Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Book Review: Speaking In Bones - Kathy Reichs

The point of a review is to review a story for people considering it, not to ruin that by divulging everything. I'll try and keep the actual story line and themes out of this review so I don't ruin it for potential readers. 
I was lucky enough to be sent this and approved to review by the publisher via Netgalley.
All views in this are my own and honest opinion.  

Speaking in Bones

The first chapter already sends a shiver down my spine. An unconventional start to a book I think is that the first chapter is written as if by the victim, not Temperence Brennan. It's an exciting start to what I'm going to assume is another great book from Kathy Reichs. 

In the second chapter and then again further along in the book she references Bones (the program she produces based on Temperence Brennan) which blows my mind. I spend a good 10 seconds chuckling and then about 120 trying to wrap my head around it. I assume it was put there for that reason. 

In true Reichs fashion, each chapter comes complete with thick medical jargon which she explains, giving you the feeling that's you're training to become a forensic anthropologist and know exactly what she's going on about. It brings you closer to her job and the cases she's working on. Another typical feature in her chapters is the cliffhanger which makes it near impossible to put the book down and urges you on to the next chapter. 

The thing I love about Reichs' books is that she manages to keep you hooked without the need for Brennan to be in imminent danger every chapter. Some books have their leads in fights or hostage situations constantly to keep people interested but she does it with revealed information and dialogue between the characters. So when Brennan does hit a moment where she's in peril it excites and engages us instead of making us think "this can't be too bad, its the 5th time so far".  

As with her previous books, this one is well thought out and every shop, house, church, park, lab etc is written in great detail so you can really get a feel for the surroundings she's in. Right down to the colour of the carpet.

The Ryan/Brennan love storyline continues on from the last book (not so much the novella from in between which included little/nothing of it). I find it disappointing for the most part because I want to see it heating up more. The first half of the book is kept cool in regards to the pairing. It comes to a bit of a head about 2/3rds of the way through and the result isn't to my liking. It took several books to get them together then less to split them up so I've been waiting for the reconciliation for a while. Its not a bad situation, just, not what I wanted! Disappointed, I spend the the rest of the book hoping to see mention of them but was left hanging. I guess this was her intention, to keep you hanging until the end (which is totally worth the wait). 

The main storyline itself is snowballing and a little over halfway through we have lots of facts and scenarios but nothing concrete which has minimised the predictability of 'who done it'. I have a few suspicions but at this point it could be anyone. I love that I haven't already guessed it - something that I had found myself doing up until the last 3 books. 
I found that this book was light on the drama and heavier on the build up than her others. No major action until the grand finale and even that wasn't massively dramatic in action . Her scene setting and explanations have you clawing the edge of your seat as you read on waiting for something to happen. She could probably write an entire book where nothing happens and I'll still get into bed every night ready to read it.

Without ruining it, I think the ending of the main story was a good twist and not one you really see coming. We have the usual breakdown of what happens by the other characters with a meeting between Tempe and another character to just cover any loose ends. I like this as it means there isn't a flurry of activity where I think some details can be lost amongst all the others. Where you have to read back a paragraph to re-cap. Instead, you get that re-cap in a different scenario with fresh characters.

There's also another part to the ending where we finally see a decision made in regards to her love life. I won't divulge too much but it was satisfactory. A nice added part to the end of this book.

My only criticisms would be Brennan's ability to disregard advice and safety and plunge straight into dicey situations. At one or two points she even writes in that Tempe knew it was stupid and in danger but instead of reigning it in, she pushed harder and got herself into bother. It would be more refreshing if the danger found her instead of her gunning for it. But I guess this is why people love her, myself included.

All in all this was another Reichs book that I throughly enjoyed. A continuation in her steady incline from - what I feel was - a bit of a rut she was stuck in. For a few books, the story line was predictable and I felt she went over things that die hard Brennan fans already knew to accommodate new fans to the series that Bones brought in.  I'd thoroughly recommend this book and suggest any new comers begin with the first books before coming to this one as, not only will it be enjoyable, but the later stories/characters will make a lot more sense. 

So all things considered this is a 5 star job. Anything that gets me that hooked and keeps me up past my bedtime to read "just one more" chapter is a winner in my book. Its not just because I'm a Kathy Reichs fan. I wrote my review as I was reading so I didn't gloss over anything at the end.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Book Review: Witch: A New Beginning by L.S. Gagnon

The point of a review is to review a story for people considering it, not to ruin that by divulging everything. I'll try and keep the actual story line and themes out of this review so I don't ruin it for potential readers. 

I do go into the main character a bit - be warned.

All views in this are my own and honest opinion. 

Witch: A New Beginning

The Witch Series

Within the first chapter a lot of things kinda get thrown at you. I like a book that gets into it quickly but by that I mean straight into the character or setting. This chapter just felt too busy for me. I haven't even begun to understand this character or even read anything much about her before she's thrown into a situation where you need to feel some sort of emotion for her. I find it difficult to empathise with a character I don't know at all. Plus one chapter in I've already learned about her boss, hobby and job but don't know her age or how she really looks or acts. 

Further into this chapter I do start to learn more about the main character. To me she's needy, overly sensitive and a bit pathetic. She seems too dramatic and weak willed. I'm already finding it difficult to like this characters. 

Chapter two is even more busy than the first but with revelations and not quick descriptions of characters. A lot goes on in this one - and quickly. I feel like this could have been drawn out a little bit more and that I've just had half a books worth of information dumped on me. 

After forcing myself to pick this book up again I'm relieved that the next few chapters had me hooked and wanting to read on. More revelations and twists but not as difficult to believe now as we're getting into things. I think some of the characters language is off putting though. Especially when they veer into old English which sometimes is so thick I had to re-read a paragraph twice to understand what they were trying to say. 

Things start heating up but one thing that has been persistently bugging me from the beginning is the supporting characters reluctance to share information. I understand due to the story they are being vague for a reason but it's every other paragraph where a question is asked and not answered. It doesn't help that the lead is such a pushover she finds any excuse to avoid confronting them about it. Even when she does any betrayal or annoyance is swiftly swept under the rug. It's for the purpose of the story which I understand but as the reader it's incredibly frustrating to be so close to learning about someone or the storyline to then be so quickly and easily pulled away from it. At least give me a good reason to be disappointed.

The reason for the quick dumping of information in the first few chapters becomes apparent as a little way past the halfway mark and it seems like a million things have happened. I felt like it was gearing up for the end to draw to a conclusion but was actually just at only halfway. At first I was a bit disheartened thinking I had loads left to do but as I went on, I relished that there was more time to find out what was going on and learn more about the characters.

As we go on, the main character to me is still just unlikeable. She acts like a petulant child, flies off the handle all the time and when confronted with an explanation - no matter how thin - she instantly melts and forgives. Never stands her ground or berates them for not revealing truths in the first place. Again, this is a fantasy book. If I'd have had half the things placed on me in real life as she did I'm sure I'd be a nervous wreck too. So i tried to look past this and keep reading. My advice to anyone reading or planning to read this book to do the same. She is not a strong lead. Yet.

It wasn't all annoying characters or sometimes difficult language though. I think the concept is brilliant. I haven't seen too many - if any, thinking about it - supernaturally witchey stories out there. Some of their quirks, historical background and powers are much more than a simple witch with a wand, they're more thought out and incredibly imaginative. The spells, the potions, the magical things they can do to each other and how. It's very well thought out in that respect. 

By the end I'm stuck into the storyline and I know exactly what cliffhanger is coming up, leaving it open for the second book. Bravo. Because man, does it have me ready to read the next one. The characters are beginning to be more like-able and I'm even beginning to sympathise with the lead. As you go through the book you realise why she seemed so sad in the start and - without giving too much away - I believe the reason was to create a stark contrast with how she is in the end.

Halfway through this book I was sure to give it 3 stars but now it's definitely a good 4. I have a feeling this series is going to get better as it continues so I'll be keeping my eyes on it. I've already found the next book on iBooks and brought it. I'd recommend it to anyone who wants a good read. Something to concentrate on and get their teeth into.

SIDE NOTE: The good thing about this book is that I think its been re-released or something as its dated 2015 but books two and three are dated 2013 and already out so no waiting around to find out what happens. I personally love reading a series where everything's already released so I don't have to wait.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Book Review: Hawthorn By Jamie Cassidy

The point of a review is to review a story for people considering it, not to ruin that by divulging everything. I'll try and keep the actual story line and themes out of this review so I don't ruin it for potential readers. 


Darkling Saga book 1
Amos Cassidy writing as Jamie Cassidy
The first chapter gets straight into it. The way of the writing and the language sets me up for how the rest of the book is going to flow and I already love it. By the end of the first chapter I'm already hooked and that's hard to come by. With its stomach churning mini cliffhanger into the next chapter I'm already hooked and looking for my next excuse to read a bit more. 

I liked how each chapter was written as if by one of the family members each time (three out of the five family members contribute). Sometimes the one sided perspective of a first person narrative can get a bit boring but all areas are covered by each of the different peoples POV's. Saying this, I was dubious about how she would fair doing a chapter by a 5 year old but she kept those short and sweet and they really add important bits to the story. 

Another positive was that it moved at a nice pace. It wasn't 10 chapters of nothing to begin with except scene setting nor was it go go go from the first paragraph. Just enough to keep you interested and involved with the impending storyline and learning about the characters at the same time. I dislike trying to feel empathy for characters I don't have a chance to know or understand. The flipside to this is having the characters bio, family history etc rammed into every sentence. This had a nice balance.

The second part of the book felt slightly different. It was a bit more fast paced with more stuff happening with the main character. I liked how she didn't waste paragraphs filling the gaps and instead just moved swiftly onto the relevant periods of time. We hear from the other two characters in this part as well as the other three from the first, switching between when the storyline called for it without it being too jumbled. It had a nice flow to it and a characters chapter only lasted as long as it needed to and was extended into another chapter when more was to be told.

The only thing I struggled with a bit was when they switched from conscious to dream state. Sometimes it wasn't too clear which was which and I had to re-read a paragraph to determine the line. Sometimes it wasn't a dream state, like another realm state and that confused me a bit. 

Part three definitely moved quicker than the previous two. Pieces are being brought together and the built up storyline starts coming together. I was hooked, trying to get to the next chapter to see what everyone else was going through but we stick with the main character more on this side.

A new character/creature gets introduced here with a new truth for one of our heroines. With this new revelation follows a deep chapter explaining the back story in greater detail. There's a lot to take in here with its twists and turns but it's not difficult to follow if you're paying attention. It's told in a conversation but it's quite long. By the end of it I'd forgotten it was a tale being told by a character but kept me gripped until the end. 

And that's when I get there. The end. What a cliffhanger. Without giving anything away the ending leaves you with a feeling of loss, like you've experienced everything with the characters and aren't satisfied with the ending. As its wrapping up you kind of guess parts of what's going to happen but it's still a surprise when it does. I'm only dissatisfied because I want to know what happens after the final epilogue!  (If you read this book then you'll totally get what I mean when you get there).

Whilst I'm sure a second book will continue this story, in the meantime I'm going to sit pouting because I'll have to wait. 

This book had me smiling, gasping, trying to read quicker to see what happened next.... One of those books that has you so intrigued you can't put it down and when you do you wish you hadn't. It's a book with a teeny vibe but more adult than most with the language and sexual 'happenings' in which things are implied or assumed without going full on 50 Shades but without the naive, innocence that most teen fantasy books give you.

I'd recommend this book thoroughly and can't wait for the next one.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Spidey Seat

Hi everyone. 

I promised you some different things other than just clothes so here is the first of many.

My first review of something different. 

My son recently grew a bit too big for his car seat that came as part of a travel set from Mothercare. Whilst he's still below the maximum weight for it, the seatbelt began to dig into his legs which I found to be a commonly reported flaw with the Xpedior seat. 
No matter. It lasted a good 8 months so did us proud.

Being on a bit of a budget as my maternity pay is about to cease, we decided to get a new, albeit cheap seat. I was checking out the different options on various websites when I came across this Spiderman car seat.

Now my husband is a huge Spiderman dork and as he drives the only car we have I knew this would be the one he chose. I did give him the choice of 3 but you can imagine why he didn't go for them.

Anyway. The specs are at the end of the post. But to summarise the reason I chose this seat was its age group. 0-4years. It can go forward or backward facing and its securely fitted by a 3 point seatbelt.

We decided against Isofix as not only were they out of our price range but as my husband car shares we need to be able to take it out and put it back in quick and easy. Which this one very much does. 

It's visually appealing, safe and sturdy, feels nicely padded and soft on his bare legs (it's summer. Shorts or vests only!), and he fell asleep in it yesterday - helped by the fact it has a nice recline option. 

All in all totally worth buying and I'm very pleased we did. I would recommend it based on not only its visual characteristics but on the safety and on the comfort points as well. 

On a side note, this chair is approximately £65-70 on most retailers websites but I shopped around and found a site called Uber Kids with the seat for £55! Free delivery too. I ordered it that afternoon at it came lunch time the next day. Cracking service and delivery from Uber Kids. I'd highly recommend them.

Spiderman chair at Uberkids.com

So, here are the specs:

A must for the Spiderman fan, this car seat is suitable from birth to 18kg (approx. 4 years).

Features and benefits for Marvel Spiderman Driver Combination Car Seat

  • The Spiderman Driver car is suitable from birth to 18kg (approx. 4 years)
  • Comes equipped with a removable newborn body support cushion and chest and buckle pads for safety and comfort
  • It has 5 seat recline positions and individual harness tensionners to make sure the tension is correct on both sides of the harness
  • The cover is removable and hand washable
  • Free 12 months guarantee
Stylish and fun this Marvel Spiderman car seat is used rearward facing with a newborn body support cushion from birth to 9kg/20lbs, then forward facing to 18kg/40lbs. The seat has an integral harness and is secured in the car using the adult seat belt.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Yummy Mummy not Scummy Mummy

I've found that since becoming a mother (yup, thats still weird) I've well and truly got myself stuck in a style rut. Everything went from "ooh that top looks nice with those jeans" to "well those jogging bottoms have the less sick on them so I'll whack them on with an old hoody". Its not good. I cut my lovely long hair short more for necessity than style. It was easier for me to dry and manage, plus the baby couldn't spit up in it anymore.

With my job I at least got to wear my lovely dresses every day and wear a plethora of different boots and shoes. Now I've gotten the knack of actually getting dressed in the mornings, its basically whatever jeans are comfy, whichever t-shirt is long and baggy - and my slippers. 
I've had enough. I want to earn the "Yummy Mummy" title and at least look presentable when my shopping gets delivered, when I meet friends for coffee or when my husband gets home. No one wants to come home to Waynetta Slob.

I have been trawling through Simplybe, Crazy Clearance, Bargain Crazy and Very for the last few weeks to get a few items to help me add something to my wardrobe. Some things that I'd never normally go for before, but stuff that I can be comfortable in but presentable. Can dress up or down. 

There are about 10 items winging their way to me as we speak but the three I'm most looking forward to are below. These are the types of things Id wear if I was given but would never think to buy for myself.

The first one is from Very. Its a satin shirt so will be a pain to iron, but I'm willing to take the risk! I just can imagine myself wearing it with my black skinnies or a black pencil skirt for when I have to haul my ass back to work. 

My second is a block colour shirt from Simplybe's/Fashion Worlds discount site, Crazy Clearance. This isn't something I'd normally go for either but I kept putting it in my basket, then taking it out, put back in, took out. In the end I just closed my eyes and pressed "Checkout". I need to take more risks! The colour shown isn't the one available. Its actually the "Apricot" colour shown below. I only spotted it when it was in the basket but I still like it. I think!

The third is this dipped hem Ballerina print shirt. This was another one doing the hokey cokey in and out of my basket. I just thought it looked like another one that could be dressed down with jeans and pumps, and up with trousers and heels. 

To be continued on these! I've also got a few plain t-shirts coming, a pair of jeans, two cardigans and a plain white shirt (Claire Richards). I'll do a post when I get them and try them on. 

I'm pretty pleased overall with my finds. I am going through my wardrobes at the weekend (maybe before) and I'm going to be ruthless. I already had a big purge just after I had Sam to store all my bigger clothes and most of my maternity bits in the attic. But this needs to be another big one. Need to make room for the new bits and get rid of the bits I wont be wearing for a while! I was lucky enough to lose weight in my pregnancy and now 4 months later I'm still 5 pounds under my pre-pregnancy weight so my size didn't change. Just my style a bit.

Wish me luck!


Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Vanishing Act

I feel like I've been hiding under a rock for the last year but in my defense, I've been rather busy incubating, expelling and looking after a brand new tiny human. 
My last post I explained about my PCOS and how we didn't think we'd conceive etc. I ended the post when I was half way through my pregnancy and haven't checked in since. 
Now, my little Brat (the name stuck) is 4 months old next week. 
Sam (his real name - not Brat) is so cool. Hes happy and smiley, too advanced and just so god darn cute. 


Me and my husband have a pretty good routine down. I have him all day and when he comes home from work they have son and Daddy time whilst I do a few odds and ends and make dinner then I take over for the night shift (he has to commute so don't want him driving tired - he does nights at the weekends). Soooo in the evenings I now have a smidgen of time to retake up a hobby. Writing came up trumps. So I've decided to bring back the blog amongst a few other bits.

Problem is that I don't actually get to wear an awful lot of nice stuff any more. Most of my day involves sitting around in whatever clothes I was able to scramble together. However, before I got pregnant I was going to expand my horizons on this. Books, purchases etc. So now I can. It dawned on me tonight that whilst I don't pay much attention to myself I do meticulously plan his outfit the night before. I also use my Kindle app to read books at naptime and spend hours trawling through eBay for deals on baby stuff. 

So thats what I'll do. 

Any baby outfits too cute not to share will go on. As will any books I feel worthy of reviewing, items I've brought that would be good to post and any other stories I feel like sharing in. I may even get to throw in an outfit post now and again from me when I get to go out for the night (got a couple coming up so will try and remember to take pictures!).

I have a few lined up. One I want to do is my pregnancy and birth experience. I think alot of people end up with a traumatic birth being plus sized, whether its complications or just feeling a bit put out by the attitudes of nurses and doctors etc so maybe it would be cool for me to share my story and to see what other people think. Thats something I need to think about properly and draft first. 

Hopefully some old readers may come back to me and maybe I find new ones but for the most part this is about me just getting back into something I loved about something I love. If people want to read it about it then cool. 

Other than that you might just see some cute baby clothes.

Heres to a new beginning.