Books reviews, book tours, cover reveals and anything else book-related.

My first Birchbox has arrived!!

Monday, 30 June 2014
A knock on the door at 8.55pm this evening heralded the arrival of my first ever Birchbox and I was very excited to see what was inside.

The contents of the box are as follows:-

So far, I've tried the Neobay lotion which has a delicious lemony fragrance and absorbs quickly without any sticky residue.

The OPI nail lacquer in a summery sparkly pink colour went on easily (even for me and I usually make a mess of my right hand!) and the Benefit mascara is the perfect handbag size, so I am sure that I will get a lot of use out of it.

Of course, I am also excited to try the Caudalie Vinoperfect, which is currently out of stock on Caudalie's UK website, and Silk + Honey hair mask which is the costly sum of £55 online.

I'm looking forward to receiving my second Birchbox already! 

Ginger Cat x 

Birchbox - the monthly beauty box

Friday, 27 June 2014

Good morning all!

I am feeling very excited having just signed up for my first ever Birchbox and even more excited that I was able to get a £5 discount using code 'BBXJuneTT'.

Birchbox is a beauty box delivered monthly to subscribers, each containing around 4 to 5 sample beauty and cosmetic products. According to their website, they have over 400,000 subscribers globally.

Subscription can be on a rolling monthly membership, which can be cancelled at any time. The cost is £10 per month + £2.95 p&p. There are other options for 6 monthly and annual subscriptions which provide a discount, however the rolling monthly membership is perfect for me as I have never tried Birchbox before and do not want to get tied into a long term contract at this early stage.

The reviews that I have read about Birchbox are all positive and previous boxed have contained a range of good quality items from well-known brands such as Caudalie, Benefit, Korres, Laura Mercier etc...

I love the idea of having a regular supply of cosmetic and beauty samples to try out. I will let you know how I get on when my first box arrives.

Has anyone tried Birchbox already? I would love to hear what you think of the selection of products included in the boxes.

Ginger Cat x

Book Review: The Last Lord of the Moors (Kindle edition) by Isabella Brooke

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Hello everyone!

I've just finished reading The Last Lord of the Moors (Kindle edition) by Isabella Brooke. This as a cheapie or freebie (I cannot remember which) from the Amazon bestsellers list and I was looking forward to reading it, particularly seeing the favourable reviews it had garnered on Amazon.

The blurb on the back of the book summarises the story as follows:-

"In the twenty-first century, who needs Lords anymore? Richard, Lord of the Manor of Arkthwaite, lives alone in his crumbling house, resenting his hereditary position. He’s hoping to drink himself to an early grave and bring the title to an end. His bleak plans are upset when newcomer Helena decides to shake up this fading community. She’s been jilted and she needs a new project, so she joins forces with local headmistress Vicky and together they hatch a plan to bring broadband to this remote spot. Their lives clash with Richard’s as the cable needs to be dug across his land. But when Richard falls for Helena, it gets more complicated. She’s suspicious of men and their compliments; and he has his own reasons for wanting to stay single. Can they both shake off their histories to bring a better future to the village - and their own lives? Contains: romance, community regeneration, pagans, over-the-top mothers, British humour, rain."

This is a contemporary romance containing a mix of warmth, humour and community spirit. I would say that the book as falling into the category of romantic comedy or maybe chick-lit.  There are no slap-stick moments, unlike a lot of romantic comedies, and the author has the grace to allow the reader to find the humour within the general tone of the book rather than a specific set-up event.

I felt that the story started off well, although my initial spark of concern arose during Chapter One when the author writes “Helena let the “dear” slide. Older women could just about get away with it, but woe betide any man who tried such a word on her; it had much the same effect as “sweetie”, “gorgeous” and “babe”. Not that she’d ever been called babe, but she lived in hope, just so she could unleash her inner feminist upon the perpetrator”. Later in that first chapter, it reads that the lead female character “...made a mental note to start leaving stridently feminist magazines lying around the office. A couple of back issues of “Slit” might open his eyes to a few things.”

This was a warning sign of things to come and I felt that a good underlying story was somewhat lessened by a somewhat unbelievable heroine, Helena. I appreciate that she was jilted at the altar, after trying to be the women she believed her ex-fiance wanted. I also appreciate that she was trying to rebuild her life in a way that suits her, rather than pandering to other people’s perception of what she should be. That is all very admirable, however this doesn’t lessen the fact that, for me, she was just plain annoying.

Despite my initial annoyance from that first chapter, I continued with the book and started to really rather enjoy it. I liked the thought of this little village in the depths of beyond and the villagers coming together in a huge show of community-mindedness. The story was gentle escapism with a sweet (if obvious) underlying love story developing between the main characters.

Unfortunately, the story was then almost completely ruined for me at the end of Chapter 9 (72 % into the Kindle edition) when the hero, Richard, tries to treat Helena to a spa day, a gesture to which she takes great offence believing that he wants to change her. At this point, I found myself totally infuriated by the book and the (in my opinion) completely absurd over-reaction from Helena. I struggled to continue reading the book after this point.

Fortunately, I did struggle through and started to enjoy the story again, although my enjoyment was still overshadowed by the dislike and frustration I felt towards the main character.

For me, the book did not live up to its promise and this was solely due to the main female character (this is, of course, my subjective view and hopefully other readers will disagree with me!). The story itself would otherwise have been delightful.

I would be willing to try another book by Isabella Brooke in the future as I did like her style of writing in general and I did enjoy the story.

Have you read is book or anything else by Isabella Brooke? I would be interested to hear your opinions.

Ginger Cat x

Book Review: Weddings Can Be Murder by Christie Craig

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Good evening my lovelies, 

I have just finished reading my first Christie Craig novel - Weddings Can Be Murder - and I really rather enjoyed it.  At the time of writing this post, it is at number 4 on the free Kindle Bestseller list. I always love a free book!

The story was a combination of suspense, romance and humour rolled into one, although I think the romance angle was the predominant theme to this book. 

Starting with the negatives, I found certain aspects of the characters to be slightly  unbelievable and the story line seemed a little bit weak in places. It had a lot of promise, but felt slightly rushed and the ending was predictable, although I would expect that from a romantic novel. I think that I would have preferred some further development of the 'villain'.

Moving onto the positives, the characters were fun, there was some good use of humour in the story and the book had clearly been proof read and edited (one of my main gripes about some of the free Kindle books is that they are too often full of poor grammar and spelling mistakes). The story line kept me guessing throughout without the usual dip in action in the middle that I find in a few too many books. 

Overall, I found the book to be an easy and enjoyable read. Great for a freebie and I'd be tempted to try another book from this author. 

Ginger Cat x

Book Review: Death Comes to Town by K.J. Emrick (Kindle edition)

Wednesday, 11 June 2014
Good evening all,

I've just finished reading 'Death Comes to Town' by K.J. Emrick (Kindle edition) which I found for free on  This story is the first in a series of mystery stories involving Darcy Sweet.

Sweet is a small town bookshop owner with an ability to communicate with spirits/the other side. This trouble begins when Sweet's friend is murdered.

This is advertised as a cosy mystery and that is precisely what it is.

I liked the quirkiness of the characters, although there was very little character development which made it difficult to relate to them.  The story itself was relatively enjoyable, however the story lacked a certain element of realism. The police detective allows a civilian to investigate the case with him, have access to the evidence and to question the killer without any good reason for that civilian to become involved and when that civilian should actually be on the suspect list. Furthermore, the policeman seems more than willing to arrest people without any good reason to do so.

Accept the book for the cosy, easy read that it is intended to be and you'll hopefully find it fairly enjoyable. If you expect too much out of it, you will be disappointed.

Ginger Cat x

Book Review: Sanctus by Simon Toyne

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Sanctus is the debut novel by Simon Toyne and is the first of a trilogy, subsequent books being 'The Key' and 'The Tower'.

This book falls firmly in the category of religious conspiracies, the like of which has become hugely popular as a result of the popularity of Dan Brown's 'The Da Vinci Code' etc... I will happily admit to having enjoyed some of Brown's novels, however they were followed by an abundance of religious thrillers in the same cookie-cut format which have put me off reading books in this genre.  I only read Sanctus as is was a present from my husband and, even then, it was sat on the coffee table for a number of weeks before I got around to reading it. The premise and style of Toyne's writing is indeed reminiscent of that of Dan Brown, although I found the writing to be better and more engaging.  

The story is based upon a three thousand year-old conspiracy of 'The Sacrament' held at the Citadel in the fictional city of Ruin, Turkey, and guarded by a secretive closed order of monks known as the Sancti. In modern day, a monk throws himself off the top of the mountainside where the Citadel still exists bringing forth an ancient prophecy which sets off a chain of events leading to discovery of the Sancti's astounding secret of The Sacrament and why it has remained hidden and guarded for so many years.

The book is a blockbuster-type and you need to bear this in mind. A lot of criticism for this genre of fiction tends to be from people expecting the stories to be true-to-life and historically accurate. This book does not pretend to be such. Toyne uses originality in his ideas, creating his own version of the Christian church and incorporating a supernatural element within his story.

The writing was fast-paced and the chapters short, which helped to sustain my interest. I found the beginning to be gripping, however the story did seem to lose some of it's pace towards the middle of the book. The ending was somewhat of a surprise to me which initially left me wondering whether or not I actually liked the book. The characters lacked some depth however, for once, I did not feel that really caused any detriment to the book. The story, whilst easy-reading, did contain twists, suspense, treachery and secrets. It turned into a real page-turner for me.

I'm now starting The Key and looking forward to getting my hands on number 3 shortly.

I would give this book a solid 3/5.

Ginger Cat x