Book review of The Silent Patient

Review for The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

I don’t always give stars on my reviews but this was definitely a ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️/5

After having this book for ages on my to be read pile. I finally got around to reading this on a buddy read with some lovely ladies on Instagram. The only negative thing I can stay about this book is why the heck didn’t I pick this up sooner!

It pulled me in and completely captivated me from the very first page. I’m really getting into my thrillers and this was perfect for me with the right amount of intensity. I could easily have read this in a day but I wanted to enjoy and process the brilliance of it.

This is well written and very cleverly done.

I loved how Alex keeps you guessing the whole way through and brings in different characters to get you thinking what do they have to do with Alicias story. I was thinking all sorts throughout and kept changing my mind on things.

I cannot say too much as I don’t want to give anything away but if this is on your #tbr pile please pick it up ASAP. You won’t be disappointed.

I did not guess the ending at all. Did you? Did anyone feel sorry for Alicia? Did you like Theo?

December

Hello December. This really is the most wonderful time of the year and my favourite month. I love that everyone is very happy and excited for Christmas. As amazing as Christmas day is; spending it with your loved ones, receiving lots of lovely pressies and just being merry. I will admit I love the build up just as much. 

All the festive celebrations, ranging from the Christmas markets, to work parties, to children playing in the school play. Its all just so wonderful, not to forget the mulled wine, cheese and wine evenings and digging out your old faithful Christmas jumper. 

Also my favourite books come out in full force. I just love a Christmas book, they are full of so much promise and romance, in wonderful dreamy settings. 

I am loving all the festive pictures on Instagram and was going to do a Happy December post and then I thought no lets make your own Christmas tree out of books. So this is what I did. Picture attached. 

However my five year old niece was quick to point out “its not a tree its a tunnel of books with lights on” Haha i did have to laugh at her. 

I hope that you all are enjoying the start of your December. Please feel free to message me your favourite festive book or if you are reading a really good Christmas book and would like to share equally comment.

I will add if anyone is suffering at this time of year then my thoughts are with you all. As much as this is a great time of year for some, I also know its a sad time for some people. My love goes out to each and everyone of you.

The Holiday book review by T.M Logan

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 

A nice holiday planned with your oldest friends, partners and kids in the gorgeous sunshine. What could go wrong?! I’m a bit late with this book and have read everyone’s amazing feedback on this so had to bump it up on my TBR. 

I am glad I did as I absolutely loved this book and it had me hooked from the beginning.

I cannot say to much as I don’t want to give any spoilers away but I loved the plot behind this. It really did keep me guessing right until the end, with so much drama and suspense throughout. I love it when books are not predictable and you just can’t work out what’s going to happen.

I found their friendships to be very messy, full of secrets and most of the time hard work. It’s surprising they even went on the holiday together, definitely won’t be another!! .

Who does Kate think is having an affair with her husband….For people that have read this. I didn’t guess. Did you work it out?

I was glad I had @bookish_and_brews to discuss my surprises and suspense with when I was reading it. So thank you again. 

Book review for The Christmas Wish List

The Christmas wish list by the lovely Heidi Swain ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

My first Christmas book of the and I absolutely adored it hence the 5 stars. It really gets you in the festive mood and is so heart-warming.

The story starts off with Hattie losing her job and having to face what to do next. Hattie’s dear friend Dolly comes to the rescue and offers her a plan for Christmas. Also Hattie’s boyfriend Jonathan who she lives with has his own future planned for them, much to Hattie’s surprise. Does this fit in with what Hattie wants though….

Before Hattie makes any choices, she gets to spend a few weeks leading up to Christmas with Dolly. Heidi really lets you feel the loving friendship between Hattie and Dolly who equally look out for each other. Dolly has a great idea and sets them both a task to put together a Christmas wish list. Ticking of many things they haven’t done before over the festive period. Being someone who if forever making lists, I absolutely love this idea. 

Even more so I love that we get taken back to Wynbridge. A chance to catch up with some of the wonderful characters from the previous books. Hattie seems to know everyone and has many friends including the lovely Beamish. Who I think was one of my favourite characters. Don’t worry if you haven’t read the previous books, although I do highly recommend these. They are great!

The town is just wonderful, with a great Christmas market, café that does the most wonderful cinnamon buns and a great community spirit. I just love this place and if I could I would live here, or at least visit. Where is such place?!

This is a great Christmas book about friendship, family and relationships. At the same time Heidi tackles some tough issues. Thank you Heidi for starting off my Christmas just perfectly. 

Love Offline book review

Book review for Love Offline

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/ 5

I was very lucky to be given a chance to read Love Offline by the lovely Olivia. As soon as I read the Synopsis I knew I would love this book. Thank you again.

If i could sum this up in three words it would be fun, flirty and fabulous.

This is a great book about getting your heart broken, true friendships and discovering who you really are. Whilst also touching on real life issues of the pressure of social media and mental health that comes with too much screen time.

The lovely Emily is terrified of getting back out there after a failed relationship with the man she thought she would marry.  Working from home she seeks solitude there in the comfort of her pj’s, sitting on her phone wasting hours scrolling through peoples social media and dating apps where no one can hurt her there! How is she ever going to get out of the rut she is in. That is until her best friend the wonderful Chloe steps in.

Chloe is the best friend every one of us needs, caring, honest and brings cake at every drama Emily faces. Bonus! Their friendship was just so lovely, you really did feel all Chloe wanted was the best for Emily.  Without giving too much away, I loved what Chloe did for Emily, setting her tasks and taking her shopping. You could see the confidence growing back and Chloe also brought out a feisty side to Emily that I loved.

I was laughing throughout the whole book, especially at some of the interesting characters Emily met along the way. Henry being one of them, you would definitely not want to meet him at speed dating!! Single or in a relationship I recommend this book. It has plenty of feel good and laugh out loud moments with the added cringe moments of dating we have all face in life. I know I can definitely relate to a lot of how Emily felt after a break up and how hard it was trying to get back out there. Wish I had this book then! Only bad thing is it did make me want to go speed dating for the giggles (just don’t think my partner would like that now)!

As much as dating online works for some people, being the hopeless romantic I am I do also believe in the old fashion way and what Chloe was trying to do for Emily. Love has a funny way of showing up when you least expect it. But with whom in Emily’s case…you have to read this to find out.

Burned Alive book review

I give this ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

There are not many books I can say I’ve read in less than 40 hours but this is one of them. It was so intense, I was captivated from start to finish.

This is a story of a young Palestinian women who was brought up in the West Bank. She describes the most awful treatment she received growing up, including being a slave for her family from a very young age. Souad then goes onto tell the punishment she was given for falling in love and how she is still alive today.

I never really read non fiction not because I don’t enjoy it just because I wouldn’t know where to start. So when I was given this true story to read I moved it to the top of my TBR pile. I can honestly say it’s the most powerful, moving, emotional book I have ever read. I was left feeling all kinds of emotions, sad, angry, shocked and heartbroken.

This is a book that will stick with me forever and keep me going over and over of how Souad suffered and the unfairness of it.

To know honour killings goes on in our world has deeply saddened and shocked me. Thank you for letting me open my eyes and heart to something I knew little about.

I’m glad Souad has been able to tell her story, as painful as it must have been. What a courageous, brave, strong women.

Not to forget what an amazing and remarkable women Jacqueline is.

Lucca

I love everything about Italy so when I was looking where to go this year in Tuscany, Florence was top of my list. Pisa was also on the list seeing as we was flying in and out of there. I knew I wanted to stay some nights in Florence and then a few nights in another place but not pisa. Pisa was just going to be a one day thing for me, seeing the leaning tower.

So when I got told by two different people to try Lucca I started researching. Lucky my partner loved the look of it too so we chose two nights there and two nights Florence. Please read my Florence post coming soon to see what I thought of Florence. Back to Lucca for now.

As I was told the trains would be easy to lucca. I have previously got trains from Naples to Pompeii so knew what to expect. We got the airport shuttle train to Pisa central (€5 Euro each) and then the train direct to Lucca (€8 Euro each). This took an hour in total and so easy.

Arriving in Lucca we got a taxi straight to our b&b as this was a 10 min drive. We pulled up to our accommodation B&B villa Corte Degli Dei and was blown away. It was magical. The owners let us choose out of two rooms and gave us a free upgrade. I already had paid for the roll top bath in our room yet we were given an even bigger room with a four poster bed. I could have stayed there forever. http://www.villacortedeglidei.it

We were in the heart of Lucca countryside so off we went exploring down the country lanes to the city walls. It was so pretty and yet we only were a 20 min walk to the city walls. I wasn’t sure what to expect not staying right in the centre of the walls, yet this was perfect. We had best of both worlds and love walking.

We found a nice traditional Italian, ordered some white wine, cheese and pasta. The food was just amazing. I defo recommend this little place called Bar De Gigi. The service matched the food and was lovely.

After dinner we explored inside the walls and then had a nice stroll back. All around were little shops, some designer, some independent shops and then coffee shops and restaurants dotted about. Inside the walls was lovely, so much going on.

Where I got to try the bath. Wow just amazing after a day travelling and exploring was nice to jump in and relax with my book.

The next day waking to beautiful blue skies, we went and hired bicycles. We spent the day riding about Lucca. This was one of my best days of the trip. There is something about riding a bike in the sunshine with no care in the works. Just perfect. We first rode all around the city walls until we went inside the walls and stopped for a coffee and pastry (when in Rome). The shops were so lovely, spoilt for choice with the amount of places to eat, drink and shop. Just think pretty little shops down little streets that are so beautiful. We then rode until we come to the Tower where you can climb the stairs to view all of Lucca.

After the 44 meter climb and 330 stairs the view was worth it. It was breathtaking. I do not like heights but pushed myself and made it to the top. Glad I did this! You can see all of Lucca, the wonderful terracotta rooftops with the mountains in the back ground. Can get some great photos here.

After this we rode until we found the cathedral. Riding in the squares with music playing was just lovely. People were casually strolling around, no one was rushing was lovely, We paid a small fee to get into the church, definitely recommend going in. Such a lovely church, so pretty and you don’t need too long in there. It was then time to sample Lucca’s gelato, we stopped off at I Gelati Di Piero. The banana and lemon gelato is a must! Absolutely delicious. So many choices I had to have two scoops.

We found a nice square restaurant/bar to sample Italy’s famous drink aperol spritz. Delicious! What I loved is ordering a drink and being given nibbles. For free. Result! Sitting watching the world go by was just so relaxing and blissful. There was a man doing big bubbles that the kiddies were loving. It really was so nice to just watch what was going on around. Everyone was loving life.

It was then time for a well deserved lunch, pizza of course. €1.50 for a slice of pizza – bargain!! We explored some more on the bikes and see the main square which is just so beautiful. The colours of the buildings and little shops were lovely. After exploring it was time to head back to chill in our wonderful room (the bath for me). Heaven!

For dinner we rode back into the city walls and headed to this lovely Pizzeria for more pizza. Silvia Pizzeria. One slice in the day was just a taster. Haha! There are so many restaurants to choose from it’s hard to know where to even begin to try as they all look amazing. We chose well here though, good 80s music playing in the background, great value for money, outside and great service with delicious food.

Before heading back my partner researched this bar to go for some cocktails. Franklin 33. I recommend this one for some delicious cocktails with a good jazz 1920’s vibe. If you head here try the sea breeze and roosvelt aviation.

We then took a slow ride back. The one thing I loved here was people actually stopped for you at crossings and roundabouts so you didn’t feel like you was going to get run over, Naples was crazy for that. So riding bikes was really safe. Lucca has many places to tie your bicycle too safely. Either at the bike parks or against the walls. So don’t worry there.

After breakfast and leaving with a heavy heart it was then time to head on to the next adventure Florence…..

I could not rate Lucca enough and think it’s definitely a place to add on the list of places to visit in Tuscany. It’s one of the more chilled out place in Italy that I’ve been, not over crowded, yet still many beautiful sights to see and nice to just explore at a leisurely pace. Also cannot forget about the amazing food and friendly people. The transport link is so good you could stay here as your base and explore other areas near by. I cannot wait to come back one day.

I went in the middle of October and had 2 out of 3 days sunshine.

Book review ; The man who didn’t call

The blurb

Imagine you meet a man, spend seven glorious days together, and fall in love. And it’s mutual: you’ve never been so certain of anything. 

So when he leaves for a long-booked holiday and promises to call from the airport, you have no cause to doubt him.

But he doesn’t call. 

Your friends tell you to forget him, but you know they’re wrong: something must have happened; there must be a reason for his silence.

What do you do when you finally discover you’re right? That there is a reason – and that reason is the one thing you didn’t share with each other? 

The truth

My review

I have just finished this wonderful, intriguing story, that I could not put it down. I therefore give this ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Without giving too much away for those who have not read or finished this I had to know what had happened to Eddie. Did anyone guess ?

I’ll admit I didn’t! I also didn’t see a lot of the twists and reveals which I’m glad about as some left me speechless.

I just loved Sarah, she seemed like such a sweet natured girl with a big heart. Some of her crazy stuff she was doing when he didn’t call, I’m sure some of us can relate to that. Which made me laugh and remind me of growing up and being uncertain of boys.

I loved the week they spent together, they just seemed so deliriously happy. Being a hopeless romantic I was smitten and was routing for them all throughout.

I also liked the drama added in the story and how it left you guessing what was to come.

Rosie also touched on mental health issues and described them very well. Which is great especially how it’s more talked about now and not hidden these days.

Please put this to the top of your TBR pile if you haven’t already read this. You will not be disappointed. If you have read it, do you agree with my 5 ⭐️?

Book review; Some kind of wonderful by Giovanna Fletcher

I absolutely love all of Giovanna’s books so when she has a new book out I’m always excited as I know its going to be great. It has taken me a while to get around to reading this partly due to my book shelf bursting with all many books to read. I’m just gutted I didn’t get to this sooner.

The blurb 

When the love of your life says you’re not The One, who are you?

Lizzy and Ian have been a couple since the first week of university. Now, after celebrating a decade together, everyone thinks they’re about to get engaged.

Instead, a romantic escape to Dubai leaves Lizzy with no ring, no fiancé and no future.

Lizzy is heartbroken – but through the tears, she sees an opportunity. This is her moment to discover what she’s been missing while playing Ian’s ideal ‘better half’.

But how much has Ian changed her, and who should she be without him?

Determined to discover who she is at heart, Lizzy sets out to rediscover the girl she was before – and, in the meantime, have a little fun . . .

My review 

Imagine sitting by the pool in Dubai with your boyfriend of 10 years, waiting for that proposal. Both your friends and family thinks its going to happen. So last day in the sun, he has to do it before you leave, right?!

Lizzy is beginning to give up hope. We all know whats coming…well more we are hoping and praying for Lizzy. It seems its her dream to marry Ian.

Then picture him on one knee….

So how did Lizzy then end up to spending the last night alone.

Back home it’s now time for Lizzy to pick up the pieces and move on. Easier said that done, as us girls that have ever been in that situation would know. Lizzy does what any of us would and goes into melt down.  She starts reevaluating the last 10 years of her life and where did it go wrong. How could she change so much because of one person.

But really does one person change us or do we adapt to fit in someone else life. This is a brilliant story of self discovery. Lizzy is so inspiring. I loved how she picked herself back up by doing something she loves for herself. It’s a great message to love yourself first and just be you and do what you want to do.

This isn’t just a story about boy and girl it’s also a touching story on friendship and family. Her friendship with her family is just so lovely and honest. Best friend Connie was exactly what you want in a friend and same for the new friendship with Natalia. They were both funny, loyal and full of spirit. With Natalia there comes Alastair and just wow! The attraction was just electric. I thought I was with them in the club on New Years Eve. My heart was racing, everything stopped around me while I willing them to kiss. The chemistry and desire were jumping out the page it was so real and intense. Then there was the church scene where I was squealing with delight.

Some Kind of Wonderful is a must read its a perfect book to get lost in, that you wont want to put down.

 

 

Vegan week 4

The end of Veganuary week 4 is here and I’ve just had a nice little stroll around town and a little stop off in Costa.  I tried their hot chocolate with soya milk for the first time which was just delightful. Oh how much I’ve missed hot chocolate!

I still have 3 days to go and am unsure how I really feel about finishing being a vegan, what started off as a challenge has now become the norm! I’m finding it a lot easier as the weeks are going by and never could have imagined how much I would enjoy and love this plant based diet. My shopping trips have got easier and quicker, even though my boyfriend would probably disagree!  I do feel more confident going in a supermarket knowing what I can and cannot have, without dissecting the back of a packet!

So my food highlight this week was cooking a new curry dish. The idea come from my favourite cook book Deliciously Ella Coconut Thai curry with chickpeas  I loved the look of this creamy yet spicy curry.  Plus all her recipes are easy to follow and quick. I added some extras to the ingredients as I had some left over vegetables in the cupboard. ‘The best thing with curries is that you can make it your own by adding or removing what you want to your taste. I’m always hungry by the time it comes to cooking dinner so the next best thing is tasting as you’re going along and adding more spices/herbs to your liking. My last curry wasn’t spicy enough and I try to get my non veggie boyfriend to try all my dishes so I added more chilli flakes to give it more of a kick for him. Surly if it’s spicy he would like it and forget about the lack of meat!  When serving I then finished it off using Alpro natural yoghurt to cool it down a bit for me and also to make it even creamier. So delicious!

Overall this curry was filling, creamy yet flavoursome.  I really enjoyed the coconut milk mixed with the spices, it was just delightful. Even the boyfriend agreed and said “this is the best curry you have made”. Clearly practice makes perfect!

I need to research a new veggie curry to try this week, if anyone has any recommendations I would love to hear them please.

Apart from Deliciously Ella’s book her app is another great source where I get my ideas from, its quick and accessible. There is a favourite page so you can store all your favourite recipes and keep should you wish to refer back to. This week I tried the Creamy Mushroom and Garlic Pasta. I love mushrooms, pasta and anything creamy so altogether this was going to be an amazing dish. It did not disappoint. If you are feeling lazy or do not have much time yet want a fulfilling meal this is a simple yet satisfying dish.

IMG_8971

My other treat this week was ice cream. When I think of ice cream I just associate it with diary so have stayed away. That was until I see an advert on Twitter for Ben & Jerry’s dairy free ice cream. They do 3 flavours that all look so good; chocolate fudge brownie, chunky monkey and peanut butter & cookies. Here comes my indecisiveness again…. the hard choice to decide what one!  I was also recommended by a friend Alpro Hazelnut chocolate flavour which is really nice.  As I knew about this I had to try as part of my vegan journey, so after a trip back to my second home Sainsbury’s I now have this.  Thankfully they only had the Alpro flavour my friend recommended so I didn’t have to spend ages deciding what one…..lucky! It really is so tasty, chocolatey and creamy.  I love and have missed chocolate this month so this is getting me my chocolate fix at the same time, win win!

My other highlight this week was having my twin, bro in law and kiddies coming to visit us. Hosting a family gathering is fun at the best of times and being this was my first time as a veggie having to cook nibbles for all non-vegetarians and vegans was another test. I passed with flying colours! Now don’t get me wrong the Italian meats, selection of cheese, pizzas, party sausages, pork pies, and chocolate cake did look nice but…I wasn’t even tempted! How far have I come! Forward thinking I had other foods that I could have and had Sainsbury’s free from chocolate chip cookies so when everyone was tucking into the chocolate cake I wasn’t missing out.  I offered these out with a few people taking and eating them all, so they couldn’t have been that bad!

It’s amazing the substitutes you can have, which makes being a vegan less of a challenge especially now veganism is becoming more popular. Supermarkets are growing to the demand and getting up to speed but I do think there is still a long way to go, especially for restaurants and pubs. They need to start providing more choices on their menus.

For anyone else doing veganuary good luck on your last 3 days.