Sunday, 25 January 2015

Book Review: Fudge Berries and Frogs' Knickers - Lynda Renham

Synopsis - Poppy Wellesley is rich. In fact Poppy Wellesley is very rich, so when her fortunes change from riches to rags.  Poppy has to start a whole new life. Put yourself in her Guccis as she swaps her penthouse apartment for a run-down houseboat on Regent’s Canal. Meet her dippy friend Chelsea, the infamous Jack Diamond (see The Dog’s Bollocks) and her hunky boat neighbour, Taylor. Will Poppy hold on to her millionaire fiancĂ© or will Pug-face Pandora steal him from her? Can she avoid the advances from Balls (Lord Balthazar Wyndham-Price) or does she find true love on the canal? Fudge Berries and Frogs’ Knickers is a romantic comedy roller coaster ride that
will put a smile on your face and a cheer in your heart.

Review - I was sent a pre-publication e-copy for early review.  Unfortunately, and with apologies to Lynda Renham I didn't manage to get my review in 'early', the e-book was released on 23rd January.  However, I am only two days overdue and hopefully this still counts as an early-ish review.  Please note that the paperback will be released on Valentines Day 14th February.

Well, the book does exactly what it says on the tin.  A romantic roller coaster ride that not only puts a smile on your face but has you laughing and does put a cheer in your heart, something that is needed for these long wintry nights and dreary, miserable wet and cold days.  Poppy does indeed go from riches to rags and it is interesting to see how she manages or not.  Does it all come right in the end? The author takes a pop at the titled and awfully well to do, and yes, there are some stereotypical characters in there but you can imagine the snobbery within the ranks.  Meet Roddy the fiance, the best friends and the rivals, the funny but embarrassing mother, they are all there.  My favourite characters apart from our heroine Poppy are of course the barge owners who live on the canal and Ms Renham has had fun with these characters.  A great read, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  This one is up there with the best of Lynda's stories. 4*


Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you have encountered or spotlight words you love.  This weekly meme is hosted by BermudaOnion's Weblog.  If you would like to join then please hop over (see link above) and add your URL to the Linky.

Happy New year to you!  I have some new words to start the year.

From The Lost Coyote - Michael Connelly

immolated - verb. to kill as sacrifice.
"[...] he had investigated the deaths of hapless drunks who had fallen asleep and self-immolated."

complected - adj. having a specified complexion.
"She was a dark-complected black woman who had a beautiful grace about her."

grits - noun (pl). coarsely ground grain, esp. oatmeal; oats that have been husked but not ground.
"[...] served the eggs with grits and butter."

From The Behaviour of Moths - Poppy Adams

quoins - noun (pl). 1. an outside corner of a building. 2. a corner stone. 3. an inside corner of a room. 4. a wedge used for various purposes.
"[...] the enormous quoins at the base of the house, each made from a solid piece of granite, [...].

Have you found any new words to start the New Year?

Sunday, 4 January 2015

December Wrap and The Year That Was 2014

Blink and you missed it!  December went by in a flash taking Christmas with it and here we are already - 2015! 

 Happy New Year! 

So let's start with my December wrap up.  A very poor month on the blog and I really don't see 2015 getting any better.  

Post Stats
Poetry Corner = 1
Wondrous Words Wednesday = 2
Merry Christmas = 1

Reviews = 0

Books Read and Rated
The Last Coyote - Michael Connelly 4*
Inferno - Dan Brown 4*

Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn - I did not get on with this book.

Poetry Feature
Demeter - Carol Ann Duffy

I made an abysmal four posts in December.  What can I say?

Rather than give an overview of the year that was 2014, I am going to list my favourite reads of the year.

2014 Winners
Once Upon a Timepiece - Starr Wood
To The Fair Land - Lucienne Boyce
It Had To Be You - Lynda Renham
Can't Wait to Get to Heaven - Fannie Flagg
Tess of the D'Urbervilles -  Thomas Hardy
Brixton Beach - Roma Tearne

Plans for 2015?  I am not going to close this space as I really do hope to get some reviews in, but I want to try and dip into Wondrous Words Wednesday fairly regularly and keep the poetry feature going.  Bear with me and I hope to resume normal service but I cannot say when for now.

I look forward to hearing your plans for 2015 in books.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you have encountered or spotlight words you love.  This weekly meme is hosted by BermudaOnion's Weblog.  If you would like to join then please hop over (see link above) and add your URL to the Linky.

I am currently reading Inferno by Dan Brown.  I am just a few chapters in and the book has already thrown up two new words that both the better half and I hadn't come across before.

chthonic - adj. relating to or inhabiting the underworld.
"[...] labouring beneath the earth like a chthonic monster."

numinous - adj. having a strong religious or spiritual quality; indicating or suggesting the presence of a divinity.
"[...] where everything was bathed in a numinous red light."

Do you have any new or interesting words to share this week?

Friday, 5 December 2014

Poetry Corner #24

This week I am going to share another poem by Carol Ann Duffy from her collection, The World's Wife.


Where I lived - winter and hard earth.
I sat in my cold stone room
choosing tough words, granite, flint,

to break the ice. My broken heart -
I tried that, but it skimmed,
flat, over the frozen lake.

She came from a long, long way,
but I saw her at last, walking,
my daughter, my girl, across the fields,

in bare feet, bringing all spring's flowers
to her mother's house. I swear
the air softened and warmed as she moved,

the blue sky smiling, none too soon,
with the small shy mouth of a new moon.

Carol Ann Duffy

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you have encountered or spotlight words you love.  This weekly meme is hosted by BermudaOnion's Weblog.  If you would like to join then please hop over (see link above) and add your URL to the Linky.

It is exactly four weeks since my last post on this meme.  I have only managed to find two words to share this week.

The first word is from Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

propitious - adj. favourable, giving a good omen or a suitable opportunity.
" It's interesting, the timing.  Propitious, if you will."

The second word was in a clue of a Christmas quiz my reading group played last night.

exiguous - adj. scanty, small.

Now see if you can answer the quiz question.  Sorry, no prizes!
"That exiguous hamlet south of the holy city." 

Have you had a wordy week?

Sunday, 30 November 2014

It's A Wrap - End of Month Round Up

November has been a very lean month on the blog.  This is a busy time of year and it is flying by.  I cannot see December being any better but do watch this space, it is my intention to get posts up as and when I can.

Post Stats
Poetry Corner = 2
Sunday Post = 1
Wondrous Words Wednesday = 1
Book Review = 1 

Books Read and Reviewed
Significance - Jo Mazelis 4.5*

Books Read and Rated
Brixton Beach - Roma Tearne 5*

Poetry Feature
Sonnet 43 - Elizabeth Barrett Browning
The Owl and the Pussycat - Edward Lear

I made 5 posts during November, a big drop on October's stats.  Unfortunately, I was unable to make a discussion post or set up a give-away for this month.  I managed one contribution to each of the Sunday Post and Wondrous Words Wednesday memes.  I am still catching up on my TBR reads which will take me a long time to clear the shelves.  I am still not able to take on any review requests for the foreseeable future.

Plans for December
I am currently reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn for book group.  The next suggested book group title is Inferno by Dan Brown which I will start next and then I shall pick from the book jar.  There are no set plans for December, having been unable to fulfill all of November's I felt it best to see what happens here - watch this space!

How was November for you?

Friday, 21 November 2014

Poetry Corner #23

I missed last week's post and time has flown by.  It's Friday evening and I am getting behind again. How about something light this week?  Today's choice is The Owl and The Pussycat by Edward Lear.

The Owl and the Pussy-Cat 

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
‘O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are,
You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!’

Pussy said to the Owl, ‘You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?’
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose,
His nose,
His nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.

‘Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?’ Said the Piggy, ‘I will.’
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

Edward Lear (1812-1888)

Monday, 10 November 2014

Book Review: Significance - Jo Mazelis

Synopsis - Lucy Swann is trying on a new life.  She's bought new clothes and cut and dyed her hair.  But in a small town in northern France her flight is violently cut short.  When Inspector Vivier and his handsome assistant Sabine Pelat begin their investigation into her murder, the chance encounters of her last days take on a new significance.  Lucy's death, like a stone thrown into a pool, sends out far-reaching ripples, altering the lives of people who never knew her, and the lives of her loved ones back home.

Review -  I received this book for review from Seren Books.

The central story is the murder of Lucy Swann but where this story differs from most crime fiction is that the main focus is not on the murder or criminal investigation itself.  Rather than centring the story around finding the killer and bringing them to justice, the author chooses to look at the characters involved.  I say involved, meaning both those who interacted with Lucy before her murder and others who involved themselves in some way after the crime was committed.  Ms Mazelis explores the thoughts and actions of the key characters.

We have established that Lucy is running away from England and we are given possible reasons why.  We know who Lucy spoke to before her murder and that a conversation was overheard.  She drops her cardigan on her way back to the hotel and the cardigan is picked up and put down by a couple of characters, this does not go unnoticed.  We learn that before Lucy, a prostitute was murdered in the town.  The investigators have to work out if it is the same MO and find out who this latest victim is.  They know she is foreign, English or American, and they know who she spoke to, who picked up her cardigan and whose DNA is on the cardigan.  The police pick up three suspects all with their own worries and problems at being detained.  The relationship between Vivier and his female assistant is explored and also the attitudes and behaviours of the junior officers towards Sabine Pelat.  Is it safe for a woman to go out on a dark evening on her own?  Why do men regard women in a sexual manner?  Should women hold senior posts in the police force?  Questions are raised and explored through the narrative in this story.

I enjoyed reading this large book.  It is not a traditional whodunnit but a novel that makes you think.  Writing in this literary manner reminded me of the writers of the early twentieth century who wrote predominantly for those on the same level of intellect.  I am not saying that today's writing is dumbed down, but it's aim is to appeal to a wider audience. It does not quite reach five stars for me purely because I was a little disappointed in the ending which I thought was rather unsatisfactory. It is better than four stars so I have to break my rule of not awarding half stars.  A resounding 4.5*

ISBN 978-1-78172-187-2
Published by Seren.

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