The World Of Bren

My World Seen Through My Eyes And All Kinds Of Other Crap

Books For The Mind And The Soul

Memoirs Of A Geisha by Arthur Golden

Published 1997.

This was the most amazing book.  It drew me in from the first line.  A beautiful view into the secret world of a Geisha in Kyoto, Japan before, during and after WWII.  A compelling read with sensational deep characters.  Chiyo’s journey from her young life into the world of a Geisha and her transformation into Sayuri gripped me and this book will be carried in my heart forever.  I will never be the same again.  If you have not read it then you have not lived. (23 January 2016 – 31 January 2016; 428 pages).

The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger

Published in 1951.  A Classic.  A controversial novel originally published for adults, it has since become popular with adolescent readers for its themes of teenage angst and alienation.

I struggled through this book.  I could not enjoy the writing style and I must admit got annoyed with the protagonist, Holden.  There were some humerous portions which managed to pull me through.  I think my impatience with the novel stems from my inability to cope with laziness, incompetence and those that have any lack of direction or desire to achieve.  And I do get it that this is a teenage boy but I had no patience for him.  (17 January 2016 – 23 January 2016; 230 pages).
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The Day Of The Storm by Rosamunde Pilcher

Published in 1975.

This was a much better book than Wild Mountain Thyme but still nothing compared to The Shell Seekers.  The story contained more intrigue with hidden secrets unfolding beautifully.  The characters were richer than in Wild Mountain Thyme and although at first appear to be rude they eventually reveal their true personalities along with family secrets and they become likeable.  Set in beautiful Cornwall once again it transports you to a completely different world that imbeds itself under your skin.  (12 January 2016 – 17 January 2016; 272 pages)

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Wild Mountain Thyme by Rosamunde Pilcher

Published in 1978.

Although another enjoyable read by Rosamunde I was not as drawn into these characters as I was with The Shell Seekers.  I found Oliver heartless, inconsiderate with the attitude of a child that takes what he wants no matter who is hurt or what the consequences are.  Unfortunately, I also found Victoria weak and silly.  I got irritated by both of them.  But I suppose after reading other reviews this is probably what the author was aiming for.  The weakness of human nature and how we end up going back to those things that cause us pain, jerks that seem to reappear in the midst of our lives, and the hero that is the good guy and sweeps in at the very last minute to heal broken hearts.  (08 January 2016 – 12 January 2016; 294 pages)


The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher

Published in 1987.  It became one of her most famous best-sellers. It was nominated by the British public in 2003 as one of the top 100 novels in the BBC’s Big Read.

This book was loaned to me by my mum’s friend.  A new author for me which is always exciting.  I was in the mood for a bit of nostalgic reading filled with descriptive paragraphs – and this fulfilled that need in every sense.  Set in beautiful Cornwall, this book fills your mind with romantic magical evenings in a gentle countryside with loved characters.  Penelope Keeling’s life unfolds gently like treasures within the folds of tissue paper – secretly tucked away to be discovered slowly.  It wraps you in the ups and downs of family life and the different paths that many follow despite the same upbringing.  This book is filled with real people whose lives, loves, passions and heartbreaks will stay with you despite having closed the cover on the last page.  The characters in this book came emotionally alive for me and I would look up expecting them to step through my front door like old friends.  What a beautiful and magical book to read over and over and live again and again.  No words are enough to describe this book -you can only live it.  The only remaining comment for me to make is : read it.  (30 December 2015 – 08 January 2016; 544 pages)


Seabiscuit – Laura Hillenbrand *****  Non-fiction  

This is a truly superbly written book! Read it for the 4th time and still I live every race that this incredible little horse ran!  What a fighter!  The pounding of their hooves, the clumps of dirt thrown up down the straight, the breath in clouds from their nostrils, the coughing-breathing of exertion, the flick of the ears, the challenge in their eyes, the press of bodies against the rail, the clinking of stirrup irons, the roar of the crowd – all brought to life and lived through me as a reader.  A momentous testament to this horses’ life and how he touched lives and brought USA from its knees to its feet just by showing how strong a willing heart can be.  You will cry, you will laugh but best of all, you will take it with you for life and always come back to it for more.  03 July 2013

Seabiscuit - the book to read

Seabiscuit standing at Pimlico Racetrack, Baltimore

Seabiscuit standing at Pimlico Racetrack, Baltimore

Sandstorm – James Rollins ****  Fiction, action-adventure, thriller : Sigma Force #1

I have read James Rollins’ books before but am in the process of re-reading them and thoroughly enjoying them.  I enjoyed Painter Crowe in this novel and the action-packed adventure as well as the real, but bizarre, stuff that can truly happen in this world when you touch on some science.  I love how he brings realism into this book.  03 July 2013



Map Of Bones – James Rollins *****  Fiction, action-adventure, thriller : Sigma Force # 2

Painter Crowe takes a bit of a back seat here and James Rollins brings new characters to the fore.  A romantic twist brings more life to these characters and allows them to crawl under your skin.  Oh how I fell in love with Grayson Pierce!  How could you not?  Monk makes you laugh and Kat makes you envious!  Thank you for a stunning realistic action-packed book James!  30 July 2013

Map Of Bones

Map Of Bones

Black Order – James Rollins ***** Fiction, action-adventure, thriller : Sigma Force #3  

Painter Crowe is involved in the action in this novel and we almost lose him.  Two teams, following two different trails, unwittingly end up on the same path leading to the same end.  Old favourites are back in action – Gray, Kat, Monk and on the sidelines, Rachel.  The action twists its way through the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Preserve in South Africa with some weirdly genetically modified creatures that cause your hair to stand on end (and some scary humans!).  Fiona, a new addition, adds a fun new twist with cheek, wit and a fast hand. Hopefully, her part in the Sigma force novels does not vanish as she is a keeper! Relationships deepen and intensify through the fear and life-threatening situations. Fiction blends easily with fact as it does in all James’ novels.  Hard to put down…now onto book 4.  05 August 2013

Black Order

Black Order

The Judas Strain – James Rollins ***** Fiction, action-adventure, thriller : Sigma Force # 4

From the  days of Marco Polo through to present day we follow the secret that he carried to his grave that reveals the fate of his 12 ships on their return to China with Princess Kokejiin.  Friar Agreer leaves a trail that has Sigma and the Guild racing against the clock to solve.  A scary bacteria is on the loose and is ready to destroy the world if it is not stopped.  Seichan enters the fray on Sigma’s team – with shaky trust from Gray – to assist stopping The Guild from attaining the life-threatening bacterial strain.  Lisa and Monk team up at Christmas Island while Gray, Seichan, and Vigor follow a different path from the Vatican.  A new character joins the group – Joe Kowalski – bringing a down-to-earth sarcasm with a twist of humour to the group.  Gray’s parents are unwittingly dragged into the battle and their lives are threatened while Gray races to spare them additional hours of life.  Painter stays at his “desk job” for this novel but plays an important role.  We say a sad goodbye to Monk but a heart-stopping moment at the end of the book begs the question “Is he still alive?”.  Once again, fact and science mix with heart-stopping adventure and fiction to achieve another brilliant story.  17 August 2013

The Judas Strain

The Judas Strain

The Last Oracle – James Rollins ***** Fiction, action-adventure, thriller : Sigma Force # 5

A scientist gunned down in a mall near the Smithsonian Castle while trying to reach Sigma with vital information.  Gray is left with an odd clue that leads him into the path of gypsies, autistic savants, extra-intelligent animals on the hunt for blood, and the trail of the Last Oracle of Delphi.  We welcome back an old friend in this story.  We meet some extraordinary children that have incredible talents.  Marta, the chimp, makes us cry and want to hold her until the end.  Grayson and Kowalski are thrown into the fray with Elizabeth – an Anthropologist from the Museum of Natural History in Washington DC – in a race against time to save autistic savant children from a biological meltdown.  Will the world see a new bio-engineered great world prophet, the next Buddha, the next Mohammed, or the next Jesus?  Who is the Burning Boy and what is his purpose?  A new odd romantic twist enters this story.  Another story of scary realism mixed with adventure and fast-paced action makes this book a great read – as usual, thanks James!  25 August 2013

The Last Oracle

The Last Oracle

The Doomsday Key – James Rollins ***** Fiction, action-adventure, thriller : Sigma Force # 6

Three mysterious deaths…could they be linked? An attempt at world-control through genetically modified food sources causes more than a stir as the truth gets slowly uncovered.  Gray must team up with 2 woman from his past, Rachel and Seichan, as well as an old friend, Kowalski, in order to solve an ancient mystery and uncover a horrifying truth.  A remote facility on a remote island of desperate extremes and partly guarded by polar bears.  Monk and Painter play vital roles and you hold your breath while their lives are risked time and time again.  This story reveals a depth to Seichan as well as a few interesting twists.  Kowalski creates laughs and grins with a secret discovery that is at odds with his personality.  From the Druidic pagan cross to the history of the Irish Celtic circles, a heart-stopping story with awesome adventure and interesting (and often scary) scientific fact.  The final book (for now) in the Sigma series however the ending proves that there will be more to this series….  James Rollins is really worth the read.  31 August 2013

The Doomsday Key

The Doomsday Key

Altar Of Eden – James Rollins ** Fiction, thriller

This book is not part of the Sigma Force Series but a rather an added extra in James’ writing.  I struggled a bit through this one but persisted because I have not read it before and approached it with the stubborn-mindedness of always insisted I finish the book that I have started.  James’ writing is still brilliant with his twist of fiction wrapped enticingly in fact.  But I missed the heart-racing adventure of the Sigma team.  We are introduced to completely new characters with a slow twist of romance.  The book follows Lorna Polk, a veterinarian who works to preserve exotic animals, Jack Menard and his team through the Mississippi River Delta’s swamps and bayous to assist exotic animals that escaped from the bowels of a shipwrecked fishing trawler.  They discover that these creatures have disturbing deformities as well as heightened intelligence.  Lorna, Jack, and their team end up in creepy situations as they race against the unethical group that created these disturbing creatures.  It is discovered that animals are not all that have been experimented on…   08 September 2013

Altar Of Eden

Altar Of Eden


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