Tuesday, 8 August 2017

31 Days of Wonder - Tom Winter



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Monday, 7 August 2017

Little Gray Dress - Aimee Brown

Little Gray Dress by [Brown, Aimee]

I'm really pleased to be a part of the blog tour today for Little Gray Dress by Aimee Brown. You can see a trailer for the book on Youtube.

Description

Emi Harrison has avoided her ex-fiance, Jack Cabot, for nearly two years. Her twin brother Evan's wedding is about to end that streak.

From bad bridesmaid's dresses, a hyperactive sister-in-law, a mean girl with even meaner secrets, and too much to drink, nothing seems to go right for Emi, except when she's wearing her little gray dress.

When she speed-walks into Liam Jaxon's bar, things get more complicated. He's gorgeous, southern, and has no past with Emi. He may be exactly what she needs to prove for the last time that she doesn't need or want Jack!

Her favorite little gray dress has made an appearance at nearly every major event in Emi's adult life. Will it make another grand appearance when she least expects it?


Review

I'm going to say right off that I loved this book so much. For a debut author this book is just fantastic and I can't wait to read more by Aimee.

So- why did I love it so much. Well it is very funny and yet the characters have such depth that I ended up caring so much about them. So much so that I did actually shed a little tear at one point. Not something I usually do over this genre.

Aimee's writing is so easy to read, the words just flow off the page and it just feels like a bubbly friend telling you the latest tale.

The book leads us through the current day of Emi preparing to attend her brothers wedding. Slowly we begin to learn that there is going be a guest there that she would rather not see. It's Jack her ex-fiance and through flashbacks we learn why he became her ex. 

I was a little horrified by the actions of Jack and was routing for the new guy Liam to be the love interest. But slowly facts from the past unfold and maybe everything is not the way it seems on the surface. 

If you loved the film Bridesmaids then you will probably love this book too. Finally The Little Gray dress - well it makes appearances throughout the book!

I'm giving this book 5 out of 5 stars. Waiting for the next book Aimee.


Friday, 28 July 2017

Watching you - Arne Dahl



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Monday, 17 July 2017

The Lying Game - Ruth Ware



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Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Wrong Number - Carys Jones



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Sunday, 2 July 2017

Big Little Lies - Liane Moriarty



Description
From the author of Truly Madly Guilty and The Husband's Secret comes a novel about the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.
Jane hasn't lived anywhere for longer than six months since her son was born five years ago. She keeps moving in an attempt to escape her past. Now the idyllic coastal town of Pirriwee has pulled her to its shores and Jane feels as if she finally belongs. She finds friends in the feisty Madeline and the incredibly beautiful Celeste, two women with seemingly perfect lives - and their own secrets. But at the start of a new term, an incident involving the children of all three women occurs in the playground, causing a rift between them and other parents. Minor at first but escalating fast, until the whispers and rumours become vicious and spiteful, and the truths blur into lies. It was always going to end in tears, but no one thought it would end in murder . . .
Review
I've read a few of Liane Moriarty's books now and loved them, and this was no exception. Written in a slightly different style than her other books. It flips back and forth but also there are inserted into the story the viewpoint of witnesses perception of what they think happened on "the trivia night". This really adds to the tension of what on earth did happen that night.
The book counts down from six months before the night up until the night itself and then the present day. Through this time we get to know each of the characters and find out more than their so called friends do about them and their lives.
Liane paints such a realistic picture of the small community and how the parents all interact at the school. I found the Blonde bombs parents as they are nicknamed hilarious and I am sure true to life. The small minded busy bodies who begin with other parents to make life very uncomfortable for one of the parents after a playground incident - but did it really happen the way it seems to have done?
Although you know from the outset that there has been a murder I kept wondering who it was that was dead, and I never worked it out. A few twists some nice, some not so nice and it was a pleasant change not to have been able to see them coming.
I'm giving this book four out of five stars. Only because I felt it was a little long for my taste.
My thanks go to Netgalley for a free copy of the book to review.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

The Snow Kimono - Mark Henshaw

24485962

Description

On the same day that retired police inspector Auguste Jovert receives a letter from a woman claiming to be his daughter, he returns to his Paris apartment to find a stranger waiting for him.

That stranger is a Japanese professor called Tadashi Omura. What's brought him to Jovert's doorstep is not clear, but then he begins to tell his story - a story of a fractured friendship, lost lovers, orphaned children, and a body left bleeding in the snow.

As Jovert pieces together the puzzle of Omura's life, he can't help but draw parallels with his own; for he too has lead a life that's been extraordinary and dangerous - and based upon a lie.


Review

Having recently been to Japan I have begun to be attracted to books associated with Japan. This book was recommended in an article, not realising it had won an award, I would otherwise have been wary as those books are often too "literary" for my tastes.

Overall I found this book very confusing - I decided to just go with it and read on not really understanding how sections of the book linked together. The story weaves back and forth across time and held my interest briefly with some of the narrative, but there was always the nagging doubt in my mind of how it related to the present day. There is also the "other wordly" side to the book for which you must suspend disbelief.

When I finished the book I read the beginning again and this gave me some semblance of closure on the book.

I'm giving this book 3 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Designing Clothes with the Flat Pattern Method - Sara Alm



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Monday, 19 June 2017

Believe Me - Eddie Izzard



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Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Crosstalk - Connie Willis



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Friday, 26 May 2017

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman



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Monday, 22 May 2017

When She Was Bad - Tammy Cohen



Description

YOU SEE THE PEOPLE YOU WORK WITH EVERY DAY.
BUT WHAT CAN'T YOU SEE?
Amira, Sarah, Paula, Ewan and Charlie have worked together for years - they know how each one likes their coffee, whose love life is a mess, whose children keep them up at night. But their comfortable routine life is suddenly shattered when an aggressive new boss walks in ....
Now, there's something chilling in the air.
Who secretly hates everyone?
Who is tortured by their past?
Who is capable of murder?

Review

I began reading this book and all was as described in the jacket blurb. An office where a new boss arrives and everyone has to be on their toes. Then the book skipped to a character called Anne - a child psychologist who seemed to be in America. Whereas the office was in the UK. 

I read on and then it happened again! This seemingly unrelated story that Anne was telling - it was like another book had got mixed up with the one I was reading. I checked the blurb again - definitely no mention of what was turning into a bit of a horror story. 

Then we were back in the office again and all the humdrum office life that you will have witnessed if you ever worked in one. Even a team building away weekend.

Suddenly the book began to gather some pace about two thirds of the way through and I realised that these two unrelated stories were in fact going to collide, in a big way. The whodunnit aspect kicked in and I began to try and second guess the answer to no avail.

Ultimately this was a clever if confusing book at times. If you've ever worked in an office you will certainly identify with that part of the book - although hopefully your team building never ended quite like the one in the book.

I'm giving this book four out of five stars. My thanks to Netgalley for a copy to review.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

The Cows - Dawn O'Porter



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Monday, 24 April 2017

The Woman at Number 24 - Juliet Ashton



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Monday, 3 April 2017

The Best of Adam Sharp - Graeme Simsion



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Monday, 27 March 2017

Sometimes I Lie - Alice Feeney



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The Idea Of You - Amanda Prowse



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Saturday, 25 March 2017

Let The Dead Speak - Jane Casey



Description


In the chilling new crime novel from award-winning author Jane Casey, Detective Maeve Kerrigan and the murder squad must navigate a web of lies to discover the truth…
A murder without a body
Eighteen-year-old Chloe Emery returns to her West London home one day to find the house covered in blood and Kate, her mother, gone. There may not be a body, but everything else points to murder.
A girl too scared to talk
Maeve Kerrigan is young, ambitious and determined to prove she’s up to her new role as detective sergeant. She suspects Chloe is holding something back, but best friend Bethany Norris won’t let Maeve get close. What exactly is Bethany protecting Chloe from?
A detective with everything to prove
As the team dig deeper into the residents of Valerian Road, no one is above suspicion. All Maeve needs is one person to talk, but that’s not going to happen. Because even in a case of murder, some secrets are too terrible to share…

Review

This is the first Maeve Kerrigan story I have read and I hadn't realised that there were six previous books in this series. The book can however be read as a standalone as the story is completely contained within this book. The only thing I feel I missed out on is some of the history between two of the characters - but it didn't affect my enjoyment of the book. I don't do spoilers so it's difficult to comment on the storyline without giving too much away. 

I am always amazed at how writers come up with such good complex and compelling storylines - which this certainly is. I read it in two sittings as I just had to know what on earth was going on. It was also a very easy book to read - the writing is so good that was just effortless to read.

The book begins with Chloe arriving unexpectedly back at her home to find her mother gone, but lots of blood everywhere. I loved the strong Dectective character of Maeve Kerrigan and her new sidekick Georgia - a very entertaining side story running alongside the murder enquiry.

As the story unfolded there were so many twists and turns - at one point I thought it was all done and dusted but saw that there was still plenty of pages to read, and then it began again, more twists and turns - absolutely enthralling.

If this is the standard of Jane Casey's novels then I think I need to read the previous six as this is one of the best crime novels I have ever read.

I'm giving this book 5 out of 5 and my thanks go to Netgalley for an advance copy of the book for review.

Friday, 24 March 2017

The Bookshop Detective - Jan Ellis

The Bookshop Detective (The Bookshop by the Sea) by [Ellis, Jan]

Description

The Bookshop Detective – in which Eleanor ends up doing some sleuthing from her quiet corner of rural England.

Review
I first met Eleanor the owner of the Combemouth bookshop in Jan's book A Summer of Surprises and I was keen to find out what she was now up to. Although this book is a follow on you could easily read it without having any prior knowledge of Eleanor.

I read so many books and so it was no surprise that I didn't immediately remember everything about Eleanor and Combemouth, until Freya turned up - the ex-wife. I think Jan must have painted a very good picture of her, because I was instantly transported to the first book and how I saw her in my minds eye.

I loved getting back into the bookshop - my idea of heaven and it's beside the sea - idyllic. What I do like about Jan's writing is that she doesn't make Eleanor someone who knows everyone in the village, even though she has lived there for a few years. Why do some books make it sound like living in a village is one big family? So this is where the detective part comes in as Eleanor pieces together a story from an old newspaper with clues around the village.

I really got into this book, and was pleased I half guessed what was happening! - but not the biggest secret at all.

I'm giving this lovely book 5 out of 5. My thanks to Jan for an advance copy for review.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Paper Hearts & Summer Kisses - Carole Matthews



Description 
Christie Chapman is a single working mother who spends her days commuting to her secretarial job in London and looking after her teenage son, Finn. It can be tough just getting through the day but Christie has always found comfort in her love of crafting and any spare time she has is spent in her parents' summerhouse working on her beautiful creations. From intricately designed birthday cards to personalised gifts, Christie's flair for the handmade knows no bounds and it's not long before opportunity comes knocking. All of a sudden Christie sees a different future for her and Finn - one full of hope and possibility, and if the handsome Max Alexander is to be believed, one full of love too. It's all there for the taking.
And then, all of sudden, Christie's world is turned upside down.
Christie knows that something has to give, but what will she choose? Will she give up her dreams and the chance of real love? What price will she pay for doing the right thing? Can Christie find her happy ending in . . . Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses.

Review

I've read quite a few of Carole's books now and for me this is the best one yet. It could be because I also love craft, have met the muse of the book Christine Emberson and regularly follow her blog. So a lot of the story line rang so true for me as most of it had been told by Christine on her blog as it happened. Carole has obviously embellished the story a little as she states at the beginning of the book.

Carole herself is a crafter and also consulted Christine. This comes across strongly, in what could otherwise have been a book where you realise someone is writing about something they know nothing about. I chuckled to myself at quite a few of the crafting references as they rang a bell with me. I loved visualising all the craft supplies arriving and could just imagine the emotions as I would have been going through them myself.  I also have one of those heated blanket things - oh dear could it be because I am a fan of shopping telly?

I loved the characters they were so well written - Brian who Christie meets on her daily commute, Robyn her boss in the office. Christie's parents - who I wish would adopt me! But most of all her son Finn - Carole managed to capture that teenager speak so well and I loved the relationship between him and his Mum.

Then there is Max - Christie's crafting boss - I went through so many emotions over this character as I decided he was wonderful/despicable/a chancer - he really did spring to life from the pages.

It's not all craft related, there is also a heart breaking side to the story. I really felt for the characters as this part of the book played out - it was very emotional. Although even at the worst of it the characters still rallied round and had the odd cheerful word and quip to make.

I could write so much more about the book as it really gripped me,  but I don't want this to be like one of those film trailers where you feel its not worth watching the film because you just about seen it all! I was hanging in there hoping for an happy ending. I'm not going to spoil it for you - but I was sooo happy with the ending of the book.

I'm giving this book 5 out of 5 stars.



Tuesday, 21 March 2017

The Really Quite Good British Cookbook




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Review

I just love the photography in this Cookbook. It's always good to be able to see how exactly the dish is going to look, not only so you know how to present it, but whether you are visually attracted to it. 

I only got a couple of pages in and I was hooked with the Brioche French toast which has banana and bacon ingredients. I have tried these flavours together before and loved them, so I am looking forward to creating this dish.

It's true to say that a lot of the recipes are probably going to push the average cook out of their comfort zone flavour wise. However, if you are more of the Heston school then this will be right up your street. One of the less appetising recipes for me was the Nettles on Toast with  pollack and wild garlic and poached egg. I also wasn't too keen on the Happy Fish pie from Jamie Oliver, which shows the tail of the fish peeking from the pie - not sure the fish is really that happy!

There are however on balance lots of recipes I would love to try and it was nice to be able to put a face to those contributors who are a little less famous and to read about them.

I've already earmarked to make the Cherry Clafoutis - one of my fav desserts. This recipe also comes with some extra tips to know when it is cooked which is useful.  I'm also drawn to the fig leaf and cherry brulee - however unlike the creator of the recipe, I do not know of any local fig trees. You will have no trouble sourcing the ingredients for Nigella's Chocolate Guiness cake though.

I think this would be a book perfect for any foodie - anyone wanting to stretch their cooking a little further and to leave on the coffee table for people to just drool over the sumptuous photographs within its pages. 

I'm giving this book 4 out of 5 stars. My thanks go to Netgalley for a review copy of the book.