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Close Enough To Touch by Colleen Oakley

I was lucky enough to have a sneak preview of this novel and absolutely loved it. My review is fairly short but hopefully it conveys how much I enjoyed it! :)

Jubilee Jenkins has a rare disorder: she's allergic to humans. 

It makes for a fascinating premise, and this novel deals with the issue elegantly, slowly releasing the multitude of emotions Jubilee inevitably feels. It begins with Jubilee living as something of a recluse, when a change of circumstances forces her to leave the house for the first time in nine years. What follows is the thoughtful portrayal of a woman blossoming into a self-assured woman in spite of the cards life has dealt. Close Enough to Touch is, at its core, a warming exploration of the human heart.

The key characters are intriguing and well-developed, and relationships are built cautiously, creating realism through layered characterisation. Eric is likable enough but the true charmer is troubled son Aja, whose quirks endear him almost immediately. The rest of the ensemble round out the story giving it variety without too much to keep track of.

The alternating chapters from both Jubilee and Eric add extra depth to the tale, and insight into two very different dynamics. While Jubilee is somewhat timid and naive, Eric is dealing with pieces of a broken family, and has almost a wearied quality to him; you can clearly picture the frazzled father struggling to keep control over a rapidly unravelling thread. This contrast between the two is the soul of the novel.

Overall a fantastic read with delightful characters and an intelligent story. Highly recommend for lovers of atypical chick-lit. Enjoyed it immensely and my sincere thanks to Allen & Unwin for the advanced copy!

The Girl Before by J P Delaney

This one has finally hit shelves so I figured it's time to share my review! :)

Being compared to Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train leaves one with big expectations for this novel and it does not disappoint. I was lucky enough to win an advanced copy of the novel through a Goodreads giveaway and I'm so excited to see the reactions when the novel receives the inevitable momentum it rightfully deserves!

This is a tangled web of complex characters running quietly rampant with the inherent flaws of humankind. The alternating stories of 'Then' and 'Now' thread together seamlessly, crafting suspense through the slow release of suggestions and the accompanying chills. As the reader learns more about each character, the mystery of The Girl Before becomes increasingly convoluted, surrounded by deception and gradually darkening until its thrilling conclusion. The depth of these characters allows the reader to feel their experiences and react viscerally to their vices. Their layered formation allows one to, if not sympathise with, at least understand the nature of these flawed beings.

The writing is solid, building the story with small, quick, steps into a crescendo of suspense. The similarities between the alternating stories unite the two narratives brilliantly, creating the connection between the two women and permeating their stories with recurring characters. That being said, the subtle difference between style and the slow release of information forks the narratives elegantly, allowing each to take on their own life as the novel gains momentum.

Absolutely loved it from start to finish, as can be assumed from my finishing it in a single day. There's not too many novels these days that sink their claws in quite like this one did!

Highly recommend for fans of suspense and an absolute must for anyone who enjoyed The Girl on the Train or Gone Girl. Get it as soon as it hits shelves - this one is going to be big!

RE: In Between The Lines....Of Men. Poetry and War,and Homecomings...

I like books without markings in them, however,  some of my books are heavily annotated in pencil or with stick- it notes inserted in the pages by me. Your current purchase sounds like a real boon. I bought Kershaw's Hitler: Hubris and it had someone's markings in it, in biro(gughhh!!) . When one finds personal letters in books it does add another dimension as to the history and  previous ownership. Glad to hear you " Hold At ll Costs!" arrived. Surprisingly, the postman came to my door this  morning with my copy of " The Edinburgh Companion to Twentieth- Century  British and American War Literature" ed. Adam Piette& Mark Rawlinson . I wasn't expecting it until late next week when the POffice goes back mid-week. Nice surprise. What am I reading? " Bloody Good( as in medieval terminology ) : Chivalry, Sacrifice and The Great War" by Allen Frantzen , Chicago University Press, 2004. I had wanted this for a long time as I had Stefan Goebel's book on the subject " The Great War and Medieval Memory", Cambridge University Press 2007. Let you know more when I've finished. Just begun. Thank you, I am well. Not too flash on this hot weather heading our way. Hope you are well. 800 pages spred over four volumes ,on Stalingrad! That is dedication to a subject, History Lover.

RE: In Between The Lines....Of Men. Poetry and War,and Homecomings...

I usually don't like buying second hand books with markings inside the covers but occassionally I pick up a book published in the 1800's with the previous owner or owners names inside the cover along with the dates. I reckon that is a piece of history in itself. In one book on Napoleon that was published in the 1880's there is a lovely hand writen letter between the the book owner and the author, very nice :)

​My copy of "Hold at all Costs: The Battle of Delville Wood" finally arrived, not sure when I will get around to reading it as I have just started the second volume of David Glantz four book series on Stalingrad, over 800 pages!

​I hope you are well and enjoying a good book :)


RE: In Between The Lines....Of Men. Poetry and War,and Homecomings...

Hi History Lover, Sorry to hear nothing in your PO box today..still have two more delivery days this week, so maybe...... I quite agree with you  History Lover, old books are very delightful to handle, to read and to cherish in one's library, much like when I found some very old documents in my days in Archives; old history, memories, thoughts. Those books had some really nice bindings. Craftsmanhip.

RE: In Between The Lines....Of Men. Poetry and War,and Homecomings...

No books at the Post Office today, very disappointing :(

​However I visited a cafe/second hand book shop today to chat with a fellow bibliophile and came home with a nice 1870 edition hardback; "Pius the Ninth and His Times" by John Francis Maguire. I just love handling old books, a piece of history in my hands to cherish and enjoy when reading.


RE: In Between The Lines....Of Men. Poetry and War,and Homecomings...

Oooooh, nice one for you History Lover. Books arriving is always a joy.

RE: In Between The Lines....Of Men. Poetry and War,and Homecomings...

Hi Ghost Writer, I just got back from some shopping and checked my PO Box on the way home and found these two books waiting for me: "Putty From Tel-El-Kebir to Cambrai"  by Anthony Leask and "the Rise of Athens" by Anthony Everitt, one of my favourite authors covering the Greeks and Romans of ancient times.

​There is no shortage of books on Alexander the Great, as Arrian, one of the earliest historians stated; "different authors have given different accounts of Alexander's exploits, and there is no one about whom more have written, or more at variance with each other".

​Anyhow I am just going up to my library with a glass of red wine and my two new books to browse through to finish my afternoon :)

RE: In Between The Lines....Of Men. Poetry and War,and Homecomings...

Hi History Lover,  I saw that book " The Day the Renaissance was Saved.." in your listings and I put it in my wishlist for a future purchase. Those two wonderful books I received today were the last for me before Christmas( I planned no more deliveries  this side of Christmas for good reason!). Some on order, including " Hemingway At War:  Work as a War Correspondent in WW11" by Terry Mort, " The Last Post: Music and The Great War". A new biography of "Wilfred Owen: The Man and The Myth" by Barry Matthews is going to be published February 2017. I see there are a few books on Alexander the Great around, just like a plethora of books on Hemingway in the coming months.Good find, History Lover!  Have you caught the series on The Art of Spain on the Arts Channel(Foxtel)? Airing on Sundays. The episode on Velasquez and El Greco was good though sketchy in content. At least when the guy is in the gallery one gets an idea of the sheer size of some of these paintings....Cheers

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