Monday, 28 November 2022

 

Theatre review: Top Hat at The Mill at Sonning


Top Hat is an iconic Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers musical from the 1930s, featuring music and lyrics by the equally iconic Irving Berlin. Yet, despite its age and recognisable musical numbers, it was only turned into a stage production about 10 years ago in the UK. And after nationwide tour, the show had a short-lived but well-loved run in the West End, before going back on the road. I saw it twice during its stint in London and am thrilled the show is now back on stage for British audiences to enjoy. This time around it's playing at the Mill at Sonning, a dinner theatre near Reading. 

Monday, 21 November 2022

 

Book review: What's For Dessert by Claire Saffitz [blog tour]


Claire Saffitz is a prolific baker and self- proclaimed "dessert person". I first discovered her through the Gourmet Makes series on Bon Appetit's YouTube and have continued to follow her career as she launched her own very successful YouTube channel all about sweet and savoury bakes.

Monday, 7 November 2022

 

Book review: Thirteen Ways to Smell a Tree by David George Haskell [blog tour]


Trees line even the most urbanised of streets. Yet despite having them on our doorsteps, beyond appreciating the blossoms and coloured leaves as the seasons change, many people don't take much notice of them. And that's a real shame. Trees are vital to us, working hard to give us green spaces, oxygen, and a viable ecosystem for the many big and small organisms that keep our planet alive.

Monday, 24 October 2022

 

Book review: The Empire by Michael Ball [blog tour]


Michael Ball is a legendary British musical theatre performer. Well-known for originating the role of Marius in the London production of Les Miserables, playing the titular character in Sweeney Todd, and taking over the role of Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera, he's now turning his hand to writing. The question on everyone's mind, of course, is whether he is a quadruple threat (adding writing to his list of talents), or if he should stick to performing on a physical stage rather than creating one within the pages of his debut novel The Empire.

Tuesday, 18 October 2022

 

Book review: Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver


I love a retelling; whether it's a feminist take on ancient Greek myths or a contemporary adaptation of a classic fairy tale. So when I heard that Demon Copperhead is a modern-day version of Charles Dickens' David Copperfield, my interest was immediately piqued. My only experience with Dickens retellings is A Christmas Carol (of which The Muppet Christmas Carol is without a doubt the superior version), which is a wildly different story although some of the same themes emerge: inequity, poverty, and resilience in the face of unimaginable hardship. 

Monday, 17 October 2022

 

Theatre review: Agatha Christie's The Mirror Crack'd at Oxford Playhouse


Anyone who's visited this blog in recent years will know I'm a big fan of murder mysteries, especially those written by Agatha Christie. Her huge collection of works has stood the test of time for a reason, and is being adapted into brand-new cinematic and theatrical adaptations to this day. Witness for the Prosecution has been running successfully for years (as has The Mousetrap, which recently celebrated 70 years in the West End) and earlier this year I saw the excellent Murder on the Orient Express at the Chichester Festival Theatre (which also had a short stint in Bath). Now, The Mirror Crack'd is on tour across the UK and I had the pleasure of catching a performance at the Oxford Playhouse.
 

Friday, 14 October 2022

 

Book review: The Almanac: A Seasonal Guide to 2023 by Lia Leendertz [blog tour]

In recent years, many people have been gravitating more towards nature to ground and guide them. Just look at the rising popularity of allotments, foraging, and house plants. And I fully admit, I'm one of those people. I've always loved exploring the natural world, but it's only recently I've become more aware and knowledgeable of so many things around me. As the seasons are changing and the days are getting darker, one might be mistaken to think that the time for explorations is over for the year. But that's not the case. Every season and every month has something that makes that moment in time unique and worth celebrating. And that's exactly what The Almanac shows its readers. 

Friday, 23 September 2022

 

Book review: The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill [blog tour]


With the amount of murder mysteries that have come out lately, it feels like we're in the second golden age of detective fiction – and I am all here for it. I've found a renewed love for Agatha Christie, and I'm thrilled that more and more 'locked room' style whodunnits are being published to continue to feed my addiction. This year alone I've had the pleasure to read The Maid by Nita Prose, Miss Aldridge Regrets by Louise Hare, A Fatal Crossing by Tom Hindle, and now The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill. My interest for this book was first sparked by the striking cover and title, and after the turning the final page I am glad that I can say that the story fully lived up to my high expectations.

Thursday, 15 September 2022

 

Book review: Cornish Clouds and Silver Lining Skies by Ali McNamara


Ali McNamara has been one of my go-to women's fiction authors ever since I read Step Back In Time in 2013 (nearly 10 years ago now, wow!). I've devoured many of her books since, such as Letters From Lighthouse Cottage and The Little Flower Shop by the Sea. And after not really picking up contemporary romance fiction for a few years, it were her novels that got me right back into them. Returning to her fictional town of St Felix in Cornish Clouds and Silver Lining Skies felt like reuniting with an old friend. 

Monday, 12 September 2022

 

Book review: Ithaca by Claire North


A flurry of Greek retellings has been published in recent years and I absolutely love it. I've always enjoyed reading and learning about the classics, and many of the reimaginings that are released these days shine a light on the women that were so often only briefly mentioned in the heroic tales of the Greek men and gods. These new books show that these women were often just as important – if not moreso – in creating the legendary stories as we know them today.