Thursday, 28 April 2011

Review: Papillon by Henri Charriere

The story of how I came upon this book is almost as interesting as the adventures in the story itself (almost!Lol!). It was July 2008 and I was in a guesthouse in Vietnam waiting to depart for my 36hr train journey from Ho Chi Minh city to Hanoi (turned out to be 41 hrs long but that's another story!) - just having been transferred from the adjacent guesthouse because they did not have the capacity to accommodate us for another night. I had just finished a book (I forget which,sorry :() and was desparate to have one on the journey, for obvious reasons. I had browsed around a nearby bookshop and bought two books related to Cambdoia, but I wasn't satisfied with them. I went back upstairs to bring down my luggage in preparationfor myimminent departure but they was so heavy that I was forced to stop in the landing and take a breather.As I sat there catching my breath, I noticed a dusty cabinet in the corner.On top of it, there was an equally dusty TV. But below the shelf holding the TV, was a dark and seemingly empty panel. I do not know what drew me to this cabinet, except my desparation to find a book, still I approached it and put my hand into this dark panel (a big no-no for someone scared of sipders. ha!). Then my hand came into contact with a hard object. Coul it be? As I withdrew the object, it became obvious it was a book. A dusty one which I had never heard of, but a book nonetheless. I was happy!
Papillon (P.S.) 
PAPILLON (HARDCOVER) ~ BY Henri Charriere 

This book can only be described as a definitive prison break novel. A prison break novel centred around a most audacious protagonist. It is set in the penal colonies of France and our hero, henri Charriere- nicknamed Papillon, is hellbent on escaping prison where he has been sentenced for a crime he denies he committed. The story takes us through his various attemps at escape (I won't tell you if he is ever successful).

This is non-stop roller coaster of suspense, intrigue and adventure. Our protagonist is betrayed, beaten, disappointed, redeemed, loved, spyed upon but continues on regardless. His refusal to throw in the towel is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and is a great motivational tool for your bookshelf.

This is to all intents and purposes, a true story. There is, however, a lot of controversy surrounding the authenticity of the novel and the story itself. Did it actally happen? Did it happen in the way we are told? Did it happen to him (the story teller)?

When I pulled this book out of an abandoned cabinet, I have never before heard about it. Now, I am recommending it to you. If you've previously never read this sort of yarn, then this is a rollickingly brilliant way to start.


Sunday, 3 April 2011

Review: The Far Pavillions by M.M.Kaye

I picked up The Far PavilionsThe Far Pavilions by M.M.Kaye from a charity book shop circa 2003. I had never heard of it previously so I had no idea what to expect. I was in my first year of medical school and the workload had started to attempt a takeover of my reading time and dedicated reading effort. I picked it up because it was a hefty tome and I was looking for a story to properly lose myself in at that point. This book did not disappoint. At about 995 pages long it is the very definition of a sweeping saga.

It is a romantic adventure about love: between a man and a woman; between friends and for whatever place you call home. There are divided loyalties, betrayals, war, scheming and passion. Set in India in the 19th century, it centres around the life of Ashton Pelham Martin (a fabulous name by the way) from his birth, his early years and into his adulthood. Raised in a culture totally different from that of his parents, he grows to love a country that he is not meant to belong to so he spends his life trying to balance the tug in his heart for India, with his duty to the British Raj.

Another reason this book is such an amazing find, is that it tells a very beautiful love story. But rather than that being the focus of the book, it weaves it's way all through the book always hovering at the back of the reader's mind and you get the feeling it's at the back of the minds of both the central characters and M.M.Kaye herself. However, when it does come to the fore, as it does at several points during the story, it always potent enough to catch the reader at a vulnerable point and tugs quite strongly at the heartstrings.

I call this a sweeping saga because it carries the reader and Ashton (Ash) across India, to England and back again,before continuing on to Afghanistan. At a point during the book, you find yourself weaving through the Indian jungle on elephants and you feel yourself right there amongst the Royal entourage on its way to what promises to be a magnificent wedding indeed.

This is a book that delivered on so many levels that I just had to share it with as many people as possible. The prose flows in such away that sees your turning the pages over and over again even when it's way past your bedtime. Although it seems quite a daunting task when you open that first page, I envy you that you still have all the brilliance that is this story still ahead of you. If you haven't read it yet, please do! You will not regret it.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Teaser Tuesdays


* Grab your current read.
* Let the book fall open to a random page.
* Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
* You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from…that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given.
* Please avoid spoilers!
My teaser is from a random page in Last Light by Alex Scarrow
Last Light'Westley rose to his feet, and with a beckoning gesture, led them out into...'

Review: Gypsy Lady By Shirlee Busbee

Gypsy LadyGypsy Lady was my very first foray into the aptly named genre of bodice-rippers. These are  romance books with a historical setting and are usually quite sweeping in their scope. Gypsy lady covers quite a lot of ground both over years and the development of characters.

It is centred around a beautiful and fiery heroine and a rougish but devillishly handsome and rich hero.

From the moment he lays eyes on her he draws a very wrong conclusion regarding her position and status in society and proceeds to pursue her in an astonishingly forceful manner. That sort of behaviour can only really be excused and forgiven in the era it is set but you find yourself sucked in by the beauty  and passion of the story, that you may surprise yourself by not being as harsh in judging him for his behaviour as you would in today's world!

The heroine, on the other hand, is a supremely stubborn and determined young lady and she goes about making him pay for his actions for a very long time.

Their relationship (if it can really be referred to in that way) is likely to be one of the rockiest you ever read, to the point where shaking them both until their teeth rattle becomes a very real desire in you. It's spans years and distance and deals with political intrigue, misunderstandings on a large scale, betrayal, kidnap and raw passionate desire.

I hasten to add that this is a very steamy read and should be left for those decidedly of age to peruse. Saying this, I did read it at the age of 13! I wasn't warned. Haha! You won;t be able to claim the same.

This book sent me on a wild search for more in the genre and I must admit that while i must have read a dozen more of these sort of stories, Gypsy Lady still over a decade later, tops my list in this genre.

Grab a copy and get reeled in to the tempestuous lives of Catherine and Jason! If you have already, come in and discuss!

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Book Blogger Hop: 25/03/11-28/03/11

Book Blogger Hop

In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word!  This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books!  It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs to read!  So, grab the logo, post about the Hop on your blog, and start HOPPING through the list of blogs that are posted in the Linky list below!!

The Hop lasts Friday-Monday every week, so if you don't have time to Hop today, come back later and join the fun!  This is a weekly event!  And stop back throughout the weekend to see all the new blogs that are added!  We get over 200 links every week!! 


Your blog should have content related to books, including, but not limited to book reviews.
1.  Enter your book blog link in the Linky List on, including the genre that you review!
In your link, please state the main genre that you review:  eclectic, contemp. fiction, ya, paranormal, mystery, non-fiction, etc.

Example:  allthebookswelove(All time favourite reads) 

2. Post about the Hop on your blog.  Spread the word about the book party!  The more the merrier!  In your blog post, answer the following question (new question each week!).  
This week's question comes from Mina who blogs at Mina Burrows:
 "If you could physically put yourself into a book or series…which one would it be and why?"
My Answer:  Enid Blyton's 'Magic Faraway Tree'. So many brilliant and loveablecharacters that I would LOVE to meet!

Join the fun! It's a great way to meet new book blogger friends :) This is my first hop and I'm looking to participate as much as I can!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

First ever guest review courtesy of Charlene: Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Memoirs of a Geisha
No doubt you will have heard much about this novel (and the movie that followed). I thought it was absolutely breathtaking and it completely absorbed me into the story of 'Chiyo' and her consequent years as the geisha 'Sayuri'.

The story is narrated by Sayuri as she recounts how she was sold to an 'okiya' (or Geisha House) in Kyoto where she grew up to be a famed geisha. There are lots of layers to the story though as Sayuri yearns to see her sister again and fit into life as a geisha, as well as win the affections of the Chairman.

This story is sad and uplifting in equal measures and it really does emphasise that a person may go through difficult times and can sometimes lose hope, but ultimately, happiness is achievable.
Whilst not an archetypal love story, I found the romance between Sayuri and the Chairman compelling and beautifully written.

I don't know much about how accurate or true-to-life the novel is, but it is a fantastic read and I couldn't put it down! And although it is a few years old now, it really stands out as one of my favourite books.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Book Review: River God by Wilbur Smith

I can honestly say that this book opened up a world of excitement and adventure in my imagination that I had not experienced before and ignited a love for all things Ancient Egypt which has remained with me even though I read the book in the early 2000s.
River God By Wilbur A. Smith

It is set in ancient Egypt around 1750BC and excellently delivers all the elements of a seriously compulsive read including intrigue, betrayal, romance and fast-paced action. It is centred around the lives of it's two protagonists, Tanus and Lostris who are young sweethearts, in love and caught up involuntarily in the machinations of life at the top of the Egyptian aristocracy. It is narrated through the voice of Lostris' very talented and favoured slave, Taita.

The villian of the story is, the Grand vizier, Nefer,  the quintessential bad guy with all the attributes that go with the title- power, influence, the ear of the Pharaoh and utter ruthlessness. He is hell bent on getting the crown for himself and will not be stopped by anyone. Unfortunately, Lostris and Tanus find themselves embroiled in his plans and have to act to save themselves with the help of Taita's clever schemeing and seemingly endless knowledge of the world and everything in it.

If you are looking for an exciting read that will keep you hooked, horrified and hankering after more, then this is the book you need. There are two other books in the series: Warlock by Wilbur Smith and  The Seventh Scroll (A Novel of Ancient Egypt). But River God is by far my favourite and that's why it's here.

Have you read it? Did you love it? Let's hear what you liked about it :) I loved the book so much that I made two other people read it-they liked it too. When my brother lost my first copy, I was so upset that my best friend at the time bought me a new one just so I have one my shelf (or just to shut me up! Lol!), even though she new I had read it already!!!

 Come in! Share!

Sunday, 20 March 2011

For the love of books

Hello all,

I am so glad I have finally been able to come up with a place which I can dedicate to the books we love and the ones that mean a lot to us.
Ever since I discovered the pleasure of prose and books at the ripe old age of11, I have enjoyed nothing more than finding someone else who happens to have read a book that I love and who loves/loved it too. It is such a joy to delve back into a book with a friend or acquaintance and go over the bits that you loved: the funny parts,the sad parts,the parts that ripped at your heartstrings, the surprising twists, turns and unexpected endings. It is infinitely enjoyable because in that moment, you are reliving the best parts of the book and the emotions again, just like when you first read them and felt them. The problem with this is that not every book you've read has been read by members of your acquaintance.So what happens is that you finish a book, feel a huge swell of love for it, but when you cast around for someone to share it with you are left disappointed because you end up being the only one you know that has read and loved the book. What doyou do then?Force loved ones to read it? The obliging ones will, but then, how likely are they to love it as much as you do? Not so much? Exactly!

So what will this blog be about? As the title suggests, this will be a blog dedicated to the books we have read and LOVED. It is not your usual book review site where new releases or new finds are critiqued and rated. I want this blog to be about reliving our favourite books. I truly respect anyone who can think up a story and persevere enough to put it down on paper for others to experience. I have never been very comfortable sitting on a high horse and ridiculing or critisising another's literary work but I find that this is usually the sort of discussions that takes place when books are the topic. That is not what we will be doing here.

The posts will be short postive reviews of favourite books and to avoid spoiling it for those who haven't read them, the spoilers will only be allowed in the discussions which will take place in the comments section. Anyone who has read the book will be welcome to talk about it to their heart's content in the comments section. Those who have not read it,can foray into the comments section at their peril,or go ahead and read the book if they feel they would like to take part in the discussion.

Who can review a book? Well, anyone who has read and loved ANY book at ANY timein their lives, is more than welcome to send me their review of it and it will be published in due course. I am only one person, so I have only read so many books. I am also looking for inspiration for my next reads so I am more than willing to hear about the books you've read and loved and would like to see if I will love them too. Also you get to raise awareness ofyour favourite books and increase the number of people who know about it. And many more people will get a chance to be introduced to their newest favourite book,thanks to you.

If you have any of the books reviewed and disliked or even hated them, then please ignore the post and move on. This is an appreciation site so negative reviews or comments will not be accepted.

I look forward to being inspired and discovering books I nwouldnever have discovered otherwise. I hope you are too. Please send me your reviews and encourage your friends, family and acquaintances to do so too.

My first review will follow later this week. So stay tuned!