Fiction Friday – World Book Day

My Favourite Books

Yesterday was World Book Day is a day to celebrate all thing books, a chance to dress up as our favourite book characters or just a chance to settle down and enjoy a good book, new or old. I didn’t do much in the way of celebrating but it got me thinking about books I have loved over the years, so today I am going to share with you a few books that I have come to know and love and how I found them, in a way, this is a short compilation of my life in books!

  • The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien.  My Uncle bought me this book when I was 8 and although it is considered a “grown-up book”  I read it over the course of a few days and really lost myself in the story.  I have read it again a few times since and still get lost in it.  It was amazing to see the movie of it too!
  • Malory Towers by Enid Blyton.  My Grandma would always buy my brothers and I a book each for Christmas and Birthdays and I remember being around 9 when she gave me the very first book in the series for a Christmas present.  On Boxing Day I sat and devoured the book in one go and couldn’t wait for the next!  One of the boys in my class was reading the series so we would swap books so we could read the full series without having to spend our pocket money on the next book.
  • What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge.  My Mum bought me these books after I had finished Malory Towers.  I used to sneak read these at night, hiding my book under my pillow and then reading by torchlight when my parents had gone to sleep.
  • Point Horror – Various Authors.  When I started High School we had access to a brilliantly stocked library that had fiction books, textbooks and general books.  I started reading these with my best friend, we would have sleepovers at her house and read them out loud to each other.
  • The War of the Worlds and The Time Machine by HG Wells.  I read my first HG Wells book as part of my GCSE English lessons in school and fell in love with his writing and story weaving capabilities.  I read both in quick succession of each other.
  • The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.  I borrowed this book from my college boyfriend, it was a huge, heavy, hardback edition that had the complete story in.  I read it over the summer holidays when I was 18 and took it everywhere with me.  While most kids my age were watching (I believe) the first-ever Big Brother, I had my nose stuck in the pages of this book.
  • Others by James Herbert.  I was on a school trip to Germany, accompanying my Aunt who was a teacher and I bought this in duty-free to read on the coach as I’m not particularly good at sleeping in moving vehicles and it kept me awake all night, I couldn’t peel myself away from the story and needed to find out what happened in the end!
  • Dr Kay Scarpetta series by Patricia Cornwell.  I don’t remember how I got into reading Patricia Cornwell’s books but I loved the Dr Kay Scarpetta series and remember waiting outside my local bookshop when a new book of hers was released and being so excited to get my hands on the next book!
  • Creepers by David Morell.  My friend gave me this book as she thought I might enjoy it as I am interested in urban exploration (though I have never had the guts to go!) and she wasn’t wrong!  This is still a book I pick up and re-read every few months or so and have currently read it 8 times!

There are lots more books that I could mention but these are the standout ones for me that I remember the most,  I’d love to work out a timeline in books one day, starting at the Kathy and Mark books we were taught to read as kids, then the Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl books right up to the books that I read now though I think I may have to wait until I have more free time to work on that!  What are some of your all-time favourite books?  Let me know in the comments as I’d love to see if I have read them too, if not I may have to add them to my tbr pile!

Book Review – An Orphan’s War – Molly Green

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This is the second book that I read from my purchase of A Box Of Stories box and I chose it because the description intrigued me.

“LIVERPOOL, 1940.  When her childhood sweetheart is killed in action, Maxine Grey loses more than her husband – she loses her best friend.  desperate to make a difference in this awful war, she takes a nursing job at London’s St Thomas’ Hospital.

A BROKEN HEART.  Maxine takes comfort in the attentions of a handsome surgeon, but Edwin Blake might not be all he seems.  As the Blitz descends on the capital, Maxine returns to Liverpool heartbroken and surrounded by the threat of scandal.

A BRAVE SPIRIT.  When offered a job at a Dr Barnardo’s orphanage, Maxine hopes this is the second chance she has been looking for.  And one little boy in particular helps her to realise that she needs the orphans just as much as they need her.”

I don’t usually read books that are set in the past and tend to skip past them on the shelf, preferring to reach for books that are set in the present day so this book isn’t one that I would usually reach for.  That said, the back of the book really made me want to sit and read it, regardless of the time period setting.

This book covers topics of love, loss, friendship, starting over and overcoming problems that were frowned upon in that time.  From the first page I was hooked and, snuggled up with my dog, Roxy, a blanket and a cafetière of coffee I read most of this book in one afternoon.  So many of the themes running through the book are relevant to the struggles we face today with family and the relationships within the family being first and foremost.

I really liked the way that Molly Green painted pictures with words, you could really imagine the scenes that Maxine, the main character, was confronted with, the way the relationships between Maxine and other characters developed through the book and the way the different characters individual stories were interwoven with each other.  The story itself was really beautifully written and I loved every minute of it.  The only down side, for me, was that the story seemed to finish a little abruptly, I would have liked to know more about what happens next…but maybe that is the best way to end a book?

Have you read this book or any others by Molly Green?  What did you think of the book?

A Box Of Stories – Unboxing

I stumbled upon A Box Of Stories one evening back in December when I was looking for quirky book gift ideas.  The site says that you get a surprise selection of books, spanning 20 genres, selected from over 250 titles and sent to you for the princely sum of £9.99 (+ p & p).  The great thing about this company is that 50% of the profits goes to support The World Literacy Foundation which is even better.  The only thing I am sad about is that the company won’t be around forever…once their stocks have gone, that’s it…

The site offers 4 different boxes – I Love Surprises – Adult – A selection of Fiction and Non-fiction for adults, I Love Surprises – Mixed – 1 Adult and one Kids Fiction, 1 Adult Non-fiction and 1 Kids colouring, I Love Surprises – Kids 6 – 10 – A mix of kids fiction and colouring suitable for kids aged between 6 – 10 and I Love Surprises – Kids Up to 5 – a mix of kids fiction and colouring for kids up to 5.

I chose the Adult box.  Payment was really simple – paypal is always the easiest for on-line purchases!  Once payment had been made I eagerly awaited my delivery.  The company emailed to say that they had received my order pretty much as soon as I had made the payment and I recieved an email on 5th January to say that the order had shipped with Royal Mail and provided me with a tracking number.  The parcel was posted second class.  I received my order on the 8th January.

Here’s a look at what I received…

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The books came in a plain cardboard box (I have removed my name and address), and it was sealed shut across the edge with sellotape and was pretty secure.

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Inside was a sheet of brown paper protection stuff (I have no idea of the technical name for this!)

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Underneath were the books…

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Here are the 5 I received….There is a pretty good selection!

 

A Summer Scandal – Kat French

“When Violet inherits a Victorian pier on Swallow Beach from her mysterious grandparents, she falls in love immediately.  All she wants is to make it popular again, and when she meets hunky Calvin, inspiration strikes.  What if she turned the pier into an adult-themed arcade full of artisan shops?

But not everyone in Swallow Beach is happy with the idea.  As tensions worsen and the heat between her and Calvin begins to grow, Violet must make a choice – stay and fight, or turn and run.  Can she find her happy ending before the swallows fly North for the winter?”

An Orphan’s War – Molly Green

“Liverpool, 1940.  When her childhood sweetheart is killed in action, Maxine Grey loses more than her husband – she loses her best friend.  desperate to make a difference in this awful war, she takes a nursing job at London’s St Thomas’ Hospital.

A Broken Heart.  Maxine takes comfort in the attentions of a handsome surgeon, but Edwin Blake might not be all he seems.  As the Blitz descends on the capital, Maxine returns to Liverpool heartbroken and surrounded by the threat of scandal.

A Brave Spirit.  When offered a job at a Dr Barnardo’s orphanage, Maxine hopes this is the second chance she has been looking for.  And one little boy in particular helps her to realise that she needs the orphans just as much as they need her.”

True Lies – Ross Slater with Douglas Wight

“When ex-Paratrooper and policeman Ross Slater took on a close protection security job for Greenpeace he got more than he bargained for.  Soon he found himself a double agent, spying on his eco-warrior paymasters for Special Branch and ultimately a government twitchy about any kind of protest activity on British soil.

During five explosive years as an insider, Slater immersed himself in the radical lifestyle of the environmental activist, blurring truth and lies and battling to stay straight while drug-taking and a free love spirit took hold around him.  In that time he was taken hostage, caught plotting an attack on a nuclear power station and nearly arrested outside No 10 Downing Street.  But all the while he provided UK law enforcement with the most comprehensive breakdown it has ever received of the organisation’s global hierarchy.

The role of undercover police officers in environmental groups has been bought into sharp focus in recent times and now Slater gives a unique perspective on what it takes to be an undercover agent and how our government spies on green groups.”

The Lie – C.L.Taylor

“Jane Hughes has a loving partner, a job in an animal sanctuary and a tiny cottage in rural Wales.  She’s happier than she’s ever been but her life is a lie.  jane Hughes does not really exist.

Five years earlier Jane and her best friends went on holiday but what should have been the trip of a lifetime rapidly descended into a nightmare that claimed the lives of two of the women.

Jane has tried to put the past behind her but someone knows the truth about what happened.  Someone who won’t stop until they’ve destroyed Jane and everything she loves…”

Nobody’s Child – Michael Seed with Noel Botham

” ‘Sometimes today I still cry for the lonely, frightened little boy I was then – so unhappy and so longing for love – and marvel at not only surviving the brutality and other appalling abuse but also, in the end, triumphing over it all.’

Abused by those who were supposed to love and cherish him, Michael Seed had to fight for survival against his violent and emotionally deranged father in a broken home.

Born into a life of poverty, Michael was starved, beaten, and sexually abused by his father from the age of five.  After losing his mother to suicide, a haunting depression grew inside the young boy and he long considered following in her footsteps.  Yet, even in the midst of such tragedy and brutality, he always found that his desire to live outweighed his wish to end it all.

Anchored by his faith, Michael overcame his horrific childhood to become an inspiration and a guide to help others, both in the church and the secular community.  Rather than dwell on the past, he has used it to change lives for the better.

Nobody’s Child is a poignant, at times agonising, tale of abuse and loneliness that no child should ever have to endure.  Above all, Michael’s words provide a lesson for us all in courage and the power of hope and forgiveness.”

I’m pretty pleased with the selection that I received and, aside from one (The Lie, C.L.Taylor) I have not read any of them but they would be something I would pick up and read.  Once I have started to read them I will post my reviews of each book!

What are you reading at the moment?  What books would you recommend?