Tag Archives: Hubs likes this

Stacking the Shelves #14

27 Jun


Stacking The Shelvesl_thumb2Hosted by Tynga’s Reviews

Welcome back to Stacking the Shelves, a regular meme hosted by Tynga at Tynga’s Reviews. Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the latest books you have added to your shelves, physical or virtual.  This means you can include books you buy in store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts, and of course e-books! Here is my haul from this week.


Purchased from iBooks

I recently read my first Gail Carriger book, which I absolutely loved, so this week I grabbed one of her short stories from iBooks, The Curious Case of the Werewolf That Wasn’t, the Mummy That Was, and the Cat in the Jar. Great title!


Paperback given as a gift

It was my husband’s birthday recently and he was given Good As Dead by Mark Billingham, which he read in a couple of sittings last weekend. I have now inherited it in the pile beside my bed, so it’s the first by that author on my TBR.


Purchased from Amazon

Finally, I bought a couple of books with similar titles from Amazon so I can use them in my Goodreads reading challenges. Finding a book title that starts with the letter Z is tricky, so I snapped up Zack by M. Malone and Zack by Sawyer Bennett. I know nothing about either of these authors and purely chose the books by their titles, so I hope they’re good.


Purchased from Amazon

So that’s it for this week. Keep an eye out for my reviews of these in coming weeks. So what new books did you pick up this week? Let me know in the comments.

Worldwide Giveaway: Win a Signed Companion, a DVD of Season 1, An Outlander Soundtrack, A T-Shirt and Swag

29 Apr

My friends over at Outlander Online have this fabulous Outlander giveaway going on until May 15!

Outlander Online

***This post is stickied. Scroll down for newer posts***


We’re giving out 2 prize packs! 

Prize pack 1 includes:

A copy of the Revised Outlandish companion signed by Diana Gabaldon, a DVD of Outlander: Season 1 – Volume 1 (Region 1) and an Outlander Online poster.

Prize pack 2 includes: 

A t-shirt donated by Outlander Cast, make sure to check them out. They do an awesome podcast every week. An Outlander Soundtrack, an Outlander tote and an Outlander Online poster.

Here’s what you have to do to enter:

1) Follow our site on Twitter here.

2) Retweet this tweet here.

3) Like our page on Facebook here.

3) Leave a comment below

This Contest is international!

You have until Friday, May 15th at 8:00pm ET to enter.

All comments will be numbered and the winner will be picked using Random.org

 *Only one entry per person please* 

We will…

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The Affair, by Lee Child

3 May

Format: Trade paperback, 432 pages
Published: September 1, 2011
Publisher: Bantam
Back cover blurb:
Everything starts somewhere. . . .For elite military cop Jack Reacher, that somewhere was Carter Crossing, Mississippi, way back in 1997. A lonely railroad track. A crime scene. A cover up. A young woman is dead, and solid evidence points to a soldier at a nearby military base. But that soldier has powerful friends in Washington. Reacher is ordered undercover—to find out everything he can, to control the local police, and then to vanish. Reacher is a good soldier. But when he gets to Carter Crossing, he finds layers no one saw coming, and the investigation spins out of control. Local sheriff Elizabeth Deveraux has a thirst for justice—and an appetite for secrets. Uncertain they can trust one another, Reacher and Deveraux reluctantly join forces. Reacher works to uncover the truth, while others try to bury it forever. The conspiracy threatens to shatter his faith in his mission, and turn him into a man to be feared.A novel of unrelenting suspense that could only come from the pen of #1 New York Times bestselling author Lee Child, The Affair is the start of the Reacher saga, a thriller that takes Reacher—and his readers—right to the edge . . . and beyond .With Reacher, #1 New York Times bestselling author Lee Child has created “a series that stands in the front rank of modern thrillers” (The Washington Post).

My review:
Ah, Reacher. So that’s how you and the army parted ways. I loved this book, and couldn’t put it down – primarily because one minute I thought one person had done it, and the next I thought it was someone else, and it wasn’t until the last half a dozen pages that it was really resolved. Rather permanently resolved, in fact. Brilliant.

This one was written in the first person – Lee Child likes to alternate, having some books in first and some in third – so we got to see inside Reacher’s head, which is always a fascinating place. I love his humour, his talent with the ladies, and of course his own particular way of dealing with the bad guys. Bonuses here also include Reacher’s pals Frances Neagley (who I love from at least two previous books), Karla Dixon and Stan Lowrey (from Bad Luck and Trouble), crusty old Leon Garber, and passing mention of his brother Joe to tie the storyline in with events in the very first book, Killing Floor.

This is a great addition to Reacher’s backstory. I can’t help feeling, though, that I can see the end of the road coming for him. Then I’ll be very sad.

My rating: 5/5

Chocolate Chip Banana Cake – but where have all the chocolate chips gone?

11 Jan

For a few months now, I have been unable to get Cadbury dark chocolate chips at my local supermarket. I am beginning to suspect they have gone out of production. Oh, sure, there are inferior home-brand imitations, but some of those taste like wood shavings. In place of chocolate chips, Cadbury now sells these:

which are lovely and chocolatey, but sometimes in a biscuit or muffin they create too much runny gooeyness in proportion to the cake mixture.

Oh, what am I saying? There’s no such thing as too much chocolate!

On that note, at the weekend I made my recipe for Chocolate Chip Banana Cake, which I hadn’t made for a while and got eaten so quickly I didn’t even have time to take a photo!

This is very easy and moist. I don’t ice my cake, because I think the chocolate makes it sweet enough, but I will include the icing with the recipe here.

Chocolate Chip Banana Cake

50g very soft butter

1 cup white (granulated) sugar

3 ripe bananas, mashed

1 egg

1-1/2 cups self-raising white flour

1 tablespoon milk

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2/3 cup dark chocolate chips

Mix butter, sugar and egg together in a bowl. Stir in mashed bananas. Add sifted flour and cinnamon, then milk. Stir through chocolate chips. Pour into a 20cm square cake tin.

Bake in oven preheated to 180degC for 40-45 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely.


60g cream cheese

30g soft butter

1-1/2 cups icing (confectioners or powdered) sugar

Beat cheese and butter together in a small bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in sifted icing sugar. Spread over cold cake.

Shades of Grey, by Jasper Fforde

20 May

Format: Trade paperback, 448 pages

Published: January 14, 2010

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Back cover blurb:

Hundreds of years in the future, after the Something that Happened, the world is an alarmingly different place. Life is lived according to The Rulebook and social hierarchy is determined by your perception of colour. Eddie Russett is an above average Red who dreams of moving up the ladder by marriage to Constance Oxblood. Until he is sent to the Outer Fringes where he meets Jane — a lowly Grey with an uncontrollable temper and a desire to see him killed. For Eddie, it’s love at first sight. But his infatuation will lead him to discover that all is not as it seems in a world where everything that looks black and white is really shades of grey …If George Orwell had tripped over a paint pot or Douglas Adams favoured colour swatches instead of towels …neither of them would have come up with anything as eccentrically brilliant as Shades of Grey.

My review:

Jasper Fforde’s usual fare is more along the lines of far-fetched fiction, and I have loved all his previous works, so I began this believing it would be more of the same. I was wrong. This book is epic.

Set hundreds of years in the future, after the Something That Happened – no one knows exactly what – people can no longer see in full colour. What parts of the spectrum you can see determine your social standing, with Purples at the top and Greys – those who can see little or no colour – at the very bottom. Eddie Russett, a Red, is sent with his father to far-flung East Carmine after playing a joke on a Purple boy, and slowly he begins to discover how seriously restricted society has become because of the mysterious and ridiculous Rules. Along his journey he earns the ire of some prominent Yellows and falls in love with a Grey named Jane, who seems to know a bit more than anyone else about what’s really going on. For a start, she knows where all the spoons have gone…

Eddie is a fantastic fish-out-of-water with whom the reader can easily identify as he uncovers the secrets of his dystopia. Jane is kick-ass and smart, and the other village characters are all well-written and, dare I say, colourful. By the last page I was really horrified by the choice Eddie was faced with, and these twists set the story up nicely for two planned sequels.

Fforde has created a unique future which is complex, frightening and very funny. I can’t wait until the next book in the series, Painting by Numbers, comes out in 2013.

My rating: 5/5

Bad Luck and Trouble, by Lee Child

26 Apr

Format: Paperback, 396 pages

Published: April 2, 2007

Publisher: Bantam Press

Back cover blurb:

Now on his own for 10 years, Reacher has an ATM card and the clothes on his back—no phone, no ties, and no address—he’s a hard man to find. A loner, comfortable in his anonymity and solitude.

Performing the impossible isn’t so difficult for Frances Neagley, who manages to locate Reacher by using a signal only the eight members of their elite team of army investigators would know. She tells Reacher a harrowing story about the brutal death of a one of their own. Soon they reunite with the survivors of their old team and race to raise the living, bury the dead, and connect the dots in a mystery that grows more opaque with every new piece of information. With lives at stake, the team falls back together with apparent ease; their motto still holding true: You do not mess with the Special Investigators.

My review:

So now I’m going back to read the Reachers I missed when they first came out, and I have to say this one – the 11th in the series – is one of the best. Jack is his usual bad ass self but has moments of self-doubt, which may be new for him. Here he is also teamed up with his old unit, so we get the bonus of additional people with Reacher attitudes = WIN! Two are women and we get some sexual tension thrown in too. In fact, I got the feeling both women had a little thing for Jack.

The storyline moved along swiftly, and even though I was a little ahead of their deduction at one point, the fast pace and plot twists meant I couldn’t put it down. The only problem I had with the story was when Reacher robbed some drug dealers to get cash and I felt let down by him. I know they were scumbags, but I always thought Jack was better than that. Still, they had their uses and were helpful in the end, not just for their money.

Most of all I loved this story because it was about intelligent, ruthless people using their brains to work out a complex chain of events. There were codes and number series to work out, the best of which I thought were messages between the investigators themselves – notably Dixon and O’Donnell’s communications to Reacher and the bank account amounts. Very clever and very brilliant.

My rating: 5/5

Yummy Winter Dessert: Chocolate Self-saucing Pudding

1 Apr


Not mine, but it looks a bit like this 🙂 Photo courtesy Healthy Food Guide/Melanie Jenkins.


I’ve neglected the recipes for a while – sorry! – but now that it’s autumn I thought it was time for a nice warm pudding. This recipe was given to me years ago by my sister-in-law, and it never fails. It’s very quick and easy to whip up. I usually make it while the dinner’s cooking and pop it in the hot oven so it cooks while we eat our main course. Then it’s just a matter of whipping some cream and voila!

Sue’s Chocolate Saucy Pud


1 cup plain flour

1/4 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon melted butter

2 teaspoons vanilla essence

1/2 cup milk

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

1 egg

For sauce:

1/2 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup boiling water

1 tablespoon cocoa powder


Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder together in a bowl, then add milk, sugar and melted butter. Mix, then add vanilla and egg. Pour into a greased pie dish.

Make a sauce by mixing the brown sugar, boiling water and additional cocoa powder together in a separate jug. Pour gently over pudding mixture in pie dish.

Bake at 180 degrees Celcius for 30-40 minutes. Serve warm, with whipped (chantilly) cream.

Serves 4.

Killing Floor, by Lee Child

1 Mar

Format: Paperback, 528 pages
Published: April 2, 1998 (first published January 1, 1997)
Publisher: Bantam
Back cover blurb:
When Jack Reacher suddenly decides to ask a Greyhound bus driver to let him off near the town of Margrave, Georgia, he thinks it’s because his brother once mentioned that the famed blues guitarist Blind Blake died there. But it doesn’t take long for the footloose ex-military policeman to discover that there are plenty of strange–and very dangerous–things going on behind Margrave’s manicured lawns and clean streets that demand his attention. This first thriller by a former television writer features some of the best-written scenes of action in recent memory, a crash course in currency and counterfeiting, and a hero who is just begging to be called on for an encore.
My review:
I’ve read a lot of Jack Reacher, but it took me ages to get around to reading this, the first in the series. What a debut! The plot is tight, a more personal story for Reacher than some of his subsequent adventures, and I was gripped right the way through. I wish I could come up with plots like this.
My rating: 5/5

Worth Dying For, by Lee Child

21 Jan

  • Format: Trade Paperback 416 pages
  • Published: 30 September 2010
  • Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd

Back cover blurb:

“61 Hours” ended with maverick loner Jack Reacher trapped in a desperate situation from which escape seemed impossible. Even for him. But Reacher has done the impossible before. Now there’s deadly trouble in the wilds of Nebraska…and Reacher walks right into it. First he falls foul of the Duncans, a local clan that has terrified an entire county into submission. But it’s the unsolved case of a missing eight-year-old girl, already decades-old, that Reacher can’t let go. The Duncans want Reacher gone – or dead. And it’s not just past secrets they’re trying to hide. They’re awaiting a secret shipment that’s already late – and they have the kind of customers no one can afford to annoy. For as dangerous as the Duncans are, they’re just the bottom of a criminal food chain stretching halfway around the world. Reacher – bruised and battered – should have just kept on going. But for Reacher, that was impossible.

My review:

I’m starting to worry about Jack Reacher. Maybe he’s been alone too long.

As I read this book I began to worry that he was taking the law into his own hands a bit more than usual, executing people when they were really no immediate threat to him. This new development makes me wonder if this is the beginning of the end for Reacher; certainly Lee Child has indicated there will only be a few more books.

Worth Dying For was written in a totally different voice than the previous book. 61 Hours was all short sentences and ticking clocks; this book was full of long train-of-thought paragraphs. For that reason it required more concentration to read, but was nonetheless a great story. The extent of the Duncans’ secret came as a complete surprise, and the ending was most satisfactory.

I just hope Jack can meet up with Susan from his old unit, the 110th. I fear he won’t, given that at the end of 61 Hours she was posted to Afghanistan, but I think he really needs her voice of reason right now.

My rating: 4/5

61 Hours, by Lee Child

17 Jan

  • Format: Trade Paperback 400 pages
  • Published: 18 March 2010
  • Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd

Back cover blurb:

Winter in South Dakota. Blowing snow, icy roads, a tired driver. A bus skids and crashes and is stranded in a gathering storm. There’s a small town twenty miles away, where a vulnerable witness is guarded around the clock. There’s a strange stone building five miles further on, all alone on the prairie. There’s a ruthless man who controls everything from the warmth of Mexico. Jack Reacher hitched a ride in the back of the bus. A life without baggage has many advantages. And crucial disadvantages too, when it means facing the arctic cold without a coat. But he’s equipped for the rest of his task. He doesn’t want to put the world to rights. He just doesn’t like people who put it to wrongs.

My review:

This is the best Jack Reacher thriller in recent years, and I could not put it down. Jack is stuck in South Dakota in a blizzard and the clock is ticking – a device which makes this book a thoroughly gripping read as we anticipate what will happen when the 61 hours are up.

Although I picked the killer about halfway through the book, I wasn’t 100 percent sure and the climax still managed to surprise.

Moving on to the next one already…

My rating: 5/5