Inject some super foods into your diet this New Year!

super_foods_every_day-sue_quinn[Synopsis]

A collection of more than 60 dishes that showcase super foods–ingredients from kale and seaweed to cocoa and avocado that are brimming with vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting nutrients.

Featuring straightforward delicious dishes, this easy-to-follow guide contains recipes like Wonder Smoothie, Vitaboost Frittata, Supercharged Carrots, Cauliflower Risotto, and Plum and Cranberry Crisp that showcase sensational super foods in every meal of the day. These recipes are designed to pack the maximize number of super foods into ones diet, using approachable, nutrient-dense ingredients. This collection of delicious sweet and savory dishes makes it easy to pack every meal with nutritional punch.

Super Foods Every Day: Recipes Using Kale, Blueberries, Chia Seeds, Cacao, and Other Ingredients that Promote Whole-Body Health

[My Review]

Super Foods Every Day by Sue Quinn is beautifully presented and manages to be more than just a recipe book. It has information about nutrition, cooking techniques and specific food items at the beginning and throughout.

The recipes are straight forward to follow and, although there are obviously some specific, or less wideley available, ingredients required for certain recipes, they are all fairly easy to get hold of in the right shops, as far as I can tell. The accompanying images reinforce how delicious these dishes sound, and the inclusion of the images of both the raw ingredients and then the finished cooked dish makes it so much easier to tell if you’ve got all the right ingredients in the right form before you start! This is a great feature that I feel a lot of recipe books miss.

This isn’t necessarily a recipe book for if you’re after a really quick dish, or if you’re craving comfort food (well, obviously not- because these recipes are healthy!) but if you’re wanting to try a healthier approach to food in the New Year then I’d highly recommend Super Foods Every Day–  it contains 65 recipes which all look pretty damn tasty to me!

[My Rating: 4/5]

Many thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Looking for a selection of great recipe books? Earlier in the year I posted about some of my other favourites here.

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Red Queen [review]

Merry Christmas to everyone- hope you’re having a lovely boxing day, whatever you’re doing!

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard[Synopsis]

This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart…

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)

[My Review]

I have mixed feelings about Red Queen by  Victoria Aveyard, the first in the ‘Red Queen’ series. I was so excited about reading it, having heard so much about it and having seen that it’s often compared to other series that I really enjoyed (The Hunger Games, for one). It started well, with a fairly gripping introduction to Mare’s ‘red’ world – and the opposite. co-existing world of the Silvers.

I found the story OK to read but nothing incredible, mainly because in all honesty I started getting a little bored. I found after the beginning it then remained quite slow for the next 50% of the book, at least, and I struggled to keep my attention focussed properly.

The premise is quite interesting but there is such a lot of information almost thrown at the reader that it kind of overshadows the storyline. Quite a lot is centered around Mare’s flirtation with the two princes and her training at the palace, which I found entertaining but not particularly exciting. The last 25% of the novel was where most of the action happened, but it was so densely concentrated in this section that I started to lose track of what was actually going on.

Overally I felt Red Queen was enjoyable enough but it didn’t have me clamouring to read the next installment, when it comes out. It didn’t grip me the way I thought it would, or the way it has impressed so many other readers- I’m aware that I’m probably in the minority here! For YA fans who love this genre it might be a winner, but sadly it wasn’t for me.

[My Rating: 3/5]

Many thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

The Jericho River by David W Tollen

The Jericho River [review]

The Jericho River by David W Tollen

[Synopsis]

The Jericho River flows through a magical world shaped by myth and history. Young Jason Gallo sails the river on a dangerous quest to rescue his estranged father. He battles minotaurs and pirates, flees barbarians, stumbles into mummies’ tombs, and outwits fairies, philosophers, and scientists. Along the way, he finds love and betrayal, faces the legacy of a broken family — and flees a hidden foe who threatens all he holds dear.

But Jason’s tale is more than an adventure story. The river flows like a timeline, carrying the young man through historic lands — Sumer, Babylonia, ancient Greece, Medieval Europe, Napoleon’ empire, and many others — all in chronological order, tracing the history of Western Civilization, from its Middle Eastern origins to the modern era. Professor Gallo, Jason’s father, is a historian, and his notes outline the journey, revealing the truth about Cleopatra, King Arthur, and the fall of the Roman Empire. He explains how Snow White began as a goddess and why Eve was created from Adam’s rib, as well as the origins of coffee, the cat, chivalry, the Internet, Atlantis — and much more.

The Jericho River: A Novel About the History of Western Civilization

My Review]

The Jericho River has, at its heart, a really great concept: making history come alive for readers in a fictional story that involves time travel, as a way of taking the reader through many centuries and countries.This really does brings ancient history alive for YA readers, which I am fully behind!

I could tell that it was a book aimed at YA readers though in its language and general storyline, which I didn’t feel was that strong. To be honest I would have preferred the narrative to stick to Jason encountering real life (or realistic, anyway) events in history as opposed to weaving in the myths as well, and characters such as Zibdu the half lion man- but each to their own, I know many people who I know would have loved the mythical element to the story!

I loved the footnotes at the bottom of many of the pages and almost enjoyed them more than the story; they gave interesting facts and information about history and explained how some of today’s inventions, language and general customs came about. The footnotes were written as if taken from William Gallo’s (Jason’s dad) lectures. For example, one explains how the we got the word satyr and how it came from Classical Greek dramas.

I really liked how other religions are included in an unbiased way, and are shown as just as important as Christianity, which I think is important to young readers. Other countries are also highlighted for the importance they’ve played in historical events and discoveries, and I loved reading and learning more about this- it made me realise how little I know about some of these times in history!

I particularly enjoyed reading about ancient Persia, as I am half Iranian, and about the Dark Ages and the Enlightenment in the late 17th century. I did struggle at times to keep engaged with the story and characters- there were a lot of names and people (though really that’s to be expected in a story such as this that spans so many years).

I would recommend this book, particularly to YA readers who want to read a story that will not only teach them about history but present it in an entertaining way.

[Rating: 3.5/5]

* Many thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this novel in return for an honest review *

Pretty Is [review]

Pretty Is by Maggie Mitchell
[Synopsis]

‘Everyone thought we were dead. We were missing for nearly two months; we were twelve. What else could they think?’ -Lois

‘It’s always been hard to talk about what happened without sounding all melodramatic. . . . Actually, I haven’t mentioned it for years, not to a goddamned person.’ -Carly May

The summer precocious Lois and pretty Carly May were twelve years old, they were kidnapped, driven across the country, and held in a cabin in the woods for two months by a charismatic stranger. Nearly twenty years later, Lois has become a professor, teaching British literature at a small college in upstate New York, and Carly May is an actress in Los Angeles, drinking too much and struggling to revive her career. When a movie with a shockingly familiar plot draws the two women together once more, they must face the public exposure of their secret history and confront the dark longings and unspeakable truths that haunt them still. Maggie Mitchell’s Pretty Is beautifully defies ripped-from-the-headlines crime story expectations and announces the debut of a masterful new storytelling talent.

Pretty Is


[My Review]

Pretty Is by Maggie Mitchell is definitely a story about so many things: friendship, fear, consequences, and much more. It is full of intrigue and suspense and kept me fascinated as to what exactly happened all those years ago.

Although this story slowly reveals more about the past and that month and a half, when the two girls were taken away from their families, I really felt that it was not so much about why it happened but more about what happened and how this has affected them both. It addresses the way both girls dealt with the experience and the repercussions. It was so interesting to read about their family life before and after this life-changing event, and I felt that the characters were so well developed- the two girls are both so different, but very convincing. They seemed like they could be real people struggling with their own issues, and I loved reading about them.

SPOILER BELOW: HIGHLIGHT TO REVEAL…
[I quite liked that the man who took them away was not a typical ‘villian’ character as such; he left me with mixed feelings which I was surprised about. There’s no doubt that what he did was wrong, of course, but he seemed to really care for them both in his own strange way. I found this so strange- but at the same time, really intriguing! I really wanted to know why he did it but the fact that the author left this without being confirmed added to the mystery.]

I would highly recommend this book. To me it had just the right amount of action and drama versus emotion and character development. A fantastic debut for Maggie Mitchell and an author I’d love to read more about!

[My Rating: 5/5]

Many thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

WWW Wednesdays

WWW Wednesday [16 December 2015]

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- and I’d love to see your answers too!

The three W’s are:

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


The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson The Hiding House by Malcolm Richards
Pretty Is Maggie Mitchell

 

 

 

What have you finished reading?

The Kind Worth Killing by Malcolm Richards – I absolutely LOVED this book! Read my review here.

The Hiding House by Malcolm Richards; a unique and atmospheric novel that read like a modern-day fairytale. Read my review here.

Pretty Is by Maggie Mitchell was brilliant and I really enjoyed reading this novel. It was quite unique- it concentrated less on what happened rather than how it affected the two girls, which was really interesting. My review will go up soon.


The Jericho River by David W TollenWhat are you currently reading?

The Jericho River by David W Tollen- I got this book for review and although I hadn’t heard anything about it, it looks really interesting. It seems to be the kind of book which teaches history but in a fun engaging way, which I love! So here’s hoping this is a good ‘un!

 

Red Queen by Victoria AveyardLife and Death of Sophie Stark by Anna NorthWhat will you read next?

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard or (and!) The Life and Death of Sophie Stark by Anna North: I wished for these on Netgalley and was thrilled to get approved for them both! Really looking forward to starting them and seeing if they’re worth all the hype!

 

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!

The Hiding House [review]

The Hiding House by Malcolm Richards[Synopsis]

When their beloved grandmother dies, siblings Sebastian and Elise find themselves suddenly alone. Fearing foster care and separation, the children seek refuge in their isolated woodland home, hoping the outside world will pass them by.

But the outside world is the least of their concerns. Nana May’s body still sits out in the garden, in the grasp of a summer heatwave. A malevolent figure stalks through the trees, waiting for nightfall. The household chores have yet to be done.

And what of the mystery surrounding the siblings’ abusive mother, who vanished without trace four years earlier?

In a place where secrets hang from every branch, Sebastian and Elise will discover that real life is no fairy tale.

The Hiding House

[My Review]

The Hiding House by Malcolm Richards took me a little while to get into, but once I did, I was really drawn into Elise and Sebastian’s world!

The entire book has a kind of dreamlike state to it- although it seemed to be set in the real world, it was hard to pinpoint exactly which decade, and exactly where in the world. I couldn’t quite get my head around what I was reading- I think the fact that various parts of the narrative were very reminiscent of Hansel and Gretel and other fairy tales added to this, and make me expect certain things that didn’t actually happen. However what did happen certainly kept me entertained (though I got a little confused sometimes at the change from present to past narratives)!

The characters were likeable and interesting; I cared what happened to Sebastian and Elise and felt their intense fear at certain points. There were parts that were quite creepy and I was impressed at the way that the author used just the right amount of hyperbole and drama to create a menacing, threatening situation for both siblings.

I feel that Malcolm Richards has created a unique, atmospheric story in The Hiding House, which keeps the reader absorbed and, at times, guessing too!

[Rating: 4/5]

Many thanks to the author for providing a copy of this novel in return for an honest review

The Kind Worth Killing [review]

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson
[Synopsis]

On a night flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets the mysterious Lily Kintner. Sharing one too many martinis, the strangers begin to play a game of truth, revealing intimate details about themselves. Ted talks about his marriage and his wife Miranda, who he’s sure is cheating on him. But their game turns dark when Ted jokes that he could kill Miranda for what she’s done. Lily, without missing a beat, says calmly, “I’d like to help.”

From there, Ted and Lily’s twisted bond grows stronger as they plot Miranda’s demise, but soon these co-conspirators are embroiled in a game of cat-and-mouse–one they both cannot survive–with a shrewd and very determined detective on their tail.

The Kind Worth Killing

[My Review]

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson is a fast paced thriller full of twists and turns that kept me guessing and wrapped up in suspense until the very last word.

The story really drew me in; though elements were typical of the genre there were other parts which seemed very unique. I never quite got a full hold on any of the characters- none of them are particularly likeable people, really, but I absolutely loved reading about them! Swanson keeps the reader always slightly in the dark, whilst simultaneously revealing a great deal to keep the reader hanging on! Just when I felt I knew it, something else threw me off and surprised me. I loved this suspense and the general feeling of just not quite knowing!

The writing really is excellent; the author has that wonderful skill of drawing the narrative together so brilliantly that you wish you could keep reading far beyond the end! Saying that, I loved the ending and felt it rounded the story off perfectly- I sat back after I’d finished it with a satisfied feeling and truly felt that I’d read one of my new favourites.

I would highly recommend this to any readers who enjoy mystery, suspense and/ or thrillers…in fact anyone who loves reading really. I can’t imagine a reader who wouldn’t find themselves immersed!

[Rating: 5/5]

Many thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this novel in return for an honest review

WWW Wednesdays

WWW Wednesday [9 December 2015]

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- and I’d love to see your answers too!

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 Winter ChildrenThe Winter Children by Lulu Taylor – I hugely enjoyed this atmospheric book, racing through it! Read my review here.

The Dark Secret by Alex Marwood. I was really looking forward to reading it as I LOVED The Wicked Girls (read my review hereand this didn’t quite live up to that fantastic novel, but it was still a great read! Review to follow soon.

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter SwansonWhat are you currently reading?

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson- I wished for this on Netgalley and was lucky enough to get granted a copy, even though it was published back in February, as I was really intrigued by the synopsis and wanted to read it. I’ve only just started it, though, so can’t say much yet!

 

Dead-Secret-Ava-McCarthyThe Hiding House by Malcolm RichardsWhat will you read next?

I’m not sure exactly, depends what my mood is…!

Possibly The Hiding House by Malcolm Richards next, as this looks full of secrets and a really interesting read! It’s not a book I’ve seen a huge amount about so I will be going into reading it quite blind- which I quite like to do sometimes! The author contacted me about reviewing it and it looks great. It’s called a ‘Modern-day Hansel and Gretel’ in one review which sounds rather intriguing!

Or I might start Dead Secret by Ava McCarthy, a thriller which looks fast paced and…well… thrilling! It’s had some fantastic reviews on Goodreads so I’m really looking forward to seeing if it lives up to my high expectations!

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!

Brunch at Ruby's by DL White

Brunch at Ruby’s [review]

Brunch at Ruby's by DL White

[Synopsis]

Ruby’s Soul Food Cafe has been the neighborhood hot spot their whole lives, so it’s only fitting that Ruby’s is where Debra, Maxine and Renee meet monthly to do what girlfriends do– eat, drink and offer unsolicited advice on life and love.

Debra Macklin has it all: a successful career, a long marriage and a happy 12 year old daughter. But she’s hiding a secret that could not only shatter her perfect image, but destroy her marriage and career. When her secret is spilled, Debra is poised to lose everything she holds dear.

Maxine Donovan is a self made woman but despite all she earns and owns, she’s on a constant quest for Mr. Right. Handsome, aloof Malcolm Brooks might just be The One, but when Malcolm’s attention turns toward her friend instead, Maxine is ready to risk a strong bond to fight for him.

Renee Gladwell left a lucrative job and a handsome boyfriend to nurse her father and Gladwell Books back to health. A temporary stay has turned into four years of struggling with Alzheimer’s and a family owned bookstore that is in no shape to sell. Renee is in limbo, caring for a man who is slowly forgetting his past—including her. When she meets Malcolm Brooks, her life brightens, but is love worth risking a friendship?

Brunch At Ruby's

[My Review]

Brunch at Ruby’s by DL White is a fun, entertaining story which could definitely be classed as ‘chick lit’, but with a little more of a kick to it!

The main 4 characters are a mix of women with varying personalities. Debra has just been caught having an affair with a PE teacher at the school she works at, Renee is looking after her sick father and Maxine is on a quest to find the perfect, rich man to be her future husband. Each have their own very different lives but they are best friends and meet once a month at Ruby’s Soul Food Cafe.

The characters in this novel are all really well developed and seemed like they could be real people. I didnt really warm to Maxine- I thought she was an annoying, shallow snob- and I’m sure most readers would feel the same… I think that’s what readers are probably supposed to think, to be honest. She was the challenging, moody character who the other two often had to try and appease. Renee was my favourite character; she was kind and considerate but not a complete push over. Debra seemed to me to be, on the whole, a good character but I really did wonder what on earth she was thinking with regards to some of her decisions!

The novel was just the right legnth and kept me interested throuhout. Apologies for the cliché but I enjoyed reading about the journey the characters went on! I felt that Brunch at Ruby’s was full of humour, fun and is well worth a read!

[Rating: 4/5]

Many thanks to the author for providing a copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

The Winter Children [review]

The Winter Children

[Synopsis]

Behind a selfless act of kindness lies dark intentions . . .

Olivia and Dan Felbeck are blissfully happy when their longed-for twins arrive after years of IVF. At the same time, they make the move to Renniston Hall, a huge, Elizabethan house that belongs to absent friends. Living rent-free in a small part of the unmodernised house, once a boarding school, they can begin to enjoy the family life they’ve always wanted. But there is a secret at the heart of their family, one that Olivia does not yet know. And the house, too, holds its darkness deep within it…

The Winter Children

[My Review]

The Winter Children by Lulu Taylor is a compelling, atmospheric novel which transported me forward and backwards in time, from present day Norfolk back to a 1950’s boarding school.

I don’t know exactly how to class this book. It had traits from various genres and included themes on family, relationships,mysteries and history, all told to the reader with a slight sense of unease which only grows as the novel advances and, overarching it all, secrets kept and revealed.

The characters were brilliantly crafted, and though you may dislike certain people for obvious reasons, you also feel that there are other sides to them and perhaps some, even if it seems ridiculous, reasons behind their decisions. This makes them seem all the more like real people.

The synopsis doesn’t give much away so I’m determined to also do the same, as I felt that going into the novel relatively unaware of what exactly it was about only added to my enjoyment. The reader is given additional snippets of information as the novel went on about both the present day and older narrative, and I found myself completely absorbed in the story, which not only entertained me but also made me think about what constitutes ‘helping’ someone and the lengths someone will go to to have a child, or perhaps just to make their partner happy. Not everything is clear cut, though a lot of Francesca as a character’s decisions seem that way, and the author prompts the reader to really consider what acts are truly selfless… and which can ruin a lift forever.

I would highly recommend The Winter Children as an absorbing, intriguing and at times quite haunting read, which is never rushed but moves along at just the right pace to pique your interest, and leaves wanting to read more and more!

[Rating: 4/5]

Many thanks to the publisher & Mumsnet Book Club for providing a copy of this novel in return for an honest review