Saturday, 30 January 2016

Recognitions by Daniella I. Norris - A TBC Review


by Daniella I. Norris

Amelia finds herself a single, working mum at the age of 40 (and a bit). Feeling somewhat unsettled and dissatisfied with her life she seeks the help of a hypnotherapist to help her resolve these issues. A sceptic at first, she finds answers to her problems.
This book captured me on many levels. A unique story, four very different and seemingly unconnected lives turn out to be very intertwined. 
The characters are well built, I personally felt a strong connection to Noah,
 I found the insight into this character particularly fascinating. 
The book works on its own, but I am very pleased to learn that it is part of a trilogy and I hope we get to find out more about Adele and the young shaman's apprentice. 

I was kindly given an ARC via TBC Facebook group in order to provide an honest review.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

A Secret Muse - A TBC Review

A Secret Muse

by  Mandy Jackson-Beverly

This is most definitely a 4 1/2 * read. I loved how the story developed and the vivid pictures Mandy Jackson-Beverly paints with words.

CoCo, a young art professor, learns on her 32nd birthday, that her life so far isn't all she believed it to be. Once she embraces her family heritage, the story begins to unfold.

This book has all the elements we have come to love about fantasy novels, vampires, witches, warlocks, magic, attraction.. along with breathtaking scenery that takes the reader into the heart of Italy. The magic of paintings gives the story a fresh, new twist.

The only reason I rated it 4 1/2 * is the sheer amount of characters that we are introduced to and some more explicit language towards the end. The characters are well thought out and all relate to each other, but there are points where you have to remind yourself of who is who.

If you love "Discovery of wtiches", then this is a must read!
I was kindly given a free copy via TBC facebook group in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for the opportunity to read this book.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Crochet Stories: The Nutcracker - Netgalley Review

Crochet Stories: E. T. A. Hoffmann's The Nutcracker

by Lindsay Smith 

This is another great addition to the "crochet story series" from Dover Publications.
Lindsay Smith brings to life the story of "The Nutcracker", a firm favourite with children and adults alike. A book that would make a perfect resource for educators and parents but equally exciting to lovers of fairytales and the nutcracker.

This book retells the story by introducing each character pattern with excerpts from the story.
Patterns are well written and easy to follow and understand. Plenty of high quality photos are provided to guide even the novice crocheter through the process of making up the patterns.
Material suggestions and a very useful Techniques section at the back will give all the information that make this book accessible to crocheters of all levels and experience.

The Red Notebook - Netgalley Review

The Red Notebook

by Antoine Lorrain

Antoine Laurain has created a perfect miniature with this book. At 160 pages short, this little book is an amazingly detailed and heart warming piece of literature.
When Laurent finds an abandoned handbag, he is compelled to find it's owner. All he has to go by is the contents of the bag, a red notebook, a set of keys, perfume and all the other delightful little trinkets us women like to carry in our bags. 
Despite this being a very short book, the author manages to set the scenes and backdrops perfectly, all characters you meet are well thought through and the story flows nicely from start to finish. The characters are all likeable and charming, the description of the locations transport you to Paris and the many idyllic little places in this most charming city of all. 
This is a gentle, romantic, Parisienne tale. 

Monday, 18 January 2016

The Walnut Tree - A TBC Review

The Walnut Tree

by Caroline Wedd

The Walnut Tree follows young journalist Carrie's experiences as "the twentieth century landgirl" for a year. As part of her budding journalist career, Carrie uses a chance encounter with a young farmer to write her own column in her hometown's newspaper. She learns hands-on farming work and important life lessons.
This was not a book I read in one sitting, it was more like a gentle stroll through the countryside. Caroline Wedd perfectly sets the surroundings and detailed descriptions of situations, threads used to tie together characters' experiences and some very tough topics, wrapped in a gentle soft narrative, made this a book that will stay with you. On the surface, this seems to be a straight forward novel about a young woman falling in love with a less than suitable (in her mother's view) young man. The book conveys the complexity of relationships, the depth of bonds and intensity of feelings beautifully. The pace picks up towards the end, you will find yourself gripped and entangled in Carrie's world and the people who live in it.
I was very pleased and excited to see that Caroline Wedd will share more of Carrie and Jon's story in a second book this year.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Crochet Stories - A Netgalley Review

Crochet Stories: Grimm's Fairy Tales

by Vanessa Putt

I had the pleasure of receiving a netgalley ARC of Vanessa Putt's Crochet Stories: Grimm's Fairy Tales crochet patterns. Vanessa Putt has created a truly wonderful resource for parents, teachers, childminders and any other professional who works with children. This book is a wonderful teaching resource as the author beautifully combines traditional Fairytales with her well written, clear patterns. 
The five fairy tales this book is based on are a mixture between well known classics and a couple of lesser known, the "old english" maybe hard to understand by very young children.
The patterns are all well written, with clear photos. Vanessa Putt gives ideas on how to personalise each figure separately. Beginners should carefully read the initial introductions by the author and use the information at the beginning of the book as a stitch and reference guide. 
I particularly enjoyed the Gingerbreadhouse pattern, although not very demanding to work up the pattern, the beautiful colour choices and creativity that can be put into the decorations are wonderful.
More experienced crocheters may want to adapt some of the more basic patterns, as these are straight forward amigurumis, this can easily be done. 
All in all this is a beautiful collection of patterns, with a new twist that will be a pleasure to have for many amigurumi enthusiasts. 

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Shtum - A TBC Review

First read of 2016, I think it will be hard to top this one.

Shtum by Jem Lester

One of the best reads I have encountered in years! I was very excited to be given a free copy of this amazing book and to read an advance. I started reading Shtum late on Monday night, as I kept turning the pages, got more drawn into the story of Ben, Emma, Jonah and George, I found myself almost unable to stop. Ben and Emma's 10 year old son is profoundly autistic. In a bid to secure a suitable residential school place for Jonah, Ben and Emma separate. This leaves Ben and Jonah in a position that finds them both moving in with Ben's elderly father, George. 
As a mother of two autistic sons, I related right from the first few pages with the struggle Ben and Emma were facing. Having battled the local education authority twice myself, I could understand the desperation, the exhaustion and the turmoil this alone brings to a family. At times I found myself wanting to strangle the main characters, Ben evolved from a doting, loving father to a self pitying, heavily drinking and irritating person and I felt some sympathy for Emma. However, as the relationship between George, Jonah and Ben develops and little glimpses into Ben's past as well as George's emerge, my outlook on Ben changed again.
If all of this was not enough to take us readers on to an emotional rollercoaster ride, we then discover that this book is like a kinderegg.. you are treated to a story within the story. 
As a German national, whose grandfather was executed as a sympathizer to Jews,  George's own story had me gripped.
Jem Lester has written a book unlike any other I have ever read (I know bookreads says i read 246 but believe me, I have read more than that). It touches on two topics close to my heart: autism and the plight of the jewish population during the second world war. The story is well written, the twists and turns, the ups and downs, the pace at which new background information is revealed, all make for a gripping book. You will not be able to tear yourself away, you will want to know "what happens next" and "what happened THEN". 
The life lessons Ben and Emma are taught will stay with you, the reader, too. I don't think I will forget this book in a very long time.