Dead in their vaulted arches by Alan Bradley

ArchesThe presumed death of Harriet de Luce in a mysterious mountaineering accident in Tibet while Flavia was only a baby cast a sombre shadow over the family, leaving Colonel de Luce a broken man and Flavia herself with no memories of her mother. But now, astonishingly, a specially commissioned train is bringing Harriet back to Buckshaw. But rather than putting the past finally to rest, Harriet’s return is set to trigger a further series of bizarre and deadly events, as a most curious group of individuals converge on Buckshaw to pay their respects.

For Flavia, a gruesome new crime to solve is only one of the mysteries confronting her, as she begins to unravel the shocking revelations of Harriet’s past and in doing so discovers an extraordinary tale of espionage and betrayal that also seems to be the key to her own destiny.

This is the last in the series apparently. I shall miss Harriet dashing about on her bicycle Gladys!

Alison

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Norfolk Libraries Summer Reading Challenge

Originally posted on Mumsnet Suffolk & Norfolk:

Every summer more than 10,000 children in Norfolk take part in the Summer Reading Challenge.

The challenge encourages children to continue reading over the summer holidays in a fun way.

The all year round Summer Reading Challenge website helps you keep track of your reading, find new books to read and much more

The Reading Agency and Norfolk libraries present Mythical Maze Summer Reading Challenge 2014. Children will love finding their way round the Mythical Maze. As they read books that they borrow from the library , they’ll meet some larger than life characters from myths and legends. Keep track of it all on the fold-up poster and complete the maze with stickers from the library. To join in – it’s all free – head to your local Norfolk Library over the summer holidays.


ImagiNation

ImagiNation is an arts and reading project for 11-16yr olds running across Norfolk and the…

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Blackout by Emily Barr

BlackoutSophie wakes up in a strange room, in a strange city and she has no idea how she got there. As Sophie’s head begins to clear, she quickly realises that getting home to her family is a priority. She has no money, no passport, no phone. And there is no sign of her baby. What should she do?

this is a short read of barely 100 pages but the story grabs you from the start. This thrilling story moves along swiftly and makes the reader anxious to know the outcome. Can Sophie piece together everything that has happened before it’s too late? It had a great nail-biting end!

Alison

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Find out more about the ‘Quick Reads’ series here

 

Where’d you go Bernadette by Maria Semple

bernadetteMeet Bernadette Fox.

To her husband Elgie Branch, a Microsoft wunderkind, she’s his hilarious, volatile, talented, troubled wife.

To fellow mothers at the school gate, she’s a menace.

To design experts, she’s a revolutionary architect.

And to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, quite simply, mum.

Then Bernadette disappears.  And Bee must take a trip to the end of the earth to find her.

Ooh I really loved this little book. It’s a wonderful mix of a narrative – including email, memo, letter – and you really feel Bernadette’s frustration. The ‘gnats’ (the upper-class moms in her daughter’s school), the schools attempts to attract ‘Mercedes parents’ through its doors (while trying to distract them from the fish factory next door), the Indian virtual assistant Manjula Kapoor, the poor gardener weed-whacking the rogue blackberry bushes and the staffing structure at Microsoft. Chaotic, crazy but fun!

Alison

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Buried Angels by Camilla Lackberg

Buried angelsA family vanishes without a trace from the island of Valo outside of Fjallbacka, Sweden. The dinner table has been exquisitely set, but everyone except the one year-old daughter Ebba is gone. Are they victims of a crime or have they voluntarily disappeared?

Years later Ebba returns to the island. She and her husband have recently lost their young son, and in an attempt to overcome their grief they have decided to renovate the house and open a B&B. The couple have barely settled in before they are subjected to an attempt of arson.

Detective Patrik Hedstrom takes on the investigation, aided by his wife, crime writer Erica Falck, who has always been fascinated by the mystery of Ebba’s abandonment and the family’s tragic history.

When dried blood is found under the floorboards of the old house, it seems that the cold case involving the missing family is about to be brought back to life. And soon, Patrik and Erica are consumed by the hunt for a killer who will stop at nothing to keep the past buried.

This is the eighth tale involving Falck and Hedstrom and once again it doesn’t disappoint! Enjoy!

Alison

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Big Brother by Lionel Shriver

big brotherWhen Pandora picks up her older brother Edison at her local Iowa airport, she literally doesn’t recognise him.

Edison’s slovenly habits, appalling diet and know-it-all monologues drive her health-and-fitness freak husband Fletcher insane. Fletcher eventually delivers his wife an ultimatum – it’s him or me. Putting her marriage and two adoptive children on the line, Pandora chooses her brother – who, without her support in losing weight, will surely eat himself into an early grave.

Pandora and her brother Edison move into an apartment and go on a strict liquid only diet. Pandora has about 40 pounds to lose but Edison has over 200.

Well this was an intriguing and thought provoking book and what a brilliant ending!

Alison

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Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty

apple tree yardThis is a read that divided our crime book club at Dersingham.

Yvonne Carmichael has worked hard to achieve the life she always wanted: a high-flying career in genetics, a beautiful home, a good relationship with her husband and their two grown-up children.

Then one day she meets a stranger at the Houses of Parliament and, on impulse, begins a passionate affair with him – a decision that will put everything she values at risk.

At first she believes she can keep the relationship separate from the rest of her life, but she can’t control what happens next. All of her careful plans spiral into greater deceit and, eventually, a life-changing act of violence.

I didn’t feel very sympathetic to the character of Yvonne from the start.  You’d think she’d have a little more common sense at 52! It’s very graphic in parts, but this is a tale of obsession and just what someone will do to exact revenge.

Alison

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French women don’t get facelifts by Mireille Guiliano

French faceliftsFrom the woman who brought us ‘French women don’t get fat’ here comes the guide to growing old!

Mireille Guiliano tackles the delicate subject of ageing – showing how women of 40 and beyond can ‘attack’ the upcoming decades with attitude and style.

Witty, perceptive and bursting with Mireille’s personal experiences, the book covers everything from skincare secrets and fashion tips to the role of relationships and the importance of relaxation. The path to ageing elegantly lies in lifestyle choices and attitude adjustments rather than Botox and collagen fillers.

There’s practical advice about eating healthily, exercising, tailoring your wardrobe to suit what suits you rather than what’s fashionable etc. But of course, French women DO get facelifts – just not as many as women in other parts of the world!

Alison

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Suffolk & Norfolk by authors and artists

Originally posted on Mumsnet Suffolk & Norfolk:

Laxkford 004

The dramatic East Anglian scenery inspires.

Reading What Katy Did Next by Susan Coolidge as a child, I was struck by Katy Carr’s determination to embark upon a literary tour of England and Scotland in 1886, when she came over here via steamer, a trip given as a gift from a benevolent family friend. Describing us as ‘storybook England’ Katy paid tribute to our great writers by planning pilgrimages to many places associated with them.  Visiting the grave of Charles Dickens in Westminster Abbey and travelling to Winchester Cathedral so that she might have the privilege of seeing the grave of her beloved Miss Austen, Katy’s chance meeting with an oddly Dick Van Dyke like cockney verger by Austens grave, deals with a favourite cathedral legend- that the staff had not a clue who Jane Austen was, although if they’d read their own 1854 handbook all would have been clear…

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The accidental apprentice by Vikas Swarup

accidentalThis is the latest novel from the author of the wonderful Six Suspects and Q & A also know as Slumdog Millionaire. This once again, doesn’t disappoint.

Sapna Sinha works in an electronics store in downtown Delhi. She hates her job, but she is ambitious and determined to succeed, and she knows without the money she brings in, her family won’t be able to survive. Little does she know it but her life is about to change forever.

As she leaves the shop on her lunch break one day, she is approached by a man who claims to be CEO of one of India’s biggest companies. He tells her he is looking for an heir for his business empire. And that he has decided it should be her. There are just seven tests she must pass.

Will Sapna complete the challenges?  What will she learn about herself along the way?

Alison

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