The Folly of French Kissing by Carla McKay is perfect for the summer. It’s set in the sunny south of France and follows the lives of several expats who have moved out for a better life. All of their stories are intertwined and the books moves really quickly. I found it a little predictable but I still enjoyed it – a great book for brightening up our grey British summer!
After deciding to keep a record of all the books I read I’ve come across Reading Notes which gives you an easy way to remember what you’ve read. It’s an 80 page note book which has space for the title, author and a short description of each book you’ve read. It costs £5.99 and you can buy it online but also in some small bookshops across the country.
I was slightly surprised that to use Albelli you are asked to download a program which is then used to make whichever product you decide on. I’ve never used a website like this other than to get normal prints and that’s usually just done online. The program doesn’t take very long to download and is pretty self explanatory to use. I did think that there were some unnecessary tools and it would take you ages to create some of the products if you used every tool. However, I suppose it’s better to have too many options and it does give the you opportunity to make completely original gifts.
It ended up taking me a long time to find enough good photos to use for my diary as there are 26 photo pages but some of those pages needed more than one photo. Most of the photos needed to be portrait but the majority of my photos are landscape which resulted in a lot of scenery pages! One thing I don’t like about the diary is that it has 40 photo/business cards. I think if I’d wanted to get business cards I would have just ordered them anyway.
Ordering the diary was really easy and it was dispatched very quickly so it arrived just a few days later. The diary is really high quality and is the perfect size with a year planner and pages for making notes. It is quite expensive at £17.95 but is a great gift idea and makes a nice change from a shop bought diary.
The Girl on the Landing is written by Paul Torday who is probably best known for writing Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. I’ve been wanting to read Salmon Fishing in the Yemen for a while so when I saw The Girl on the Landing in the Oxfam bookshop I thought I’d give it a go.
The story is about a couple who have quite a dull, boring life together but all that changes when they go away for a weekend to Ireland and Michael starts to change. He becomes more fun and loving and Elizabeth starts to fall in love with him again. Then everything changes. I’m not going to tell you too much as I don’t want to spoil it for you!
The book is really easy to read and kept me hooked throughout so is undoubtedly worth a read.
The Midwife’s Confession by Diane Chamberlain is one of the best books I’ve read over the summer. On the front cover, it says that it’s “as good as Jodi Picoult or your money back”. That was pretty much my reason for buying the book as I’ve enjoyed nearly all of the Jodi Picoult books I’ve read!
The first few chapters didn’t really grip me as much as some of the Jodi Picoult books have, but once I got into it I just couldn’t put it down. The storyline follows two women as they try to come to terms with the suicide of their friend (who was a midwife, hence the title). They find out that they didn’t know her as well as they thought and there are quite a few unexpected twists.
I’m never sure how much to say in book reviews as I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone who hasn’t read it yet! If you’re looking for a good book, I’d definitely recommend giving this one a go.
I’ve learnt so much from reading this book! Wild Swans is the autobiography of Jung Chang and tells the story of her childhood and early adult years in communist China. It is really gripping and some of the events that she mentions seem unimaginable. Some of the stuff I was reading I couldn’t quite believe would actually have happened, especially so recently. Jung Chang also writes about the lives of her mother and grandmother before she was born and you can really see just how much China changed in such a short space of time.
I’d definitely recommend this book as it teaches you loads about the history of China but is much more interesting than just reading a history book as you get a real life account. According to my copy, Wild Swans won the NCR Book Award in 1992 so it must be good!
The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie Farrell is a really good read.
It tells the story of Lexi Sinclair, a university student who runs away from rural Devon to busy, exciting 1950s London. There she falls in love with a magazine editor Innes Kent. The novel jumps between Lexi’s story and that of Ted and Elina, a present day couple with a newborn baby living in London. Ted has never been able to remember large parts of his childhood, but since the birth of his son he’s been having flashbacks which don’t tally with his parents’ version of things.
From the start, it’s known that the two storylines are connected and gradually throughout the novel, the connection becomes clear. It’s a fast moving, easy to read book and I’d definitely recommend it.
You can buy The Hand That First Held Mine from Play for just £4.49 and get free delivery.
This weekend I finished reading Tiger Hills by Sarita Mandanna which I thought was brilliant. I’ve got to be honest, the main reason I picked up this book in the shop was because I liked the front cover but after reading the blurb I decided I had to read it.
Set in Coorg, India at the end of the 1800s, the story follows the life of Devi who was the first girl born into her family for over 60 years. Through her childhood she is inseparable from her friend Devanna but that starts to change when she meet the Tiger Killer Machu. Even though she is still a girl she vows that one day she will marry him. However, she doesn’t realise that Devanna is in love with her and in the end a tragedy changes all of their lives. I don’t want to spoil the book so won’t tell you any more than that!
The book really is a wonderful read and the way it is written truly draws you in and paints such a vivid picture you almost feel as though you’re there. Tiger Hills is Mandanna’s debut novel but I’m really looking forward to reading other books by her (I don’t think any more have been published just yet so I’ll have to keep an eye out!).
First Aid Awareness Week is taking place from 11th – 15th April this year. The aim of the campaign is to focus on the changes in resuscitation techniques and the use of the defibrillators which are found in many public places. Also in April, the ninth edition of the DK First Aid Manual is being released.
DK are currently running a survey to find out how good a knowledge people in the UK have of first aid before First Aid Awareness Week. The survey takes a matter of minutes to complete and DK have offered a prize of a First Aid Manual to five of you who take the survey by clicking on this link. Make sure you leave a comment on this post to say you’ve taken the survey and want to be entered. DK will pick the winner when the survey closes and the competition is only open to people in the UK.
I’ve got the DK and BMA Complete Home Medical Guide which is brilliant quality with just the right level of information so I’m sure that the First Aid Manual would be just as good!
This competition is now closed.