Friday, 24 April 2015

The Poisoned Pie (Hattie's adventures book 1) - Kerry Frith

The lovely Kerry Frith let me have a copy of this ebook to review - thanks Kerry.

Hattie Carter was in the wrong place at the wrong time. She witnessed something she shouldn’t have and it changed her life overnight. 

Now it’s time for Hattie to move on except it's not that easy when she's receiving death threats. On the advice of the DCI in charge, she finds herself in the exquisite village of Castleford in Wiltshire where the cottages are cosy, the locals friendly and never mind the charming Lord Ethan Parks and local sexy but grumpy DI Joe Walsh. Hattie starts to think maybe it's not so bad after all. 

There's no sirens, smog or traffic and even the birds seem chirpier but when there’s a murder in the village, Hattie finds herself curious as to who poisoned Hillary Bishop. She has her suspicions but can she prove who did it all the while DI Walsh is keeping a very close eye on her?

I devoured this book in one day - I had other things I needed to do, so reluctantly I left Hattie and went about my business, but I was eager to get back to find out what was going to happen to her.

Kerry paints a great picture of a lovely village and you soon feel right at home and get to know her and her friends (and enemies!). I loved the way Hattie's little daily routine and her surroundings were outlined, it really made me able to relate to the character. Another favourite part was the description of the food in the restaurant - be prepared to feel hungry.

Hattie is already hiding out due to death threats against her and then there is a death in the village she's taken refuge in - personally I'd lock the doors and not go out, but that wouldn't be a story would it. Hattie is much braver and decides to turn detective......

I don't do spoilers, but I did like the ending and it was the one I was rooting for. 

This is a lovely book - not too long (at 171 pages I would call it a novella) and I would recommend it for holiday reading by a pool or a lazy afternoon. It's more than a short story but not too long that you loose interest. 

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

The cake shop in the garden - Carole Matthews

Fay Merryweather runs her cake shop from her beautiful garden. She whips up airy sponges and scrumptious scones, while her customers enjoy the lovely blossoms and gorgeous blooms. Looking after the cake shop, the garden and her cantankerous mother means Fay is always busy but she accepts her responsibilities because if she doesn't do all this, who will?
Then Danny Wilde walks into her life and makes Fay question every decision she's ever made.
When a sudden tragedy strikes, Fay's entire world is thrown off balance even further and she doesn't know which way to turn. Can Fay find the strength to make a life-changing decision - even if it means giving up the thing she loves the most? Life, love and family are about to collide in The Cake Shop in the Garden.

Well – what can I say – you had me at Cake and Carole Matthews!

Where to begin, because I just loved so much about this book. I actually began to ration my reading towards the close of the book, because I didn't want it to end.

Fay runs Fay’s cakes and her side kick is a “Goth version of the goddess Mary Berry” called Lija who is Latvian. I absolutely loved Lija, her wit was fantastic and she had so many one liners that just had me laughing out loud. She does use the “F” word a lot, rather like Gordon Ramsay – my favourite has to be “F**k me to hell, This is better than EastEnders”.

I settled into the book right away and warmed to the characters, except for Fay’s Mum – she was a piece of work, however Lija knows how to handle her. Carole certainly painted a picture I could clearly see in my mind’s eye and that I would love to have been in – perhaps minus Fay’s Mum. The other charming character was 93 year old Stan a great role model for us all and of course let’s not forget the cute dog Diggery.

Enter Danny and Fay’s world is turned upside down – leaving her with decisions to make. As you think it is all going to go one way, suddenly it all flips over and another twist in the story emerges.

I can honestly say that this book really got me thinking – what would I do if that happened to me? How could Fay’s Mother do that? – I got really angry at some of the characters too. You just need to read it to find out what I am talking about………

Oh – and be prepared to crave cake.

My thanks go to Net Galley and Little, Brown Book Group UK for an advance copy of this book in return for an honest review. The Cake Shop in the Garden is published on 23 April 2015.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

My top three travel bucket list destinations - in three novels!

Image result for grand budapest hotelFront Cover

Something a little bit different on my blog today.

Transun are running a competition to win a trip to see the northern lights. To enter the competition you have to write a blog post about your top three travel bucket list destinations. Well it just so happens that my three top destinations are also featured in three of my favourite book titles.

Budapest - The Grant Budapest Hotel
I have wanted to go to Budapest for a long time. I'm intrigued by a city that was once Buda and Pest and became one. I have seen so many times the beautiful pictures of the wonderful architecture from the river Danube, particularly that of the Hungarian Parliament, that I can't wait to see it in person.

Venice - A Night on the Orient Express
I really want to travel on the Orient Express - experience that old world luxury and service that is so rare today. Relive what it would have been like to travel on the Orient Express in the 1880s when it first began. To arrive in Venice and explore all the little streets and alleys, cross over hidden bridges and of course ride in a gondola. (You can also take the Orient Express to Budapest!)

Iceland -Northern Lights
I nearly got to Iceland but there was the volcanic ash episode - but I really do want to go still. I'm fascinated by The Hallgrimskirkja (Hallgrim's church) such an amazing piece of architecture and also by geysers - I would so love to see one in real life. The whale watching would also be fabulous and of course The Northern Lights.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Finding Audrey - Sophie Kinsella

A laugh-out-loud romance from the bestselling author of the Shopaholic series.

Meet Audrey: an ordinary teenage girl with not so ordinary problems.

Aside from her completely crazy and chaotic family, she suffers from an anxiety disorder which makes talking to her brother's hot new best friend a bit of a challenge.

But Audrey has a plan to help her face her fears and take on the world again. First stop: Starbucks.

This book is by one of my favourite authors which is why I requested a copy to review, although it's aimed at a teenage audience. I am far, far from a teenager! But I loved this book. Some of what Audrey is going through happens to adults too and through her eyes she explains excellently what her life has become, but she's planning on changing it and Starbucks features in that plan (who knew!).

Hearing what her parents are saying through Audrey is very comical, you can imagine yourself saying these things as an adult everyday - but when analysed it really is funny. Audrey also has a brother who wants to be a professional gamer and again seeing this through Audrey's eyes and those of her parents was very entertaining.

I thought this would be a light hearted book - like the shopoholic series, with not much substances, especially as it is for teenagers, and whilst it is very funny it also tackles a very serious problem of mental health. What ever age you are I would recommend you read this book, if nothing else you will gain a glimpse into another world that is difficult to describe, but Sophie has done it brilliantly.

My thanks to netgalley and Penguin Random House UK Children’s for allowing me to review the book. It will be published on 4 June 2015.

Friday, 10 April 2015

win a copy of Broken Sigil by William Meikle

This giveaway is open worldwide and administered by William Meikle and I have no involvement in it.

Look what I found in Sainsburys

Sainsbury's have got lots of books with this stickered offer - £3 to spend on ebooks at Sainsburys. This book also came with the short story Stolen weekend all for £3.99. So basically you are only paying 99p for a book.

The Doris Day Vintage Film Club - Fiona Harper

Claire Bixby grew up watching Doris Day films at her grandmother’s house and yearned to live in a world like the one on the screen – sunny, colourful and where happy endings with chiselled leading men were guaranteed. But recently Claire’s opportunities for a little ‘pillow talk’ have been thin on the ground. Until she meets mysterious Dominic. Nic is full of secrets but their connection is instant. Could he help Claire finding the Hollywood ending she’s been searching for?Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps…

I love reading books that lead to other books or films. Trouble is I then get sidetracked and have even more things I want to read and see.
This is the case with the latest book from Fiona Harper out on 23 April 2015. I never really knew that much about Doris Day and so this book fed me a few interesting nuggets and now I want to know more!

This is such a feel good book - a real curl up and indulge book. It's girly, delightful and quirky.
There are many references to the plot becoming like the Doris Day film Pillow Talk, well it's a long time since I saw that film, but what it did remind me of is my favourite film "You've got Mail" with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. The author then referenced the film (although not by title) towards the end of the book and I felt a little more complete! (of course that film is based on another film "The shop around the corner" with James Stewart - but that is another diversion I've been on).

That's not to say that the book is unrealistic - it's not all day dreamy and wishing she was in a Hollywood film. Claire has her own business and there is also a more serious sub plot involving her father. However, it did have some of the songs from the films going around in my head for some time LOL.

In some was this was a bit of a car crash drama, and by that I mean I couldn't bear it at times as the wires got crossed and confusion reigned. I don't do spoilers, so I will leave it there, but I rushed the end of the book because I just had to know what was going to happen. Was I disappointed? You'll have to read it to find out...........

My thanks go to Mills & Boon and Netgalley for an advance copy of  The Doris Day Vintage Film Club out 23 April 2015.