Saturday, 22 November 2014

Allegra Biscotti - Olivia Bennett

She doesn't want her turn on the catwalk-she'd rather be behind the scenes creating fabulous outfits! So when a famous fashionista discovers Emma's designs and offers her the opportunity of a lifetime-a feature in Madison magazine (squeal!)-Emma sort of, well, panics. She has only one option: to create a secret identity.

And so Allegra Biscotti is born.

Allegra is worldly, sophisticated, and bold-everything Emma is not. But the pressure is on. And Emma quickly discovers juggling school, a new crush, friends, and a secret identity might not be as glamorous as she thought.

Something a little different from me - this is a book I downloaded as it was (and still is) on offer at 1p on Amazon. It's a teen book but after reading some of the reviews I decided to give it a go. 

The book is based on Emma - who has to invent an alter go Allegra to pass off her fashion designs to a magazine - she is after all only a teenager.

I love fashion and used to sew all my own clothes, and when I was younger did have a desire to be a dress designer- so this book took me back to those days. Except for Allegra (Emma) she actually does get to do it. There is some texting but other than that there is a lack of actual "teen speak" and so it is an easy book to read and a little escapism. I loved all the descriptive writing about the actual sewing, less so the "Bees" who are reminicient of "Mean Girls" and "The Heathers".

Monday, 17 November 2014

The Silkworm - Robert Galbraith

Image result for the silkwormWhen novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, she just thinks he has gone off by himself for a few days - as he has done before - and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.
But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realises. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were published it would ruin lives - so there are a lot of people who might want to silence him.
And when Quine is found brutally murdered in bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any he has encountered before . . .

I’m a JK Rowling fan but to put this review into context I actually hated The Casual Vacancy. So it was with trepidation I first read her alter ego Galbraith.
However, I loved the first book featuring Cormoran Strike “The Cuckoo’s Calling” and was eager to read the sequel “The Silkworm”.  I have to say it did not disappoint. It was wonderful to be riding shotgun with Cormoran again as he traipsed around London. So much so that I am sad it is over and I now await hopefully a third book. I liked the way that in this book Cormoran called in favours from his connected family, giving a different dimension to the plot.
I see that other reviewers think this is not a crime novel. I read a lot of crime and to me the development of the characters adds more to the book than a basic whodunit. It’s almost starting to feel like the TV series Moonlighting for those who can remember that, with the chemistry developing between Cormoran and his PA now decidedly sidekick. Also the writing is so evocative, really transporting you to the scene, especially the snowy setting.
I didn't guess “whodunit” but without giving away the plot I did guess part of the mechanism, but it didn't detract from my enjoyment of the book.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

The Great Christmas Knit Off - Alexandra Brown

Heartbroken after being jilted at the altar, Sybil has been saved from despair by her knitting obsession and now her home is filled to bursting with tea cosies, bobble hats, and jumpers. But, after discovering that she may have perpetrated the cock-up of the century at work, Sybil decides to make a hasty exit and, just weeks before Christmas, runs away to the picturesque village of Tindledale.

There, Sybil discovers Hettie’s House of Haberdashery, an emporium dedicated to the world of knitting and needle craft. But Hettie, the outspoken octogenarian owner, is struggling and now the shop is due for closure. And when Hettie decides that Sybil’s wonderfully wacky Christmas jumpers are just the thing to add a bit of excitement to her window display, something miraculous starts to happen…

I love all crafts, I love the idea of an idyllic haberdashery shop in a quaint village with a fab pub and a lovely tearoom serving mouth-watering delicacies. So, when I stepped into The Great Christmas Knit Off and the village of Tindledale I felt right at home immediately. I was instantly transported into the village and could see it all vividly including the all the lovely finds in Hettie’s Haberdashery shop, all the glorious balls of wool waiting to be oohed and aahed over.

We get to explore all of the above with Sybs who has been jilted at the altar and might be out of a job. She’s also got the cutest loveliest Scottie dog and I could just imagine him so clearly through Alex’s writing. He’s got the fab name of Basil too. I used to have a westie dog and the traits are very similar.

Now I loved the book and can’t wait to return to Tindledale (and hear more about Basil). However, a true knitter would need to do a tension square before several people all started sharing knitting a garment! And I felt it ended a little abruptly, but perhaps that’s to leave me wanting more………

My thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins UK for the supplying me with the advance copy of this book to review.