Healthyish by Lindsay Hunt

helathyishThe full title for Healthyish is “A Cookbook with Seriously Satisfying, Truly Simple, Good-For-You (but not too Good-For-You) Recipes for Real Life”.  It’s a mouthful but it does sum up quite nicely what this recipe book is about.   It’s full of food that looks delicious, tastes delicious (from the recipes I’ve tried) and sounds delicious (from those that I haven’t).

The idea behind Healthyish is that you can eat a good, healthy, balanced diet without living on lettuce leaves and by making some simple changes.  So you swap whole grains for refined, add ingredients like olives for natural flavour, and swap processed foods for homemade alternatives (think salad dressing).

Discussion Challenge 2018

Gossiping WomenLast year, I took part in the 2017 Discussion Challenge.  The aim was to build up the courage to write more than reviews, to start expressing my opinion beyond my thoughts on what I had read, even if only just a little bit.  I’m not going to lie, it was hard.  There is something about writing a discussion post, the putting myself out there that had me thinking twice more than once.

In the end, I wrote six posts that I classed as discussions (including one on what made a discussion a discussion, a question I still haven’t quite answered for myself).  This made me a “discussion dabbler” but it was kind of where I thought I would end up.  This year, I want to do more, in fact it’s one of my new year blogging resolutions.  How much better I’m not sure but I’m aiming to at least double my discussion posts to 12 – one a month.  Hopefully, I’ll succeed!

White Bodies by Jane Robins

white bodiesWhen Callie gets invited to her sister Tilda’s flat to watch a movie, it turns out it’s also to meet Tilda’s new boyfriend – Felix.  He is handsome, charming, successful, and a little bit odd.

For Felix, control, order and structure are everything it seems – so much so he redecorates Tilda’s apartment so that it is all white walls and clean lines.

Suddenly, Callie’s chaotic, brightly coloured and oh so much alive sister, seems to be disappearing.  And Callie is worried, especially when she sees bruises on Tilda’s arms and can’t get her sister to talk to her.

Convinced Felix is bad for Tilda, Callie starts digging, into his past and his personality and alienating the couple as a result.  Thankfully, Callie has her online friends to help her though.  That is if they are friends and if none of what she is seeing doesn’t have a perfectly reasonable explanation.

Beware the Past by Joy Ellis

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With Beware the Past, I am once again back on the Lincolnshire Fens, a place that sounds beautiful but is also dangerous and deadly.  Here, the dead are three young boys, killed almost 30 years ago.  Their murderer is the one that “got away” from Detective Matt Ballard, a veteran officer now – much loved and respected by his team – but a rookie back when the bodies were found.  The murders have haunted him ever since.

Now, they are doing more than haunting.  They are becoming reality, as another dead boy is found and Matt’s team begin to receive photos from the first murders that make them think the killer is still alive, kicking, and about to kill again.  This time, though, he seems set on dragging Matt into his deadly game, taunting him with the photos and phone calls and putting though closest to the Detective in danger.

So, as you’ll already know if you read my blog, I am a huge fan of Joy Ellis’ crime series staring Nikki Galena.  I love the setting – also the fens – and the characters – one of whom, the pathologist, appears here.  More though, I love the plots.  They are clever, complex, and always leave me guessing.  All of these apply here in what is a standalone police procedural that kept me turning the pages and on the edge of my seat throughout.

I loved Matt, who was passionate, caring and just a little messed up, and his team – who were all so well drawn that I felt I’d known them for ever.  Each had their own voices, their own personalities and were not afraid of standing up to their boss.  I am really hoping that this might be the start of series as I think it would make a good one.   A great read and highly recommended!

About the book…

A new standalone crime thriller.

Detective Matt Ballard is haunted by one traumatic case he never solved. In the 1990s three boys were murdered in the same area, the remote and bleak Gibbet Fen. When the main suspect was killed in a hit-and-run, the killings stopped. But Matt was never satisfied that the real murderer had been caught.

25 years later, Matt gets a photo in an unmarked envelope. It’s of the Gibbet Fen crime scene. Taken before the murder.

Another killing takes place, with some of the hallmarks of the old case. Has the killer returned or is this just a sick copycat determined to ruin Matt’s life and reputation?

Source: NetGalley
Publisher: Joffe Books
Publication Date: 19th December, 2017
Number of Pages: 369
Rating: 5 / 5

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The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond

marriage pact

The Marriage Pact was not a book that first appealed to me if I’m honest.  In theory it should have been right up my street, a psychological thriller where a young, newly married couple, find themselves in trouble with a group of mysterious, powerful, strangers.  But it also sounded a little silly and I wasn’t sure if I would like it.  Then I read a batch of good reviews and decided to give it a go.

Was it worth it?  Yes, on balance, definitely.  BUT you do need to be able to suspend belief because the story is all a bit silly and far-fetched.  It doesn’t start out that way but – by the end – the situations Jake and Alice find themselves in get increasingly unbelievable.  Perhaps, if they had been in some dystopian future they wouldn’t have been but, for something set in the here and now, I couldn’t quite see it myself.

Saying that though, there was a lot to recommend this book.  Michelle Richmond sets a great scene and managed to draw me in enough at the beginning that I found myself turning pages till the very end, staying up late into the night to finish the book, despite my not quite falling for the plot.  The central characters, Jake and Alice were a big part of that – they were complex and complicated and, as everything was told from Jake’s point of view, I could never be quite sure who Alice was and what she was thinking; this mean the final twist at the end did have me guessing as to which was she would fall.  It didn’t go as I expected but there is nothing wrong with that.  A story that can leave me saying I didn’t see something coming is always a good thing in my book.

So, a mixed bag, but not a bad one at all.  Would I recommend the book? Yes, I would but with the proviso to leave any need for a plot without holes or leaps of logic at the door.  Still, an enjoyable, fast paced, and fun read.

Emma x

About the book…

Newlyweds Alice and Jake are a picture-perfect couple. Alice, once a singer in a well-known rock band, is now a successful lawyer. Jake is a partner in an up-and-coming psychology practice. Their life together holds endless possibilities. After receiving an enticing wedding gift from one of Alice’s prominent clients, they decide to join an exclusive and mysterious group known only as The Pact.

The goal of The Pact seems simple: to keep marriages happy and intact, and most of its rules make sense: Always answer the phone when your spouse calls. Exchange thoughtful gifts monthly. Plan a trip together once per quarter. . . .

Never mention The Pact to anyone.

Alice and Jake are initially seduced by the glamorous parties, the sense of community, their widening social circle of like-minded couples–and then one of them breaks the rules. The young lovers are about to discover that for adherents to The Pact, membership, like marriage, is for life, and The Pact will go to any lengths to enforce that rule. For Jake and Alice, the marriage of their dreams is about to become their worst nightmare.

Source: NetGalley
Publisher: Penguin UK – Michael Joseph
Number of Pages: 415
Publication Date: 14th December, 2017 (paperback)
Rating: 3.75 / 5

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Looking back, going forward…

So, I know that it isn’t quite the end of 2017 and I should be saving my New Year’s resolutions until the 1st January but I have a feeling there won’t be much blogging from me next week, other than a few scheduled posts, as my to do list is as long as my arm, and I can’t say about the weeks after that as school is out so I’ll be on mommy duty. With all this in mind, I thought I’d spend a bit of time today looking back at my year of book blogging and think about the things I want to accomplish next year.

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