Beautiful Ruins – Jess Walker

imagesThe Italian Riviera, Hollywood, the 60’s and romance…what’s not to love?

I fell in love with this book from the first paragraph…

‘The dying actress arrived in his village the only way one could come directly—in a boat that motored into the cove, lurched past the rock jetty, and bumped against the end of the pier. She wavered a moment in the boat’s stern, then extended a slender hand to grip the mahogany railing; with the other, she pressed a wide-brimmed hat against her head. All around her, shards of sunlight broke on the flickering waves.’

Pasquale Tursi owns a hotel on a desolate (fictitious) island clamped to the rear of the stunning Cinque Terre. Left to look after the crumbling hotel after his father’s death, the clings to the idea of American movie stars visiting his intimate (read: tiny) island, and works to finish creating the beach and tennis court on the cliffs which he is certain will bring them there. In his spare time, he tries to convince the owners of the Cinque Terre to include his little dot into their fold – after all, Sei Terre is so much easier on the tongue, no?

Continue reading

Advertisements

Books to make you fall back in <3 with reading! My guest post

So I jumped at the chance to do this post, which first appeared on Lipstick & Motherhood, a great new blog I stumbled across that covers all things from beauty, motherhood, fitness and more!

———————————————————————————————————————————————–

Ok, so that title is quite a claim, but I stand by it!
As many of my readers know, I am a bookworm. Reading relaxes my mind, transports me into other worlds, and makes my life all the richer. Because of this, it makes me sad when people tell me they’re just not into reading, or they used to love it when they were younger but can’t get back into it. I think this is a huge shame, and firmly believe it’s a case of a bad or inappropriate book. 
Without further ado, check out my list of books guaranteed to get those pages turning!
 
Shadow of the wind series – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The city of Barcelona pulses alive in this gothic tale filled with mystery, suspense and romance. It’s a very readable trilogy, with the pages flying as you try and unravel the mystery 10 year old Daniel Sempere stumbles upon when he ‘adopts’ a novel from the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. The writing is beautiful, and the story gripping. Good luck putting it down!


 

Continue reading

Burial Rites – Hannah Kent

I encourage anyone who hasn’t read this book to seriously put down whatever you’re doing, and hop to it. I picked it up last Saturday night, and when I put it down what felt like 3 minutes later, (but was actually closer to 2 hours) I was halfway through. It’s Hannah Kent’s debut novel, and the story itself of how the book came to be written is extraordinary. The writing is truly something else, lyrical but yet taut and very atmospheric- I read it with a growing sense of foreboding which I felt I could almost reach out and touch.

Burial_Rites_AU_FC-S

It’s based on the true story of Agnes Magnúsdóttir, the last woman to be exiled in Iceland for her part in the murders of Natan Ketilsson and Pétur Jónsson in 1828. The novel tells the story of her last few months, in a combination of first person narrative and through the eyes of those around her- which I thought was a nice touch to keep the story moving, and not at all as jarring as it can feel penned by a lessor author. Some voices are sympathetic, like the young and compassionate preacher, Reverend Thorvadur “Tóti” Jónsson  who Is Agnes’ self requested confessor, used as a vehicle for Agnes to voice her side of the story. Continue reading

The Firebrand – Marion Zimmer Bradley

I just finished what may well be my favourite retelling of the Iliad to date, and was looking forward to reviewing it.

However, as I was doing some post last page Googling, I came across this . According to the article, the much celebrated author apparently abused and molested her own child as well as many others.

Reading up about this left a bad taste with me. At the same time, I really did enjoy the novel, and found this review, much of which I completely agree with- including the note about the length. The novel perfectly brings to life classical Greece, and really demonstrates the argument that the mortals were merely playthings of the Gods. The author really explores fate, the will of the Gods and the relationship between mortal and immortal, much more than any others I’ve read to date. She also has an alternate view of the fall of Troy, and goes some may to describe what happens to Kassandra after the famed fall of the city.

I do recommend this to anyone who has an interest in ancient Greece, or loves a good historical romance. Maybe just don’t read up on the author.

The Forever Girl – Alexander McCall Smith

I’ve never read anything by Alexander McCall Smith, but I do know he penned the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series. Perhaps I should have started with one of those.

The story is likeable enough. Clover and David are the children of ex-pats living on the idyllic Cayman Islands. They’re thrust into friendship from a very young age –  inevitable when you’re parents move in the same social circles of a small community. Continue reading

The Best Feeling of All – Jack Ellis

So a friend of mine once told me that kids like to read books set in a place that’s familiar to them…maybe I’m a kid at heart, or this applies to everyone, because reading ‘The Best Feeling of All’ made me so very nostalgic! The novel is set on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, which is where I grew up, and the strong sense of place really had me hooked from the beginning.  I must also mention now that Jack Ellis seems to be the king of believable teen dialogue. The whip tight and age appropriate narrative throughout the novel really helped bring it all together and kept it all moving along nicely.

jack ellis

Continue reading

The Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller

Many, many stories recount the ill fated love between Helen of Sparta and Paris of Troy. It started with the face that launched a thousand ships, the bloody battle in the age of the heroes that once walked amongst us, and the long and perilous road home for the Greeks. A cursory glance at my bookshelf reveals just a few of such tales. If you’re looking for a historically accurate recount of the battle based on the Iliad, look no further than Lindsay Clarke’s The War at Troy, and The Return from Troy. If you’re looking for a novel penned in Helen’s point of view, I recommend Margaret George’s Helen of Troy.

The Song of Achilles tells the familiar story, however through the eyes of Patroclus, Achilles beloved comrade and, according to Miller, lover.

“We were like gods at the dawning of the world, & our joy was so bright we could see nothing else but the other.”

The song of achilles

Patroclus, himself a Prince, is cast out of his kingdom and sent to live with the gentle Peleus, King of the Myrmidons. It is here the relationship between Patroclus and Achilles blossoms from jealousy, to friendship, and amongst the lush landscape of Mt Pelion, something even more. Continue reading