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Saturday, March 25, 2017

A Wedding in Italy by Tilly Tennant

Kate lives in Rome, rents a flat, and she has a wonderful Italian boyfriend. However, she has many problems. Her landlord is troublesome; she hasn't got a job; and her boyfriend's old girlfriend and his sister want to make life difficult for her. How will she get through all this?

This was perfect light reading while in Italy with a beautiful Italian setting. Kate and Alessandro are like able and the setting is described charmingly. However, I found the writing rather wordy. Tighter editing may have helped.

I received this free ebook from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Art Deco Interiors by Henry Delacroix Dover Publications

These designs are a modern minimalist's dream! They include pictures of living rooms, salons, bathrooms and furniture. They are mostly rather stark, sparsely furnished and brightly-coloured. I much prefer the more ornate Art Nouveau and several of these rooms struck me as rather mannish. I am also far from being a minimalist. However, these images are so modern that they are still suitable for buildings today!

Some of the bathrooms, salons and dressing-rooms are quite pretty and Parisian. This book is certainly worth buying, if only for these pictures. It is an excellent book for historians of interior design as well.

I received this free ebook from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Art Nouveau Architecture R Beauclair, M I Gradl

These beautiful plates feature wonderful aspects of this revolutionary architecture including Grand staircases, wrought iron balconies, ornate mantels and intricate storefronts. Bright colours, floral and insect motifs and fancy apartment facades are also shown.

Anyone interested in art and the Edwardian era will enjoy this book.

I received this free book from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

Monday, February 27, 2017

The I Factor How Building a Great Relationship with Yourself Is the Key to a Happy, Successful Life By Van Moody

This is a helpful book which uses anecdotes and stories from the Bible and real life to get people back on the right track.  Van Moody has a theory that people who crash and burn or just fail at life generally have a problem with their 'I-Factor'.  This 'I-Factor' is about managing yourself and your life well.

Moody includes chapters on  the importance of finding your identity, regaining your passion and forgiving yourself and others. He provides examples of how people have done this and gives wise advice.  This is an extremely religious book which emphasizes prayer and faith, so it may not be suitable for everyone.  I found it quite useful and inspiring.

I received this free eBook from Book Look Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Smart Housekeeping The No-Nonsense Guide to Decluttering, Organizing, and Cleaning Your Home, or Keys to Making Your Home Suit Yourself with No Help from Fads, Fanatics, or Other Foolishness by Anne L. Watson

By Grap (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

This is a great book, especially for those who want to declutter.  Anne Watson provides excellent advice, such as to start with small projects and keep your goal in mind.  She also advises readers to forget perfection and not to be too hard on themselves.

This book will actually make you feel energised and ready to begin! I also like the amusing dialogues with imaginary perfectionists and the cute animal figures on her helpful website.

I received this ebook from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

By Tim Collins (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons



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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Simply Clean The Proven Method for Keeping Your Home Organized, Clean, and Beautiful in Just 10 Minutes a Day by Becky Rapinchuk

Betty Rapinchuk writes that readers will not feel overwhelmed by her method of cleaning and this is certainly true. She writes that it is 'easy, seamless and simple'.  Remember when washing was done on Mondays and roasts were cooked on Sundays?  This method is probably based on that old-fashioned but useful scenario.  Every day of the week has a task and Friday is catching-up day! There are also weekly cleaning tasks.

Betty provides guidelines for doing each task and she also gives you a checklist of materials to buy to clean each room, which is very useful.  For example, there is a bathroom cleaning caddy, a dusting caddy and even a seasonal cleaning caddy. There are also useful tips, such as keeping makeup in a basket in the bathroom and keeping baskets for magazines and mail.

This book will certainly help those with young children, pack-rats and people who are generally messy.

I received this free eBook from Edelweiss in return for an honest review.

Simply Clean The Proven Method for Keeping Your Home Organized, Clean, and Beautiful in Just 10 Minutes a Day  by Becky Rapinchuk


Friday, February 17, 2017

The Birthday Boys by Beryl Bainbridge

By Markus Koljonen (Own work) [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Beryl Bainbridge reimagines Captain Scott's expedition to Antarctica on the Terra Nova in this novel, through the eyes of most of the men.  Her ability to put herself into the minds of such different characters as Birdie and Captain Scott is brilliant, and her descriptions of Antarctica are irradiant. However, this is an extremely harrowing story and difficult to read. I also thought that she was quite hard on Captain Scott - she takes a dim view of his capricious character, his tendency towards depression and his blaming his mistakes onto others.  She also criticises the team's inexpertise on skis and Scott's mistrust of dogs.

I especially liked her descriptions of the wive's characters and the rivalry between them, especially the rather intimidating Kathleen Scott, whose fame as a sculptress has sadly been eclipsed by her husband's ill-fated journey.  Ever since I saw her sculpture of Captain Scott at Christchurch (and I was lucky enough to see that gorgeous city before the earthquake), I have been interested in reading more about her.

If you are interested in the expedition, this is an excellent novel about it.

Lara : The Untold Love Story and the Inspiration for Doctor Zhivago Anna Pasternak

Olga Ivinskaya by Kozovoi (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Boris Pasternak, the author of the classic Dr Zhivago, 'characterised his life as a fight with a reigning and triumphant triteness for a freely playing human talent'.  He suffered a great deal and he was persecuted by the authorities, but, according to legend, Stalin said: 'Leave him in peace, he's a cloud dweller' and protected him from arrest. Instead, the love of his life, Olga Ivinskaya, his mistress for forty years, on whom he based his wonderful Lara, was punished by the totalitarian regime.

Incredibly brave, she was sent to the gulag and interrogated while pregnant with Pasternak's child, but she came out of her questioning 'victorious'. Olga spent many years in the gulag twice under horrendous conditions (she had to work in fields all day in baking heat or bitter heat and eat gruel) and never betrayed Boris Pasternak. She was constantly persecuted because of Boris, but she had wonderful inner strength, which shines through in this book.

This is a harrowing but well-written and moving book by Boris Pasternak's great-niece, but it is also the tale of an incredible writer, Pasternak'sfascinating love story with the real 'Lara' which is very similar to the one in the book and his struggles wth the regime. Anna Pasternak certainly describes the evils of the Soviet Union in great detail.  Sometimes, it is hard to face the story but this is a must-read for anyone who loves Dr Zhivago.

I received this free ebook from Edelweiss in return for an honest review.

Interview with Anna Pavlova