Goodreads Monday: The Mayfly

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners . To take part, you simply choose a random book from your TBR and show it off. Don’t forget to check out her blog and link back to Lauren’s Page Turners, and add your own links!

Today I’m going to pick a book I’ve recently read an extract from, and which I hugely enjoyed:

The Mayfly - James Hazel

Title: The Mayfly
Author: James Hazel
Series: Charlie Priest

Publish date: 15 June 2017

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[Synopsis]

It’s happening again.

A mutilated body discovered in the woods.
A murderous plan conceived in the past.
A reckoning seventy years in the making . . .

Charlie Priest, ex-detective inspector turned London lawyer, is hired by influential entrepreneur Kenneth Ellinder to investigate the murder of his son. But Priest is no ordinary lawyer. Brilliant, yet flawed, this case will push him, and those closest to him, to the edge.

Priest traces the evidence back to the desperate last days of the Second World War. Buried in the ashes of the Holocaust is a secret so deadly its poison threatens to destroy the very heart of the establishment.

With more victims going missing, Priest realises that not everyone should be trusted. As he races to uncover the truth, can he prevent history from repeating itself?

Have you heard anything about this book, or have you got it on your TBR list? 

Don’t forget… follow me on: instagram @snazzy_stuff_goodreads Laura / and twitter @lauranazmdeh!

The No Meat Athlete Cookbook [review]

The No Meat Athlete Cookbook

Title: The No Meat Athlete Cookbook
Author: Matt Frazier and Stepfanie Romine
Publisher: The Experiment

[Synopsis]

From the founder of No Meat Athlete: plant-based recipes packed with nutrition to help athletes perform better and recover faster

A fast-growing global movement, No Meat Athlete (NMA) is inspiring everyone from weekend joggers to world-class competitors to be healthier and fitter and perform better on whole plant foods. Written by NMA founder Matt Frazier and longtime health coach, yoga teacher, and nutrition writer Stepfanie Romine, The No Meat Athlete Cookbook features 150 whole food, vegan recipes that are affordable and quick to get on the table, even on busy nights. Here are:
Breakfasts to power you up (Almond Butter–Banana Pancakes), mains that aid recovery (Beet Bourguignon), and natural sports drinks, portables, energy bites, and bars (V9, Umeboshi Electrolyte Drink, Calorie Bomb Cookies) to take you further and help you get the most from every workout
Minimal gluten, soy, and sweeteners, plus oil-free options throughout (ideal for followers of the Forks Over Knives diet)
Meal-planning guidelines, nutritional info, adaptable “blueprint” recipes—and more!

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[My Review]

This is a really useful, informative and inspiring cookbook. It’s packed full of interesting information on nutrition and what kind of foods you should be fuelling your body with as an athlete – or just anyone who exercises, really! This isn’t just for the elite (of which group I DEFINITELY do not belong!)

The recipes are easy to follow whilst still being inspiring and they all look delicious. Even if you’re a hardcore carnivore you’ll enjoy these recipes and won’t miss the meat, I promise you!

Another important aspect of this book is that the recipes don’t usually ridiculously expensive or unusual ingredients – you’re bound to have a lot of them in your cupboard or, if not, they’re easy to find in the supermarket. The recipes are generally healthy and will leave you feeling satisfied without the guilt that often comes with junk food!

For anyone wanting to go veggie, or just incorporate more veggie recipes into their diet, this is ideal. It’s got lovely photos (always important in these kind of books, I think – I like to see what I’m cooking is *supposed* to look like!) and I loved the oil-free cooking section, which I’d never really thought about before. There’s also a good range of savoury and sweet recipes depending what you fancy. Highly recommended!

[Rating: 4/5]

Many thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this book, on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review

Deadly Alibi [review]

Deadly Alibi - Leigh Russell

Title: Deadly Alibi
Author: Leigh Russell
Publisher: No Exit Press

[Synopsis]

Two murder victims and a suspect whose alibi appears open to doubt…. Geraldine Steel is plunged into a double murder investigation which threatens not only her career, but her life. And then her previously unknown twin Helena turns up, with problems which are about to make Geraldine’s life turn toxic in more ways than one!

For fans of Rachel Abbott, Angela Marsons, Peter James and Robert Bryndza, Deadly Alibi is a gripping murder investigation that will keep you turning the pages late into the night.

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[My Review]

Deadly Alibi, though the sixth novel in the DI Geraldine Steel series, is the first I’ve read by Leigh Russell. I found that this didn’t hamper my enjoyment, though, and by the end I realised I’d found a brilliant, new (to me) crime series which – even better! – I now have five other novels to catch up on!

The characters are great – Geraldine herself is a strong, confident and very intelligent woman who seems to be a great Detective. Like many in this genre, she has her quirks and can be pretty impulsive at times, landing her in hot water at some points, whilst many others on her team are likeable and capable too. I really liked Sam, who seems loyal and a great partner, and Ian – I want to read previous novels to figure out exactly what has happened between them!

In terms of narrative, the investigation is interesting and moves along at a good pace – I never got bored or impatient. I quite liked that there was a sort of side story to the main investigation, with Geraldine’s twin sister Helena being introduced into the story (not a likeable person at all but a great catalyst for some trouble and strife for Geraldine, and definitely an interesting character to read about!). The story definitely kept me hooked and I could have devoured this book in one sitting if it wasn’t for work!

I really enjoyed Deadly Alibi and will certainly be reading others in the series. I didn’t find that it mattered that I hadn’t started from book 1 but those in the know seem to state in their reviews that it’s best to start at the beginning, which makes sense, so I think I will do that and work my way through – because, as a newbie to this series, there could be lots of extra hints and info that I won’t have even realised I missed in this novel!

Deadly Alibi is a great read, keeping me gripped from page one right until its satisfying conclusion!

[Rating: 4/5]

Many thanks to No Exit Press who provided a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.

Deadly Alibi is out now in ebook format and out in paperback on 25 May.

DON’T FORGET… FOLLOW ME ON: INSTAGRAM @SNAZZY_STUFF_GOODREADS LAURA / AND TWITTER @LAURANAZMDEH!

The Light We Lost [review]

The Light We Lost - Jill Santopolo

Title: The Light We Lost
Author: Jill Santopolo
Publisher: HQ

[Synopsis]

Two people. One choice. What if?

Every love story has a beginning…

11th September 2001. Lucy and Gabe meet in New York on a day that will change their lives – and the world – forever. As the city burns behind them, they kiss for the very first time.

Over the next thirteen years they are torn apart, then brought back together, time and time again. It’s a journey of dreams, of desires, of jealousy, of forgiveness – and above all, love.

As Lucy is faced with a devastating choice, she wonders whether their love is a matter of destiny or chance.

…what if this is how their story ends?

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[My Review]

I wasn’t sure what to expect from The Light We Lost – it’s a real change from the many thrillers and crime novels I often read (but not exclusively), focusing on the relationship – and lack thereof – of Lucy and Gabe, the main characters. It’s important to note, though, that other characters play a key part in the novel too, without giving anything away.

The fact that the novel is described as “Me Before You meets One Day”, which are two novels I absolutely love, means I knew I had to read this!

At the beginning I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it; there were parts which felt a bit over the top, but you soon come to realise that this is just Lucy and Gabe’s relationship. They are hugely passionate and they love each other so much that every feeling, every sticking point, is amplified. For this reason – and various others that you’ll see as you read The Light We Lost – I struggled to really gel with the characters. As I continued reading, though, I saw that actually there are reasons for some characters behaving the way they do – and I always enjoy stories that don’t paint one person as perfect. When Lucy is considering various people she can imagine ending up with, she admits that there may not be one person who’d be perfect in every way – because people aren’t perfect! I liked that Lucy was self-aware of the fact that she perhaps expected too much at times.

The story itself absorbed me more and more as it went on. I absolutely loved the way it mapped history from 2001 onwards, with key events that I remember taking place, some like it was only yesterday even though I was quite young, for example, when the Twin Towers went down. It felt very poignant and emotional to read about these events and, with many, remember them, as you see how Lucy, Gabe, and other people experienced it and what they meant to their lives. These events alter the course of history but also Lucy and Gabe’s, and every ‘what if’ that both characters think about is like a pierce through the heart because if one thing or the other hadn’t happen, everything could have been different.

I really enjoyed this novel, and anyone who loves an emotional read is likely to as well. There are parts which are a little cheesy, but hey – this IS, after all, romantic fiction, and I raced through it to the end, where it stayed with me for quite a while after I’d finished it!

[Rating: 4/5]

Many thanks to HQ and Netgalley for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.

The Light We Lost is released in the UK on 18 May.

DON’T FORGET… FOLLOW ME ON: INSTAGRAM @SNAZZY_STUFF_GOODREADS LAURA / AND TWITTER @LAURANAZMDEH!

Goodreads Monday: Sweetpea

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners . To take part, you simply choose a random book from your TBR and show it off. Don’t forget to check out her blog and link back to Lauren’s Page Turners, and add your own links!

Today I’m going to pick a book I’m currently listening to on audiobook:

Sweetpea by C.J. Skuse

Sweetpea - C.J. Skuse

Title: Sweetpea
Author: C J Skuse
Format: Audiobook

Publish date: 20 April 2016

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[Synopsis]

 

The last person who called me ‘Sweetpea’ ended up dead…

I haven’t killed anyone for three years and I thought that when it happened again I’d feel bad. Like an alcoholic taking a sip of whisky. But no. Nothing. I had a blissful night’s sleep. Didn’t wake up at all. And for once, no bad dream either. This morning I feel balanced. Almost sane, for once.

Rhiannon is your average girl next door, settled with her boyfriend and little dog…but she’s got a killer secret.

Although her childhood was haunted by a famous crime, Rhinannon’s life is normal now that her celebrity has dwindled. By day her job as an editorial assistant is demeaning and unsatisfying. By evening she dutifully listens to her friend’s plans for marriage and babies whilst secretly making a list.

A kill list.

From the man on the Lidl checkout who always mishandles her apples, to the driver who cuts her off on her way to work, to the people who have got it coming, Rhiannon’s ready to get her revenge.

Because the girl everyone overlooks might be able to get away with murder…

Review to follow once I’ve finished it, but I can say I’m really loving it so far – and that’s even from listening to it on audiobooks which I don’t generally tend to get along with!

Have you heard anything about this book, or have you got it on your TBR list? 

Don’t forget… follow me on: instagram @snazzy_stuff_goodreads Laura / and twitter @lauranazmdeh!

My Life in Books Tag!

I saw this brilliant tag on Sarah Withers blog and loved it, so thought I’d do my own version!

Here goes:

A book for each letter of your name

L – (The) Light We Lost – Jill Santopolo: I really enjoyed this one  – I mean, anything billed as “Me Before You meets One Day” is going to appeal to me! Review to follow soon.

A – All I Ever Wanted by Lucy Dillon: this was a great read which surprised me as I expected it to be light and fluffy – and it was, but it was so much more than your average chick-lit. Read my full review here.

U – Us by David Nicholls: well, it had to be, didn’t it?! I will always love this book; I loved everything about it. Emotional, so well-written and funny at times too. Read my full review here.

R – Relativity by Antonia Hayes: I was part of the blog tour for this book, and I’m so glad I was. I really enjoyed it and thought it was a lovely, beautifully written novel. Read my full review here.

A – Atonement by Ian McEwan: an older pick, in that I read it a long time ago so I don’t think I ever reviewed it on my blog – it was before Snazzy Book’s time I think. Perhaps I need to rectify that when I have time… anyway, a great novel and the film wasn’t too bad – mainly due to James McAvoy! Nowhere near as good as the book though, of course!

 

Age – count along your bookshelf (27)

img_7390

Commonwealth – Ann Patchett: read my review here.

A book that represents a destination you would love to travel to?

Gosh, there are too many really! I’ve picked a few…

Blue Light Yokohama – Nicolas Obregon (Toyko – Japan) – my review

Little Lies – Liane Moriarty (Australia)

The Tea Planter’s Wife – Dinah Jefferies

 

Favourite colour?

I don’t particularly have a favourite colour but I have reviewed a lot of books with this colour on the cover, so I’m going for: BLUE!

So here’s a selection:

 

Most difficult to read:

The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

Probably The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini; it’s such an emotional read and so, so great! I read it before I started blogging so there’s no review on my blog but I’ve linked to the Goodreads page.

 

Which book in your TBR will you get the most satisfaction from reading?

ANY of the books that my mum / friends/ other people have leant me ages ago that I never get around to reading because I keep requesting books on Netgalley, or accepting books for review when I shouldn’t!

A few examples include:

The Girl In The Spider’s Web – David Lagercrantz

Any Human Heart – William Boyd

A Game For All The Family – Sophie Hannah

 

Please let me know / tag me if you do this tag as I’d love to see your answers too! This was a really fun post to write 🙂

DON’T FORGET… FOLLOW ME ON: INSTAGRAM @SNAZZY_STUFF_GOODREADS LAURA / AND TWITTER @LAURANAZMDEH!

The Last Piece Of My Heart [review]

The Last Piece Of My Heart - Paige Toon

Title: The Last Piece Of My Heart
Author: Paige Toon
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK

[Synopsis]

Meet Bridget, a successful travel journalist with ambitions to turn her quirky relationship blog into a novel. But, after numerous rejections from publishers, she accepts an alternative proposition: Nicole Dupre died leaving behind a bestselling novel and an incomplete sequel, and the family need someone to finish it. Bridget is just thankful to have her foot in the publishing door. But as she gets to know Nicole’s grieving family, and the woman behind the writing, Bridget’s priorities begin to change…

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[My Review]

I always expect a nice, heartwarming read when I pick up a Paige Toon novel. The Last Piece Of My Heart didn’t disappoint – it’s really lovely with a mix of emotion and humour.

Bridget seems a really sweet character and I enjoyed reading about her, and also Charlie who is the perfect male love interest in pretty much every way! Bridget remains independent and able to think for herself despite what’s going on around her, and despite pressure she feels to make things work with certain people, which I really liked. There are also some far less likable characters who feature in this novel, but regardless I still found myself wanting to read more.

The storyline is at times – as with many books in this genre – a little predictable at times, and it has, many of the typical tropes associated with chick lit/ contemporary romance, but it’s a really enjoyable read nonetheless. There are also some more serious undercurrents – mainly Nicole’s death and how Charlie and little April are coping with it – so it’s not all lightheartedness.

I liked the fact that the story included adventures in other countries (which I always find interesting to read about) and the stories about Bridget’s ex boyfriends are fun too. I don’t want to say too much and give away the story, so I’ll just that I would recommend this for any Paige Toon fan, or anyone who enjoys reading about a bit of contemporary romance now and again, as I do.

The Last Piece Of My Heart is a fun, emotional, and heartwarming read!

[Rating: 4/5]

Many thanks to Simon & Schuster UK for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.

The Last Piece Of My Heart is published on 18 May.

Blood Sisters [review]

Blood Sisters - Jane Corry

Title: Blood Sisters
Author: Jane Corry
Publisher: Penguin

[Synopsis]

Three little girls set off to school one sunny May morning.
Within an hour, one of them is dead.

Fifteen years later, Alison and Kitty are living separate lives. Kitty lives in a care home. She can’t speak, and she has no memory of the accident that put her here, or her life before it.

Art teacher Alison looks fine on the surface. But the surface is a lie. When a job in a prison comes up she decides to take it – this is her chance to finally make things right.

But someone is watching Kitty and Alison.
Someone who wants revenge for what happened that day.
And only another life will do…

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[My Review]

Blood Sisters completely drew me in to its world, right until the last page. It focuses on two main narratives – one in the present day, showing the two very different lives of sisters Alison and Kitty, and another which takes the reader right back to the years leading up to the accident which changes Kitty’s life (and her family’s too). I really enjoy narratives that switch like this, and especially with multiple key characters so you see different sides to the story.

The characters themselves are interesting and well-rounded, despite at times despising Alison and the way she thinks and acts, from the way she treats the ‘secret’ that people seem to be keeping right through to smaller things like the snooty, judgmental way she treats the prisoners – though I admit some of the prisoners are truly awful!

The story itself is a little slow to get started, but once it gets going it it’s really gripping. The story presents not only the accident itself and the secrets accompanying it but the way that the sisters and parents interact with each other. There’s plenty of unease and mystery, and though I saw some of the twists coming there was plenty which took me completely by surprise! At no point did I feel even remotely bored with Blood Sisters, as it kept me gripped throughout.

This is a great novel from Jane Corry, whose other novel – My Husband’s Wife – I also hugely enjoyed too. [Read my review here].

[Rating: 4/5]

Many thanks to Penguin for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review

WWW Wednesday [10 May 2017]

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Sam at Taking On a World of Words.

Visit her blog to take a look, and get involved too if you can, even if you don’t have a blog yourself – as she says, you can leave your answers in the post comments. I’d love to see your answers too!

AS USUAL it’s been a few weeks since I last posted one of these (I never manage to post more than a few in a row, I’m rubbish!) but here’s this week’s WWW post, and I’ve just stuck to the last week instead of including multiple weeks’ worth of books!

The three W’s are:

    1. What have you finished reading?
    2. What are you currently reading?
    3. What will you read next?

What have you finished reading? 

The Light We Lost – Jill Santopolo

The Last Piece Of My Heart – Paige Toon [review to follow soon]

Blood Sisters – Jane Corry [review to follow soon]

What are you currently reading? 

Sweetpea – C.J. Skuse

Listening to this on audiobook. In the past I haven’t really got along with audiobooks but perhaps that was just the book itself because I am LOVING this. It’s great to be able to listen whilst I’m driving, walking etc – all the times you can’t read an actual book!

Deadly Alibi – Leigh Russell

What will you read next?

Persons Unknown – Susie Steiner

I LOVED Missing, Presumed (the first in the series – read my review here) so jumped at the chance to review her newest release, Persons Unknown, for LoveReading. So if the copy arrives soon I’ll read that next.

Otherwise I’ll read…

One of Us Is Lying – Karen M. McManus

I don’t usually read much YA but I’ve seen lots of great things about this, so I can’t wait to read it!

 

What have you been reading recently? Any exciting books you’re looking forward to reading next?

If you do your own version of this tag please let me know in the comments below, I’d love to read your answers too!

Why not add me as a friend on Goodreads!

Author Spotlight: Pat Abercromby

JustOneLife_Banner

Title: Just One Life
Author: Pat Abercromby
Publisher: Clink Street Publishing]

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Today I’m so pleased to welcome author Pat Abercromby to Snazzy Books. She’ll be sharing a bit about herself, as well as her inspiration for Just One Life, as part of my stop on the blog tour!

Pat AbercrombyOver to Pat:

“I have always been intensely interested in other people’s life’s and stories. Not wanting to live vicariously through them, but possibly been influenced and inspired by some people I have had the privilege of knowing.

I have always loved animals but was not clever enough to train as a vet (mathematics and me did not get on) so instead, I went into veterinary laboratory research and from this early career pathway starting at the Veterinary Hospital in Glasgow, I worked for a further six years in medical research in London and Germany. After finally deciding that medical research was not for me, I started my own recruiting company for medical representatives until my two daughters were born sixteen months apart and I found it impossible to keep on working as my job took me away from home for days at a time. My husband was a flight engineer flying long haul trips and I had no other family available or willing to help me out with the babies. I could have afforded a nanny then, but to be honest, I could not bear to leave them for so long.

For the next twenty years, my career went on the back burner as we travelled round the world with my husband who took on long contracts with several international airlines. We lived in Singapore, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Australia and Seattle, USA. However, I was always working on some project or another, never making much money, but enjoying the experiences. I dabbled in telecommunication sales, skincare products, MLM style, that was awful and and definitely not for me! In Jeddah I hosted a radio talk show and wrote articles for the Arab press which gave me the opportunity to interview some fascinating people. We returned to the UK from America when my daughters were ready to attend university.

I retrained as a massage therapist at the age of fifty. Something I had always been interested it but was unable to train as we were abroad for so long. By the age of fifty three I had trained in several holistic massage disciplines, including Seated Acupressure massage and wanted to train other therapists. I gained a post graduate degree in education (PGCE,) and set up a training school with my business partner Davina. In the year 2000 we published our own training book Seated Acupressure Massage (still available on Amazon 17 years later.) For ten years we offered our City and Guilds accredited training course throughout the UK and Ireland. Alongside that, I ran a First Aid training company for the corporate and private sector.

Then my life took an unexpected twist. I met a retired pilot on a domestic flight coming back from a training course in Scotland. He had an idea about a start-up long haul low cost airline using combo 747 aircraft which would carry freight and passengers. I introduced him to my newly retired husband who knew the airline industry inside out. This kicked off a three year project with an experienced team of aviators and me heavily involved as well. At the eleventh hour, the night before the launch, our main investor was arrested by the FBI for money laundering and the whole venture collapsed with devastating consequences for all concerned. A few months later, we were almost bankrupt and then my husband had a massive stroke.

For the next eight years, I was a full-time carer for him, unable to continue working apart from running the First Aid training company, matching trainers with client companies which I could do from home. We sold our comfortable family home and moved into a small two bedroomed house, but two years ago, he developed vascular dementia and had to go into a residential dementia care nursing home. I visit him every week and he seems quite settled. Having six days of the week now available, has allowed me to claim back some of my life and my first novel, Just One Life is one result of that. I also have a few private clients who come for remedial massage treatments and I have started up another business with Davina my training school partner from before and we offer chair massage sessions in the corporate sector through our company Wellbeing Direct. I also find time to garden, walk the dog and look after my grandchildren regularly. I love classical music and go to concerts as often as I can.

I have a non-fiction technical book and another novel in the pipeline so I won’t be retiring any time soon. I have taken up pilates and yoga recently to keep the stiff knees under control!

Just One Life is dedicated to all unsung carers, young and old, male or female and to friendship.”

View Just One Life on Goodreads, or buy online on Amazon.co.uk.


Just One Life: 
Synopsis

Just One Life_CoverWhen you realise you have just one life left to live, how do you make peace with the mistakes of your past?

Fran should be looking back on her life with pride. She’s risen to the top of the job ladder, having left behind a council housing estate in post-war Glasgow, to forge a colourful, fulfilling career and enjoy all the trappings of success.

But instead, Fran is consumed by regret. A shocking revelation has cast her life, and her thirty-year marriage, asunder. She finds herself the full-time carer for her husband, a man she now accepts, she has never loved. The sacrifices she has made, the personal freedoms she has lost, have left Fran crushed. Her free-spirited friend Iona is her one salvation. Their friendship has survived the storms of conflict and loss since childhood, their deep affection for one another the only constant remaining in Fran’s life, a life she no longer recognises as her own.

Her husband’s new brush with death will give Fran the chance to reflect on what she has left, the choices she has made and the two men she has loved and lost.

Can Fran find a way through the ruins of her marriage and find inner peace, to make the most of what remains of her life’s journey?


A Bit About Pat

Living in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, Pat Abercromby has enjoyed a varied career – from recruitment consultant to journalist in Saudi Arabia and massage therapist – eventually setting up a training school for Seated Acupressure Massage. Today she continues to work within the field of corporate wellness with her business partner Davina Thomson with their joint company Wellbeing Direct. She also co-wrote and published Seated Acupressure Massage with Davina Thomson in 2000. In her spare time, Pat enjoys being an active member of her local creative writing group, classical music and the outdoors.

View Just One Life on Goodreads, or buy online on Amazon.co.uk.