Friday, 13 February 2015

What have I been reading? Round Up 1

Mr Midshipman Hornblower.   C.S. Forester

I love it when you read a book that you read as a younger person, perhaps a book you were forced to read in school as part of the Curriculum and then you return to it with eyes anew, well that is exactly what happened when it came to Mr Midshipman Hornblower. When taking the seafaring adventure of Horatio Hornblower Chronologically, this is his first Foray into Navy life and a lovely read this was too! I had read it some years ago because it was on an extra reading list for my A levels, the age old 

gem of contextual reading to boost the wealth of literary knowledge to draw from in comparative Essays

Now as an adult woman, I am revisiting Mr Hornblower as part of a book club born of a love of the Ioan Gruffudd feature length adventures. I loved this first book and really have enjoyed re-learning and reacquainting myself with the life of  a sailor in the times of war with France and Spain.  The character Of Horatio is so well drawn that you feel you know him and can really align your mind with his motivations as he learns how to lead a body of men in times of both Adventure and also mind numbing inaction.

Strongly Recommended.

Refuge.  N. G. Osborne

This book started off with such promise, I was intrigued and engaged by the tragic prologue and found the two main characters to be the kind of folk you could root for and all but one character added seasoning to the stock story of a girl living in a Refugee camp in Afghanistan and the bomb disposal contractor sent to teach locals how to clear the minefields who meet by chance and slowly fall in love.

Sadly for me the the characterisation of the brother is just so incongruous, his rare appearances are 

jarring and his part in the cliffhanging ending just totally ruined my enjoyment. The whole premise of the book that  father is enlightened and the mother wanted better for her family made his actions in a culture of patriarchal control where respect for his father, if not his sisters  would have made hisactions totally  unreal.

I believe some readers of Khaled Hosseini would enjoy this book, but this is just an inferior pastiche of his really touching and all encompassing novels.


Some Things Never Change (Elmo Jenkins Book 2 )  McMillan Moody

After reading and enjoying the first book in 2014, I can say that this is much the same. A fun and 

humorous book about a trainee pastor finding his way in a Super Church.  It is a ensemble piece with some interesting characters, not particularly spiritually uplifting , but not offensive in any way. Will gradually read the rest in the series, but better books in this genre are available ....


A Fisher of Men ( The Dunbridge Chronicles)      Pam Rhodes

This book really tickled my fancy, set in the kind of church I attend, I actually picture a very good friend who is entering a pastoral role as I read about the Misadventures of Neil Fisher.  I enjoyed the characterisation and loved that not everyone found utter bliss in the Lord by the end, that ( as in life, )the story threw a few  Spanners  in the wheels and some honest dilemmas faced by every person
Christian or not were addressed.

Definitely will be seeking out the next in the series!

The Golden Acorn   Catherine Cooper. ( Jack Brenin  Adventures)

I am and always will be a strong proponent of the idea that you are never too old to read a children's book!! As long as there is enough of a plot to be a proper read rather than a picture book with a lot of words, I will read it and this little beauty was a delight!

Talking Ravens, dragons of weeny proportions, Druids and dryads , all made up a sweet little story of a lonely boy thrust into a destiny he never knew he had! This story had enough fun to entertain a ten year old and enough conservationist undertones to Cheer  and thrill this thirty eight year old!

My Family and other Animals.       Claire Balding.

A  lovely book from National Treasure and wonderfully self effacing sports pundit and one of the most brilliant things about the BBC Olympics coverage in 2012, Claire Balding!

Using the horses and dogs who featured in her life at defining moments, this book is really rather touching. She does not shy away from the more solemn and cold times in her family life, her relationship with her Horse Trainer father obviously fraught and complicated at times.

I cried a couple of times as four legged characters passed and laughed aloud at some of the scrapes she got herself into. I learnt a lot about horses and private schooling, but I am glad that Claire remains the Tomboy of her youth and look forward to obtaining the next volume!

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