Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling

                                                             The Casual Vacancy
                                                                 by J K Rowling

( Contains some spoilers)

I should probably start with the fact that this book was nothing like I thought it was going to be.
I imagined that it was going to be a murder mystery of an important village member of the council. Ha!!! It was not a murder mystery ! After I learned that I got on with finding out what it was about.

Barry Fairbrother dies suddenly which very quickly sends the entire town into a crazed comical state of shock. We do quite quickly learn that he was a pretty great guy , and tried to help people out a lot.
With his death comes opportunity for many in the village to possibly shove on their own personal wants.His death effected a huge amount of people directly and indirectly. As with the Harry Potter books J K Rowling writes great characters . There is a huge amount of them in this book as the story goes between many families in the village as we get to be almost" fly's on the wall" watching the goings on of all the residents here. Behind each door in the town are secrets and shame, dodgy people  , and down right bad people!!!

A number of the characrters got under my skin none more so then Krystal and her brother Robbie. This particular families story had my eyes welling up with tears at the end .I will not go into why but it is heartbreaking in so many ways. More so as you can imagine there are families  in real life out there going through a lot of the same problems.

The lives of most of the characters are intertwined as you would expect from small town life and each families secrets do not remain hidden for long. Since Barry's death all the secrets and lies are all coming out of the woodwork ,and with that comes all sorts of problems.

There is often content in the book that would not be suitable for children but for the adult admirers of  J K 's previous books this might be a pleasant return to her writings in a very different way.
I was very surprised by just how different this book is!!! That being said I did enjoy it in a different way,  when I finished it I was left with a feeling of contentment with it as a story. Much different then the Harry Potter books which no doubt will get compared to this, but a great story,  told well , and in a way that my fingers were almost smoking from turning the pages so quickly.
If this is a taste of what we can look forward to from this wonderful author  in the future then I say get scribbling Miss Rowling!!!!,

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Blood-Dimmed Tide by Rennie Airth

                                                      The Blood-Dimmed Tide
                                                            By Rennie Airth

I was wandering around the library one wet and drizzly day recently looking for a real great page turner . I had no particular genre in mind but I needed something that was going to hold  my interest.
I came across this book. I had never heard of the author before or the name of the book. Now that I have read it I am stunned !!
This author wrote a book that I could not lay down for more then a few minutes.. It was Saturday evening , I put on the fire ,put on the kettle, and out it came. Well that was where I stayed for the duration of the night because let me tell you folks I could not have gone anywhere and left this book unfinished.The is a fictional story is about John Madden, a retired police inspector now living in the surrey countryside.After  the body of a young female child is found horribly murdered he lends a hand in finding out who did it.  OK the plot was fairly grisly .. the despicable murder of children was not easy to read about, but the way in which Rennie Airth weaved the story with spy's, and German /British intelligence, and how it may be possible that the killer was  a spy and able to commit crimes in countries, and get away with it,with many alias's. This got the old grey cells buzzing and the adrenaline pumping like few books normally do... I do not want to give away the plot but there is more then one murder, and the book has a very satisfying ending . There is also a few red herrings thrown in for good measure.
If I was giving books marks out of 5 this would indeed be 5*

Friday, September 21, 2012

Book Haul: The Mystery Of Mercy Close And More!!

                                                                       Book Haul

As anyone who knows me will tell you I do have a fondness for all the Irish writers. I read almost everything that they write and I am always excited to read about new writers here. When I heard that the lovely Marian Keyes had another book coming out well I was happier then a kid on Christmas morning let me tell you!!!
The Mystery Of Mercy Close is Marians new book, and for those familiar with Marians previous books you will have been introduced to some of the characters already as they have been in previous books. The Walsh family are a comical and lovable family with their own fair share of problems .In this book we see Helen working as a private investigator..things are a bit slow in the old PI business right now until an ex of Helen's comes to her asking for help to find a young male, Wayne, a member of a band  who has gone missing. This book looks like it is going to be another gem !!!

The next book I got this week really intrigued me by just the name ... Madame
Verona Comes Down  The Hill....Questions were buzzing around my head after reading a title like that... Why was she coming down the hill? Why is it a big deal that she came down the hill? Did she live on top of the hill? If so , then who with?  ........etc.........
Although I only got this a few days ago I have already read it. It is a small book ,but it is so charming that I could not set it down for more then a few minutes at a time.
This book is sad , and touching and for anyone in a relationship /marriage I am sure the sentiments in this will really touch you. Definitely worth a read.

The next book I got was a very old secondhand copy of The End Of The Affair by Graham Greene. I had read this many years ago but lost my copy so I got this one for a bargain price.
The writing is brilliant in this book and the story heartbreaking and touching. Emotions are wrung out here and tissues end up sodden with tears. Graham Greene really knows how to write the complex relationships in peoples lives and make the reader really care what happens to his characters. I urge you to read this.

Well my friends, Hope you enjoy my little haul . If you would like to recommend any great books that you have read yourself recently please feel free to add them in them comments below. Have a great day buddies xxxxxxx

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Comfort Reading

                                                                  Comfort Reading

There comes times in our lives when life gets you down. When times like these happen it calls for some indulgent , comforting reading. These are the books that are well read and reliably able to fix what ever situation you may find yourself in.........well almost every situation.......
Personally I have turned to these ones time and again:

Little Women... A book I was given by my granny one Christmas in my childhood ,and it has seen me through many a bump in the road since.
84 Charring Cross Road by Helene Hanff.This book is never far from my side and neither is her other books underneath . A wonderful writer that was known mostly for 84 but who wrote other wonderful books also.
A book full of delicious bookish chatter. A must for all book/reader fans.
My favourite book of the trilogy Inkheart..A book about books .
The entire works of Sue Grafton..Kinsey Milhone is top of my favourite mystery characters.
The entire works of Harry Potter.....need I say more.....J.K Rowling managed to get incredible amounts of children and adults passionate about reading again, and not just slim volumes but great big brick sized books that filled Harry fans with joy .I started reading these in my mid/late teens and kept reading through to my thirties.
Family,Relationship and friendship complications.....emmmmm perfect for most situations....

So these were a few of the gems that I keep at hand for those days when the duvet is calling and the clouds overhead seem a little too dark.A little reading with a cup of tea is sure to fix everything in no time...... well most of the time...... :0)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Villa Girls by Nicky Pellegrino


                                                 The Villa Girls by Nicky Pellegrino

The Villa Girls was a book that I had been trying to limit myself to a few pages a day until "When In Rome" (by the same author) was released . I love Nicky's books!, there is something so moreish about them. No matter which book you pick up ,relationships, friendships,marriage, and delicious food are included, and all this combined make for a very satisfying read let me tell you!!!

This particular story is told from Rosie's perspective and she is a really great narrator. After the sudden tragic death of her parents Rosie finds herself alone in the world. Staying with her Uncle  and her aunt is not her favourite place in the world, but for now it will have to do.

After skipping school one day she meets Addolarato and the two have a day of illicit eating ,shopping and chatting. Afterwards Addolarato invites her to come with her and her friends Toni and Lou on holiday to Spain with them, which she accepts. The Villa Girls are created!!!
Addolarato never expected to be become such good friends with Rosie, but after they all got back from their holiday she missed her new friend.
Rosie wants to change her life after coming back from holiday so moves out of her Uncle's place and gets a place to stay, it's not the nicest place in the world but it will do for now. After a meaningful meeting with a psychic Rosie decides to go to Addolorato's father Beppi and get his advice on buying a place of her own.. Addolorato is so thrilled to see her and she is welcomed in the restaurant and the lives of the Martinelli family. This is just what Rosie needs, a family atmosphere that is warm and welcoming and with their help she begins to bloom and find out what she wants to do with her life.

 After deciding three years is too long to wait for another Villa Girls holiday, the girls decide to visit Italy this time, and one girl happens to catch the eye of a wealthy Italian....yep it's Rosie !!!!!

While over in Italy Enzo is a young man who lives on an Olive grove that has been in his family for generations. The entire family live here, and it is one huge Italian family who eat,live and work together.Now if he only had a wife to share it all with......
Things are not going well on the Olive grove as his gambling father and philandering grandfather have made a lot of bad decisions for the family business and it looks like it is up to Enzo to try and fix it. Will scandal and corruption turn a certain villa girl off Enzo..... You will have to read to find out :0)

This story is so full of food, love and relationships and scandal , it is just divine. It was so hard to limit myself to a few pages a day as I wanted to gulp it down like large mouthfuls of the wonderful pasta dishes mentioned in the story.
This story was the equivalent of a literary feast with each wonderful character bringing their own unique story  to the table.

Inkspell by Cornelia Funke

                                                        Inkspell by Cornelia Funke

Inkspell is the second book in the Inkheart trilogy,  written by Cornelia Funke. This book was easy to get into but mid way through it starts to drag quite a bit.. If you can persevere with it then I urge you to as it is worth it. I don't think the book is as good as Inkheart, but it is definitely  worth a read. The next book in the trilogy is Inkdeath .
Inkspell starts with a little of the back history of Inkheart. There is a index of characters at the beginning of the book which comes in very handy as there is a lot more new characters in this story as well as all those we met in the first book. Elinor is back thankfully, I do really love her character,sarcastic and funny with an immense love of books.

Dustfinger finally gets to go home to his wife and  family in this story, and this is really the beginning of where things go wrong as Meggie and Farid go to find him ,Meggie writes herself and Farid into the story,she leaves a message for Mo about what she has done .It all gets darker after this when a lot of the bad guys return.All our favourite characters are back in this story which is great, but  there is more of a sense of doom in this book then there was in Inkheart, esp when Mo gets injured. There is an awful lot of things happening with all the characters ,so that can be a little hard to keep up with, but by the end all things are more easily understood and cleared up,leaving me eager to begin on Inkdeath. We are left on a cliffhanger so you may want to have book three ready to start for when  you finish this one.
What I love must about this trilogy is that Cornelia wrote a book about books, the magic of reading, the love of them, their ability to bring similar minded people together, the joy they can bring, the voids they can fill. When I first started this series I thought at last! A person  has finally managed to put into words how someone who really loves books feels about them, the care they take of their books, the adventures they take you on, all while sitting in your armchair or bubble bath as you perhaps travel to distant lands with action and excitement all the way.
 Ahhhhhhh the joy of reading !!!!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Dead and Berried by Karen MacInerney

Dead and berried is the second book in the Gray Whale Inn series by Karen MacInerney.
In this story my favourite Inn host Natalie Barnes has a lot on her plate.It's October on Cranberry island and the time of year when things should have been getting quiet here it looks like her Inn is haunted and if that was not bad enough her friend and employee Polly has been a no show for work.
Unfortunately Polly does show up .... dead !!!!!
With an annoying visitor  in the Inn hoping to get advice from Nat on opening her own Inn, Candy is really getting under Nat's feet with all her questions and annoying habits. Things go from bad to worse when a blast  from Nat's past shows up, and then the Reverend McLaughlin is found murdered.
Poor Nat is still getting over the death of her friend Polly who police believe committed suicide, but Natalie does not believe that for one moment, and makes it her mission to find out what really happened to her friend.
 Of course that would have been enough for one person to cope with, but now her best friend Charlene is brought in for questioning over the death of her boyfriend Reverend McLaughlin so it looks like Nat is going to have to keep the coffee pot topped up if she is going to have enough energy to find out just what on earth is going on on her island and who exactly is killing people off and why!!!
This is a fab series that seems to only get better with each book. Natalie is a great lead character that I just can't fail to really enjoy reading about. Each book in this series comes with delicious recipes at the back ,if you were not convinced about reading this before then these will be a clincher. Enjoy!!!
If possible read with a large cup of tea/coffee and a large slice of cake!!!

Got spots? Get These !!!

                                                        Got Spots? Get These !!!

Is your skin acting like it belongs to a stroppy teenager?
If your answer was yes to the above then the below products may be of interest to you.
I know blemishes can be tricky little blighters to get rid off but with a few tried and tested products these guys have really helped me out. Of course they are not going to change your life...they are only beauty products after all ,but they will help !!

Grease Lightning by Lush:If you have a spot lurking about that looks like it may erupt rather spectacularly then pop this on before bed and again in the morning ,and under make-up. It will being the redness down ,and help get rid rid of your unwanted visitor.

This face mask is lovely to use, has a very pleasant consistency and smells nice without being overpowering. Jam packed with blueberries, and great for skin that does not like to behave!!!

I have dry/sensitive skin but occasional breakouts so when I am not using the above products this is the mask I would use to try and keep skin full of moisture and soothed.It has the most tasty smell that at times I am very tempted  to stick a spoon in it. Thankfully I do resist, but it makes it great fun to use.
Oatifix by Lush:

My routine with these would be to exfoliate first then pop the Catastrophe Cosmetic on the blemishes and the Oatifix on the dry patches and let it soak in while I am in the bath. Then afterwards rinse off, apply Grease Lightning and my daily face cream. Then before you know it skin is feeling much happier!!!

OPI Nail Polish/Kardashian/Jenner colours

I have been a fan of OPI for ages but as it was so hard to get in Ireland I kind of went off the brand.
Then recently when I was in my local Cara Pharmacy I was so pleased to see the brand. The particular colours that were shouting out to me were these two:

KIM-PLETELY IN LOVE:Pale pink with slight pearl effect.(left)
ALL KENDALL-ED UP: Beautiful hot pink colour.(right)

I know there are cheaper brands but truthfully these are worth the money.I would prefer to save my pennies for one of these then get a few cheaper brands of a similar colour.
Of course these will need a base coat before colour application and top coat for protection and shine on top of your colour to maximise the length they will stay perfect on your nails for. So far I am on day 3 and no chips what so ever!!!!

I also picked up this fun glittery little number while in Cara. I love my glitter polishes. They really brighten up a nail and for a few euro you can't go wrong.

The name of the brand is Exposed. I have not heard of them before but they are available in Cara for Irish shoppers.Always remember to use base coats on top of nails before dark colours and glittery polishes. darker colours will stain nails otherwise, and glitter comes off a little easier if your nails were treated to a base first.

Autumn/Winter Reading.

                                                              Autumn/Winter Reading

At about this time every year ,when summer books are long since read, and the sun lotion is used up I begin to crave my Autumn, Winter books,  and things.
You may feel this way yourself when the cooler evenings creep in and leaves start falling from trees, walks outside are more pleasant now then in the heat of the summer, and everything feels fresh and crisp.
Are you a seasonal reader?
I did not think I was until I found myself going through my TBR pile the other day ,searching for books with a eerie feel for around Halloween time. I know!!!! we are ages away from Halloween yet but I was still craving those books now that the heat has left us completely.
I went through all my cosy mysteries, and the winter themed books from last year that I did not get finished  in time for spring, put them all on shelf's away from my other books so that I could see them at an easy glance.These are now eagerly awaiting me.
So far these are the books that I have to look forward to digging into in the next few months:

I esp love the cover of Kate Mosse's book........The cover changes colour depending on how it hits the light. Really beautiful and  perfect for Autumn/ Winter.

This next week/fortnight's reading is all leading towards mystery and murder. Halloween is nearing and these are all great reads for around then(or any old time).

Montacute House. Well I just love a good mystery in an old house and the cover of this one has been itching to be read for a while now. This week I am finally getting around to it. Review to follow!!
Evil In Carnations,by Kate Collins is part of a wonderful series based in a flower shop.I recommend this to everyone who enjoys cozy mysteries and great characters.
Fairy tale re-telling of Snow white above.. Mirror Mirror by Gregory Maguire
Of course no Halloween is complete without reading a little Dracula by Bram Stoker. A tradition every year with me alongside watching Hocus Pocus and the Halloween movies with Mike Myers.If I get through all these I may also read this:

There is something warm and welcoming about this cover ! I do enjoy Joanne Harris's books a lot and so am really looking forward to this one. Joanne's writing style is beautiful and she always hooks me from the first few pages. Her characters are always intriguing and the story lines engaging. Fingers crossed this will be another gem !!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Friends and Rivals by Tilly Bagshawe


Do you ever have any of those days where you want pure, escapist, indulgent reading matter? Books filled with people with too much money and low morals and even less sense..Oh yes!! These books are delicious. I had read previous books by this author before, and I love her writing style , when I got this copy to review I was like an eager puppy jumping up and down waving it about.
It was soooo good, the literary equivalent of Belgium chocolates!!!.
We start of with Ivan Charles and Jack Messenger who share a music management company together called Jester. Jack runs the American side and Ivan runs things in the UK. They are friends from way back in their collage years and Jack is mutually friends with Ivan's long suffering wife Catriona.Ivan is not the most reliable partner or husband as Jack and Catriona have found out many times unfortunately.
Awww Catriona, bless her, she sticks with Ivan, the cheating louse, no matter how many times he cheats on her. They have two children so you can't blame her for wanting to keep her marriage intact but things really come to a head when the philandering pig is splashed all over the newspaper with a new up and coming singer Kendall, and they are not exactly sitting down doing a nice crossword together, no they are naked and up to no good!!!
This blows things up big time !! Jack had only sent Kendall to the UK to get better well known over there etc, little did he know that she would end up with Ivan and cancelling her contract in favour of another,letting Jack down big time!! Ivan's and Jack's partnership now comes to a explosive end and both are eager to out do the other with successful clients.
The story is pretty much full on the entire way  through , I read it in on sitting as I was hoping my favourite characters Jack and Catriona would have a happy ending. I am not telling you if they do or not but it was really great. A fun book that is perfect indulgence!!!!

If you want to read an excerpt of this try  it for free on

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The LA Commandments by Gillian Duffy

The LA Commandments is a book by an Irish writer Gillian Duffy.

Jo and Suzie are leaving recession weary Ireland in the hope of brighter futures in sunny LA.
With no jobs, and worrying family members it's no wonder these best friends want to get away and have a fresh start!!
It does not take long to realise they made the right decision when they get themselves sorted with jobs, and a place to stay soon after they arrive there. There is plenty to do in this sunny climate that is far from what they are used to at home . The nightlife and people are so much different from at home that homesickness does not really even enter their minds. Set with their own commandments they vow to not fall in love as they try to start diff lives for themselves here.
This plan is going great of course until some handsome, charming guys enter the picture leaving them forgetting all they had vowed to do, esp "Not Fall In Love"... ahhh we have all been there!!!

Friendships and relationships are tested in this moving story that started off as I originally thought as a light summer read about girls moving to LA from Ireland for perhaps a summer vacation/ short term job situation.. It was far from that. By the end I was a sniffling mess and should have been wearing my waterproof mascara before attempting the last few chapters. The story really touched me and even now days later I can still remember it so clearly and how much I really did not see the ending coming. I was so shocked. I rarely cry when reading a book, but for some reason this book stuck with me . Jo, and Marc's story was what got to me the most although the relationship with Jo and her Father was so touching and sweet, and the strength they gave each other through the tough times was so lovely and tender. There is so much to be gained by reading this , but have someone handy after finishing it that can give you a hug  and pass you more tissues. Beautiful story told by a wonderful writer.

Now, I only hope that Gillian will have another book out soon again.!!!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Bath Ballistics by Lush .. Some Of My Favourites

                                          Bath Ballistic's...The Best Ones I Found So Far

When this smell is wafting around the house it is better then any candle that has been burning for hours.. The smell lingered for two days and smelled of Jasmine and other lovely things.This one is called Sex Bomb.
This one is called Think Pink.. Smells like candyfloss. Perfect for those with a sweet tooth!!
Geo-Phyzz.. After putting this in the bath it smells like a fresh smelling forest after the rain.. very fresh scent.
Big Blue!!! Turns all your bath water a similar colour while seaweed floats around your bath.. Feels very Spa like!!!

Honey Bee. The toffee and honey scented one.. Such a relaxing sweet scent that is not overpowering.

All these can be found in your local Lush store or here :

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Lush Bubble Bars.. Some Of My Faves

                                                           Bubble Bar's By Lush

This is the yummy coconutty smelling Yuzu and Cocoa.. These bubblerooons smell so good !!! You can divide them in half and use one half for your bath and save the rest for later.

Rose Jam Bubbleroon smells like powdery roses.... these are my favourite!!!
This pink and white one is The Comforter.. It is like getting a big hug!!!!I put this lip balm tin beside it to show you how big this pretty pink bubble bar is.You crumble of as much as you want ( depends on how many bubbles you enjoy) under running water.. Then A-hoy there head for the water !!!!
This Golden beauty of a bubble bar is full of citrus scents . Perfect for morning time or any time you need  a pick-me-up.It leaves the water lemony golden with glitter.
This next one is called Pop In The Bath
The scent is divine...heaven!!!!It is so pretty it is almost a shame to use it.
Blue skies and fluffy white clouds is what this bubble bar is called. This particular one is  off colour but it smells lovely.. It has a chill out scent to this one. Patchouli and frankincense. Perfect at the end of the day before bedtime.