The boy who could see death by Salley Vickers

VickersA pleasant, easy to read collection of short stories with some real stand-out gems. The author is a psychoanalyst as well as a writer and this experience underpins her stories to give them a greater depth than one might at first realise.

The last story in the collection, Vacation, has stuck firmly in my mind and won’t be dislodged.

Elena

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The Boy I Love by Lynda Bellingham

The Boy I LoveSet in the theatre world this is a compelling story told by a master storyteller. So sad there will be no more written by Lynda.

This is her second novel, I haven’t read the first but I will do so.

There is lots of love between the characters, both straight & gay, but true love doesn’t run smooth as shown by the characters in this book. Lynda takes on the challenge of  introducing Aids into the tale too.

The love theme is interwoven into a tale of a season in a provincial theatre, with a varied set of plays & musicals. There’s  sibling rivalry as well as rivalry between the actors & actresses, plus a few dirty tricks.

Very enjoyable but also challenging in places.

Eileen

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First rider’s call by Kristen Britain

first riderKarigan may have heard the First Rider’s call, but she’s not about to let it take over her life … … or at least that’s what she thinks. She swore to complete a dying man’s mission – to deliver a sealed letter to King Zachary. Now that task, more dangerous than she could have imagined, is complete and her work is done, Karigan wants to leave the dangerous world of tainted magic and ancient magicians behind her and return home. Exhausted in both body and spirit, she plans to return to her quiet life and her father’s business. But it proves no match for the Rider’s call; ghostly hoofbeats sounding in her mind, visions of the freedom of the open road, all calling her back to the king’s service as a Green Rider. Karigan resists it, but when she wakes up to find herself – in her nightdress – on horseback and halfway across the country, her destiny is clear: she is a Green Rider.

I read and hugely enjoyed book one in the series and I was pleased to find that book 2 is just as good- possibly even better, as it develops Karigan’s character and the world the series is set in. It leaves behind the slightly over-strong reliance on Tolkein which was my main reservation about book one and seems to find its feet a bit more. Better still, it does it without losing the readability and entertaining tone of book one.

Recommended for young adults and older ones who enjoy a big, fat easy-to-read fantasy.

Elena

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April’s Top Ten Most Borrowed Adult Fiction

Originally posted on Norfolk's Great Big Read:

Aprtheunlikelyil’s Top Ten Most Borrowed Books – Adult Fiction

1.  The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce – reserve here

2.  The Skin Collector by Jeffery Deaver – reserve here

3.  Want you Dead by Peter James – reserve here

4.  Be careful what you wish for by Jeffrey Archer – reserve here

5.  Never say goodbye by Susan Lewis – reserve here

6.  Private India by James Patterson – reserve here

7.  The Runaway Woman by Josephine Cox – reserve here

8.  The Target by David Baldacci – reserve here

9.  Entry Island by Peter May – reserve here

10.  Abattoir Blues by Peter Robinson – reserve here

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Shakespeare saved my life by Laura Bates

Shakespeare saved my lifeThis title popped up as one to read on my kindle as part of Norfolk’s Great Big Read. I rarely read non fiction, but thought I ought to have a go, and it is magnificent! Easy to read and really thought provoking. Laura ran a literacy programme, specifically using Shakespeare, with prisoners, but not just in open prisons, her main ‘pupils’ we’re in solitary confinement mainly for murder. The book details the amazing story of one prisoner in particular-Larry- in for life and in solitary confinement for the past 10 years. He really took to the programme and together with Laura wrote workbooks for other prisoners.
The prisoners used the plays of Shakespeare to provide themselves with insights into their own feelings, motives and behaviour. From this, they also provided Laura with insights into Shakespeare that she and other scholars had not previously considered.
But the power of the book is not just in the story, through it the prisoners become real people, people who are just like you or me, but who, often due to circumstances have found themselves making a wrong turn in life and not known how to change until they found Shakespeare.

Audrey

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The mirror world of Melody Black by Gavin Extence

Melody BlackThe story starts with a dead man. He was a neighbour, not someone Abby knew well, but still, finding a body when you only came over to borrow a tin of tomatoes, that comes as a bit of a shock. At least, it should. And now she can’t shake the feeling that if she hadn’t gone into Simon’s flat, if she’d had her normal Wednesday night instead, then none of what happened next would have happened. This tale of Abby and her illness (bipolar disorder) is gripping and harrowing in parts and all the more poignant when you read at the end of the story of Extence’s own mental health issues. Clever stuff!

Alison

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Maneater by Guy N Smith

Originally posted on Norfolk's Great Big Read:

maneater

Gordon Hall is a professional hunter from South Africa now living in the Welsh borderlands. When sheep are attacked nearby, his knowledge of wild animals tells him that only one creature acts in such a manner, a leopard.

When a bungled attempt is made to kill the beast, the wounded leopard, now unable to hunt sheep and deer, turns its attention to humans.

It is now a race against time as Hall pitches his years of experience against a creature designed to kill.

Alan

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Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Nird boxThe creepy cover and the blurb on the back of the book drew me to this first novel. “A terrifying psychological thriller that will haunt you long after reading!” Intriguing eh? Welcome to a world where people are too scared to look out side. We meet Malorie and her two children – Boy and Girl. For four years they’ve lived in a house where windows are covered, and trips to the well for water involve a torturous journey blindfold, listening for signs of anything about to attack. Then one day Malorie decides it’s time for her and her children to leave. Cleverly weaving between the ‘now’, and the ‘then’ before the weird things started happening, this is a truly scary thriller. Great ending too – perhaps there’s be a sequel? I hope so!

Alison

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The love song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce

QueenieI finally found time to catch up with this, the companion volume, to Joyce’s first book – the Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.

The news that after 20 years she is to be reunited with Harold comes as a great shock to Queenie. As she lies in her hospice bed – unsure whether she’ll live to meet Harold – Sister Mary Inconnu suggests that Queenie tell her story in a letter. So begins the tale of Queenie’s love for Harold and the circumstances that led to her leaving brewery and heading north. This was such a sad, sad tale, but full of comical bits too – including the wonderful Finty – and the ending … well… you’ll just have to read it to find out what happens.  Brilliant!

Alison

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The Escape by David Baldacci

Originally posted on Norfolk's Great Big Read:

I couldntheescape‘t put this one down!  I’ve read most of his but this one was the best so far it just did not stop giving!   Would highly recommend.

Summary:  Military CID investigator John Puller has returned from his latest case in Florida to learn that his brother, Bobby, on death row at Leavenworth Military Prison for national security crimes, has escaped. Now Bobby’s on the run and he’s the military’s number one target. John Puller has a dilemma. Which comes first, loyalty to his country or to his brother?

Reserve your copy here

Alison

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