Books, First Paragraph Tuesday, Reading

First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday

‘First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday’ is hosted by ‘Bibliophile By The Sea’. Each week, I’ll share with you the first paragraph of a novel I’m currently reading or want to read in the future.

This week’s paragraph is from ‘The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet’ by David Mitchell:

‘The House of Kawasemi the Concubine, above Nagasaki’. The Ninth Night of the Fifth Month.

‘Miss Kawasemi?’ Orito kneels on a stale and sticky futon. ‘Can you hear me?’

In the rice paddy beyond the garden, a cacophony of frogs detonates.  Orito dabs the concubine’s sweat-drenched face with a damp cloth.

‘She’s barely spoken,’ the maid holds the lamp ‘for hours and hours…’

‘Miss Kawasemi, my name’s Aibagawa. I’m a midwife. I want to help.’

Kawasemi’s eyes flicker open. She manages a frail sigh. Her eyes shut. She is too exhausted, Orito thinks, even to fear dying tonight.’

Would you continue reading?

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Books, Fiction, Reading, Reviewing, Romance, Two Star Rating

REVIEW- ‘The Notebook’ by Nicholas Sparks

the notebook

What the ‘Blurb’ says:

How far can love endure?

Noah Calhoun has just returned from World War Two. Attempting to escape the ghosts of battle, he tries to concentrate on restoring an old plantation home to its former glory. And yet he is haunted by images of the beautiful girl he met there fourteen years before, a girl who captured his heart like no other.

But when these distant memories begin to slide into reality, the passion that had lain still is ignited once more. Though so much is in their way, the miraculous force of their love refuses to fade.

My Thoughts

Firstly I have to admit that romance isn’t a genre I normally read, but on the recommendation of a friend, I decided to give this novel a go.

What I liked about the story was Noel, one of the main characters. He is believable and likeable. The romantic story between Noah and Allison, is very well told. It does come close to being too over sentimental, but just about gets away with it.

The problems I had with this book, were contained within the later half. The issues this book deals with is, as far as I can imagine, were well told and researched. I do think that those issues could have been developed more though.

I also felt disappointed with the story, at the last page of this novel. I didn’t expect this book to end as it did. Some people may be satisfied by the way this novel ends, but I thought that it was slightly far-fetched and ruined the story a little for me.

I wasn’t entirely keen on the slow pace of the novel either. I can imagine this novel to be perfect for the lazy days of summer, when there is no rush to go anywhere. I prefer slightly faster paced novels.

After reading this review you may think that I didn’t enjoy this novel at all, but I thought it was a reasonably enjoyable read.

Whilst I wouldn’t rush to read this again, I think that ‘The Notebook’ would make a readable, beach novel.

My Rating **

Ann Shreve, Books, First Paragraph Tuesday

First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday

‘First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday’ is hosted by ‘Bibliophile By The Sea’. Each week, I’ll share with you the first paragraph of a novel I’m currently reading or want to read in the future.

This week’s paragraph is from ‘Eden Close’ by Anita Shreve. I’ve read another Anita Shreve novel ‘Sea Glass’, you can find my review here.

‘The air lay as heavy as water in the square dark rooms of the farmhouse. The house was still, sounds indistinct and muffled, as if heard through cloth. Upstairs, in the boy’s room, the clock over the desk ticked away the minutes just past midnight. In the next room, where the boy’s parents slept, there was the soft rattle of an old fan, moving the thick air from outside the house to inside and over his parents’ bodies. As they had done nearly every hot night that summer, they had offered the fan to the boy, but the boy, aware that summer for the first time of his parent’s age, had refused to take it from them.’

Would you read on?

Sin categoría

‘Favourites’ Series- Horror Films

I am a bit of a wimp I have to admit, but I still love a good horror film.

Here’s my Top five favourite horror films.

The Omen

1. This 1976 classical staring Gregory Peck, Lee Remick and Harvey Spencer Stephens, ‘The Omen’ tells the story of a boy called Damien. Wherever he goes, strange things happen around him, including the public suicide of his nanny. He is also adverse to being near churches. Damien’s father is visited by Father Brennan (Patrick Troughton), who warns him that his son isn’t all that he seems.

‘The Omen’ isn’t just full of jump scares, but has a great plot too.

Carrie

2. Also featuring in Last week’s ‘Favourites’ list, the 1976 adaptation of Stephen King’s novel ‘Carrie’, stars Sissy Spacek as Carrie White. In 2013, there was a further re-make of this classic novel but in my opinion, you can not beat Spacek’s quirky version of the main character. Full of blood and gore, this is not for the faint hearted, but it tells the story of a bullied and abuse girl, finding out who she really is.

Dawn-of-the-Dead-1978

3. The 1970’s seems to be a decade of classic horror films because at number 3 is the 1978 film ‘Dawn of the Dead’. The influx of zombie films and programmes like ‘The Walking Dead’ were probably inspired by films like this one.

Mainly set within a shopping mall, this film tells the story of a group of people trying to survive a zombie apocalypse. This is a gory film, but full of action. It’s guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat.

28 days later

4 ’28 Days Later’ is another zombie film, but I have included this in my list, because the scares are quite surprising. You see, it’s not just a traditional zombie film. What I find scariest about this film are not the zombies, but what a group of survivors find, when they supposedly find safety in an army base.

Oh, and if you have the DVD of this film, I wouldn’t suggest watching the extra documentary. It might give you nightmares!

scream

5. The first (and best in my opinion), film within the ‘Scream’ Franchise, ‘Scream’ is a ‘tongue and cheek’ comment on the horror film genre. It has a lot of jump scares, but also gives nods to horror film clichés, such as the woman alone in the house going to investigate a straight noise and others, making this quite a sophisicated, film. The other films in this series are terrible, but this is a fun, but gory movie.

I will post another ‘Favourite’ list soon. If you would like to join in with this series, post a ‘Favourite’ list on a subject of your choice, on your blog. Then post a comment here, including the link.

Ann Shreve, Books, Fiction, Four Star Rating, Reviewing

REVIEW- ‘Sea Glass’ by Ann Shreve

seaglass

What the ‘blurb’ says:

Anita Shreve’s new novel Sea Glass represents a remarkable advance. She previously caught the attention of many readers with Fortune’s Rocks and The Pilot’s Wife, beautifully crafted novels with rich and subtly observed characterisation. But however impressive those books were, Sea Glass has the same adroit creation of character, but the prose is even more rich and allusive. This is a story of the human heart, of the demands of the past, and of the necessity for pragmatism in human relationships. It’s 1929, and Honora Beecher and her husband Sexton are enjoying their new marriage in a cottage on the coast of New Hampshire. Honora is renovating the rundown property and searching for pieces of coloured glass washed up on the beach. Sexton attempts to buy the house they both adore, but with disastrous results: like many other Americans, he is a victim of the stock market crash and is financially wiped out. He is forced to work in a nearby mill, where a labour conflict is having violent results. The couple’s struggle to maintain their marriage in the face of dangerous forces that threaten to overwhelm them is vividly and poignantly told.

Shreve has written nine novels and throughout her work she has painstakingly honed her storytelling skills with elegance and intelligence. She is particularly skilful at depicting interlocking lives, as in Sea Glass, and adroitly invests each with its own portion of love and tragedy. If you want to be one of the “early adopters” of Shreve’s cherishable novels, now is the time:

In the wet sand by her foot, a bit of colour catches her eye. The glass is green pale and cloudy, the colour of lime juice that has been squeezed into a glass. She brushes the sand off and presses the sea glass into her palm, keeping it for luck.

My Thoughts:

Having never read any novels by Anita Shreve, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I embarked on ‘Sea Glass’. What I’ve discovered, is a writer who has an incredible talent for description. The landscapes and details within the novel are so beautiful, it’s like she is painting a picture in your mind, by only using words.

I must admit that it took me a while to really settle down into this novel. Due to the story being told through several different characters, all of which are completely different, I wasn’t sure where this novel was going. With a bit of persistence it became clear.

This novel isn’t exactly a complete story. What I mean by this, is that it is complete (it is a book with a beginning, a middle and an end), but ‘Sea Glass’ focusses on one period of time, in which the characters find themselves dealing with different issues. The characters within this novel are believable, well rounded and vivid. Through them, this book perfectly encapsulates the glamour and struggles people faced, within the 1920’s. The love story also isn’t over sentimental and fits within the book as a whole.

The only criticism I could give about this novel, is its slower pace. Then again, this may be just personal preference. Nevertheless, I think that ‘Sea Glass‘ is a beautiful novel and I look forward to reading more novels by Ann Shreve.

My Rating ****