It has been months since I updated my ‘what I have read’ list and many books have been read, and sadly forgotten – my Bestie asked me the other week what I was reading and I have about 8 books on the go at the mo and could barely remember what they were, let alone what I have read recently. And I know full well I haven’t really enjoyed much recently and knowing my luck I will end up reading them again in the future, thinking to myself, hmmm this seems familiar, gawd time to start writing them down again.

So what did I read last month, if I remember rightly…

the island

The Island – Victoria Hislop

‘On the brink of a life-changing decision, Alexis Fielding longs to find out about her mother’s past. But Sofia has never spoken of it. All she admits to is growing up in a small Cretan village before moving to London. When Alexis decides to visit Crete, however, Sofia gives her daughter a letter to take to an old friend, and promises that through her she will learn more.

Arriving in Plaka, Alexis is astonished to see that it lies a stones throw from the tiny, deserted island of Spinalonga – Greece’s former leper colony. Then she finds Fotini, and at lasts hears the story that Sofia has been hiding all her life: the tale of her great-grandmother Eleni and her daughters and a family rent by tragedy, war and passion. She discovers how intimately she is connected with the island, and how secrecy holds them all in its powerful grip…’

I quite enjoyed this book; I loved the setting; an old-fashioned, rustic, beautiful (in my mind) village in Greece (it reminded me of Mamma Mia and Captain Corelli’s Mandolin). It wasn’t a happy tale; how could it be when it was about a family and the disease Leprosy, but although not the most cheerful, it wasn’t as depressing as it sounds. It did look like it was going to be the same old story of two sisters, one good and one bad, there was tragedy and love, but it was also a story about how people will not give up and they can survive even when they have to leave the ones they love.

the loop

The Loop – Nicholas Evans

‘Helen Ross is a 29 year old biologist, sent into a hostile place to protect the wolves from those who seek to destroy them. She struggles for survival and for self-esteem, embarking on a love affair with the 18 year old son of her most powerful opponent, brutal and charismatic rancher, Buck Calder.’

I went through a phase years ago of reading Nicholas Evans books and I enjoyed them enough to keep them, but I haven’t read them since, so I thought it was time to revisit, starting with The Loop – cos who doesn’t want to read a book with a wolf on the front… It is a really well-written book, set in a beautiful location and I could picture it as I reading it like it was an American mini TV series. However I am unsure if it is still to my taste; the story was okay, some interesting characters, you had the goodies and the baddies and there was a love story, plus the wolves sad story, and even an animal lover could see where the ‘baddies’ were coming from at times, even if their methods (and personalities) were wrong, but will I ever want to read it again? I don’t think so.

summer at shell cottage

Summer at Shell Cottage – Lucy Diamond

‘A seaside holiday at Shell Cottage in Devon has always been the perfect escape for the Tarrant family. Beach fun, barbecues and warm summer evenings with a cocktail or two – who could ask for more?

But this year, everything has changed. Following her husband’s recent death, Olivia is struggling to pick up the pieces. Then she makes a shocking discovery that turns her word upside down.

As a busy mum and GP, Freya’s used to having her hands full, but a bad day at work has put her career in jeopardy and now she’s really feeling the pressure.

Harriet’s looking forward to a break with her lovely husband Robert and her teenage daughter Molly. But unknown to Harriet, Robert is hiding a secret – and so, for that matter, is Molly…’

This was an easy read, you had each member of the family dealing with their own dramas which were all sorted by the end of the holiday/book. I would normally give up on such a simple book but the likeable, realistically flawed characters kept me interested enough to get me through to the satisfactory end.

The Weird Sisters

The Weird Sisters – Eleanor Brown

“There is no problem that a library can’t solve”.

The Andreas family is one of readers. Their father, a renowned Shakespeare professor who speaks almost entirely in verse, has named his three daughters after famous Shakespearean women. When the sisters return to their childhood home, ostensibly to care for their ailing mother, but really to lick their wounds and bury their secrets, they are horrified to find the others there.

“See, we love each other. We just don’t happen to like each other very much”.

But the sisters soon discover that everything they’ve been running from — one another, their hometown, and themselves — might offer more than they ever expected.’

I quite liked this one; the sisters were each interesting and frustrating and the Shakespeare quotes throughout didn’t confuse me too much, but looking back I can’t really remember what actually happened in the book, it was just another one of those self-discovery stories for each sister, but told in an entertaining way.

the alchemist

The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

‘This story is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy Woman, a man who calls himself King, and an alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles along the way. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasure found within.’

This book is recommended on so so many ‘must read’ lists so I thought it was time to give it a try. It is short book with a positive message; basically – follow your dreams, if you want something you have to go for it – which of course is a great message, however I must be really ignorant, or a bit dead inside because I did not feel inspired, the story felt clumpy and I really struggled to get into it, I am afraid it just wasn’t for me.