Monday 31 August 2015

Book Review: Oblivion by Arnaldur Indridason

Last Updated: 15 May 2021

Oblivion by Arnaldur Indridason book cover


A woman swims in a remote, milky-blue lagoon. Steam rises from the water and as it clears, a body is revealed in the ghostly light.


Miles away, a vast aircraft hangar rises behind the perimeter fence of the US military base. A sickening thud is heard as a man’s body falls from a high platform.


Many years before, a schoolgirl went missing. The world has forgotten her. But Erlendur has not.


Erlendur Sveinsson is a newly promoted detective with a battered body, a rogue CIA operative and America’s troublesome presence in Iceland to contend with. In his spare time, he investigates a cold case. He is only starting out but he is already up to his neck.

Tuesday 25 August 2015

Event Review: Prom 41 - Sherlock Holmes: A Musical Mind

AD* | Everyone knows Sherlock Holmes. After all, he is the most famous detective of all time. But do you know the music behind the mastermind? That’s what this year’s Prom 41 set out to uncover.

The Prom advertised a solid mix of scores from the various TV and film adaptations over the years, alongside a wider variety of Holmesian music. And that mix was certainly delivered on the day. The scores, performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra, were interspersed with other relevant musical performances. These included everything from 16th century Dutch church music to French operas, so it turned out to be a very varied programme!

In between the music, we were treated to brief narration on the performances and their relation to the great detective by BBC Radio 3’s Matthew Sweet and Mark Gatiss, the current incarnation of Sherlock’s brother Mycroft. While I’m sure this was all well-meaning (there was always going to be some exposition because it was billed as a ‘family’ Prom) I did think it started to detract from the music which, after all, was the whole point. Plus it was obvious Gatiss was only there as a celebrity to help draw crowds, which judging by the array of fans in deerstalkers and ‘I am Sherlocked’ T-shirts, clearly worked.

The crowd wasn’t all teenage fangirls though. Actually it was very varied, with people of all different nationalities and ages. This just proves how much of a global appeal the Sherlock brand has. Sure, a lot of younger people were there due to the current BBC incarnation. But there were also plenty of people who had come to celebrate past Sherlocks too. When Mark Gatiss was introduced I overheard one middle-aged woman whisper to her husband, “Who’s he supposed to be?”

The staging for this Prom was pretty simple, with the orchestra took centre stage and pride of place, as rightly they should. The backdrop was nothing more than old film posters and visual stills, nothing ostentatious to distract the audience.

Unsurprisingly, the music was of a very high standard. Mezzo-soprano Christine Rice came on to perform two songs, playing the part of Sherlock’s nemesis, Irene Adler. She sang ‘Una voce poco fa’ from The Barber of Seville followed by ‘Ah, Tanya, Tanya’ from Tchaikovsky’s opera Eugene Onegin, both to rapturous applause.

The other guest appearance was from violinist Jack Liebeck, who came on to perform several songs with the orchestra. One of the songs he performed was Paganini’s Violin Concerto 2 – ‘La campanella’ – which was easily one of the highlights of the night.

Another highlight was the penultimate performance of one of the most famous pieces of classical music, Wagner’s ‘The Ride of the Valkyries’. It was great to hear a classical piece that everyone knows performed by a full orchestra in something.

The Prom finished, predictably and much to the delight of the fangirl contingent, with a suite of music from the current BBC TV series Sherlock. Mostly upbeat, often off-kilter and instantly recognisable, it was the perfect end to the afternoon’s performance.

* I received tickets to this event in exchange for an honest review

Did you go to see Prom 41? Are you a fan of Sherlock? Let me know in the comments below!

Monday 24 August 2015

Book Review: Love Defined by Leila Tualla

Last Updated: 15 May 2021

Love Defined by Leila Tualla book blog tour banner

AD* | In their final summer before graduating college, three childhood friends expect an uncomplicated transition to adulthood... but learn they all still have some growing up to do.

Alex Makapulo is facing a crisis of faith.

Raised a Catholic, Alex is considering becoming a member of her best friend Jack Page’s church - against her family’s wishes - but she can’t quite take the final step of baptism. Jack loves Alex and doesn’t understand her hesitation, and Alex wonders if Jack’s love is a blessing or a distraction to test her religious conviction.

Lori Hanson embarks on the trip of a lifetime.

For her twenty-second birthday, Lori’s grandfather presents her with a summer vacation in England. While preparing for her adventure, she meets British musician Colin Watson online and quickly falls for him. They plan to hook up when she lands in London, but her grandfather forbids it. Due to complicated family dynamics, Lori must regretfully comply with his wishes, though she vows never to forgive him.

Andy Taylor is looking for love in all the wrong places.

When Andy runs into an old crush, she decides she wants a more meaningful relationship with sexy Miles Webber. But when she confides in Alex, her friend warns her Miles only wants her for sex. Andy becomes angry and devises a reckless plan to distract Alex’s attention from her relationship. Things don’t go quite as she expected, though, and Andy is left facing a crushing moral dilemma.

As the summer unfolds, three young women learn that love and faith go hand in hand, not everything is black and white, and sometimes in a fast-paced world, you have to slow down, breathe a little, and find your own definition of love.

Tuesday 11 August 2015

Book Review: Violet Chain by J. Kahele

Last Updated: 15 May 2021

Violet Chain by J. Kahele book blog tour graphic

AD* | After catching her fiancé with another woman at their engagement party, Violet Townsend's world is turned upside down. Desperate to numb the pain, she falls into the arms of charming, young entrepreneur Chain Alexander.

Chain, a notorious womaniser of Philadelphia, not looking for anything more than a night of pleasure with a woman, is drawn to Violet instantly. There is something about her that he needs and wants so desperately and it’s not just sex.

But Violet is resistant. Can she open her heart again after having it broken so brutally? And more importantly, should she?

Friday 7 August 2015

Interview: J. Kahele

I recently got the chance to interview J. Kahele, author of Violet Chain, as part of the book's blog tour. If you missed my review, you can find it here!

Introduce yourself to us!

I’m a married mother of three. I was born in Hawaii - my mother is Hawaiian and my father is Italian.

How did you first become interested in writing?

I always wrote short stories, but it wasn’t until my children became older and more independent that I began to write novels.

How do you get inspiration?

Everyday life gives me inspiration.

What draws you to writing romance?

I love writing about two people finding each other in most difficult situations.

Tell me about Violet Chain.

Violet Chain is about a woman whose life is turned upside after she catches her fiancé cheating on her. She falls into the arms of another man for comfort and soon begins to develop feelings for him, but she is hesitant to let herself fall in love again.

What inspired you to write Violet Chain?

The name actually. I created the name before even knowing what tale I was going to tell.

What’s your writing process?

I have no real process, I just kind of type and let the words tell the story. I don’t ever know what the plot is until I’m deep into the story.

What’s the hardest thing about writing?

Character development.

What do you love most about writing?

Watching my story develop into something wonderful.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Write with your heart and be proud of yourself. Try not to care what others think.

What’s your all-time favourite book?

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

Where’s your favourite place to write?

At work. Shush, don’t tell anyone!

If you weren’t a writer, what do you think you’d be doing?

Taking a lot more vacations!

What are you reading at the moment?

Alex’s Angel by Natasha Blackthorne.

Are you a fan of J. Kahele? Let me know in the comments below!

Monday 3 August 2015

Book Review & Giveaway (CLOSED): Finding Flynn by Alexandria Bishop

Last Updated: 15 May 2021

Finding Flynn by Alexandria Bishop book banner

AD* | Ashtyn Moretti is ready for the best summer of her life. But her parents have other plans when they drop the bomb that her perfect summer will be spent...

Away from home.

Away from friends.

Away from half her family.

Armed with her Summer from Hell playlist and a Kindle full of book boyfriends, Ashtyn prepares to face what she is sure will be the worst summer of her life. Or will it be?

Flynn James has one thing on his mind - the success of his band Marlowe. He’s focused and doesn’t have time for any distractions, and that includes facing his past. But then a petite brunette comes walking into the pub where he works.

Neither Ashtyn nor Flynn were looking for love but they can’t deny their obvious attraction. Ashtyn’s summer has been full of lies. The last thing she expects is for Flynn to be one of the liars too. Can she forgive his lies and turn her summer around? Can Flynn keep his secrets without losing everything? Or will this really be the Summer from Hell?