Review: Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell

IMG_9374[1]First things first, have you seen how gorgeous the latest Penguin English Library books are? I’m sure they get more and more stunning to behold with each new release! It’s fairly obvious that this is probably my favourite collection of books, and as you might have guessed I’ve amassed a fair collection of them as time has gone by. Pretty as they are (and boy they really really are!), they are also great examples of classic pieces of literature, and I love reading them just as much as I love staring adoringly at the covers! Realising it’ss been a while since I’d read anything from this range I decided to pick up a short little number from Elizabeth Gaskell.

Cranford is of course an extremely well known book with multiple TV adaptations and a firm fan following, but what is it really about? Having now read the book I think the best way to describe it is to say it focuses quite specifically on the inhabitants of Cranford itself and the daily goings of this small community. ‘Dominated by women and governed by old-fashioned ways’, the book looks at several different female characters and the ways in which they interact within this self-contained microcosm of society.

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Review: Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb

IMG_9337[1]If you’re a regular follower of this blog you’ll know that one of the series I was most anxious to finish was The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb. I’ve read the first two books, Assassin’s Apprentice and Royal Assassin, and fell completely and utterly in love with Robin Hobb’s books. She has such a unique blend of imaginative fantasy combined with razor sharp characters and prose. Likewise, the actual plots of her books are ridiculously addictive and I couldn’t wait any longer to find out what had happened to Fitz!

This third and final book in this series picks up almost directly from where the previous book left off. Fitz is barely alive, his humanity all but stripped away and his bond with his wolf stronger than ever before. The King is dead, Verity the heir is missing, and Prince Regal has seized the throne for his own self. Even his true love Molly has left him and lives in the belief that Fitz is dead. With nothing left to lose Fitz sets out for Regal, determined to seek revenge on the man who has most utterly destroyed his life and falsely claimed the throne. Yet the Red-Ship Raiders draw ever closer to the shores, and there seems only one thing which can stop them.

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Review: The Harry Potter Companion Volumes by J. K. Rowling

IMG_9260[1]I would say 90% of readers mention their love for the Harry Potter series at some time or another. What I find pretty amazing is that I’ve managed to restrain myself from proclaiming my love for Harry Potter on this blog for so long. I am a huge fan of the novels, the films, and pretty much anything else that surrounds the magical world J. K. Rowling has created, so the fact I haven’t really gushed about this over and over is a pretty good show of self restraint!

Today however, I purposefully want to delve into the world of Harry Potter, and with good reason. Most people have read the series and watched the films and adored them, becoming attached to the characters and the story in a way they have never experienced before. It’s because of this passionate and hardcore love I so often see that I still find it so surprising that many people haven’t read the other extra books that are there to enrich the world even further. Today I want to bring more people’s attention to some of the books which J. K. Rowling wrote in support of various charities – not only because the proceeds go to a good cause, but because the books are an absolutely amazing extension of the wizarding world series as a whole! So today’s post isn’t so much a review as it is an attempt to bring these books to more people’s attention!

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Restaurant James Sommerin, Penarth

IMG_9076[1]I am a massive foodie and I’m engaged to a chef (utter bliss!) As you might imagine, between the pair of us we have a massive passion for eating ALL of the food. With my fiancés birthday coming up I knew I wanted to book a table somewhere special for us to eat. I wanted somewhere we hadn’t tried before and somewhere that was fancy enough to give us an excuse to put on our glad rags and make the most of the rare night off together (unsociable chef working hours be damned!). I quickly decided on James Sommerin’s Michelin starred restaurant, a place we had been eager to try for far too long!

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Review: The King’s Witch by Tracy Borman

IMG_9171[1]Surprise , surprise! This week I’m bringing you yet another historical fiction review. Most of you will surely know by now how much I love this genre of fiction and I’ve been reading a lot of great books surrounding it lately! Most recently we have the likes of The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock and Jane Seymour: The Haunted Queen, both of which I would definitely recommend.

When I was very kindly sent The King’s Witch by the lovely team at Hodder I was thrilled. Firstly, it’s historical fiction. Secondly, the title suggested something superstitious and surrounding the persecution of women. Thirdly, it’s set in the reign of King James I, a period I’ve read relatively little about. Of course, I also can’t forget to mention the stunning cover design, which is both regal and beautiful in its rich colours of deep red and gold.

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Review: The Idiot by Elif Batuman

IMG_9130[1]By the time this review goes up I imagine the winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction should already have been announced.  Even so, I really wanted to put up my reviews of the last two shortlisted books I had left to read. So far my favourites have undoubtedly been The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock and Sing, Unburied, Sing, and I was pretty sure that my next read of The Idiot by Elif Batuman wasn’t going to top either of them. It sounds a bit ignorant to say that, but I had heard such mixed reviews about the book that I was slightly wary of starting it. Likewise, the blurb did nothing to inspire my interest or really get me excited to delve into the story.

The Idiot follows a young girl names Selin who has recently started her education at Harvard. The blurb describes her as ‘dangerously overwhelmed by the challenges and possibilities of adulthood’, and indeed we follow Selin throughout the year as she begins to learn new things and meet different people.  From education and classes, to friends and love interests; the book seems to promise quite a lot.

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