lawyer who is joined by a sidekick of sorts, Jack Barack. They are trying to find a serial killer who is carrying out murders in the style of the Book of Revelation in the bible.

A word of warning - you need to do a bit of homework for this one. It's set towards the end of Henry VIII's reign and I haven't a clue about that period. The whole background of the story is to do with the reformists and preachers and religion and I quite frankly don't know anything about it and found the whole thing quite confusing. A quick trip to Google enlightened me but to be honest I'd rather read a book that doesn't involve me having to do my own research!

Overall, it was good if you're already a committed Shardlake reader, but this one's the weakest of the series so far.

One Day - David Nicholls
This one is about Emma and Dexter, who spend 1 night together on the night of their graduation from university. The book then follows them through their lives, reporting in on the same day, one year later which is a wonderful concept. It allows you to follow 2 people through twenty years without getting bogged down in minor details and the sutff you don't want to know about.

It's just brilliant. I don't really have the words to describe it. (Always useful when the task in hand is to talk about something.) It's just so completely and utterly compelling, I really did have trouble putting it down. There were a couple of nights where I would realise that it was nearly 1am and I needed to get to sleep but I still didn't want to put the book down. Definitely a good sign.

I couldn't get enough of it and I'm going to be on the look-out for Starter for Ten, his first novel.

So clearly the book of the month is the last one One Day and why it was included in the first blogaversary giveaway, I would definitely recommend you go out and buy this one.

Reading has now virtually slowed to a standstill while I get on with the Stich & Bitch project and make people birthday cards...fingers crossed there'll be some read this time next month!

Anyone else got some February book recommendations for me?


Christopher said...

Must be review day here in bloggerland. I just reviewed Life of Pi on my blog and I recommend it, really good book. One Day looks like a good read.

P said...

I read this really funny book last month called Ms Taken Identity. It was about a struggling writer who tried to write a chick-lit novel and ended up reading a double life in the meantime - I really enjoyed it.

I have just ordered "One Day" on amazon. I've heard so many positive things about it and I LOVED "Starter for Ten" so hopefully I'll enjoy it. :)

J said...

I love reading other people's book reviews. I've not read anything by David Nicholls before, but will definitely be on the look out for it.
One rainy day, years ago, whilst waiting for my bus home, I took shelter in the Oxfam Book Shop and grabbed a book off the shelf to read on my journey home - it was called The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason. I absolutely loved the story. It's great when you pick a great book up for next to nothing isn't it? On a further Oxfamn book-buy I bought Snow Falling On Cedars by David Guterson, which also turned out to be a very good read.

The Curious Cat said...

Aw thanks for these - I like the sound of One reading has slowed a little recently...but my date gave me a book - Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson and I just started reading it and urgh! Not for the squeemish! But page turning so far...not sure what it is going to be about yet though...some burn victim at present... sometimes it takes such an effort to launch into another book...but I'll be on my way again soon I reckon... xxx

miss*H said...

I started reading 'One Day' at the weekend after I bought it last year...books usually stay on my unread shelf for about 6 months before I get round to reading them, and so far so good. I like it.

I read a few really good books over a year ago that you might like:
'Then We Came to the End'
by Joshua Ferris.
'Mister Pip' by Lloyd Jones
'East of the Sun' by Julia Gregson

Wow I just looked on my Amazon and I bought them at the begging of Jan 2008. Scary!

There was also a great book I read that I cannot for the life of me remember the name of but I can remember that it was by a male author, set in California, about a city banker and the front cover had a dount on it?!

Maddi Makes... said...

Have just finished The Reluctant Fundamentalist... I HEART it!!! Such a good book, a real can't-put-it-down-still-awake-at-1am book too! xxx

miss*H said...

The one I was thinking of is 'This Book Will Save Your Life' by A.M. Homes

Petit Filoux said...

that does sound like an interesting story. But how do you find the time to read all those books? For me these days, it’s either knitting OR tapestry OR reading – can’t seem to find the time to do everything at once!