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

Book Review: The Waiting Room by Alysha Kaye

on
Wednesday, 27 August 2014



Title: The Waiting Room
Published: 27 June 2014
Publisher:  
Author: Alysha Kaye
Twitter: @alyshakaye7
Blog/website: alyshakaye.com

Synopsis 

Jude and Nina are the epitome of that whole raw, unflinching love thing that most people are jealous of. That is, until Jude dies and wakes up in The Waiting Room, surrounded by other souls who are all waiting to pass over into their next life. But unlike those souls, Jude’s name is never called by the mysterious “receptionist”. He waits, watching Nina out of giant windows. He’s waiting for her. What is this place? How long will he wait? And what will happen when and if Nina does join him? The Waiting Room is a story of not just love, but of faith, predestination, and philosophy, friendship and self-actualization, of waiting.

Review 


For my bedtime reading tonight, I've gone with a sample of Alysha Kaye's The Waiting Room.

Whilst I've only read chapter one, I'm already intrigued. I must first admit that this is not my usual genre of choice and, in fact, I tend to actively avoid tales of death and sadness, however Ms Kaye's debut novel takes a unique look into death and the afterlife. The manner in which the first chapter is written seems quite  matter-of-fact, rather than trying too hard to render the reader into a tearful sobbing mess, which was what I feared when I first read the synopsis. Stories dealing with death and loss can become overly-sentimental, however Ms Kaye seems to have neatly avoided this pitfall throughout the first chapter. Although given the subject matter, I'm sure there will be plenty of opportunities for me to shed a tear or two before I reach the end of the story. 

The book is released in electronic format and is currently priced at £2.44 on Amazon UK. I am looking forward to reading the remainder of this story and seeing in which direction it leads. 


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Book Review: The Wedding Diary by Margaret James

on
Sunday, 17 August 2014


Title: The Wedding Diary
Published: 5 December 2013
Publisher: Choc Lit
Author: Margaret James 

Synopsis

Where's a Fairy Godmother when you need one? If you won a fairy-tale wedding in a luxury hotel, you'd be delighted - right? But what if you didn't have anyone to marry? Cat Aston did have a fiance, but now it looks like her Prince Charming has done a runner. Adam Lawley was left devastated when his girlfriend turned down his heartfelt proposal. He's made a vow never to fall in love again. So - when Cat and Adam meet, they shouldn't even consider falling in love. After all, they're both broken hearted. But for some reason they can't stop thinking about each other. Is this their second chance for happiness, or are some things just too good to be true?

Review 

This book falls under the new(ish) genre of 'Choc Lit'. Choc Lit is an independent publisher, specialising in women’s romantic fiction, where  the story is always told partially from the hero’s point of view. 

In an interview with lovereading.co.uk, the author, Margaret James, describes the book as "a contemporary romantic comedy starring a feisty Cinderella, a gorgeous Prince Charming and a terrifying Fairy Godmother who seriously frightened me."  

I really enjoyed this book and read it over the space of about 5 hours today. Despite the difficulties and  misunderstandings encountered by the likeable characters, this was a thoroughly charming and happy read, perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon or a day at the beach.  

I immediately warmed to the characters. The main characters central to the love story are Cat, an immediately likeable heroine with a warm and friendly personality, and Adam, a real gentleman with a caring and generous nature. The burgeoning relationship between them is delightful. The story is prevented from becoming overly saccharine by the eeccentricssecondary cast who add some real humour and character to the story. Fanny is particularly memorable and was possibly my favourite character. 

Even the locations used in this tale are beautiful and romantic settings.

If I were to be critical, it would be that the outcome was predictable and that the reason for the protaganists last big disagreement smacked of hypocracy, a trait which I would not necessarily link to Cat. However, I understand that in order to move the plot forwards, there will sometimes be certain situations which may not be entirely true-to-life. At least in this case, it was not beyond the bounds of what is believable.

Overall, The Wedding Diary is a lovely uplifting tale of love, romance and a little bit of well-placed humour. I would recommend this to any lovers of romances/chick lit.

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August's Birchbox

on
Saturday, 9 August 2014


Evening all!

I thought I'd give you all a quick preview of August's Birchbox. I'm very excited to try this month's items and they'll be great for my upcoming holiday!




Ginger Cat x

Book Review: The Cookoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith [Kindle Edition]

on
Monday, 4 August 2014


Title: The Cuckoo's Calling
Published: 18 April 2013

Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Author: Robert Galbraith 
Twitter: @RGalbraith

Synopsis


When a troubled model falls to her death from a snow-covered Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts, and calls in private investigator Cormoran Strike to look into the case.

Strike is a war veteran – wounded both physically and psychologically – and his life is in disarray. The case gives him a financial lifeline, but it comes at a personal cost: the more he delves into the young model’s complex world, the darker things get – and the closer he gets to terrible danger . . .
A gripping, elegant mystery steeped in the atmosphere of London – from the hushed streets of Mayfair to the backstreet pubs of the East End to the bustle of Soho – The Cuckoo’s Calling is a remarkable book. Introducing Cormoran Strike, this is the acclaimed first crime novel from Robert Galbraith.
 
Review 
 
Robert Galbraith is the pseudonym/pen name of J K Rowling, author of the 'Harry Potter' books. Despite not usually reading children's books, I have read all of the Harry Potter books and found them to be a great read (with the exception of the final book in the series which I did not really enjoy). I was impressed that Rowling was not only able to create the entire magical world in her mind, but also to write the stories in such a way that everyone was able to imagine that world as she had visualised it. As such, when it was leaked that Robert Galbraith was, in fact, J K Rowling, I was interested to see her style when it came to writing fiction for adults.

I'm glad I gave is a go becaus The Cuckoo's Calling is a brilliant mystery story. It focuses on private investigator Cormoran Strike. A famous but troubled model is found dead and her brother hires Strike to investigate the death despite the police treating it as a suicide. As Strike delves further into the facts surrounding the death it becomes clear that all is not as it seems.

Strike is a complex character: ex-army, in financial straights, on the verge of losing his business and in the process of a complicated separation with his fiancĂ©. He is a terrific character and Galbraith manages to make the reader sympathise with Strike's current situation whilst at the same time understanding his faults and failings. His assistant, Robin, is more instantly likeable as a character and their relationship is interesting to witness.

This is not an 'edge of your seat' story but proceeds at a gentle pace. However, the descriptive nature and the appeal of the characters make it a captivating story. Galbraith hits the right balance between description and storytelling which allows the reader to be able to visualise the world that the author has created in their mind without becoming too bogged down with overly verbose descriptions.

I struggled to put this book down.

I am aware that the book may not have garnered nearly so much attention and publicity had the author's true identity not been revealed, however, on the flip side, an established author such as Rowling may be more likely to face criticism if fans of her earlier work do not think a new book is up to earlier standards.

In my opinion, Rowling has moved effortlessly between genres, from a magical fantasy world to a gritty mystery, without losing any of the appeal of her writing style.

I have just downloaded book 2 in the Cormeran Strike series, The Silkworm, and I cannot wait to give it a try.

Both Cormoran Strike books are on sale via Amazon for £1.99 at present, so it's the perfect time to give them a try.

Ginger Cat x

Smith & Sinclair Cocktail Confectionery

on
Sunday, 3 August 2014
Photograph courtesy of wwwww.smithandsinclair.co.uk

These Cocktail Confectioneries are a range of adult sweets from Smith and Sinclair made by hand using alcohol, fruit and spices. The website states that "to ensure that each pastille is infused with the deep complexity of flavours to be found in a cocktail, our unique cooking process ensures only minimal alcohol is burnt off". 

The consistency is softer than a fruit pastille, more like a Yorks Fruits. 

We tried the rum and whiskey flavours sold to us in boxes of 2 for £3 per box or £5 for 2 boxes.



From review of Smith and Sinclair's website, I believe the flavours we tried were:

  • Spiced Rum (Dark rum & Warming spices)
  • Whisky Sour (A classic with a Grapefruit twist) 

Other available flavours are:

RUM

Mixed Berry Daiquiri (Summer Berries, Dark Rum and a Pink Peppercorn infused coating)

GIN

Spring Clean (Gin, Elderflower, Thyme)

Gin & Tonic (Violet infused gin in a Lemon Sherbet coating)

WHISKY

Cake Icing (Whisky & Amaretto)

To be completely honest, we expected these sweets to taste awful, and I was happily surprised to find that they actually taste pretty good. I just wish they had the other flavours available to try. 

I think these are a fun and original idea and I'll definitely be willing to try the other flavours if I find them on sale again. 

Ginger Cat x