Category Archives: Review

If We Were Having Coffee… On April 2

Hello my lovelies!

How are you? I’m so glad that you found time for coffee with me for this week’s Weekend Coffee Share! Come in, come in, what can I get you? I’ve just made coffee but I can also put the kettle on.

It’s a nice day out but a bit chillier than it was, so while the windows are open and letting the fresh spring air in, I think it’d be too cold to actually sit outside on the patio today – unless you want to wrap up in blankets, then I’m all for it!

If we were having coffee today, you’d notice I’m a bit giddy. Well, a few minor but good things happened this week and I’m excited.

Continue reading If We Were Having Coffee… On April 2

Advertisements

#60Books Review 15/2016: Hard Red Spring by Kelly Kerney

Read as part of my 60 Books Challenge: A book published in 2016

Kelly Kerney’s Hard Red Spring brings one hundred years of Guatemalan history to life.

Told through the eyes of four American women who witness four different periods of the twentieth century in Guatemala, this novel beautifully combines historical facts with memorable fiction.

Hard Red Spring also takes a look at the cultural divide, not only between the Guatemalans and the four American women, but also the different cultural groups in Guatemala, notably the Mayans.

The 1902 disappearance of a young girl is the red thread linking the four women, but the real protagonist of this novel is the country it is set in. Multi-dimensional and dynamic, the story remains as intriguing as it is heart-breaking to the very last page.

My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Title: Hard Red Spring
Author: Kelly Kerney
Publisher: Viking
Release Date: March 29, 2016
Pages: 448
ISBN: 978-0525429012

 

Hard Red Spring by Kelly Kerney was provided to me as an
Advance Review Copy in eBook format by
Penguin Random House’s FirstToRead

#60Books Review 14/2016: Daredevils by Shawn Vestal

Read as part of my 60 Books Challenge: One-word title

Daredevils by Shawn Vestal is a coming of age story with a twist.

In fact, I’d go as far as to say it’s not so much a coming of age tale, but more a loss of innocence.

It follows Mormon life from the 1950’s Short Creek, Arizona to 1970’s Gooding, Idaho, and takes not only the characters, but also the readers, on a vivid roadtrip across the United States.

Central to the story is 15-year-old Loretta, whose life changes after she is caught sneaking out of her house one night. As punishment for wanting a normal life, her parents marry her off as a sister-wife to a Mormon Elder.

What follows is the urge to escape, the yearning for freedom from the confines of the family faith, not only for Lori who lives in a polygamist community, but also Jason who is also a Mormon but monogamist. He idolises Evel Knievel, and longs for a life of adventure. Together, they embark on a trip in search of gold and freedom.

The story is a page-turner from cover to cover, and not only provides an insight into Mormon religion and communities, but also into what teenage life is like governed by those restraints. Throw in the 70’s and a joyride across the States, and you’re left with a novel that shows the deeply human desire to break free.

My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Title: Daredevils
Author: Shawn Vestal
Publisher: Penguin Press
Release Date: April 12, 2016
Pages: 320
ISBN: 978-1101979891

 

Daredevils by Shawn Vestal was provided to me as an
Advance Review Copy in eBook format by
Penguin Random House’s FirstToRead

 

60 Books Challenge 2016

 60 Books Challenge 2016

  1. A book written by someone under the age of 25 
  2. A book written by someone over 65 
  3. A book published before 1850 Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
  4. A book published this year Hard Red Spring by Kelly Kerney
  5. An anthology 
  6. A book published by an indie press
  7. A book about or by someone who identifies as LGBTQ 
  8. A book that takes place in Asia 
  9. A book written by an Asian author 
  10. A book by an African author 
  11. A book that takes place in Africa 
  12. A book by or about Native Americans 
  13. A book by or about Aborigines 
  14. A Young Adult novel Aristotle and Dante discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sàenz
  15. A sci-fi novel Doctor Who: The Angel’s Kiss by Melody Malone
  16. A National Book Award winning book 
  17. A Man Booker Prize winning book 
  18. A Pulitzer Prize winning book 
  19. A retelling of a classic story 
  20. An audio-book Silver: Return to Treasure Island by Andrew Motion
  21. A book adapted for radio The Gaveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (adapted by BBC)
  22. A book that was recommended to you My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem
  23. A book originally published in a different language 
  24. A book in a foreign language 
  25. A book you consider a “guilty pleasure” 
  26. A book published the year you were born 
  27. A book with more than 500 pages 
  28. A classic romance 
  29. A book that became a movie Octopussy & The Living Daylights by Ian Fleming
  30. A book with a number in the title 
  31. A funny book Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett
  32. A mystery or thriller And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
  33. An erotic novel Casanova: The Venetian Years by Giacomo Casanova
  34. A book with a one-word title Daredevils by Shawn Vestal
  35. A nonfiction book We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  36. A popular author’s first book 
  37. A book from a favourite author you haven’t read yet 
  38. A book based on a true story 
  39. A book from the bottom of your to-read-pile The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell
  40. A book based on its cover alone The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman
  41. A book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t 
  42. A book with antonyms in the title 
  43. A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit 
  44. A trilogy 
  45. A book from your childhood 
  46. A book with a colour in the title 
  47. A book that makes you cry 
  48. A book with magic 
  49. A book by an author you’ve never read before The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
  50. A book you own but haven’t read How To Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
  51. A book that takes place in your hometown, state or country 
  52. A play Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris
  53. A banned book 
  54. A book based on or turned into a TV show Doctor Who: Sleepers in the Dust by Darren Jones
  55. A NaNoWriMo winning novel 
  56. A book your dad loves 
  57. A book your mum loves 
  58. A book your grandparents love/own 
  59. A book by an author with your initials (C.K.) 
  60. A book by an author with the same first name (Cornelia/Conny) 

#60Books Review 3/2016: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Read as part of my 60 Books Challenge: A mystery.

And Then There Were None is arguably the very best story the Grande Dame of Mystery Fiction, Agatha Christie, has ever written.

Originally published under the title Ten Little Niggers (or Ten Little Indians – back then these terms were not yet considered offensive), the story is about ten seemingly unrelated people who are lured to a remote island under false pretenses. It soon becomes apparent that there has to be a murderer among the group as one after the other is killed.

This story is THE whodunnit classic. Full of plot twists and red herrings, And Then There Were None stays gripping to the very last page, just as the protagonists stay classy and reserved in true British fashion. Even as the number of suspects decreases, readers are left wondering who the killer is and what their motives are.

Agatha Christie truly is a legend.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

#60Books Review 2/2016: Doctor Who – The Angel’s Kiss by Justin Richards & “Melody Malone”

Read as part of my 60 Books Challenge: A sci-fi novel.

Doctor Who – The Angel’s Kiss was written by Justin Richards, but – to tie in with the show – Melody Malone was named as author.

Contrary to popular belief, this is NOT the same book as the one River Song reads from in the episode The Angels Take Manhattan.

The story follows Melody Malone, private detective. She gets a visit from a film star called Rock Railton, who believes he is to be killed. Melody gets on the case after he mentions “the kiss of an angel,” and puts herself in danger during her investigations.

Even though this is a Doctor Who tie-in story, the Doctor does not feature in this story. This is one of Melody’s cases, told from Melody’s point of view.

It’s a nice enough story, and the audiobook version read by Alex Kingston – who plays River Song aka Melody Malone on the show – is very intriguing. Alex Kingston uses her sultry River Song voice with a bit of an American twang – the story is set in the US after all – and it fits very well with that old-time Hollywood period and charm the story is based in. That being said, this is NOT a story featuring River Song – this story is all about Melody Malone, the female no-nonsense private detective with killer heels and drop-dead gorgeous red lipstick.

It’s a cool detective story as a standalone. It’s got girl power, 1930’s charm, and a supernatural mystery (the only thing that really ties it in to the show). Unfortunately though, the supposedly bad-ass protagonist is limited by 1930’s gender roles and perceptions. It’s a good story, but could have been better.

Rating: ♥♥♥

#60Books Review 1/2016: Doctor Who – Sleepers In The Dust by Darren Jones

Read as part of my 60 Books Challenge: A book based on a TV show.

Doctor Who: Sleepers in the Dust is an audiobook written by Darren Jones, and narrated by Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams).

The story is told from Rory Williams’ point of view. The 11th Doctor and the Ponds land on the planet Nadurniss, which is under quarantine. The planet had been deserted years ago, but a Nadurni-Human expedition recently returned – only to get infected with age-old bacteria that had been waiting in the dust.

With Amy in danger, it’s up to her Boys, Rory and the Doctor, to figure out what is going on.

The story itself works on a fairly basic premise, and as it’s Doctor Who, there’s a lot of timey-wimey stuff going on. What really makes this audiobook worth listening to is Arthur Darvill. While his Scottish impression of Amy needs a bit more work, his impression of Matt Smith’s Doctor is spot-on. Rory is his usual reluctant hero self, bumbling along as the voice of reason.

It’s definitely an enjoyable story for Doctor Who fans, made even better by Arthur Darvill’s narration.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥