August, 2014


26
Aug 14

An exciting author event…

Hi everyone,

Hope you had lovely bank holiday weekends despite the rain… although it did give me an excuse to curl up on the sofa with Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind and a cup of tea!

I love going to author events and meeting the people who have written some of my absolute favourite books, so I was excited that blinkbox Books are hosting a brilliant event in October with authors including Caitlin Moran, David Nicholls.. and then Clare Balding, Graham Norton and Paul Merton! I’ve been to a few of these types of events and I always think it’s such a good opportunity to pick authors’ brains, as well as meeting loads of people who have the same passion for reading as I do.

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The event will be taking place on the 3rd and 4th of October at Cadogan Hall in London, and tickets are currently on sale. Clare Balding will be speaking with the authors, and the audience get to ask their own questions (I have SO many for Caitlin Moran, her book How to be a Woman  honestly changed my life).

There’s a bit of everything – the Hairy Bikers and Lorraine Pascale will be talking all things food and travel on the first day, followed by David Nicholls in the evening who will be talking about his hugely successful novels, including One Day (Which is actually one of my absolute favourite books, SO many questions for him!). Plus, Graham Norton has a new book out soon called  The Life and Loves of a He Devil – I absolutely love his show so I’m excited to see what stories he has to tell Clare!

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On the second day, for those who like comedy there’ll be David Baker and Paul Merton, followed by Caitlin Moran and Kate Mosse in the evening. (Although Kate will be talking about her new book The Taxidermist’s Daughter which is a psychological thriller so that might not be so comedy-based).

I’ll definitely be getting a ticket – it’s very rare that events have SO many big names/so many people I’m a huge fan of, so if you hear someone piping up with an unlimited amount of questions in the audience, it will probably be me…

Anyways, let me know what you have all been reading!

Julie x

P.S If you want more information head to www.blinkboxbooks.com


23
Aug 14

What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Book: What Milo Saw
Author: Virginia Macgregor
Publisher: Sphere
Available: Out now
If you enjoy this book you might like: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
Summary: Nine-year-old Milo Moon has Retinitis Pigmentosa: his eyes are slowly failing and he will eventually go blind. Yet his condition seems to give him an advantage – he sees things others don’t. When his 92-year-old Grandmother leaves the family home for the Forget Me Not nursing home, Milo begins to notice things aren’t quite what they seem…

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Hi everyone,

Hope you’re all well and enjoying the bank holiday weekend! I’ve been completely engrossed in Virginia Macgregor’s What Milo Saw. At the heart of the book is a touching story about a young boy who simply wants his grandmother to come home, but there’s a lot more to it than that.

Virginia touches upon a whole bunch of issues including war conflicts, elderly abuse and refugees. There’s a lot going on in the novel, but it all interlinks in a way that the plot isn’t confusing. I also like how it has the potentially to be quite an emotionally draining story, yet there are some funny bits and touching passages that lighten the mood.

One thing that was particularly interesting is the way Virginia plays with the idea of sight. There’s a lot of things Milo spots that others don’t see, for example bruises on some of the elderly residents, but there’s also a lot he misses, not just because of his condition. I enjoyed that you get to read passages from the perspective of his grandma, his mum Sandy and Tripi, the Syrian refugee who befriends Milo and his family. It meant that the story didn’t feel so one-sided, and by the end of the book I felt really attached to all of the characters.

The only thing I wasn’t a massive fan of was the ending – I won’t give away too much – but I felt that everything reached its climax and then suddenly slotted into place very quickly. I prefer books where you get a bit more of an in-depth conclusion, but that’s just me. It definitely didn’t take anything away from the book, I still felt a bit sad when I put down.

I’d definitely recommend this if you’re looking for something to read this bank holiday!

Let me know what you’re all reading!

Julie xx


17
Aug 14

Something a little bit different…

Hi everyone,

Hope you’ve had lovely weekends!

As I’ve mentioned before, one of my other great passions aside from books is fashion, and I’m a big fan of all things quirky, so when I discovered these adorable book-shaped bags, purses and clutches at the British Library, I was really intrigued.

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Ranging from £25-£40, there’s eight books whose book covers have been printed onto these bags, and they’re so cute. You can get them for eight books: All Things Beautiful, Beyond the Garden of Eden, Lost in the Apothecary, Observations of a Night Owl, A Forbidden Love, The Powder room, Paradise at First Found, and finally, A Timely Engagement.

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I’ve seen things like these before but I thought these were really cute because they’re a bit different, and they give you that feeling when you discover a new classic at the back of a bookshop or in a library – bookworms everywhere will know what I mean! I have some vintage-loving friends whom I sent a photo of the bags to, and they were immediately obsessed.

What have you all been reading?

Julie xxx

P.S You can also get the bags on the British Library’s website at www.bl.uk/shop  

 


13
Aug 14

The Atlas of Us by Tracy Buchanan

Book: The Atlas Of Us
Author: Tracy Buchanan
Publisher: Avon Books
Available: Out now
If you enjoy this book you might like: Secrets in the Shadows – Hannah Emery
Summary: Louise Fenton flies to a devastated Thailand to search for her mother, missing following the Boxing Day tsunami. The only trace she can find is her mother’s distinctive bag. Inside it is a beautifully crafted atlas belonging to a writer named Claire Shreve. But what is the connection between Claire and Louise’s missing mum, and can the atlas help Louise find her?

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Hi everyone,

Hope you’re having good weeks! I’ve just finished Tracy Buchanan’s The Atlas of Us, and was left absolutely traumatised, in a totally brilliant way. It’s a beautiful, heartbreaking story whilst being uplifting at the same time.

The story deals with events leading up to and in the aftermath of a tsunami so I was a bit apprehensive as it’s a very sensitive subject, but Tracy handles it so… elegantly. I think she does a great job of translating the devastation that these events cause, but at the same time she turns it into a story of hope, without it being cheesy.

One of the things I loved the most about the book is the characters – every time I thought I had guessed their secrets/figured them out, there was a plot twist or new information that completely changed my perspective. Towards the end of the book everything starts to fall into place, but the story isn’t chaotic – I did get quite protective of one of the characters Holly, of which all the characters are protective, so suddenly I found myself completely involved in the plot.

The book flips between two protagonist’s stories, Claire and Louise, and it’s done seamlessly. Everything interlinks well, and yet you don’t feel like you’re reading the same story from two different perspectives. You really feel for Louise as she searches for information on what happened to her mother. I liked that her relationship with her mum is complicated, because it created just enough conflict throughout the book as Louise struggles to reconcile her feelings about her childhood with the need to be an adult and come to terms with the tragedy surrounding her.

Meanwhile, Claire’s story is both beautiful and devastating – if I had to pick, I’d say this side of the book was more compelling, but only because there was a focus on a dark family secret (I won’t spoil it, but seriously, read the book and find out). Struggling to come to terms with her infertility, Claire throws herself into the relationships around her and her career, and learns not to define herself by her inability to have children. Her tumultuous relationship with the handsome Milo was frustrating at times, if only because he lets himself become consumed by a secret that Claire knows exists, but doesn’t know the details of. 

I’m aware that I’ve really gushed about this book, but it really is worth a read, especially for those of you going on holiday!

What are you all reading?

Julie xxx


6
Aug 14

New Day by Emma Gibbens

Book: New Day
Author: Emma Gibbens
Available: Out now in ebook format
If you like this you might also enjoy: Bridget Jones’ Diary
Summary: Emma’s protagonist decides to start a diary, following her life every day as she tries to get her first book published while still managing her life and relationships.

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Hi everyone,

Hope you’re all having book-filled weeks! For my second review of the week, I thought I’d talk about Emma Gibbens’ debut novel New Day, which I’ve been reading the last few days – it’s broken up into diary entries which makes it a perfect commute read as it’s easy to stop/start without forgetting what’s going on!

One thing I really liked about New Day is the way that it’s a diary of an ordinary woman – there’s loads of relatable everyday scenarios such as trying to get back into exercise, navigating family disputes, buying a house.. and even getting a book published! (Okay, that last one might be a bit more niche but I know lots of wonderful people writing incredible novels at the moment!).

Emma’s book has some funny and quirky moments, including a misunderstanding over a stolen kayak, and I found it very easy to read and keep up with.

I’d recommend this book if you’re commuting, or simply travelling – it’s easy to read and the diary format means you can keep up with it even if you need to put it down briefly!

What are you all reading?

Julie xx


4
Aug 14

Surf Café Living by Jane and Myles Lamberth

Book: Surf Café Living
Author: Jane and Myles Lamberth
Publisher: Orca Books Publishing
Available: Out now
If you enjoy this book you might like: Living In Style – Rachel Zoe
Summary: Jane and Myles Lamberth are living their dream of running a bustling seaside café. In their new book they reveal how they turned a rundown cottage into a contemporary beach house. Sharing recipes, home decoration tips and advice for stress-free entertaining, they show you how to make a house a home, and fill it with friends, family and good food. 

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Hi everyone,

Hope you’ve had lovely weekends and got lots of reading done as well as enjoying the sunshine! This week I’ve been reading Jane and Myles Lamberth’s Surf Café Living.

It’s a lifestyle book with recipes and tips on how to decorate your home/entertain guests, but it’s a bit different because Jane and Myles incorporate their unique and quirky (yet beautiful) style. I like things that are a bit quirky, and this book has things like recipes for edible flower ice cubes, creating your own party decorations and sourcing vintage pieces for your house, so it was right up my street!

This is a great book if you’re planning a party – there’s loads of tips on entertaining whether you’re hosting a fancy dinner party or laid back brunch, and the recipes are ideal for sharing/cooking for a group of people. Definitely some great ideas in there that I’ll be trying!

I’d definitely recommend this book if you’re thinking of making a change to your home, or even if you just want to try something different in terms of food/parties.

What are you all reading?

Julie xxx

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