Posted in Book Review

A Summer of New Beginnings – Lisa Hobman


Zara Bailey is a luxury travel writer. She spends most of her time traveling to stunning destinations, staying in boutique hotels in far-flung places and writing about her experiences.

She’s just returned from her last travel assignment in Miami when her boss, Noah announces her next assignment and destination: cycling in Scotland and writing an article of the North Coast 500. Her colleague, Dillion who was supposed to cover this article, has quit suddenly and Zara has to go on this assignment because the trip has already been paid for. Seeing as she’s used to staying in five-star hotels and penthouse suites in exotic places, she’s not too keen on the prospect of camping outdoors. Nevertheless, she agrees to go.

We follow Zara as she navigates the rough terrains of the Scottish Highlands on a bicycle, taking in the views of the stunning coastal scenery, the craggy mountains, not to mention the friendly people she meets along the way—her encounter with Daughters of Anarchy and the toy soldiers.

On her first leg of the journey, her map gets swept away by a gust of wind and then soaked in a nearby pool. Then she loses phone signal and her phone battery runs out. To make matters worse, her bicycle gets a puncture.

She decides to pack it up for the night, pitching her tent unknowingly on private property. The owner shows up the following morning but instead of reproaching her for trespassing, he offers her a place to stay on his farm while she sorts herself out.

A Summer of New Beginnings is a beautiful blend of romance and chick lit, interspersed with humor. I was easily transported to the dramatic scenery of Scotland’s Highlands. Not to mention the mouthwatering descriptions of the food she sampled there—the hot chocolate at Cocoa Mountain in Balkneil. Yum

I’m glad everything turned out well for Zara, from finding love in the least likely place to finally pursuing her dream of becoming a novelist. Overall, an enjoyable read and I definitely recommend.

Quotes I liked:

“She was like a comet passing through the atmosphere of his life. Beautiful but all too fast… So like a comet he would have to enjoy the memory of her even though it was unlikely she would appear in his sky again.”

  • Publisher: Aria (19 February 2019)

Available on Amazon


Posted in Book Review

Treking Beyond – Dave Costello, Billi Bierling, Damian Hall, Alex Treadway


Trekking Beyond is filled with breathtaking images showcasing the best trekking regions around the globe. From the Scottish Highlands to the Appalachian trail, the images in this book will tempt the reader to visit the globe’s gorgeous landscapes.

This book includes maps for each region and offers useful information about the area. It covers interesting topics such as its history, the region’s weather and flora. It also includes the best trekking seasons, trek duration, and advice on accommodation. Highly recommend.

  • Pages: 224
  • Quarto Publishing Group – White Lion Publishing (4 October 2018)

Available on Amazon

Posted in Book Review

The Stranger Inside – Laura Benedict


You come home to find your key no longer works in your front door and a stranger claims that your house is now theirs. What would you do?


Kimber has just returned from a long weekend at Lake of the Ozarks to find out that she can’t get into her house because the locks have been changed. There’s a man living in her house!

Frantic, she calls the police. According to Lance, the new occupant, he’s been living there for 6 months after Kimber gave a lease because she was moving in with her boyfriend. She also said to take care of the yard until she decided whether to sell the house or keep it. He presents documents with Kimber’s signature.

How did he get Kimber’s signature on the papers if she was away the whole time?

To which Lance replies that he found the property on a rental website the previous week and rented the house unseen. Her nosey neighbor, Jenny even claims to have seen Kimber hand the stranger a set of keys and documents.

But Kimber insists that there must be a huge mistake; the whole thing is some kind of weird misunderstanding. Besides she has no boyfriend.

While trying to force the intruder out of her home he whispers in her ear, and out of earshot of the police.

“I was there. I know what you did.”

Kimber is shocked. She has no idea what this stranger is on about. Or does she?

As the story progresses, the reader learns that Kimber witnessed a crime twenty-five years ago, which she may be partly responsible for. Someone has discovered the truth and is threatening to expose her. Who is the stranger in her house? Is he someone from her past? And what does he want from her?

The Stranger Inside is a gripping, psychological thriller with enough suspense to keep any reader turning the pages. I would definitely recommend this one.

  • Pages: 336
  • Publisher: Mulholland Books ( 5 February 2019)

Available on Amazon

Posted in Book Review

Wildflower Park – (Part 2): A Budding Romance – Bella Osborne


Wildflower Park: A Budding Romance is the 2nd book in the Wildflower Park series.

In Part 1 we were introduced to the main characters Anna and Sophie, and the mysterious Hudson. They went on a trip for a team building event. During a lighthearted game (organized by the team) Anna suddenly stormed out of the room in tears when someone asked her a question. Wildflower Park—Part Two follows the events that took place afterwards.
You can read the full review here.

I enjoyed this book as much as I enjoyed Part 1. In Part 2, Anna and Hudson seem to be getting along alright—is romance budding between these two? And Liam, is he being honest about his feelings towards Anna or does he have an agenda? We finally meet Anna’s mystery texter—they’ve even gone on a date. I sympathized with Sophie—she is definitely at the end of her rope. Will her husband, Dave finally step up? And Sophie’s surprise announcement—will she change her mind? Looking forward to Part 3 and I definitely recommend.

  • Publisher: Avon Books UK (4 February 2019)

Available on Amazon

Posted in Book Review

A Ruckus in the Garden: The Adventures of Pettson and Findus – Sven Nordqvist


A Ruckus in the Garden tells the story of Pettson, a farmer and his quirky cat, Findus. On a beautiful spring morning, Pettson decides to plant vegetables and seed potatoes in his garden. Findus has a different idea; he wants to plant meatballs. And so Pettson plants vegetables while Findus plants his meatballs.

But Pettson forgot to shut the henhouse and now the hens are wandering around the garden, digging up the seeds and meatballs they planted. The story is fun and lighthearted and the illustrations accompanying the story are beautiful and well rendered. This book will resonate well with young readers and adults looking for a good laugh.

  • Pages: 32
  • Publisher: NorthSouth Books (1 May 2018)

Available on Amazon

Posted in Book Review

The Island – Matt Shaw


A group of strangers have been marooned on a remote, uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean as part of a reality TV show. The program will test how long they can survive without the modern comforts of life. Completely alone, the strangers are unaware of the dangers lurking on the island.

A few days into their stay, things take a weird turn following a freak accident. It soon becomes clear they have been deserted on the island, as communications to the outside world have been cut off. And rescue team will send help on the condition that only one of them survives. Slowly it dawns on the team that they may have unwittingly signed up to be part of a psychological experiment.

Who is likely to leave the island? Who stays behind?

The Island is a gripping fast-paced psychological thriller with twists and turns. I would recommend.

  • Pages: 145
  • Published: 9 December 2018

Available on Amazon

Posted in Book Review

En Plein Air: Watercolor – Ron Stocke


En Plein Air: Watercolor is an excellent book for someone new to watercolor painting on location. The explanations are clear and accompanied by beautiful illustrations.

In this book, the author presents different drawing styles and shows you how to draw perspectives, how to choose the right equipment for painting on location, and even how to paint from photographs. He also addresses difficulties in subject placement and mistakes in drawing simple shapes.

Ron’s explanation of the color wheel and color mixing is concise and highly valuable. He presents a different concept of assigning a value to a subject rather than color. The author’s finished paintings are stunning!   

This is a book to be read and reread and I am definitely adding this to my list of art books! Highly recommend to fine-art lovers.

  • Pages: 128
  • Publisher: Walter Foster Publishing (18 December 2018) 

Available on Amazon


Posted in Book Review

Vegan London: A guide to the capital’s best cafes, restaurants and food stores – Serena Lee


This guide is a must-have for vegans, or anyone simply trying to cut back on meat and dairy. It is packed with information on the best places for vegans to dine in London or anyone visiting—be it breakfast, lunch and dinner, or for special occasions. Vegan London also includes mouthwatering photos of vegan dishes. Highly recommended.

  • Pages: 160
  • Quarto Publishing Group – White Lion Publishing (22 November 2018)

Available on Amazon

Posted in Book Review

Hand Sewing Magic – Lynn Krawczyk


Hand Sewing Magic is an excellent “how to” guide for someone new to hand stitching and seasoned stitchers.

This book includes 10 DIY projects and several tips and techniques on hand stitching. It starts with the basics—threads, needles, and additional materials—and tips on how to store them. The subsequent chapters introduce different stitch and embroidery patterns and will teach you how to design items such as book covers, phone holders, tote bags and so on. This includes book includes templates and resources to inspire the reader. Highly recommend.

  • Publisher: Creative Publishing International (4 December 2018)

Available on Amazon

Posted in Book Review

The Complete Book of Calligraphy & Lettering – Cari Ferraro, Eugene Metcalf, Arthur Newhall, John Stevens


This is the perfect “how to” book for those new to Calligraphy and Lettering.
There are over 100 techniques mentioned in this book on how to master the art of beautiful writing.

It gives you all you need to know about creating beautiful hand letterings, and it also includes blank pages where you can practice. This book will teach you how to design and decorate congratulation and gift cards, wall posters, chalkboard signs, journal covers and so much more. Very inspiring and I recommend to everyone.

  • Pages: 240
  • Publisher: Walter Foster Publishing (25 September 2018)

Available on Amazon