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Book Review: The Blade Artist, by Irvine Welsh.

Book Review: The Blade Artist, by Irvine Welsh.

Recently as most of you will probably know T2 Trainspotting came out in the cinema. I watched and loved the first Trainspotting, and with the idea of T2 coming out, I had a look on the wonder that is Netgalley and found to my immense happiness that I was approved to read this Irvine Welsh book, featuring the one and only Francis Begbie. So, thank you netgalley, here are my thoughts.

begbie

Description:

Jim Francis has finally found the perfect life – and is now unrecognisable, even to himself. A successful painter and sculptor, he lives quietly with his wife, Melanie, and their two young daughters, in an affluent beach town in California. Some say he’s a fake and a con man, while others see him as a genuine visionary.

But Francis has a very dark past, with another identity and a very different set of values. When he crosses the Atlantic to his native Scotland, for the funeral of a murdered son he barely knew, his old Edinburgh community expects him to take bloody revenge. But as he confronts his previous life, all those friends and enemies – and, most alarmingly, his former self – Francis seems to have other ideas.

When Melanie discovers something gruesome in California, which indicates that her husband’s violent past might also be his psychotic present, things start to go very bad, very quickly.

The Blade Artist is an elegant, electrifying novel – ultra violent but curiously redemptive – and it marks the return of one of modern fiction’s most infamous, terrifying characters, the incendiary Francis Begbie from Trainspotting.

blade-artist

Published April 7th 2016 by Jonathan Cape

My Thoughts:

At the beginning of this book we meet Begbie, who is now known as Jim Francis, he is married with two lovely daughters. We are shown an unrecognisable ‘Begbie’, as he is devoted to his family and seems to have a lovely Californian life. Those who know Begbie only from Trainspotting would be confused, – as was I.

The story continues and we hear that Jim Francis has to return to Edinburgh because his son has been killed. Does returning to the place that made you, make you turn back to the person you once were? Everybody in Leith is expecting Begbie to take revenge, to show that side of him that he is known as. I’m not about giving spoilers or too much information on the plot, so if you want to know you will need to read the book yourself. 

I loved the title of this book, and as you read about what Jim Francis does and did while he was in prison, the title is very apt. 

“That’s the thing aboot bein an artist, ye get…..creative”

I liked the contrast between the two places, and how this is also reflected in the characters. At first it seemed difficult to imagine the Begbie we knew as this devoted American Husband and Dad, but as the story goes on, and we hear about Begbie’s past and we learn a lot more about him and the question you have to ask really is, ‘You can take the boy out of Scotland, but can you take Scotland out of the boy?’   (or maybe that should be Leith!)

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It took me a bit longer to read this as Edinburgh dialect is used in the book, and while I live in Scotland I could easily understand it, it doesn’t read as easily as ‘The Queen’s English’. But it wouldn’t have been authentic Irvine Welsh if he hadn’t have used the dialect would it now?!

“Eh pilled ehsel tae ehs climbin frame n yanked ehsel up. Tried tae come at ays! It was ridic! he booted it oot fae under him and watched him crash tae the flair.”

This was an enjoyable book, which I read at a perfect time with T2 Trainspotting just out. It was gritty, character led and typically Irine Welsh. 

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Links:

Goodreads

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Twitter/IrvineWelsh

 

 
4 Comments

Posted by on March 18, 2017 in Books

 

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Book Review: The Owl Always Hunts At Night, by Samuel Bjork.

Book Review: The Owl Always Hunts At Night, by Samuel Bjork.

Thank you to publishers Transworlds Books for gifting me this copy of ‘The Owl Always Hunts At Night’. This book was translated from Norwegian to English, which we British booklovers have greatly appreciated! This is the first book I have read by Samuel Bjork, I know the previous book ‘I’m Traveling Alone’ was very popular, and readers of that were excited to read this new book. However, ‘The Owl’ was fine to read as a standalone. 

I read this book as part of a buddy read with one of my favourite bookbloggers and lovely friend Irena. She read in Croatia, and I read in Scotland, and we spoke while we read about our thoughts and ideas about the book. It made reading the book even more fun. Irena is a brilliant blogger and person, and will also be writing a review of this book. You can find Irena’s Blog – BookDustMagic! and Twitter

 book friend

Description:

When a young woman is found dead, the police are quick to respond. But what they find at the scene is unexpected. The body is posed, the scene laboriously set. And there is almost no forensic evidence to be found.

Detective Mia Krüger has been signed off work pending psychological assessment. But her boss has less regard for the rules than he should. Desperate to get Mia back in the office, Holger Munch offers her an unofficial deal.

But the usually brilliant Mia is struggling and the team are unable to close the case. Until a young hacker uncovers something that forces the team to confront the scope of the murderer’s plans and face the possibility that he may already be on the hunt for a second victim.

 

owl

Kindle Edition, 416 pages
Publication: March 23rd 2017 by Transworld Digital

My Thoughts:

This book wasn’t what I expected it to be when I first picked it up. The first chapter tells a story from years ago when some of the characters were younger, as the book progressed, my thoughts kept returning to this first chapter as I tried to figure out what had happened. I did not figure it out, until the twists told us so!! I like a book where I cannot guess the twists, this is a winning book for me. However, the very strange and different thing about this book for me was that I didn’t have a clue who the culprit was for the majority of the book, and I am always suspicious of practically everyone, but not in this tale. Honestly, it confused me a bit. This is one of the reasons that  enjoyed buddy reading this so much, so that at the end of each reading marathon, I would check in with Irena and see what she thought. 

This is the first book that I have read that is based in Norway, and the way the characters describe it, it sounds so cold and uninviting! But having a friend who is Norwegian I know that there are very beautiful parts of Norway, and I can only deduce that the negative way the characters spoke of the country (more so the weather) was part of her state of mind.

There are a lot of different elements to this story, a lot of characters and a lot of divided off stories. It made me wonder how it was all going to link up, but link up it did and it did it very well. It was a book that I had to concentrate on because of the many characters, but because of this I got very involved in the story and it completely wrapped me up for the week I was reading it.  I haven’t ever read a book like this before, with very strange ideas and a total mix of characters. The Author even mentioned Anonymous and Black Hackers (which I hadn’t heard of before, but I know of now after reading this).

Overall the book was gripping, thought provoking and a very different kind of thriller. 

 

Links:

Goodreads

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

 

 

 
8 Comments

Posted by on March 11, 2017 in Books

 

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Book Review: Porcelain, Flesh of Innocents, by Lee Cockburn

Book Review: Porcelain, Flesh of Innocents, by Lee Cockburn

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Lee Cockburn’s new release ‘Porcelain’. I took part in a Clink Street Publishers event last year called ‘Blogival’, and this is where I found the talented Author that is Lee Cockburn. I read and reviewed ‘Devils Demise’, which you can read HERE! So when Rachel from Authoright asked me if I wanted to read and take part in the blog tour for Lee’s new book, I was very happy. ‘Porcelain’ is out now, and you can read more about it here, and in all the other lovely blogs that are taking part. The tour banner looks rather creepy doesn’t it? Well, its a spine tingling kind of read.However, I do recommend it. Keep reading to see my thoughts on the latest book from Lee Cockburn. 

lee-cockburn_banner

Description:

Detective Sergeant Taylor Nicks is back and in charge of tracking down a sadistic vigilante, with a penchant for torturing paedophiles, in this unsettling crime thriller by a real-life police sergeant.

High-powered businessmen are turning up tortured around the city of Edinburgh with one specific thing in common — a sinister double life involving pedophilia. Leaving his ‘victims’ in a disturbing state, the individual responsible calls the police and lays bare the evidence of their targets’ twisted misdemeanours to discover, along with a special memento of their own troubled past — a chilling calling card. Once again heading the investigation team is Detective Sergeant Taylor Nicks, along with her partner Detective Constable Marcus Black, who are tasked not only with tracking the perpetrator down but also dealing with the unusual scenario of having to arrest the victims for their own barbarous crimes. But with the wounded piling up the predator’s thirst for revenge intensifies and soon Nicks discovers that she is no longer chasing down a sinister attacker but a deadly serial killer.

Vivid, dark and deeply unsettling Porcelain: Flesh of Innocents is the perfect next read for serious crime and police thriller fans.

porcelain

Clink Street Publishing (21 Feb. 2017)

 Advice: This book contains scenes of violence, sex and child abuse, it may cause upset to some readers.

My Thoughts:

When I looked at interviews that Author Lee Cockburn has given previously, she stated that her books are about good conquering evil. This book contains true evilness, the bad guys are really bad and the good guys good. Sergeant Taylor Nicks and Detective Constable Marcus Black are on the search for a vigilante who has been torturing paedophiles, and while the incentives for their mission is understandable, they are still a wanted criminal. This in turn leads the police to finding paedophiles, which of course is another job in itself.

As I was reading this, I got about half way through and I thought I could see the end in sight, I just couldn’t see how it was going to take another half a book to finish it. But the glorious-ness of an Author’s imagination gave us the twists that we needed to set the second half of the book up for an intense twisty read. The plot made me shiver and can totally be described as spine tingling.

I loved that the book was set in Edinburgh, the streets I know, and the language I know. Though I know Edinburgh, the book writes about a side I have never and I expect never will see. But it also speaks briefly about the wonders of Edinburgh, the extinct volcano and the wonderful Edinburgh Festival. I get the feeling that the Author is writing partly what she knows, in the city, the police work but would have had to delved deep into the dark minds of criminals she has perhaps come into contact with to make the true evilness of the criminals mentioned in the story. 

When Lee Cockburn said its good versus evil, she puts me in mind of the goodness still in people, where police will go without sleep, seeing family and put themselves in danger to find the evil ones that are in this world. So although part of this book is very disturbing, we can also take comfort that there are real ‘Goodies’ in the world too. This is the kind of book I could only read occasionally as it is so dark. However, the plot is twisty and well planned – totally worked. The characters are well developed, I remember Taylor, Marcus, Kay and Fran from the last book, while enjoying the addition of the newest member of the police force too. I will definitely read more from Lee Cockburn, as I have a feeling she will write more about Taylor and Marcus, but I will read some lighter hearted books in between. 

Will good defeat evil, and will they find the torturer of paedophiles, or will they continue their rein of revenge? And what will become of Taylor and her relationships? You will have to read to find out.

About the Author, Lee Cockburn:

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Lee Cockburn has worked for Police Scotland for 16 years including as a Police Sergeant in Edinburgh for 7 years and also as a public order officer. Before joining the force, she played for Scotland’s Women Rugby team for 15 years, earning over 80 caps for the Scottish Ladies and British Lionesses teams. She also swam competitively for 12 years, successfully representing Edinburgh at the age of 15 in the youth Olympics in Denmark in 1984. Lee lives in Edinburgh with her civil partner Emily and their 2 young sons Jamie and Harry. Her first book Devils Demise was published in November 2014 by Clink Street Publishers.

Links:

Goodreads

Barnes and Noble.

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Twitter/lee_leecockburn

 
5 Comments

Posted by on March 5, 2017 in Books

 

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Book Review: Fooling Around with Cinderella, by Stacy Juba.

Book Review: Fooling Around with Cinderella, by Stacy Juba.

Thank you very much to Author Stacy Juba for my copy of this book. After reading a few very intense thrillers, I was in the mood for something very light and easy reading. This book was just the right one. 

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Description:

What happens when the glass slippers pinch Cinderella’s toes? When Jaine Andersen proposes a new marketing role to the local amusement park, general manager Dylan Callahan charms her into filling Cinderella’s glass slippers for the summer. Her reign transforms Jaine’s ordinary life into chaos that would bewilder a fairy godmother. Secretly dating her bad boy boss, running wedding errands for her ungrateful sisters, and defending herself from the park’s resident villain means Jaine needs lots more than a comfy pair of shoes to restore order in her kingdom. First in the Storybook Valley series, a blend of sweet romance, chick lit, and fairy tale fun.

cinderella

Published November 6th 2015 by Thunder Horse Press

My Thoughts:

Fooling Around with Cinderella is a light easy reading fun book. With a touch of Disney and a Prince Charming, it was total escapism. There was even a pair of glass slippers as you can see from the beautiful cover of the book.

Starting off with Jaine looking for a job in marketing, she applies at Storybook Valley theme park – a great name for a theme park don’t you think. As a compromise she agrees to be “Cinderella” for the summer too. Because of this agreement, she gets to meet Prince Charming, – will he be her Prince Charming? She also meets Red Riding Hood, who helps Jaine with her Cinderella fashion, and of course she has encounters with the ‘baddy’. This is a fairy tale story that is sweet and I suppose could be real, there is no big bad wolf that makes it totally fairy tale, but it is escapism and dream world. If you want an easy read where you can be lifted away into a world of make believe this is the book for you. 

Jaine starts off unemployed and being taken for granted by her family, (there is a step mother and sisters) then she becomes Cinderella and her life changes a bit. There is drama, romance and fun in this book.  I enjoyed the flowing writing, the underlying similarities between the Cinderella story and this tale, but mostly I enjoyed being taken away from real life for a while and being enchanted by a a fictional ‘Princess’. 

Will Cinderella get to dance with her Prince? Read it and see. I think this would make a nice modern re- telling film, I would certainly watch it. 

cinderellaprince

Links:

Goodreads.

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Twitter/@stacyjuba

www.stacyjuba.com

 

 

 

 
6 Comments

Posted by on February 25, 2017 in Books

 

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Book Review: Sweat Street by DJ Swykert.

Book Review: Sweat Street by DJ Swykert.

Sweat Street is the second book I have read by Author DJ Swykert. The first book I read of his The Death of Anyone was brilliant and I loved how the Author really knew his stuff as a previous 911 operator. You can read my review of it HERE!

death

Sweat Street follows the same kind of gripping crime thriller that I was hoping for from this Author, so I certainly wasn’t disappointed and this book just confirmed what I already knew about DJ Swykert being a talented and knowledgeable Author.

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Description:

Yuki, a young street girl, witnesses Jack Delgato murder another police officer and an informant. Yuki runs for her life as Delgato relentlessly pursues the only witness to the killing.

sweat-street

Published January 18th 2016 by Magic Masterminds LLC

My Thoughts:

Sweat Street is a short story that is packed full with thrills and grittiness. Yuki is a street girl who is wise to the underworld and knows how to get to what she wants. One night she accidentally is witness to something she wishes she had never seen. 

Again the Author writes a realistic believable story of life on the street, the American underworld, the corruption, drugs and prostitution and all this is packed into a short story with a big impact. 

I got a full impression of the type of character Yuki is, and for a street girl she was surprisingly likeable. The Author described her looks and characteristics so well that I have developed a picture of her in my mind. 

I really like the writing style of the Author, the tale is written with knowledge but also easy to follow while gripping and thrilling for for me to want to read it all in one go.  I really enjoyed Sweat Street, and I highly recommend Sweat Street and this Author and his other books. 

 

Links:

Goodreads

Twitter/DJSwykert

www.magicmasterminds.com/djswykert

 
6 Comments

Posted by on February 18, 2017 in Books

 

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Interview with Clare Chase. Author of A Stranger’s House.

Interview with Clare Chase. Author of A Stranger’s House.

I have been a fan of Clare Chase since I read her first book ‘You Think You Know Me’ back in 2014. So I was very pleased to hear that Clare had written another book ‘A Stranger’s House‘ which has just been published in paperback. (February 7th 2017). I reviewed this book previously and you can read my review HERE!

Today, I have the honour of asking the very talented Clare a few questions. So I cordially introduce to the the wonderful Clare Chase, Author of You Think You Know Me. A Stranger’s House and One Dark Lie.  

Check out these other blogs on the book tour.

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Hi Clare, Can you tell us a little about your book ‘A Stranger’s House’?

Hi Amanda – thanks so much for having me on your blog today!

A Stranger’s House opens just after the heroine, Ruby, has walked out on her unfaithful partner. With nowhere else to go, the house-sitting job she’s offered in Cambridge seems like a godsend: a way to escape the gossips in her village and earn some extra cash at the same time. But it’s not long before she starts to feel uneasy. The signs of the absent-owner’s dysfunctional life are everywhere, from the unsettling paintings on his bedroom wall, to the bloodstain on the rug in his sitting room. As Ruby pieces together clues from his home, she feels closer and closer to a man she’s never met, and would rather be distanced from.

In an effort to take control, she starts to dig for information, but Nate, who owns the house-sitting business, is dead against her sleuthing.  It leaves Ruby wondering what he has to hide. When she finally unearths his secret, it knocks her for six.

Where did your inspiration come from for the plot and characters? Did you take inspiration for characters from anyone you know?

I’ve always been fascinated by what you can glean about people from looking at their home environment, and it was this that gave me the idea for the book.

When creating characters I sometimes pinch aspects of people I know, but in the main they develop inside my head and are almost entirely made up!

 

 

Do you have a favourite place to write? And is it tidy or a mess of papers?

 I’m happy to write pretty much anywhere, and have a nice, light laptop with good battery life! When I’m at home I frequently avoid our study (which is messy and currently home to things like an old chemistry set, some woodwork tools and a cuckoo clock, all waiting to be freecycled)! My favourite place to work is the kitchen, which is nice and light with a view of the back garden.

I don’t tend to have too many papers around since I mainly work on my computer, after an initial stage of scribbling ideas into notebooks.

 

Did you have to do much research for this book? Do you have any amusing tales of while you were ‘researching’? 

A lot the background knowledge that went into A Stranger’s House was gleaned through living in Cambridge for over twenty years, so effectively I’ve been absorbing information as I go along. I find it’s the perfect setting for crime fiction. Despite being a city, it’s fairly small, so inequalities are concentrated.  You get millionaire Nobel laureates living cheek-by-jowl with squatters, and while there are college choirs singing Elizabethan madrigals by the river, there are also drunks dealing drugs on the commons. The contrasts can be stark and I imagine life must seem very unjust to some of the city’s residents. Cambridge’s size means news travels fast, too. A high proportion of the locals work for the university, and if you want to keep a secret you have to be careful who you talk to! And then there are the rivalries which abound in both academia and industry, which can lead to tensions too. The stakes are high, and when people have a lot to lose, there’s potential for conflict.

I used to work at the university and also one of its colleges, and I’ve overheard some interesting things, but I probably shouldn’t repeat them here!

 

 You have two great characters, I found Ruby to be so developed in your writing that I could understand her thoughts and actions. Did you know the characters Ruby and Nate before you wrote them or did they develop as the book did?

Thanks, Amanda! I did a lot of thinking about both Ruby and Nate’s back stories before I started writing, and that dictated their main character traits. So I feel I knew them pretty well before I began the book. Having said that, each time they were faced with a new situation I got to know them that bit better as I realised exactly how they’d react in that particular circumstance.

 

Were there any ‘deleted scenes’ that we might be intrigued about?

In the original version of A Stranger’s House, Ruby was pregnant. As you can imagine, the reworked version involved quite a few tweaks!

What book are you reading now and who are your favourite Authors?

I’ve just started The Zig Zag Girl by Elly Griffiths, which is the first in her Stephens and Mephisto series set in Brighton in 1950. I’m a massive fan of her Dr Ruth Galloway mysteries, and having read them all I’m delighted there’s another set of books to immerse myself in! As for my favourite authors, I could list hundreds! Can I cop out and tell you my main influences instead? Alongside Elly Griffiths, these would be Liane Moriarty, Kate Atkinson and Sophie Hannah! 

A Stranger’s House by Clare Chase is now available to purchase in paperback. Click here for buying options: http://www.choc-lit.com/dd-product/a-strangers-house/

 

strangers house

About the book: 

What if you were powerless to protect the person you cared about most?

When Ruby finds out that her partner has done the unforgivable, she has no option but to move out of their home. With nowhere else to go, a job house-sitting in Cambridge seems like the perfect solution.

But it’s soon clear the absent owner hurts everyone he gets close to, and Ruby’s faced with the fallout. As violent repercussions unfold, her instinct is to investigate: it’s a matter of self-preservation. And besides, she’s curious…

But Ruby’s new boss, Nate Bastable, has his eye on her and seems determined to put a stop to her sleuthing. Is he simply worried for the welfare of a member of staff, or is there something altogether more complicated – and potentially dangerous – at play?

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About the Author:

Clare Chase writes women sleuth mysteries set in London and Cambridge. She fell in love with the capital as a student, living in the rather cushy surroundings of Hampstead in what was then a campus college of London University.

After graduating in English Literature, she moved to Cambridge and has lived there ever since. She’s fascinated by the city’s contrasts and contradictions, which feed into her writing. She’s worked in diverse settings – from the 800-year-old University to one of the local prisons – and lived everywhere from the house of a Lord to a slug-infested flat. The terrace she now occupies presents a good happy medium.

As well as writing, Clare loves family time, art and architecture, cooking, and of course, reading other people’s books.

She lives with her husband and teenage children, and currently works at the Royal Society of Chemistry.

 

Here is where you can buy A Strangers House and find out more about Author Clare Chase:

Goodreads.

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Any good bookshop!

Here is where you can find Clare:

Twitter/@ClareChase_

ClareChase.com

 

 
9 Comments

Posted by on February 12, 2017 in author interviews, Books

 

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Book Review: Mixing It Up, by Tracie Bannister.

Book Review: Mixing It Up, by Tracie Bannister.

This is the second book I have read by Author Tracie Bannister, the first one I read was Twin Piques, I really enjoyed it. You can see read my review of Twin Piques: HERE!

So, after hearing that Tracie had a new book out that was a foodie and comedy book, I was very keen to read it. Here are my thoughts on it.

books are people

Description:

Born with a silver spoon in her mouth, Manhattan upper-cruster Cecily Sinclair now uses that pricey utensil to dish up fancy French fare on her cooking show, Serving Romance. When there’s an executive shake-up at the network, she’s not worried. Not much anyway. Her show’s a hit after all. Why would the new CEO want to mess with success?

The driving force behind several buzzed-about networks, Devlin Hayes is considered to be a wunderkind in the television industry. Although his plans to rebrand CuisineTV and make Serving Romance more Millennial-friendly don’t thrill Cecily, her charming, blue-eyed boss is a hard man to say “no” to and she really wants to keep her job—even if that means sharing screen time with a loathsome blast from her past.

Mercurial Italian chef Dante Marchetti a.k.a. “Il Duce” was once Cecily’s boss, and she has the PTSD to prove it. Now the owner of one of the hottest restaurants in town, Dante’s egomania knows no bounds and his constant attempts to provoke and upstage Cecily make her want to conk him on the head with a sauté pan. She thinks they’re toxic together, but viewers love their chemistry and clamor for more.

As Cecily battles to maintain the integrity of her show, she finds herself scheming and manipulating right along with Dante and Devlin. Is she fighting a lost cause? Does she really belong on TV, or would her culinary talent be better served elsewhere? And could one of the men who makes Cecily’s blood boil ignite a passion in her for something other than food?

mixingitupfinal

 

My Thoughts:

This book was deliciously good, with its array of wonderful eclectic characters, the plot and sub plots, it was a hoot. 

Cecily is a Cordon Bleu trained chef who works on tv show called Serving Romance, her boss however decided that the show needs some ‘Mixing Up’, and here we meet Italian chef Dante Marchetti. He is big headed (probably with plenty reason), handsome with many ladies swooning over him and he owns his own restaurant. The relationship between these two is just one of the plot-lines to this tale.  We also read about the relationship between Cecily and her very persuasive boss, and Cecily and her ex fiance. Who will she end up with? Any of them or none of them?

One of my favourite relationships was Cecily and her cousin Dina who is an astrologist. Although they are cousins and best friends, they are so different. Dina kept telling Cecily about what lies in the stars for her, and with Cecily being a Scorpio (the same as me), I found it quite interesting. I asked the Author where she got her Scorpio knowledge from and she told me that she has always had an interest in Astrology, and did research on it for this book. Tracie is an Aries like Dante and her oldest friend is a Scorpio like Cecily (and me!). 

Scorpio’s are..”…fiercely loyal, hard-working, love home and hearth, and are good with money.”

Anyone who has followed ChocolatePages will know I am a total foodie, I love food and I love books that talk about food. So a book of two chefs who have cook offs. (See my hashtag #DuckWar on Twitter!) is one I will enjoy. We hear much talk of Cecily’s French food, and how her thoughts wonder to food and recipes while she should be concentrating on other things. Dante’s Italian food sounds good too, but I was won over by the Cordon Bleu. Cecily even uses food as metaphors.

“I’m as happy as a clam being steamed in Sauvignon Blanc …”

This book has everything I would ask for in a chick lit book; fun, food, romance. It is enough to get your taste buds tantalised and your imagination tickled. The cover of the book is a very good reflection on the type of read this is, and I love the cover!  It was a brilliant book, and I eagerly await Tracie’s next book…

Links:

Goodreads

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Twitter/@traciebanister

traciebanister.blogspot.co.uk

 

 

 
5 Comments

Posted by on February 4, 2017 in Books

 

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Book Review: Follow Me, by Angela Clarke.

Book Review: Follow Me, by Angela Clarke.

During the run up to Christmas last year, I participated in a Secret Santa that was organised by Emma (@emthebookworm) and Kelly (@kellyspillane). If you search the hashtag #BaublesandBooks on twitter you will see much chat. My match was the very generous Sharon (@SharonSAtkinson). Sharon bought me this brilliant book, amongst quite a few others. I had read the blurb on this book, and being about an online serial killer, it really piqued my interest. It was as I had hoped an excellent griping read. So, thank you to Sharon, Emma and Kelly. 

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Description:

LIKE. SHARE. FOLLOW . . . DIE

The ‘Hashtag Murderer’ posts chilling cryptic clues online, pointing to their next target. Taunting the police. Enthralling the press. Capturing the public’s imagination.

But this is no virtual threat.

As the number of his followers rises, so does the body count.

Eight years ago two young girls did something unforgivable. Now ambitious police officer Nasreen and investigative journalist Freddie are thrown together again in a desperate struggle to catch this cunning, fame-crazed killer. But can they stay one step ahead of him? And can they escape their own past?

Time’s running out. Everyone is following the #Murderer. But what if he is following you?

ONLINE, NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM. . .

follow-me

Published December 31st 2015 by Avon

My Thoughts:

This book is brilliant. We follow Freddie, a waitress come investigative journalist. As Freddie is waiting for the big story to make her mark, she stumbles upon just the way she thinks to make her name in the papers! And it does just that, though perhaps not the way she expected! 

Freddie accidentally meets up with her old school friend Naz who is working in the police force, and between the two of them and the other police, they have a race against time to find the social media online serial killer who has cleverly named himself @apolloyon aka #murderer. Some of this reading is scary stuff. The Author has really put her knowledge of social media in this book, and it is scary to see how much people can find out or giveway about themselves, without knowing. But also how anonymous you can be, if you know the right tools, as @apolloyon did. This book is so current, and will really appeal to all readers who have an interest in social media and who love crime thrillers. (This is me – absolutely the target audience here!)

The characters are great in this book, really well developed and I liked that you could see how the plot had changed both Freddie and Naz by the end of the book. Freddie is a complex character and I can see how Naz is confused as how to feel about her, Freddie is impulsive, gutsy yet also has a big heart. Freddie is a whizz at social media, despite tripping herself up at times as she adds her location to Facebook!! It did baffle me a bit that the police force seemed so inadequate in their knowledge of social media, but I guess that why they have IT specialists. 

At the beginning of each chapter, the killers followers and following are shown, this was a really nice touch and made the book so ‘now’. As the followers go up, so do the murders, so this book really was a page turner. 

As the killer is revealed towards the end of the book, I thought back over the pages and could see how cleverly wound this tale was. I had an idea, but that is only because I tend to suspect everyone! Angela Clarke is a very talented writer and I may just have found myself a new favourite Author.

If you love social media and crime thrillers, this book is for you. Even if you are not into social media, then this book will give you a much better understanding of it, and probably keep you away from Twitter and Facebook too. Angela Clarke has written a very clever book, and I can’t wait to read her next book.

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Links:

Goodreads

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Twitter/@TheAngelaClarke

AngelaClarke.co.uk

 

 
7 Comments

Posted by on January 28, 2017 in Books

 

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#Festive Book Review: How to Stuff up Christmas, by Rosie Blake.

#Festive Book Review: How to Stuff up Christmas, by Rosie Blake.

So a rather late festive book review, but I enjoyed reading my festive books right the way through the season, so better late than never. 

Thank you to publishers Corvus and Author Rosie Blake for my lovely copy of ‘How to Stuff Up Christmas’ with its beautiful cover all complete with lovely Christmassy sparkles on it.

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Description:

‘Tis the season to be jolly. Unless you’ve found an intimate picture of another woman on your fiance’s phone…

Eve is heartbroken after discovering her fiance is cheating on her. Being surrounded by the joys of Christmas is more than Eve can bear, so she chooses to avoid the festivities by spending Christmas alone on a houseboat in Pangbourne. Eve gets an unexpected seasonal surprise when handsome local vet Greg comes to her rescue one day, and continues to visit Eve’s boat on a mission to transform her from Kitchen Disaster Zone to Culinary Queen.

But where does Greg keep disappearing to? What does Eve’s best friend Daisy know that she isn’t telling? And why is there an angry goose stalking Eve’s boat?

A hilarious and heart-warming novel about Christmas, catastrophes and cooking, containing exclusive Christmas recipes, from the talented Rosie Blake.

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Published November 5th 2015 by Corvus

 

My Thoughts:

This is just the kind of festive read that I love. It wasn’t filled with all “the perfect family set up blah blah”, but it was a Christmassy setting with great characters, some delicious and some not quite so successful recipes, plus a nice storyline with humour and fun.

The books starts off with a nice recipe made by Eve’s  friend Daisy to attempt to cheer her up after her boyfriend was caught cheating on her. We follow Eve as she makes alternative arrangements for her festive season. The range of nice festive recipes along the way are lovely, and as Eve is not a great cook, some are amusing and some work out well and sound delicious. Eve’s sister makes an interesting dish called ‘Grandma’s Pink Cheese’. Something I hadn’t heard of but sounds lovely.

There is a nice range of characters in this book, the first that comes to my mind after finishing the book is Marmite the dog! He is a fun lovely character and keeps Eve company, though beware of those geese!! 

Eve’s Dad made me chuckle with his wacky dress sense, but I wasn’t keen on her Mum, always criticising. There is a bit of intrigue as to what her best friend Daisy is hiding, and throughout I was a little dubious of her, you will need to read to see if I was right or not…. 

Overall this was a lovely festive read, with great recipes, interesting developed characters, laughs and a bit of adventure. Plus an amusing end. I definitely recommend it. 

 

Links:

Goodreads.

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Twitter/@RosieBBooks

 

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5 Comments

Posted by on January 15, 2017 in Books

 

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My Top Books of 2016.

My Top Books of 2016.

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This is a post I have been thinking about for a few weeks. I have read a lot of good books over the past year, and to list my top ten is a good reminder to me how much I enjoyed them. It is also a nice way to thank the Authors for their talent. 

I met my Goodreads challenge of reading 40 books this year. I know this is not a huge amount compared to other bookbloggers, but its good for me. I prefer to read my books slower and more thoroughly so I really enjoy them and soak up the story that it is telling me. 

These books are in no particular order, but all are 5 stars worth brilliant. I have linked my review to each one, incase you want to read my thoughts on them. The links for each book will be in the review post.

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TOP TEN BOOKS OF 2016 BY CHOCOLATEPAGES.

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Cut Throat Defence by Olly Jarvis. A brilliant gripping crime thriller based in the UK. Olly Jarvis is my favourite legal thriller Author as his knowledge flows brilliantly into his fictional characters drawing me right into the gritty underground and clever legal cases. You can read my review and more about it HERE!

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out of darkness

Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan, was a wonderful uplifting spiritual story. This book has stayed with me and brings hope and appreciation to its readers.  I always think of this book as I go on my walks and pass the boats. You can read more about my thoughts HERE!

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sw19 club

The SW19 Club by Nicola May. I only discovered this Author this year and have been missing out. I have read 3 of her books, but The SW19 Club was my favourite as it was therapeutic, brilliant and made me laugh and cry. You can read more about it HERE!

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strangers house

A Stranger’s House by Clare Chase. This was a twisty turny suspence which is just the kind of book I love. Clare Chase is a wonder at writing these kinds of novels. I have her next one on my kindle ready to go. You can read more about A Stranger’s House and my thoughts HERE!

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coffe tea carib

Coffee, Tea, The Caribbean and Me by Caroline James. I have read all of the Coffee, Tea books that Caroline has written and I just love her main characters Jo and Hattie. The tales are heartwarming while making me laugh, feel hungry for the delicious cakes they eat and go into a whole bookish world of Caroline’s imagination. You can read more about my thoughts HERE! 

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novelista girl

Novelista Girl by Meredith Schorr. In my review of this book, I gave the Author the huge compliment of saying that I loved the main character Kim Long as much as I love Sophie Kinsella’s Becky Brandon. This book was pure chick lit at its very best. It was perfect! You can read more about my thoughts HERE!

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daisy

Daisy In Chains by Sharon Bolton was a brilliant book with a really interesting storyline. It spoke of prison wives and fan clubs of convicted murderers. The end was so fantastic and so much of a twist, I loved it. You can read more about my thoughts HERE!

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Boyfriend By Book Repaired Master Font II

Boyfriend by the Book by Laura Briggs. This was an indulgent chick lit easy read. It was frivolous and complete fun. Perfect for cosy days where you want to go to a bookish world of imagination. You can read more about my thoughts HERE!

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death

 

The Death of Anyone by DJ Swykert. This was another gripping crime thriller and it had the unique points within the tale about ethics of using familial DNA as evidence. Really interesting while being a fantastic crime thriller. You can read more about my thoughts HERE! 

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Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson. This was a wonderful surprise of a book, as I didn’t know there was an Anne Shirley book that I hadn’t read, then I got this! It is a really nice prequel where we can see how Anne got to Green Gables. Although it is by a different Author to the original Green Gables books, it was written with a real insight into the original books by LM Montgomery to celebrate 100 years of Green Gables. You can read more about my thoughts HERE!

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So, there are my Top Ten Books of 2016. I hope that 2017 will be full of plenty more, I’m quite sure it will be as I already have a full ‘to be read’ pile. 

Have you read any of these? What were your best reads of the year, link your posts here and I will take a look at yours too. 

Until next time, Happy Reading! 

 
25 Comments

Posted by on January 8, 2017 in Books

 

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