Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

Wolf HollowWolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Annabelle has lived in Wolf Hollow all her life: a quiet place, still scarred by two world wars. But when cruel, manipulative Betty arrives in town, Annabelle's calm world is shattered, along with everything she's ever known about right and wrong.

When Betty disappears, suspicion falls on strange, gentle loner Toby. As Wolf Hollow turns against him, and tensions quickly mount, Annabelle must do everything in her power to protect Toby - and to find Betty, before it is too late.

Powerful, poignant and lyrical, Wolf Hollow is an unforgettable story.


I think this would be more suited to adult readers maybe to read with children as I'm sure the trauma of war on a veteran would need explaining. Well written it's set during WW11 and covers a period of awakening for Annabelle when her idyllic life and friendship with Toby the war veteran is tested by a rather nasty bully (Betty) who moves into Wolf Hollow.

Once Betty arrives in town she makes her presence known and quickly establishes herself as the school bully with Annabelle her main target. When Betty bullies Annabelle outside school Toby sees what is going on and warns her off. Betty then targets Toby and accuses him of a terrible crime. Toby is mistrusted because he is a loner and chooses to live in the woods hardly ever having contact with anyone but Annabelle knows he wouldn't have done what he is accused of and makes it her mission to find out the truth.

We don't get to understand why Betty behaves the way she does and I felt that this should have been covered, similarly with the character of Toby. Of course like all bullies Betty does pay a high price for her bullying and sadly the ending was bittersweet.

I liked Annabelle and how she changed over the course of the book having to grow up, face her fears and make choices that she knew were right.

If Lauren Wolk had just given more depth to the characters with some understanding of why they behaved the way they did I feel I could have given this a 4.5 star but without these 'missing' pieces of the puzzle I felt 3.5 was the best I could give it. It has been rounded up for Goodreads and Amazon.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Ruby Oliver 2: The Boy Book by E. Lockhart

Ruby Oliver 2: The Boy BookRuby Oliver 2: The Boy Book by E. Lockhart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Study of Boy Habits and Behaviours from me, Ruby Oliver

From E. Lockhart, author of the best-seller We Were Liars, and the highly-acclaimed The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, comes this hilarious and heart-warming series.

Here is how things stand at the beginning of newly-licensed driver Ruby Oliver's junior year at Tate Prep:

Kim: Not speaking. But far away in Tokyo.
Cricket: Not speaking.
Nora: Speaking--sort of. Chatted a couple times this summer when they bumped into each other outside of school--once shopping in the U District, and once in the Elliot Bay Bookstore. But she hadn't called Ruby, or anything.
Noel: Didn't care what anyone thinks.
Meghan: Didn't have any other friends.
Dr. Z: Speaking.
And Jackson. The big one. Not speaking.

But with a new job, an unlikely but satisfying friend combo, additional entries to "The Boy Book" and many difficult decisions help Ruby to see that there is, indeed, life outside the Tate Universe.



I took this book away with me on holiday for some light reading. I enjoyed the first book in the series and I was looking forward to jumping into Ruby's world again.

This book is very quick and easy to read, the characters from the first book feature in this and it is a continuation from the previous. I would say you should read the first in order to have a good understanding of what is going on in this book.

This book features more on Ruby's friendships rather than the boys, they do still play an important part in the novel, however we see Ruby trying to deal with the fall out of her friends, how she feels isolated at times and trying to make amends. This covers all aspects of high school life and how raw feelings are. Things feel like the end of the world when you are Ruby's age and Lockhart has portrayed this well. You feel the rawness of the fallouts and really can connect to Ruby's feelings. You go through the journey with Ruby to try and not be a leaper anymore and patch up friendships. This is a true journey of growing up and having to deal with things life throw at you as a teenager.

I really enjoyed this instalment, I think better than the first book, the characters already being developed allowed the reader to just enjoy the story. It is short and I ended up reading it in one sitting on the plane during a 2 and a half hour journey. I would recommend you to start this if you are looking for an easy to read series.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Eden Summer by Liz Flanagan

Eden SummerEden Summer by Liz Flanagan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Shy, gothy Jess and stunning and popular Eden are best friends. They've supported each other through some of the hardest things you can go through – death, bullying, love, heartbreak. They know everything about each other.

But then Eden goes missing and Jess knows she has to find her, and fast, because the longer someone is missing, the more likely it is they won't be found. So Jess starts exploring her memories, things Eden said and did in the last few months and she starts to realise that maybe they don't know each other as well as she thought.

Set in the beautifully described stunning countryside of West Yorkshire, an incredibly pacy page turner as the clock runs down on the likelihood of finding Eden alive.



I really wanted to love this book, after picking up a sample of the first chapter I was hooked and couldn't want to continue the story.

This has everything needed for a great mystery/thriller, Eden has had a lot go on over the last few months and is finding it hard to cope with the loss of her sister. Jess and Eden's boyfriend Liam are there to support her through this time. One day when Jess arrives at school she finds out Eden is not there and she never went home last night.

I began racing through this book as I was eager to find out what had happened to Eden, I really enjoyed the chapters, where we learnt more about Eden through Jess' memories and thoughts. I did have issues with this book though. I thought at times the pace wasn't good, I started to switch off a bit in the middle as I felt it was just a bit repetitive and slow. It was slow compared the the pace before, it did pick up a bit towards the end again.

I also thought that Flanagan could have done so much more with the story line, I thought the final was a little flat. It felt like we had been building up to finding out exactly what had happened and the reader was left with an anticlimax. I was disappointed with this as I thought it could have been so much better, it could be down to the title being a young adult book and perhaps the content needed to be a bit 'milder', however I have read other thrillers in this genre with more punch and Eden Summer just didn't give me this.

Jess' relationship with Liam was a little predictable, but it was still enjoyable. I did think at times in the story Jess came across a little desperate, a bit of a cling on and that trait in her personality was not likable. She needed to develop into her own person and not believe that she is nothing without Eden. This annoyed me about her.

Overall this is a good YA, I really like that this is set in the U.K and it British. There is not enough UKYA and this is a great addition to the genre. I would like to read future work by Flanagan as I think she could be big in the YA genre. I would give this 3.5* due to my issues with this book.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood

The Darkest SecretThe Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars



Apologies for the general email, but I desperately need your help.

My goddaughter, Coco Jackson, disappeared from her family's holiday home in Bournemouth on the night of Sunday/Monday August 29/30th, the bank holiday weekend just gone. Coco is three years old.

When identical twin Coco goes missing during a family celebration, there is a media frenzy. Her parents are rich and influential, as are the friends they were with at their holiday home by the sea.

But what really happened to Coco?

Over two intense weekends - the first when Coco goes missing and the second twelve years later at the funeral of her father - the darkest of secrets will gradually be revealed...



I really enjoyed this intriguing dark novel with a quite frankly unlikeable dysfunctional family and their damaged friends whose flawed personalities proved to be very absorbing and fascinating. The subject matter of a child who goes missing is distressing and riveting for the reader who desperately wants to know what has happened to this 3 year old child. Coco is an identical twin to Ruby her sister and she seemingly disappears on her fathers' 50th birthday party weekend away.


The story is told in the past and in the present so we get to know about that birthday weekend, learn about the characters who are really not a nice bunch and more importantly what Alex Marwood wants you to believe happened. The present is told by Milly one of Sean the fathers' daughters from a previous marriage. Sean has been married 4 times and the twins Coco and Ruby are the youngest and the product of his 3rd marriage to Claire.


The tragedy of what happened to Coco binds the family and friends together while they each keep secrets and lies from each other that culminates in the truth coming out after Sean the father dies suddenly.


I liked Milly (Mila) and her half sister Ruby and in the end I also felt immense empathy and sorrow for Rubys' mother Claire. I also liked the way the releationship built between the two girls as they got to know each other bound together by the death of their father. The other characters were so self absorbed, selfish and manipulative that it wasn't possible to like them but my goodness they were addictive and I had to read on to the end. The pace was just right for this type of novel, slowly building, tying up all loose ends and just when you think all has been revealed in comes the curve ball - great twist and end to this novel. Completely unexpected and a great way to finish.


This is what I look for in a thriller where nothing is as it seems and the writer plays with emotions and guides the reader up the garden path until she is ready to let you know everything - clever and well written. Clever plot lines make this an addictive read and such a tangled spiders web of family insecurities, misplaced loyalties and innocents that get caught up in this sticky web make this a gripping read.


Really unexpected ending and a great way to end the novel - brilliant. Has to be a 5 star rating from me as it ticks all the boxes; highly recommended.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, 22 August 2016

MelodySusie Mini Portable Handy Nail Dryer Review

MelodySusie® Nail Dryer Portable Mini Fan Nail Lamp - Handy and Compact for Drying Regular Nail Polish (Silver)


videoMelodySusie - Bring Your Beauty Salon Home 


Product Highlights: 
1.Fan installed, ideal for drying nail polish and Acrylic nail
2.Mini-sized with dimension: approx. 12cmW x 12.4cmL X 8cmD, portable
3.Perfect for home use and travel 
4.Battery operated or DC adaptor (not included in the package) 
5.Color: Silver 



Notice:
1. Before you use this nail dryer, please kindly make sure the nail polish is suitable for this nail dryer. This is a fan nail dryer, it works for all general nail polish.
2. The dry time will be different according to the thickness of the nail polish you applied. We recommend thin polish with multi-times.


Operation:
Step 1: Put 2 "AA" batteries into the battery slot (Battery is not included) or connect the 3V DC Adaptor (not included).
Step 2: Put your hand on the Easy-switch until the nail polish is dried.


Package Includes: 
1 * MelodySusie Mini Nail Dryer 
1 * User Manual


My Review:


This nail dryer came wrapped in bubble wrap and in a sturdy box. There is also instructions in there and a feedback card in case you want to get in touch with the company.

On first impressions I was very impressed with the product. It is small enough to fit into a bag for travelling and looks very sturdy. Once I looked at the product I realised that I would need 2 AA batteries, these are not included so make sure if you purchase this and want to use it straight away you have these to hand. I also noticed on the back of it there is a small electrical hole, I believe this is for you to be able to plug it in, however no cable is included. In the user manual it does state which adapter you would need in case you wanted to use that feature.

I began by painting my nails and having a go at using it. To make the fan work you just need to press the base of the unit down as you put your fingers in it. The dryer is only big enough to fit 4 fingers in at a time, so I dried my thumb nail after. I have also used the dryer for my toes, my foot fit in perfectly to dry it. After I had dried my nails I inspected them and I could see no smudges at all, so was rather impressed.

The negative I have with this product is the noise the fan makes, I did expect it to make a noise but it is so loud, please see my video and you will hear it. I also am unsure at how long the batteries last for as I have only used it the once at the moment.

Overall this is a really nifty gadget, it is perfect for travelling and great for children, who love to paint their nails but don't have the patience to wait for them to dry! (I remember this from my own childhood!) At £9 you really can't go wrong, I would recommend this product to others as I have had a successful experience with it.

I hope my review has been helpful to you.
I would like to thank the company for sending this in exchange for an honest review. I was provided with a sample product at a complimentary or discounted rate in exchange for a fair, unbiased, and honest review.






SIXPLUS 12PCS Shining Handle Soft Horse Synthetic Hair Eye Makeup Brush Set With Case(Black & Blue) (blue)

SIXPLUS 12PCS Shining Handle Soft Horse Synthetic Hair Eye Makeup Brush Set With Case(Black & Blue) (blue)

£35.99 from amazon.co.uk


Description taken from amazon.co.uk
  • The High Quality:all the brushes are handmade;the bristles are made of horsehair and synthetic hair, they are soft silky and resilient,easier to pick up powder
  • Special Design: Shining handle+royal golden ferrule +a multifunctional makeup bag ;wherein 3pcs eyeshadow brushes bristles are horsehair,other brushes are using high quality synthetic hair, also equipped with portable travel lip brush
  • Professional Makeup Brush Set:this brushes set pay attention to eye makeup;include powder, foundation, blush, highlight,eyeshadow,eyebrow, eyeliner brushes, satisfied for daily makeup, in the same time make your eye more beautiful;SIXPLUS focus on provide professional makeup brushes to makeup beauty easier
  • Multipurpose Makeup Bag: use high quality smooth leather, all brushes are in this bag,convenient to carry them to anywhere, satisfied for daily use;also it has large space can use a travel makeup bag,can storage many other tools, such as foundation, mascara ,lipsticks even your phone , it isn't only a brush pouch, also can manage your daily life
  • Our lifetime guarantee: your satisfaction is our greatest honor, if you are unsatisfied with our brushes after get it within 30 days, we will provide unconditional 100% refund for you
My Review:

The first thing I noticed about this set was that it comes in a high quality case, perfect for travelling. I travel a lot and I struggle to take my brushes with me as I don't want to damage them or carry them in a giant set, so this is perfect. 

Once I opened the case I was presented with a beautiful set of 12 brushes. These are all very strong and study, the handles are in an unique blue with Sixplus written on them, they have a rose gold head holding the bristles. 
I have really pulled at the hairs in the brushes and not one has fallen out of place. They are extremely soft to touch and when make up is applied to them there is not a lot of waste of product, they only absorb what you need. On applying make up the application was good and I got a full coverage, better than I have achieved with a sponge such as The Beauty Blender. 

I couldn't believe the range of brushes in this set there is:
A powder brush
A liquid foundation brush
Angled brush for blusher
Highlighting brush
Small highlighting brush
2 eye shadow brushes
Blending brush
Small eye shadow brush
Eyebrow brush
Eyeliner brush
Lip brush

This is a great face make up set as it includes everything you could want from a set. There is only one downside to this brush set and I am being a bit picky now... On the back of the box there are the instructions to which brush is which, there is also the information about which brush is used for. I would have liked to have seen this as a small leaflet included inside the set, I would find that really useful but obviously I won't be keeping the packaging. I would have also loved a few brush guards included to make sure the brushes stay nice. Like I said though these are minor personal things that I feel could have improved this product further. 
Overall these brushes are excellent, gone are the days of boring coloured brushes! These really brighten up my make up bag and are going to be a firm favourite for travelling. I would recommend these brushes to everyone, they would be a perfect addition to your make up brush collection, I think these are priced well for the level of quality. 

I received these free in exchange for an honest review. 











Friday, 19 August 2016

Can't Look Away by Donna Cooner

Can't Look AwayCan't Look Away by Donna Cooner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Torrey Grey is famous – at least, she is on the internet. Thousands of people watch her beauty vlog for tips on how to be popular and pretty. But when Torrey’s sister is killed in an accident her world implodes, especially as she feels partly to blame. And that’s when the trolling starts

How can Torrey mourn her sister in private, when her bubbly public persona is all over the web? Then she meets Luis, whose family owns the local funeral home, and he challenges all that Torrey thought she knew about love, life, and loss.


This is a book that I had been sent to review ages ago and just never got round to it...Sorry! Finally I have though and I thought overall it was an O.K read. I actually give it 3.5* however have rounded it up to 4 for Goodreads and Amazon.

I thought from reading the blurb that this book was going to be about a YouTube vlogger and this made me excited as I haven't read any books like this before, yes I know there are tons out there based on this theme but I haven't yet got to one. However I found this more emotional than expected and the YouTube vlogging aspect didn't have such as a prominent part in the plot as I expected.

Torrey and her mother and father have just moved to Texas, there was an accident which killed her sister in their home state and have gone to live near her fathers brother for a new start. Torrey finds it difficult to have a new start due to her popularity on her channel and many people know who she is, some are sympathetic, however others blame her for the accident.

This novel is about how Torrey copes with her sisters death and dealing with the other issues that being a teenager brings. There are times through the book which slip back into the past, where Torrey is remembering something that has happened with her sister. This was quite nice as her sister is quite a main part of the story and the reader gets to know her a little.

I didn't like how shallow Torrey was for the majority of the story, being an internet sensation and popular was not the be all and end all and at times I thought she was mean to others. I guess this was Torrey just trying to find her feet, however I also think that if she had just lost her sister that should have put things into perspective for her and realise that those things are really not important. This may though come with age and Torrey hasn't got there yet.

Overall it was a quick, easy read and relatively short, I managed to read this in a couple of sittings and the only reason I couldn't finish it in one go was because I had to visit people. I didn't love it but at the same time it wasn't dreadful either. I think this book would appeal to those who are trying to become 'famous' or being popular at school. I feel the book is very current with the use of YouTube and perhaps would help deal with cyber bullying.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

The One With The Engagement Party by Erin Lawless

The One With The Engagement PartyThe One With The Engagement Party by Erin Lawless
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Save the Date

For fans of romantic comedies like Bridesmaids and Four Weddings & a Funeral, and bestselling authors Mhairi McFarlane and David Nicholls, this is a hilarious new romantic comedy series about one bride and her four best friends.

Nora Dervan is ready for her Happy Ever After. With her darling Harry waiting at the altar, and all her family and friends around her. She is certain that her special day will not be forgotten/will be one to remember…

But with her four bridesmaids hiding more secrets, than bottles of champagne. Will her big day be remembered for all the right reasons?

Bea has barely gotten past the fact that her two best friends are dating, and now they’re engaged, whilst cupid’s arrow points in a forbidden direction for Cleo. She is so distracted by her off limits, hot new colleague that she has forgotten Daisy, who has been left dreading the singles table. There’s more romance in the cheesy pick- up lines than Sarah’s own marriage, which hasn’t turned out as she hoped it would be.

With her wicked sense of humour and refreshingly honest voice, Erin Lawless brings to the life the romance (and horrors!) of wedding season.



This was the first book I have read by Erin Lawless, I knew this was going to be a series of 4 books, which I enjoy so couldn't wait to get started with it.

The book has got a really good premise and I thought it was going to work really well. This story is about the bride and the bridesmaids discussing the wedding and scouting out locations for the big day. There are lots of characters in this novella, obviously the bridesmaids and their partners as well as Nora the bride and Harry her other half. This was an issue I had as I got a little lost in places and couldn't remember who was with who. This could have been done to the fact I was reading it late at night just before sleeping, however this is why I enjoy novellas as I feel I can accomplish something after work.

I did enjoy the novella and I will hopefully continue with the series.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Love and Other Man-Made Disasters by Nicola Doherty

Love and Other Man-Made DisastersLove and Other Man-Made Disasters by Nicola Doherty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Juno is scared of a lot of things. Climate change, urban foxes, zombies - the usual. So when she goes on a skiing holiday with her mum's adrenaline-mad new husband and his tearaway twins, she doesn't hold much hope of surviving. Then she meets Boy. Gruff, hairy and thrill-seeking, he's everything Juno doesn't like. Or is he? Juno's about to discover there's nothing more scary than falling in love.


I have read many Nicola Doherty novels before and I have loved them all, so when I knew she was going to be writing a young adult novel I couldn't wait to get into it.

First of all I was a little disappointed as I sat down to read this in the height of summer (I know not much of one in Britain) but it was set in Austria on the slopes. This was something not mentioned in the blurb or anything, had I of known I would have saved this to read over the winter as I think I may have enjoyed it more.

This is a very easy to read book, and I read it just as quick as Doherty's adult novels, there was a little bit of humour. Juno is forced to go on a skiing holiday with her mum, stepdad and his two boys. This is the last thing she wants to do and has a mountain of studying to do before her exams and isn't thrilled that she has to spend more time with her stepfather and his two kids. Over the course of the book Juno changes her mind about the skiing.

The story covers a short period of time, I am not exactly how long either 2 or 3 weeks I think and the romance in the story felt like it happened quite quickly and the turn around of events - I am trying to explain without actually giving any spoilers! Saying that, it was a while ago I was Juno's age and perhaps romances happen that quickly and younger readers will relate to it more. I didn't really let the love story part affect my opinion of the story as I enjoyed it regardless of the time span.

This is a really cute, fun book that older readers would enjoy. The characters are very down to earth and Juno is likable. Juno experiences the beginning of growing up, having a little freedom but also realising life is not all a bed of roses and that sometimes there is heartache along the way. This is a book I would recommend, however I would suggest over the winter period to really get you into the mood for that time of year. I can just imagine being snuggled up in front of the fire with a hot coco and fluffy slippers on reading this.

I would like to thank Nicola for sending me this in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Pretty Is by Maggie Mitchell

Pretty IsPretty Is by Maggie Mitchell
My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Lois and Carly-May were just twelve when they were abducted by a stranger and imprisoned in a cabin in the woods for two months.

That summer, under the watchful gaze of their kidnapper, they formed a bond that would never be broken.

Decades later, both women have new lives and identities. But the events of that summer are about to come back with a vengeance.

Lois and Carly-May must face the truth about their secret, shared past...

What really happened in the woods that summer?



Thanks to my mum for reading and reviewing this.

This for me is one of those novels that start out promising so much but really not delivering. On the face of it the subject matter was good, two 12 year old girls are kidnapped who apparently go with their abductor Zed quite willingly. The story follows Lois and Carly-May who are now adults as each of them reflect on the past. Lois is a teacher and Carly-May (now calling herself Chloe) is a struggling actress.


The book is split into 3 parts and the story related by Lois and Carly-May alternately in each of the 3 parts. Part 1 was for me the most interesting as it explored the psychological aspects of what happened to the girls as seen through the minds of 12 year old's but I really struggled with their going along with their kidnapper never asking questions and never trying to escape. Stockholm Syndrome would have kicked in at some point but surely initially they would have wanted to run? They are eventually released unharmed a couple of months later and the book is about the effects this experience has had on them in their adult lives.


Lois writes a book about their experiences which is due to be turned into a film, by coincidence one of the film parts has been offered to Carly-May (Chloe) who is sure that Lois must have written it. Eventually the two girls meet up again after decades of being apart.



Although getting off to a reasonably good start the book's paced slowed down so much that it was difficult to keep going. It could have been such a great psychological thriller but it lacked credibility and the ending was a great disappointment. It couldn't really work for me as there were too many unanswered questions that stopped the book giving it cohesion. Why did this stranger seek these two girls out? What was the motivation for the kidnapping? Nothing happened to these girls so why did the kidnapper take them? What was in the kidnappers mind? Without more information about the kidnapper or some kind of insight into motivation it couldn't really work.


It could have been a great novel instead of which it was really rather limp and I'm sorry to say that I felt flat, disappointed and a bit conned into going the distance with this one. It lacked credibility due to it's lack of depth and insight which stopped it from being a really amazing thriller - such a shame but I can only give this 2 stars.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Lynda Young Spiro Guest Post

Lynda has stopped by at The Book Corner today to share how she got into writing.






ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lynda Young Spiro is a mixed media artist whose love of textiles, found objects and recyclable materials are incorporated into her colourful work. Lynda was born in 1959 in Hampstead, London, where she now lives with her husband and two sons. Lynda’s previous book Latch-Hooking Rugs is published by A & C Black. There is Always More to Say is her first novel.



SYNOPSIS (BRIEF DESCRIPTION)

Soho 1984: Two people meet and their worlds are changed forever. An unexpected meeting – a look that means their lives will never be the same again. In “There Is Always More To Say”, the narrator chronicles the lives of the couple through friendships, marriage, fleeting moments and snatched time. It is a passionate account about a connection between two people that never dies even when tested by distance and when life throws the unexpected at their feet. ‘There Is Always More to Say’ is a heartfelt novel about an intense connection. A never-ending story about an everlasting friendship.

“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances. If there is any reaction both are transformed.” C G Jung



HOW I STARTED WRITING

Thanks so much Sam for having me at the Book Corner and for asking me how I got into writing. I’d love to tell you. Apparently I did tell a friend thirty years ago that one day I was going to write a novel and include them in it. I actually don’t remember having said that. But they do!


But for me the experience all started about two years ago when I began to channel my creative energies into writing. The end result being my recently published first novel, a never-ending story about an everlasting friendship called ‘There Is Always More To Say’. Because as we know there is always more to say!


I’m a mixed media artist mainly working with fabrics, colours and recyclable bits and pieces which are all incorporated into my work. My passion for colour, my fascination with texture and my love of recycling have all found expression in a large body of work that includes textile design, latch-hooked rugs, needlepoint cushions, mosaics, painting and sculpture.


In April 2013 I saw an advert in the local paper the Ham&High for a part time examination invigilator. When I saw the advert, I don’t know why, but it appealed to me. And I applied for the job. It was nothing like anything I had ever done before. Both of my children were now at University and I was interested to know what they had gone through as students whilst taking exams. I knew that times had changed since I had been examined! What I didn’t know was in which direction this part time job would lead me. I didn’t know that the invigilating would lead me to expressing myself through a new and different media. I didn’t realise that whilst watching the candidates writing their papers so enthusiastically that it would get my own imagination going. And that it would be during these periods of silence whilst the exams were being written that I would be able to think and reflect about so many different things.

I started to write my thoughts, feelings, reflections and emotions down. I had very recently turned fifty-five and I realised that I had been married for over half of my life. I wasn’t sure where the time had gone. It made me think about my life before I was married and after I was married. The silence was really lovely in the examination hall. Very peaceful. There was a lot of time for me to spend thinking. And when I got home I started to write my thoughts and reflections down. Over time I realised that I had begun to accumulate a significant amount of writings and thoughts on various different scraps of paper. But I had no idea what to do with them. One afternoon sometime after the end of the summer exam period I chose to read and share some of these thoughts that I had written to a very close and old friend of mine. This friend immediately suggested that I consolidate them and suggested that I should write a book based on what I had written so far. The problem was that I had no experience of writing fiction. I didn’t know how to do this. Although the challenge did appeal to me.

So in September 2014 I enrolled onto a local writing class to help put these thoughts, observations and feelings into order to make a logical and interesting story. I left the class after three terms because it was too autobiographical. I was encouraged to continue writing after having gone to the class for that short amount of time. The positive feedback I received by reading passages to the other people in the class really encouraged me to continue writing.

I didn’t write the story in order. It never came to me in order. There was never a beginning, a middle or an end. I just started writing down my thoughts, my reflections and feelings about certain subjects which I then wove together to create a story. And although I have drawn on personal experiences this is not my story. I have drawn on a combination of my own experiences as well as those of my friends. I created this story from the ideas that were running around in my head. Ideas that had materialized from my imagination.

I never thought too hard about what I was writing and how I was writing the story. I just went ahead and wrote it. It just came to me. I wrote what I wanted to write and not what I thought I should be writing. I hope my readers will enjoy reading ‘There Is Always More To Say’ as much as I enjoyed writing it. I know this sounds like a clichĂ© but it’s absolutely true. Opening the door of my story will hopefully show my reader the mirror of their mind.

I really enjoy hearing from my readers. I can be contacted at:

My own website: www.thereisalwaysmoretosay.com

Twitter: @lyndaspiro

Instagram: @lyndaspiro


Thank you so much Lynda for stopping by, I have really enjoyed reading how you got into writing and I am sure my readers will too. :)

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Sainsbury's movies August


some of the biggest movies are coming out this month on Sainsbury’s Entertainment on Demand.





The Huntsman: Winter War

Universal



Betrayed by her evil sister Ravenna (Charlize Theron), heartbroken Freya (Emily Blunt) retreats to a northern kingdom to raise an army of huntsmen as her protectors. Gifted with the ability to freeze her enemies in ice, Freya teaches her young soldiers to never fall in love. When Eric (Chris Hemsworth) and fellow warrior Sara defy this rule, the angry queen does whatever she can to stop them. As war between the siblings escalates, Eric and Sara unite with Freya to end Ravenna's wicked reign.








Eddie The Eagle

Lionsgate



The story of Eddie Edwards, the notoriously tenacious British underdog ski jumper. Cut from the Olympic ski team, British athlete Michael "Eddie" Edwards travels to Germany to test his skills at ski jumping. Fate leads him to Bronson Peary, a former ski jumper who now works as a snowplough driver. Impressed by Edwards' spirit and determination, Peary agrees to him. Despite an entire nation counting him out, Eddie's never-say-die attitude takes him all the way to victory at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta.








The Jungle Book

Disney



Raised by a family of wolves since birth, Mowgli (Neel Sethi) must leave the only home he's ever known when the fearsome tiger Shere Khan (Idris Elba) unleashes his mighty roar. Guided by a no-nonsense panther (Ben Kingsley) and a free-spirited bear (Bill Murray), the young boy meets an array of jungle animals, including a slithery python and a smooth-talking ape. Along the way, Mowgli learns valuable life lessons as his epic journey of self-discovery leads to fun and adventure.








Jane Got A Gun

Lionsgate



Jane Hammond has built a new life with her husband Bill "Ham" Hammond after being tormented by the ultra-violent Bishop Boys outlaw gang. She gets in the gang's cross-hairs once again when Ham stumbles home riddled with bullets after duelling with the Boys. With the vengeful crew hot on Ham's trail, Jane turns to her former fiancé Dan Frost for help in defending her family against certain destruction. Haunted by old memories, Jane's past meets the present in a heart-stopping battle for survival








Neighbours 2

Universal



Life is good for Mac Radner (Seth Rogen) and pregnant wife Kelly (Rose Byrne) until the unruly sisters of Kappa Nu move in next door. As the loud parties threaten the sale of their home, the couple turn to ex-neighbour and one-time enemy Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron) for help. Now united with the former college student, the trio devise schemes to get the wild sorority off the block. Unfortunately, the rebellious young women refuse to go down without a fight.








Captain America: Civil War

Disney



Political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability when the actions of the Avengers lead to collateral damage. The new status quo deeply divides members of the team. Captain America (Chris Evans) believes superheroes should remain free to defend humanity without government interference. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) sharply disagrees and supports oversight. As the debate escalates into an all-out feud, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) must pick a side.






Alice Through The Looking Glass

Disney



After slipping through a mirror, Alice (Mia Wasikowska) finds herself back in Underland with the White Queen (Anne Hathaway), the Cheshire Cat, the White Rabbit, Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Her friends tell her that the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) is in a funk over the loss of his family. Hoping to save his loved ones, Alice steals the Chronosphere from Time (Sacha Baron Cohen) to travel into the past. While there, she encounters the younger Hatter and the evil Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter).






Money Monster

Sony



Lee Gates is a Wall Street guru who picks hot stocks as host of the television show "Money Monster." Suddenly, during a live broadcast, disgruntled investor Kyle Budwell storms onto the set and takes Gates hostage. He tells Lee that he lost everything on one of his tips. As Gates tries to plead with Kyle, he's also using an earpiece to communicate with his longtime producer in the control room. Together, they must figure out a way to defuse the situation and disarm the angry young man.



Monday, 8 August 2016

Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard

Distress SignalsDistress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Did she leave or was she taken?



The day Adam Dunne's girlfriend, Sarah, fails to return from a Barcelona business trip, his perfect life begins to fall apart. Days later, the arrival of her passport and a note that reads 'I'm sorry - S' sets off real alarm bells. He vows to do whatever it takes to find her.

Adam is puzzled when he connects Sarah to a cruise ship called the Celebrate - and to a woman, Estelle, who disappeared from the same ship in eerily similar circumstances almost exactly a year before.

To get the answers, Adam must confront some difficult truths about his relationship with Sarah. He must do things of which he never thought himself capable. And he must try to outwit a predator who seems to have found the perfect hunting ground...




Wow, what can I say about this book? I was hooked from the first chapter, this is the type of book you think, oh it's ok I can dip in and out of it but no, I didn't want to put the book down. When I had to put it down I spent all my time not reading it, thinking about it! It has been a long time since this has happened when reading a book.

Adam and Sarah have been together for 10 years, Sarah, the bread winner has been supporting Adam while he has been writing a play, he is a screenwriter and waiting for his big break. Sarah heads off to Barcelona for work, but while she is only way for about 5 days, Adam starts to question their relationship, prompted by Rose - Sarah's best friend. Suddenly Sarah's parents can't get in contact with her and she isn't answering her phone. Adam starts to question everything, especially when she doesn't appear at the airport after her flight.

There were different parts to this story with different peoples points of view, it switched from the past and into the present. Although for a long while I couldn't understand how the two were connected, this didn't bother me as I was enjoying every part of the book. Distress Signals was a face paced novel that really drew me in, I raced through the story and although I did guess I think quiet early on, this didn't matter and I was surprised by the ending. To be honest I am not sure how I felt about the ending, I think I would have liked a little more... but it was a surprise and unexpected, which I did like.

This was a brilliant read, one that got me out of my reading slump and perfect for fans of crime and thriller. This was a very cleverly written book and an excellent start into writing, I couldn't believe this was a debut! Howard has set the standard now and if all her books are as good as this I think she would fast become one of my favourite authors.

This is a gripping book, I don't want to give too much away in the plot as this is a book you have to read. You will race through it as you need to know the truth, I am so glad I read this and I would recommend it to anyone who loves crime and thrillers. I really cannot do this book justice, you just have to grab a copy.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

The Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp blog tour

The Last Days of Jack SparksThe Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


THE MOST CHILLING AND UNPREDICTABLE THRILLER OF THE YEAR.

Jack Sparks died while writing this book.

It was no secret that journalist Jack Sparks had been researching the occult for his new book. No stranger to controversy, he'd already triggered a furious Twitter storm by mocking an exorcism he witnessed.

Then there was that video: forty seconds of chilling footage that Jack repeatedly claimed was not of his making, yet was posted from his own YouTube account.

Nobody knew what happened to Jack in the days that followed - until now.

'Ingenious and funny . . . A magnificent millennial nightmare' - Alan Moore

'Wow. Seriously hard to put down . . . Chilling and utterly immersive' - M. R. Carey

'This is The Omen for the social media age' - Chris Brookmyre

'Wittier than the lovechild of Stephen Fry and Charlie Brooker, scarier than watching The Exorcist in an abandoned asylum' - Sarah Lotz

DISCOVER THE LAST DAYS OF JACK SPARKS - DESTINED TO BE 2016'S MOST TALKED-ABOUT THRILLER




Not a genre that I usually read and not an author I have come across before but I found it was horrifying and fascinating in equal measure.


The main character Jack Sparks is a writer and media personality. Having written a series of Jack Sparks on Drugs and on Gangs books he is now investigating (and intends to expose as rubbish) the supernatural. While researching for this in his latest series of books he is invited along to an exorcism of a young girl (he believes it is all an act) and he laughs and is openly disrespectful even when the the priest is injured and is taken to hospital he believes it's all part of the act. Things then seem to go very weird for Jack; he finds someone has uploaded a spooky video to his YouTube channel and he becomes obsessed with finding out who was responsible and embarks on his journey into the supernatural.


It was very well written with a good amount of humor which made reading it not such a chore or so dark that anyone other than a horror fan would want to continue reading it. The reader is aware from the outset that the 'author' Jack Sparks dies while writing this book and we are lead through it by his brother Alistair and the help of his notes. This book really plays with your mind, reading it you think one thing then a few pages on you realise that maybe what you have read is not what is happening at all - a roller coaster of a ride into the unknown and reality.


Vivid colourful writing perfectly sets the scenes for spooky and addictive reading, difficult to put down Jack Sparks gets under your skin, one minute you believe he deserves what he gets and the next you're rooting for him. So unusual for a writer to evoke these feelings in one character in a novel' normally you either like the central character or you don't. With Jack Sparks you have to unravel the real person as you and he go along together.


Jack is a wonderful character, flawed, realistically believable, not a hero by any stretch of the imagination who maintains his bravado through witty remarks and cynicism that creates such a likeable character in the end, the humour in this novel is extremely well executed. He is egotistical, self centered and shallow but he is also warm, funny and vulnerable which all come across in this novel. In terms of content it has the lot, exorcisms, bloody deaths, ghosts, demons and possession all the attributes that horror devotees devour in spade fulls and enough little touches to give it some realism. Along with all of this it was also surprisingly quite touching to take the journey with Jack from his arrogant and flippant beginning to his inevitable death in the end. I almost pitied him and hoped (although we know he does not survive) that at the eleventh hour he would be saved.


I really enjoyed this foray into the supernatural and although not a favoured genre I would be happy to read another Arnopp novel any time and give this a well deserved 4 stars.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

The Dreamday Pattern Journals by Laurence King




When I was offered the chance to review these beauties, how could I say no? I love a good notebook as probably most of you guys do. They are just so beautiful, sometimes they seem too beautiful to write in and that was the problem I has with these! They are just too beautiful!


These are top quality notebooks with think paper and have stunning covers. What make these notebooks different from others though is that there are colouring pages inside too. This has been another one of my loves this year, adult colouring books really allowed me to escape from the hustle and bustle of the day. These allow you to make notes and colour! I can't think of a better combination for a journal.


The journals also come in different themes, I have been lucky enough to review the Moroccan and the Japanese, however there is a New York one, Paris and many others, there are 6 in total.




Each of these notebooks come with over 100 pages in, and have detailed patterns in them to colour from the theme of the book. They are A5 in size, which is perfect for keeping in your handbag and they look stunning on the shelf with their beautiful spines.


The combination of the colouring and writing space will make these journals appeal to many, personally I think they would make a brilliant gift for those budding writers or colourers! I would be very pleased to receive one of these.


I think Laurence King are onto a winner here and I will definitely be recommending these in the future. I will be taking these away with me this summer on my holidays to document my travels, they will also help keep me entertained on the plane.


I would like to thank the publisher for sending these in exchange for an honest review.

You can purchase these from Laurence King Website here: http://www.laurenceking.com/

 

I had a go at the Which journal are you quiz, I got Florence, have a go and let me know which one you got. :)

Monday, 1 August 2016

London Belongs to Us by Sarra Manning

London Belongs to UsLondon Belongs to Us by Sarra Manning
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Seventeen-year-old Sunny's always been a little bit of a pushover. But when she's sent a picture of her boyfriend kissing another girl, she knows she's got to act. What follows is a mad, twelve-hour dash around London - starting at 8pm in Crystal Palace (so far away from civilisation you can't even get the Tube there) then sweeping through Camden, Shoreditch, Soho, Kensington, Notting Hill . . . and ending up at 8am in Alexandra Palace.

Along the way Sunny meets a whole host of characters she never dreamed she'd have anything in common with - least of all the devilishly handsome (and somewhat vain) French 'twins' (they're really cousins) Jean Luc and Vic. But as this love-letter to London shows, a city is only a sum of its parts, and really it's the people living there who make up its life and soul. And, as Sunny discovers, everyone - from friends, apparent-enemies, famous bands and even rickshaw drivers - is willing to help a girl on a mission to get her romantic retribution.



I read this in a couple of sittings at the beginning of the holiday's. I really wanted something light and fun to get my out of my reading slump and this did just that.

The book is extremely easy to read, as I read the book I felt I had gone on a journey with Sunny and really wanted Mark to stop being such an idiot! I couldn't believe the way this character behaved though the book and although he isn't a 'main' character as he doesn't say an awful lot directly he plays a massive part in this story - it is the whole reason Sunny is trekking across London!

The story takes place over one night, a night where Sunny is on a wild goose chase to find her boyfriend Mark. When she arrives in a new area of London, we get some information about that part. I really loved reading about the areas through history and actually learnt a lot, whether this was about famous residents or shops that originated from there. I thought this was a unique feature to the book.

This book is fast paced and funny, it is a young contemporary book with Sunny being 17 and set in the summer holidays. This is a real light read and perfect for the summer months. The only reason I have given this book 4* and not 5* is because at times I did skim read a little, this was only because the structure of the story was a little repetitive, (Sunny trying to find Mark - paths may cross, she chases him a bit more and again misses him.) At one point I thought perhaps Sunny had done a little too much chasing him. That doesn't mean I didn't enjoy her adventure or the people she met a long the way, because I did immensely.

If you like YA, especially UKYA then grab yourself a copy of this, even if you just like London, grab a copy as you will love this. I think this is a really great YA read and a perfect one for the summer months. I recommend this book!

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.