Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck #BookReview

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Today I have my thoughts on Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. It was a chance for me to take a dip into one of the classics, I had read quite a few of the classics a couple of years and never did quite get round to this one. I have read Grapes of Wrath and also Cannery Row and enjoyed them and gave me a chance to get a feel for the authors grim and gritty style. You can get a copy of Of Mice and Men from most good bookshops and online at Amazon UK, my copy is the Penguin Red Classics edition.

Synopsis:

Drifters in search of work, George and his childlike friend Lennie, have nothing in the world except the clothes on their back – and a dream that one day they will have some land of their own. Eventually they find work on a ranch in California’s Salinas Valley, but their hopes are dashed as Lennie – struggling against extreme cruelty, misunderstanding and feelings of jealousy – becomes a victim of his own strength. Tackling universal themes of friendship and shared vision, and giving a voice to America’s lonely and dispossessed, Of Mice and Men remains Steinbeck’s most popular work, achieving success as a novel, Broadway play and three acclaimed films.

My Thoughts:

Of Mice and Men is the story of George and Lennie. They work various jobs and travel around looking for new work as one job runs out or they run out. The story begins as they head towards their next job. George has a dream to one day own his own plot of land and Lennie is happily caught up in this vision of the future. Lennie is a gentle giant of a man and is referred to as being not very bright but will work hard and do as he is told.

George looks out for Lennie and knows that many would not want a man like Lennie working for them, prejudice at this point in history is ripe so anyone being slightly different is not acceptable to many. Even though George is often frustrated by the simple nature of Lennie, he is a friend and will support him. They are each other has.

This is a simple tale of friendship between two men travelling for work. Rather than being loners as many travelling labourers are, they have a bond in their friendship, they are able to talk about their dreams for the future and it gives them hope. George tries his best to keep Lennie out of trouble, but this is not always possible and  misunderstandings do happen.

This is a quick read at only 121 pages and is easy to read in one sitting. It’s style is one I like, a slow meandering yet descriptive and emotional one. It explores various inequalities and prejudices that were relevant at the time. A wonderful read that slowly rolls along until it picks up speed as a sense of tension begins to build.

This is a book I would recommend to readers who enjoy American Social History, Literary Fiction and  Classic Fiction.

About the Author:

41Hta3i6uDL._UX250_ John Steinbeck is perhaps best known for Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath, which led to his Nobel Prize for Literature award in 1962. Born in Salinas, California in 1902, Steinbeck grew up in a fertile agricultural valley about twenty-five miles from the Pacific Coast: both valley and coast would serve as settings for some of his best fiction. In 1919 he went to Stanford University, where he intermittently enrolled in literature and writing courses until he left in 1925 without taking a degree. During the next five years he supported himself as a labourer and journalist in New York City, all the time working on his first novel, Cup of Gold (1929). After marriage and a move to Pacific Grove, he published two California books, The Pastures of Heaven (1932) and To a God Unknown (1933) and worked on short stories later collected in The Long Valley (1938).

Popular success and financial security came only with Tortilla Flat (1935), stories about Monterey’s paisanos. A ceaseless experimenter throughout his career, Steinbeck changed courses regularly. Three powerful novels of the late 1930s focused on the California labouring class: In Dubious Battle (1936), Of Mice and Men (1937), and the book considered by many his finest, The Grapes of Wrath (1939).

Being partly based on his own experiences as a travelling worker, Steinbeck originally wanted Of Mice and Men to be titled ‘Something That Happened’. The book explores themes of powerlessness, loneliness and empathy and received the greatest positive critical response of any of his works up to that point. It has achieved success as a novel, a Broadway play and three acclaimed films.

Steinbeck’s compassionate depiction of the poor in The Grapes of Wrath helped the book become an immediate publishing phenomenon, discussed on a national scale and becoming an instant bestseller. The book was described by the Nobel Prize committee as a “great work” and stated that it was one of the main reasons for granting Steinbeck the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962.

Early in the 1940s, Steinbeck became a filmmaker with The Forgotten Village (1941) and a serious student of marine biology with Sea of Cortez (1941). He devoted his services to the war, writing Bombs Away (1942) and the controversial play-novelette The Moon is Down (1942). Cannery Row (1945), The Wayward Bus (1948), another experimental drama, Burning Bright (1950), and The Log from the Sea of Cortez (1951) preceded publication of the monumental East of Eden (1952)East of Eden (1952), an ambitious saga of the Salinas Valley and his own family’s history.

The last decades of his life were spent in New York City and Sag Harbor with his third wife, with whom he traveled widely. Later books include: Sweet Thursday (1954)The Short Reign of Pippin IV: A Fabrication (1957), Once There was a War (1958), The Winter of Our Discontent (1961), Travels with Charley in Search of America (1962), America and Americans (1966) and the posthumously published Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters (1969),Viva Zapata! (1975,The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights (1976), and Working Days: The Journals of The Grapes of Wrath (1989).

He died in 1968, having won a Nobel Prize in 1962.
Photo by Nobel Foundation [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be great 🙂 xx

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Remember: A Unique Love Story by Shervin Jamali @ShervinJamali @CarolineBookBit #BookReview

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Today I am sharing my thoughts on Remember: A Unique Love Story by Shervin Jamali as part of the blog tour by Caroline at Bits About Books. This is the second book I have read by this author and I am delighted to have been part of the tour for this one. You can get a copy of your own HERE. My huge thanks to Shervin and Caroline for my ebook and my spot on the tour xx

Synopsis:

As Daniel watches the life ebb from Grace’s body, he wishes they had more time, knew each other when they were young. His wife surprises him by insisting that they did. And then she’s gone. Daniel knows this can’t be true. Can it? They only met later in life, so why would Grace’s departing words hint at a shared youth? Haunted by this notion, Daniel journeys into the past to discover the truth. ‘Remember’ is a unique love story. Find out how it really began… ‘Remember’ is dedicated to the brilliant Scottish author Brendan Gisby and his late wife, Alison. Here’s what Brendan Gisby says: “Well, you bugger, ‘Remember’ made me cry. The one word I’ll use to describe it is: Magnificent!” 

My Thoughts:

This is definitely not your typical love story, it’s not your usual boy meets girl, fall in love and live happily ever after. It is instead the story of Daniel and Grace. Grace is dying and her last words to Daniel are that they had met before.

This is an absolutely beautiful story that is heartbreaking and stunning. Daniel is the main focus as I got to learn about his life, the ups, the downs, the good and the bad. If you believe in love at first sight at, that you have a soul mate or that fate can play a part in two people meeting then this is a story for you. If you don’t believe in these things then this is still the story for you as it will challenge your belief.

As for the story line, I am saying nothing much about it. But you will discover that Daniel’s life has been hard, leaving him with having to try to deal with past issues and trauma and Grace has been the force behind him coming to terms and dealing with them.

It is a well thought out story that the author really has executed so well. There is a balance that felt right about it, giving it a realistic feel to it as in everyday life, and it felt very personal. It has elements of dark and light as the journey with Daniel progresses, but above all it is a story of love and life.

This is a novella that really packs a punch with the emotions, it is beautifully written and I think that people will take different things from this book. It makes you think about life and death, loved ones and family. This is a book I would highly recommend.

About the Author:

15272210.jpgI’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t until recently that it just seemed to click. I’ve had stories locked away, but suddenly, and unexpectedly, they now need to get out. I completed the first draft of “The Devil’s Lieutenant” in just two months, and that was as a result of writing when I had the opportunity to do so. My 8-5 job and family still came first. I look forward to the day when I can be a full time writer who can take my children to school, pick them up and chauffeur them to various activities, with a healthy dose of writing in between. I believe that day might be right around the corner.

Also, my favorite punctuation mark is the semi-colon; it’s often used incorrectly, but it’s always winking at you!

Find the author at : Website Twitter 

See what other readers think of the book by following the tour

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Summer at The Cafe at the End of the Pier by Helen Rolfe @hjrolfe #BookReview

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I am absolutely over the moon to be sharing my thoughts on “Summer at The Cafe at the End of the Pier” by Helen Rolfe. Get your copy here at Amazon UK. I am not going to lie I love this series a huge amount, so much so that I have already got the rest of the series pre-ordered 🙂 If you have read this series have you noticed what is being published on 27th December (lots of happy dancing and whooping 🙂 🙂 🙂 !!!)

If you have not started this series…. Why Not ! 😦 Make amends and get a copy of the first book HERE it’s free by the way and it is a great little novella that marks the start of this fabulous series.

Synopsis:

Searching for love this summer? You’ll find it at The Café at the End of the Pier…

Since moving to Salthaven-on-Sea to help her beloved grandparents run their charming little café at the end of the pier, Jo has blossomed.

The café is at the heart of the community, and Jo is determined to serve up a little romance to her customers alongside her delicious cooking. As summer sizzles, her plans to bring the town’s lonely hearts together on blind dates, each with a specially designed menu, are finally getting into full swing…

Spring in Salthaven brought new friendships, lost loves, and a little flirtation… But as a fresh opportunity threatens to tempt Jo away from the town, will she find where she belongs – and her own love story – at The Café at the End of the Pier?

A perfect feel-good summer read, for fans of Debbie Johnson and Cathy Bramley

*****

Readers love The Cafe at the End of the Pier:

A beautifully written feel-good story that will make you smile’

‘Loved the characters and couldn’t wait to turn the page’

‘What an absolute delight!’

My Thoughts:

Each new instalment is like catching up with old friends. With the cafe being the centre of the series, I like to think of myself as sitting at a corner table listening in to the local gossip and seeing new people whilst drinking a mug of black coffee and eating one of Jo or Molly’s scrumptious culinary creations.

So through the previous stories I have got to know a little about the cafe and its owner Jo, how her life has changed since running the cafe. A few months in and the work is hard, the days are long but the rewards are definitely worth it. There is a downside however as she realises that things break, things need replacing, these are the standard run of the mill problems and give her pause for thought.

The old characters are still here and I gradually get to know a little more about them and their lives. New characters are introduced to me, though they are regulars to Jo and the cafe. A nice amount of romance is in the air as she tries her hand at match making again, and who is on the horizon for Jo? There are a few contenders and I know who I would like to see her matched up with!

There are ongoing themes from the previous stories regarding a rift, the match making, Jo’s personal life and also that of her grandparents and mum. This is where I advise reading this series in order as you build up a relationship with the characters and discover the things that make them who they are and discover how the community of Salthaven clicks.

These are wonderful stories set in an idyllic seaside cafe and it’s surrounding area. I work in a cafe/ restaurant/ice cream parlour and so know the ins and outs of working in this environment and the author really does have several aspects of the business down to a tea (pun intended 😉).

The author has built a fabulous community around the cafe and it is a hub for grandparents, parents, teenagers, couples and those who are alone. They have been incorporated into a story that has some realistic scenarios and by the end of this book there was a definite Oooohhh moment, a sneaky ending and roll on the next one.

If you are after an escape for an hour then you really must pay a visit to the Cafe at the End of the Pier series, it is charming and delightful with a warm welcome, some fabulous food and company with a side order of romance. An Absolutely Highly Recommended from me.

About the Author:

2krhc8k2oi7ko3vv94v986teti._SY200_Helen J Rolfe writes contemporary women’s fiction and enjoys weaving stories about family, friendship, secrets, and community. Characters often face challenges and must fight to overcome them, but above all, Helen’s stories always have a happy ending.

Location is a big part of the adventure in Helen’s books and she enjoys setting stories in different cities and countries around the world. So far, locations have included Melbourne, Sydney, New York, Connecticut, Bath and the Cotswolds.

Helen also writes for Orion Books under the name Helen Rolfe. Her new series, Cafe at the End of the Pier, is out in 2018 and begins with a Valentine’s short story.

Born and raised in the UK, Helen graduated from University with a business degree and began working in I.T. This job took her over to Australia and it was there that she studied writing and journalism and began writing for women’s health and fitness magazines. She also volunteered with the PR department of a children’s hospital where she wrote articles and media releases. Helen began writing fiction in 2011 and hasn’t missed the I.T. world one little bit, although the I.T. skills have come in handy of course, especially when it comes to creating and maintaining a website.

After fourteen years of living in Australia, Helen returned to the UK and now lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and their children.

To learn more about Helen and her writing, find her at:

Website – FacebookTwitter

The Pier Books:

The next one “Autumn at The Cafe at the End of the Pier” is available for preorder at Amazon UK

Many thanks for reading my post, a share or a like would be amazing 🙂 xx

#BookReview : Chilling Tales Of The Unexpected by Ann Girdharry @GirdharryAnn @rararesources

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I am delighted to be sharing “Chilling Tales Of The Unexpected” by Ann Girdharry as part of the blog tour by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. My thanks to Rachel for my spot on the tour and also Ann for my e-copy of the collection. You can get a copy from Amazon or see have a look at it on Goodreads

Synopsis:

Four twisty, short reads.
Addictive works of suspense,
That will leave you breathless and give you goose bumps…

Trading with Death
What sacrifice might we make for those we love? In the face of death, will we be selfish or selfless?

Tell Me a Secret
Deceit, lies and secrets – how well do we know those close to us?

Sweet Justice 
We follow Tess as she confronts the dark side…

Written on the Apple Tree 
A moment from a past life, a possession, or a simple meeting between strangers?

My Thoughts:

This is another new to me author and based on these short stories I will definitely be looking to read read more by her.

So this is a collection of four stories and each one has an element of the unexpected, or it has a twist. They bring a range of interesting concepts that I really enjoyed and yes I did like the unexpected kick at the end of each one. Given their short nature I found them to be compelling and well thought out with a feeling of completeness to them.

I always feel that I am being to vague when reviewing short stories as the review tends to also be on the short side and I never want to give any spoilers away. So what I found within the stories was that they had a slightly sinister element or maybe better described as an element of thrill, and left me with an “ooooohhh” at the end of each one.

They cover a range of themes and each one has been well developed and even though they are short I felt they had a good amount of depth. It would be hard to pick a favourite as they are so different to each other.

I would definitely recommend these to readers who like short stories with an unexpected twist and thrill to them.

 

About the Author:

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Born and educated in the UK, Ann Girdharry is a trained psychotherapist and has worked as a manager in the not-for-profit sector for many years.
Today she lives in Montpellier, France with her husband and two children.

She writes suspense and thrillers, is a book reviewer and occasionally blogs for the Huffington Post UK. Her crime thriller novel, GOOD GIRL BAD GIRL, was an Eric Hoffer Book Award Finalist 2017. Two of her thrillers are READERS’ FAVOURITE Five Star Books.

Social Media Links – Follow Ann on – Facebook – Twitter – Goodreads – Bookbub

Follow the tour to see what others think:

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Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

#BlogBlitz : My Sweet Friend by HA Leuschel @HALeuschel : @rararesources : #BookReview : #Giveaway (open Int’lly)

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I am delighted to be sharing “My Sweet Friend” by H.A Leuschel today on the blog as part of the blog blitz by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. I have read Helen’s last Book of short stories and did not hesitate when the offer to take part in the blitz for the next book. You can purchase “My Sweet Friend” Here.

Synopsis:

A stand-alone novella from the author of Manipulated Lives

A perfect friend … or a perfect impostor?
Alexa is an energetic and charismatic professional and the new member of a Parisian PR company where she quickly befriends her colleagues Rosie and Jack. She brings a much-needed breath of fresh air into the office and ambitiously throws herself into her new job and friendships. 

But is Alexa all she claims to be? 

As her life intertwines with Rosie and Jack’s, they must all decide what separates truth from fiction. Will the stories that unfold unite or divide them? Can first impressions ever be trusted?

In this original novella, H.A. Leuschel evokes the powerful hold of appearances and what a person is prepared to do to keep up the facade. If you like thought-provoking and compelling reads with intriguing characters, My Sweet Friend is for you.

My Thoughts:

For “My Thoughts” I am going to start at the end of the book with the acknowledgements, a little odd but there is a reason for this. Helen refers to the research she had done into the consequences of lying. It is this that provides a premise for the story of “My Sweet Friend”.

We follow the two main characters in this novella. Alexis is just about to start her new job where she meets fellow employee Rosie. They become friends and in the alternating chapters between the two women we gradually learn more about them. It isn’t long before you start to become aware that not everything is quite as it should be, the snarky little comments are a little more barbed than they should be between friends. But friends stick together right?

The author has a very convincing way of telling her stories and a devious way of leading you to think one way when actually she has taken on a different route. I love the way the author uses distraction to hoodwink the reader.

It was nice to be able to read something by this author that was longer than a short story. I really liked to be able to immerse myself in this longer format, and it was still over far to quickly. Helene manages to create atmosphere in the surrounding of the streets and cafes.

Using the trust we place in a friend, Helene has created a story that explores how far a person can push the boundaries of friendship. This is a novella that has some very good twists and an element of suspense. This is an author I would definitely recommend and  one who knows how to create a story that relates to human behaviour in a very convincing and believable and enjoyable way.

About the Author:

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Helene Andrea Leuschel grew up in Belgium where she gained a Licentiate in Journalism & Communication, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh. She now lives with her husband and two children in Portugal and recently acquired a Master of Philosophy with the OU, deepening her passion for the study of the mind. When she is not writing, Helene works as a freelance journalist and teaches Yoga.

Social Media Links – Facebook– Twitter – Goodreads – Website

See what other Book Bloggers think by following the tour

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I also have a link for a chance to win a signed copy of “Manipulated Lives” that is open internationally.

 ∗∗∗ CLICK HERE FOR A CHANCE TO WIN ∗∗∗

Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx