Archive | March 2018

The Mercury Travel Club, Helen Bridgett

The Mercury Travel Club, Helen Bridgett

The Mercury Travel Club: Getting your life back on track has never been more funny! by [Bridgett, Helen]

Genre:  General Fiction (adult), Women’s Fiction.

Usual moan…Woman’s Fiction. Again….* sigh* Why do we have a category aimed at excluding those who might want to read this. Men read – and write- romance and I can think of many that would love this. Don’t do it authors and publishers.

Its a wonderful read, I wasn’t sure when I requested it and it languished on my kindle for a week or so while I read other novels, but once I did pick it up it was perfect. I’m a little older than Angie, not much, a few years, and reading it I empathised with her, shared her reminiscing and laughed so much. I could see me doing all the things she and Patty did!

I tagged a few parts that really made me smile – the Spanx…I always imagine The Great Seduction falling apart when the Spanx come off.
Picture it, soft music, sweet nothings being murmured, clothing being slipped off…all’s going well until it comes to the Spanx. Ping, heave, tug, roll them down, acres of confined flesh spill out, red and sweaty, full of compression lines and itching. Cos when you take tight clothes of skin always itches doesn’t it? Not really the scene you had in mind. And going to the loo? Yep, men have no idea.
Mothering Sunday, yep, I’ve had the toast that is bizarrely soggy white in places, black in others, and the egg box daffodils.
The red wine dilemma, how come TV characters never have those gruesome teeth when they smile and never, never get drunk?
Poor Angie’s sponge cake, which knocks over the bird table, falls like lead. My cakes are like that, she mentions putting jam and custard on them a serving for dessert, and when my kids were little it was one they loved, the failed cake dessert. “Mum, mum, make a microwave cake today.”
Getting mistaken for a hooker, well, that’s one which has missed me but made me snigger.

Its a great read, uplifting for those of us a bit older, reminding us we Have Value, we have lots to give, and Angie and Pattie had a wonderful year.
There so much to smile at and yet its not just humour but some fabulous ideas encouraging us to continue having fun, its not a prerogative of the young. When she was going off for a bike ride with Ed and his Chapter I was so envious, never been on a bike and it sounded wonderful. Hmnn, wonder if someone has a bike and would take me for a spin…. 😉

I wanted Alan and Amanda to get theirs, so unfair cheating – its one thing I really, really hate, so cruel, so devastating. Sort your marriage/relationship out before straying. I wanted them to see Angie was doing so well, and they did but not quite as I hoped. I guess I’m the vengeful sort, I want the cheater to see what they’ve lost and regret it, for the third person to get the elbow and the cheatee to move on, to better and braver life, leaving the others regretful. There’s something of that in this book, but much more subtle!

Stars: Five, The characters were fabulous, from Angie and Patty, Angie’s mum and dad, her daughter, Charlie and Josie from the travel shop, Caroline, Peter, Ed, the Granny-Oks….so many fantastic people who all played a solid part in the novel

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers


Living in the Past, Jane Lovering

Living in the Past,  Jane Lovering

Living in the Past (Choc Lit) by [Lovering, Jane]

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Well, I’ll start with that genre category, women’s fiction. Why? I so hate that we alienate men from stories that they could well enjoy, splitting books into Women’s and Men’s is so dated, harks back to the fifties or so and has no place in literacy today. Well, that’s my take.

Anyway, to the book. I love Jane Lovering’s stories, find ChocLit delivers books I almost always love, and this one was another perfect read. A story that’s got that bit extra, not a cut and paste romance but one where there’s a fascinating story line running through.
I’m kind of open minded about time travel, just because we don’t understand it, if its possible, doesn’t mean it isn’t. After all years back what’s common place now was thought impossible, but science and technology brings leaping progress in what was thought impossible. I think of it as sort of parallel worlds, existing at the same time and maybe parts are thinner, maybe its some bloodlines, maybe time of year etc that allow people to pass through.

I love Grace, she’s been a widow for two years, and talks still to Jamie. I talk daily to my late husband to, so her feelings resonated with me. She has some great friends and they have been a solid support and as part of that Grace gets dragged off on an archaeology dig.
Duncan, the dig leader is a terrific character. He appears abrupt, abrasive and grumpy, yet his colleagues and students follow him avidly, knowing he’s very skilled at his career. This dig is personal for him though, and through it Grace discovers some of why he appears so unapproachable. I so felt for him, what an awful thing to happen, and the repercussions have shadowed his whole life.

Its kind of not hard to see where the story goes, but that didn’t matter, its delivered in such a fascinating way. I really felt there with Grace, out in the mud of the 21st century with the dig, and then back with Lady Hen. I love the way the two stories worked seamlessly, how they fitted together, and how we gained insights of the characters, saw how events can shape us. Life happens and we react to it, and what happens to us affects us as people.

Stars:Five, another great read from Jane, one I was really absorbed in and enjoyed thoroughly.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Watching You, (Hollywood Heat 1),  Leslie A. Kelly

Watching You, (Hollywood Heat 1),  Leslie A. Kelly

Watching You (Hollywood Heat Book 1) by [Kelly, Leslie A.]

Genre: Romance

My first read by this author, so I didn’t know her writing style. It proved to be a fun read and one I enjoyed but…there were a few things that made it fall short of a five star read for me.

The way Reece obsesses about Jessica after only viewing her from a security camera and then sets up their meeting, weird. Then when he gets her alone knowing what he does about the room…well, it made me feel uncomfortable about him and full marks for Jessica for being strong enough to stand up to him, to call him out on his actions. It made him look again at what has become almost an unnoticed habit, viewing real life and acting as though he’s filming all the while and he does apologise. It was a bit weird though.

I wasn’t convinced of the romance between them, they didn’t really have enough interactions in the book for me to feel it developing, she was interning and working with him, but most of that was related “off book” so to speak and meant I didn’t get that build up from initial attraction and lust to real feelings and love.

Then there’s the mystery….s. It was hard working out was was connected and what wasn’t, whether there was one person doing multiple things or multiple people doing one or more events. Confusing and given the length of the book ( fairly average at 4500 kindle locations) it meant there was a lot of characters and detailed that didn’t really get explained properly. I did wonder as I approached the end whether all the incidences would tie up or if they would carry over into the next book, because time was running out. As it happens they did all tie up but in a way that was far to brief, lacked real detail for me. It felt a bit rushed.

It’s billed as romantic suspense, but for me the romance side fell a bit short, though I did love the Hollywood B itches – I love characters like that, and the suspense angle was overly complicated. I felt like people were put in place purely to throw in another possible suspect when the story didn’t need it and the time and words would have been better spent on fleshing out more the romance and the story-line as it was without them. ( Johnny, Alan, Steve for example, who all had stories that gave them plausible reasons to be connected to events, but which I felt were just muddying the waters rather than adding to the story overall)

Its a good start though to a trilogy and as we now know the brothers back story the next books will at least not need to repeat that, and be able to concentrate on more current events.

Stars: Three, I liked parts but felt others made things feel overdone.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers


Old English Medical Remedies, Mandrake, Wormwood and Raven’s Eye, Sinead Spearing

Old English Medical Remedies, Mandrake, Wormwood and Raven’s Eye,  Sinead Spearing

Genre:  Health, Mind & Body , History

I’m kind of conflicted about this review. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting, which was actual historical remedies and then a discussion on individual issues from them in the light of today’s knowledge.
I’m fascinated by old ways, remedies that were surprisingly effective, gained from acute observation of patient, remedy and effects mixed in with what seems to us much weirdness, gathering herbs on certain days, standing in certain position, using different coloured materials and of course the ever present evils of the day….What I got was an intensely interesting read, but which was much more like an academic treatise, at times pretty hard going for a hobby historian like myself.
I think that really needs to be made clearer in the description as I can see from reviews several others felt the same.

I really enjoyed the remedies and discussions when they cropped up, learning about how many are finding their way into modern medicine. The discussion too on why practices that seem so irrelevant to us now, with our science knows all outlook, things like times, days, colours, that are all set down so precisely were so important and not the side dressing they appear.
It reminded me of the way I read years back that so many recipes called for “the water of a man-child” and that seems sexist. Did they really think male urine was somehow stronger, more special? No, but the penis naturally allows urine to remain sterile longer while female urine can get skin contamination more easily as its gathered. Simple but important stuff. They may not have know why, but observation and records will have shown them that male urine was more effective.
Then too we now have a whole school of theory based around bio-dynamics, incorporating moon schedules for planting etc.

I found fascinating the research now done on intention of thought, where research was done on stands of human DNA, one group were asked to hold the vial while maintaining a heightened state of emotional positivity, the second asked to mentally intend to unwind the strand of DNA and the third group asked to do both. There was a marked difference in the first two groups compared with the third, with that one showing material change. It lead to a conclusion that focused intention could produce a material change, a small study but certainly food for thought, and one that could explain why intention was regarded as so important.
We’re so quick to dismiss what doesn’t fit our current science theories that we often dismiss old words, and yet as shown on the MRSA antibiotic, we could be losing valuable cures. Just because there seems no science base, no logic doesn’t mean a theory or remedy in invalid. I remember my shock years back when my PC/IT son told me about water being research for computer chips as water has a memory…I still find that hard to take 😉

Its a fascinating read, but so intense and academic that I found it hard at times, and I’ve skimmed through, reading sections that catch my eye. Its certainly a read I’ll dip back into for sheer interest, and its very clear the author has a real knowledge and passion for the subject. I had convinced that what she wrote had been thoroughly researched and checked, and wasn’t just an opinion of hers, but something gleaned from thorough analysis of the texts available.
For me though a read that was a bit lighter, or a better description so I knew what to expect would have made me happier.

Stars: 4, a great read for anyone interested in old remedies and the history of why they were so used.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers


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