Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Review: Oliver The Cat Who Saved Christmas by Sheila Norton

Publisher: Random House
Rating: 5*

I, Jan, normally read from within the Crime/Mystery/Thriller genres, but chose this book as it was one I felt my daughter Samantha and I could both read, enjoy and review.  This is our joint review of Oliver, the Cat Who Saved Christmas – from a forty-something year old’s point of view and a 12 year old’s.

Review from Jan G.

This delightful story made me feel like the cat who got the cream!

When Oliver’s home is taken by fire, his life changes completely.  But he discovers that the fire at the pub has changed life for the whole village, not just him.  He wants to help and sets about doing so in his own special way.

This heart-warming tale of a little cat made me laugh out loud numerous times and smile frequently.   The story is told by Oliver himself in a manner that felt believable (considering it was a cat telling a story!)  The human characters, as well as the animals, are well crafted and described.  There is a fine attention to detail and nice cat-descriptions (such as children described as human kittens, hands being paws etc.) that anyone who has ever had a cat will enjoy and appreciate.  But it’s not just a book for cat lovers, all who enjoy the company of animals will enjoy Oliver.  The pace of the book is very good, padding along smoothly and evenly, just like a cat, to its ultimate conclusion.

Will Oliver save Christmas?  Can a cat really do that?  Well, I suggest you read this charming book and find out.  I can honestly say I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

Review from Samantha G.

This is the story of a cat who was introduced to us humans more and more as the book goes on, and although he didn’t really understand half of what was going on, he solved everyone else’s problems. The book is written in the point of view of a cat, adored by the public, telling a story to you. It certainly seems that way until you realise it’s actually a kitten he’s talking to. As the story goes on we learn more about Oliver, the kitten, the other cats, and all the human inhabitants. This book makes you laugh a lot with things like ‘Us cats don’t get the respect we deserve sometimes’, and Oliver adds little comments all over the book that made me smile.

In the end, you’re left with a feeling of satisfaction when everything comes together, and you no longer wonder in every turn of the page…  How does that cat save Christmas?!

Bookstore Links: Amazon.com  |  Amazon.co.uk  |  B&N  |  Waterstones  |  WH Smith

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Review: Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams

Publisher: Penguin Putnam
Rating: 4*

I gave this book 4 stars.

The story begins in the Paris in 1937, where the main character, Annabelle is attending a farewell party at the Ritz. A good friend of her brother Charles is leaving to go back to America. Annabelle, who is from America also attends the party alone, while her husband is working, and runs into Stefan, the love of her life.

Next we meet Pepper and the year is 1966. Pepper finds herself in a dilemma, she's 9 months pregnant and on the run from the baby's father. Having restored a 1936 Mercedes Special Roadster, she's hoping to sell and use the money to go far away. By selling the car Pepper and Annabelle meet. Annabelle has an attachment to this specific car because years ago she had used it to escape the Nazi's, thus begins the story of Annabelle and Pepper.

Annabelle's story starts in 1935 Paris. She lives with her father and brother after the death of her mother. Her father owns a villa which is where Annabelle happens to meet Johann and Stefan. Johann, who is an army general from Germany is staying at the villa. He is a widower and although several years older than Annabelle, they seem to hit it off. Later the same evening she is summoned by her brother and not asking any questions, follows him to the boathouse where four of his friends are trying to help a wounded man. Annabelle, who has some nursing skills is asked to aid the young man. She takes him back to his yacht, where he is helped by a doctor on board and nursed back to health by her. Here is where she finds out that he is on the run from the Nazi's.

I found the story of Annabelle and her love affairs with both Johann and Stefan to be filled with danger, adventure and sadness. While the story of Annabelle is told in flashbacks, I found the switch from her to Pepper to be awkward, sometimes making it feel like I was reading two different books with not much in common.  I usually read mysteries and thrillers and this book in the general fiction genre, which I picked up mistakenly believing to be a mystery, was a new experience for me.  It is a beautiful cover to buy in hardcover or paperback and Annabelle's part of the story was really interesting and appealing to me. Thanks for the opportunity to read and review the book.

Bookstore Links: Amazon.com  |  Amazon.co.uk  |  B&N  |  Waterstones  |  WH Smith

Reviewed for MCT by Laurie W.