Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Shave My Spider by Tony James Slater

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Tony James Slater is quite possibly the world’s worst traveller. And yet, he’s thinking of doing it for a living… Faced with buying a car and getting a real job – or taking the money and blowing it on a six-month adventure around Asia… well, there really is no contest! 

Who wouldn’t want to visit exotic places, like Borneo, Cambodia and China? Who wouldn’t want to tackle the world’s most dangerous hiking path, tangle with the Vietnamese Mafia, and suffer days in the dreaded Mongolian saddle…? 
And who wouldn’t want to try five-organ soup? 

All he has to do is survive long enough to realise his dreams. His rainbow-haired wife, Roo, is determined to keep him in one piece – but he’s not going to make it easy. Six months around Asia will make-or-break them… 

Join Tony and Roo on an epic journey through the weirdest and most wonderful things the continent can offer. Share their hopes and fears as they battle the wildlife, the elements, and the laws of probability to explore six fascinating and exotic countries. Together, they will prove one of the cardinal rules of travel: that nothing ever goes according to plan. Especially when you don’t have one. 

Full of mischief and mayhem, this hilarious adventure is one you definitely don’t want to miss. One thing’s for sure; it ain’t no holiday! 

This is a comedy travel memoir, covering Borneo, Vietnam, Mongolia, China, Laos and Cambodia.

My review:

I have never read a book that made me giggle more; a book that would inspire me travel and put me off at the same time.

Tony is hilarious and I will be seeking out his other books. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but the book sounded like a good idea and it seemed like something to lighten my days a little.

Well, it certainly did that. I giggled my way through this brilliantly funny travel journal, getting some funny looks at the gym. It really did brighten my days and made the countries Tony, Roo and Vicky visited so much more appealing. My favourite most possibly being Vietnam. It sounds amazing!

Things do go wrong for Tony, but those mishaps are so worth the books we get out of them. Tony’s humour has a natural, effortless flow and teamed up with so much interesting information about the visited countries, this makes for a fabulous and entertaining read.

Thank you so much to Tony and TBConFB for letting me read this book in return for an honest review.

My rating: 5/5

Book available from:

Monday, 19 September 2016

The Code Girls by Daisy Styles

Synopsis from Goodreads:

It's 1941 and the country has been turned upside down. For the aristocratic Walsingham family this means being pushed unceremoniously upstairs while their grand home is taken over by the Army. But for newcomers Ava and Maudie this is a chance to get something more from life. They are at Walsingham Hall to become code girls and break German encryptions.

So being sent downstairs to work in the kitchens isn't exactly what they had in mind. But they do their duty, make new friends and soon even romance looks to be on the horizon. Though life is tough, it has never been more exciting.

Meanwhile, upstairs, Lord Walsingham is hiding something. And Maudie and the girls realize that the safety of their country might actually be in their hands after all…

My review:

The story is built around four girls that meet through co-incidences of wartime Brittan. Ava and Maudie think that they have been called to train as Code Girls, but end up below the stairs to cook and serve the code girls instead. They immediately bond with Ruby, who has been born into service through generations of servants at the Walsingham Hall. And then there is Bella, born into the Walsingham family, but always shunned, who follows her dream in to the war service and ends up helping the girls below stairs in her spare time.

Like many others I thought the title is misleading. I don’t always read the blurb on the back of the book; therefore my expectations were of a novel covering the life of the actual code girls. However as the story progresses you find that the title actually fits, but it takes nearly two thirds of the book to get to that point.

The novel has some great story lines, covering most years of the Second World War, but I didn’t feel that the flow was there. I found the love stories of all four girls unrealistic and the girls themselves annoyed me at times which made the whole book seem a bit simple to me. I am still giving it 3 stars as it was an easy, enjoyable read, something to relax with on holiday perhaps and it did cover some interesting information from the wartime, although do not expect historical accuracy.

Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for access to this book in return for an honest interview.

My rating: 3/5

Published by Penguin and available from:

Friday, 9 September 2016

Darkly Dreaming (Darkly Vampire Trilogy #1) by Chloe Hammond

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Rae escapes the troubles in her life by dreaming, until the wake-up call of her fortieth birthday approaches. Then she and her best friend retrace their student trip through France. They expect to find the sun-drenched days of their youth; instead they stumble into a nightmare. Infected by a rebellious vampire, Rae struggles with repugnance towards what she has become, while desiring the beautiful Pride leader, Guillaume. Against her will she is drawn into the Pride's power struggle. 

Will Rae succumb to the exhilaration of the hunt? 

In this dreamless existence, will the intoxication of liquid dreams found in fresh blood prove irresistible? Can she win Guillaume's confidence and love? Or will the whole pride be destroyed by the High Council?

My review:

This novel is not just another vampire novel. It is so much more and I send huge thanks to Chloe Hammond for allowing me access to this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rae and Layla are just normal women, both at a sort of loss of what to do with their future, when they decide to relive their youth and revisit their favourite places in France. What they do not anticipate is that they won’t be returning to their ‘normal’ lives.

In a way of a bizarre accident, they get infected by the vampire virus and transform into beings they never thought existed. They have to come to terms with their new existence, looks and lives, taken in by a Pride of vampires living on a rural farm to learn about their news gifts and skills.

Without giving away too much, of course nothing goes that well for them. Life is never easy and with the added complication of being that different, it is harder than ever for Rae and Layla to fit in and be happy, or at least content.

The reader can definitely see where the author was influenced by other vampire stories, I could identify various TV shows and books, but Chloe has managed to pick out the best bits and put them very skilfully into her book and make them her own.

What I loved most about this novel is the relationship between Rae and Layla. You can clearly see when they disagree with something the other one is doing, but they still support each other in such a beautiful way. They really would die for each other.

The writing is colourful, characters likable and the story flows so well, it just sucks you in and spits you out at the end wanting more. And thankfully this is only the first instalment in the trilogy. I cannot wait for the next book to come out.

My rating: 5/5

Available from:

Amazon US

Friday, 2 September 2016

Journey to the Centre of Myself by Andie M. Long

Synopsis from Goodreads:

From the writer of The Alpha Series and The Ball Games Series comes a novel about relationships and following your heart. Two women. Two different paths in life.

Amber’s husband is pressuring her to have a baby. Amber wants to have fun. She gives in to her husband, only to find that all is not as it seems. Karen’s marriage is at its end, rocked by grief and lies. Newly redundant, she leaves on a flight to Berlin, to spend time alone and consider her future.

Amber is the temp who took over Karen’s job. But that’s not all the two women have in common. One woman's drunken kiss in a nightclub will lead to their paths crossing once again. Life is about to reveal new journeys for them both.

Journey to the Centre of Myself

My review:

This book has managed to make me go through various emotions whilst reading it, changing my thoughts on it as the story went on. There are some likable characters and some not so much and I am pretty sure it does reflect life as we know it in one way or another. I believe we can all identify ourselves with some parts of this novel.

I had to warm up to both Amber and Karen. I thought Amber was a selfish cow at first, but I also didn't think that she deserved what she got. On the other hand she played with fire and got her fingers burnt so maybe karma does have its ways.

Karen on the other hand was like your quiet plain Jane who finally found her voice. As her story unravels though it seems there is such a thing as wrong time and wrong place and she is not painted as the saint woman the author makes you think she is at the start of the book.

Their stories are connected throughout the book and the layers are carefully peeled off to let the reader in and make up their own mind. This is a book about relationships and it paints perfectly how complicated lives can be or how complicated we can make them. 

It was a very enjoyable read and I am grateful to the author and TBC for access to this book in return for an honest review.

My rating: 4/5

Available from:
Amazon UK
Amazon US