Heartstone by C.J Sansom
Heartstone is the much anticipated sixth book in the Matthew Shardlake series. Having thoroughly enjoyed all of the others to date I eagerly awaited this new adventure…
Author C.J Sansom takes us back the reign of Henry VIII, following lawyer Matthew Shardlake and his companions as they unravel the mysteries surrounding a case whilst all around them the country prepares for invasion. The sights, smells and sounds of life in Tudor England in 1545 are magnificently brought to life in the pages of this novel.
The story of Heartstone takes us away from the hustle and bustle of London to Hampshire during a dangerous time with England under threat of an immanent invasion by the French. Matthew and his trusty companion Barack are asked by Queen Catherine Parr herself to investigate a case on behalf of one of her loyal servants. The mystery of the ‘monstrous wrongs’ suffered by a young boy in the wardship of a powerful family unfolds in typical Sansom fashion; with dramatic plot twists, wonderfully rich descriptive narrative and likeable characters. As the ‘norm’ with the Shardlake series, different threads of stories and characters all link together to create a cohesive plot to keep the reader gripped with every page turn.
The story converges to a dramatic finale aboard Henry VIII’s cherished warshp the Mary Rose in Portsmouth harbour with the entire French fleet fast approaching…
The strong plot, rich historical detail and heart-warming characters all make this book one not to be missed! Life in Tudor England is evoked in a such a brilliant way that it leaves you sad to finish the last page.
At the Roundhouse campus a 6 Book Challenge group of readers that have difficulty reading are currently enjoying the Quick Reads that the library has to offer and many of the Barrington Stoke books that cater for their reading needs.
Participants are also reading their own books that are related to their hobbies and interests. One student in the group is reading a book on theology while another is reading a book about a Derby County manager that he was given as a Christmas gift.
Students across all sites are taking up the challenge with much enthusiasm and there are even participants that have already completed reading the 6 books. Certificates and prizes are being handed out and the library encourages all 6 Book Challengers to continue with their reading.
Humble Pie by Gordon Ramsay
Basically, this is the potted version of Gordon Ramsay’s autobiography. I was at first rather sceptical when I started to read this, as I had seen him on television. Most notably in ‘Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares’, and from watching his programmes, decided that he was a driven and knowledgeable man, but that he was also one of the rudest men on television. However, after reading the first few chapters, I began to understand why he was so driven and abrasive.
Gordon Ramsay had a very tough childhood, his father was what could be termed a bit of a dreamer, and he was also an alcoholic. Whilst this made for an unpleasant childhood, it shaped his attitude, and made him into a man striving to be the best and most successful at his chosen profession. What also surprised me was the underhanded tactics employed by both himself and rival chefs to ensure that they got what they wanted. Especially when he transferred kitchen staff from one of his restaurants that was threatened with closure to another restaurant that was just opening. Whilst this saved people’s jobs, it also meant that the other restaurant was forced to close earlier than planned. No staff, no bookings. The book also demonstrated the size of the egos of some of the top chefs, who could hardly be accused of being shrinking violets, but the book demonstrates that chefs put in extremely long hours, and that they acquired their reputations on merit.
I can wholeheartedly recommend this book, as it lifts the proverbial cooking lid on one of the top chefs, gives an insight into his character, and how he acquired his attitude to life. Which is,
‘To be the best, you have to work hard, be prepared to be unpopular, and accept nothing but the best from your employees’
Image from goodreads.com
The New Year is underway in the libraries at Derby College and as the Christmas break seems but a distant memory for all staff and students at college, the libraries reflect on the past year and look forward to the future.
The end of 2014 saw the libraries launch the 6 Book Challenge for 2015, and the list of participants grows as the library team continue to promote this challenge supported by the reading agency.
Over the past few months staff and students have read many novels so please keep checking the site for upcoming book reviews.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
This story has a supernatural/science fiction theme that includes people with special powers and time travel. It is told in an unusual way and uses genuine old photographs to illustrate the story. Personally I loved it and have since read the follow up Hollow City, both books are very exciting and tense. I found them very easy to read and enjoyable.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
This book should come with some kind of risk warning like: Caution – this book may make living a normal life difficult for a good week after you’ve finished reading it. But seriously, without wanting to give too much away, before you embark upon The Fault in Our Stars, prepare yourself for an emotional rollercoaster!
It’s brilliant, it really is. It’s one of those books where you wish you could wipe your memory of ever having read it just so you can read it again without knowing what happens. And the thing is, despite the majority of the characters being desperately ill you never once feel sorry for them. They don’t want your sympathy, instead they want you to laugh along with them when they make funny jokes out of their situation like: “I’ve gotten really hot since you went blind.”
It’s absolutely 100% worth a read, I don’t know anyone who’s read it and not liked it.
Note: This book has been adapted into a film and is currently showing in cinemas now in the UK.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The beautiful fantastical descriptions in this story are written to perfectly to help you imagine the wonderful place of the Night Circus that’s created by magic and held together by the people that work in the circus. The characters are especially well written, they helped to keep the story grounded and authentic as their actions and motives were convincing. The author gives the reader the experience of visiting the circus by describing in great details the sights, smells, sounds and tastes, which I think she does very well, letting your imagination run wild!