Darlene Foster's Blog

Archive for the ‘reviews’ Category

I was pleased to see that everyone enjoyed my list of book recommendations, so following my previous post, I wish to share three more books I read and enjoyed this summer. I have included a children´s book as I believe everyone should read a children´s book once in a while. It is amazing what you can learn.

No More Mulberries

No More Mulberries is a story of commitment and divided loyalties, of love and loss, set against a country struggling through transition.

British-born Miriam’s marriage to her Afghan doctor husband is heading towards crisis. Despite his opposition, she goes to work as a translator at a medical teaching camp in a remote area of rural Afghanistan hoping time apart will help are see where their problems lie. She comes to realise how unresolved issues from when her first husband was killed by a mujahideen group are damaging her relationship with her husband and her son – but is it already too late to save her marriage?

My review
I bought this book because I love reading stories that take place in the middle east. I was not disappointed. Mary Smith has written a wonderful story about cross-cultures, family, relationships and Afghanistan. The detailed descriptions of the land, people and culture are fascinating. The story is told through the point of view of Miriam, the main character, who is a wife, mother and medical practitioner. It is easy to identify with her as she struggles to maintain a home for her family in a culture so different from her life in Scotland. Miriam also has to deal with ghosts from the past and the feelings she has suppressed for too long which are having a negative effect on her marriage. This well-written book takes place in a troubled time just before the Taliban take control. Since the reader knows what will eventually happen, but the characters don’t, it keeps you on your toes and turning the pages. I highly recommend this book.

A Marriage of Convenience

Gerrie Hermann, aspiring rock star from a rich South African family, has an unusual proposal for Sophie Woods when he meets her for the first time in their university canteen. Strait-laced Sophie has never done anything out of the ordinary in the whole of her 19 years. When she decides to take Gerrie up on his offer she has no idea that her decision is going to affect the rest of her life in ways that she could never have foreseen, even in her wildest dreams.
My review
Sometimes one hasty decision can affect your entire life. Sophie doesn’t know what she is getting into when she agrees to marry wannabe rock star Gerrie Hermann so he can stay in the UK and pursue his music career. Can a marriage of convenience survive a botched up kidnapping, harboured secrets, lost dreams and undeniable heartache? An easy read with real-life characters set in the exciting London music scene and exotic Rio de Janeiro.

I Am David

David’s entire twelve-year life has been spent in a grisly prison camp in Eastern Europe. He knows nothing of the outside world. But when he is given the chance to escape, he seizes it. With his vengeful enemies hot on his heels, David struggles to cope in this strange new world, where his only resources are a compass, a few crusts of bread, his two aching feet, and some vague advice to seek refuge in Denmark. Is that enough to survive?
David’s extraordinary odyssey is dramatically chronicled in Anne Holm’s classic about the meaning of freedom and the power of hope.
My review
This is an amazing book. One that makes you think. It is cleverly written from the point of view of a young boy who has been raised in a concentration camp. He escapes but has to make his way in a world he knows little about. He gets by with his resourcefulness, honesty, and unique problem-solving skills. The book is written for children but is perfect for adults as well, as the topics of hope, forgiveness and sacrifice are universal and timeless. A must-read for all ages.
I know that TBR list is growing but here are three more to add!!

I read some amazing books this summer and I thought I should share some of them with you, along with my reviews. It’s always great to get ideas for new books to read, even if you have a huge TBR list like me. Here are three I just loved.

The Artisan Heart

by Dean Mayes 

Hayden Luschcombe is a brilliant paediatrician living in Adelaide with his wife Bernadette, an ambitious event planner. His life consists of soul-wrenching days at the hospital and tedious evenings attending the lavish parties organized by Bernadette.

When an act of betrayal coincides with a traumatic confrontation, Hayden flees Adelaide, his life in ruins. His destination is Walhalla, nestled in Australia’s southern mountains, where he finds his childhood home falling apart. With nothing to return to, he stays, and begins to pick up the pieces of his life by fixing up the house his parents left behind.

A chance encounter with a precocious and deaf young girl introduces Hayden to Isabelle Sampi, a struggling artisan baker. While single-handedly raising her daughter, and trying to resurrect a bakery, Isabelle has no time for matters of the heart. Yet the presence of the handsome doctor challenges her resolve. Likewise, Hayden, protective of his own fractured heart, finds something in Isabelle that awakens dormant feelings of his own.

As their attraction grows, and the past threatens their chance at happiness, both Hayden and Isabelle will have to confront long-buried truths if they are ever to embrace a future.

My review

I am already a fan of Dean Mayes and am impressed with his ability to write in diverse genres while at the same time maintaining consistent quality. This book is a wonderful read, filled with incredible characters that jump off the page. I love how the characters play off each other so well. My favourite being Genevieve, a seven-year-old deaf child with spunk. I just wanted to hug her so many times. And then there is the wonderful setting of Walhalla, a cozy Australian mountain village, which is actually the main character for me. While reading this book, I felt myself walking the streets, smelling the freshly baked bread, smiling at the residents, listening to the birds and admiring the gardens. This is a place people come to get away from it all and discover who they are meant to be. A feel-good book with some tense moments, full of emotion and real people. I highly recommend this book. One I would read again.

A Place Called Winter

by Patrick Gale

In the golden 1900s, Harry Cane, a shy, eligible gentleman of leisure is drawn from a life of quiet routine into courting and marrying Winnie, eldest daughter of the fatherless Wells clan, who are not quite as respectable as they would appear. They settle by the sea and have a daughter and conventional marriage does not seem such a tumultuous change after all. When a chance encounter awakens scandalous desires never acknowledged until now, however, Harry is forced to forsake the land and people he loves for a harsh new life as a homesteader on the newly colonized Canadian prairies. There, in a place called Winter, he will come to find a deep love within an alternative family, a love imperiled by war, madness and an evil man of undeniable magnetism.

My review

I purchased this book after hearing the author speak at the Winchester Writer’s Festival. His books all sounded interesting but I was drawn to this one as it takes place in the early 20th century in the Canadian prairies. This is where I’m from and my great-grandparents were among the many immigrants who settled this part of Canada. I was not disappointed. The land, the people and the impossibly tough life were described so well, I felt like I was back there working alongside these individuals. It was all there, the unforgiving terrain, the threshing crews, chokecherries, bachelors’ balls, country churches and dashed hopes. The story centres around Harry Cane, a British gentleman who had never worked a day in his life. After being disgraced, he leaves England to stake out a homestead in Winter, Saskatchewan. Little does he know what awaits him.

The story is so well written, you can feel the isolation and the cold. “As for the cold, he had never experienced anything like it, a dry, iron clamp upon the land, like death itself, full of unexpected beauty, like the hard crystals that formed on the inside of the windows. The cold did something to the quality of sounds around the farm, deadening all background noise so that the smallest scratching or whisper was emphasised.”

Harry’s story is filled with incredible characters, pain and heartbreak. But it is also filled with love. A beautifully written book, well worth a read.

Apprenticed To My Mother: A Memoir Of Barbara Le Pard 2005 to 2010

When my father died in 2005, I assumed my mother would need more support and someone to help with decisions she previously shared with her husband. What I didn’t realise was the role she had in mind for me: a sort of Desmond 2.0. Over the five years until her death, I played the role of apprentice, learning more about her and her relationship with my father than I had gleaned in my previous 50 years. We laughed, we cried and, occasionally we disagreed, and throughout she manipulated me as, I learnt, she had my father. Neither of us minded much; we were both her so willing fools, for she was an extraordinary woman and we both knew we were in the presence of someone very special.

My review

A wonderful heartwarming book that will leave you laughing and crying, sometimes on the same page. Mr. Le Pard has a great way with words and gives us a delightful glimpse into the lives of his parents. Sprinkled in between amusing episodes of his life as the youngest of two sons, are poems brilliantly composed by his father, most written for his wife, the love of his life. The stories paint a picture of past times in a lovely part of England, where issues are resolved with a cup of tea and a piece of homemade cake. Barbara Le Pard is a delightful character, strong-willed, tough and with a huge heart. This book is well written, entertaining and most important, it is written with love.

All of these books are available on Amazon, Kobo or through any good bookstore. 

I will tell you about a few more in another post. If you have read a great book or two lately, please share in the comments.

In case you haven’t read this fabulous review of Amanda in Spain by an eight-year-old, here it is on Marcia Meara’s blog! Check out Marcia’s books too. They are amazing.

The Write Stuff

Lovely to have Darlene back again this afternoon, this time to share a very special review she received directly from a very young reader, who had no adult help with the writing. I know you’ll enjoy this one and will be happy to pass it along to all your contacts! Thanks!

REVIEW:
By Catrin (8 Years Old)

I really enjoyed this book. I like books which have a mystery plot to them, and this book really caught my attention – I read it all in one go! The story kept me guessing until the end. In some parts, the reader is held in suspense while in other times you can almost guess what’s going to happen so I had to read on to find out if I’d got it right or not. My favourite character was Dona because she is a Spanish performer and I like performing as well. I…

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Lots of things happening on the blog right now. Some great books on sale for a limited time including Amanda in New Mexico-Ghosts in the Wind. A good time to stock up for the summer. Everyone loves a book sale!!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the second of the Summer Sale posts with discounted books by authors on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore. There are two more sale posts scheduled for the  16th and 20th of July.

Some of the books from Monday 9th may still be on sale so worth checking:https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/07/09/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-summer-sale-brigid-p-gallagher-hugh-w-roberts-jacquie-biggar-and-victoria-zigler/

The books will be on sale for just a few days around those dates so pick up your copies quickly!

All the spaces have now been filled but if you have any of your books that are FREE in July there is still some room on those posts.

Wednesday July 18th and Saturday July 21st – Spaces filling up quickly

Just let me have the link to the book on Amazon or Smashwords and the dates the book is free … I will have all your other details on file.. sally.cronin@moyhill.com

The first author with a discounted…

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Today I am featured on the Smorgasbord Blog Magazine where I answer some fun questions. You will learn about my favourite childhood song and a few other tidbits about me. Enjoy!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to Getting to Know You where guests have the option of 52 questions to allow us to find out more about them. The quirky, the secrets and the reasons how they have ended up here today… Too deep?? These interviews are turning out to be a lot of fun… for me too and if you would like to participate here are the details and also the previous interviews.

Guests so far this seasonJohn Rieber, Ritu Bhathal, The Militant Negro, Balroop Singh, Carol Taylor, Lucinda E. Clarke, Billy Ray Chitwood, D.Wallace Peach, Annette Rochelle Aben, John. W. Howell and D.G. Kaye.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/getting-to-know-you-sunday-interview-2018/

My guest today is children’s author Darlene Foster who is also an avid traveler of the world. Originally from Canada, she now lives in Spain. Apart from her series of books starring Amanda and her travels, Darlene also writes detailed and very interesting travel posts on…

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Delighted to see Amanda in New Mexico being featured on Wanda´s blog. Not only is Amanda travelling the world she is visiting many blogs!

Wanda Luthman's Children's Books

Darlene Foster, a children's author, picture

Welcome everyone! Today, I’d like to introduce you to a world-traveling children’s author named Darlene Foster. You are going to love her and her books and I know your children will as well.

I’ll let Darlene tell you about her latest book, Amanda in New Mexico–Ghosts in The Wind, in her own words…

Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind by Darlene Foster

The questions most asked of authors is, where do you get your ideas. Well, I get most of mine from my travels. I visited Taos, New Mexico a few years ago and was so taken with the history and art found in this area. We visited the St. James Hotel in Cimarron, which is purported to be haunted. It felt pretty spooky to me! I kept saying to my travel companion, “This would be a great setting for an Amanda story.” The seeds were planted…

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A fun chat with Linda on Linda’s Book Bag. Hop on over and say Hi!

Linda's Book Bag

mexico cover

Many moons ago when I had a career, one of my favourite roles was reading fiction aimed at 11-14 year olds and writing resources based on the books for classroom use for a large UK publisher. When I heard that Darlene Forster writes for a similar age group I just had to invite her to stay in with me and tell me about one of her books. Luckily she agreed to come!

If you’re an author who’d also like to stay in with me to tell me about one of your books, please click here for more details.

Staying in with Darlene Foster

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag, Darlene. Thanks so much for staying in with me. Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?

Thank you for inviting me over. It’s a perfect evening to talk about…

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