Book Reviews

Blog Tour: Bloomsbury Affair by Anita Davison

I’m super delighted to be taking part of this blog tour and to share my review about the book.

Book Title : Bloomsbury Affair
Book Author :
Anita Davison
My Rating :
⭐️⭐️⭐️/5
Publication Date : 
November 20th 2018


About The Bloomsbury Affair

1905 London is a heady mix of unimaginable wealth and simmering political tensions, and with war looming Flora Maguire wants to keep her family safe.

So when her beloved charge Viscount Edward Trent is accused of murder, she’s determined not to leave the investigation to the police. Flora has trodden the path of amateur sleuth before, but with so much at stake, this time it’s personal.

Slowly the body of the victim found stabbed on a train bound for Paddington starts giving up its secrets, and Flora and her husband Bunny become mired in a murky world of spies, communists and fraudsters. And with the police more sure than ever that Edward is their murderer, Flora must work fast to keep him safe.

Anita Davison’s compulsive story-telling, combined with the irresistible mix of historical drama and gripping mystery, make this unputdownable.

Goodreads | Amazon | Kobo | iBooks | Google Play


My Review

It was a delight to be introduced to Flora’s world as this is my first of hers.

I couldn’t say no to a mystery and as a big historical fiction fan, I was sure this was the book for me.

It wasn’t easy for me to get into the book at first, felt there were so many characters and names which I’m sure were introduced in the first books of the series and I felt I am missing out on some traits of them.

But still, I was told this could be read as a standalone and it is certainly so.

Set in 1900’s, a murder investigation where our Protagonist Flora have set to make things right and assist her friend, Viscount Edward who was accused of this murder.

Well written with relatable characters. I find that I have I loved Bunny’s character the most, who was Flora’s husband, as he made the book quite enjoyable as a sidekick. My issue was it was a bit slow at times or maybe I was just impatient to know what just happened.

I certainly do recommend reading it and I feel like I need to get and check out the rest of the series.

I received a copy of this book from Aria Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review


An excerpt from The Bloomsbury Affair, courtesy of Aria

Chapter 1

Eaton Place, London, April 1905

‘Good evening, Stokes.’ Bunny’s voice from the hall brought Flora to her feet.

Issuing a brief apology to her two dinner guests, she left the dining room, shivering in the blast of cold air that rushed through the open front door.

Tall and muscular with slightly boyish looks which sent females of all ages checking their hair in nearby mirrors, Bunny’s pale skin was flushed from the cool night air, his blue eyes bright behind rimless spectacles.

‘I’m horribly latefor dinner, Stokes. Is your mistress very angry?

He handed the butler his hat and then shrugged out of his overcoat.

‘I would rather not speculate, sir.’ Stokes placed the hat on a hook, took his coat and gave it a shake, scattering raindrops over the tiled floor. ‘I’ve laid out your dinner suit in your dressing room. Would you require my assistance to change?’

‘Not necessary, thank you, Stokes. I’ll manage. If you could just tell my wife I’ll

be down as quickly as I can.’

Flora stepped from the cover of the archway from where she had observed them.

The butler froze, the overcoat held out in front of him.

‘Ah, there you are, Flora.’ Bunny cleared his throat before summoning a

conciliatory smile. ‘I intended to be here on time, but it couldn’t be avoided, sor

ry.’ He lifted his arms intent on a hug, but she sidestepped him. ‘Ah, I’m not forgiven,

then?’

‘What kept you?’ Her fierce whisper held the mounting irritation she had nursed

all evening. ‘You’ve almost missed dinner.’

‘If you’ll excuse me, sir, madam. I must see to my duties.’ Stokes divested himself

of the coat and, head down, fled in the direction of the kitchens.

‘How’s the reunion going?’ Bunny fingered an arm of his spectacles nervously, his

gaze going to the closed dining room door.

‘Don’t change the subject.’ Flora brushed a hank of damp hair from his forehead.

‘Better than I could have imagined, actually.’ Her attempt to stay cross was ruined as

his cologne stirred her senses. ‘It’s as if they have never been apart. I doubt they’ll

even notice I’m gone.’

As if on cue, a baritone chuckle drifted into the hall, followed by a gale of relaxed

feminine laughter.

‘Why the sad face?’ Bunny ran a finger along her cheek. ‘Sounds to me like your

parents are getting along splendidly.’

‘They are, and I’m delighted, of course. It’s just– oh, never mind, we’ll talk later. I

should get back to our guests.’

How could she explain? William and Alice might have put the past behind them,

but theirs weren’t the only lives disrupted by twenty years of lies and secrets.

‘Your guests, this was all your idea, remember?’ Bunny planted a swift kiss on her

forehead and headed for the stairs. ‘By the way,’ he halted halfway up and leaned

over the handrail, ‘your trip to Harvey Nichols was very much worth it. The gown is

magnificent. I love that shade of blue on you.’

She waved him off impatiently, but her steps lightened as she returned to the

dining room, relieved he was home and the weight of the dinner party no longer lay

entirely on her shoulders. ‘I’m sorry about that.’ Flora resumed her seat in a room where soft golden light reflected off crystal and gilt, the crackle of flames and shift of coals in the Adam fireplace completing the cosy ambience. ‘

Bunny promises to be with us shortly.’

‘You’ve no need to apologize, my darling,’ William patted her hand. ‘I haven’t

enjoyed a dinner this much for a long time.’ His gaze shifted from Flora to the lady

opposite. ‘Although Flora did insist under no circumstances was I to cry off—

‘Which you have done on two previous occasions,’ Flora added.

He had retained a muscular physique into his mid-forties, honed from years spent

in the saddle on the horse ranches of far-flung continents. Tiny lines carved into his

tanned skin beside intelligent dark eyes that sparkled with private amusemen

t, hisdark hair sporting half-inch wide silver wings at his temples.

‘It’s been a wonderful surprise.’ Alice’s cheeks warmed to a becoming pink. ‘I had

reconciled myself long ago to never seeing William again.’ She tore her gaze away

from him only long enough to rearrange her napkin on her lap. ‘He was a secret I

imagined keeping forever. I could hardly believe it when Flora told me you lived in

London and she saw you regularly.’

Alice too wore the years lightly, with her girlish slenderness, unblemished

porcelain skin and the same wide, hazel eyes Flora saw in her own mirror every

morning. When Stokes had shown William into the room where Alice waited, his soft murmur of her original name, Lily, followed by Alice’s sharp exhalation of breath, spared Flora the task of having to explain her reasons for deceiving them.

Silent, awestruck seconds passed in which, had they been alone, Flora had been

convinced they would have rushed into each other’s arms, and only kept a respectable distance between them for form’s sake.

‘Had I known what you had planned, Flora,’ William said, ‘I would have cancelled

my trip to Moscow and told Balfour to go to blazes.’

‘How would you have explained that to the Prime Minister?’ Flora laughed as she

set down her wine glass, belatedly realizing what he had said. ‘Russia? When you

said you were taking a northern holiday, I imagined Scotland, or Belgium. Not

Russia.’

‘Oh, you know me, my love.’ He adjusted his tie avoiding her gaze. ‘I’ve always

had a yen for exotic locations.’

During Flora’s childhood, ‘Uncle’ William descended with no warning on Lord

Trent’s family at Cleeve Abbey several times a year laden with gifts for his nieces and nephew. There was always something for Flora; the butler’s daughter, as well when she was invited to join them on cold evenings in front of the fire to listen as he

recounted his adventures. He would stay a few memorable weeks, then disappear

again as quickly as he had come. Her discovery three years before that William was

her natural father was something she was still coming to terms with. This evening

meant such a lot to her, in that she had recently discovered her mother was also alive and bringing them together at her dining table for the first time in twenty years was a huge gamble; one she hadnot told either of them in advance. Was matchmaking your parents socially acceptable, or would she forever be a pariah for interfering?

‘What’s Russia really like?’ she asked carefully, conscious of the secrecy connected to William’s work with the Foreign Office. ‘We see the newspapers, but

it’s hard to form a true picture.’

The fact William could summon several armed men at a moment’s notice and his

driver was a burly six feet four who sat in the lobby of his apartment at night

contradicted his claim of being, ‘merely a lowly diplomat’.

‘Colder than anywhere on earth.’ William accompanied his broad smile with a

contrived shiver. ‘St Petersburg lay under several feet of snow when I left, and

—’ he broke off as the door clicked open to admit Bunny.


About The Author

https://katherinesbookuniverse.files.wordpress.com/2018/11/img_1260-1.jpg?w=297&h=297

Born in London, Anita has always had a penchant for all things historical. She now lives in the beautiful Cotswolds, the backdrop for her Flora Maguire mysteries.

Any Blogs/Website: @AnitaSDavison
Twitter: @AnitaSDavison


You can check out the rest of the tour here:

The Bloomsbury Affair blog tour poster (1).png

Book Blog

Should good books be adapted for the big screen?

The movie ‘ruined’ the book!

How many times have we heard these words uttered by nearly every book lover and avid reader after coming out of a movie theatre?

I probably would have said it a couple of times myself!

But, let’s be honest here, there are a lot of book-to-movie adaptations that are just outstanding and have got people admitting that the movie was much better than the book.

Not that it’s a competition, mind you!

It isn’t really a question of “ruining” the book. There is just the simple fact that the movie and book are now accessible because of their reliance on each other.

And no matter how big your imagination is, there will always be aspects of the book that your mind just cannot capture.

Take Hogwarts, from the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowlings, for example. Were you really able to envision it as it was in the movies? I know I wasn’t able to.

Watching how the scene unraveled on screen for the first time just left me in awe. I would be lying if I said I didn’t have goosebumps.

What about The Da Vinci Code?

The Hunger Games?

How adorable were Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort in The Fault in our Stars?

I’m really just naming a few from the top of my head that I think were good adaptations.

I do make it a rule though, to always read the book before watching the movie, as I love to compare how my mind visualized the details of the characters and the scenery with how the screenwriters depicted all the information gathered from the book. It’s just one of the perks of reading.

But reading aside, watching the movie adaptation is an experience on its own. It’s a good opportunity to share this experience with different people throughout the years.

So, I’m all for adaptations! I’m a big fan of reading the book and watching its movie. I make it a habit to check out what books are coming to the big screen every year to make sure I am able to read it just in time!

Are you a fan of book-to movies? Or do you think books should be left for the enjoyment of readers only?

Read the full article from Khaleej Times here

Filed on January 12, 2018 on @bloggerheads

Book Blog

ARC Review : White Chrysanthemum

Book Title :White Chrysanthemums
Book Author
: Mary Lynn Bracht
My Rating :
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Publication Date: January 18th 2018

This book should come with a warning sign that says “stock up on tissue boxes before reading.”

I would definitely place White Chrysanthemum on a book list for tear-jerkers. It was just so sad. I had to pause a few times, take a breather because I just couldn’t endure the sufferings.

A historical fiction, set in Korea 1943 during the WW2, two sisters, Hana and Emi were separated when Hana was taken by the Japanese army. Told alternatively between the sisters, it was really hard for me to choose which sister’s story I enjoyed more. Both were heartbreakingly beautiful.

I had no idea about the war history between Korea and Japan, and the things Korean people had to deal with at those times. This was such an enlightenment for me and it was one of the things I have loved most about the book.

I would warn you though, some events in the book could be defined as quite horrific. As much as I have enjoyed most of it; it was a bit brutal for my taste. I don’t think I handled it well and I don’t think I could read it again and undergo through all those triggered emotions – not all splendid, mind you.

But recommend I would. It’s a really captivating story. The writing style is just impeccable and you can’t help but fall in love with the traditions of the Haenyeo women who make their living as divers in the Korean sea.

Bookstagram Tips

Buying Books Online (How To)

How do you buy your books?

Visiting the stores does have its perks but there’s something about being all comfortable at home or office, via your PC or mobile, comparing prices and ordering books online.

I’ve compiled a few sites below, giving some information which could help you if you plan to shop books (and bookish stuff as well!) online.

I am always exploring new sites, comparing prices here and there and I will be updating this post to add them!

*Please also note that when I speak of shipping and prices, I’m talking about UAE ones.


index
Book Depository
  • Mostly find the lowest prices and just about any book.
  • Free shipping to UAE and Worldwide.
  • It takes about 3 weeks and over to reach.

Would I recommend?

I would probably.  You would definitely find the cheapest prices in there. This was one of the first sites I used to log into to get books online. It just frustrated me that they took quite a long time and sometimes my order gets lost in the mail which they need to resend again.


bngreen
Barnes and Noble
  • Shipping fee included.
  • It takes about 3 weeks and over to reach.

Would I recommend?

I guess I would. Something about their editions that just makes me want to get them. You might find that the book prices are cheaper, and they are, but if you include shipment prices (to UAE), it will probably be the same as the rest with a slight difference in prices.


images
Amazon
  • Shipping fee included.
  • It takes about 3 weeks and over to reach.

Would I recommend?

Only if you can’t find what you are looking for. Sometimes I would love certain covers/editions and I can only find them on Amazon.


logo.4fe08aaa9952
Magrudy’s
  • Free shipping to UAE
  • It takes about 5-7 days to reach.
  • Cash on Delivery option available. (UAE)

Would I recommend?

That’s usually where I get my books from. When I can’t find what I’m looking for, they order on my behalf with exactly the same price. It takes away the hassle to look for the book myself.


VM
Virgin Megastore
  • Free shipping over 200 Dhs
  • It takes about 2-3 days to reach.
  • Cash on Delivery option available. (UAE)

Would I recommend?

I love ordering from here because they have one of the fastest delivery options. If you are ordering multiple books, that’s the one to go to. It’s only free shipping after 200 Dhs.


logo_UAE-DUBAI-34061d0e02086071cb7e5a36f70a6caf
Kinokuniya
  • Free shipping
  • It takes about 1-2 days to reach.

Would I recommend?

They have free shipping and they are the fastest when it comes to delivery. The only drawback is that you may not always find what you are looking for. And they do not have a “cash on delivery” option which sometimes I prefer to use.


There you go!

Hopefully, this could give you an insight on where to go to when you feel like book shopping online. *we always feel like book shopping! D-uh!

You can always drop me a comment below or email me and I’d be glad to be of more help! 🙂

Book Blog, Other Reviews

Book Review: Without Merit

Book Title : Without Merit
Book Author :
Colleen Hoover
My Rating :
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5
Date Published : October 3rd 2017


Collen Hoover is very well known for how her writing style grips at your heart, wrenches your soul and permanently leaves a mark on you after reading one of her books. I absolutely adore her books!

And as much as I enjoyed this one, it did have quite a few “buts” in my opinion.

But first, let me tell you what it’s about.

Merit Voss seems like your typical teenage girl who is obsessed with collecting trophies she hasn’t earned and for pretending she has that normal, perfect family. Nobody is really aware of what lies beneath the surface.

We follow her around as she deals with her family that includes her father, brother, twin sister, her sick mother and stepmother – a handful, right?

Along the story she meets/crushes on Sagan, then finds out that he’s her sister’s boyfriend so he’s off limits to her, though she can’t help but think about him, and meeting him have awakened a part of her that she never knew existed as he also helped her deal with stuff she wasn’t aware they existed.

I wouldn’t categorize this as romance. This book talked more about life issues, psychological matters and really much more.

My main “but” is that all those topics mentioned in the book were lightly discussed and resolved. We did not have much time to grasp about what went on or deal with it.

I’d rather we had just one main issue or two to focus on along with the romance of the book. But sadly it felt a bit all over the place.

I would still recommend it, urge you to pick it and enjoy it as much as I did. It was kind of a light read but with important issues.

Book Blog, Other Reviews

Book Review : It Ends with Us

Book Title : It Ends with Us
Book Author :
Colleen Hoover
My Rating : ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
/5
Publication Date :
August 2nd 2016


“Sometimes it’s the one who loves you who hurts you the most”

Winner of Goodreads choice award 2016, lots of recommendations, my sister finishing it in one sitting with the comment ‘her best so far’, so I knew I just had to pick it up.

I’ve read quite a few of Colleen’s books, and though I try to stay away from YA romance, her books just drags you in.

This book is more than just Romance. It speaks and tackles about important issues which makes you think, sympathizes, connect with most characters and root for that happy ending.

I would totally recommend this book if you are looking to try a CoHo book. Though it may be completely different from her other books, it does have her touch and style all over it which makes her books unique in their own way.

Book Blog, Book Reviews, Other Reviews

Book Review : When Dimple Met Rishi

Book Title : When Dimple Met Rishi
Book Author : Sandhya Menon
My Rating : ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5
Publication Date : May 30th 2017


Pancakes for breakfast along with your favorite cup of coffee, and picking up this book would complete that perfect Saturday morning.

This was such a delightful read. I cannot contain myself as I find myself using words such as cute, adorable and I-just-want to pinch-those-cheeks. I mean, can I? Can I?

We meet Dimple, who is all about women and career while struggling with her family who are urging her to find that “Ideal Indian Husband”. I mean, isn’t that what life is about? Finding that perfect significant other? *rolls eyes.

Then we meet Rishi, that hopeless romantic, who believes in tradition and family values. He accepts his fate to carry on the family business, meet and woo that perfect “arranged” wife and make his family proud.*I mean it, I need to pinch those cheeks!

Unknown to Dimple, Rishi signs up for that same program she has been dreaming of since forever-!, gets the surprise of her lifetime when she finds out this was all arranged by both families and it was the whole reason her parents agreed to the program anyways. *pfft! Parents! What are they thinking!

Total opposites, Dimple and Rishi who thought they had everything figured out, embark on a journey of self-exploration, family traditions, and struggle with career and life choices.

I would totally recommend this book. As much as it was a light read, it still talked about important issues that I think most have gone through or would go through.

And who wouldn’t want to have that “feel good” feeling after reading a book that has a somewhat satisfying ending?

You know you do!