may and june book reviews

During the exam period, I didn't finish a single book as I put started novels on hold. I read a little each day but not as fast as my usual pace.

Girls on Tour by Nicola Doherty

After exams, I wanted a book that was somewhat light-hearted and an easy read. Girls on Tour definitely fits the bill - just read the blurb:

"Four girls. One year. Five fabulous destinations.

Poppy is bound for Paris, the City of Life. Could this be her chance to end her epic dry spell?

Lily is en route to her cousin's wedding in LA, where she's willing to break a few rules to land her dream role.

Maggie can't wait for her romantic ski holiday in Meribel - until it goes seriously off-piste.

Rachel packs for a glamorous Roman holiday, but a blast from the past is about to sabotage la dolce vita.

The girls get together and fly to Manhattan. But someone's been hiding a big secret in the Big Apple..."


From what I understand, Girls on Tour is basically a few shorter e-novels put together to form a printed book.

Anyway, let's talk about the book. The plot sounded very promising and I'm a sucker for a slushy love story but I found every single character a bit wet and annoying, the stories a bit lacklustre and the writing quite juvenile. For all I know, it could've been written by a girl in their late teens - it definitely didn't read very grown up. The only reason I stuck with it is because I was sent it from Bookbridgr to review and also, because I dislike leaving books unfinished.

The characters were hard for me to relate to: they all talked like teenagers and were just very annoying.

Overall? I give Girls on Tour 5/10.

***

The Art of Baking Blind by Sarah Vaughan

"In 1966, Kathleen Eaden published The Art of Baking, her guide to nurturing a family by creating the most exquisite pastries, biscuits and cakes.

Now, five amateur bakers are competing to become the new Mrs Eaden. There's Jenny, facing an empty nest now her family has flown; Claire, who has sacrificed her dreams for her daughter; Mike, trying to parent his two kids after his wife's death; Vicki, who has dropped everything to be at home with her baby boy; and Karen, perfect Karen, who knows what it's like to have nothing and is determined her fa├žade shouldn't slip.

As unlikely alliances are forged and secrets rise to the surface, making the choicest choux bun seems the least of the contestants' problems. For they will learn - as Mrs Eaden did before them - that while perfection is possible in the kitchen, it's very much harder in real life."


Okay, let me just profess my love for the Great British Bake Off (GBBO). Every year, I watch every episode religiously (sometimes even twice, especially if I've had a bad day) - it might be something to do with Mel and Sue's hilarious puns or empathising with a poor rise (no innuendo intended!) but GBBO is one television programme I look forward to watching.

The Art of Baking Blind isn't a short book - it's just over 400 pages long - but it does sound like a fictional, novel version of GBBO and this appealed to me instantly. However, I was a little bit disappointed. The judges are clearly based on Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry and I didn't really warm to any of the characters. Dan (the male judge) seemed like quite a slippery fella and I found the contestants annoying and fickle. They were all a bit 'wet', for want of a better word.

Unfortunately, this wasn't a book I found myself wanting to pick up at every free moment and although I finished it with ease, it wasn't as pleasurable a read as I anticipated. I decided to rate it 6.5/10 because I think it'll appeal to others but just not to me as, in my opinion, it was a middle of the road type read.

***

The Last Honeytrap by Louise Lee

"Scot 'Scat' Delaney is a world famous jazz singer. He has ample opportunity to stray and his girlfriend, Alice, needs to know she can trust him.

Introducing Florence Love, private investigator. Florence has just ten days to entrap an A-lister. Whilst sticking to her cardinal rule: 'One kiss, with tongues, five seconds - case closed.'

A master of body language, evolutionary science and nifty disguises, her approach is unconventional, her success rate excellent. But targets are rarely as beautiful as Scat. Never fall for the target. That is very bad form indeed.

The Last Honeytrap marks the energetic launch of a brilliant new series. Once you've met Florence Love, you'll see the world in glorious technicolour at last."


The blurb definitely drew me in and I was eager to start this book after it came through my letterbox. However, this is a case of 'don't judge a book by its cover'.

Florence, the main character, is thoroughly annoying. She loves herself a bit too much for my liking and I didn't really warm to any of the other characters either. If I had to choose a favourite character, I honestly wouldn't be able to.

For me, the book didn't really get exciting until the last 100 pages or so. The book is over 300 pages long so for it to only get interesting two-thirds of the way through, I can see some people putting it down well before reaching that stage. Anyway, the last third of the book was actually really quite interesting and I found myself eager to find out what would happen next. The end of the book was quite underwhelming - I know it's meant to be the first in a series but it left so many unanswered questions, I just felt really let down. And Florence isn't really a character I warmed to enough to want to read the next book just to find out some of these answers...

Overall, 6/10 (score brought up by the last one hundred pages).

* * *

All in all, I've not had much luck with books over the last two months. However, I am currently midway through a book that has me hooked so far so fingers crossed this is the beginning of a string of good books! :)

six month check in with my planner from seeso

I've now used my planner for six months and considering it's been several years since I last used a bound planner, it has been quite an adjustment. Previously, I was used to rings getting in the way, the page size being too small and the ridiculous weight. Now? Well, you'll have to read on to see what my thoughts are.

The Basics: Weight, Paper, Size


The one thing I'm definitely liking is the weight of this planner. It is considerably lighter than a binder and is also thinner in terms of thickness. Furthermore, the A5 page size means that I'm no longer restricted with regards to what I write down. There is now ample space for daily planning, shopping lists and to-do lists.

The one gripe I have with the planner is the paper quality. Fountain pen doesn't suit it and neither does my Kuretake Zig Cocoiro.

You might notice that the elastic fastening that was originally present is no longer there - that's because it broke off. It would've been nice for it to still be fully functional but I'm not missing it that much either.

The Vertical Layout


The vertical layout is one I've not used full-time before but I'm really liking it. The time slots mean that planning my days is a simple process but the days tend to end a bit too short for my liking - 7pm, really?

Monthly Planner Pages


I never used the monthly pages much whenever I had them in my binder. However, I've found myself using them as a blog planner instead and that seems to work pretty well. I can plan out when each post goes live and also ensure that I'm never out of ideas. The boxes are more than big enough for each day and the space at the side for random notes are great for jotting down anything and everything.

Note Pages and their Different Layouts


The different layouts on offer in this planner are just ridiculous. Ruled, plain, grid, half ruled and half plain - it seems all possibilities are present at the back of it.

Overall

I've really enjoyed these six months with this bound planner and I think that's the sort of style I'll be heading for again in 2016. Although the flexibility (in terms of set-up) isn't present, everything else weighs in its favour.

my week #167

This week, I was flat-sitting for my sister and had some girl-friends over for dinner on Thursday evening. It was lovely to just have a laugh with some food and without any boys around (won't say good food as I'm not that great a chef!). Although I do have some close guy friends too, a girly chat just isn't the same with them (trust me, I've tried!) Nothing like some great company to cheer you up when times haven't been the greatest over the last few weeks! 

In terms of university stuff, I've just been getting on with my project which is essentially an audit and have also started studying some stuff in preparation for the next academic year. Next year is beastly - it's my penultimate year at medical school but we're expected to know what we should know by the time we finish medical school! However, I'm really enjoying everything I learn on this course so it doesn't feel like a chore.


How has your week been?