Monday, 30 August 2010

My Soviet Kitchen by Amy Spurling


My Soviet Kitchen: AND Companion Guide: Ivy's Guide to Life in the Ex-USSRMemory loss, homo sovieticus, and a wandering PhD student. This is Neo-chick lit. with a darker side, a vodka twist and a generous slice of post-Soviet living.

It’s 1994 and English PhD student, Ivy Stone, wakes up in a Moscow flat with a hangover and a vague sense of unease…

Unable to remember what she did last night or why there is a cryptic Post-It note on her fridge, she begins an emotional, alcohol-fuelled journey via an Uzbek wedding, an Estonian sauna, and a Georgian serenade. What dark past haunts her new Russian man? And will she ever find the author of the mystery Post-It note?
My thoughts: The whole idea behind this book really interested me. I don't know much about Russia and the surrounding countries, but I thought the book sounded intriguing.
However, I'm not sure I enjoyed it that much. I found the plot quite confusing. The whole "Mystery post-it note" thing sounds like it should be the main plot line, but in reality it's more of a side plot, and a very predictable one too. The main plot was more about the main character, Ivy, who is supposed to be a PhD student researching for a project, spending her time getting drunk and gallivanting around the former soviet union with an old, married Russian guy. The plot jumped around a lot too. It felt like one minute Ivy was at a party, next thing she's in a completely different country three days later. This is probably supposed to add the "memory-loss" that Ivy is feeling, but I just found it confusing.

Throughout the book there are lots of footnotes and references to the companion guide, which at first was a bit of a novelty and quite fun, but as the book carried on I just found these footnotes annoying and distracting. A lot of the time they didn't even seem that important or relevant.

Overall I can't say I enjoyed the plot that much, nor liked the characters enough. But if you're interested in reading about the former Soviet Union then you might like the facts that are scattered throughout the book. Also the companion guide that comes with the book had some recipes and things in it which were interesting.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

In My Mailbox 13

I got six books this week.

Birds in the Spring: AND The Silken Thread
Birds in the Spring/The Silken Thread by Evelyn Hood

The Pissed-off Parents Club
The Pi**ed-Off Parents Club by Mink Elliott

Bury Me Standing
Bury Me Standing by Isabel Fonseca

Won from Goodreads:
Whisper of a Witch
Whisper of a Witch by Suza Kates

Got free with a magazine:
What The Hell Is He Thinking?
What The Hell is He Thinking? by Zoe Strimpell

From bookmooch:
Puppy's Pet Pals - Puppy goes to pets day
Puppy's Pet Pals by Gerald Durrell

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren

Friday, 27 August 2010

Birthday Giveaway

It was my birthday yesterday (August 26th) and to celebrate I'm going to have a giveaway!


The books you can choose from are:

1. Molly Fox's Birthday by Deirdre Madden

Molly Fox's BirthdayDublin, Midsummer: While absent in New York, the celebrated actor Molly Fox has loaned her house to a playwright friend, who is struggling to write a new work. Over the course of this, the longest day of the year, the playwright reflects upon her own life, Molly's, and that of their mutual friend Andrew, whom she has known since university. Why does Molly never celebrate her own birthday, which falls upon this day? What does it mean to be a playwright or an actor? How have their relationships evolved over the course of many years? Molly Fox's Birthday calls into question the ideas that we hold about who we are; and shows how the past informs the present in ways we might never have imagined
2. Happy Birthday by Christina Jones

Happy Birthday On midsummer's day, Phoebe Bowler - star-sign demon - should have returned home an ecstatically happy new bride. Instead, she's been jilted at the altar. In need of sympathy, perhaps she could turn to her neighbour, the dishy Rocky Lancaster? But with problems of his own he's turned into Mr Grumpy and wants to be left alone. That is until Essie Rivers arrives on the scene, and then Phoebe and Rocky's paths seem destined to collide with a very big bump. Essie knows far more about astrology, personolgy, numerology - any 'ology' you care to mention - than Phoebe has ever heard of. But it is the secret magic of 'birthday-ology' that catches Phoebe's eye. Can she really use a birthday to find a perfect match or to set her and Rocky back on the path to happiness? Phoebe thinks so, but that's when things start to go really wrong...
3. The Birthday Room by Kevin Henkes
The Birthday Room"Two of the things Benjamin Hunter received for his twelfth birthday took him completely by surprise: a room and a letter. The room was from his parents. The letter was from his uncle." A room and a letter--both so vague in the abstract, and so full of possibility. On Ben's birthday, however, both weigh heavily on his mind.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

In My Mailbox 12

As you can probably see from the photo, I went a bit crazy buying books this week. I visited the same shop I went to last week, and they were still having the sale. So from there I bought:

From BookMooch I received:

And then yesterday from the charity shop I bought:

A grand total of 9 books in a week!

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Hex Hall (Hex Hall, #1)Synopsis: When sixteen-year-old Sophie Mercer discovers she's a witch, she imagines life will be full of magic, fun and... well... broomsticks! But her first attempt at a love spell goes disastrously wrong and, as punishment, Sophie is shipped off to Hecate "Hex" Hall, a reform school for witches, shapeshifters and faeries.
By the end of her first day among her fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tag-along ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person on campus and the only vampire.
Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students and her only friend is the number-one suspect.
My thoughts: I had heard great things about this book, and it did not disappoint. I absolutely adored Hex Hall, and it's now one of my favourite books.
The characters were really interesting to read about, and not just because they were magical either. I loved Sophie, the main character, and I enjoyed seeing her relationship with Archer developing.
The story line was enjoyable and I loved the mystery element of the story. The ending was a huge surprise for me and I absolutely MUST read the sequel.
My only complaint about this book would be that it was over too quickly!
If you haven't read this book yet I would highly recommend it. Even if, like me, you're not that keen on fantasy and magic.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

In My Mailbox 11

I told my boyfriend I wasn't going to buy any books this month, but these were in a sale at 49p each, how could I resist?

Mooched from

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Touching The Sky by Susan Madison

Touching the SkySynopsis: Melissa Sherman moved to the quiet town of Butterfield, amid the rugged mountains and lakes of Vermont, to escape the pain of a broken heart. Now she has built a life for herself and seems to have everything she could wish for. But she still feels a corrosive sense of loneliness. Something is missing from her life. When she befriends Lisa who has recently moved to the country with her husband Ben, Mel cannot help but be reminded of everything she has lost. But when Lisa’s life is shattered by tragedy, and Ben turns to Mel for reassurance, Mel herself is drawn to him with an all-consuming passion that precludes all else.
My Thoughts: I found this book very depressing. Everyone seems to either die or be desperately broken-hearted. It was a good story with interesting characters and relationships, it was just really sad. There are a few happy parts, but if you're going to read this book make sure you have the tissues ready!

Friday, 6 August 2010

Monthly Round-Up - July 2010

I'm a bit late with the monthly round-up for July, but not a lot happened anyway. If I was doing blogging for a job I think I'd have been sacked this month!

Books read in July
1. Live Bait by P.J.Tracy
2. My Soviet Kitchen by Amy Spurling
3. Isabel's Daughter by Judi Hendricks
4. Bertie, May and Mrs Fish by Xandra Bingley
5. Skull Session by Daniel Hecht
6. The WAG's Diary by Alison Kervin
7. African Adventure by Willard Price
8. House at the Corner by Enid Blyton

Total read: 8
My favourite book read this month was House at the Corner by Enid Blyton.

Books Reviewed in July

None. Isn't that terrible?

Books received this month: 14
Books added to wishlist this month: 0

What's coming in August?
Well we're already a week into August so really it's what's coming in the rest of August. I'll be scheduling some reviews today to be posted over the next few days. I do not want a repeat of last month! I'm also still working on the 'secret project' that I mentioned a while back.
My birthday is coming up on August 26th so I might have a birthday giveaway.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

In My Mailbox 10

I got a whole heap of books this week!

From Erotic Horizon I won a huge prize pack consisting of:
1. Spirit's Song by Madeline Baker
2. Call of the Highland Moon by Kendra Leigh Castle
3. The Rake's Proposal by Sarah Elliott
4. Night Game by Christine Feehan
5. Marley & Me by John Grogan
6. Party of Three by Joan Kilby
7. Tall, Dark & Filthy Rich by Jill Monroe
8. The Player by Rhonda Nelson
9. Christmas Angels by Nora Roberts
10. Maitland Maternity: Triplets, Quads and Quints
Also included was a mousemat and coasters which I forgot to photograph.

From Book Chick City I won The Other Countess by Eve Edwards.

From a ReadItSwapIt swap I received Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman.

And finally I got I Heart New York by Lindsey Kelk free with Glamour magazine.

I feel so lucky to have won those prizes, I don't normally win anything.
It feels like my birthday has come a month early! (My birthday's August 26th in case you were wondering...).

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren.