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:

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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.

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 Reviews

Blog Tour: The Note by Zoe Folbigg

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


About The Note

Based on Zoë Folbigg’s true story comes an unforgettable romance about how a little note can change everything…

One very ordinary day, Maya Flowers sees a new commuter board her train to London, and suddenly the day isn’t ordinary at all. Maya knows immediately and irrevocably, that he is The One.

But the beautiful man on the train always has his head in a book and never seems to notice Maya sitting just down the carriage from him every day. Eventually, though, inspired by a very wise friend, Maya plucks up the courage to give the stranger a note asking him out for a drink. After all, what’s the worst that can happen?

And so begins a story of sliding doors, missed opportunities and finding happiness where you least expect it.

The Note is an uplifting, life-affirming reminder that taking a chance can change everything…

Goodreads | Amazon | Kobo | iBooks | Google Play


An excerpt from The Note, courtesy of Aria

Chapter One

May 2014

Maya has done it. She has delivered three sentences and a friendly sign-off, and now it is out of her hands. She struggles to walk the incline of the seemingly uphill train carriage because her legs are shaking, her mouth is dry, and putting one foot in front of the other takes effort and focus her racing heart isn’t capable of at the moment.

Her legs buckle as Maya slumps into a seat on the other side of a grubby internal door. Which is just as well because she wanted to linger with the last straggles of bedraggled Train People disembarking reluctantly; to make herself invisible to all the commuters she just embarrassed herself in front of. So, Maya lies low with the sleepy people. The people who can’t stand their jobs. The people who are lost in someone else’s life, frantically turning or swiping pages to find out if the girl got the guy, the adventurer made it back to London or the heretic was burned at the stake.

Train Man isn’t a straggler. Every day Maya sees him stand up confidently at the same point on the track, somewhere between the football stadium and the tunnel, as the train snakes towards a new day and a new terminus. Equine legs, strong arms. He throws a grey backpack with two thin brown leather straps onto his back, stands in the doorway and, as the train comes to a stop and orange lights ding, he steps off with pace and purpose. Maya usually walks a healthy distance behind Train Man, tiny sparks flying from her heels, down the platform and through the barriers under the canopy of a reverse waterfall bubbling white and bright above them. The intimate huddle of a metal umbrella for thousands of people who don’t even look up. Train Man always walks straight through the station and Maya wonders what he’s listening to, trying to guess from his gait, not realising he was at four of the six gigs she went to in the past year. Every day she sees him turn right out of the station and walk swiftly, resolutely, into a mist of people down the road. Until she can’t keep up with his long stride, he in Converse, she in heels – or ballerina flats if she needs to be nimble and get to a meeting – and Maya tends to lose him around the big crossroads at the artery by the hospital. But not today. Today Train Man has long gone.

When Maya’s legs buckled and she fell into a dusty seat, she put distance between where Train Man had been sitting, where she had awkwardly stood over him, and into this sanctuary of a cringe-free carriage. Catching her breath, she waits for three minutes until she, Maya Flowers, is the last of the stragglers. Hot face. Thumping heart.

I did it!

In the empty carriage, Maya’s legs stop shaking and she flattens her wavy hair in an attempt to regain composure for no one’s benefit. She takes long deep breaths and calms herself by putting her fingertips against her ribcage to feel her lungs fill slowly.

A tall man in a bright blue short-sleeved shirt that sits pleasingly against Somali skin steps on and starts to throw newspapers into a sack before passengers board the train that will take them north.

Maya stands and tries to stride with Train Man’s purpose. She knows she won’t catch him up today, to see whether he is clutching her note to his heart, whether it’s crumpled in his pocket, or whether he tossed it into a bin. It doesn’t matter for now. What matters is she did it.

Spring sunshine looks down gently and tempers rise noisily in the gridlock of an underpass, but all Maya can hear among the birds and the horns are the words of an American woman in her head.

‘What’s the worst that can happen?’

Maya smiles proudly as she passes a bin and gives a cursory glance into it.


About The Author

folbigg_zoe-colour.jpgZoë Folbigg is a magazine journalist and digital editor, starting at Cosmopolitan in 2001 and since freelancing for titles including Glamour, Fabulous, Daily Mail, Healthy, LOOK, Top Santé, Mother & Baby, ELLE, Sunday Times Style, and Style.com. In 2008 she had a weekly column in Fabulous magazine documenting her year-long round-the-world trip with ‘Train Man’ – a man she had met on her daily commute. She has since married Train Man and lives in Hertfordshire with him and their two young sons. This is her debut novel.

Website: http://www.zoefolbigg.com/
Twitter: @zolington
Facebook: @zoefolbiggauthor


You can check out the rest of the tour here:

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ARC Review, Book Blog, Penguin U.K. Books

ARC Review : The Break

Book Title : The Break
Book Author : Marian Keyes
My Rating : ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5
Publication Date : September 7th 2017


You know you’ve come across a good book when you don’t really want it to end, even though it’s almost about 600 pages. 

Reading The Break have left me with all different kind of emotions, some relatable and some not. It was super easy to fall in love with it as it had the most realistic prose, plot line and characters.

A heart warming tale, set in Dublin, our Protagonist, Amy, receives one of the worst news of her life. Her husband, Hugh, who fell into a deep depression after the loss of his father and best friend, decided to take a “break” and leave for six month backpacking in Asia.

The first part of the book was ok for me. I used to force myself to pick it up as I believe the whole process of Hugh leaving and Amy dealing with it was a bit prolonged. It was also a bit whiney for my taste.

But as soon as things picked up and we got into the plot, it got interestingly hilarious! I wasn’t able to put it down. I was so keen in finding out what will happen.

Will Amy take Hugh back after six month?

Will their relationship change? Mind you, Hugh was on a mission to sleep with other women as well. (I know, right! *rolls eyes)

Will Amy herself change?

What will happen to the rest of the family? 

Their girls? 

Three daughters left behind and a husband gone is a lot to deal with. Amy finds herself struggling between her emotions, what’s right and making sure her daughters are not affected.

Overall, I would totally recommend The Break whether you are a women’s fiction fan or not. It’s definitely worth the read. You’d find yourself so into the story and rooting for choices of your own.

What would you do if you were Amy?

Thanks to @penguinUkbooks for this book, which was given in an exchange for an honest review.
 

Book Blog, Other Reviews

Book Review : Ugly Love

Book Title : Ugly Love
Book Author : Collen Hoover
My Rating : ⭐️⭐️⭐️/5
Publication Date : August 5th 2014


This was an OK plot line with OK characters and which made it an OK read!

My fourth #coho book and as much I enjoy a light read between my somewhat heavy readings, there are far better ones to pick from.

There wasn’t much of a plot line. Two who just met with mutual attraction decided their relationship is going to be all physical. No emotions whatsoever. The story just focused on that.

It was a fun, enjoyable read. I found I have laughed a lot. I just did wish it was a teeny bit deeper than it is with more character depth like her other books. .

All in all. As I said, an ‘OK’ read.