Monday, 22 August 2016

Bout of Books 17.0 sign up post & TBR

I almost missed a bout of books readathon-how did that happen???

Well that's what going on holiday for 3 weeks, leaving your jobs and moving 5000 miles will do to you. Given that I have just moved I have a limited number of books with me until all of mine arrive in their boxes. Of course I have my kindle so I have lots of amazing books on there, but I normally like to use a readathon to go through some of my actual physical books because I feel I neglect them more. So here is a picture of the books I gave with me at the moment next to my bed and this will give you an idea of my TBR pile...

I have about 70 pages of How to Find your (first) Hasband by Rosie Blake to finish so that will be getting all of my attention for the next couple of hours. 

Next I want to read Killer Diamonds by Rebecca Chance

Then I'm desperate to read either We Were on a Break by Lindsey Kelk or On The Other Side by Carrie Hope Fletcher...

After that I might mix it up with a bit of ebook or audiobook but that's pretty much as far as I've got with my TBR. 

My current audiobook read is this...

And I'm about halfway through Down Under by Billy Bryson too...

In terms of Ebooks I have Julie Cohen's new novel Falling to read

And I recently went on a bit of a nostalgia binge and re-bought The I Heart series by Lindsey Kelk and Take a Look at Me Now by Miranda Dickinson which I would love to re-read! 

A vague TBR I know but this readathon couldn't have come at a more perfect time so let's hope I get involved in some of these amazing books! 

Top Ten Tuesday: Books that've been on my shelf since before I started blogging! 23/8/16

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists over there at The Broke and the Bookish. I'd love to share my lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Today is a bit of a tricky on e because most of my books are in a crate on a boat on their way to me in my new apartment (hopefully) so I'm having to do this from memory... When I first started blogging I read through my bookshelf fairly quickly but it also made me top up my book collection. There are so many awesome books that came along that of course there were some that got left behind.

1. Summer in the City by Candace Bushnell, loved The Carrie Diaries, don't know why I haven't read this yet! 

2. Unsticky by Sarra Manning, I've loved all of Sarra's other novels so why haven't I read this one?

3. The Nearlyweds by Jane Costello. I have no idea why this is still the only Jane Costello I haven't read! 

4. This is What Happy Looks like by Jennifer E Smith

5. The Good The Bad and The Dumped by Jenny Colgan-had this one on the shelf for so long!

6. One Hit Wonder by Lisa Jewell

7. Will You Still love me Tomorrow by Claudia Carroll

8. The Summer of Living Dangerously by Julie Cohen

9. Kate's Wedding by Chrissie Manby

10. Marrying Up by Wedny Holden

Looking at this list and thinking about all the other books that are about to be delivered to me, I'm seriously excited about getting them all and reading them all, here's to reading what you want to! 

Guest Review: Not Quite Nice by Celia Imrie

Theresa is desperate for a change. Forced into early retirement, fed up with babysitting her bossy daughter's obnoxious children, she sells her Highgate house and moves to the picture-perfect town of Bellevue-sur-Mer, just outside Nice.

With its beautiful villas, its bustling cafes and shimmering cerulean sea, the village sparkles like a diamond on the French Mediterranean coast. Once the hideaway of artists and writers, it is now home to the odd rock icon and Hollywood movie star, and, as Theresa soon discovers, a close-knit set of expats. There's Carol, the infinitely glamorous American and her doting husband David; the erstwhile British TV star Sally; the ferocious Sian and her wayward Australian poet husband; the sharply witty Zoe with her strangely youthful face and penchant for white wine--and the suave Brian who catches Theresa's eye.

As Theresa settles to the gentle rhythm of seaside life she embraces her new-found friendships and freedom. However, life is never quite as simple as it seems and as skeletons start to fall out of several closets, Theresa begins to wonder if life on the French Riviera is quite as nice as it first appeared.

Review: I am always suspicious of books by people famous in fields other than writing, but I needn't have worried in this case - I found Not Quite Nice a really engaging novel. The cover of the book itself kept on attracting me as I passed the bookshelves in the shops. It is so bright and exotic in appearance. I thought that the story within matched up to it nicely. 

The story tells of the lives of a group of British ex-pats who have moved to a small French seaside village just outside Nice (hence the title). The latest arrival to the Riviera is Theresa, who has become fed up with her role as unpaid baby sitter and general dogsbody for her unpleasant daughter and equally nasty 3 grand daughters. While taking a short break in the area, she buys herself a flat there, and promptly leaves Britain and her family behind. She is soon absorbed by the rest of the group and there follows a series of entertaining incidents. I found myself laughing out loud at several points in the book, but there were also plenty of more serious moments. The story had a really good plot with a host of twists and surprises. 

As you can probably gather, I very much enjoyed this book and heartily recommend it as a great holiday read. I am looking forward to reading Celia's next tale following the events in the village. 

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Seattle-my travels so far!

So I thought it would be cool to do a post about where and what I saw whilst I was in Seattle. I won't be doing this for every place that I stopped at but I really really loved Seattle and went spent 3 full days there so definitely thought it was worth it! 

We ended up travelling to Seattle from London for around about 26 hours but the views that greeted us as we landed were so worth it. We got view of Mount St. Helens as well as mount Rainer which were truly breathtaking especially since they were set against a setting sun! 

We stayed in an air bnb when we were here. This was an apartment just on the edge of downtown which was perfectly located. It was never noisy or busy but close to everything that we wanted, really recommend this kind of accommodation as well, we were never bound by someone wanting in to clean the hotel room and we had access to a fridge/cooker/full lounge! 

On our first day we took a walk through downtown and out to the site of the world fair where the EMP museum, Space Needle, Glass Garden and Science Centre are. We went into the EMP museum, it was really cool and definitely something we both enjoyed. I loved this sculpture featuring many many guitars as well as lots of other musical instruments. It's the heart of the museum and stretches from floor to ceiling. We also enjoyed the Hendrix exhibition and the Nirvana exhibition. 

We wanted to go up the space needle but it was closed that day unforuntuately. So we took the monorail back into downtown to walk down through Pike Place market and get some lunch. We had lunch on the pier and then made use of the rest of our city pass. The pass included entry to all of the things I've listed so far at the Seattle Center and also the aquarium and a hard our cruise. Whilst we were waiting for the cruise to begin, we took a ride on the wheel here to get some awesome views of the city! This was the biggest wheel in the states until they installed the one in Chicago but it was really cool and had great views! 

We didn't think we would have time to visit the aquarium but we did and we really enjoyed seeing the sea otters and the seals and we can definitely say it is great for a flying visit, especially if you have the city pass as you save at least half off the admission prices! The cruise was probably my favourite ying of the day because the tour guide was so knowledgeable, a Seattle local and we even saw porpoises off the side of the boat! 

Now of course, no trip to Seattle for me would be complete without a trip to the original Starbucks, but I've done a whole separate post about that when I went there so you can have a read of that! 

We did go up the space needle on our second day there but I have to I was quite underwhelmed by the whole thing. For a 2:30pm ticket, we didn't get up there until well after 3pm and queuing to get back down again took forever, it made me feel rather claustrophobic that I couldn't actually get back down without queuing to get on this lift. 

We did some shopping on day 2 as well, of course this included a visit to Barnes and Noble and I also got a really cool tote bag in macys but I think I'll leave the shopping haul until the end of the trio because there is bound to be loads more where that came from-you know I love to shop! Seattle was great because all the shops were close together but there was still a really good selection and we got a very cool bag for Oli in his favourite Tumbuk2 shop! 

On our last day we went on a very cool underground tour, this was another ugh light for me because it was just so informative as well as entertaining. We didn't do any ghost hunting (that was a whole other tour) so it was literally just hearing about the history of Seattle and how it was built and governed in its early days, so much history but just so much fun at the same time! If you are ever in Seattle, this needs to be a must for you, there are lots of stairs but there was a guy on crutches on our tour so pretty accessible as well. Big shout out to our tour guide Jacob, he was so good at his job and really made the tour for us! 

I have to have a whole separate section on how good the food was in Seattle. This is a picture of our brunch on day 2, this place Lola was recommended to us and we nearly went back there again on our third day, the doughnuts and the eggs were just so good! The atmosphere was lovely and the service was just impeccable. We also ate at Biscuit Bitch, they have a couple of locations in the city and the biscuits were amazing, Oli had an eggs, grits and sausage combo topped with jalapeƱos which looked and tasted incredible and it was just really chilled out and tasty! We also ate at The Fishermans on the pier which had fab lunch options including many different kinds of oyster! 

And Seattle is famous for its coffee so, of course we had some of that too. This is a picture of my espresso with sweet cream at Cherry Street Coffee House, another very laid back place but with a cool atmosphere and I ticked off a total of 10 new Starbucks (they were everywhere) including some excellent Pike place reserve done in the Clover machine in Pike Place! 

I'm mainly documenting my travels so far through Instagram and snapchat videos and pictures, but I hope to upload some of my videos to YouTube when I get back Nowehre has had good enough Wifi to do it so far! 

My next travel post will feature San Francisco and then it's onto the road trip section of our holiday-can't wait! 

Snapchat: shoefeind (note the spelling error I had to do for the username)
Instagram: fabulous book fiend
Twitter: @shoefiend1984

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: books I'd buy right this second if someone handed me a fully loaded gift card!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists over there at The Broke and the Bookish. I'd love to share my lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

I'm very lucky as I recently received some gift cards for both waterstones and amazon as leaving presents from work so I did get to go and buy the books that have been on my Wishlist for a while but of course there are still more on there! So here goes...

1. Asking for it by Louise O'Neill

2. Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

3. Kissing in America by Margo Rabb

4. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

5. Mad Girl by Bryony Gordon

6. George by Alex Gino

7. You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan 

8. The list of My Desires by Gregoire Delacourt

9. The Girls by Emma Cline

10. Girls and Sex by Peggy Orenstein

So these are the books I've been fingering recently or metaphorically so, adding them to my wish lists. What's on your list?

Review: Love me Tinder by Nicola May

Dull security or risky freedom - which would you choose? 

With her marriage in pieces, shy Cali Summers is faced with this decision and hits the world of fast love on an internet dating app. 

Using room 102 in the hotel where she works as her dating 'lair', she opens herself up to a world of sex, lies, deception, as well as personal discovery and passionate love. 

With a charming F1 engineer, a handsome army officer and her adulterous ex all on the scene, a predictable love match is far from on the cards.

Review: you know I am always excited about a new Nicola May release and I saved this one for a long flight just so I would be able to enjoy it for. Start to finish with little interruption. This has Nicola's usual mix of the real life and the comedy with just enough romance thrown in but very much a realistic experience of modern romance. I love the fact that there are more and more books coming out now about dating using dating apps and getting back into it when everyone else seems to know how it works but you don't because that is reality and I love to read about real people like me doing things like I do! So I loved the concept of this book and the real ying matched up to the premise. 

Now Cali, I found Cali a little difficult to get to like. I felt like I knew her instantly but I wasn't sure about her reluctance to let things go and move on but I rolled with it and by the mid-point of the book, I was really routing for her. There are a string of possible suitors for her and you know that means lots of hot men to ogle over, which you ow I am ok with. We also get to know Cali's ex Jamie quite well and I really did feel for him and the situation he got himself into. It was quite interesting because I also felt pretty invested in some of the secondary characters, Cali's workmates for example And best friend Annie, so you can see that Nicola may knows how to write a character, no matter how minor! 

Of course I loved the setting of this book. This author always writes books close to home in my world and so I could picture all of the places they were going and the place Cali went for dates. I was also surprised that she could find quite so many different men I  to he area! Because this is book about dating, there are some fabulous sex scenes as well, all well-written by this author and all of which I enjoyed almost as much as Calie herself. As I said in the beginning of this review, this book had a decent amount of comedy, romance and real life and it was the perfect mix and I stick by that. This is a light read and definitely something I'd recommend you pick up this summer! 

Guest Review: Summer at Oyster Bay by Jenny Hale

They say falling in love is easy. But what if you know it’ll break your heart?
For Emily Tate, returning to her charming childhood home Oyster Bay is like coming up for air after the fast pace of her city life. At the farm her grandfather built, surrounded by sister Rachel’s chatter, Gram’s buttermilk biscuits, and the soft, white sand, Emily is reminded of exactly who she is and what she holds most dear. 

When Emily starts work at elegant Water’s Edge Inn, Charles Peterson, the handsome new owner, asks for her help. He wants to expand and needs Emily to teach him the local ways, so he can convince the planning commission. Emily vows to make him fall in love with her hometown, just the way it is. 

At work, Charles is reserved and serious, yet once Emily has him kicking off his shoes in the sand and sailing across the glistening Chesapeake Bay, she sees another side to him, and their easy rapport feels like the start of something big.

But when it becomes clear Charles’s plans for the inn involve bulldozing Oyster Bay, Emily is heartbroken. Will she lose her home and Charles all at once, or can she save Oyster Bay, and give true love a chance? 

Review:Although Jenny Hale has written a good few books, this is the first one I have read. I liked the idea of the subject matter, and the book's cover as well as the title promised a lovely summery story with sun and sand. It actually proved to be a little more than that, looking at what can sometimes be sacrificed in the quest for progress. I'm afraid that the story didn't grab me from the word go and pull me right into the plot. In fact, I found it a little hard to get into. 

The main character, Emily Hale, arrives back at her childhood home after an absence of 3 years to find that it is in danger of being demolished to make way for expansion of a local hotel/resort. This situation is complicated by the fact that she has come home to work at that very hotel as events planner. The new owner of the hotel, Charlie Peterson, is convinced that the expansion is necessary if the resort is to survive and, moreover, is good for the community and local economy. He has to persuade the local authorities of this, but Emily sets out to change his mind. 

Oyster Bay is a lovely old property built by Emily's late grandfather, and is full of memories for her and her grandmother, who lives there still. Emily's sister, Rachel, also lives nearby with her husband and sweet four-year-old daughter. In addition to the house, grandfather also built a barn and a boat, and there are lovely descriptions of the surrounding area, set on Chesapeake Bay. Emily is understandably attached to everything about the property, even though, or perhaps especially as, she has been absent for a while. 

Unfortunately, I really didn't like Emily. She behaved really badly at times - more like her young niece than a grown-up with a responsible job. I think Charlie was a strange character as well. He was supposedly a hard headed business man, but put up with all sorts of behaviour from Emily (his employee in the end of the day), allowing himself to be led here and there as she attempted to convert him to her way of thinking. The way in which Charlie resolves the whole situation is ingenious and ever so romantic, but even that I found lacking  in credibility. 

All in all, I found this book a bit of a disappointment. The story trundled along and didn't excite my imagination greatly. It did make me want to dip my toes into the water of Chesapeake Bay though, so it wasn't all bad.