Book Chick City - Urban Fantasy & Romance Reviews http://www.bookchickcity.com Urban Fantasy & Romance Reviews Mon, 25 May 2015 17:00:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Rebecca’s Coveted Releases & TBR for May http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/05/rebeccas-coveted-releases-tbr-for-may.html http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/05/rebeccas-coveted-releases-tbr-for-may.html#comments Mon, 25 May 2015 17:00:42 +0000 http://www.bookchickcity.com/?p=60877 Welcome to our monthly feature here at BCC! Each month I will be sharing a selection of releases I’m most looking forward to, as well as giving you all an insight into what is on my TBR pile for that month. I’d love to hear if you’re anticipating (or reading) the same titles as I am!


COVETED MAY RELEASES


It’s hard to believe I’ve almost been writing this feature for a year now, but here we go again with a list of this month’s Coveted Releases & TBR!

1. The Long, Hot Summer by Kathleen MacMahon

The Long, Hot Summer by Kathleen MacMahonI’m kicking off my Coveted Releases post this month with a book to get us all in the summer spirit – The Long, Hot Summer by Kathleen MacMahon. Determined to be different to other families, the MacEntees have forged their own place in Irish society from the sheer force of their personalities. This book explores four generations of the family across nine different characters, as a series of misfortunes befalls them during the course of one summer. As they begin to question who they are, an 80th birthday party for the family matriarch reveals one more bombshell that could break the family apart. I’m keen to see how the dynamics of this book work with there being nine characters, and I’m hoping that there won’t be too many perspectives to keep track of. Nevertheless, this sounds like an intriguing summer read to break into the warmer months, and I can’t wait to get stuck in.

Release date: 21st May, Sphere

2. Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Uprooted by Naomi NovikI absolutely love the cover of Uprooted by Naomi Novik, the first in a new fantasy series that is rooted in folk lore and legends. Agnieszka loves her quiet village home, but it sits in the shadow of the Wood, a corrupt place full of power that needs controlling. The villagers trust the cold, driven wizard, Dragon, to protect the people, but in return for his help he demands one woman be handed over to serve him for ten years. With the next choosing fast approaching, Agnieszka is afraid that her best friend, Kasia, will be taken, as she is the most beautiful of the village’s maidens and the most likely to be chosen. However, Agnieszka’s fears might be unfounded, as the Dragon has another victim in mind… I love the sound of this book and definitely can’t wait to find out what happens, with this book creeping to the top of my must-buy list.

Release date: 19th May, Del Rey

3. Summer on Lovers’ Island by Donna Alward

Summer on Lovers' Island by Donna AlwardAnother summertime read released this month is Summer on Lovers’ Island by Donna Alward, which is part of the Jewell Cove series. Although I haven’t read anything in this series, I’m intrigued by the synopsis of this book, as it is all about a summer fling and the obstacles that prevent it from developing into a committed relationship. The story focuses on Lizzie Howard, who has always been top of her class and graduated from Harvard before becoming a trauma doctor. Her medical career has always come first, but a careless mistake leads her to take over a practice in Jewell Cove. This sleepy coast is a world away from the bustle Lizzie loves, but things start to look up when she meets widowed doctor, Joshua Collins. He has returned to the town to look for peace after his wife’s death, and the last thing he needs is a new woman in his life. I can’t wait to see where this one goes, as these characters definitely sound like they have a long road ahead before their love can bloom.

Release date: 5th May, St. Martin’s Press

4. Day Shift by Charlaine Harris

Day Shift by Charlaine HarrisDespite not having read the first book in this series yet, I am excited for the release of Day Shift by Charlaine Harris, which details the next set of adventures for the residents of Midnight, Texas. This time around, a new hotel is set to open in the sleepy little town, with its owner failing to impress the people with the scheme. Who would want to stay in their community, with its few businesses and secretive population? Not to mention the fact that the latest addition to the town, Manfred Bernardo, is caught up in a disastrous investigation that could well bring the media, police and lawyers to invade everyone’s privacy. Can the town of Midnight survive this latest catastrophic intrusion to their lives? I can’t wait to find out.

Release date: 5th May, Gollancz


MAY’S TBR


The books that I’m hoping to read throughout April from my ever-increasing TBR pile are:

1. A Clockwork Heart by Liesel Schwarz

A Clockwork Heart by Liesel SchwarzI really enjoyed the first book in The Chronicles of Light and Shadow series, so I’m excited to read the sequel, A Clockwork Heart by Liesel Schwarz. This time around, our heroine Eleanor Chance is now the Viscountess of Greychester, not to mention having embraced her powers as the Oracle. When Londoners start disappearing, then reappearing with a bit more clockwork attached, it is up to Elle to get to the bottom of the mystery. What does the maker of these clockwork hearts stand to gain from kidnapping locals, and what happens when one of their number combines this clockwork machinery with warlock magic? With Elle still learning the ropes of her own magic, will she be powerful to take on this new threat? I haven’t read any steampunk novels recently, so I’m desperate to get stuck into this one, as I’m a sucker for the genre.

2. Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris

Midnight CrossroadI have the second book in the series on my Coveted Releases this month, so it’s time to get around to reading the first book in the Midnight, Texas series, Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris. This first instalment sets the scene on the small community of Midnight, as new resident, Manfred Bernardo, settles in and introduces us to the mysterious residents of the town. There is the pawnshop, and the individual lurking in its basement, not to mention the witch across the street with her distinctive cat. As a murder mystery grips the town, the spotlight is cast on each member in turn as Harris builds up a thrilling new urban fantasy world that is sure to be a hit. As I haven’t read anything by her before, I’m excited to get my first look at her writing style and to see whether I will enjoy her writing as much as other reviewers do.

3. The Secret of Us by Liesel Schmidt

The Secret of Us by Liesel SchmidtAnother summertime romance is released his month in the form of The Secret of Us by Liesel Schmidt. This book is Eira’s story, beginning with a supposedly romantic meal with her fiancé that ends with his breaking up with her and scrawling a ‘sorry’ on a napkin. No longer feeling welcome in North Carolina, Eira makes the move to Florida in the hopes of rebuilding her life in the sun. However, a chance meeting drags Eira’s past right back into her present, offering her the opportunity to get her answers about love and the lies she has been told. If Eira is brave enough to listen, then she might well be rewarded with the future she always dreamed of. I’m keen to find out what secrets are lurking in this book, as the synopsis gives just enough clues to raise my curiosity, making me desperate to dive straight in and get some answers!

4. Wellies and Westies by Cressida McLaughlin

Wellies and Westies by Cressida McLaughlinA somewhat shorter book on my TBR this month, Wellies and Westies by Cressida McLaughlin is the first in a four-part serialisation all about the residents of Primrose Terrace. When Cat Palmer loses her job at a children’s nursery, she takes the opportunity to set up a dog-walking business for her fellow residents of Primrose Terrace. Amongst her clients are three excitable westies with a famous owner, as well an excitable daschund puppy. Now that her career is on track, there is a question of whether romance might follow, especially as she continues to bump into a handsome stranger in the park. With the help of her trusty flatmates, I’m sure that this will be the beginning of a light-hearted and uplifting tale, so I can’t wait to meet the neighbours!

5. Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger

Etiquette & EspionageI can’t believe it’s taken me so long to get around to reading this book, but this month I’m finally reading Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger. The first in the Finishing School series, this book introduces us to Sophronia Temminnick, who is causing a great problem for her mother, who simply wants her to become a proper lady. Instead, Sophronia likes to investigate how things work and climb into spaces she doesn’t belong, prompting her mother to send her to Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Ladies of Quality. Expecting the worst, Sophronia is thrilled to discover that this is not your normal finishing school, with the lessons teaching fighting and diversion alongside usual etiquette protocols. I can’t wait to find out how the first year at finishing school turns out, as I loved Carrigers’ previous series and her steampunk-take on Victorian England. There’s sure to be plenty of tea to drink and the latest fashions to scrutinise, not to mention integrating with werewolves and vampires.

I hope you’ve enjoyed me sharing my Monthly Releases and TBR, what releases do you plan to get your hands on in May?

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Weekly Roundup: 24th May 2015 http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/05/weekly-roundup-24th-may-2015.html http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/05/weekly-roundup-24th-may-2015.html#comments Sun, 24 May 2015 13:00:10 +0000 http://www.bookchickcity.com/?p=61146 Weekly Roundup Banner

Hi Guys! Hope you’re having a great weekend. Here’s the low down on what happened at BCC this week…


FEATURES & REVIEWS



CAROLYN’S ROUNDUP


Rule - Jay CrownoverThis week I finished audiobook Silver Bastard by Joanna Wylde, and I have to say I didn’t enjoy it that much. The narrator’s were pretty good, but I just didn’t like Puck. The way he spoke to Becca was just horrible. I’ve read enough to know a bad boy, and I get that the author was going for a no-holds-barred kind of guy who wasn’t going to apologise for who he was, but Puck just wasn’t it. He was just plain nasty, and used “fucking bitch” too many times. Becca started out as a funny heroine and I did enjoy reading her, but after a while she did become slightly annoying. I didn’t like this story as much as I did Reaper’s Property from Wylde’s Reapers series.

I’ve now started listening to Rule by Jay Crownover, a new adult romance. I’m only a few chapters in but so far I’m really enjoying it. I’m loving both main characters and the narrator’s are quite good, although the male voice is a little monotone but it’s listenable.

For physical books I’m a third of the way through Plague World by Dana Fredsti, the third and final book in the Ashley Parker zombie series. I am enjoying it, but I’m a bit disappointed that Gabriel, who was a main character in books one and two, and a very sexy love interest for Ashley, hasn’t made an appearance yet. Hopefully he will make an appearance soon as I really loved them together and his personal story was really interesting.

I’m hoping I will get to finish both of these this coming week, and then I have quite a hard decision to make as to which book I read next as I’ve just had a little spurge on Amazon… :)


LAURA’S ROUNDUP


the gambleSo this week I finished reading Silver Bastard by Joanna Wylde from her Reapers her spin-off series, Silver Valley. I really enjoyed it, although I decided that Becca was a bit of a lunatic and, as I have often found in Wylde’s biker books, I didn’t always like Puck. I also found I couldn’t put their story down. In fact, this is the quickest I have read a book this year, which is something given the major reading slump I have been having.

Then I decided that it was time for me to have a bit of a biker romance break. I feel like I might just be slightly getting my reading mojo back, so I wanted to pick up something I knew would be reasonably easy reading. After some deliberation and flicking through the Kindle and Goodreads Wishlist, I decided to go for a good old favourite – Kristen Ashley, and give her Colorado Mountain series a go. So I am now reading The Gamble and was suitably hooked right from the get go by the delicious Max. I can also then glom through the whole series on holiday next month should I wish to :-).


HOW WAS YOUR WEEK?


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NEW VIDEO: Furry Friend Tag http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/05/new-video-furry-friend-tag.html http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/05/new-video-furry-friend-tag.html#comments Sat, 23 May 2015 15:00:48 +0000 http://www.bookchickcity.com/?p=61197 Today’s video is the Furry Friend Tag! It’s was Bumble’s 3rd birthday on Wednesday 20th, so I thought this was the perfect video to do – I hope you enjoy it! :)

Furry Friend Tag Thumbnail

Click the image to access the video, or click here.

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My Personal & Fitness Goals for 2015 (all whilst dealing with life’s sh*t) http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/05/my-personal-fitness-goals-for-2015-all-while-dealing-with-lifes-sht.html http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/05/my-personal-fitness-goals-for-2015-all-while-dealing-with-lifes-sht.html#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 13:37:36 +0000 http://www.bookchickcity.com/?p=61157 Carolyn Running 5k

This is me a few years ago. I used to be an ultra fit, ultra healthy person. I was a gym bunny, a runner, and a long distance walker. Not a day would go by where I wasn’t doing something regarding exercise.

Here are some stats:

Walk to and from work: 11 miles a day, 5 days a week
Run 4 times per week: 3-6 miles each session
Gym 6 times per week: alternating between upper and lower body weights as well as different cardio machines to compliment my running

Fastest 5k time: 21 mins
Fastest 10k time: 48 mins

Height: 4’11” (150cm)
Weight: 7 st. 2 lbs. (healthy weight for my height)
Waist: 24 in.
Body Fat: 15%

You could call this obsessive, and I’d agree, but I loved it, and I was the healthiest and fittest I’d ever been. This was my life for years. Then everything changed.

The first thing was when I injured my knee. I was so down that I would “never run again” as declared by my knee specialist, that I decided if I couldn’t run then what’s the point of doing anything? (with regards to exercise). A silly attitude to have but I’m sure most runners can relate. As if this wasn’t enough for me to deal with (running was a huge part of my life), more was to come.

Over the last few years I’ve had to deal with two deaths in the family, unsuccessfully trying for a baby, three failed IVF treatments, psoriasis, being diagnosed with OCD, mild body dysmorphia, anxiety and depression, separation from my husband, and now a divorce.

I mean, *snort* no wonder I reached for the cookies while permanently attached to the sofa!

All jokes aside though, I was in a pretty bad way.

My body obviously changed greatly. I went from a toned, healthy, active individual to someone I didn’t even recognise. Here are some stats from three years ago, when I was in the thick of it.

Exercise: none
Food: everything
Weight: 10st 5lbs
Waist: 37 in.
Hips: 41 in.
Body Fat: 38%

As a 4’11” woman, I was overweight (hovering around obese) and extremely unhealthy. Suffering from depression stripped me of all motivation to do, or want to do, anything. Anxiety made anything I did manage to do even more unbearably difficult. Not having anyone around me who truly understood what I was going through, mentally or physically, was incredibly lonely.

But things have begun to change. I’m now exercising at least 3 times a week, my diet isn’t great but it’s getting better. I’m trying to teach myself not to reach for the bad food just because I’m feeling sad, but to grab a piece of fruit instead. Another thing I do if I want to snack is to make a drink; coffee or herbal tea. The ritual of making a drink seems to take my mind off food. I know I’m not hungry, I’m just trying to comfort myself with something sweet and stodgy, or savoury and salty (I don’t have a preference), but we all know it’s just a vicious circle; what makes you feel good for a short time eventually ends up making you feel bad for longer.

So, there have been changes in my body. Obviously it’s all not happening as quickly as I’d like but at least everything is going in the right direction. Down.

My stats now:

Weight: 8st 13lb
Waist: 31 in.
Hips: 37 in.
Body Fat: 31%

I think I’ve done well. Not great, but I’m getting there. I do feel better, mentally as well as physically, but it’s a daily struggle to keep on top of things and not slip back to old ways. I’ve realised that activity of any kind is a must when suffering from mental illness. It’s helped me anyway. I still find myself looking at the woman in the photograph and wondering where she is, but I believe she’s still here, she just needs time to reemerge. When life throws shit, I can either buckle or fight back, and I’ve realised that I’m strong enough to fight back. I also remind myself that I’ve had a shit few years, and I’m still going through a lot of difficult stuff, so I should stop punishing myself for not reaching my goals in ultra fast time. Instead I should feel proud of what I’ve achieved, and not just about the healthy eating or weight loss, but about my life in general.

I’ve been on my own now for nearly a year. I’m going to have to sell the house soon, and buy my own. Life is going to change drastically. But although it’s all as scary as hell, over the last few months I’ve felt a shift. A more optimistic me is starting to emerge. I’ve realised how much I changed over the years, how much I moulded aspects of myself to suit other people, but I’ve started to discover parts of my personality that I’d forgotten even existed or that I’d suppressed for so long. They’re all trying to make a come back.

However, as we all know, change doesn’t happen overnight like it does in the movies. Getting better and moving on is a slow process, and although it feels as if it’s taking forever, once it’s done, and you’ve arrived at your destination and look back at all you’ve achieved, it feels as though it hasn’t taken any time at all.

This year is going to be a year of change for me. I can’t prevent that, but I do have control over what I eat and how much exercise I do. I want to include positive changes that make me feel good while having to deal with the ones that make me feel sad. Losing weight and eating healthier food is always a good way to boost how I feel, it just takes work to actually DO IT. When I’m on a roll though, it does end up being fun and energising, rather than a chore, and it’s this that I have to keep in mind when things get tough.

So, my goals for 2015

Weight Goal: 8 st.
Waist: 28 in.
Hips: 34 in.
Body Fat: 25%

I think this is achievable with eating healthily but not cutting out everything that I enjoy, along with at least three fitness sessions a week. I don’t think I would be able to achieve 7 st. again without pushing really hard, and to be honest, I don’t know if I want to go back to that kind of obsessive lifestyle. Everything in moderation.

Tone Up: I used to have toned arms and a six pack – I miss that. Although I’m not sure I will be able to achieve my previous tone, I can get close. Anything is better than what I have now *looking at you batwings*

Run 5k: In the last couple of months I have started to run again but VERY slowly. With my personal trainer we started with alternating just 20 seconds of jogging with two minutes walking. I’m now running for 4 minutes and walking for one – for a whole hour!! Who said I would never run again. This has motivated me to want to run consistently, with no walking, for 30 mins. If I can do that then I can run 5K.

Join a Hiking Group: I’m hoping to move to Shropshire later this year, and there is gorgeous countryside all around. I’ve looked into it and there are lots of hiking groups, so I’m going to join one. Not only will it enable me to do one of my favourite activities safely (ie not on my own), I will also meet like minded people and hopefully make a friend or two.

Improve my Diet: My diet is getting better, my weight loss is a testament to that, but it can do with improving. At the moment, I don’t really have the motivation to cook, so although during the day I will make salads etc, my main meals are mostly ready meals. I’ve recently found the “Mini Meal” range by Marks & Spencer, and they are actually very nice. I’m ok with this for now, but when I move into my new house, and my life becomes more stable, I want to get back in the kitchen and start cooking again. I used to really enjoy it, and I was actually quite good at it too.

Enjoy Life: This is a biggie. It’s hard to enjoy life when life keeps shitting on you, but what’s the alternative? So I’ve decided to take more risks, even if it scares me. What’s the saying: Feel the fear and do it anyway. This is going to be my new motto. As with fitness, I know it will take time, moving though any mental illness is hard, but with it just being me, there’s no rush, nobody pressuring me, I can take my time. Baby steps.. The good thing is, I know I’ll get to where I want to be eventually.

Life is hard sometimes, but it’s how we deal with all those curve balls that shows us who we really are. I’ve learnt that I am strong, and I can cope. I don’t want to be bogged down by the all the bad things, I want to push through and be able to see and feel all the good things. No matter how bad it gets, life is worth the struggle. If I can do it, you can too. Let’s do it together.

This post is the start of my personal and fitness diary – I hope you come on my fitness journey with me.

Do you have any personal goals you’d like to achieve in 2015?

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REVIEW: A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/05/review-a-conspiracy-of-alchemists-by-liesel-schwarz.html http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/05/review-a-conspiracy-of-alchemists-by-liesel-schwarz.html#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 09:00:30 +0000 http://www.bookchickcity.com/?p=59585 A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel SchwarzA Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz marks the first in a new steampunk series that takes place across the world, as the characters travel across Europe with ingenious inventions in tow.

The book opens with protagonist Elle Chance entering a bar in Paris to meet with her old associate Patrice, who often provides her with jobs transporting cargo. This time, he hands her a mysterious box that is seemingly impossible to open and refuses to tell her what is inside. As payment, he bestows her with a diamond bracelet that soon attaches itself to her wrist and refuses to come off. However, they are soon interrupted by Mr Marsh, who is very interested as to who his box has been entrusted to for safe transit back to England. This is all the information Elle is given, much to her discomfort, as she is a very forthright character.

On the way back to her airship, she is ambushed and the box is taken, leaving her making a frantic escape back to England in the company of Mr Marsh and Patrice. Upon her arrival at home, she finds that her father has been taken by the elusive Alchemists, who wish to use his scientific knowledge to develop the Philosopher’s Stone and detach themselves from the Shadow realm. The Alchemists gain their power from the Shadow creatures, but are keen to be independent and take the power for themselves, which would also allow Shadow magic to dominate that of the Light used by Warlocks.

There is an ancient war raging between the Alchemists and the Warlocks, and Elle is soon thrown straight into the middle of it in her hunt for her father. Mr Marsh has secrets of his own to reveal to her, and Elle is left not knowing who to trust. She is reluctant to rely on anyone for help, instead trusting her faith in science and inventions rather than the rumours about the creatures of Light and Shadow. When faced with unknown truths about herself, Elle is left confused about who she is, especially when those secrets involve her mother, who died when Elle was only a child. There is much for Elle to discover in this book, with the prose style placing us right alongside Elle as she finds out the truth.

What I loved about this book was the slow introduction to the creatures of Light and Shadow, as the world building seems to be created at the perfect pace. We are first introduced to the steampunk elements, such as airships and dirigibles, with supernatural elements like absinthe fairies being explored later on. All of the elements knit together nicely as the plot progresses, making this a complex book to describe in its entirety. There is the war between Alchemists and Warlocks, which could be explored in more detail in future, as well as the romantic plotline that develops between Elle and Mr Marsh.

When it came to Elle, I loved how headstrong she was, especially when it came to rescuing her father. She was determined to do things her way, and would never abandon the search for him no matter what problems were thrown into her path. She also possesses an innate curiosity for all things scientific, with her love of airships being merely the tip of the iceberg. There are several instances when we get to see her passion shine through, and it helps to develop the steampunk aspects of the world and the creativity shown by some of the inventions. Her emotions regarding Mr Marsh are believable and often amusing, as her frustration with him instead becomes fondness and love.

Marsh’s feelings for Elle develop at a similar pace, although he is a little bit slower at seeing his feelings for what they are. He is protective of Elle, and often lets his emotions get in the way of his plans, but his good intentions are what make him a likeable character. We get several segments from his perspective, each of which giving us more of an insight into his motives and his secrets, as well as his actions when he is separated from Elle. Their perspectives complement each other well, and I thought they made a great couple from the very beginning.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the new world that Liesel Schwarz has introduced to us, especially with the vast number of twists and turns that take place throughout the plot. Some of the aspects were admittedly predictable, but at the same time I loved the conclusion and the way the plot was resolved. What intrigued me even further was the addition of the epilogue, which is just as well written as the rest of the book, and introduces questions and characters that I am dying to know more about. A fantastic world has been created here with a lot of potential for future plots and excitement, so I hope to read the next book in the series as soon as I can.

Verdict

A rip-roaring adventure filled with all things steampunk, as we are treated to dirigible rides, intriguing inventions and a fair share of romantic tension. This book takes us across the world in spectacular style, maintaining a shttps://www.goodreads.com/low and steady pace of world building at the same time. I really enjoyed learning about the contrasting existence of Light and Shadow, as well as seeing the relationship between Elle and Marsh develop further. For a first instalment, this book has definitely sparked my interest enough to want to know more, especially with the addition of a mysterious epilogue.

Rating: 4 Stars


A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz
(The Chronicles of Light and Shadow #1)
Steampunk, Romance
Ebury (7 Feb 2013)
Ebook: 388 pages

Website || Goodreads || Amazon UK: Paperback / Kindle || Amazon US: Paperback / Kindle

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My Current Favourite Breakfast Smoothie http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/05/my-current-favourite-breakfast-smoothie.html http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/05/my-current-favourite-breakfast-smoothie.html#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 09:00:50 +0000 http://www.bookchickcity.com/?p=60708 Smoothie Post 1I love smoothies. They are such a great way to get nutrients into your body in an easy drinkable way. I’m not really a morning food person, well before 9am anyway. I do enjoy brunch though. However, I find that if I drink my breakfast then I’m okay. So over the years I’ve experimented, some have been successful and others not so much, but recently I’ve been making the one below.

As you can see, it’s a very simple, low carb, smoothie, but you get two of your five a day (which I like to go by as a guide), and because of the cottage cheese, a good amount of protein. I also have this as a post-toning workout smoothie too (I make a slightly different smoothie if I’ve done mostly a cardio workout). Now, I bet you turned your nose up a bit at the mention of cottage cheese. It’s definitely a hate or love it kind of food, but when you blend it with all the other ingredients you really don’t taste it, it just gives the smoothie a lovely creaminess. Honest. Below are the ingredients and the amounts that I use. When blended this gives me about a pint of smoothie, which is plenty and really fills me up.

Smoothie Post

80g blackberries
80g raspberries
150ml coconut water
150g low fat cottage cheese
tsp honey

Calories: 206 calories
Protein: 19g
Carbohydrates: 28g
Sugar: 27g
Fat: 2g

I’m not a dietician or a nutritionalist, I’m just sharing the smoothies that I love to make and that work well for me, and this has become one of my favourite smoothies, especially if I’m not wanting a lot of carbs. You may think it contains a high amount of sugar but remember most of the sugar comes from natural sources. You can also vary the fruit too. I’ve tried blueberries and strawberries, banana and blueberries, and all sorts of other combinations. I’ve also added mango, which gives it a lovely tropical taste.

Smoothie Post 2

Why not try it for yourself! If you do let me know what you think in the comments below, or make it and tweet me your pictures: @CarolynStorer_ If you want more posts/recipes like this then let me know! Enjoy :)

* I use My Fitness Pal as my calorie counter


]]> http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/05/my-current-favourite-breakfast-smoothie.html/feed 2 Agatha Christie Facsimile Editions in Hardback – Just Look At These Beauties! http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/05/agatha-christie-facsimile-editions-in-hardback.html http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/05/agatha-christie-facsimile-editions-in-hardback.html#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 09:00:04 +0000 http://www.bookchickcity.com/?p=60602 Agatha Christie Vintage Hardbacks

I love Agatha Christie. I have done ever since I read The Man in the Brown Suit when I was twelve. There is of course a formula to her books, but it works and I’ve loved every book I’ve read, albeit in varying degrees. They make me feel comforted, snuggly, all warm inside. They evoke sentimentality and nostalgia. I’m only three quarters of the way through Christie’s catalogue but I know I will finish all her books at some point. I’m also collecting the entire back log of work too, and I have around 75 paperbacks so far, a combination of full length novels and short-stories.

I then came across these beauties. Facsimile editions of the original published book. I’ve bought four so far, but I want the entire collection. They are pretty expensive, at around £12 per book, so I will collect them slowly.

I didn’t even know that facsimile editions existed until I came across these on Amazon, and it isn’t just the covers, everything is the same as the original edition, from the typeface to inside covers. Just take a look.


The Secret of Chimneys


The Secret of Chimneys - Agatha Christie    The Secret of Chimneys - Inside Cover

Order your copy via Amazon


Murder is Easy


Murder is Easy - Agatha Christie    Murder Made Easy - Inside Cover

Order your copy via Amazon


And Then There Were None


And Then There Were None - Agatha Christie    And Then There Were None - Inside Cover

Order your copy via Amazon


The Hound of Death


The Hound of Death - Agatha Christie    The Hound of Death - Inside Cover

Order your copy via Amazon


They are just so lovely and hold pride of place on my bookshelves – I can’t wait to own the entire collection.

Do you own a favourite collection of books?

*This is not a sponsored post – all opinions are my own. However, Amazon links are affiliated.

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REVIEW: Disclaimer by Renée Knight http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/05/review-disclaimer-by-renee-knight.html http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/05/review-disclaimer-by-renee-knight.html#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 09:00:13 +0000 http://www.bookchickcity.com/?p=60589 Disclaimer by Renée KnightA book that is already building up a fair degree of hype, Disclaimer by Renée Knight begs the question of what if someone were to publish a book telling your most revealing secret.

Catherine Ravenscroft has recently moved house with her husband, Robert, downsizing after their twenty-five-year-old son, Nicholas, had moved out to gain his independence. In the ensuing chaos of unpacking boxes, a book titled ‘The Perfect Stranger’ has mysteriously appeared upon Charlotte’s bedside table. She has no memory of buying the book, and neither does her husband, but when she begins to read the novel, she realises that the protagonist, Charlotte, is just a pseudonym. The story told within the book’s pages is that of their family holiday to Spain when Nick was aged five, where Robert had to fly home early for work and left mother and son behind.

The tragedy that resulted from this Spanish getaway has haunted Catherine for years, but she buried it in the hopes that she would never have to reveal her secret. She destroys the book, only to find that more copies begin to appear around her, with them having been sent to both her husband and their son. Who could possibly be so desperate as to destroy her happiness all these years later? And does their vengefulness know no bounds?

Retired teacher Stephen Brigstocke holds the answers to these questions, as his perspective alternates with Catherine’s and we are given a glimpse of the how and why he plans to exact his revenge. He is suffering with loneliness since the deaths of both his wife and his son, and comes across some unexpected evidence when he is sorting through his wife’s possessions. They link him to Catherine in a way he never could have imagined, striking up a bitter resentment for her family and the happy family she has created.

I can’t give away much more about the connection between Stephen and Catherine without ruining the plot, but the links that bind them together are cleverly introduced throughout the book, with the potential to irrevocably damage both of their lives. What intrigued me the most was that this secret relates to something twenty years ago, yet it is just as relevant in the present as it was in the past. That it has the potential to damage so many lives only increases the tension, whilst you are kept waiting for a big reveal that you know will only be a matter of time.

I thought that Catherine was a bit of an enigma at first, and the feeling of empathy for her is definitely a slow burner. Yes, she has a secret, but the reader is kept in the dark about it for a long time, and this made it hard to sympathise with Catherine’s victimisation as you are never whether she actually deserves it. Her life slowly begins to unravel during the book, as she faced with a series of new dilemmas that all point back to Stephen’s interference. Somehow, he even manages to penetrate her workplace and makes sure that nowhere feels safe for her, especially as his book continues to pop up in unexpected places.

It is also somewhat difficult to empathise with Stephen, although his strong abundance of grief can be felt from the beginning. He is completely alone in the world, without his wife or his son to care for, or even any friends to seek comfort from. When he discovers the clues that lead him to Catherine, it’s as if he has finally found something to live for, even if it is for all the wrong reasons. His vengeance motivates him to take extreme measures, as his moral compass slowly deteriorates before our eyes. Even Stephen is surprised at some of the things he does, convincing himself that it is what his dead wife would have wanted.

In a story that maps these two opposing lives together, Knight succeeds in crafting an interesting thriller that always has you asking ‘why’. Even when we think we know the secret, another bombshell is thrown in to take us in a different direction, especially towards the conclusion. I think the family dynamics are well-explored between both families, as Catherine has the family Stephen craves and yet still there are cracks between them. It is only with the revelation of the secret that the family realises where their issues with each other lie, with it almost becoming an unconscious presence that has haunted them all, rather than just Catherine. I was thoroughly impressed with this debut from Knight, and definitely look forward to reading her next novel.

A thrilling novel that makes you wonder what your own life would look like if someone were to fictionalise it, this book is an utterly compelling read from start to finish. I was hooked by Catherine’s story and how it merged with Simon’s, and loved the idea of finding a mysterious book that reveals your darkest secrets. The plot takes you on an emotional journey that explores the causes and consequences of a twenty-year-old secret, especially given the serious repercussions that follow. There is the added exploration of family relationships, and how misguided perceptions can lead to irrecoverable damage.

Rating: 4.5 Stars


Disclaimer by Renée Knight
Thriller
Transworld (9 Apr 2015)
Ebook: 304 pages

Goodreads || Amazon UK: Hardback / Kindle || Amazon US: Hardback / Kindle

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Weekly Roundup: 17th May 2015 http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/05/weekly-roundup-17th-may-2015.html http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/05/weekly-roundup-17th-may-2015.html#comments Sun, 17 May 2015 09:00:00 +0000 http://www.bookchickcity.com/?p=61029 Weekly Roundup Banner

Hi Guys! Hope you’re having a great weekend. Here’s the low down on what happened at BCC this week…


FEATURES & REVIEWS



CAROLYN’S ROUNDUP


Archangel's Legion - Nalini SinghThis week I finished A Pound of Flesh by Sophie Jackson, which was ok but not great. Unfortunately, I had quite a few issues with it. I also finished audiobook The Plan by C. Dulaney – woo hoo! It took me quite a while to finish this one, and I must say glad it’s done as it wasn’t the best.

I then began three very different books (I’m not monogamous) as I really couldn’t decide which one to start first: Plague World by Dana Fredsti, the third book in the Ashley Parker zombie urban fantasy series; The Chocolate Lover’s Diet by Carole Matthews, the second book in The Chocolate Lover’s Club series, which is more chick lit than contemporary romance, and Archangels’ Legion by Nalini Singh, the sixth book in the Guild Hunter series, and one of my favourite paranormal romance authors.

I’ve also started a new audiobook, Silver Bastard by Joanne Wylde, the first book in the Sweet Valley series. I listened to the first book in her Reapers series, Reaper’s Property, and quite enjoyed it and as I can’t find any more of the series on Audible, I decided to start the only other audiobook by Joanne Wylde, which was Silver Bastard. I hope they get their arses in gear about the rest of the Reapers series and I would like to finish it.


LAURA’S ROUNDUP


Silver Bastard (Silver Valley #1) - Joanna WildeOk, I’m sorry if this is getting a bit boring now – yes, yes it’s another biker romance. I have no idea what’s wrong with me I can’t seem to stop reading them! Not only that, but I pre-ordered two more bikers books this week too lol. What can I say, when I get into something, I get into something!

So, this week I’ve been reading Silver Bastard by Joanna Wylde, which is book number one in her spin-off series Silver Valley. It’s got a lot of the characters featured in her Reapers series in it. Although you could read it as a stand-alone, I personally think you would get more out of it reading it after you have read the first four Reaper books. Puck is the main character of this story who we met in Reaper’s Stand and the premise of the story is an interesting one, with Puck meeting Becca when she is very young. I don’t want to stay too much in case I spoil things.

Then I pre-ordered book number five in Wylde’s Reapers series – Reaper’s Fall, which isn’t out until November anyway, so I have ages to wait. And, book number three in Kristen Ashley’s Chaos series – Ride Steady which is out at the end of June. Can’t wait for that one :-).


HOW WAS YOUR WEEK?


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WEEKEND READS: Biker Romance http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/05/weekend-reads-biker-romance.html http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/05/weekend-reads-biker-romance.html#comments Sat, 16 May 2015 09:00:00 +0000 http://www.bookchickcity.com/?p=61028 What are you reading this weekend? Anything you think we should be reading, or maybe your current read is just a bit… bleh. Whether you’re loving or hating your current read, we want to know about it! We love to hear about books (as if you didn’t know).

Here’s a run down on what we’ll be reading this weekend:


LAURA


Silver Bastard (Silver Valley #1) - Joanna Wilde

Are you getting bored of me and my biker romances yet? Sorry if you are, I am completely in the biker romance zone. After I had finished Reaper’s Stand by Joanna Wylde, I was going to move onto something different. But, I didn’t realise that Puck, a very interesting character introduced in the book, was the main character in her spin-off series Silver Valley, which meant that I immediately bought and downloaded Silver Bastard, the first in the series.

I’m pretty sure I will finish it this weekend too, because I cannot seem to put it down! Anyone else a Joanna Wylde fan? No idea what I’m going to read when I’ve finished, but I am thinking that perhaps I need to move genre!


WHAT ARE YOU READING THIS WEEKEND?


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NEW VIDEO: My Bucket List http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/05/new-video-my-bucket-list.html http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/05/new-video-my-bucket-list.html#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 14:58:05 +0000 http://www.bookchickcity.com/?p=61098 Today’s video is my bucket list – we all have one of those don’t we? Let me know yours in the comments. I also say “love” and “awesome” a lot too… sorry about that LOL 😀

My Bucket List Banner

Click the image to access the video, or click here.

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REVIEW: The Last Honeytrap by Louise Lee http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/05/review-the-last-honeytrap-by-louise-lee.html http://www.bookchickcity.com/2015/05/review-the-last-honeytrap-by-louise-lee.html#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 09:00:13 +0000 http://www.bookchickcity.com/?p=60504 The Last Honeytrap by Louise LeeA book that focuses on the entrapment of men and the ability to see whether they would stray, The Last Honeytrap by Louise Lee is certainly a different kind of read.

The book opens with a look at protagonist Florence Love’s job as a private investigator, as she focuses her attentions on a foreign diplomat. However, we soon learn that although she calls herself a private investigator, she is in fact an ‘entrapment specialist’, whereby worried wives and girlfriends will contact Flo and ask her to seduce their men, hoping to establish whether they are the kind to stray. At first, this appears interesting as Florence explains the telltale signs of body language, and how to tell if the man is interested in physical contact. Then, she goes in for her failsafe method of a five-second kiss without tongues, capturing the whole thing on camera.

Flo never carries out these exchanges at her own flat, instead relying on her brother, Michael, to give up his front room and walk in at just the right moment. However, her perceptions are challenged when she is approached by a young woman named Alice, who claims to be the secret girlfriend of superstar singer, Scott Delaney. With their relationship due to go public in less than two weeks, Alice wants to test Scott’s loyalty before she ends up splashed all over the tabloids, saving them both a lot of heartache.

In what becomes Florence’s biggest professional test, to infiltrate a superstar’s life, she soon learns that not all her targets are the sleazeballs she has come to expect, and that there is more to Scott than just a pretty face. Running alongside all this is Florence’s preoccupation with her mother’s disappearance years before, as she is convinced that she is still alive and did not commit suicide. We are treated to a host of information about Flo’s past, not to mention her two ex-husbands, as she is tasked with investigating her own life as well as that of her clients’.

On paper, I loved the sound of this book and thought that a private investigator looking into the private life of a superstar would make for good reading. However, I was sadly disappointed by the haphazard writing style of this book and the dysfunctional heroine that doesn’t seem to have a clue how to run her life. The writing was good, but the positioning of the flashback scenes was often odd and didn’t seem to flow as easily as it perhaps could have done. Some of her past didn’t seem relevant to the present at all, and it felt like the scenes had been slotted in anywhere just to make sure they were included.

Despite this, the book was highly readable and I read it quickly, with my main problem being the protagonist. Florence was not at all likeable, even in her most vulnerable moments when she delves into what could have happened to her mother. She is cruel and cutting to those who are supposedly her friends, as well as being exceptionally bitter towards the male sex purely because she has two failed marriages under her belt at the age of thirty-three. Regardless of her harsh nature, what really grated on me was her treatment of Michael, who suffers from a disability that leaves him unable to fully assess social situations. Florence fully exploits her brother’s mentality, making him miss a job audition and even drugging his drink so she can be alone with Scott.

As a result, I didn’t empathise with Florence’s feelings at all, instead feeling that she deserved everything that came her way. She builds up a genuine connection with Scott, finding a man that she could have loved had the circumstances been different, but I wanted her to get as far away from him as possible. He is the complete opposite of Florence where moral standards are concerned, and I couldn’t help feeling that she would have ruined his goodness if they had gotten together, not to mention wrecking someone else’s relationship. The whole business of ‘entrapment’ became more like home-wrecking as the book went on, with all investigative elements falling by the wayside.

On the whole, I was very disappointed with this title as I expected a lot more, and was not even that surprised by the twist that gets thrown in towards the end. Unless there is a vast improvement to Florence’s character, I have no desire to continue to read this series, as this first book is definitely left open with questions that still need answers. I think the writer was aiming to produce a sassy and forthright heroine, but instead she is just too cruel to be likeable, with her wit never producing that much humour. I didn’t completely dislike this book, as it was still easy to read, but the amoral main character was a turn off for me, as even the most kickass heroines know when to be nice to their friends.

A somewhat bizarre book that doesn’t appear to follow a set genre pattern or have a smooth-running plotline, I could take or leave this book given my mood. I found Florence exceptionally difficult to connect or empathise with as a character, and thought that her treatment of her brother was cruel at best, only serving to prove her self-centredness. The plot of this book was fragmented, with flashbacks strewn in repeatedly with little or no warning, not to mention the constant obsession with Flo’s missing mother. I had little sympathy for Flo and her connection with Scott, instead finding her practice of ensnaring of men to be cheap and distasteful.

Rating: 2.5 Stars


The Last Honeytrap by Louise Lee
(Florence Love #1)
Chick-Lit
Headline (12 Mar 2015)
Ebook: 356 pages

Website || Goodreads || Amazon UK: Paperback / Kindle

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