Someday Soon - Debbie Macomber
The Devil Wears Prada - Laura Weisberger
The Treasure Hunters - Enid Blyton
Old Boyfriends - Debbie Macomber
The Magician's Guild - Trudi Canavan
The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Novice - Trudi Canavan
The High Lord - Trudi Canavan
08 were first time reads
TOTAL NUMBER OF BOOKS READ THUS FAR in 2009: 82
Debbie Macomber's books are nice, easy, feel good, friendly reads that are about real people and don't go overboard on the angst and the will they, won't they. Someday Soon is very much a romance and actually involves two couples. The main couple are a mercenary who falls in love with a widow; the secondary couple are another mercenary and the physiotherapist who not only gives him the will to live, but gets him back on his feet and walking. Well written, believable characters, a good balance of emotions. A nice read.
Old Boyfriends is very much a book that shows you can't go back and the grass isn't always greener. The main character returns to her home town, leaving behind her husband, daughter and son to fend for themselves, to help her mother who, following the death of her father, isn't coping well and whom she wants to get into assisted living accommodation. Whilst she is there she starts to think more and more about her first love, the man she believes her father sent away. She meets up with old friends and also old acquaintances she probably wishes she'd never reconnected with, and whilst there she learns something about her older brother (who is dead), her father and most of all herself. Another well written, good character driven book.
The Devil Wears Prada I don't even know how I stumbled across this book, it must have been on the main Amazon log in page. It caught my eye because it's the story about how a freshly graduated young woman goes to work for a high-powered fashion director and yet she knows nothing about fashion whatsoever. Given I know very, very little about fashion and have even less interest in it (what I do know I learnt from the Shopoholic books); thus I thought it might be a fun read. Because of the fashion director's standing in the world of magazines and fashion generally, a year with her equates to three or four elsewhere and if she's happy with your work after the year, you can pretty much write your own ticket.
It was a fun read; I enjoyed it very much. The boss is an out and out bitch, who expects her assistants to be available and there for her to do literally anything she demands 24/7. Even if you're having a gynea check-up, you're expected to have your mobile phone with you. You cannot like the fashion director, you simply can't, but you dislike her enough to want to see if she'll get her comeuppance by the end. As for the 'doormat', I spent the book wishing she'd stand up to her boss and wondering who on earth would put up with that kind of treatment, whilst at the same time knowing pretty much had I been her, I'd have done it too *wry grin*. Fast paced, good characters, not exactly a earth-shattering plot, but it keep my attention. I don't, as I've said before, read much chic-lit, but this is an author I might well check out again. An enjoyable read.
The Treasure Hunters. This book came up in discussion with caffyolay when she mentioned her granddaughter offered to lend it to her. It wasn't a title I recognised (and I thought I'd read pretty much all of Enid Blyton as a child) so I tracked down a copy on Amazon Market Place. It's not as good, IMO, as EB's 'Of Adventure' series, and I'd say it was written for kiddies younger than the 'Of Adventure'. In fact part of the plot of this book EB used in the 'Ship Of Adventure'. There are three children who go to say with their grandparents who are going to have to sell their home. However, the three youngsters learn about the lost treasure and take it upon themselves to track it down. It's very EB, middle class, polite, well mannered children who although do to an extent conform to the at the time expected gender roles are nonetheless equal and have a lot of fun and indeed do switch over in the roles too. It's not a re-read, but I'm glad I read it.
The Secret Garden. Somehow I got through childhood without reading this - I remember I loved the BBC's televised version of it, but the book never found its way to my bookcase. Basically it tells the story of a young girl orphaned in India and sent home to the UK to live with her only relative. She's a spoilt brat and her uncle doesn't care about anyone, not since he was widowed. However, Mary finally learns about friendship and companionship mainly due to finding a garden that had been locked up since the death of her aunt and she also discovers she has a cousin. It's a story of growth and learning and healing for more than one person. It's off its era and I have to say I found it not terribly well-written, or maybe not just my style. I was pleased to have finally read it, but I think I'll keep the memories of the TV series I saw decades ago.
The Black Magician Trilogy. This was recommended by caffyolay and I am really glad she told me about the series. It's fantasy and to be honest there's nothing new in the saga, as such, but that rarely matters to me. As everyone knows there are only so many plots in the world. This series tells the story of Sonea a girl from the slums who one day during the annual 'purge' of slum-dwellers discovers she has magical powers. She should go to the Magicians' Guild, but she hates magicians, if for no other reason than they are the people who, at the order of the King, do the purge. So a dear friend of hers tries to hide her with the thieves, in return for her using her magic. But she can't control it and finally the magicians are led to her and save her life and that of many of the thieves and slum dwellers. She is taken to the Guild and placed in the care of a very gentle, understanding magician who takes it upon himself to persuade her to stay, rather than have her powers blocked. Unbeknown to him, however, before she lost total control of her powers, he friend took her into the Guild grounds and she saw and felt a magician doing black magic. Later she discovers the magician was none other than Aakarin - the High Lord. She does stay and the day comes when Aakarin discovers she knows the truth about him and he takes her as his 'favourite' novice. And soon her loyalties are tested and she has to question what she saw and why it was being done. Sonea turns out to be an extremely powerful magician herself.
The books are fast-paced, but not to the extent that you get exhausted from reading them. However, they don't dawdle along at any point. They are, IMO, very well written, the author tells a jolly good story. The characters are very real, extremely well drawn and the background and settings clear to visualise. You get caught up in the story and want to find out what happens. As to whether Aakarin is good or bad, well the author keeps that a secret for quite some time - but again not too long - and he could be either, just as I thought 'oh, yes, he's xxxx' something would happen and wham, my view would change. I felt for the characters, I got involved, and the biggest testament of all, during book three there was a time where I didn't do my usual stop at the end of a paragraph and go and have a shower once I'd finished my early morning tea - I had to read to the end of the chapter *g* I recommend the series highly.