What are my favourite books of 2017?
Oh gosh, it's almost impossible to select favourites because I've read so many great books this year.
But - here goes - these are my top choices.
So if you're looking for a gift idea or you'd like to treat yourself, one of these might do the job!
Enjoy your holiday reading!
If you'd like to keep up to date with new book reviews, you can follow me on Facebook -
Some of you have requested a monthly summary of books, so here it is!
Just so that you know, I read plenty of books but, in general, I only put up book reviews for ones that I enjoyed and would be happy to recommend to other people.
If you'd like to keep up to date with new book reviews, you can follow me on Facebook -
Doesn't this look great?
Today I went for an early Christmas lunch with the 'gals'. We chose a top notch Montpellier restaurant 'La Reserve Rimbaud'.
This was my dessert.
I'm halfway through this book and wanted to post because if you're looking for a Christmas gift, I think this would be a great choice.
Fiennes is an Artic and Antarctic adventurer. He recounts his attempts to cross the Artic and Antarctic wastelands. His mental endurance is astonishing. He tells us that many of the early polar explorers and their crews went mad because they had to spend months trapped in remote regions, isolated and in total darkness, waiting for the right weather conditions to make their attempts.
Here's a quote from my reading last night. They are nearing the north pole -
'One morning...the wind blew at a steady 45 knots... the wind chill factor was -120c and the natural liquid in our eyes kept congealing...'
That's just a taster! I'll post my full review soon.
To keep up to date with new book reviews, you might like to follow me on Facebook -
An engrossing, eye-opening account.
This is the memoir of Air Force neurosurgeon, W. Lee Warren, who was sent to Iraq.
In a war zone, he worked with a team of specialised medical personnel, in a facility that received severe casualties from the front lines.
We read of horrific injuries (and I mean horrific, mind-blowing injuries), and mass casualty situations when the hospital is inundated.
We follow Warren and the team as they attempt to save man after man whose bodies have literally been blown apart. The medical team work in a hospital made up of tents. They frequently lack blood supplies and essential equipment. They work around the clock until they are exhausted. Many people who are brought to them, die.
Warren must make terrible, split-second choices about who lives and he recounts these experiences with honesty. Never before, as a civilian surgeon, has he been faced with such decisions. They have four operating theatres and very few sets of sterile equipment – so he is forced to choose between who gets the first emergency operations (and hence, who will live).
As a reader, we feel his agony at the decisions they had to make and the patients that they could not save. Also, the bombings of the hospital, the constant state of alert, the exhaustion – were all conveyed with humanity.
The author includes emails he sent home to his family and these emails recount the worst moments, and some small moments of hope. As well as military personnel, the hospital treats civilian casualties, terrorists, and occasionally, children who have been injured. These are poignant moments and there is one particular girl with extensive burns (which would have been challenging to treat in the USA with full facilities, let alone in a desert facility), whose story we follow.
Alongside the author’s story in Iraq, we learn of his struggle to come to terms with his own, failing personal life and his imminent divorce. Warren is candid. He is a highly successful neurosurgeon, respected in his field and respected by his church, his peers and his family. He sees all of this falling apart because of his failed marriage and it was fascinating to understand that, before Iraq, his life was so shallowly lived (my words, but Warren comes to a similar conclusion) – a sham in which he had all the trappings of success but did not feel happy inside – perhaps had never felt happy inside.
His four months stay in Iraq changed his perspective on himself and on his life. Four months may not sound long, but once you've read his accounts, you will see that Warren and other personnel were on the verge of a breakdown after such a long stretch in terrible conditions. He is forced to change by the mental torment he is faced with daily at the hospital. Moments of crisis at the hospital push him to confront himself. He is a Christian and he talks much about his faith and his worries about his own faith. I found these aspects a fascinating insight into Christian American life and values.
I appreciated that Warren does not idealise the war, neither does he denounce it.
This is an account of what he saw, what he had to do and how he struggled to survive, mentally and emotionally. The support of his fellow doctors and the personal strengths they each brought to the team, are recounted very well, again with humanity.
This is not the type of book I would normally pick up, but I’m really pleased to have seen it on a kindle offer. (Don’t be put off by the boring cover!) Recommended.
To keep up-to-date with new book reviews, follow me on Facebook-
#French patisserie looks fantastic, tastes fantastic and... takes hours to make - as a group of us discovered in this workshop at "Passion Delice" . And we got to take home the goodies!
Two stories are intertwined. First, there’s the story of FBI Agents Roarke, Singh and Epps as they are sent to investigate threats against ‘fraternity’ boys in Santa Barbara. This rich student world was alien to me – full of privileged boys from wealthy families. The boys seem destined for high positions in commerce and government and they feel they can get away with anything during their student days – ie. drugs, rape, wild parties, gang rape etc. The local police are struggling with political hierarchies and all the boys have ‘friends in high places’.
Anyway, cue Roarke and his team – who’ve been called in to find out about threats made against the boys by a cyber-group called ‘Bitch’. Bitch want rapes to be prosecuted. They want the rich boys to pay for their crimes.
The second thread of the story involves Cara Lindstrom who is hiding out in the desert. There’s a price on her head and a group of men are out to hunt her down. I’m not up on all the backstory, but it seems Agent Roarke has fallen in love with serial killer Cara.
Agent Singh (woman) feels great sympathies with Bitch, and her loyalties are going to be tested. Agents Roarke and Epps will have their loyalties tested in other ways.
There is a great deal of bloodshed and throats are cut. The big question is - Are these deaths due to Cara? Or is there a copycat killer? Or is it Bitch?
Cara is under threat and Roarke and his team will find their priorities turned around. Professional principles will vie with personal for all of the FBI team.
This is a great story and well written. I loved the characters and felt engrossed in the plot. Even better, I got the feeling this wasn’t the strongest of the series. This was my first book by Sokoloff and I look forward to going back and catching up on the others.
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an advance copy of this book. This is my honest review.
To keep up-to-date with new book reviews follow me on Facebook
My sister came to visit and I took her to lunch at my favourite Creperie in downtown Montpellier. She had a classic savoury crepe with ham, cheese and egg, traditionally from the north of France - yum
This isn't a new series but it is new to me. The main character is Cork O'Connor, a sacked sheriff with Native American and Irish heritage. In this book, he must solve a series of murders threatening to bring out old hostilities.
The author has been recommended to me many times by my American book loving friends and I can see why.
The story has great atmosphere - ice, snow, the winter closing in and the killings piling up.
There is really nothing to fault. I particularly enjoyed our introduction to Cork and his memories of the incident between the town residents and the residents on the reservation. Cork's handling of this incident brought about his downfall as sheriff. We get a great picture of how events made him who he is and how each side views him with suspicion.
There's a nice blending of Native American folklore in this story. In fact, it forms a backbone. The Native American characters are nicely drawn and I especially liked old Mr Melroux, who seemed to me a wonderful mix of old traditions and insight. The 'Windigo' is also a novel concept to me and I liked how this played on Cork's mind all the way from the time he was fourteen years old and went hunting in the woods...
A complex murder mystery with small town politics, big ambitions and the honesty and treachery of ordinary people thrown into the mix. There's something special in how the author blends the landscape with the emotions of his characters. The suspense and tension crank up, as the killer, hiding in plain sight, makes his final moves.
To give you an idea how much I enjoyed it - I shall be reading Cork O'Connor #2 as my Christmas holiday season treat.
Thanks for a great review, Ali!
"This is a slow burn novel that slowly ramps up.
Easy to read chapters that entice you to keep going. I liked all three main characters (Kal, Marty, Sophie)... and wanted the best outcome for them all.
There is a great psychological thread throughout which fascinated me, the mental illness aspect is written fabulously...
I really enjoyed London Noir"
You can find Ali's full book review for LONDON NOIR here
Join all of my family and at least some of your peers by signing up for news on promotions and upcoming releases...