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?

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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

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The year that was in books

So this year I managed to read 39 books. Not bad, however I had a goal of reaching 52. I blame our trip to Europe entirely of course! I normally read about a book a week. So, being away for 7 weeks meant I was 7 books short…oh wait, that still doesn’t add up. 😉

In any case, there’s always next year, however, I fear my new Galaxy Note tablet may have something to say about that too. I find myself spending hours watching Youtube vloggers, reading eMags from my library, or just..ya know, doing stuff.

So what really stood out?

My ‘ohmygod you have GOT to read this’ list!
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The Summer of Katya | Trevanian

Outline

“In the summer of 1914 Jean-Marc Montjean, a recent graduate from medical school, arrives in the Basque village of Salies in the French Pyrenees to assist the village physician. His first assignment is to treat the louche brother of a beautiful young woman called Katya Treville. As he comes to know his patient’s family, he begins to realise that they are haunted by an old, dark secret – but he can’t help falling deeply in love with Katya. Jean-Marc is repeatedly warned away from any attempt at romantic involvement by Katya’s family, but he is young, hopeful, in love, and certain that his feelings are reciprocated. When he learns that the Trevilles are planning to leave the village forever, he insists on a final meeting with Katya, one that transforms a heartrending love story into a shattering nightmare. The chilling denouement, reminiscent of Hitchcock at his best, will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned’ Continue reading

The Shoemakers Wife | Adriana Trigiani

I have a 45 minute bus ride each way to and from work. If you know me, you know that I’m a bit of a germaphobe, so this time can be sweat inducing, what with all the coughs, sneezes and what nots around me. I use reading to lose myself. I’m totally focused, and pretty much oblivious to everything around me. This also means I get through a lot of books, around 1 a week or so. I’ve become very friendly with my library…it takes me back to my childhood when mum would take me to the library, wait outside or come back (amazing mum she is!) while I patiently scoured the shelves.

There was an art to it. I’m not a book snob, I’ll devour pretty much anything, in any genre. Continue reading