2 December 2018

Mystery Blogger Award

Thanks to Amy (find her at Amy's Bookish Life) for tagging me in the Mystery Blogger Award. I've never done one of  these before so here goes!

What is the Mystery Blogger Award?

“The ‘Mystery Blogger Award’ is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.”
– Okoto Enigma (the creator of the award)


* Put the award logo/image on your blog.
* List the rules.
* Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
* Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.
* Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
* You have to nominate 10 – 20 people.
* Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.
* Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify).
* Share a link to your best post(s).

3 Facts About Me

1. Summer is my favourite season, I'd live on the beach if I could.

2. I love anything to do with Space.

3. I wish I was more creative.

My Best Posts

Answering Amy's Questions

1. What got you into reading?
I don't really remember, I've always been a big reader since I was young.

2. Which book do you wish you had written?
Maybe something with Greek mythology, like the Percy Jackson series.

3. What Hogwarts House are you in?
Officially Gryffindor but I definitely feel I'm half Ravenclaw too.

4. If you could have dinner with any author dead or alive, who would it be?
Cecelia Ahern, I recently met her and she was lovely not at all intimidating like I imagine I'd feel with some super-famous authors.

5. Tell me your best joke!
Two cows in a field, one says "Moo", the other says, "I was going to say that!"

My Questions

1. What book do you recommend to everyone?
2. What is your favourite childhood book?
3. Which book destination would you like to visit?
4. What's your favourite bookish accessory?
5. What is your favourite cocktail?

I'm Tagging

Sophia at Impulsive Reader

Rain at BookDragonism

Christina at Chrikarublog

25 November 2018

The Nowhere Emporium - Ross MacKenzie

Don't you just love finding an unexpected gem at the library? This book is so magical and intriguing that you'll find yourself wishing you could visit, even the cover cleverly invites you into the emporium.

While hiding from bullies, Daniel finds himself in a wondrous shop full of exciting and mysterious things. The owner is surprised to find him in the closed shop, but allows Daniel to wait till he feels safe to leave. The owner is even more astounded to find Daniel back the next day, as this is a magical shop and no one ever remembers it once leaving! 

Lucien Silver introduces Daniel to the mystical Nowhere Emporium. Full of magical staircases and mysterious rooms, there's a garden where every petal and leaf is aflame, a fountain of imagination and a library of souls. Then there's the mysterious Ellie, Mr Silver's daughter, who can't leave the emporium and can only be seen by Emporium workers. Mr Silver sees some potential in Daniel and offers to make him an apprentice, teaching him how to make Wonders of his own. 

The shop sounds a little sinister at first 'to enter you must pay a price' and you're not quite sure whether you can trust Lucien Silver. Customers are drawn to the shop, but then forget all about it once they leave. This all adds to the mystery and keeps you guessing. I loved the immersive magic of the book and will definitely be looking for more from this author.

The Nowhere cocktail I created is fairly light on alcohol but strong on flavours. I've used some of the smells that drift form the shop as it opens to customers, see if you spot them all when reading the book. I added shimmer to mimic the sparkling bricks of the hallways and a few Popballs at the bottom of the cocktail will be hidden at first but then surprise the drinker, like the wonders in the Emporium.

Put the following ingredients into a shaker with ice - 1 shot malibu, 1/4 shot blue curacao, 1/2 shot cranberry juice, 1/4 shot lemon juice, a few drops of chocolate bitters and a drop of liquid smoke. Shake them up and pour into a martini glass. Stir in a little blue shimmer and then drop in a few Popballs.

7 November 2018

We Were Liars - E. Lockhart

This book was recommended to me by my lovely friend Helen so I just had to read it as soon as I could get myself a copy.

A life of endless summers where the rest of the year hardly seems to exist. Cadence and the rest of the Sinclairs spend every summer at her grandfather's private island near Martha's Vineyard. Blonde, rich and privileged, the family have every luxury and convenience at their fingertips.

All this changes after the accident. Now Cady has almost constant headaches and she cannot remember what happened to her that summer. Her mother doesn't want to let her go back to the island and she spends the next summer touring Europe with her father. Cady feels isolated from her cousins and suspects that something traumatic must have happened to her, especially when none of them bother to reply to her emails.  The year after, when she eventually persuades her mother to let her go back for part of the summer, she finds a very different island. Her grandfather has rebuilt his house as an austere Japanese villa and her cousins have moved into the empty house of one of her aunts.

What actually happened to Cadence? Her cousins won't tell her anything as they and the rest of the family have been told not to discuss it with her so she can remember by herself. All we know are the few vague details she is told about how she was found and she is sure that she must have some kind of head injury that the doctors haven't discovered.

The twist is quite clever and even after I finished, I tried to go back and find the clues but they were very well disguised. I don't know if anyone would guess what happened, if you've read it and figured it out, please let me know!

Cady, her cousins Johnny and Mirren, and their friend Gat, are known to the rest of the family as the Liars. I didn't feel like this was adequately explained and found myself wondering throughout the book. Particularly as it is in the title. There was a brief mention that they weren't called the Liars before Gat started coming to visit so I kept expecting to find that he had done something to earn their name. The version I read actually does explain it in the extras, which is useful.

Though every evening Cady's family gather for cocktail hour before dinner, I found this book was the hardest to match with a cocktail. Eventually I settled on an adaptation of the Pink Faced Liar. In a shaker with ice, mix a shot each of gin and vodka, half a shot of lemon juice and a couple of dashes of grenadine. Pour into a tall glass with ice and top with tonic, then give it a stir before serving.

7 October 2018

Book Mix & Match 4

I chose a cocktail that makes me think of spring, as it has turned decidedly colder and more wintry as I write this. The Floral Daiquiri makes me think of warmer days. First rinse a little Creme de violette around a coupe glass. Muddle a few blueberries in a shaker, then add 2 shots of rum, 2/3 shot of lime juice, 1/2 shot of lavender syrup and 1/2 shot of elderflower liqueur. Shake with ice and strain into your glass. Then pick a book from the selection below and forget about the cold!

The Book of Dust - Philip Pullman
This is the story of Malcolm, who meets Lyra when she is just a baby. There seem to be a great many people interested in her and he immediately feels protective towards the little girl. He knows she will be important in the future and luckily his instincts are quite accurate in knowing who to trust and who may be a danger to her. When a great flood appears, he rescues Lyra and with the help of Alice and his trusty canoe, Le Belle Sauvage, will go to great lengths to get Lyra back to her father.
I was re-reading Northern Lights at the same time and this feels exactly the same, even though it is written so many years later. I loved it and found it so hard to put down every time I started reading.
I love the idea of daemons, another part of ourselves that we could actually talk to. This quote from the book pretty much says it all..."Of course, he and Asta were one being, so the intuitions were his anyway, as much as his feelings were hers."

City of Ghosts - Victoria Schwab
While Cass's parents write books about ghosts, she can actually see ghosts and even her best friend is a ghost. When her parents are asked to film a new ghost hunter TV show, they visit haunted Edinburgh. There Cass meets Lara, who is just like her and explains that they have a job to do. They have the power to send ghosts past the veil so they are no longer stuck in this world.
While quite a lot of this first book is world building, I am really looking forward to book two and more of Cass' adventures. Hopefully there will be more about Jacob's background, it definitely sounds like he is going to be an interesting character.

Strange The Dreamer - Laini Taylor
As an orphan child in a monastery, Lazlo loves to play at being a Tizerkane warrior and hardly dares to dream that he would someday day meet one, let alone be able to visit their fabled city of Weep. A chance encounter has him visiting the Great Library of Zosma and there the library decides to keep him. As he grows he spends all his free time researching Weep, finding out anything he can and even teaching himself the language.
When the Tizerkane appear at the library with a problem, he jumps at the chance to do anything he can to help but his life turns out to be far more connected to Weep than he ever could have imagined.
Lazlo's love of books is so wonderful, I can just imagine him as a child, being swallowed up by the library. 
I listened to the audiobook which probably helped a lot with the pronunciation of most of the words, I can't imagine how I would have read them to myself. The narrator's voice and the different characters were great, though I found the reading a little slow and had to speed it up a bit. I'm looking forward to book 2 though I think I will have to continue with audio now that I've started.

The Muse - Jessie Burton
I received the audiobook through City Read as this was the book of the month.
Odelle is trying to make a life for herself in London but is unsatisfied with her job in a shoe shop and manages to get a typing job at an art institute. There she meets Quick, who becomes her mentor. 
Around 30 years earlier, Olive has just moved to Spain with her parents. She lives to paint, though she can't really show her father, an art dealer, as he doesn't believe women can be true artists.
With the discovery of a painting in London, the girls' stories intertwine in an intriguing and mysterious way. There is plenty of suspense, whenever you think you have figured something out, it becomes even more puzzling.
The narrator was wonderful, with a number of very different voices and so much feeling and character.

Sea Witch - Sarah Henning
This book was not at all what I was expecting. It is a Little Mermaid retelling but with a lot more going on and turns out to be more of an origin story. Full of magic, surprises and betrayals.
It probably started off as a 3-star for me but got more interesting as I read on and by then end I really enjoyed it. I loved the descriptions of life by the ocean and how the villagers relied on the ocean as their generous but also merciless goddess.
What bothered me throughout was that I didn't really understand how someone could appear, looking exactly like a girl who drowned a few years ago, but everyone would just believe it wasn't her. Particularly one of her very best friends. I also would have loved to know how Anna, Evie and Nik became friends to start with, especially as Nik and Evie have 
to fight to be allowed to stay friends.

30 September 2018

One Would Think The Deep - Claire Zorn 

Sam has no options after his mother dies suddenly and after an awkward phone conversation from the hospital, he moves in with his estranged aunt and his cousins. There's the ongoing mystery of why his mother lost touch with the rest of his family and even his aunt isn't speaking to his grandmother who vanished but has now reappeared. Gradually, through the story, bits of the past are uncovered and eventually the secrets are revealed.

This book immediately plunges you into all the emotions and doesn't let up all the way through. Sam is so troubled and you gradually find out that he is dealing with a lot more than the death of his mother. His cousin, Minty is the only one who seems happy to have him around. He takes him surfing and it becomes a way for Sam to forget everything going on in his life. When he's on the waves, his mind doesn't have space for anything but the feel of the ocean and the fight to stay alive.

I haven't been to Australia so I don't really know how authentic the descriptions and slang are but it all feels very genuine. I did have a little trouble with Minty's surfer speak but eventually managed to get the gist!

I actually had to make two cocktails for this book as they are both so good I couldn't choose between them. Which one do you prefer?

For the Orange Surfboard, combine the following in a rocks glass over ice. 2 shots orange vodka, 1 shot each of coconut rum and triple sec, 2 shots of orange juice and a splash of cranberry juice over the top.

For the Aussie Beachcomber, mix the ingredients in a shaker over ice, then strain into a rocks glass over more ice. 2 shots spiced rum, 1 shot triple sec, 1/2 shot orgeat, a dash of agave syrup (I skipped this as my orgeat was sweet already), the juice of 1/2 lime and 2 or 3 sprigs of mint.