Jules Just Read... April 2016

A Mother's Secret: A beautiful, heartbreaking novel of love, loss and hidden tragedy - Renita D'Silva The Real Book Thief (How To Steal Another Author's Work And Nearly Get Away With It) - Ingrid Black

I got through 11 books in April, which isn't too bad. I enjoyed a huge mix of genres too, including women's fiction, cultural, young adult, dystopian, crime, thriller, erotic, romance, family saga and non-fiction. I certainly like to mix it up a bit.

 

 

5 Star Ratings

 

Book of the Month

A Mother's Secret: A beautiful, heartbreaking novel of love, loss and hidden tragedy

 

A Mother’s Secret is a rich tapestry of life’s stories, telling the heart-breaking tale of love, loss and loneliness. Despite all the pain, regret and anger, the author still manages to fill the reader with the feeling of hope, and dreams of second chances and new beginnings. Read every beautiful word, watch as each intricate stitch brings this remarkable tapestry together, enabling you to cherish it for years to come.

My heart still aches for this book. For the sensational world I have been a part of for the last few days. For the wonderful strong women who became my companions. I shed a tear for those women, not only for the hardships they went through, but for what I went through with them. They are all a part of me now, having shared their grief, pain, anger, love, secrets and ambitions.


I’m a sensitive soul, at one with nature. I don’t just see things. I need to touch and smell them. Sometimes these senses can be lost in a book, but Renita D’Silva has a magical way of bringing everything to life. I don’t just see the words she has written. I feel them, smell them, and taste them. At one point in the book, I even sneezed, due to sniffing too many spices. I love using as many senses to experience things. That's why I find this descriptive writing style so wonderfully beautiful.

 

Reading a book by Renita D’Silva is a whole physical experience. I hope that anyone who chooses to read this will take their time and make the most of the colourful world that is truly brought to life within these pages. Take in your surroundings and allow yourself to be wholeheartedly absorbed by this beautiful book.

I haven’t said a lot about the plot of this story, as I want you to experience it in the way I did, not knowing how the story was going to progress, wishing for some things, surprised by others. I felt love for many of the characters. I also felt frustration and sadness at the blame, bitterness and self-destruction of the characters. This story really did take me through all possible emotions. I hope your journey through this book is as intense and memorable as mine.

Below are a few of my favourite quotes that give you an idea of Renita D’Silva’s beautiful and imaginative writing style:

“Durga blinks, seeing a cluster of cottages mushrooming from pebble-peppered earth, flanked by velvet fields, and, glowering from the top of the only hill, an old ruin.”

“We taste the darkness, inky and flavoured with shadows, spiced with intrigue.”

“The crows scatter in a demonic cackle, a constellation of black-winged foreboding, upsetting the grazing cows, setting the dogs howling.”

“I open my mouth to the heavens, sampling the fruit-scented, hope flavoured drops and laugh, for the first time since that day when my world shattered.”


Finally, before reading this book, I never thought I’d have a visual image for “bible-wielding shadows”, but I now do. It made me smile.

I highly recommend this book to those who enjoy emotionally heart-breaking, yet also heart-warming tales of the struggles life puts the human soul through, and full of characters that are so well developed and believable they come to life before you.

 

 

Shocking Non-fiction

The Real Book Thief (How To Steal Another Author's Work And Nearly Get Away With It)

 

This book tells of how author duo, Ingrid Black came to discover that popular author, Joanne Clancy had plagiarised not just one, but it appears a series of their books.

The Real Book Thief is an interesting read, and is a stark warning that people aren’t always what they seem. It is a shame myself and others have been made to feel like this, as the author/reader/reviewer community is one of the closest I’ve ever been a part of and I’ve made some friends I hope will be friends for life. It saddens me that some of my reviewer friends have spent many hours reading and reviewing Joanne Clancy’s books, often prioritising her books, only to be betrayed and let down in this way.

 

Reading this book has left me with such mixed emotions. A part of me is sad for the readers and reviewers who have been betrayed by her lies, another part of me is angry that she stole someone else’s hard work and cashed in on it. Authors work exceptionally hard to create a novel, and I feel Joanne’s actions have devalued this difficult process. Then there is the other part of me that always tries to see the good in people. Did something make her so desperate that it drove her to do this? Was she desperate for more money in order to pay bills that were piling up, or was she just seeking attention and wanted to be a famous author with less of the effort? What do her family think of this? Were they in on it all along, or were they proud of their daughter/sister, the talented and successful author?

The most natural part of me feels sympathy for her if this has resulted in her life falling apart around her and her family being ashamed of her. Perhaps she has learnt from her mistakes and is doing something with her life to right the wrongs she has done. If that is the case, then good luck to her. However, the still shocked and betrayed part of me has become suspicious of what is now real. Is Joanne Clancy even her real name, or has she got various author names that are still making her money to this day? My mind is in a spin! Perhaps we will never know the truth.

I feel shocked and saddened by this at the moment, but my reviewer friends and I will get over this, and continue loving and supporting authors as we have done for many years. This book is a huge eye-opener, but please don’t let it ruin your love of books and support for genuine authors that still need your help.

 

 

 

4 Star Ratings

 

Flawed (Flawed #1)

Flawed is about the idea of a perfectly controlled society, and of morals, fear and rebellion. The fight for justice and fairness.

One thing that makes this a Cecelia Ahern book, regardless of it being different to her usual genre, is the focus on human feelings. Something she is very good at. I found this both tense and emotional in places, even bringing tears to my eyes at one point.

 

 

The Silent Twin (Detective Jennifer Knight #3)

The Silent Twin was another enjoyable and sometimes rather tense crime thriller in the Detective Jennifer Knight series.

There were some interesting characters, and it had me guessing who was responsible, and changing my mind throughout. It even gave me the heebie jeebies the first night I read it, as I was home alone all night, so kept hearing things go bump in the night once I turned the lights out. I slept a little better last night, but only after staying up into the early hours to finish this, as I needed to know the outcome.

 

 

The Scottish Diamond: A Romantic Suspense Novella

The Scottish Diamond is a romance with an element of suspense and skulduggery.

I really enjoyed this book. The characters were very likeable and I found the overall romance, mystery, suspense storyline fun and easy to follow.

I also loved the references to Macbeth, and this in fact made me feel more uneasy throughout the story, as I studied Macbeth for GCSE, and it nearly sent me crazy, watching the play on TV repeatedly, and having to read parts of the book over and over again. I had so many dreams and nightmares about it at the time.

 

 

Denied (The Monster Trilogy Book 2)

This is a dark and erotic romance filled with crime and danger, and continues the story we encounter in part one, Defaced, which had a strong Beauty and the Beast feel to it.

 

Denied carries on where Defaced left off, and we are taken on another tense and action packed ride that is likely to have you loving and hating Monster in equal measure.

 

Oh my, that ending! I need more now!

 

 


The Curious Charms Of Arthur Pepper

This is about an old man’s journey of not only finding out about his late wife’s somewhat secret past, but a journey of self-discovery for Arthur too. Watch as Arthur’s mission to find out about his wife, due to a charm bracelet he discovered amongst his wife’s belongings, takes him on an unexpected and almost magical adventure of travel, meeting of great characters and some fun, once in a lifetime experiences.

This story is sweet, endearing and heart-warming. Some parts of the story were very touching and emotional, while others were funny.

I loved that Arthur called his fern plant, Frederica. We have a coffee plant that we named Kofi Annan. He looks a bit dishevelled at the moment, bless him, but we hope he’ll recover one day with enough sun and water.

 

 

 

Web of Deceit: A DI Sally Parker novella.

I really enjoyed Web of Deceit. This story was surprisingly creepy at the beginning. I even jumped at my own shadow while I was in the middle of reading this. It was fast paced, sometimes rather tense, and there were a couple of moments I was gritting my teeth together and holding my breath. There was an interesting mix of characters too.

This is ideal if you fancy a quick read between full length books, and it certainly makes you think about some of those people you have met online but don’t actually know in person. Expect to feel a little more suspicious of online folk after reading this.

 

 

After the Lie

After the Lie is a great family saga full of secrets and suspense. This story involves lies, jealousy, regret, and perhaps a little forgiveness along the way.

I really enjoyed this book. It had a steady pace and the plot was well written. I loved how the story progressed throughout. It was hard to put down and sometimes had me feeling on edge.

There was a great mix of characters. I loved getting to know them all, and found it interesting how my views of the characters would keep changing throughout the story, leaving me with a feeling of not being completely sure who I sided with or how I wanted things to turn out for everyone.

 

 

 

3 Star Ratings

 

The Second Chance Shoe Shop

The Second Chance Shoe Shop was an enjoyable read.

There was an interesting mix of characters, and I loved the whole focus on Twitter (even though I still can’t fully work out how to use Twitter myself). Although I’ve not entered the competition, I did find it fun that there is currently a real life shoe related competition happening on Twitter in connection with this book. #shoelove

This story was perhaps a little too light for me, although some of that may just be because of the emotional book I read before this, which was always going to be a hard act to follow.

 

 

 

Different Class

Unfortunately, this particular book didn’t quite grip me in the way many of her other books have. I much preferred Blueeyedboy and Gentlemen and Players. I found Different Class a little slow and it failed to surprise me in the way some of her other books have. Having said that, it was still well written and had a collection of intriguing characters.