Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Bye Bye from Dot Scribbles

Well you lovely lot, it is time for me to go! Sadly my last review is posted as unfortunately I will no longer be writing this blog. I've really cut back since Darcey was born but it has all become a bit too much. When I started this blog, I didn't expect anyone to read it, let alone for publishers and authors to send me books; I still feel incredibly humbled to receive a new comment or be asked my opinion about a new author.
I've thought long and hard about it and I realised that Dot Scribbles began because I loved reading and I want to get that back; the last few months I have constantly felt that I have been letting people down by either reviewing late or having to say no to things. I want to get back to reading what I want to when I want to and so sadly blogging on here has to stop. I will still be reading though and there is a possible, less time consuming blog in the pipe line which I will let you know about ASAP and I am sure there will the odd book review on there.
Don't get me wrong, Dot Scribbles has brought me so much enjoyment, I have loved interacting with you all and so many of you have become friends which was something I never expected to come from this. It has been fascinating to gain a small insight into the way the publishing industry works and to see just how hard authors and their publishing teams have to work to get a book ready and to make it sell.  So I would like to say a BIG thank you to you all for reading my blog, taking the time to comment and to the publishers and authors who have been so kind and generous enough to send me books; your support of this blog has meant so much to me.
I will still be on Twitter where I am @Dot_Scribbles and I am also on Instagram as DOTSCRIBBLES so please stay in touch, I will still be updating those with what I am reading and shall definitely be reading your reviews to add to my wish list!

I wish you all a Happy New Year!



Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Book Review: The Railwayman's Wife by Ashley Hay

In Thirroul in 1948, people chose their dreams through the books in the railway's library. Annika Lachlan searches for solace after her life is destroyed by a single random act. Roy McKinnon, who found poetry in the mess of war, has lost his words and his hope. Frank Draper is trapped by the guilt of those his treatment and care failed on their first day of freedom. All three struggle with the same question: how now to be alive?
The Railwayman's Wife is superbly written. I felt as though Ashley Hay's writing was very visual, she describes things in great detail, down to the way light falls on an object. It is quite cinematic as it is so easy to conjure up images of the world created on the page.
The book is very much about love and loss. Annika Lachlan endures an awful tragedy at the beginning of the book and she knows her life will never be the same again. Entering into her new life, she encounters Roy McKinnon and Dr Frank Draper, both returned from war, they are almost mourning their old lives as due to what they have seen and experienced, life will never be the same for them either.
Ashley Hay writes in the present tense which I don't usually enjoy but in this instance it just added to the vivid feel of this book. You feel as though you are right there, experiencing the story with the characters.
The Railwayman's Wife is a thought provoking and interesting read. This is Ashley Hay's sixth book and I found her writing style to be particularly accomplished, I would highly recommend this author.

Dot Scribbles Rating: 4.5/5
Pages: 320 
Publisher: Allen and Unwin

Thank you very much to the lovely Sam at Allen and Unwin for sending me a copy of this book, The Railwayman's Wife is out on January 2nd!

Monday, 23 December 2013

Merry Christmas from Dot Scribbles

It's that time of year again! The tree is up, the christmas tunes are on and there are home made mince pies in the tin! I just wanted to take the time to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, I hope that you get lots of lovely books in your stockings!

Lots of Love


Sunday, 15 December 2013

The Proposal by Tasmina Perry

When Amy Carrell's wealthy boyfriend ends their relationship just before Christmas, she's left to nurse her broken heart alone. With nothing to lose, she replies to an advertisement requesting a companion for a mysterious 'Manhattan adventure.'
Whisked off to New York with eccentric British aristocrat Georgia Hamilton, Amy experiences a glamorous side of the city she's never seen before. Along the way, Georgia initiates her protege in the arts of old-school elegance.
But as Georgia shares her life lessons, Amy discovers a painful secret in her mentor's past.  A secret that shattered her future. A story of love and betrayal that only Amy has the power to put right. 
I absolutely adored this book. It is very different in style to Tasmina's previous books but I thought that it was brilliant. The book revolves around two main characters, Amy Carrell, a New Yorker living in London and famous publisher, Georgia Hamilton. They meet when Amy replies to Georgia's advert for a companion to travel to Manhattan with her over the Christmas period. The two women become friends and Amy begins to wonder why Georgia had to advertise for a friend. She begins asking questions and the story unravels.
Tasmina Perry flits between the present in 2012 and the summertime of 1958 when Georgia was doing 'The Season' as a debutante. A terrible secret from Georgia's past is revealed and Amy becomes determined to get some kind of justice for her new friend.
The story that Tasmina Perry has created is wonderful and I was engrossed straight away. I took to both Amy and Georgia and it was lovely to see their unlikely friendship develop.
The detail in this book is excellent, Amy and Georgia's trip to Manhattan was really vivid and believable and I also loved all of the details and gossip from Georgia's experience of 'The Season'.
This book is a very heart-warming read with a bit of a mysterious edge. I highly recommend it, you won't be disappointed.

Dot Scribbles Rating: 5/5
Publisher: Headline Review
Pages: 352

Many thanks to Caitlin at Headline Review for sending me a copy of this book, The Proposal is out now.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Book Review: Christmas at Rosie Hopkins' Sweetshop by Jenny Colgan

Rosie Hopkins is looking forward to Christmas in the little Derbyshire village of Lipton, buried under a thick blanket of snow. Her sweet shop is festooned with striped candy canes, large tempting piles of Turkish Delight, crinkling selection boxes and happy, sticky children. She's going to spend it with her boyfriend Stephen, and her family, who are flying in from Australia. She can't wait. But when a tragedy strikes at the heart of their little community, all of Rosie's plans for the future seem to be blown apart. Can she build a life in Liption? And what's best for the sweet shop, also what's best for Rosie?
This is Jenny Colgan's follow up to Welcome to Rosie Hopkins' Sweetshop of Dreams but it is a stand-alone book. I hadn't read the first one but I thought that this was a delightful read.
Rosie gave up her life in London to run her aunt's sweetshop. It was only supposed to be a temporary measure but she's still there. Rosie is now living with Stephen, the heir of Lipton Hall; she is happy and content but when tragedy strikes, she begins to question what she wants. But before she can deal with it all, she has the small matter of her whole family arriving from Australia to celebrate Christmas.
Christmas at Rosie Hopkins' Sweetshop is a heart warming read. I loved the small village setting and I could easily imagine Rosie's beautiful sweet shop. In the main, I liked Rosie's character but there were a few instances where I thought she had a real chip on her shoulder.
There is a lot of humour in this book and I think that Jenny Colgan gets the balance right between warmth and wit.
Christmas at Rosie Hopkins' Sweet Shop is a lovely festive read; romance, humour, sweets and tinsel- perfect!

Dot Scribbles Rating: 4/5
Publisher: Sphere
Pages: 432

Many thanks to Jo at Sphere for sending me a copy of this book, it is out now! 

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Book Review: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Aged thirteen, Theo Decker, son of a devoted mother and a reckless, largely absent father, survives an accident that otherwise tears his life apart. Alone and rudderless in New York, he is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. He is tormented by an unbearable longing for his mother, and down the years, clings to the thing that most reminds him of her: a small, strangely captivating painting that ultimately draws him into the criminal underworld. As he grows up, Theo learns to glide between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty antique store where he works. He is alienated and in love- and his talisman, the painting places him at the centre of a narrowing and ever more dangerous circle. 
This book was amazing. Donna Tartt's first book, The Secret History is one of my favourites but I didn't even finish her second, The Little Friend. However, she is an author that will always interest me and I know that The Goldfinch will stay with me forever.
At just under 800 pages, The Goldfinch is rather a challenging prospect. But at no point was I bored or waiting for something to happen. Donna Tartt fills every page with beautiful prose and mesmerising detail.
The story feels almost Dickensian, the characters are so well formed and intriguing. The story spans many years, with characters disappearing and popping up when you least expect them to.
I'm not going to say anymore as I don't want to give the plot away. Just read it, The Goldfinch is one of the most remarkable books that I have ever read.

Dot Scribbles Rating: 5/5
Publisher: Little Brown
Pages: 784

Monday, 18 November 2013

Book Review: Crow Blue by Adriana Lisboa

When her mother dies, thriteen-year-old Vanja is left with no family and no sense of who she is, where she belongs and what she should do. Determined to find her biological father, she decides to leave the volleyballs, empada vendors and crow-blue shells of Copacabana Beach behind, to live in Colorado with her stepfather, a former guerrilla notorious for his violent past. Living quietly with the laconic Fernando, two displaced Brazilians in exile, Vanja makes friends at school, discovers the public library, and gradually pieces together new parts of her mother's story.
Together, she and Fernando embark on a journey to find her biological father, an American from Alburquerquw, taking them across the New Mexico desert from one motel to the next, tracing her mothers footsteps and encountering vestiges of her life and friendships that remain. Lisboa deposits a tapestry of transient lives lived between borders, and  the ties that bind people across nations. Rendered in lyrical and passionate prose, Crow Blue is a sweeping literary road trip through Brazil and America, and through decades of family and political history. 
This book was a very interesting read. It is very much a coming-of-age tale but it is set against a tense and highly charged political backdrop.
Vanja goes to live with her step-father in Colorado when her mother dies. Her step0father had to leave Brazil as he was an Araguala guerrilla with a frightening reputation. She goes to live with him in order to find her biological father, making their relationship highly complex from the very beginning.
I did find it difficult to get into this book in parts but in the main I enjoyed Adriana Lisboa's book. It is a story that has been done over and over again but the author has made it her own with the cultural and political aspects. It was very interesting to see how both Vanja and her step-father are treated as foreigners and the impact this has on their lives.
I did really like Vanja and her story is particularly interesting, I think this book will cross easily between YA and adult audiences.

Dot Scribbles Rating: 3.75/5
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 240

Many thanks to Bloomsbury for sending me a copy of Crow Blue, it is available now!

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