Friday Face – Off: Magic

Friday Face-Off is a weekly meme originally created by Books by Proxy, and is currently hosted by Lynn’s Books.

The idea is to compare different book covers, based on a weekly changing theme.

The theme for this week’s Friday Face-Off is books with magic in the title. And the book I chose is Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman.

As a rule, my personal preference for book covers tends to be ones that are not related to the movie version. When buying new books, I never choose the copy that is associated with the movie.

I would love this cover if it were not for the actors plastered on front. The red sky against the black background is gorgeous, particularly with the spooky black house. But for me, the pictures of actors takes away from that beauty.

This one is interesting, in that all of the other book covers are much deeper and darker. I like it, but I don’t, if you know what I mean.

So that brings us to the top 3:

I like the simplicity of the first one. The two flowers against the dark blue background stand out perfectly, and I adore the little white trim around the edge.

The second one is simple and sleek. I like the black cat watching the moon.

The third one is a busy kind of elegance. The galaxy background, the roses, the boot, and the yellow of the font, all work so well together.

I like each of those three book covers, but if I were standing in a bookstore, staring at the three, the one I would take home is:

What do you think of these book covers? Which one is your favourite?

Book Review: The Titanic Detective Agency

The Titanic Detective Agency by Lindsay Littleson

Unlock the secrets of the unsinkable ship…

Bertha Watt, tree-climber and would-be polar explorer, is excited to be on RMS Titanic’s maiden voyage, as she leaves Aberdeen behind for the glamour of a new life in America.

But Bertha quickly realises that some passengers are behaving strangely, and she determines to unravel their secrets. With new friend, Madge, Bertha sets up her own detective agency to try and solve the mysteries onboard, but they have no idea that disaster is looming for Titanic.

Can they help Johan find the hidden treasure and unmask the identity of the enigmatic Mr Hoffman before time runs out on the ‘unsinkable’ ship?

This was a nice little read. The author tells an enthralling story of real-life historical characters on board the doomed ship, Titanic. The tale specifically follows three children who travelled, and survived, the Titanic’s first and only voyage.

Bertha is a feisty, outspoken, 12 year old girl with a very vivid imagination and a penchant for curiosity and discovery. With her new friend Madge in tow, she goes on a mission to solve mysteries on board the ship. Bertha soon meets Johan, a Swedish boy with a treasure map. Despite Johan speaking no English and being a third-class passenger, Bertha jumps at the chance to help him search for the treasure.

In this book, the author touches on many aspects of society at the time, including the class system and the contrast between the classes. But the story never falters, and successfully weaves fact and fiction to bring the characters to life as they move towards the climactic moment of the ship’s voyage and they witness the panic and confusion of the evacuation, the desperate fight for survival and the heroism of those who chose to die so that others could live.

This was a nice, compelling read, with a strong sense of doom permanently hanging in the background. Bertha is a fun girl to read about, and my heart ached for Johan as he travelled alone, struggling to make sense of what was happening on board the Titanic.

Have you read The Titanic Detective Agency? Let me know what you thought?

Check out The Titanic Detective Agency on goodreads and Amazon.

Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. Chaotic&Colourful is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a way for sites to earn small commission by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Chaotic&Colourful will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated!

WWW Wednesday- Feb 24 2021

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Taking On A World Of Words. WWW Wednesday is a quick look and current update in the life of a reader, by answering three simple questions.

The three W’s are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you finish reading recently?
  • What do you think you will read next?

What are you currently reading?

The House By The Sea by Louise Douglas. Yes, I’m finally reading this, and I am mad at myself for waiting so long. It is fantastic. It is dark and eerie, with a few specks of joy. Edie and ex-husband Joe inherit an old family villa in Sicily. At the villa, there are strange occurrences and puzzle pieces of a mystery to discover.

What did you finish reading recently?

The Rye Rooftop Club by Mark Feakins. This was an interesting read. Ralph leaves his old life behind in order to move to Rye, Sussex, where he buys an old run down bookshop, and finally gets to live his life on his own terms. Anna owns the bakery, where she specializes in odd sounding pies (Turkey and coconut cream anyone?). She is unlucky in love and always on the look out for Mr. Right. Joe is the owner of the local hardware store and corny jokes. He has a revolving door of women he has dated and in no rush to settle down. And Auntie B. is a 92 year old woman who is full of wisdom and Dickens quotes. Together the four of them make up the Rye Rooftop Club, a small family who share the highs and lows of life and love. This book has a whole array of colourful characters.

What do you think you will read next?

The Singles Table by Tasmina Perry. With my current read being quite a heavy one, I will probably want something a little on the lighter side next. So The Singles Table is my next pick.

Have you read any of these books? Let me know what you thought!

Book Review: Matchmaking For Beginners

Matchmaking For Beginners by Maddie Dawson.

Whatever happens, love that.

Marnie MacGraw wants an ordinary life—a husband, kids, and a minivan in the suburbs. Now that she’s marrying the man of her dreams, she’s sure this is the life she’ll get. Then Marnie meets Blix Holliday, her fiancé’s irascible matchmaking great-aunt who’s dying, and everything changes—just as Blix told her it would.When her marriage ends after two miserable weeks, Marnie is understandably shocked. She’s even more astonished to find that she’s inherited Blix’s Brooklyn brownstone along with all of Blix’s unfinished “projects”: the heartbroken, oddball friends and neighbors running from happiness. Marnie doesn’t believe she’s anything special, but Blix somehow knew she was the perfect person to follow in her matchmaker footsteps.
And Blix was also right about some things Marnie must learn the hard way: love is hard to recognize, and the ones who push love away often are the ones who need it most.

Marnie knows exactly where her life is headed. She’s engaged to the love of her life, Noah, and together they will create a stable, ordinary life. Yes, Marnie can see her future exactly as she has it mapped out in her mind. The problem is that she’s 100% wrong. The marriage makes it all of a couple of weeks, and the perfect life she has envisioned comes crumbling down around her.

Noah’s great-aunt Blix is the family outcast. A free spirit who has carved out a magical life of her own filled with colourful characters. Blix only meets Marnie twice, but she feels an instant connection, recognizing her as a fellow spirit. Blix is convinced that Marnie has a big, big life ahead of her, and that the life does not involve Noah.

This book has a touch of magic, a little humour, and a lot of romance. The author has an amazing sense of humour to come up with this. Marnie is an idiot most of the time, and in some ways she really annoyed me, but you get used to it the deeper you go. I loved Blix, she is the crazy relative in the corner that everyone avoids (but shouldn’t as she is the most fun). I kind of wish we got to spend a bit more time with her, but I enjoyed the way her memory lived on through the pages.

This is a sweet and lighthearted book, and a quick, enjoyable read.

I rate Matchmaking For Beginners 4/5. I enjoyed the story, but there were several moments when I truly just wanted to slap Marnie out of frustration.

Have you read Matchmaking For Beginners? Let me know what you thought of it.

Check it out on goodreads or Amazon.

Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. Chaotic&Colourful is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a way for sites to earn small commission by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Chaotic&Colourful will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated!

Bartholomew Mills And The January Dawn Book Review

Bartholomew Mills And The January Dawn by David Carmalt

The year is 1798 and Bartholomew Mills has never left Plymouth before, let alone been to sea. Suddenly orphaned and alone, he joins Captain James Morel aboard the January Dawn and quickly realises that life on the ocean is fraught with danger – from nature itself as well as from a tyrannical crew bent on finding fortune. These are the last years of Atlantic piracy for the Dawn; Morel and his sadistic first mate, Ivor Stanhope, will let nothing stand in the way of their journey towards the fertile hunting grounds of the Caribbean. Adventure ensues and friendships are forged as Bartholomew and his small band of mates battle the elements, disease and the relentless threat of attack. But when he learns a terrible secret which stokes a burning desire for revenge, Bartholomew’s courage, loyalty and life will be tested like never before.

Bartholomew Mills And The January Dawn tells the story of 12 year old Bart and his adventure on board the ship The January Dawn as it sails from England to Barbuda during the final years of piracy. The journey is full of perils both on and off the ship.

I found this book to be both well written and entertaining, and I developed a real soft spot for Bartholomew. The imagery of the story was beautiful, and the adventures and shenanigans that took place on the ship were well thought out and all necessary to the plot.

The friendship between the three boys – Bart, Sebastian and Jonah – has a famous five kind of vibe about it, which I very much enjoyed. In a strange way, this book feels very much like a classic.

I would rate Bartholomew Mills And The January Dawn as 4/5 for a very good read.

Emergency Room Book Review

Emergency Room by Caroline B. Cooney

College freshmen Seth and Diana volunteer in an emergency room to learn how to save lives — and along the way, they learn to live.

Seth volunteers at City Hospital to get first-hand experience with emergency medicine — and get comfortable with blood and trauma before attending medical school, so he’ll have an edge over the competition. Diana volunteers in the inner-city ER to save the world, one patient at a time. If she gets to show up arrogant Seth too, so much the better. The one thing these two college freshmen share is a desire to be a part of the ER’s action. Tonight, hour by hour and minute by minute, they will get their wish as they confront a student with a gunshot wound, the victim of a gruesome motorcycle accident, and a kidnapping gone horribly awry. Their adrenaline-fueled night will alter the course of Seth and Diana’s lives — and the lives of everyone in the emergency room — forever.

There is a lot that happens in this book, many events and characters packed into these pages. It is busy and hectic, and so fast paced that I barely had a chance to connect with any of the characters. And I found myself wondering what happened to some characters that were mentioned and then hardly brought up again. The girl in the opening chapter is involved in an event, but I never got the chance to find out what happened to her by the end of the book.

I mean, I get it, the book is written in a fast paced style to emulate an action packed evening in an emergency department/waiting room. If that was the intention, then it did the job. But as the reader I found it somewhat disjointing to keep bouncing around. The story is exciting and the events are all quite traumatic, but I wanted a little more of something more. Most of the chapters were told from Seth or Diana’s point of view, but still I felt that I didn’t really get to know them.

All in all, I rate this book 3/5. It did a good job of recreating the chaos of a busy emergency department, but I just don’t think it was for me.

WWW WEDNESDAY – 17 Feb 2021

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Taking On A World Of Words. WWW Wednesday is a quick look and current update in the life of a reader, by answering three simple questions.

The three W’s are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you finish reading recently?
  • What do you think you will read next?

What are you currently reading?

The Rye Rooftop Club by Mark Feakins. I’m only a chapter or so into it at this point, so I don’t really have an opinion on it yet.

What did you finish reading recently?

Big Sexy Love by Kirsty Greenwood. This was a heartwarming, slightly predictable, rollercoaster of emotions. I knew what was going to happen several pages in, but it is funny and entertaining enough that I didn’t care. Full review is here.

Matchmaking For Beginners by Maddie Dawson. Magic, humour, and a lot of romance. Marnie inherits a house in Brooklyn from a woman she met twice, but with whom she had an instant connection. Once in Brooklyn, she meets an array of colourful characters. I liked this one a fair amount, although I found myself getting quite annoyed with Marnie a few times throughout the book. It is a sweet and lighthearted read, with a few great characters.

What do you think you will read next?

The House By The Sea by Louise Douglas. It has been on my list for a while now and I think I’m finally getting to it.

What are you reading at the moment?

Top Ten Tuesday: Mardi Gras

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish, and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week’s theme is books with purple, yellow, and/or green covers, inspired by the colours of Mardi Gras.

For this list, I chose ten books that I have either read or want to read.

Have you read any of these books? Are any on your TBR?

Cry Of The Lake Book Review

Cry Of The Lake by Charlie Tyler

A gruesome discovery unravels a dark trail of murder and madness.

A six year old girl sneaks out of bed to capture a mermaid but instead discovers a dead body. Terrified and unable to make sense of what she sees, she locks the vision deep inside her mind.
Ten years later, Lily is introduced to the charismatic Flo and they become best friends. But Lily is guilt-ridden – she is hiding a terrible secret which has the power to destroy both their lives.
When Flo’s father is accused of killing a schoolgirl, the horrors of Lily’s past come bubbling to the surface. Lily knows that, whatever the consequences, she has to make things right. She must go back to the events of her childhood and face what happened at the boat house all those years ago.
Can Lily and Flo discover what is hiding in the murky waters of the lake before the killer strikes again?

This book was a wild ride for me. The first few chapters in, I wasn’t sure if I liked it, or if I would even finish it for that matter. But I kept going and I’m glad I did. By chapter 10, I couldn’t put it down, desperate to know what was going to happen next.

Each chapter is from the point of view of either Grace, Lily, or Flo, and with each one, another piece of the puzzle is revealed.

I found this book to be cleverly written with each of the characters – Grace, Lily, and Flo – being truly complex. The murderer starts out being a completely despicable person, but as the story unfolds, you learn there is so much more to her.

I rate this 4/5, only because I felt it did take some time to get into it, but otherwise a very enjoyable read.

Book Review: Big Sexy Love

Big Sexy Love by Kirsty Greenwood

Olive Brewster is a scaredy cat. She doesn’t do new or risky. She’s happy enough with her job at the local market, it’s cool that she has no boyfriend to fret over, she even likes that she still lives in her childhood home. No drama, no fuss, no problems. Everything is fine. Super duper fine.

Except … Olive’s best friend in the world​, Birdie, is dying.

Birdie has one final wish. She wants to track down her first love, Chuck, and because she’s stuck in the hospital she needs Olive’s help to do it. But there’s a teeny problem: Chuck is somewhere in New York and Olive has never even left her home town, let alone roamed the crazy streets of Manhattan.

As if the big city isn’t scary enough, Olive has to contend with Seth, a cocky comedy TV writer who thinks she’s a joke; Anders, a bored socialite who’s taken a shine to her; and the fact that no matter how hard she tries to track down Chuck, he doesn’t seem to want to be found.

Can Olive learn to overcome her fears, abandon her old safe routine and fulfill her best friend’s last wish?  It’s going to take extra bravery, one badass attitude and a whole lot of big sexy love to make this happen …

Okay, so this book is slightly predictable. In fact, I knew exactly what was going to happen within the first few chapters. However, this book is simply wonderful. It is funny and heartwarming, yet also quite emotional in parts. I laughed, I cried, and I loved it.

Olive is a person that likes routine, and gets extremely anxious at the thought of deviating from it at all. She is happy, but really she is just trudging through the motions of life. When her sick best friend gives her a deathbed request, always be prepared Olive is thrown completely out of her element. And everything after that becomes a complicated catastrophe as Olive is thrown into countless situations that she cannot control.

Granted, some of the predicaments Olive finds herself in are a tad ridiculous, but I found the story to be an enjoyable read anyway. And as a character, I kind of adore Olive. Her quirks and awkwardness make her relatable, even if at some moments it all felt a little over the top. I found the chapters to be slightly episodic, in a ‘what will Olive Brewster do next’ sort of a way, and all the way through I was hooked and eager to see the next part.

I also loved the character Birdie, Olive’s best friend. Birdie, by personality, is the complete opposite of Olive. Birdie is adventurous, outgoing, and ready for anything.

From the outside, this is a love story. A search for true love. But when you get closer, you see that it is a book about friendship. Big Sexy Love is one of those stories that just make you feel happy while reading it.

I rate this book 4/5. I loved the story and the writing, but I did guess the ending very early on. If you are someone that enjoys reading cute romantic comedies, this is definitely one for you.

Have you read Big Sexy Love? Tell me what you thought.

Check out Big Sexy Love on goodreads & Amazon.

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Chaotic&Colourful is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a way for sites to earn small commission by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Chaotic&Colourful will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated!

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