Friday, 27 February 2015

Jennifer McVeigh, The Fever Tree

I won't be surprised if the The Fever Tree is eventually turned into a film, it has been favourably compared to Gone with the Wind and has been well received.

The Fever Tree, Jennifer McVeigh, book review, fiction, romance, South Africa, 1880, Frances, paperback, book cover, diamond mining, small pox

The Plot: Penniless and orphaned, Frances is forced to emigrate to the Cape to join her new husband Dr Edwin Mathews. On the boat journey to south Africa she meets William Westbrook, a magnetic and well-connected man, who helps his uncle run the Kimberley diamond mines. 1880, South Africa is a dangerous and corrupt land, built by speculation, greed and the blood of the indigenous population. As smallpox threatens the stability of an already unstable country, Frances is torn between an idealist but remote Edwin, and passionate but unpredictable William.  

Rating: 4/5 

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Colchester day trip (part 2)

More pictures to show you from my day trip to Colchester. The sky was conveniently blue and the sun was shining, so I'm pretty happy with how these photos turned out:-

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Vikas Swarup, Q&A

Slumdog Millionaire is one of my favourite films, it make me ball my eyes out but I also find it uplifting. So I thought it about time that I read Q&A the book is is based on. 

Vikas Swarup, Q&A, Slumdog Millionaire, book, fiction, Who wants to be a Millionaire? review, literature, book blog, paperback

The Plot: Ram Mohammad Thomas, a young man with a rough start in life wins the jackpot on the Indian version of the television show Who Wants to be a Millionaire? He is arrested and accused of cheating. With his lawyer, Ram recounts his life-story and the amazing coincidences that enabled him to answer the questions correctly.

Rating: 2/5

Monday, 23 February 2015

book haul

I've blogged about Hylands House before, this weekend we took a rather soggy walk around the grounds. Aside for a blast of fresh air, the main reason I wanted to visit is for the fabulous second-hand bookshop they have in the old stables. 

book haul, second-hand books, book shop, Chelmsford, Hylands House

Paperbacks are £1.50 and 3 for 2, and they are have a good amount of stock neatly arranged. I was talking to the chaps at the till and they said there are plans to double the size of the shop, so it's going to get even better. In my opinion its the best second-hand book shop in Chelmsford. 

I was moderately restrained and only bought 4 books:

book haul, second-hand books, book shop, Chelmsford, Hylands House

  • Xiaolu Guo, A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers
  • Jaqueline Sunsa, Valley of the Dolls
  • Lloyd Jones, Mister Pip
  • Armistead Maupin, Tales of the City 

Admittedly I still have those Man Booker books to get through  (so far I've read 2 and 2 halves) but these where so cheap I couldn't resist. Plus in my defence - the Man Booker's are all hardbacks and they're a bit heavy to lug around in my work bag. 

What do think of my haul? Have you read any of them?

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Colchester Castle

I've taken some annual leave this week, so we popped over to nearby Colchester for a wander and a look around the castle. Of course, it's school half term at the moment so it was pretty busy.

Colchester, Castle, visit, photos, photography, pictures, Roman, Norman, Celt, review, day trip, entrance, Essex, things to do

Monday, 16 February 2015

Bernadette Barton, Stripped

I always thing I need to read more non-fiction. I listened to a fair number of pod-casts, and watch a lot of documentaries so feel I expose myself to a decent range of opinions, facts and debates, but I really need to step up my game when it comes to reading about topics that interest me. 

 With this mind, I've just finished Stripped an investigative look at the lives of exotic dancers. 

Stripped, exotic dancers, experience, life story, Bernadette Barton, review, book, American, exotic dancers, sex workers, memoir, sex industry

Rating: 2.5/5

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Diagon Alley

Finally getting my arse in gear - I've started to edit the pictures I took on my visit to the Harry Potter studios

Harry Potter, Warner Brothers Studio Tour, Diagon alley, shop fronts, photographs

'Hagrid, meanwhile, was counting bricks in the wall above the dustbin. "Three up...two across..." he muttered. "Right, stand back, Harry.' He tapped the wall three times with the point of his umbrella. ' 
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, J.K Rowling 

Monday, 9 February 2015

Margaret Atwood, Stone Mattress

As soon as a Margaret Atwood novel comes out it goes straight to the top of my must read list.

Stone Mattress, Margaret Atwood, collection of short stories, Torch the Dusties, I dream of Zena, hardback, review, book, modern literature,

The Plot: Collection of short stories including: A retirement home under a siege by pro-youth activists. A murder committed to avenge a crime. A poet ponders his failing charms and talent whist been interviewed by a hopeful phd student.

The Rating:   3.8/5

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

air through autumn leaves

'Gigglings come from the two of them, or what would formally have been gigglings. Closer to squawking, or clucking or wheezings: sudden gusts of air through autumn  leaves. The vocal cords shorten, Wilma thinks sadly. The lungs shrink. Everything gets drier.' 
- Margaret Atwood, 'Touching the Dusties', Stone Mattress 

She's not extravagant

'She's not extravagant or greedy, she tells herself: all she ever wanted was to be protected by layer upon layer of kind, soft, insulating money, so that nobody and nothing could get close enough to harm her.'
- Margaret Atwood, Stone Mattress    

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Pecan Pie recipe (with spelt pasty)

It is National Carrot Cake Day (who knew this was a thing?) but my carrot muffins were sad, flat little things and far too sorry to show on this blog. But, I did have have some success in the kitchen, with a Pecan Pie! 

It's my first attempt at making one,  as it's more of an American tradition and pastry scares me, but I'm chuffed with how it's turned out. 

home-made, pecan pie, recipe, UK, gluten free, baking, photo
recipe under the cut:-

Monday, 2 February 2015

Warren FitzGerald, The Go-Away Bird

Not going to lie, the reason I picked The Go-Away Bird up was because of its cover.
The Go-Away Bird, Warren FitzGerald, Rwandan Genocide, literature, book review, London, Immigration, modern fiction,

*Trigger Warning* murder, death, genocide, rape, mutilation, self-harm, violence, child-abuse

The Plot: Clementine's mum is Tutsi, her dad is Hutu, when the genocide begins in Rwanda, Clementine and her family are in perilous danger. Ashley had a troubled childhood, to cope with the memories he self-harms. When these two damaged people meet in a derelict London flat, their growing friendship and shared love of music, gives them both the opportunity to heal.  

Rating: 2.5/5